The Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America
(Adapted from the ELDoNA tri-fold pamphlet.
For a printable PDF version click
Should Lutherans apologize for the Reformation?
lot of modern “Lutherans” seem to
think so. In America, many “Lutherans” appear to want to be something
else, and so they adopt the worship services of the Baptists or
Pentecostals and are disinterested in biblical theology. Others weaken the
doctrine even further, claiming that they are now agreed with the Roman
Church concerning the doctrine of Justification. Others abandon any
pretense of standing on the foundation of God’s holy Word, teaching the lie
of theological liberalism which only views the Bible as one more
man-made book of human “wisdom.”
In practice, the name
“Lutheran” is reduced to some sort of ‘brand preference’ or they
think of the Church as simply one more ‘denomination’ among many. Many
of the clergy seem to wish they were something else—and wish that the
Church would be more like the Protestants or even Eastern Orthodoxy. Given
such a surrender of Lutheran teaching and practice, such individuals seem
bent on apologizing for the Lutheran Reformation.
apologies or excuses.
We reject all such
compromises. We believe it is time to be:
The Pastors of the Evangelical
Lutheran Diocese of North America (ELDoNA) reject any such surrender
of Lutheran doctrine and practice. They believe that it is far past time
for the Evangelical Lutheran Church to stand steadfast on the foundation
of God’s Word, and to boldly confess that faithful exposition of Holy
Scripture which is found in the Book of Concord (1580).
What is the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America?
First of all, we are
truly “Evangelical Lutheran”; that is to say, we are committed to
teach and do that which is in complete harmony with what is taught in the
Lutheran Confessions, the Book of Concord (1580).
What is a “diocese”?
A “diocese” is
simply an area of administration. The term is derived from a Greek word
which means “to keep house,” or “to administer.” Such an area of
“administration” is overseen by an “administrator,” which we,
following the received tradition of the Church throughout the ages, refer
to as “Superintendent” or “Bishop.” The use of the term
“Bishop” goes back to the earliest days of the Church; the term
“Superintendent” came into Lutheran usage in the 16th
century to designate the same office
What is the relationship of congregations to the diocese?
clergy are members of the diocese; a congregation served by a pastor of
our diocese remains ‘independent’ of any ecclesiastical structure, and
is directly under the spiritual leadership of the pastor whom the Lord has
called to serve in that place. We do require that a congregation which is
served by a pastor of our diocese does not itself hold membership in a
‘synod’ which is not in fellowship with the ELDoNA.
Does a congregation “join” the diocese?
No. Congregations served
by pastors of our diocese are not themselves “members” of the diocese;
the diocese makes no claims upon the property, etc. of
congregations served by pastors of our diocese. Congregations which are
seeking to call a pastor are welcome to consult the Superintendent/Bishop,
but he will not seek to impose a pastor on a congregation. Any
congregation which is served by a pastor of the diocese may refer to
itself as “affiliated” with the ELDoNA. It is hoped that congregations
will financially assist mission congregations affiliated with the diocese,
as well as engage in joint activities, including support of a seminary to
train future pastors.
What are the responsibilities of the Superintendent/Bishop?
“Superintendent” and “Bishop” are derived from Latin (superintendo)
and Greek (episcopeo) words which mean “to oversee.” Therefore,
a Superintendent/Bishop is one who “oversees” the diocese: he is
responsible for overseeing the admission of pastors into the diocese, and,
if necessary, the removal of pastors from the diocese; he is responsible
for conducting visitations of pastors; he offers fraternal guidance to
members of the diocese to encourage their unity in doctrine and practice;
normally he will ordain candidates for the ministry, and install pastors
of the diocese; and he chairs all synods and other meetings of the
How does a Pastor join the ELDoNA?
First, he should visit
our website (www.eldona.org) and read the documents “Niles
Theses” and “Malone Theses” which address various contended issues
which confront the Church.
Second, he should
contact the Superintendent/Bishop expressing his intent, so that the
diocese will have the opportunity to consider his application. The
applicant should provide a history of his service in the holy ministry and
should express in writing his agreement with the Niles and Malone Theses.
obligations does a Pastor have toward the diocese?
Those which he took in
his ordination vows with regard to his life, his doctrine, and his
practice. He will also be expected to actively participate in study and
mutual support of the brethren, and to assist (according to time and
ability) in shared labors of the diocese, and consents to the
administrative responsibilities of the Superintendent/Bishop.
A pastor may always
resign his membership in the diocese; through such action he forfeits any
further claim of affiliation, unless he is readmitted to the diocese in
the future. If, on account of false doctrine or immoral life, a pastor is
removed from the diocese, this does not terminate his call (such matters
rest with the congregation).
our congregation call a Pastor of the diocese?
Please contact the
Superintendent/Bishop and he will gladly assist you. We will also assist
in the supporting of Lutherans who desire to start mission congregations.
Our Seal: As Evangelical Lutherans, we retain
the “rose” of Dr. Martin Luther, which the Reformer created to
summarize the central teaching of Justification. The Jerusalem Cross in
the center of the rose signifies the five wounds of Christ. The words
“Verbum Dei Manet in Aeternum” (“The Word of God endures Forever”)
have been emblazed on Lutheran banners, shields and standards since the
time of John the Steadfast (1468–1532), the Elector of Saxony, who stood
with the Reformers at the time of the Augsburg Confession. “Concordia
A.D. 1580” confesses that our teaching is that of all true Evangelical
Lutherans across the generations.
The Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America
Rev. James D. Heiser
c/o Salem Lutheran Church, U.A.C.
718 HCR 3424 E
Malone, TX 76660
fax: (254) 533-2357
phone: (254) 533-2330