ULMA Releases Statement of Faith

With the variety of Lutheran fellowships and associations in the United States, it was decided by the United Lutheran Mission Association (ULMA) that a short statement on our faith may prove helpful. Gone are the days when a simple declaration of belief in the Bible and adherence to the Lutheran Confessions is sufficient.

We now have posted on our website under “Official Documents and Positions” on our “Papers and Other Information” page the new document, “Statement of Faith – A Basis of Fellowship”. You can get to it directly by clicking here.

The paper doesn’t have anything that would be considered “new”, since the doctrinal stance of confessional Lutherans is rather “old”. But we think it will answer questions some may have regarding our beliefs. We urge you to use it in conjunction with our paper, “The Issue of Fellowship” (also found on our website). With these papers in addition to our constitutions and other information on the website, you will have a pretty good idea of who we are, what we believe, and our mission goals.


The document is copied below for easier reading.


 

Statement of Faith

A Basis of Fellowship

United Lutheran Mission Association

A.D. November 11, 2010

Background

 

The Christian church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church through the ages due to the proliferation of false teachings and heresy, has found it necessary to restate the basic beliefs and doctrines of the Christian religion as found in the 66 books of the Old and New Testament. This process began with the 3 ecumenical creeds, and continued with the Book of Concord, 1580.

We have witnessed in America groups both large and small who call themselves Lutheran, yet their published and taught beliefs and actual practice say otherwise. We therefore must restate what true Christians believe, teach and confess as Lutherans as a testimony of our faithfulness.

Our desire is not to state anything new, but to reaffirm that which has been forgotten, neglected, or perhaps misunderstood about the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

This document should serve as a foundation for pulpit and altar fellowship discussions.

What We Believe

The Bible

The Bible is the verbally inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God and the only source and norm for all doctrine and teaching in God’s church. (Formula of Concord Epitome Introduction OF THE SUMMARY CONTENT, RULE, AND STANDARD)

We would therefore reject the use of tradition or reason over and above God’s Word.

The Lutheran Confessions

We agree with those Lutheran confessors who signed the Book of Concord of 1580 (go to this link for all references to Book of Concord). We accept that confession not in so far as (quatenus) but because (quia) it correctly presents the doctrine and teaching of God’s living Word.

Controverted Issues

The Brief Statement (of 1932)

We affirm our agreement with The Brief Statement of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Order in Worship

Our understanding of Worship can be summarized by Article VII Of the Church in the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession Article XV Human Traditions 20-21, and the Formula of Concord Solid Declaration, Article X Church Usages, 9-10 (Book of Concord).

The Church Growth Movement

We affirm For the Sake of Christ’s Commission: The Report of the Church Growth Study Committee of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, 2001.

Church and Ministry

We affirm C.F.W. Walther’s Church and Ministry (German, 1851, English, 1987) as a correct and useful exposition of the Lutheran and biblical truth on this subject.

Hierarchal Order

Whereas Popes and councils may err, we affirm the sole leader of our church to be Christ and His Living Word (John 1:1, 14). We have no head but Christ (Acts 5:29). 

On page 507 in the Concordia Triglotta – Treatise On The Power and Primacy of the Pope it says, “In 1 Corinthians 3, 6, Paul makes ministers equal, and teaches that the Church is above the ministers.  Hence superiority or lordship over the Church or the rest of the ministers in not ascribed to Peter [in preference to other apostles].  For he says thus:  All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, i.e., let neither the other ministers nor Peter assume for themselves lordship or superiority over the Church; let them not burden the Church with traditions; let not the authority of any avail more than the Word [of God];”

The Role of Women

God through His Word has established definite and clearly distinctive roles for men and women in the Church and in the home. It is in accord with the biblical Order of Creation that women not exercise authority over men. (Genesis 2:18-25; Genesis 3:6, 16-17; I Corinthians 11:3-15; I Corinthians 14:33-34; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18; I Timothy 2:11-13; Titus 2:3-5; I Peter 3:1, 5)

We therefore reject the practice of women serving as elders, congregational presidents, or vice presidents, and other similar offices since such positions require the exercise of authority over men within the congregation. (I Timothy 2:11-13)

We reject the 1969 LCMS convention vote permitting women’s suffrage in the Church—a change in the church’s doctrine. Many of the arguments put forward supporting the ordination of women into the Holy Ministry are the same arguments put forward in defense of women’s suffrage. We recognize how throughout church history, those churches that have implemented women’s suffrage eventually ordained women into the pastoral office.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

ULMA Releases Statement of Faith — 14 Comments

  1. I looked in The Book of Concord, Epitome, for the section about The Bible. I don’t find it there as it is written in this Statement of Faith. Can someone give a more specific reference for inerrancy in The BOC?

  2. @ShirleyG #1

    I am in no way an expert on the Confessions, however my understanding is that no part of Christendom believed in anything other than inerrancy in the 1500s. No heresy, no refutation needed.

    My question is – are there enough new twists on doctrinal error to justify some 21st century addenda to the Confessions? If so, are we up to the task?

  3. If there was no refutation needed regarding inerrancy, then why do the people of ULMA say there is a reference to it in the Epitome?

  4. @ShirleyG #3

    Whatever ULMA wrote, essentially all confessions of the era we are discussing take the inerrancy of Scripture as a given, since
    1. they rely on Scripture (while varying on the use of tradition and reason)
    2. Scripture says it’s inerrant
    3. Jesus authored, relies on and endorses Scripture, and is the Word

    Is our real discussion about inerrancy, or what?

