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Called to Common Mission (CCM). Who is a Christian?. What is the Church?. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ for salvation.

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who is a christian

Who is a Christian?

What is the Church?

Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ for salvation

A building; a worship service; a congregation of people (the visible Church); the communion of all saints across all time and space (the invisible Church, i.e., the one catholic and apostolic Church); the body of Christ

Okay. If it is so easy to define who is a Christian and what is a church, why are there so many different Christian churches?

Reasons both good and bad:

  • Historical
  • Geographical
  • Theological
  • Practical
what is ecumenism
What is ecumenism?
  • Ecumenism: The goal of bringing all Christians together in a unified “house” of God.
  • John 17.20-21: Jesus prayed that those who believe in him “may all be one.”
why is ecumenism important
Why is ecumenism important?
  • To aspire to follow Jesus’ promise
  • To serve as a witness to non-Christians
  • To be better able to serve and extend our mission
what levels of relationship do we have with other christian denominations
What levels of relationship do we have with other Christian denominations?
  • Hostility
  • Indifference or peaceful coexistence
  • Cooperation
  • Pulpit and altar fellowship
  • Full communion
what do we mean by ecumenical agreement
What do we mean by ecumenical agreement?
  • Agreeing not to condemn each other
  • Agreeing to cooperate in ways that do not require agreement in theology
  • Agreeing in a minimal set of essential beliefs while permitting inconsequential points of diversity
  • Acknowledging faithfulness in each other to permit pulpit and altar fellowship
  • Affirming pulpit and altar fellowship and seeking to share in each other’s heritage
  • Merging and becoming one
important questions to consider
Important questions to consider:
  • What are our ecumenical goals?
  • For the sake of ecumenism, on what things are we willing to compromise? That is, what things are negotiable or are not significantly important (adiaphora)?
  • What things are crucial and non-negotiable?
what then is characteristic of or essential about being an elca church
What, then, is characteristic of or essential about being an ELCA church?
  • Emphasis on being saved by grace through faith
  • Understanding of Law and Gospel
  • Affirming concept of original sin
  • Understanding and practice of the Sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion
  • Priesthood of all believers
  • Faith alone, Grace alone, Scripture alone
are these elements of lutheranism essential in the sense that
Are these elements of Lutheranism essential in the sense that:
  • Nothing should be added to them that is regarded as necessary?
  • Anything can be added to them that does not compromise them?
the elca and the ecusa
The ELCA and the ECUSA
  • In dialogue since 1969
  • The Concordat proposal for full communion presented at the 1997 national assembly was defeated by 6 votes (of about 1000 voting members; 2/3 majority needed)
  • The CCM (Called to Common Mission) was a second draft intended to address concerns regarding the Concordat
  • CCM passed by 27 votes (of about 1000; 2/3 needed) at the 1999 national assembly
what is it in the ccm that is generating concern and controversy
What is it in the CCM that is generating concern and controversy?

For more information, check the documents at:


To bring them into full communion the churches will (a) agree in the doctrine of the faith and ministry, (b) recognize each other’s existing ordained ministries as specified, (c) share an episcopal succession that is evangelical and historic and (d) mutually plan, consult and interact for witness and mission. (from, an Outline of CCM provided by the Ecumenical Office of the Episcopal Church)

what is the an historic episcopate he
What is the/anHistoric Episcopate (HE)?
  • An historic episcopate is the orderly transmission of the office of bishop or overseer (episkope)
  • Has its roots in the time of the early church where it was a way of safeguarding the faithfulness and unity of the Church
  • Involves the laying on of hands by three bishops who themselves have been ordained in this succession
  • Most Christians in the worldtoday live in churches which have preserved a historic episcopate
is the he a problem what are its implications
Is the HE a problem?What are its implications?

Is the historic episcopate contrary to Luther's teachings and to the Lutheran Confessions?



Anti CCM

  • YES
  • Luther wrote, “In the church, the succession of bishops does not make a bishop, but the Lord alone is our bishop.” (WA 53:74)
  • Article 7 of the Augsburg Confession states, “... For the true unity of the church it is enough (satis est) to agree concerning the teaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments.”
  • NO
  • Fifteen million Lutherans throughout the world live in churches with bishops in an evangelical and historic succession.
  • The Apology to the Augsburg Confession (Article 14) states that it was the “deep desire” of the Reformers to preserve a reformed but episcopal polity.
is the he a problem what are its implications17
Is the HE a problem?What are its implications?

Does CCM make episcopal succession essential either to the church, to church unity, or to a true ministry of Word and Sacrament?



Anti CCM

  • NO
  • In CCM both the ELCA and the ECUSA agree that episcopal succession is not essential to the church as church.
  • The Episcopal Church will declare its acceptance of all present ELCA ministries, i.e. ordinations done outside the historic succession.
  • The ELCA will continue to witness to its acceptance of non-episcopal ministries through its communion with the Reformed Churches.
  • YES
  • Lutherans have believed Christ as we know him through the “Word” and Sacraments is all we need to constitute the church.
  • CCM requires that from now on we must accept the historic episcopate.

Confused? Here is the actual language of Paragraph 13 of CCM

“While our two churches will come to share in the historic institution of the episcopate in the church each remains free to explore its particular interpretations of the ministry of bishops in evangelical and historic succession.”

The Episcopal Church is free to maintain that sharing in the historic catholic episcopate, while not necessary for salvation or for recognition of another church as a church, is nonetheless necessary when Anglicans enter the relationship of full communion …

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is free to maintain that this same episcopate, although pastorally desirable… is nonetheless not necessary for the relationship of full communion.

is the he a problem what are its implications20
Is the HE a problem?What are its implications?

