The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is not a member of the World Council of Churches, It is not a member of the National Council of Churches or of the National Association of Evangelicals. It is not a member of the Lutheran World Federation or of the National Lutheran Council. Except for cursory consideration of two invitations (from the National Lutheran Council in 1950 and the Lutheran World Federation in 1956—to both the answer was “No”), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod as a body has never considered membership in any existing interdenominational association. In other words, the ecumenical “concerns” of the synod on the whole do not run heavily to “involvement” (a favorite ecumenical term with strong organizational overtones noticeably challenging the former primacy of “concerns,” especially in the common parlance of church executives charged with preparation of budgets).

Let no one imagine, however, that Missouri Synod Lutherans are indifferent to the ecumenical ferment within Christendom today. They may be suspicious of organizational developments associated with the ecumenical movement and critical of the tentative formulations of “ecumenical theology,” but they are not indifferent.

Wild and irrelevant charges hurled at leaders and spokesmen of the ecumenical movement find little or no currency among Missouri Synod pastors and people. They are conscious of a certain lack of experience on their own part in official encounter with other Christian bodies, but they do not propose to remedy that situation with recriminations which, in effect, amount to a grotesque self-defense.

Missouri Synod Lutherans do not consider it necessary to justify the ...

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