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The Wisconsin Synod (WELS) is considered most conservative. Women are not ordained and not allowed to hold certain offices. They practice close(d) sacramental Communion to anyone not a WELS Lutheran and do not perform leadership roles (or in some cases even participate) in non-Lutheran community prayers or services. They believe and teach Grace alone, Scripture alone and Faith alone; works will not save. They believe and teach the Scriptural definition of marriage. The Missouri Synod (LC-MS) is considered by some Lutherans to be slightly less conservative, but both WELS and LC-MS are strong adherents to the Augsburg Confessions (1530 AD). LC-MS does not ordain women, but allows women to hold certain roles. LC-MS Pastors and Elders generally do not perform a leadership role in non-Lutheran community prayers and services, but may participate as they feel led by the Spirit. The LC-MS also believe and teaches Grace alone, Scripture alone and Faith alone. The WELS and LC-MS both believe and teach the Bible, in its entirety, is the inspired and inerrant Word of God and that it alone is the source and norm for believing and practicing. Lastly, the LC-MS practices close(d) sacramental Communion, but in some cases allows Communion to other Lutherans and lastly, they teach and practice the Scriptural definition of marriage. The third largest Lutheran Synod is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and is considered the most liberal. They allow women to hold any office and ordain women. Acceptance of the inerrancy and relevancy of the Scriptures widely varies from congregation to congregation. Various churches also hold to some non-scriptural human relationships. They practice completely open sacramental Communion to any participant without determining if the participant believes what the Lutheran Church teaches about sacramental Communion. There are a number of other Lutheran Churches in both the evangelical or independent sense and they may teach and practice conservative and confessional ideologies that range from very conservative to ultra liberal. Jerry Porter Redeemer LC, LC-MS, Elder
Of the three major Lutheran Branches, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) is the most conservative. Jerry is correct for the three major branches. There are however a number of very small Lutheran churches that are more conservative. The Confessional Lutheran Church (CLC), Laestidian Lutheran Church (LLC), the Lutheran Church of Confessional Fellowship (LCCF) and the Apostolic Lutheran Church of America (ALCA) are all more conservative than the WELS. The CLC and LCCF differ from WELS in that they consider fraternal insurance companies to be fellowship and do not allow there members to participate. The LCCF actually broke off from the CLC because they felt the CLC was not being aggressive enough in adhering to this. The ALCA and LLC are pietistic Lutheran churches that demand a strict adherence to an abstention of all alcoholic beverages. In doing that they they do not use wine for communion which is a traditonal practice of Lutheran churches. It is a matter of opinion who is the most conservative. LCCF is for traditional Lutheranism but if you consider pietism to be a more conservative quality then ALCA or LLC are more conservative. It is a matter of open debate.
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