An interesting tidbit from the ABC District Convention Workbook is the section
CONGREGATIONS/PREACHING STATIONS THAT LEFT LUTEHRAN CHURCH – CANADA
- Immanuel Lutheran Church, Elkford, BC;
- Trinity Lutheran Church, Fernie, BC;
- Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Kimberly, BC;
- Mount Zion Lutheran Church, Cranbrook, BC;
- St. Peter’s Lutheran Mission, Invermere, BC –
Voluntarily Resigned from Lutheran Church – Canada, April 29, 2018.
Given that these churches have left a District that persistently misled its members over the course of decades and has refused to even discuss its unethical and immoral conduct since being forced to go public in Jan 2015, this could be an “any port in a storm” act of self-preservation.
But have they jumped from the frying pan into the fire? These churches have since formed the “East Kootenay Lutheran Parish – A member of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations-Canada” with a website at http://eklutheran.ca. A bit more detective work led me to the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations-Canada’s “about” web page which states in part:
It is . . . .A Cooperative Venture
It is a venture in building Lutheran congregations by means of a dominant emphasis neither upon organization nor upon the intricacies of doctrine but upon a living and personal Christian experience.
It is an attempt to carry out in everyday practice the Reformation principle of the universal priesthood of believers.
It is a concrete expression of revolt against ritualism and formalism, and of the desire to nourish the spiritual life in utter simplicity upon the Word of God.
It is an effort to provide orderly channels for the cultivation of the laity’s personal witness for Christ, both in public and in private. Yet it cherishes the ordered ministry of consecrated and trained men, and the noble heritage of Christian worship, that its people may know themselves to be one with Christ of all the ages.
What I read from this is that the Association is revolting against actions done for action’s sake as opposed to doing them as an expression of the faith that lies within all true believers. If this is a reaction to an overbearing administrative structure and an organization that places lip-service to doctrine and quibbling about words over and above actually living that doctrine out in their faith life, this stance is quite understandable. In particular, if the church body they’re leaving teaches one thing but acts diametrically opposed to those teachings and prioritizes preserving the organization above everything else – including its members’ faith, then joining an organization based on a looser, decentralized organizational structure can look extremely appealing.
The problem with this stance is that any body of believers that want to “get things done” in a cost-effective, orderly manner that is subject to the laws of the land will need a strong organizational structure that’s staffed by diligent administrators. And if they want to “color between the lines” with respect to a right understanding of Scripture, a clear and strong doctrinal position that informs and sets the boundaries of what they believe, teach, and confess combined with men of discernment is an absolute requirement.
By rejecting both of these in favor of a walk based on a “living and personal Christian experience” the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations-Canada has placed “self” above scripture and made “experience” more important than rightly walking in faith regardless of cost. Without a strong rudder any ship will founder in a storm, and in the end I fear that the end of any group that follows AFLC’s doctrinally rudderless path will end up like the children of Ephesians 4:14 tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Ephesians 4:11-14