The North American Lutheran Church
The NALC is a fast-growing, Christian church in the Lutheran tradition, uniting Lutherans in congregations across North America. The NALC embodies the theological center of Lutheranism in North America and stands firmly within the global Lutheran mainstream.
We are a church family committed to the authority of the Bible as the inspired Word of God. In keeping with the Lutheran Confessions, we believe all doctrines should and must be judged by the teaching of Scripture.
The NALC has embraced four core values which shape our common life: Christ Centered, Mission Driven, Traditionally Grounded, and Congregationally Focused. We are a church centered on the unique Gospel of Jesus Christ, animated by missions and evangelism, grounded in the 2,000-year tradition of Christian faith, and organized chiefly to serve our congregations.
A renewed Lutheran community moving forward in faith, the NALC is focused on living out Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples in North America and around the globe. We invite you to learn more about our church family.
The NALC was constituted on August 27, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio, at a Convocation organized by the church reform movement Lutheran CORE. One year earlier, a similar gathering of Lutheran CORE had directed its leadership to develop new organizational alternatives for faithful Lutheran Christians in North America. In response to numerous requests from congregations for the creation of a new Lutheran church, Lutheran CORE developed A Vision and Plan for the North American Lutheran Church and Lutheran CORE, published in February 2010. Six months later, our new church was formed.
The constituting Convocation was attended by nearly 1,000 members and visitors from across North America. A number of other churches sent leaders to greet the Convocation, including the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, and the Anglican Church in North America. Bishop Benson Bagonza of the Karagwe Diocese, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, preached at the closing worship and, along with retired Bishop Ken Sauer, installed the Rev. Paull E. Spring as the first Bishop of the NALC.
The NALC has been blessed with extraordinarily rapid growth. At the time of the constituting Convocation in August 2010, seventeen congregations had voted to join the NALC. Six years later, that number had grown to more than 400 congregations. Of those, roughly 70 are mission congregations, reflecting the priority placed on missions and evangelism by the NALC. We give thanks to God for all that has been accomplished, and seek his guidance as we move into the future with excitement.
To read more, The Story of Our North American Lutheran Church.
The North American Lutheran Church confesses:
The Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
- Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
- The proclamation of God’s message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
- The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them the Holy Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.
The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith and life, “according to which all doctrines should and must be judged.” (Formula of Concord, Epitome, Part I)
The Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of the Church.
The Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
The other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.
The Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God’s mission in the world.
The NALC honors and accepts The Common Confession (2005) included below, as a summary of teachings otherwise affirmed in the Lutheran Confessions.
The Common Confession
(The faith statement of Lutheran CORE – Coalition for Renewal. Adopted: November 2005)
CC1) The Lord Jesus Christ
We are people who believe and confess our faith in the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We trust and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.
CC2) The Gospel of Salvation
We believe and confess that all human beings are sinners, and that sinners are redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God alone justifies human beings by faith in Christ — a faith that God creates through the message of the Gospel. As ambassadors for Christ, God uses us to speak his Word and build his kingdom.
CC3) The Authority of Scripture
We believe and confess that the Bible is God’s revealed Word to us, spoken in Law and Gospel. The Bible is the final authority for us in all matters of our faith and life.
CC4) A Common Confession of Faith
We accept and uphold that the Lutheran Confessions reliably guide us as faithful interpretations of Scripture, and that we share a unity and fellowship in faith with others among whom the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and the sacraments are administered in accordance with the Gospel.
CC5) The Priesthood of All Believers
We believe and confess that the Holy Spirit makes all who believe in Jesus Christ to be priests for service to others in Jesus’ name, and that God desires to make use of the spiritual gifts he has given through the priesthood of all believers.
CC6) Marriage and Family
We believe and confess that the marriage of male and female is an institution created and blessed by God. From marriage, God forms families to serve as the building blocks of all human civilization and community. We teach and practice that sexual activity belongs exclusively within the biblical boundaries of a faithful marriage between one man and one woman.
CC7) The Mission and Ministry of the Congregation
We believe and confess that the church is the assembly of believers called and gathered by God around Word and Sacrament, and that the mission and ministry of the church is carried out within the context of individual congregations, which are able to work together locally and globally.
We confess the apostolic faith in Jesus Christ according to the Holy Scriptures. We affirm the authority of the Scriptures as the authoritative source and norm, “according to which all doctrines should and must be judged” (Formula of Concord). We accept the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran Confessions as true witnesses to the Word of God.
We believe that the mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples for Christ. We believe that making disciples — in our congregations, in our communities and nations, and around the world — must be a priority of the Church in the present age.
We affirm the ecumenical creeds and the faithful witness of the Church across time and space. We endorse the form and practices of the universal Church that are consistent with Scripture, particularly the office of the ministry and the tradition of worship under Word and Sacrament. We seek dialogue and fellowship with other Lutheran churches and with faithful Christians of other confessions.
