North American Lutheran Church

North American Lutheran Church
North American Lutheran Church
Classification Protestant
Orientation Mainline
Confessional Lutheran
Theology Moderate to Conservative
Polity Mixed episcopal and congregationalist polity
Origin 2010
Hilliard, Ohio
Congregations 285
Members more than 100,000[1]
Official website

The North American Lutheran Church is a church body which claims to embody the theological center of Lutheranism in North America. It is committed to the authority of the Bible as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life. In keeping with the Lutheran Confessions, the NALC believes all doctrines should and must be judged by the teaching of Scripture. The NALC is committed to shaping its life around four attributes: Christ-Centered, Mission-Driven, Traditionally-Grounded, and Congregationally-Focused. It was established on August 27, 2010, at the annual Convocation of Lutheran CORE in Grove City, Ohio.

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The North American Lutheran Church was officially formed in August 2010 as the culmination of a process begun by Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal), a confessional Lutheran body which crosses denominational lines. This action came in response to the dissatisfaction of theological conservatives within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), which were perceived as moving away from the authority of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. A major issue of concern for these groups was a 2009 decision by the ELCA which changed its teaching and policy on sexual ethics, allowing pastors to be in committed same-sex relationships.[2] Following Lutheran CORE's national convocation in September 2009, which resolved to pursue the "reconfiguration of North American Lutheranism", the organization's leaders released a plan for organizing the North American Lutheran Church on February 18, 2010.[3] It was felt that a new church body was needed for those Lutheran congregations who declined to join already existing groups, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ.[2]

The new church was constituted in Grove City, Ohio, at the Lutheran CORE national convocation of August 26-27, 2010.[4] A constitution was adopted and provisional leaders were elected, including the Reverend Paull Spring of State College, Pennsylvania, a retired ELCA bishop, to serve as bishop of the NALC for its first year. The congregations that joined the NALC elected their own leaders at the church body's first annual meeting August 11-12, 2011, in Hilliard, Ohio. The Reverend John Bradosky of Centerville, Ohio, NALC General Secretary, was elected as bishop of the NALC at that meeting.


The North American Lutheran Church understands itself to be part of the one holy, catholic, and apostolic church and holds that the Christian Scriptures are the highest standard by which doctrine and practice are to be judged. It accepts the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran Confessions as "true witnesses to the Word of God".[5] It ordains both men and women clergy.


The membership of the North American Lutheran Church is composed of congregations and ordained ministers who have subscribed to the church's constitution.[6] Provided that member congregations' beliefs and practices are compatible with the NALC, congregations can simultaneously affiliate with other Lutheran church bodies. Ministers and elected lay delegates represent their congregations in the annual convocation. This body elects the bishop, executive council, and other leadership positions. It also approves budgetary items and teaching statements.[7] Certain actions of the convocation, such as constitutional amendments and teaching statements, must first be ratified by a majority or two-thirds majority of NALC congregations before they take effect.[8]

The bishop is an ordained minister elected by the convocation. The bishop serves as "pastor for the pastors and congregations of the NALC" and as the church's chief executive officer. Together with the executive council, the bishop authorizes all ordinations and normally conducts the rite of ordination.[9] The bishop serves for a four year term and is eligible to serve for a maximum of three consecutive terms. The general secretary is appointed by the bishop and confirmed by the executive council. This officer manages the day-to-day administrative functions of the NALC.[10] The executive council consists of the bishop, four clergy and four lay members. Its duties include implementing the work and policies of the NALC in between sessions of convocation, and its actions are subject to review by the convocation.[11] Regional deans, who may also serve as pastors of local congregations, work with the bishop to provide oversight and pastoral care to pastors and congregations in their area.[12]

A seven member Court of Adjudication, elected by the annual convocation, has jurisdiction to decide appeals of church disciplinary actions and has authority to interpret church governing documents. The convocation can overturn the court's interpretation of a governing document by amending the document in question.[13]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Julia Duin (Nov. 19, 2010), "Lutherans Second Church to Split Over Gays", Washington Times. Accessed October 27, 2011
  3. ^ A Vision and Plan for The North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran CORE, a Community of Confessing Lutherans, Lutheran CORE, February 18, 2010. Accessed October 27, 2011.
  4. ^ North American Lutheran Church, "History", accessed October 27, 2011.
  5. ^ North American Lutheran Church, "Confession of Faith", accessed October 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Constitution of the North American Lutheran Church, Article 6.01. August 15, 2011. Accessed October 27, 2011.
  7. ^ Constitution, Article 7.
  8. ^ Constitution, Articles 7 and 17.
  9. ^ Constitution, Article 8.
  10. ^ Constitution, Article 9.
  11. ^ Constitution, Article 10.
  12. ^ Constitution, Article 11.
  13. ^ Constitution, Article 15.

External links

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