Church of Finland Removes Confessional Pastors

Some information below was found over on

My predecessor, Rev Dr Anssi Simojoki, former director of LHF-Africa was defrocked by the capital chapter of the Lutheran Church of Finland yesterday. He was ordained in 1972 when things were very different than they are today. Dr Simojoki was very outspoken and published many critical op-eds in the Finnish papers against the direction higher criticism and liberalism took the church.

What was his offense and reason for defrocking? Not obeying church authorities and not submitting himself to the bishop. It didn’t matter that the theology and practice of the bishop was in error. The new standard is obedience to the bishop. This phenomenon is not limited to Finland but the demand for obedience over against justice and scripture is rampant in Europe, America, Australia, and Africa. It is time the people speak without fear. The head of the church is no man or pope. The head of the church is Jesus Christ and we hear his voice very clearly in His Word, the Scriptures!!!!



From WMLTblog:

From Christopher C. Barnekov, PhD
Scandinavia House
Scandinavia House
1925 Saint Joe Center RD
Fort Wayne, IN  46825


[April 8, 2015]

The Swedish-Language Finnish paper, HBL, reports today that the Church of Finland has defrocked five CoF pastors who have been serving congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland. CoF bishops had threatened such action in 2013, and CoF did defrock three leaders of ELMDF, including Bishops Matti Väisänen and Risto Soramies and Dean Juhana Pohjola. This is the first time CoF has defrocked pastors simply for serving ELMDF congregations.

ELMDF was formed in March 2013 by Confessional Lutherans distressed by the CoF’s abandonment of Confessional Lutheran teachings and practice.

The five pastors targeted are Sakari Korpinen, Miika Nieminen (pastor of the congregation in Pori), Anssi Simojoki (pastor of the congregation in Laitila), Markku Sumiala and Martti Vaahtoranta (pastor of the congregation in Rauma). The action was taken by the Consistory of Turku (Åbo) Diocese.

Report in (in Swedish):

Previous report of CoF threats against Confessional pastors:

English-language webpage of ELMDF:

Here is a Google Translate version of the webpage mentioned above; it is not entirely accurate, but you get the gist of it.

The following is a computer translation of (added by Norm)

The church lost five faithful servant of the Word

“We have not even met, but you is your assessment of my 43 years of civil paimenuuteni as inferior. I’m Your inquiry has found “manifestly inappropriate” pastor. ”

(Sakari Korpinen answer to the Bishop of Kalli sector last fall.)

Turku Archdiocese the cathedral has condemned the five faithful servant of the Word lose pappisoikeutensa the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church. TL Sakari Korpinen pastor, Pastor Micah Nieminen, TT Anssi Simojoki pastor, the Reverend Mr. Markku Sumiala and TT Pastor Martin Vaahtoranta considered to be manifestly unfit to work, chaplaincy ministry. I know these men personally, part of the already tens of years ago. As human beings, they are obviously in need of mercy and forgiveness, but exemplary priests who build churches in the word of God and their own opinions. They share the treasure, which they themselves live in the grace of God in Jesus Christ and lead Christians to prepare for the final judgment, in which the whole of humanity are investigated and judged.

Although the decision is for these five men, of course, tedious and dramatic, it is not a question, however, mainly the priests of himself. The church and the church officials are not priests, but priests are for the Church and kristikansaa. In that decision, the cathedral shows that it does not care about the part of the church of the people. When the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1986 made the word of God and Christian churches, the great majority of belief reckless decision to open the priesthood to women, it did thousands of parishioners homeless. It continued as expected, unfortunately, the public relinquishing the word of God v., 2011, when the bishops adopted a recommendation on behalf of gay couples, and with prayer for.

For those homeless people who feel unable to deal with “the Lord’s command” (1 Cor. 14:37) spirit of the time according to the requirements, but with respect, awe and gratitude, not the church leadership has provided no other solution than to submit to the Church of administrative decisions. Many observers have drifted outside of the Church, or left in small circles, excluded from the grace of instruments, pastors and church unity. It is these churches have been established for them, and for broadcasting rights to the diocese and now lost brothers have taken power and time use. One would have thought of the Church, which advertises itself as “rinnallakulkijana” and the small defender even tried to find a practical solution. The church facilities would be enough for those who believe, as well as all the generations before us in the church and the majority of Christendom on. The church boasts about tolerance, but does not tolerate among the staunchest belonging to members.

