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In 1999, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) adopted the controversial, ecumenical agreement, entitled Called to Common Mission (CCM) which purportedly enables “full-communion” with the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA). CCM Verax has consistently exposed CCM to be “arguably the greatest act of deception ever cultivated by an ecclesial denomination in the history of North America.”


The central element in CCM used by ELCA officials to advance its passage is contained in CCM paragraph 11. This paragraph states:

11. "Historic succession" refers to a tradition which goes back to the ancient church, in which bishops already in the succession install newly elected bishops with prayer and the laying on of hands. At present The Episcopal Church has bishops in this historic succession, as do all the churches of the Anglican Communion, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at present does not, although some member churches of the Lutheran World Federation do. The Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888, the ecumenical policy of The Episcopal Church, refers to this tradition as "the historic episcopate." In the Lutheran Confessions, Article 14 of the Apology refers to this episcopal pattern by the phrase, "the ecclesiastical and canonical polity" which it is "our deep desire to maintain."

In April 2004, however, the ELCA published the results of the Tenth Round of U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue, entitled The Church as Koinonia of Salvation. In this new ecumenical dialogue, the ELCA has made an astonishing, historic U-Turn from the interpretation of the Lutheran Confessions falsely asserted in CCM paragraph 11. Paragraph 80 of this new dialogue states:

80. Prior to the late 1530s, the theme of succession played little role in Reformation debates on the role and authority of the bishop. The authority and ministry of the bishop, not any particular concept of succession, were the subject of debate. The Lutheran Confessions explicitly regret the loss of the “order of the church” that resulted from the presbyteral ordinations the Lutherans judged to be necessary for the life of their churches, but neither Article 28 of the Augsburg Confession on the power of bishops nor the response by the imperial Catholic theologians to it in the Confutation refers explicitly to succession. Thus, when the Lutheran churches felt compelled to ordain pastors apart from the Catholic hierarchy, they were not consciously rejecting any concept of episcopal succession, for such a concept was not current in theological discussions of the period. Only with the renewed attention to patristic sources in the subsequent debates was such a concept reasserted. Unfortunately, when the writings of such figures as Irenaeus were taken up in the debate, they were used within a canonical argument over validity which the Lutherans could only reject.

The above text in paragraph 80 not only contradicts CCM paragraph 11 but accords with the efforts of CCM Verax as published in the theological journal LOGIA and also in the CCM Verax Lutheran World Appeal to expose the “grand deception” in Called to Common Mission. Paragraph 80 thus represents an historic ecumenical U-Turn by the ELCA.

Although this U-Turn does not mean that the ELCA desires a return to confessional Lutheranism, especially since this new dialogue calls for the ELCA to consider a return to the papacy, which is contrary to the Lutheran Confessions (see Smalcald Articles Part II / VI.4-5), it nevertheless shows that ELCA officials know that they cannot deceive all their members all the time.

As CCM Verax asserts, Lutherans are those made free (eleutheros in Greek) by the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and by those truths congruent with Christ’s gospel. Lutherans are, therefore, always obligated to a determined fight against every falsification of the gospel and against every use of violence and coercion of the conscience in the church. This fight continues until the ELCA has relinquished its gains fraudulently acquired through ecumenical “grand deception” in CCM.


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