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Lutheran Church—International

August 19th, 2011
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Yes, you read that right, there is a “Lutheran Church—International” and the name proves a theory I’ve had for a long time. The smaller the group, the more grandiose the name. And so, here also, in this case, there is a “church body” that consists of less than fifteen micro-congregations, if that many, and because they have some micro outpost in the Caribbean and in Africa and/or elsewhere, they have decided to use the name “Lutheran Church—International.” To my knowledge, no group of Lutherans have ever taken such an arrogant step and claimed “international” status. But there’s a first for everything. The long history of the Lutheran Church shows that Lutheran Church bodies have always identified themselves linked to their primarily geographical place of existence. As we see the fallout from The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we’ll continue to see more and more of this kind of micro-church splintering and fracturing. Sad, but that’s how it goes.

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Categories: Lutheranism
  1. Christine
    August 19th, 2011 at 15:40 | #1

    The smaller the group, the more grandiose the name. Would also seem to apply to the titles assumed by the leadership.

    As for the two pooches shown, awwwwwwwww


  2. Rev. Allen Yount
    August 19th, 2011 at 20:21 | #2

    Next thing we know there’ll be a “Lutheran Church Interplanetary.”

  3. Robert Buechler
    August 20th, 2011 at 11:09 | #3

    Hi Paul,

    To be fair, this Lutheran group was not created from the fall out of the ELCA. I have visited with Pastor Art Hebbeler (former ELCA not LC-I), and from what I have gathered this group had a different name (I can’t remember it off the top of my head right now, as I’ve only had one cup of coffee and I need at least two cups of stimulant for every one half intelligent thought).

    The original, founding group came out of the division of the Lutheran Free Church. If you remember, the Lutheran Free Church decided to join the ALC. There was a split in that church, with the vast majority becoming what is now known as the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations. However, one group that held to the same orthodox piety, but was more high church in polity, became the founding group for what eventually became LC-I.

    They were at one time much larger than what they are now (much larger in the sense that while they were always small they had more than 15 congregations), but over the years they either closed or went back to the AFLC or joined the LCMS or TAAL or…well you get the drift. If you want more info you should contact Pastor Art. I believe he is one of their officers now.

    Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ!
    Rob Buechler

    • August 20th, 2011 at 15:09 | #4

      Thanks Rob, I just find it amusing that such a tiny church body chose to call itself “Lutheran Church—International.” It is simply just silly and inaccurate, if not downright misleading.

  4. Michael
    August 20th, 2011 at 11:24 | #5

    My vote is for “Lutheran Church Intergalactic.” Warp 10 to the next circuit meeting, Mr. Sulu!

  5. August 20th, 2011 at 15:06 | #6

    Pastor McCain,

    How very charitable of you to make such comments about another Lutheran body. Our intention in the LC-I was not to take on some status symbol of size, but to reflect our 44-year heritage as the International Lutheran Fellowship, while providing a clear statement that we are a church body, not simply a fellowship of pastors or laypeople. In fact, it was as a result of our growth into Canada and working with the Ontario provincial government that we came to understand the confusion in some secular settings with the word “Fellowship” in our name.

    Since we have been a recognized Lutheran body since 1967, and “International” and “Lutheran” were part of our name for 44 years, I find it quite bemusing that now you would take such an attitude. Interestingly, we have extended the hand of brotherly love and friendship to the LCMS, including conversations with your SP, which have been cordially received.

    Rather than tossing verbal hand grenades, wouldn’t it be better to learn about the LC-I and ask questions? I do recall some old, dead Lutheran saying that one should put the best possible construct on the words and actions of others. I have tried to do that with you at every turn, yet you constantly head the other way.

    To Christine, let me simply comment that the LC-I does incorporate the three-fold order of ministry: deacons, pastors, and bishops. As the term “president” is more of a secular term, and “presiding bishop” seems so…well, untraditional…we opted to use the more recognizable term “archbishop” for our presider. Unlike many of the micro-synods out there, we do not create “Most Reverend Archbishops” of all the clergy, nor do we take things to the other extreme of complete congregationalism.

    To Allen, let me suggest that it probably is already out there, and the official Eucharistic Prayer is based on the ’79 BCP’s so-called “Star Trek canon” (EP D, IIRC) and the official hymn is “Earth and All Stars.”

    Pr Art Hebbeler
    Lutheran Church-International

  6. August 20th, 2011 at 15:35 | #8

    OK, that’s fine. I’m only asking that before you declare something unfavorable to your senses, you at least have the decency and integrity to get all the details before you make such pronouncements.

    You know, kind of like at least TRYING Brussels sprouts before saying one doesn’t like them.

    • August 20th, 2011 at 15:41 | #9

      Art, the facts are clear. Your church body has hardly a handful of congregations, and claim the name “International” and says it has an “Archbishop” … all grandiose claims.

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