What Kind Of Lutherans Are We
We Belong to the ELCA
There’s not quite as many kinds of Lutherans as there are kinds of cheese.
Grace belongs to a large group of Lutherans called the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We say “E.L.C.A.” for short. Here’s the link to our website: http://www.elca.org. Here’s our logo. I love the colors. The colors are the colors for the seasons of the church year. That’s another story…
God’s Work. Our Hands.
Our “tag line” is “God’s Work. Our Hands.” It identifies us well. We believe God created us, showed his love for us in Jesus Christ, and inspires us through the Holy Spirit to continue to share God’s love through whatever we do in this world. If we repair cars: we do it well—out of love for the people who use those cars. If we are building a road: we do it well—so roads are safe for travelers. If we work in health care, we do it well—it’s something Jesus did himself out of compassion for people who had no health care at all.
4 million strong
There are about 4 million of us in the United States. We’re organized as 65 “synods” each covering a different geographical region of the U.S. The Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Synod are not “synods” in the ELCA. They’re a different kind of Lutheran altogether. Our synod is the East Central Synod of Wisconsin. It includes about 120 congregations in northeastern Wisconsin. Our synod, like all the synods, is led by a bishop. ELCA pastors are elected as bishops. Our bishop is Rev. Jim Justman. Here’s our synod website: ecsw.org. If you’d like to find out more about what kind of Lutheran members of the ELCA are, check this link out: elca.org/What-We-Believe. Or see our What it means to be a Lutheran page.
How We Differ from Other Lutherans
It's about how we read the bible. Some Lutherans think everything in the bible is equally true. We members of the ELCA think it's hard to read the bible that way. What do you do when the bible says to put people who commit adultery to death? (Leviticus 20:10) Luther never taught the everything in the bible is equally true. Luther taught the bible was like the manger Jesus rested in the day he was born. In other words, the bible is like a feeding trough for animals filled up with a lot of straw, but also with Jesus. So when we members of the ELCA read the bible, we think the most important things are the things that remind us of Jesus and his Gospel. So when the bible says women should be quiet in churches or not have authority over men (First Corinthians 14:34 or Ephesians 5:22), members of the ELCA think of the story where Jesus taught a woman...which means he thought of her as a disciple (Luke 10:38-42). Which was a totally new thing. Rabbis in Jesus' day did not teach women. But Jesus did, and he did because he thought women were equal to men. This is why there are women pastors in the ELCA, but not in other Lutheran Churches. There's lots of cool things to learn about the bible. Check out all our bible studies and bring your questions! Or just stop by or call us up! We love questions!