The Rev. Tapani Simojoki has heart-warming news to report from Finland. A conservative Lutheran diocese has been born in Finland. It grew out of but is independent of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (the state sponsored liberal church). Rev. Simijoki, a pastor in the confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church of England reports this on his blog Simonpatamos.
According to Simojoki’s translation of the official press release from the new diocese (in Finnish and on their website), the group’s history goes back to 1999 when conservative Finns grew tired of the liberal ways of the official church body and began to organize.
It is great news to hear that conservative, confessional and liturgical Lutheranism is growing around the globe. It is alive in places like England, Madagascar, Sudan, Finland, and even in a noticeable part of the LCMS.
Reading Simojoki’s outline of the church’s structure demonstrates how a delicate balance can be struck between a bishop’s oversight and the independence of the local parish.
The new church is clearly confessional. It is committed to doctrine and practice that is in accord with Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. It is unclear from the summary statement if the diocese holds an unequivocal commitment to the inerrancy of Scriptures, which we in the LCMS have found to be a true litmus test of a denomination’s ability to uphold true doctrine. Of course, we have also seen that such a test does not guarantee that practice will follow doctrine.
We do not put our trust in numbers, but it is certainly encouraging to hear that there is at least a pocket of true Lutheranism in Finland and in various other parts of the world. Thanks for bringing us this good news about the Good News Rev. Simojoki.