OTD in American Religious History: The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod was officially organized

On April 26, 1847, 12 pastors representing 14 German Lutheran Congregations met in Chicago, Illinois and formed the German Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and the Other States.  The first leader and the man considered to be the founder was C.F.W. Walther. This new synod was conservative in nature and had strong opinions on some issues to include opposition to humanism and religious syncretism.  The leaders also advocated fellowship only with other synods that were in complete doctrinal agreement with them.

In 1872 they joined with the Wisconsin, Ohio, Norwegian, Minnesota, and Illinois Synods to form the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America.  In 1947 the name was changed to the present name, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

During the time of the First and Second World War, there was intense pressure to “Americanize” the church to add English services and to eventually drop the use of the German Language altogether.  By 1947 the membership had reached 1.5 million members.

The current President of the Synod is Matthew C. Harrison and consists of 6, 101 congregations with 2 million baptized members and 1.6 million confirmed.

Among the beliefs of the synod are the following:

Salvation is through grace only not by works.

The Synod does not hold to the doctrine of Transubstantiation but rather, belief in the doctrine of the sacramental union, Real Presence, that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present “in, with, and under” the elements of bread and wine.  Communion is closed and only baptized and confirmed members of churches “in communion” with the synod may participate.

There is a literal belief the calendar days of creation but no official position on the age of the earth.