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Evangelical Lutheran Church, The.

1. Name adopted 1946 by The Norw. Luth. Ch. of Am. (see pars. 13–14).

2. Membership of the ELC was midwestern, with more than 70% of it in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, the rest in other states, Can., and Mex.

3. Large-scale Norw. migration to Am. began 1825 when the sloop “Restaurationen” landed in New York with 53 immigrants. The stream increased till ca. 1890, then tapered off to the present trickle. The Ev. Luth. Ch. drew its strength largely from these people and their descendants.

4. Among characteristics of Norw. Luths. in Am.: loyalty to the Word of God; deep-seated piety colored by the Haugean movement (see Norway, Lutheranism in, 10); confessionalism.

5. Two gen. tendencies developed among Norwegians in Am., one “low ch.,” the other liturgical, each with added features.

6. The “low ch.” tendency developed under E. Eielsen,* a product of the Haugean movement in Norw., but not as sympathetic with the nat. ch. as H. N. Hauge* had been. Among Eielsen and his followers little emphasis was placed on the hist. liturgy of Norw. Lutheranism, much on the priesthood of believers and on development of spiritual gifts; training leaders was not given as much prominence as in other groups of Norw. Luths.

7. The liturgical tendency developed under leadership of ordained pastors trained in the Ch. of Norw. Among those connected with this tendency: N. O. Brandt,* C. L. Clausen,* J. A. Ottesen,* A. C. Preus,* H. A. Preus,* and H. A. Stub.*

8. In 1851 The Norw. Ev. Luth. Ch. in Am. was organized at the Luther Valley Ch., Rock Prairie Settlement, Wisconsin, by A. C. Preus, H. A. Stub, C. L. Clausen, and 30 representatives of 18 congs. This organization was dissolved 1852. In 1853, under leadership of A. C. Preus, The Norw. Ev. Luth. Ch. in Am. was organized at Koskonong, WI; its name was changed 1867/68 to The Syn. for the Norw. Ev. Luth. Ch. in Am.; it is also known as Norw Syn. Represented at the 1866 Reading, Pennsylvania, convention (see General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in [North] America, 2) but not represented 1867 at the 1st conv. of the Gen. Council.

9. Characteristics of this Norw. Syn.: strict Luth. orthodoxy; sovereignty of the local cong.; requirement of a cong. call for anyone to preach in a cong.; use of the clerical vestments and liturgy of the Ch. of Norw. Helped form the Ev. Luth. Synodical*Conf. 1872.

10. The Norw. Syn. was larger and stronger than the Eielsen group. But in January 1880 F. A. Schmid(t)* publicly attacked statements of C. F. W. Walther* on predestination; as a result of subsequent controversy the Norw. Syn. left the Synodical* Conf. 1883; ca. one third of the Norw. Syn. withdrew 1887 and est. the Anti-Missouri* Brotherhood. In 1890 the Brotherhood, The Conf. for the Norw.-Dan. Ev. Luth. Ch. in Am., and the Norw.-Dan. Augustana Syn. united to form The United* Norw. Luth. Ch. in Am.

11. The Lutheran* Free Ch. was organized 1897 as a result of controversy in the United Norw. Luth. Ch. in Am. over control of Augsburg Sem., Minneapolis, Minnesota, and over the nature of ministerial training.

. At the beginning of the 20th c. Norw. Luths. in Am. were divided into the Norw. Syn., organized 1853; Hauge's Norw. Ev. Luth. Syn. (see Eielsen Synod; Hauge Synod); the United Norw. Luth. Ch. in Am., organized 1890; the Luth. Free Ch., organized 1897; the Eielsen Syn.; and the Church* of the Luth. Brethren of Am.

13. In 1905 Hauge's Norw. Ev. Luth. Syn. invited Norw. ch. bodies to hold discussions with possible union in view. The invitation was favorably received by the Norw. Syn. and the United Norw. Luth. Ch. in Am., but it was not till 1917 that the 3 chs. merged, forming The Norw. Luth. Ch. of Am. A small minority of the Norw. Syn. declined to enter the merger and in 1918 formed The Norw. Syn. of the Am. Ev. Luth. Ch. (see Evangelical Lutheran Synod). See also Madison Settlement.

14. The Norw. Luth. Ch. of Am. experienced steady growth and healthy development. In 1946 its name was changed to The Ev. Luth. Ch.

15. It helped form the NLC 1918, the LWC 1923, the Am. Luth. Conf. 1930, and the LWF 1947. It became the 3d-largest gen. Luth. body in Am. (after the ULC and the LCMS). Pres.: H. G. Stub* 1917–25; J. A. Aasgaard* 1925–54; F. A. Schiotz 1954–60.

16. The ELC became part of The American* Luth. Ch. at the end of 1960. OGM

See also Lutheran Council in Canada, 2; Norwegian Foreign Missions, 4; Tokai Evangelical Lutheran Church; Universities in the United States, Lutheran, 3.

C. Anderson, The Doctrinal Position of the Norwegian Synod: A Brief Survey of the Position in Doctrine and Practice Held by the Old Norwegian Synod Prior to the Merger of 1917 (n. p., n. d.).


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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