American Association of Lutheran Churches
The American Association of Lutheran Churches (TAALC, also known as The AALC) was formed on
November 7, 1987as an alternative choice for churches in The American Lutheran Church(ALC) denomination who did not want to be part of the merger with two other Lutheran church bodies, Lutheran Church in America(LCA), & Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches(AELC) which formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The AALC offices were located in Bloomington, Minnesota. The national office moved to Fort Wayne, Indianain 2007.
The AALC began with 12 congregations and has, as of
2007, grown to 78 congregations spread across 23 states. The AALC sees itself in the conservative middle of Lutheranismin the United States. At its beginning, TAALC defined itself by its opposition to the theology of the ELCA, and became a home to Orthodox, Evangelical, and Charismatic Lutherans. At one point the three strands were unofficially described as being a threefold cord, (Ecclesiastes 4:12). This approach was never formal policy, but occurred because this new church body did not have a broad corpus of doctrinal writings and historical precedent to rely upon.
The unofficial intent was for each of the three strands to respect each other's differences and, in doing so, to learn from each other. In practice the various "strands" struggled for control. In the mid 1990s, the renewal movement seemed to be ascendent. A handful of congregations split off from the AALC in
1995to form the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod - USA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. Several West Coast charismatic churches began drifting out of the AALC orbit in 2007 as confessional/orthodox leaders started setting the tone. These churches saw the association with LCMS (see below) and its seminary in Fort Wayne as foreign to the original intent of the AALC. Many of these charismatic/renewal congregations are ending up in the Alliance of Renewal Churches.
The AALC operates its own seminary, The
American Lutheran Theological Seminary(ALTS), originally located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In the fall of 2005, ALTS relocated to Fort Wayne, Indianaand is hosted by Concordia Theological Seminaryof the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod(LCMS).
Since 1989 representatives of The AALC and the LCMS have met in a series of official and unofficial talks. After six official meetings, at which various doctrinal papers were submitted, representatives of both The AALC and the LCMS have recommended to their respective church bodies that they enter into altar and pulpit fellowship with one another. The proposal will meet the theology/doctrine commissions of each church body, and if passed, will be presented at their respective national conventions. During the 20-23 June 2007 TAALC National Convention, the AALC declared fellowship with the LCMS; and voted to join the
International Lutheran Council(ILC). On 16 July 2007, the LCMS declared fellowship with the AALC during the LCMS 63rd Regular Convention.
Basic beliefs of the AALC
(from their website)
*The full authority of the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God
*The Lutheran Confessions as a true interpretation of Scripture
*A purpose focused on the Great Commission with priority for Evangelism and World Missions
*The authority of the local congregation as the basic unit of the church
*Rev. Dr. Duane L. Lindberg 1987-1999
*Rev. Thomas V. Aadland 1999-2007
*Rev. Franklin E. Hays 2007-
* [http://www.taalc.org The American Association of Lutheran Churches website]
* [http://www.alts.edu/index.htm American Lutheran Theological Seminary website]
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