We subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord originally published in 1580, because they are a faithful and accurate summary of biblical doctrine. Contained here are statements of doctrine that have been adopted by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the Norwegian Synod of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church (known as the "little" Norwegian Synod), or the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (known as the "old" Norwegian Synod). The present-day ELS considers itself the heir of all these adopted statements and confessions, and continues to teach and confess them as true and biblical.
(Clicking on the links below will take you to the ELS website)
The Evangelical Lutheran Synod traces its history back to 1853 when the "Norwegian
Synod" was organized in the Midwestern United States. They practiced "fellowship",
a form of full communion, with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) during
the 1850s and 1860s. In 1872, they along with the LCMS and the Wisconsin Evangelical
Lutheran Synod (WELS) formed the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North
In 1917, the Norwegian Synod merged with two other Norwegian Lutheran groups and formed the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, later named the Evangelical Lutheran Church. This led to disagreement among members of the Norwegian Synod. The people who became the ELS had concerns regarding fellowship with those who did not share the same doctrine. The Norwegian Synod had taught that conversion and salvation were entirely the work of God without any cooperation from humans. The new merged church allowed that conversion depended in some degree on humans accepting God's grace. A group of people therefore gathered at Lime Creek Lutheran Church near Lake Mills, Iowa, in June 1918 and reorganized as the Norwegian Synod of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church (also known as "Little Norwegian" Synod) The name was later changed to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in 1957.
Around 1957, the ELS broke "fellowship" with Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America and the LCMS over doctrinal disagreements, though they retained fellowship with the WELS.
In 1993, the ELS and WELS working with a number of other worldwide Lutheran churches, some of which had been founded through mission work by both synods, founded the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC).
The Supremacy of Christ
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.