    The outstanding thing about the ULMA statement is that it credibly tries to address some points that were always implicit in the Confessions and Scripture, but have been lost in our current extremely vain post-sanity era which attempts to disclaim many forms of established common knowledge.

    Some are trying to formulate what is actually ungodly about some aspects of some worship forms that claim to be confessional based on hollow technicalities.

    These are hard things to do and will be opposed furiously and violently. The Lutheran Confessions took a long time and it is going to take time to effectively rebut many of attacks on Scripture that seem to be coming from within the church body. More power to those who are working on this.

    Salvation is not a process but working and fighting on earth is. We are not going to win until He comes or we go to be with Him.

  5. I salute the ULMA’s adoption of a public position against the heterodoxy of woman suffrage and office holding, but I would like to know if the ULMA would, upon the basis of its rejection of woman suffrage and office-holding, refuse to practice fellowship with the LCMS because the LCMS has not only affirmed woman suffrage and office-holding since 1969, but incrementally added to the number of offices which women are permitted to hold since that time. Would not the Scriptural doctrine of fellowship, including Matt. 28:20, 1 Cor. 1:10, and Rom. 16:17, prohibit fellowship with the LCMS as a heterodox church body, since the heterodoxy of woman suffrage and office-holding in the LCMS can no longer be considered after 41 years as a “casual intrusion of errors” which have been “combated and eventually removed” as per the Brief Statement, which the ULMA accepts as Scriptural teaching?

  6. @Warren Malach #5

    I’m also curious if ULMA would welcome the Oakland dissidents (and the church they wish to control). I asked Rev. Cascione this question and did not get an answer. Rev. Cascione is trying to help the dissidents get control over the valuable church property.

  7. Where does Scripture say it is inerrant? I do not believe that Scripture has errors, it’s just that inerrancy is a term that has many meanings these days. And why reference the Confessions if is isn’t in the Confessions?

  8. I would hope that the ULMA, in becoming a distinct church body, and having hosted a conference in which it was asserted that the ULMA can be a viable alternative to remaining in the LCMS, would welcome a congregation which had been treated by the LCMS in the shameful manner in which the Oakland congregation has been treated by the synod. However, does the Oakland congregation agree with the ULMA in rejecting the heterodoxy of woman suffrage and office-holding? It appears that women have been in leadership roles in the congregation, unless the references to the female defendants in the LCMS’ lawsuit do not refer to leaders in the congregation.

  9. With reference to the doctrine of the infallibility of Scripture, this follows from the Verbal Inspiration of Scripture as taught in such passages as 2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21, because that which is verbally inspired by God would have the divine attribute of being without error. Christ Himself taught the infallibility of Scripture in John 10:35 when, having quoted the Old Testament, He affirmed “and the Scripture cannot be broken,” as well as in John 17:17 when He prayed in His High Priestly Prayer for His disciples “Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.”

  10. @ShirleyG #7

    > inerrancy is a term that has many meanings these days

    Fundamentalism and uneducated biblicism should be avoided; otherwise I do not see a lot of twists on the belief that Scripture, since breathed by omniscient God, has no errors. What meaning of inerrancy is giving you a problem?

  11. Which version of Scripture is inerrant? My problem with the ULMA statement is that it focuses on inerrancy, when a true Lutheran focus would be on its efficacy.

  12. @ShirleyG #11

    > Which version of Scripture is inerrant?

    The words in the original languages, and the work of the Holy Spirit on you through a good translation.

    It is not impossible that ULMA makes some mistakes in its attempts to resist regressions in MO’s doctrine. Nonetheless there’s nothing wrong with a warning shot on inerrancy when MO itself was off the rails less than fifty years ago, and new people and developments continually surprise us.

  13. Doctrinal statements such as the ULMA Statement of Faith, as with the original version of the Nicene Creed in its rejection of Arian Christology, not only summarize basic Christian doctrine but also can contain “thesis/antithesis” statements in which false doctrine is identified and rejected. Because the inerrancy of Scripture is denied by many heterodox church bodies today, including Lutheran church bodies such as the ELCA, it should not be considered strange that a Lutheran church body striving to be confessionally Lutheran such as the ULMA would include in its Statement of Faith an affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture. Of course, the word “inerrancy” itself is not required to affirm the doctrine taught in John 10:35 & 17:17; Luther, I believe, stated the doctrine in such language as “the Scriptures will not lie to you.” But the doctrine of inerrancy itself is a Scriptural doctrine and cannot be sacrificed without rejecting Scripture’s own witness about itself. Those who reject the inerrancy of Scripture do so from the rationalistic, materialistic position of “higher criticism” by which the inspired Word of God is subjected to sinful human reason, to which the Gospel itself is “foolishness,” (1 Cor. 1:18-25.)

  14. As alluded to in an earlier post, the Concordia Seminary, St. Louis liberal “faculty majority” in the early 1970s rejected the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture as a late, Reformed Church concept and essentially limited the inspiration of Scripture to the teaching of the Gospel–“Gospel Reductionism.” Their rejection of the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture was based upon their rationalistic “higher critical” hermeneutical principles. Because of this history, those Lutherans who have subsequently questioned or rejected the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture while affirming the inspiration of Scripture have been expected to explain how their position differs from that of the CSL “faculty majority” of the early 1970s.
    As stated in a previous post, the word “inerrancy” itself isn’t the real issue, but the doctrine is Scriptural and affirmed by confessional Lutherans.

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