So Many Lutherans

What is the difference?

Lutheranism is a strong force in South Carolina.  The Columbia area, alone, is represented by churches from every major Lutheran synod, as well as a Lutheran seminary.

The question is sure to arise  --  how are these groups different?

Lutherans, like most religious organizations, can be placed into three general groups

  • Liberal or Progressive, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) - visit website
  • Moderate, such as the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) - visit website
  • Confessional, such as the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) - visit website
The Liberal, or Progressive Lutherans believe that it is important that the church changes with the times in order to continue attracting members. Progressive Lutherans proclaim that God's Word is no longer relevant to today's believer and allow people to decide for themselves what is or isn't God-pleasing. (Are these words blasphemous?  Click to read a letter from a reader).
 
The website Exposing the ELCA, exists to inform and expose the teachings, actions and beliefs of the ELCA. Download "A Majority of One" - a message for the members of the ELCA.

The Confessional Lutherans follow the Lord's command to "speak My Word faithfully" (Jer. 23:28) and teach the world "all things which I [Jesus] have commanded you" (Matt. 28:28). Confessional Lutherans realize that although God's Will isn't always the most exciting option to our sinful nature, it is definately what people need at this time of moral decline.  Confessional Lutherans teach that people are sinful, and without Christ's redemptive work we would have no hope of eternal life.   These scriptural truths were confessed by most Lutherans up until the breakup of the Lutheran Synodical Conference in the early 1960s.

The Moderate Lutherans are torn between following the confession of their Lutheran ancestors and relinquishing God's teachings to make their churches more palatable to current and potential members.  They therefore publicly confess that they follow God's Word, but in practice allow their pastors and people to decide for themselves which teachings they want to follow, and which they want to ignore.

Both the Progressive and Moderate Lutherans are currently finding themselves in danger of alienating many of their members.  Although the synodical leaders and many of the pastors are comfortable ignoring (or even denying) many of the teachings of the Bible, the people in the pew remember the catechetical training of their youth which taught them that the entire Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), and that holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).  These concerned Christians realize that the "cafeteria" approach to God's Word (take what you want, leave what you don't). is not God pleasing and is dangerious to their eternity. 

It doesn't take much research online to see the deep schisms dividing these organizations.  Many members of these organizations (pastors and laypeople alike) are standing up and speaking against the erroring pastors and the synodical leaders.  Many pastors, however, afraid to bring the controversies to their congregations, remain quiet - hoping that their members will not find out about the cancer which is slowly destroying their "beloved" church body.  Many members, knowing about the error being taught by other pastors in their organization and supported by the synodical leadership turn a blind eye -- thinking that as long as their pastor teaches the truth they don't have to worry about what is happening in their sister churches.

What is the purpose of this website?

My hope, through this website, is to encourage many of the Liberal and Moderate Lutherans to pull their heads out of the proverbial "ostrich hole".  It does not work to ignore the error taught by fellow pastors and supported by synodical leaders.  Pretending that error isn't there doesn't make it go away.  Saying that those errors don't represent you or that you don't support those errors is negated by your membership in that organization.   These errors are a direct affront to our God who showed His love for us by sacrificing His Son for our eternal salvation. 

I hope through this website to encourage members of the erring church bodies to get up from their slumbers and stand up for Jesus.   Are there any real men in these churches who will stand with Joshua and say “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” and then leave the “house” of error in order to obey and keep their Savior’s word?

Is the error in these church bodies really that bad?

Don't take my word for it.  Listen to many of the pastors and laypeople within these church bodies who are beginning to realize the distance their synod has fallen from the truth.  Dozens of websites have been created by individuals within these organizations decrying the error being taught by many pastors and supported by synodical leadership.  I list several of them at the bottom of this website.

The errorists defend their teachings by saying their actions come from love.  Such fine sounding words are in complete contradiction to what Lutheran have always believed - love the sinner but hate the sin.

Denying even one small truth portrayed in Scripture raises the concern that we can therefore trust nothing in Scripture - even Christ's sacrifice for our sins - so the error in these church bodies IS really that bad!

What got me interested in developing this website?

This website will be a document in progress.  It was started late January 2005 after I was approached by several families concerned about the error within their church body.  Although they felt their pastor still taught true Scripture as confessed by the Lutheran Confessions - they could no longer allow themselves to show support for their erring church body through their membership.

What about the CLC?

I've spent some time discussing the Liberal and Moderate branches of Lutheranism.  I guess it is to be expected that as a member of the CLC (Church of the Lutheran Confession) I would speak favorably of it - and I do!

You will not find dozens of dissenting views by CLC pastors and members on the Internet.  I challenge you to find any.  Although we do occasionally find ourselves in conflict over one or more doctrines in the Bible, our differences are resolved on the basis of Scripture -- "What does God say?"  Never do we allow ourselves the luxury of saying "Let's agree to disagree".

