June 29, 2021

Download LifeDate Summer 2021

by Pastor Michael Salemink

We believe that Lutherans For Life belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. This Gospel-motivated ministry is the property, privilege, and responsibility of the whole Church. And we rejoice that it encompasses more than our national staff, or our board of directors, or our Life Teams and Life Chapters, or our state federations, or even any one denominational body. The sanctity of human life by God’s grace according to the Holy Scriptures unites us in a common confession of Jesus Christ the Savior and Son of God.

Our founders called our message and mission “pan-Lutheran.” Perhaps a synonym like “inter-Lutheran” captures it as well. Jean Garton of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod served as first president, Jack Eichhorst of the American Lutheran Church as first vice-president, Leigh Jordahl of the Lutheran Church in America as first secretary, and Eugene Linse of the LCMS as first executive director. In its first official act, LFL sent letters of announcement and invitation to the presidents of the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Today, we still represent this genuine unity. Our national staff consists of members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the North American Lutheran Church, the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. Likewise, our board of directors currently has constituents from the LCMS, the NALC, and the AFLC. And, of course, we receive support from donors and members (individuals and congregations!) affiliated with the LCMS, the NALC, the AFLC, the LCMC, the American Association of Lutheran Churches, and the Church of the Lutheran Brethren in America. We personally visit their seminaries and their churchwide assemblies to increase awareness, share information, create relationships, and distribute resources.

Almost all Lutherans in North America benefit from LFL! Our activities and materials do not directly engage the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, but only because they have an analogous organization—Christian Life Resources—who serves them, and we consider CLR a friend and coworker. We also have minimal interaction with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as their public statements about sanctity of life matters such as abortion access run contrary to the Scriptures and our convictions. However, occasional ELCA pastors or congregations reach out to us for resources and encouragement to proclaim God’s love for every life in courageous contradiction of their hierarchy’s positions, and we delight to equip them.

We take our Lutheran identity seriously. On our website you can review a record of official resolutions of endorsement from these church bodies in convention over the course of our entire history. This includes our designations as an Official Ministry Partner of the NALC and a Recognized Service Organization of the LCMS. The latter status commits us to ensure our programs operate in harmony with the doctrines and practices of the LCMS so that we do not say or do anything that undermines her mission and confession.

Lutherans For Life acknowledges our limitations. Our association with particular denominations does not imply any affirmation of their doctrinal distinctives. For example, LFL holds no formal position on millennialism or closed communion or the ordination of women. At the same time, we recognize that the church bodies, congregations, and individual Christians we serve do have firm conclusions about such disagreements. As an organization, in our education, activities, or advocacy, we neither confirm nor condemn these or other differences in beliefs and teachings. Testifying definitively on these matters not directly related to the sanctity of life does not belong to our narrow vocation and focus. We make no attempts to breach or broker church fellowship boundaries. Our staff pastors often have opportunity for preaching and teaching in supporting congregations, but they do not do so across their denominational lines.

Lutherans For Life does take positions on ethical issues. We oppose abortion, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, in vitro fertilization, embryo-destroying research, and same-sex marriage, among other practices however legal or popular. We also make confessions about doctrines that concern the sanctity of life, such as the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures, the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Jesus, salvation by grace alone, six-day creation, and biblical sexuality. And we delight to publish Gospel-motivated submissions and host Gospel-motivated presentations by a variety of Lutheran voices who advance these certainties in our print and digital platforms.

God has given us much to cheer about. We invite the whole LFL community to celebrate whenever any Lutherans speak the truth in love about the sanctity of life. Thanks be to God for this arena where we can stand, speak, and work together in good conscience. “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his spirit on them” (Numbers 11:29), “for the one who is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:38-41). “Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (Philippians 1:18). We eagerly wait, hope, and pray for that promised day when the truth and love, power and presence of our Lord erase all our divisions. Then we will at last proclaim Him in one voice and praise Him with the same heart!