The History of the Christian Faith in China
ELCA in China (Basel Mission)
A. Early history (1831-1847). Karl Gutzlaff first Lutheran missionary to China. Originally accredited to the Netherlands Missionary Society, Gutzlaff first arrived in East Asia in 1823. As China adopted a strict closed-door policy in that period, he was unable to set foot on China until 1831.
B. The first Lutheran missions (1847-1890). Basel Mission sent missionaries to China March 19, 1847. Theodore Hamberg and Rudolph Lechler missionaries.
C. Other Lutheran missions (1890-1907)
D. Towards union (1907-1920)
China Centenary Missionary Conference 1907
Evangelical Lutheran Mission for China 1913
Lutheran Free Church Mission 1917
Union Lutheran Conference (ULC)
Lutheran Theological Seminary
Temporary Committee of the Lutheran Church of China
E. The Lutheran Church of China (1920-1951)
Presiding Bishop – The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Mark S. Hanson serves as president of the Lutheran World Federation and is the current presiding bishop of the ELCA is the Rev. Mark Hanson who was elected in 2001 and re-elected in 2007.
The ELCA formally came into existence on January 1, 1988, creating the largest Lutheran church body in the United States. The Church is a result of a merger between the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), the American Lutheran Church (ALC) and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC), all of which had formally agreed in 1982 to unite after several years of discussions. The ELCA’s three predecessor churches were themselves the product of previous mergers and splits among various independent Lutheran synods in the United States.
* The American Lutheran Church
In 1960 the American Lutheran Church, the United Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church merged to form The American Lutheran Church, with the Lutheran Free Church joining in 1963. The ALC brought approximately 2.25 million members into the ELCA. Its immigrant heritage came mostly from Germany, Norway, and Denmark. It was the most theologically conservative of the forming bodies, officially teaching biblical inerrancy in its constitution (although seldom enforcing it by means of heresy trials and the like). Its demographic center was in the Upper Midwest (with especially large numbers in Minnesota).
* The Lutheran Church in America
In 1962 the United Lutheran Church in America, the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and the American Evangelical Lutheran Church formed the Lutheran Church in America. The LCA brought approximately 2.85 million members into the ELCA. Its immigrant heritage came mostly from Germany, Sweden, Slovakia, Denmark and Finland. Its demographic focus was on the East Coast (centered on Pennsylvania), with large numbers in the Midwest and some presence in the Southern Atlantic states. There are notable exceptions, but LCA-background churches tend to be more formalistically liturgical than ALC-background churches. Its theological orientation ranged from moderately liberal to neo-orthodox, with tendencies toward conservative pietism in some rural and small-town congregations.
* The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches
In 1976 the AELC was formed from congregations that left the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod in a schism precipitated by progressive-traditionalist disputes over biblical literalism, academic freedom and ecumenism. Its establishment was precipitated by the Seminex controversy at the LCMS’s Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri in 1974. The AELC brought approximately 100,000 members into the ELCA. Its immigrant heritage came mostly from Germany; the complexion of its theology generally resembled that of the LCA, as the dissenting former “moderate” faction of the LCMS.
ELCA Churchwide Organization
8765 W. Higgins Road
Chicago, IL 60631
Tel: 800/638-3522 or 773/380-2700
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has been actively involved in ecumenical dialogues with several denominations. Recently, the ELCA has established “full communion” with several American Churches: the Moravian Church, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ.
LCMS Beliefs vs ELCA Beliefs
1. Believe in triune God – Same
2. Accept Lutheran Confessions as true teachings of biblical faith – Same
3. Believe that God comes to us through the Word and the sacraments – Same
4. Teach justification by grace through faith – Same
5. Believe that the Bible should not be subject to higher critical methods. Many within the ELCA believe that the Bible can speak effectively through the use of higher critical study.
6. Believe that the Bible restricts women from certain church positions including ordained ministry. ELCA believes the Bible permits, even encourages, full participation by women in the life of the church.
7. High degree of doctrinal agreement necessary before fellowship is possible. ELCA agreement on a more basic level is sufficient for fellowship.
Role of women
Role of feminist theology
The Lutheran World Federation
150, route de Ferney
P.O. Box 2100
CH-1211 Geneva 2
Phone: +41/22-791 61 11
Fax: +41/22-791 66 30
General Secretary Rev. Dr Ishmael Noko of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe.
World Council of Churches
150 route de Ferney
P.O. Box 2100
1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland
Tel: (+41 22) 791 6111
Fax: (+41 22) 791 0361
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity.
The WCC brings together 349 churches, denominations and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories throughout the world, representing over 560 million Christians and including most of the world’s Orthodox churches, scores of denominations from such historic traditions of the Protestant Reformation as Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed, as well as many united and independent churches. While the bulk of the WCC’s founding churches were European and North American, today most are in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific.
For its member churches, the WCC is a unique space: one in which they can reflect, speak, act, worship and work together, challenge and support each other, share and debate with each other. As members of this fellowship, WCC member churches:
* are called to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship;
* promote their common witness in work for mission and evangelism;
* engage in Christian service by serving human need, breaking down barriers between people, seeking justice and peace, and upholding the integrity of creation; and
* foster renewal in unity, worship, mission and service.
Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, of the Methodist Church in Kenya, was elected general secretary of the World Council of Churches in August 2003, and took up his new post in January 2004. Earlier in 2003, he served as director and special representative for Africa of the WCC. The general secretary serves ex-officio as secretary of the central and executive committees.