Missouri Synod Lutherans, North American Anglicans
conclude first round of theological discussions
Release report summarizing joint discussions
ST. LOUIS, May 25, 2012—After four meetings over the past 18 months, the Anglican Church in North America and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) rejoice in affirming core teachings of the Christian faith they share. The two church bodies, together with the Lutheran Church—Canada, are jointly releasing a report today summarizing the areas of agreement.
Leaders from the two church bodies began meeting in the fall of 2010 to discuss theological and ecumenical issues for the purpose of increasing the level of mutual understanding and affirmations between them, and identifying potential areas of cooperative work. Because the Anglican Church in North America includes congregations in Canada as well as in the United States, a representative from Lutheran Church—Canada, an LCMS partner church, also participated in the discussions.
"In a time when there is a widespread failure to recognize the biblical teaching regarding the creation of man and woman and their biblical roles, life-issues, and other grave challenges that society faces, it is a joy to find a group of Christians within the Anglican Church in North America who affirm this biblical teaching, and who desire to cooperate in externals with the Missouri Synod in upholding the biblical natural law in society," said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President of the LCMS. "Our churches share much in common in the confession of the ecumenical creeds, but we also have differences in doctrinal belief. Hermann Sasse noted that churches who can honestly discuss where they have disagreements in doctrine are in fact closer to each other than churches who cannot discuss such matters. With the Anglican Church in North America, the Missouri Synod can discuss both where we need to seek more agreement and where we have sufficient agreement to cooperate in externals. May Christ bless His church and work unity in both doctrine and practice."
The themes of the discussions included:
- The Background and Identity of Our Churches
- Authority in the Church
- Theological and Societal Challenges Facing the Church
- The Practice of Ministry: Worship and Catechesis
The report on the discussions includes a statement of the beliefs the church bodies have in common. These include a shared belief in the Triune God as confessed in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian creeds; justification by grace through faith; the centrality of the Sacraments for the Christian faith; and the infallibility of Scripture.
The report also outlines areas about which the church bodies plan to engage in further study and discussion. These include the value of authoritative theological confessions, matters of ecclesiology and the office(s) of ministry, the understanding of Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper and differing views on the usage of the western liturgy.
"It is a great blessing to be walking alongside The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. We share an unwavering commitment to the authority of Scripture and have been able to support each other as we take a bold stand for the historic faith. It has been a particular joy for me to come to know President Matthew Harrison. We look forward to continuing our work together for the Gospel through prayers, evangelism, dialogue, encouragement of one another, and joint efforts to help those in need," said the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in North America.
The Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, president of the Lutheran Church—Canada, added, "Because the Anglican Church in North America includes congregations and pastors in our country as well as the U.S., Lutheran Church—Canada is deeply grateful for the opportunity to send a representative and to be involved in these discussions. Despite the decay in foundational Christian teaching among mainline churches in North America, the Lord is opening doors for us to encourage each other to root our work in the apostolic Gospel of Christ and in the Scriptures as God's infallible Word. Our people in Canada will continue to follow this story with interest ... and with their prayers."
The full text of the report is available here.
About Anglican Church in North America
The Anglican Church in North America unites some 100,000 Anglicans in nearly 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada. It is a Province-in-formation in the global Anglican Communion. The Most Rev. Robert Duncan is the archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America and bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. To learn more, visit www.anglicanchurch.net.
About Lutheran Church—Canada
Lutheran Church–Canada comprises congregations, pastors and deacons committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Founded in 1988, the church’s confessions and practices are based on the foundation of God's Word and the belief that God's gift of salvation is found only through faith in Jesus Christ, God's only Son. In more than 325 congregations, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, this message is proclaimed in Word and deed. To learn more, visit www.lutheranchurch.ca.
About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has about 2.3 million baptized members in more than 6,000 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit www.lcms.org.