God forbid that I should limit the time of acquiring faith to the present life. In the depth of the Divine mercy, there may be an opportunity to win it in the future
Martin Luther, 1522

The General Lutheran Church was organized on March 9, 2014, when ministers from four other Lutheran denominations and descendants of the former Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of America met to discuss the issues of grace, women's ordination, liturgy, and the Lutheran Confessions as expressed in their respective churches. The outcome of these deliberations resulted in establishing a small successor Lutheran denomination of autonomous congregations that expanded Martin Luther's statement regarding the possibility of universal reconciliation into the adoption of a belief in the final harmony of all souls with God. We also base this belief on a number of New Testament scriptures, particularly, 

And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself. - - John 12:32; Everyone will see the salvation of God. - - Luke 3:6; and, Our hope is set on the living God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe. - - 1 Timothy 4:10.  

The deliberations also resulted in an endorsement of women's ordination and a compromise regarding liturgy: Each congregation will determine whether to conduct either a "low church" or "high church" worship service.

The Church is a successor to the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States of America founded by Samuel Simon Schmucker.

The General Lutheran Church values the Lutheran Confessions as expressed in the Book of Concord, other works by Martin Luther, and the writings of Samuel Simon Schmucker as theological guides summarized thusly,    

1. Belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. -- John 1:18
2. Belief that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior of all. -- First Corinthians 15:22
3. Belief that the Bible is a sufficient guide for faith and practice. -- Matthew 4:4
4. Belief in two Sacraments: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. -- Mark 22:14-20
5. Belief in the just retribution for sin. -- Colossians 3:25
6. Belief that there is a wideness in God's mercy. -- Ephesians 2:4-7

Each congregation and minister of the General Lutheran Church is free to interpret and apply the principles of the Lutheran Confessions as each feels led by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Until its incorporation, the Church was loosely organized and governed by its founding members. After incorporation, the descendants of the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod asked The Rev. Dr. James Walter Clifton to become the General Minister. He was selected due to his having been born in Germany and having been baptized into the Evangelische Kirche de Deutschland  (the Lutheran Church in Germany). Upon approval by the Church, Dr. Clifton was installed as General Minister with The Rev. Nicole Aimiee Macaluso Collins appointed General Pastor.

As a "free church" denomination, our churches are congregationally-governed and the only role the National Leadership has is that of advising and recommending with one exception: Holy Ordination. All ordinations must be approved by the Credentials Committee. All candidates for ordination must provide results of a comprehensive background check at their own expense.

Credentials will be issued by the Credentials Committee which maintains a list of rostered clergy who not only serve in General Lutheran congregations but also congregations in other denominations. We also appreciate the importance and history of groups of Christians gathering regularly for worship and fellowship in non-traditional settings.

The General Lutheran Church opposes same-sex marriage; the ordination of practicing gays and lesbians; and, abortions not medically necessary. However, General Lutherans are strongly admonished against engaging in abusive or malicious behaviors towards the gay and lesbian community, all immigrants, and those who have made the difficult decision to have an abortion. 

As Lutherans, we follow the teaching and example of Jesus Christ who demonstrated agape love and compassion to those marginalized by society and religion as portrayed in the stories of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Woman at the Well, and the Pericope de Adultera.

The General Lutheran Church condemns racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and all other types of hate and discrimination at all levels.


Books by Samuel Simon Schmucker
The Book of Concord
Constitution and Bylaws
If Grace is True
Ninety Five Theses
Works of Martin Luther

For further information, please contact us
The Rev. Dr. James W. Clifton
General Minister 

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An Indiana Incorporated Denominational Ministry