“Leaving the ELCA” series

Leaving the ELCA?

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Remember, leaving one place heads you toward another...

Should I leave the ELCA? This is a question that many congregations and members in North America’s largest Lutheran church body are beginning to ask. Recent changes in ministry policy that allow the ordaining of practicing homosexuals are bringing a significant challenge to the traditional understanding of the Bible and its authority for Christian life. However, this is only the most recent development in a long history of problematic decisions by the ELCA. After a decade of concerted effort WordAlone has reached the conclusion that the theological decay of the ELCA cannot be stemmed or reformed. The entire infrastructure of the ELCA is extremely damaged and the pervasive apathy of the membership at large assures that the current tragic direction will continue indefinitely. We urge confessional and biblical Lutherans to begin making plans to disassociate from the ELCA for the sake of their spiritual well being and particularly for the spiritual well being of their children and grandchildren.

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The sexuality votes of the August 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly were only the tip of the iceberg. Read this new, indepth resource paper by Pastor Bryan Anderson, "What Has Gone Wrong in the ELCA?"

Pr. Anderson has also created a PowerPoint presentation that is available here (no PowerPoint application is required). This presentation is sure to be thought-provoking as you page through its insightful and incisive content.

It is suggested that you ensure your congregation's constitution (ELCA boilerplate) is current with the latest version. You may download a PDF version of the most recent Constitutions, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the ELCA. . . the current edition is dated November, 2010. Special attention should be made to areas that concern congregations and actions of congregations. Some notable changes include (but are not limited to):

  • Chapter 9, section 61, subsection(s) b, e, and h
  • Chapter 9, section 71 (all)

Many Lutherans have already left and more are working through their voting-out processes. Check out Pastor David Barnhart's blog for information on current voting activities.

Questions that are frequently asked by those considering leaving the ELCA can be found by clicking …Click HERE...

Taking Action

The action you choose to take in leaving the ELCA depends a lot on your situation. It is vital to know what the other members of your congregation think about the matter of leaving or staying in the ELCA. It is also extremely important to know where your pastor(s) stand on the issues. Another crucial factor is to know how current leaders in the congregation understand the problems that give rise to the need to leave the ELCA. WordAlone recommends that individuals, groups and congregations carefully consider their situation as they decide what action to take. We have worked through this with many congregations, groups and individuals. We have some suggestions for analyzing your situation and the actions you may want to take. To read more about this click HERE...

Follow a Careful Process

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Moral Compass

The environment surrounding the process of leaving the ELCA has become increasingly charged in the months following the August 2009 churchwide assembly. ELCA officials and synod staff members have become increasingly anxious as more congregations choose to leave. The rules have been tightened across the ELCA but are being enforced differently in various synods. This means that everyone engaging in the process of voting to leave the ELCA needs to be very careful about how they do it. We have compiled a number of suggestions, cautions, and advisory notes about how a congregation should engage in the process of voting to leave the ELCA. To read more about this click HERE...



Study Resources

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So much to read...but there's time...

Our experience suggests that the uninformed members of ELCA congregations are the most content with the present direction of their church. WordAlone has consistently worked to bring the actions, theology, and policy of the ELCA into a critical light. We are convinced that such analysis is healthy and beneficial to the faith of Christian Lutherans. For this reason we have included a large study resource section in this website to help our readers locate quality resources as they carefully work through the process of leaving the ELCA. To access these resources click HERE.



Case Studies

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In "synch" with what others are doing...

It is often best to learn by example. For this reason our series will include a section of case studies that will grow as we are able to gather them. These are stories of people that have successfully found faithful ways to leave the ELCA in an effort to make a more emphatic response to Christ’s command to go and make disciples. We believe they will encourage and inspire you. If you have a story that you think would make a good case study for this series please contact us at info@wordalone.org.

Living Word Lutheran Church

For instance, Living Word Lutheran Church started worshipping with 83 people Nov. 1, 2009, in Alexandria, Minn. By this spring, their number had grown to 150 and they were on the verge of not only calling their first pastor but also deciding whether to buy a vacant church or to buy land and build a church with probably a 300-seat sanctuary. The new congregation is affiliated with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ . . . Read more

Redeemer Lutheran Church

Another example is Redeemer Lutheran Church in Fridley, Minn. is a 2,100-member congregation in a northern suburb of Minneapolis with a focus on outreach. “Changing denominational affiliation won’t change that concentration on reaching out,” says their pastor. As a matter of fact, the two votes they took in the past few months to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have taken a back seat to the excitement and work for their newest project—launching a second campus for their congregation June 5, 2010, Pastor David Glesne said. . . . Read more