Magazine article The Christian Century

Lutheran Dissenters Get Organized

Magazine article The Christian Century

Lutheran Dissenters Get Organized

Article excerpt

Lutheran critics of a proposal for full communion with the Episcopal Church have created their own organization. Meanwhile, two Lutheran congregations also have registered their dissent from the ecumenical decision. The 408 people who met November 15-16 in St. Paul, Minnesota, elected Roger C. Eigenfeld of Mahtomedi, Minnesota, to lead their group.

The meeting, titled "Word Alone National Gathering I," was the culmination of a series of 45 regional gatherings held throughout the fall across the country. In August the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to approve the proposal, "Called to Common Mission," with the Episcopal Church. It passed by a vote of 716317, 27 votes more than the required two-thirds. The proposal would lead to a range of cooperative ministries between the two denominations.

Opponents often cite the ELCA's adoption of the historic episcopate--a succession of bishops considered a sign of unity back to the earliest days of the Christian church--as the reason for their opposition. They argue that the historic episcopate, brought to the relationship by the Episcopal Church, creates a new church hierarchy. Currently bishops are authorized to ordain but may delegate the task to an ordained pastor. …

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