What is the position of in general and specific Synod Lutherans on the Laestadian Lutherans?

They are a small group, of Finnish origin I believe. Rather pietistic, and very low church liturgically. No my particular cup of tea.

A couple of quotes from their website:
The Holy Bible (KJV) and the Lutheran Confessions are the doctrinal foundation in Conservative Laestadianism. Centermost is the sermon of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. The work of Christ continues in this world as the work of the Holy Spirit in His congregation.

The second one is a red flag for me:
Communion is a memorial meal established by Jesus. It is intended for believers for the strengthening of their faith. :hmmm:


Our Synod does not have an official position on them or relationship to them. However, as Jon notes, they are a movement within Lutheran pietism. They deny the Lutheran and catholic understanding of the sacraments and have adopted a Reformed dogma regarding them. They are, therefore, non-Lutheran.

I’ve never heard of Laestadian Lutherans. But I found their website and looked at one of their congregations where it stated that holy Communion is celebrated once a month :eek:

Not quite simple:

Laestadians in Finland are part of the state Lutheran Church of Finland, but in America, where there is no official Lutheran church, they founded their own denomination, which split into several sub-groups in the mid-20th Century. Because of doctrinal opinion differences and personality conflicts, the movement split into 19 branches, of which about 15 are active today. The three large main branches are Conservative Laestadianism (corresponds to the Laestadian Lutheran Church, in North America known to other Laestadians as the “Heidemans” after 20th Century leader Paul A. Heideman); the Firstborn (in North America, “Old Apostolic Lutheran Church” (“Esikoinens” to other Laestadian denominations); and the Rauhan Sana (“the Word of Peace”) group, known in the USA and Canada as the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America (to other Laestadians, the “Mickelsens” after 20th Century leader Reverend Andrew Mickelsen.[1]2[3] These comprise about 90 percent of Laestadians. Other branches are small and some of them inactive.

In Finland, the Elämän Sana (“the Word of life”) group, as the most “mainline” of the different branches of Laestadianism, has been prominent within the hierarchy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland: Two members have been elected bishops of Oulu, and one has served as Chaplain General (head chaplain of the Finnish Defence Forces and the equivalent of a Major General).

I would offer that it is that ‘simple.’

None of the state churches in Europe are, in practice (and some even by Confession!), Lutheran. But all have Lutherans within them.

One group is in serious error and the other group is us.


Care to elaborate on your assertion that most of the world’s Lutherans are not Lutheran! :rolleyes:

Sure. Let’s start with an easy one. Many of the state churches in Europe, which profess to be Lutheran, also practice women’s ordination. Yet the Augsburg Confession, which is the measure by which an ecclesial body can rightly call itself Lutheran, specifically notes:


Article XIV: Of Ecclesiastical Order.
Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called.


Unless the Augsburg Confession is no longer considered the measure of a Lutheran, it would seem those that practice women’s ordination are not Lutheran.

I’m more than willing to discuss Augsburg article-by-article with you, if you’d so desire. I await your response.

That is an extremely weak argument since women’s ordination wasn’t even considered 500 years ago. BTW, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the Lutheran World Federation encompassing nearly 90% of all Lutherans as the official body representing the Lutheran faith. They even discuss the issue of women’s ordination. Per your reasoning, the Pope is consulting with the wrong Lutherans. :confused:

2000 years of it not being an issue bolsters the argument - as the only reason female clergy is a present issue is because secular society has come to view the vocation as just a job to be be subject to equal-rights.

The OHCAC church should form society, and not the other way around.

Are you really arguing that the novel replaces the traditional in matters of faith? What angel or apostle sent you your new gospel? (Gal. 1:8)

Oh, do they? That’s curious. Why the recent refocusing of the dialogues toward Confessional Lutherans? The PCPCU and the ILC recently voted to deepen their dialogue.

Yes, they do. Particularly how it would need to end for reunion to ever take place.

A regrettable, yet understandable, error. But the popes are smart guys. They’ve realized how fruitless dialogue with liberal, pseudo-Lutheran, cultural-Christians can be.

Seems an odd thing to argue about … Wasn’t the term “Lutherans” invented by Rome to indicate that you guys are not Catholic Christians in the church established by Christ, but rather a separate “church” established by Luther (or words to that effect)?

I suppose, but it’s more shorthand than anything else. In the current context, it would simply mean that a Lutheran is one who accepts what the Confessions teach. So it is more about accepting them than the title.

The main groups of them claim to be “based on the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions”

Sure. And Nancy Pelosi says she’s a faithful Catholic.

The Bible and the Confessions both teach the saving nature of baptism and the sacramental presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Both are denied by Lutheran bodies who espouse Reformed dogma on the sacraments.

She says she’s a “practicing Catholic”, don’t know if she’s ever claimed “faithful”… :wink:

The Bible and the Confessions both teach the saving nature of baptism and the sacramental presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Both are denied by Lutheran bodies who espouse Reformed dogma on the sacraments.

So they not Lutheran but another denomination altogether?

For a bit of levity (satire) from a rather awesome Catholic site:

I’d certainly say so. It’s possible for Lutherans to disagree and remain Lutheran - for example, WELS and ELS are in error on a couple of small issues according to we LCMS folk ;), but we still recognize them to be Lutheran and our closest Christian kin. Laestodians, on the other hand, have jettisoned so much of Lutheranism that it is, in the best cases, unorthodox and more-often-than-not not-Lutheran. Most troubling is the devaluation of the sacraments and the abandonment of the Lutheran view of Justification (the very Gospel to Lutherans!) for Calvinist alternatives.

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