[quote=Catholic Dude]So whats with all these divisions of Lutherans?
I googled it and saw all these things like:
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)
North Carolina Synod
Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS)
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)
Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS)
Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC)
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)
(the list goes on…)
Your question about the PNCC was easier to answer
Edwin has given you some of the background involved in the modern-day organization of Lutheranism in the US. I’ll try and put some added perspective on the history. As mentioned, geographic locality and ethnic origin were prominent factors in the early structuring of the Lutheran faith in the New World; these considerations were super-imposed on a spectrum of religious outlook that ranged from traditional or conservative to liberal.
Over time, multiple consolidations, mergers (and schisms), and name changes have produced a difficult ecclesiastical family tree that would be considerably easier to illustrate if this forum supported graphics such as are ordinarily seen in organizational charts or family trees. It doesn’t .
There are about 3 dozen separate Lutheran Church bodies in the US. The list that follows is the complete roster, last I knew - the first three in the list are the largest and are ordered by size. The smallest is probably still the Eielsen Synod, which is comprised of a single congregation. Other than the three largest, I’ve ordered the list alphabetically.
You will note that a few include “Catholic” in their ecclesial name - these are very “High Church” bodies, most of which have actively sought out episcopal consecrations that enhance the likelihood that their bishops would be deemed by Rome to be in Apostolic Succession. At least two of them (the AECC and ACC-AC) have a goal of ultimately entering communion with Rome; less obviously in active search of union, but very Catholic in praxis, are the ECC and ECC-L.
[list]*]ELCA - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
*]LCMS - The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
*]WELS - Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
*]TAALC - The American Association of Lutheran Churches
*]ALCA - Apostolic Lutheran Church of America
*]AFLC - The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (or Churches)
*]AIELC - Association of Independent Evangelical Lutheran Churches
*]ACC-AC - The Athanasian Catholic Church of the Augsburg Confession
*]ALC - Augsburg Lutheran Churches
*]AECC - The Augustana Evangelical Catholic Communion
*]AOELS - Augustana Orthodox and Evangelical Lutheran Synod
*]CLBA - The Church of the Lutheran Brethren of America
*]CoLC - Church of the Lutheran Confession
*]CLC - Concordia Lutheran Conference
*]CLA - Conservative Lutheran Association
*]ES - Eielsen Synod
*]ECC - Evangelical Catholic Church
*]ECC-L - The Evangelical Community Church - Lutheran
*]ELCM - Evangelical Lutheran Conference and Ministerium
*]ELS - Evangelical Lutheran Synod
*]FoCLC - Fellowship of Confessing Lutheran Churches
*]ILC - Illinois Lutheran Conference
*]ILF - International Lutheran Fellowship
*]LLC - Laestadian Lutheran Church
*]LELCA - The Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
*]LELCiD - Lithuanian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Diaspora
*]LCoCG - Lutheran Churches Of Calvary Grace
*]LCoR - Lutheran Churches of the Reformation
*]LCCF - Lutheran Conference of Confessional Fellowship
*]LCS - Lutheran Confessional Synod
*]LCMC - Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ
*]LEPC - Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church
*]LMS-USA - The Lutheran Ministerium & Synod - USA
*]LOC - The Lutheran Orthodox Church
*]TPC - The Protes’tant Conference (that apostrophe in the name is not a typo)
*]RLC - Reformation Lutheran Conference[/list]
Many of the smaller Churches represent historical breaks from the three largest ones or their predecessor Churches and, in an interesting turn of events not often seen, a few were formed from groups that sinultaneously broke with different of the larger Churches - merging with one another despite very different prior theological outlooks.
The larger bodies are the culmination of a series of mergers, some as recent as a few decades ago, others a century or more old.
There’s a wonderful Lutheran site that offers links to websites for almost all of those listed above. I can’t locate the link right now, but will try to post it for you tonight. Meanwhile, if I can answer any other questions about any of the Lutheran Churches, please ask.