Second in a Series of Three Articles In the first article of this series (January 17), an effort was made to describe the internal, doctrinal aspect of the current crisis of belief in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Now something needs to be said about the external consequences of this mid-twentieth-century Missouri Compromise: the very real possibility that the July convention of the synod in Denver will declare “pulpit and altar fellowship” with The American Lutheran Church.

“And what could possibly be the matter with that?” interjects the ecumenically minded reader. “Doesn’t the ALC have a similar ethnic background, the same Lutheran confessions, and a tradition of powerful orthodox theology, as represented by the exegetical labor of Lenski and the dogmatic and historical scholarship of Reu? Haven’t joint commissioners of the ALC and the Missouri Synod arrived at common agreements as to fellowship? Didn’t the ALC in its Omaha convention on October 18 declare pulpit and altar fellowship with Missouri? And hasn’t the official resolution of Missouri’s 1967 New York convention stated that ‘the task is not to create or fashion a basis for unity. This Scriptural and confessional basis exists. From this basis the Synod now seeks to move forward with whatever steps are necessary for a full realization of altar and pulpit fellowship’?”

Now it is certainly the case that the ALC has expressed its desire for full fellowship with Missouri. But such an agreement must be bilateral, and Missouri’s final decision in the matter will not be made until its Denver convention. Some feel there are significant reasons why this proposed agreement should not be carried out.

The ALC of today is not the ALC of Lenski or Reu. Can one imagine, for ...

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