We strive to be a church that is organized to facilitate the ministries of local congregations in a posture of servanthood and a spirit of partnership, through the provision of resources, connections and information.
An Initial Statement on the Ecumenical and Inter-Lutheran Commitment of the North American Lutheran Church
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Introduction: Our Ecumenical Heritage
The Lord Jesus Christ prayed for his church, “that they may be one, even as you, Father, are in me and I in you.” (John 17:21a) For the apostle Paul the oneness of the church as the body of Christ is founded on the confession of “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:5-6) Such a vision commits Lutherans to work and pray for cooperation and unity among Christians and churches both within and beyond world Lutheranism.
The North American Lutheran Church
The Constitution of the North American Lutheran Church states in Article 13, “Church to Church Relationships”: “The North American Lutheran Church (the NALC) shall participate in inter-Lutheran, ecumenical, and inter-religious relationships as a part of its ministry and mission.”
As a new church, the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) acknowledges with appreciation the various inter-Lutheran and ecumenical efforts to manifest Christian unity. We pledge ourselves to continue this journey toward unity among all Christians, convinced that the modern ecumenical movement is a gift of the Spirit of God to the churches as a means of expressing their oneness in Christ.
Our Confessional Foundation
With regard to our ecumenical and inter-Lutheran relationships, we confess
- our faith in the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
- the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ as the power of God for the salvation of the whole world;
- the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of the church and the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the gospel. We confess the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord as valid interpretations of the faith of church.
We confess further that
- Jesus Christ is the incarnate Word of God;
- the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God, authored by persons inspired by the Holy Spirit;
- the law and the gospel of God are two forms of the preached Word that convey the saving knowledge of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.
Our Confessional Commitment
Our confessional commitment leads us to participate in ecumenical and inter-Lutheran associations in response to Jesus’ prayer that all his believers may be one. We intend to engage in ecumenical and inter-Lutheran endeavors at the international, national, and local levels, in accordance with our commitment to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.
Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will lead us into such ecumenical and inter-Lutheran endeavors in faithfulness to the Great Commission of our Lord to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded.” (Matt. 28:19) We believe that all ecumenical and inter-Lutheran relationships should have as their goal the mission of Christ and his church “that the world may believe. . .that the world may know.” (John 17: 21,23)
At this early stage in our life and ministry, the NALC affirms the following:
- The North American Lutheran Church will urge our congregations to welcome participation in our celebrations of Holy Communion all who are baptized in the name of the Trinity and who believe in the real presence of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine.
- The NALC will explore ecumenical relationships with those churches and communities whose teachings are compatible with its confessional beliefs.
- As an initial strategy the North American Lutheran Church will
- apply for membership in the Lutheran World Federation;
- seek working relationships with other Lutheran church bodies, for example, with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ and with Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod;
- cooperate in ministry and mission with other Lutheran churches in the world that share our Scriptural and confessional commitments, for example, African Lutheran churches in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda;
- give priority to relationships, including ecumenical dialogues, with churches such as the Anglican Church in North America, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Orthodox Churches.
- For the sake of mission and ministry and out of fidelity to our Scriptural and Confessional principles, we encourage and support participation in national, regional and local ecumenical activities that are consistent with our confessional commitment, such as organized councils of ministers, informal collegial gatherings, or services such as those during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, as well as fellowships and agencies to reach the lost, feed the hungry, house the homeless, and serve our neighbors in need, spiritually and physically.
- The bishop of the NALC will initiate contact with and respond to all Christian churches, denominations, bodies, judicatories, and fellowships that desire to be in communication and conversation with this church, for the sake of Christian unity and the mission of the Gospel. Through our ecumenical and inter-Lutheran relationships, the NALC wishes to be an expression of our oneness in Christ, the uniqueness of Christ as the Savior of the world, and the apostolic mission we share in his name.
As the North American Lutheran Church our commitment is to promote Christian unity in North America and throughout the world. We pray that the Holy Spirit will give us strength and wisdom to heed the words of the apostle Paul:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
Revision, April 6, 2011
With Further Revisions by the Commission on Theology and Doctrine, May 22, 2011
The Commission on Theology and Doctrine is a group of theologians with representation from across the North American Lutheran Church. The Bishop appoints the members, with the consent of the Executive Council, and is an ex officio member of the commission. The commission is established pursuant to Article 12 of the NALC Constitution.
The Commission on Theology and Doctrine considers topics of a theological nature, implements theological conferences as may be appropriate, drafts statements of a theological nature, and may recommend the adoption of statements by the NALC.
Additionally, the Commission on Theology and Doctrine provides guidance to the NALC on ecumenical matters and provides educational and other resources that will interpret the ministries of the NALC.
From 2010 to 2015 it was a joint commission with representation from the NALC and Lutheran CORE. In early 2015 Lutheran CORE withdrew from the commission.
Statements from the Commission on Theology and Doctrine and other sources may be found here. Statements from the joint commission are marked “JCTD” on the list and statements from 2015 and beyond are marked “CTD.”