The American Association of Lutheran Churches (TAALC, also known as The AALC) was formed on November 7, 1987 as 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 are located in Bloomington, Minnesota.
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 Lutheranism in 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 three fold cord, (Ec 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-90s, the renewal movement seemed to be ascendent. A handful of congregations split off from the AALC in 1995 to form the Lutheran Ministerium and Synod - USA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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, Indiana and is hosted by Concordia Theological Seminary of 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 AALCEdit
(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
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