Orthodox Biblical Doctrine Scripture Alone Faith Alone Grace Alone
The Lutheran Conference of Confessional Fellowship
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THE PURPOSE OF OUR CONFERENCE IS: To preach the Gospel within the context of upholding all of Scriptures; To establish and provide for a godly fellowship among congregations and pastors. THE CONFESSIONS OF OUR CONFERENCE ARE: We accept without reservation the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the verbally inspired Word of God, and therefore as the sole and only infallible rule of doctrine and life. We also confess; Apostolic Creed Nicene Creed Athanasian CreedWE CONFESS THE SYMBOLS OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH AS PUBLISHED IN THE BOOK OF CONCORD OF 1580, BECAUSE THEY ARE A TRUE EXPOSITION OF THE WORD OF GOD: Luther's Small Catechism Luther's Large Catechism Augsburg Confession The Apology of the Augsburg Confession The Smalcald Articles The Formula of Concord.WE SUBSCRIBE TO THESE MORE RECENT CONFESSIONAL STATEMENTS: The Brief Statement of the Missouri Synod of 1932 Concerning Church Fellowship (Church of the Lutheran Confession,1961) Concerning Church and Ministry (Church of the Lutheran Confession, 1962 Concerning the Theology Involved in the Fraternal Benefit Society Issue (The LCCF, 1983) 

E-Mail, Pastor Robert Mehltretter, Mankato,MN
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The Apostles Creed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,Born of the Virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; The third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; The forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Nicene Creed
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made, Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary And was made man; And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of the Father; And He shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets. And I believe one holy Christian and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, And I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the world to come. Amen
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The Athanasian Creed--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic (ie. universal Christian) faith. Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, Neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one; the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal. and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal. As there are not three Uncreated nor three Incomprehensibles, but one Uncreated and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, There be three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made nor created,but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before or after other; none is greater or less than another; But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and coequal, so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. He, therefore, that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood; Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ: One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God; One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven; He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God almighty; form whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

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Concerning The Theology Involved in the Fraternal Benefit Society Issue
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Adopted by The Lutheran Conference of Confessional Fellowship
May 1, 1983 at Mankato,Minnesota
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------I. We believe as a scriptural truth that the Gospel is to be preached in and to the world by believers who function among themselves in a disciplined fellowship, which applies both to doctrine and life, and both to clergy and laity.

For further explanation of what is meant by disciplined fellowship in the fraternal benefit society issue which is before us, we add that we cannot agree, as a matter of conscience, to a theology and attendant practice which knowingly involves us: 

1. in partaking of other men's sins; (Eph. 5:11; 1 Tim. 5:22) 
2. in pronouncing absolution where the sinner continues in the specific sin without amending his sinful life; (2 Sam. 12:13; Matt. 3: 8) 
3. in causing the innocent to become partakers of other men's sins. (2 John 10-11)

II. We reject as not being scriptural the various arguments that have been brought forward to justify and defend the violation of the above principle. 

We, therefore, contend: 

1. that the Gospel (the redemption/justification message) is the central doctrine of scripture (Luke 24: 45-47), but that concerns for the Gospel, and attendant results, do not permit us to set aside the Lord's injunction, "teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." (Matt.28: 20; Acts 20: 26-27) 

2. that Christian love (agape) is to be defined by Scripture, and not by the humanistic and emotional thinking of man. Discipline, suspension, separation, excommunication, are presented in Scripture as acts of love pointed toward repentance. They are included in evangelical practice, and always have been used by Bible-bound believers. (I Cor.5: 11; II Cor. 7: 8-10; II Thess. 3:6-15) 

3. that it is not legalism to teach that we should refuse to partake of other men's sins, since this is included in what Scripture defines as "walking in newness of life." (Rom.6: 4; II Thess. 3: 6-15) By the power of the Gospel believers are made new creatures in Christ. (II Cor. 5:17) Therefore, in all the Bible-imposed behavior expected of a believer we teach: "… the love of Christ constraineth us." (II Cor. 5: 14)

Legalism is the attempt to bring about a life of sanctification by the force of the Law, instead of by the power of the Gospel, and/or injecting the works of man, be they great or small into the hope of salvation. This we reject. 

