National Lutheran News

WordAlone Network considers developing a theological school

Instead of a full-blown seminary, the reform group may start a house of studies

Continuing to walk a careful path between what it considers to be the extremes of embracing the current direction of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and breaking away from the 4.8 million member denomination, members of Word Alone Network are exploring ways to influence the nation’s largest Lutheran body from within.

The latest initiative involves finding a way to shape theological education apart from the eight-seminary system already in place in the ELCA.

A task force was created to explore alternatives. In May of 2006, voting delegates at the reform group’s convention resolved to create an autonomous Lutheran theological “house of studies.”

In an article published in WordAlone’s newsletter, Network News, an update on progress was shared with readers. The task force recommended possible partnerships with Lutheran Bible Institute or Concordia University, an LCMS school in St. Paul, Minnesota.

While WordAlone has not indicated it intends to create a schism within the ELCA, it has launched several initiatives which may look to some observers like movement in that direction.

In addition to the house of studies project, the group is sponsoring the publication of Reclaim, a hymnal alternative to the recently published ELCA worship book, Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

The organization also maintains a service for matching sympathetic clergy with supportive WordAlone congregations.
WordAlone’s Spring 2007 convention is planned for April 29—May 1 at Calvary Lutheran Church, Golden Valley, Minnesota.