Lutherans: Out of the Cold

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, traditionally one of the most aloof of U.S. denominations, is edging into the ecumenical century. At its biennial convention last week in New York City, the synod took some significant steps toward closer relations with other Christian churches.

The Missouri Synod (membership: 2,800,000) takes seriously Luther's warning that Christians should not compromise doctrine. For that reason, the church has never joined the National or World Council of Churches. Until last year, when it helped form a nation wide service agency called the Lutheran Council in the U.S.A., the synod had remained relatively isolated from even its...

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