Fellowship Recognized Between LCMS and SELC

The Rev. Albert Collver has the details. Here’s a brief excerpt:

On 17 December 2010, the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) approved the recognition of church fellowship between The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC). The approval of the recognition of fellowship between the LCMS and the SELC occurred twelve years after the SELC first requested fellowship discussions with the LCMS under President Alvin Barry. Under Bylaw, after a request for fellowship, consultation with the Preasidium, and the approval of the recognition of fellowship, the President of Synod may declare recognition of such fellowship.

Commenting on the CTCR’s action, President Matthew C. Harrison said, “We give thanks to the Lord that after much patience and longsuffering on the part of the Siberian Lutherans, the Missouri Synod can now recognize the gift of fellowship that the Lord has worked between the LCMS and the SELC.” For his part, Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin of the SELC has stated several times in the past, “From our point of view, we are in fellowship with the LCMS.”


Fellowship Recognized Between LCMS and SELC — 9 Comments

  1. This is wonderful news!

    From Dr. Colver’s post cited above by Mollie:

    “President Harrison sent a delegation to Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia, which consisted of Rev. Dr. Albert B Collver, Director of Church Relations ­ Assistant to the President, Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer, Director of the CTCR, and Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill, Dean of International Studies, Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne, for doctrinal discussions with members of the SELC. The delegation, while acknowledging differences in practice, found no doctrinal differences. On 18 November 2010, President Harrison consulted with the Preasidium regarding pursuing fellowship with the SELC according to Bylaw”

    Two things strike me. One, it is good to see Dr.s Colver, Lehenbauer and Quill working in harmony on such a project. Such harmony between the CTCR, the president’s office, and the Ft. Wayne seminary is really encouraging. (It is also refreshing to read later in the post that Larry Rast is the chairman of the CTCR.)

    I am thinking this is a portent of things to come. More great things like fellowship with this deeply liturgical denomination are going to be blossoming in the LCMS the months and years to come.


  2. When we note that Christ rules and shapes all history for the sake of the Gospel and His church it is indeed praise and a blessing that the Lutheran Church is blossoming in the former Warsaw Pact countries, such as Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia and the different parts of the old Soviet Republic.

    Communism giving way to the Christian faith in the Lutheran Confessions must be driving the devil batty. And the more opposition there is the more the faith thrives and so as in our own lives so in the Church at large, we thank God for such persecution that we were and are found to be suffering for the name of Christ.

  3. Well, I’m in a small “pickle” here, though I’m truly not complaining. I went to the microphone to speak against (and then voted against) the resolution empowering the SP to do precisely this, in the full knowledge that Pr. (that’s short for *Pastor*, not President, btw–I’ll refer to him with the title of higher honor…) Harrison would likely do precisely this. I am wholeheartedly in favor of our fellowship with the SELC, and was disappointed that a provision couldn’t be made for us to actually vote and declare it this summer. Nevertheless, I stand by my original position. Though I am *fully* confident that Pr. Harrison will use this authority with great care and for the benefit of the synod and the Church (capital on purpose), I still believe that it is best that the pastors and laymen delegated to most closely represent the congregations and the altars and pulpits at which Fellowship actually happens be the ones to vote and declare it.

    Regardless, I will include a prayer of great thanksgiving that we are now in declared altar and pulpit fellowhsip with our *dear* brothers and sisters in Siberia. (I have the great privilege to know a few of them personally from my days at the sem.)

  4. @Rev. David Mueller #3
    I agree wholeheartedly with your appraisal and vote at the convention that all authority such as this should remain in the hands of the representative congregations.

    Maybe some sort of abridged process could be initiated for those churches who we know of a more certainty that they are indeed in fellowship with us.

  5. Rev. David Mueller :I went to the microphone to speak against (and then voted against) the resolution empowering the SP to do precisely this, in the full knowledge that Pr. (that’s short for *Pastor*, not President, btw–I’ll refer to him with the title of higher honor…)

    Pr. Mueller, did it not bother you that you would have been wasting convention floor time on what could have been used for more important resolution discussions? I can remember the large lines of people wanting to speak at other times who were never called on.

  6. @Rev. David Mueller #3

    Rev. Mueller – I was in total agreement with your position until I spent some time discussing this issue with Pastor Peter Bender. Bender has been working closely with a group of confessionals in Sweden. For the Swedes, fellowship with us is a matter of their ability to survive. Without fellowship with Missouri they will not be taken seriously in Sweden and the chance of real orthodox Lutheranism making a come back there will be dead. Without this change, confessional Lutherans around the world will have to wait decades for us to recognize the fellowship that already exists. For many, that wait is the slow walk of death.

  7. “will have to wait decades”:

    I think not. This is overstatement. And the orthodox Lutheran church in Sweden will survive because the Word of God will make it so. To be taken seriously one must preach and teach as John the Baptist and Jesus did,’ with all authority’, and you will be taken seriously.

    It is called persecution and as far as Sweden is concerned there is more of it as they are in the straits they are because if tribulation over the truth of the Word.

  8. Pr. (that’s short for *Pastor*, not President, btw–I’ll refer to him with the title of higher honor…)

    This “title” issue is not which title has the higher honor, but with what authority as designated by the appropriate title was Rev. Harrison operating when, following the CTCR action on Dec. 17, he declared recognition of altar and pulpit fellowship with the SELC.

    Contextually it appears that Rev. Harrison was operating as President of the Missouri Synod when he made this fellowship declaration, not as an uncompensated assistant pastor of Village Lutheran Church-Ladue.

    Rev. Harrison’s wearing of both corporate and pastoral hats (not miters, though) may cause some confusion at first, but through examining the context in which Rev. Harrison is referred, selecting the appropriate title can be easily handled.

    Considering early Missouri Synod Lutherans had to deal with C.F.W. Walther being pastor, synodical president, professor, and seminary president, we should be able to get through the relevant title designation with minimal problems.

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