For fifty years the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) has existed as a confessional Lutheran Church whose single purpose it is to be a Christian church that proclaims the saving gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible. That such teaching may remain unsullied among us, we are bound by and to the inspired and inerrant Word of God.
With respect to fellowship we believe that all forms of religious fellowship are limited to fellowship between such as are in full agreement with the teachings of Scripture and do not by word or act reject any part of God’s Word. We are encouraged and heartened by every testimony, written or spoken, that confesses and glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ. In the exercise of our ministry as well as in our fellowship practice we are challenged daily by the weakness of our own flesh as well as by the temptations of the world about us.
We thank the gracious Lord of the Church for keeping us steadfast in our faith and confession through many trials over the past fifty years.
We are encouraged in our confessional stand when from time to time inquiries are received from such as wrote to us in September of 2010. Tim Stiller of Tanunda, Australia, inquired about the confessional position and practice of the CLC.
Mr. Stiller wrote, “I on behalf of my… family am seeking a like-minded, faithfully confessional Lutheran fellowship, as we need help and support to form a small congregation to be served with Word and Sacrament.” His family consists of his wife, three children, and his elderly parents. The support being sought is not financial, but moral
The family took the name “Steadfast Evangelical Lutheran Church.” Tim (who with his father farms a vineyard) is the lay preacher. He uses sound Lutheran sermons, including some by Dr. C.F.W. Walther, as well as sermons provided by some pastors of the CLC. He has also been provided with sermon books of Prof. Egbert Schaller and Dean Norman A. Madson. Mr. Stiller was already acquainted with Luther’s Small Catechism edited by Prof. Michael Sydow. His family is acquainted with and has used CLC Sunday School material. They receive the monthly Lutheran Spokesman, which is an “official organ” of our church body.
Tim completed his daughter Rebekah’s confirmation instruction. For the examination he used questions provided by CLC pastors. Rebekah was confirmed on January 9, 2011. Tim reported that “This was truly a joyous day, for which we give thanks and praise to our Lord, the great Shepherd of His flock.”
We would also add that old-timers in the CLC would be very comfortable with the liturgical services used at Steadfast Ev. Lutheran Church, both for the regular Sunday services as well as the communion services. They have been supplied, at their request, with liturgical forms for different services — funeral, wedding, baptism, confirmation — from The Lutheran Agenda.
At this writing Tim has received his passport and is planning on visiting in the States in May. He is anxious to meet members of the CLC, as well as visit our Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
The Stiller family has been “Lutheran” since the 1800s and has been active in Lutheran churches in Australia. Tim’s father, Walter, has translated old LC-MS German devotions into English. Much correspondence and exchange of materials as well as phone calls have been exchanged between us and the Stillers. The Board of Doctrine has been kept informed. The Spirit has created between us an understanding. They desire fellowship with the CLC. Synod President John Schierenbeck will seek ratification of fellowship with them at the next Convention (scheduled for June of 2012).
Circumstances within Lutheranism in Australia have to a great extent mirrored the deterioration of Lutheranism in this country. There have been divisions over doctrine within Australian Lutheranism. While the Stillers were still members of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA), they were disturbed by the “social gospel” preached in their local church, by contemporary worship services as “entertainment,” as well as by Sunday Schools being replaced with “Kid’s Clubs.”
From the Editor:
* We thank Pastor Em. Daniel Fleischer, Oakdale, Minn. for this report; Pastor Fleischer, who pastored a number of CLC congregations from 1963-2010 (and served as CLC President 1982-2002), has been a primary liaison for the CLC with Mr. Stiller, as well as with many other contacts over the years. [Read More..]
After leaving the LCA for confessional reasons late in 1999, they joined a small local Lutheran congregation in early 2000. Tim writes, however, that “just recently we had to resign” from the congregation, “because of a lack of church discipline over disunity on closed communion…We were no longer speaking the same thing. We have for some time been living a lie to the oneness of mind and judgment. God’s Word is clear in Romans 16:17-18, Titus 3:10, Amos 3:3, etc.”
First of all, we thank the Lord for the encouragement given as He shows us that we are not alone in our concern for the truth and honest fellowship in the Word. Our voice is being heard! We thank Him for the opportunity to encourage people such as the Stillers who feel “very isolated.”
We conclude with recent words from Mr. Stiller: “It is indeed good to ‘visit’ brethren in the faith via the printed medium. It is even better to ‘visit’ the same by phone, real voice-to-real-voice. Even better yet, to in-the-flesh ‘visit.’ But the best for us is still to come — to ‘visit’ at the throne of God for eternity.
Read Article – An “Open Door” in Australia
* We thank Pastor Em. Daniel Fleischer, Oakdale, Minn. for this report; Pastor Fleischer, who pastored a number of CLC congregations from 1963-2010 (and served as CLC President 1982-2002), has been a primary liaison for the CLC with Mr. Stiller, as well as with many other contacts over the years.
* Dr. C.F.W. Walther (1811-1887) was a founding father and prominent theologian of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LC-MS) in its confessionally-sound early years; Prof. Egbert Schaller (1904-1971) served in the public ministry beginning in 1926; he severed fellowship with the Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod in 1959 for confessional reasons and became one of the founding fathers of the CLC in 1960; Bethany Seminary Dean Norman A. Madson (1886-1962) served as pastor and Professor in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) beginning in 1925; for confessional reasons he had become a member of the CLC in its fledgling years before the Lord took him home to Himself. Michael Sydow (1941-2009) served the Lord in the CLC pastoral and teaching ministry beginning in 1965. It was in the mid 1980s that Prof. Sydow published a translation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.
* Your editor has also had some happy back-and-forths with Mr. Stiller. After providing him with copies of some back issues of the Lutheran Spokesman, as well as our recent book introducing Dean Madson to later generation CLCers, Tim wrote to thank us. Even as he plans to use one or more of Dean Madson’s sermons in the future, he adds: “We wish to convey to you our great joy and thankfulness for sending to us some back issues of the Spokesman. They reveal how the merciful Lord has provided for His faithful in your country and through the CLC elsewhere. For us they have been a source of encouragement for fellowship and involvement in the CLC, yes, even if God wills it, for myself to study and serve Him in the ministry eventually.” – Let our prayers ascend to the throne of God in behalf of this opportunity to share the gospel with like-minded confessors of Christ “on the other side of the world.”