We consider ourselves to be true confessional Lutherans - still believing and teaching the Scriptural truths as taught and confessed by Martin Luther and by the many confessional Lutherans unknowingly trapped in their erring church bodies.  We are blessed to have the fellowship of which the Apostle Paul speaks in I Cor 1:10, speaking the same thing without divisions among us.  A wonderful benefit of this fellowship is our confidence that we will hear the same teachings from all our pastors, whether they be in South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, the Dakotas, California or overseas.   VISIT CLC WEBSITE

Some information about me...

I am Glenn Oster, a retired pastor of the CLC (Church of the Lutheran Confession).   I live in West Columbia, South Carolina and am a member of Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church - CLC in West Columbia (see website).  I left the full-time ministry several years ago to pursue secular interests but still assist CLC congregations where needed -- I am currently serving a congregation in the Fairfax, Virginia area on a monthly basis.  I work full-time as a business analyst for NCR Corporation and own an Internet Hosting Company.

If you have questions about what I believe, or would like to have a "sounding board" for your concerns, please feel free to contact me at goster@CLClutheran.com or 803-361-2739. or visit the CLC's website.


What Pastors and Laypeople are saying about their synod
The following links were found after just a short search through the Internet.  I'm sure you can find much more.
ELCA (Liberal)
(Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
LCMS (Moderate)
(Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod)
General Information
A Majority of One
Homosexuality Concerns - 1
Homosexuality Concerns - 2
Homosexuality Concerns - 3
Homosexuality Concerns - 4
General Concerns - 1 
General Concerns - 2
General Concerns - 3
General Concerns - 4
General Concerns - 5
Episcopalian concerns
General Concerns - 1
General Concerns - 2
General Concerns - 3
General Concerns - 4
General Concerns - 5
General Concerns - 6
General Concerns - 7
General Concerns - 8
General Concerns - 9
General Concerns - 10
A Comparison of Teachings
"Test the spirits whether they are of God; 
because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
(1 John 4:1).

From its beginning, The CLC has been determined to teach only what is "of God," that is, teachings that are recorded in the BIBLE, which is GOD'S WORD. We call ourselves Lutheran because we hold to the historic Lutheran teachings. The BIBLE is the only source for these teachings. 

Below are some examples of what the Bible teaches, in contrast to the errors that are taught by many of today’s “liberal" and "moderate" churches. 


The Way to Heaven
Bible Teaching   All people are sinners. Jesus, therefore, out of merciful love, came to earth and suffered and died in our place, taking our sins upon himself. Faith in this saving work of Jesus is the only way to heaven.  Those who refuse to confess and repent of their sins are not living in this faith, and upon death are eternally lost in hell.
 
  • False Teaching  God did not really mean that repentance and faith in Jesus is the only way to heaven - People can believe whatever and act however they wish and God will still bless them with eternity in heaven. Sincere followers of non-Christian religions may get  to heaven, even without believing in Jesus. 
  •  
    "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus."   Romans 3:23,24. 
    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast"   Ephesians 2:8-9. 
    "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"   Romans 5:1. 
    "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"   Romans 6:23.
    "Therefore repent and convert so that your sins may be blotted out"   Acts 3:19. 
    "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  Because I live, you shall live also"  John 14:6. 
    "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life"   John 3:16. 

    Inspiration of the Bible
    Bible Teaching   The Bible is the inspired Word of God in its entirety, without error or contradiction.

    False Teaching   The Bible is a book written by fallible men and therefore subject to error.
     

     
    "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work"       1 Timothy 3:16. 
    "When you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God"  1 Thessalonians 2:13. 
    "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit"   2 Peter 1:21.

    Creation of the World
    Bible Teaching The one almighty and Triune God created the world and everything in it, including man, in six ordinary days. 

    False Teaching  All things have come into being by a process of evolution.  Man has evolved from lower forms of life.
     

     
    "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"   Genesis 1:1.
    "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day"   Exodus 20:11.
    "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible"   Colossians 1:16.
    "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible"   Hebrews 11:3.

    False Beliefs & 
    Alternative Lifestyles 
    are not pleasing to God
    Bible Teaching  Every teaching in the Bible is important.  Therefore Christians should stand up for the Truth (and not tolerate error).  Although God shows His love to sinners (John 3:16), He also hates sin and tells us that willingly following error and living in sin is a tool of Satan to take away our faith.

    False Teaching  The Bible teachings are either unclear, unimportant, or not valid for our day and age.  Following God's Word is a matter of preference.  God does not care what we believe or the lifestyle we choose to live.

     
    "Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines"   Hebrews 13:9. 
    "There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies"        2 Peter 2:1.
    "Teach no other doctrine"   1 Timothy 1:3.
    "And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men"     Matthew 15:9.
    "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and vain deceit"    Colossians 2:8.
    "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals...will inherit the kingdom of God"    1 Corinthans 6:9.
    "Now I urge you brethern, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you have learned, and avoid them"   Romans 16:17.

    Questions or comments?
    Contact me at goster@CLClutheran.com