Does CCM deny a Lutheran understanding of the priesthood of all believers or the priesthood of the baptized?


Anti CCM


  • YES
  • The role of the laity will be diminished over against the threefold order of ordained ministry prescribed by the ECUSA: bishop, priest, deacon.(This threefold ministry was rejected by the ELCA in its 1993 national assembly.)
  • Regardless of its implement-ation, the sense of our church’s structure is being modified.
  • There is an important difference between affirming the “ministry of all people” (as CCM does) and the “priesthood of all believers.”
  • NO
  • The Lutheran churches which already stand in the historic episcopal succession, such as the Church of Finland or the Lutheran Church in El Salvador, also affirm the priesthood of the baptized.
  • CCM explicitly affirms the ministry of the whole people of God (Par. 6).
is the he a problem what are its implications22
Is the HE a problem?What are its implications?

Will CCMgive more power to bishops?

Does CCM state that the ELCA will have bishops-for-life?



Anti CCM

  • NO
  • The constitutional powers of the bishops are in no way increased by CCM.
  • CCM explicitly states that ELCA bishops will continue to have limited terms of service (par. 18). The earlier Concordat's reference to a “life service” of bishops has been eliminated.
  • YES
  • In practice, this document leads us into a much more hierarchical structure where bishops, who are “fully interchangeable” with Episcopalian ones, will have a different status than before and a higher status in relation to pastors.
is the he a problem what are its implications24
Is the HE a problem?What are its implications?

Will CCM truly enhance our mission and ecumenical goals?



Anti CCM

  • NO
  • CCM forces us into a rigid, hierarchical structure that is not suited to today’s mission needs.
  • CCM does not enhance Church unity because this historical episcopate is not recognized by either the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Churches.
  • CCM makes it more difficult to be in ecumenical dialogue with other Protestant and evangelical denominations which do not recognize the HE.
  • Mission should not be depen-dent on acceptance of the HE.
  • YES
  • CCM witnesses to our unity in Christ.
  • CCM opens up possibilities of sharing ministries that will further the outreach of both church bodies.
  • Sharing new mission starts and developing common mission plans with full communion partners are a cost-effective use of mission resources.
make it simple
Make it simple.

For the sake of ecumenism or of Lutheranism, is the issue of the historic episcopate something to celebrate or about which to be concerned?

What difference will it have on our church at both a national and local level?

if you are in favor of ccm you should consider
If you are in favor of CCM, you should consider:
  • Can’t there be some other way to have an ecumenical, mission-oriented relationship with the Episcopal church without insisting on the adoption of the historical episcopate?
  • Even though we are not asked to adopt the historic episcopate as essential doctrine, doesn’t our adoption of it in practice essentially change the ELCA?
if you are opposed to ccm you should consider
If you are opposed to CCM, you should consider:
  • Clearly define what you don’t like about CCM. Are you unhappy about what will happen or what might happen?
  • Is the problem with the historical episcopate simply that we don’t want anyone telling us what we have to do?
  • Do you have a problem with the concept of the historical episcopate, or is the problem that the adoption of the historical episcopate is required?
what has happened since denver
What has happened since Denver?
  • WordAlone Network: Resist HE by providing support to pastors and bishops who oppose HE, action through synod resolutions, etc.
  • Milwaukee Common Ground Resolution: Interpretation of “regularly” to provide flexibility; delay implementation until after CWA 2001; provide for either non-HE bishops as full bishops or non-HE synod
  • Eastern ND Synod Resolution (3.24.00): allow for local implementation or refusal of HE
what has happened since denver30
What has happened since Denver?
  • Conference of Bishops Pastoral Letter: affirms CCM but encourages exploration of “unusual circumstances”
  • ELCA Church Council Response (4.7-9.00): affirmed 1.1.01 as implementation date; received Conf. of Bishops letter; no response to Common Ground; EaND resolution ruled “contrary”
  • ECUSA actions: Affirm CCM without Bishop’s commentary; after implementation, any ELCA ordination without HE not interchangeable
what options do we have
What options do we have?

We should enthusiastically support the decision our ELCA has made, because CCM is a wonderful agreement that will enhance our mission and unity in Christ.


what options do we have32
What options do we have?

There is nothing wrong with the CCM, and it is one with which we can live and have faithful ministry.


what options do we have33
What options do we have?

CCM will not really make a difference, so it doesn’t really matter.


what options do we have34
What options do we have?

Adopting CCM was not my preference, and it is now important that we make sure that it is implemented in a manner faithful to our Lutheran heritage.


what options do we have35
What options do we have?

Adopting CCM was a terrible mistake that compromises our Lutheran heritage. We will, however, remain with the ELCA and do all we can to resist CCM’s implementation until the requirement of the historical episcopate is removed.


what options do we have36
What options do we have?

Adopting CCM was a tragedy that destroys our Lutheran heritage.

We are leaving the ELCA.


where do you stand

Where do you stand?

Enthusiastic Acceptance

Constructive Acceptance

Cautious Cooperation


Active Resistance

Resignation from ELCA

what options do we as a congregation or as individuals have
What options do we as a congregation or as individuals have?
  • Support ELCA
  • Voice concern, keep Church in prayers
  • Work through official channels (e.g., congregational or synod resolutions)
  • Modify our support of the ELCA
  • Pledge resistance to CCM (e.g., support WordAlone)
  • Withdraw from ELCA