Kaarlo Kalliala cathedral release notes, “It is a pity that the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church of them as such invalid.” Kalliala statement is thoughtlessness describing: the moment the church shows the contrary, that these priests do not qualify for the Church and the herd, which they serve, the church is a matter of indifference. Both, the priest that our people would be very happy to remain in the church. They do not, but the church is gone their separate ways.

Turku cathedral decision did not come as a surprise – and perhaps that is why it is so poor: the management of the Church should not be constructive proposals, not a theological discussion, not willingness to cooperate, only administrative decisions. The clergy and church members a broad waiver doctrine of the Church and the commandments of God, such as marriage moral, does not seem to moving the church leadership, it is moved by the priests attitude of the administration.

God willing, Shipping diocese will continue to operate. The churches are places where the means of grace for them are accessible to whom the church is no longer a place. We do not have the exclusive right to the Lutheran fairs and the Lutheran confession. We look forward to all who will join us in the bond of the same faith everywhere, anywhere, as the word of God is not bound.

“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name, tell the people of his great deeds!” (Ps. 105: 1)


Church of Finland Removes Confessional Pastors — 5 Comments

  1. I think that it’s important to study this issue carefully. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has defrocked five disobedient pastors. Is this good or bad? Of course it’s bad that not all Finnish pastors and priests are orthodox Lutherans! In Finland there are lots of denominations as in all democratic countries. That’s bad. (All people, 100 %, should be orthodox Lutherans!) This a fact we have to live with. In such a situation it is good that the denominations hold fast to their belief. Let the Baptists have their churches, let the Pentecostals have their churches, let the Eastern Orthodox have their churches, let the liberals have their churches and so on.
    One has to concede the fact here, that the leaders of the liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland have understood the importance of unity in doctrine better than the priests of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland.
    These five priests have been disobedient to their church. It is a good thing that the leaders don’t tolerate this. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland has roughly the same position theologically as the ELCA. Why should priests who believe in the Bible stay in a heretical church? It’s sad that they didn’t realize this themselves and left before they were defrocked.

  2. This dramatic and historical turn of events is a tragedy in the sense that it was fully expected by most (if not all) of us here in the ELMDF. Bishop Risto Soramies expressed it rather well in his blog post (not attributed, btw) rendered in Google translation here. I would like to offer a slightly improved version of one particular point:
    “The decision of the Cathedral Chapter in Turku comes as no surprise — and perhaps for that very reason it is so deplorable: The leaders of the Church offer no constructive proposals, no theological discussion, no willingness to co-operate, but mere administrative decisions.”
    For the moment, we only have one report in English: A fuller account will be made in English by Rev. Dr. Samuli Siikavirta, hopefully tomorrow.

    Rev. Fjellander, this is, of course, perfectly logical. I myself eagerly wait for the day when we have our own, formal denomination. But the question of leaving “THE Church of Finland” has been difficult for many weak Christians, mostly due to the historical import and former faithfulness of “the Church”. There’s no point in having priests without congregations. These strong administrative decisions are clear signals from the liberal bishops that the time of peaceful co-habitation has come to an end — the cuckoos are getting restless. My hope is that the weaker brothers will get the cue, too.

  3. @Tuomas J. Salo #2

    Mr Salo,

    Yes, many people in our countries have great difficulties with leaving THE traditional Church. They are weak. Their weakness should however not impact our acting on this issue I would say. Stronger Christians should be careful not to harm their weaker brothers by their acting when there are possible alternatives, when the issue is a free thing. If a Christian can choose, e.g. to eat meat or not, he should choose with respect to his weaker brother. But if one of the alternatives is a sin, then he can’t choose that. He can’t commit adultery or theft in order to help his weaker brother. So, if the Bible says unionism is sin, there is no option to stay in a heterodox church.
    I am happy for your brave confession, and I wish you will be blessed by forming your formal denomination.

  4. What has transpired in Finland is the result of the mindset that sinfully exists in all of Christ’s Church by bureaucrats: It is more important to keep “peace” in the institution than it is to forthrightly address error in doctrine. We have the same malady in the LCMS. Remember all the proper words of condemnation and the promise of action issued by President Harrison following the refusal of the Northwest District panel to move forward against the errors of Dr. Matthew Becker? That was quickly followed by the COP statement touting the theological integrity of the COP and their commitment to proper procedures.
    It is the love of “Peace” when there is no peace. It is the desire for political stability when there is obvious error which prompts actions both in Missouri and in the Church of Finland. Same error…different geography.

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