Representatives from WELS, the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) met in Jacksonville, Fla., last week for the eighth in a series of annual informal doctrinal discussions. These are “informal” doctrinal discussions, an indication that we recognize that a restoration of fellowship is not anticipated in the near future. Rather, these meetings are intended to provide a forum that increases mutual understanding of each synod’s doctrine and practice and to establish good lines of communication between the synods. The discussions have been helpful in identifying where the synods agree and where differences remain.
Topics for this year’s discussions included the doctrine of justification (with a focus on objective justification), an area in which the three synods are in complete agreement. Also discussed were the doctrines of the ministry and prayer fellowship, where some differences remain.
New participants this year included Rev. Peter Lange, the newly elected first vice president of the LCMS, and Rev. Paul Prange, the newly appointed administrator for the WELS Commission on Inter-Church Relations.
Another meeting is planned for next year and will include continuing discussion of the topics of prayer fellowship and the ministry, as well as a discussion of the WELS statement on the roles of man and woman, “Male and Female in God’s World.”
Serving in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder