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Continental European Protestantism


Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

Doctrines Purity of doctrine has been a defining principle for the Missouri Synod. That is not to say that there has been authoritarian control of orthodoxy. Congregations are autonomous. But where liberal ideas have gained ground in the Synod, they have soon been overtaken by the stronger and more enduring conservative forces. Adherence to the Lutheran confessions is the basis of this conservatism. The Missouri Synod not only venerate scripture, the ecumenical creeds, and the Augsburg Confession, but also the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, Luther's catechisms and the Formula of Concord. The importance of these confessional standards is not simply as ascriptions but as doxologies within the liturgy; they are public acts which confirm the worshipper in the historical tradition of Luther. The Missouri Synod tutors its youth to appreciate this history through its church schools.

History The Synod of Missouri dates back to 1847 when three groups of immigrants formed an alliance based on their common commitment to orthodoxy and evangelism. They were the Franconians of Michigan, who had settled there with the express purpose of converting the native population; the Hanoverians of Indiana; and the Saxons of Missouri. These were led by C.F.W. Walther, himself a Saxon who had left Saxony in 1839. It was his publication of the Lutheraner in 1844 that provided the inspiration and focus for the Missouri Synod three years later. Its constitution emphasises the importance of church schools and seminaries, mission work and the desire for unity within a congregational structure. Despite its intentions it could not escape controversy and schism. It had entered, with other conservative groups, the Lutheran Synodical Conference in 1872, only to find itself judged too liberal by the three synods of Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, who duly left in 1892. The Missouri Synod remained, along with the Synod of Evangelical Lutheran Churches. Another alliance came to an end in 1977, when Missouri took a conservative turn and withdrew from the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A., where it had shared fellowship with the Lutheran Church in America and the American Lutheran Church. Liberal elements within the Missouri Synod broke away to form the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, later to participate in the mergers which created the largest body in America: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Meanwhile the Missouri Synod remains as the conservative wing of American Lutheranism, the second largest grouping in the country.

Symbols The logo of the Missouri Synod is a claret coloured cross.

Adherents The Missouri Synod has some 2.6 million members in forty-three countries (http://www.lcms.org/).

Headquarters/
Main Centre
 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St Louis, Missouri 631222, U.S.A.