4. that it is not perfectionism to be "zealous of good works." (Titus 2: 14) Believers in their sanctification seek to be perfect, but because of the flesh never become so in this life, and never include this effort in their hope of salvation. We reject the line of thought which argues that since we cannot be perfect our imperfections are acceptable and may be overlooked, or at least excused. Perfectionism is not the effort to be perfect; it is the claim to be perfect (that is, in our sanctification). Whatever is imperfect in the life of a believer is included in "daily contrition and repentance." (Catechism, Baptism, Fourthly) 

5. that principle and practice are essentially the same; that it is a contradiction to subscribe to a scriptural principle, but then follow a practice which violates it. (James 1:22) Example: Agreeing to the scriptural principle that we are not to fellowship the unfruitful works of darkness, but in practice continue to fellowship that which has been defined and declared to be sinful. 

6. that Scripture says without qualification that we are not to " fellowship the unfruitful works of darkness." (Eph. 5:11) It does not say we are not to "fellowship the unfruitful works of darkness" except when, on the basis of a pastor's judgement, one has a right attitude about his specific sin. 

7. that scripture alone determines what is divisive sin; this is not determined by a pastor's subjective evaluation of attitude and demeanor. 

8. that the act of committed sin is the decisive factor in fellowship considerations; that the claim of not understanding, or lack of understanding itself, is not the determining factor in suspension from communion. 

9. that it is a scriptural impossibility to condemn and repudiate sin, and still continue in it. (Matt. 3:8) 

10. that there is a distinction to be made between what is meant by Luther's words in the Catechism,"… that we daily sin much …."(5nth Petition), and committing sin (as David committed adultery and murder); and that if this distinction is not maintained, we prove too much, and forfeit all discipline and unity. (I John 1:18; I John 3:9) 

11. that mission and membership considerations (gaining and keeping members) are of vital importance, but do not permit us to violate scriptural principle. 

12. that when a book of the Bible, in particular the letters of Paul, speak of a departure from biblical truth without putting it into the immediate context of fellowship (I Cor. 15:12-20), this does not mean that fellowship considerations are removed from the picture. This constitutes an argument from silence, which proves nothing, and would result in destroying the unity of faith. 

13. that overt or committed sin is not to be categorized (eg. mortal over against venial sins; doctrinal over against behavior sins; respectable (not that there is such) over against disrespectable sins) in the sense that some may be tolerated in the exercise of fellowship and others not. 

14. that the terms "weak" and "weakness" are at times carelessly used and are commonly applied to all manner of committed sin. Scripture does not use the term "weak" to justify and condone that which is sinful. The concept is not to be used as a defense for entrenched ignorance, refusal to be instructed, or a determination to continue in sin. 

15. that there are behavior items in Scripture which are a matter of degree; but that these should not be confused with matters that Scripture presents as either/or, yes/no propositions. 

16. that suspension from communion is not in itself tantamount to removal from congregational membership. Although we agree that fellowship is a unit concept, yet, within the fellowship principle, Scripture requires a special, limited, and controlled use of the Sacrament (I Cor.10 and 11). Suspension from communion serves a twofold purpose. It safeguards and upholds the principle expressed in Point I, and is also an act of love seeking to bring about repentance. What happens in connection with such suspension is not preconceived, but a subsequent development. 

17. that the elimination of sin by a policy of attrition (e.g. waiting for persons involved in a specific sin to die without taking disciplinary action) is a compromising solution, which involves one in partaking of other men's sins, creates inconsistencies within congregations and within a church body, and establishes a situation where matters remain indecisive and inconclusive. 

18. that pastors and congregations are not to be falsely independent, as if what they teach and/or practice is not the concern of others. Godly casuistry never violates or is disobedient to Scripture. Scripture binds congregations to the same doctrine and life. In matters of adiaphora, however, they may do things differently. Any other concept destroys the unity required in scriptural fellowship (I Cor.1:10). 

19. that "shepherding" is a beautiful, scriptural description of pastoral care, but has a two-sided aspect. Shepherding not only involves leading to the "green pastures" and "quiet waters" of the Gospel (Ps. 23:2), but also includes the protective stance signified by the "rod and the staff." (Ps.23: 4) A godly shepherd fights for his flock. (Acts 20:28-29) He that allows evil to abide in the flock is an hireling, and not a true shepherd of Jesus Christ. (John 10:1-16)


The above items are not "straw men" erected to have something to say. We speak of them because they have arisen in recent years in the on-going debate. Any and all of such departures from Scripture have created offence – a stumbling block, an entrapment harmful to faith. People are being misled and confused to the detriment of godly sanctification. (Rom. 16:18; Matt. 18: 6-11) 

We contend for what is here said, and will further contend against all other argumentation which may arise in the future defending the proposition that the godly may indeed fellowship the unfruitful works of darkness. 

Luther's Symbol - Purpose & Confession of our Lutheran Church Group



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