‘Confessional Lutheranism is here for this moment’
Almost 500 years ago, the Reformation, which proclaimed a pure
and undefiled Gospel to the world, began in the lowly city of
At the time of the Reformation, Wittenberg was a small, provincial
town with a developing university. Wittenberg appeared insignificant to
the world (and many would say the same today). Yet in a pattern that the
Lord has used over and over again throughout history, He chose what is
insignificant to the world to be significant in bringing His salvation
to all peoples.
Martin Luther would have had a difficult time imagining a gathering
of confessional Lutheran leaders at the dawn of the 21st century. Yet
Luther would confess and have the hope that as long as this world
exists, the Church of Christ will remain standing against the gates of
The papers presented in this issue of the Journal of Lutheran Mission
were presented at the second International Conference on Confessional
Leadership (ICCL) held in Wittenberg, Germany. The ICCL was held in
conjunction with the dedication of the Old Latin School, located across
from the Stadtkirche, Saint Mary’s, the congregation where Martin Luther
preached at least 1,000 times.
The Old Latin School will be a beacon for confessional Lutheranism to
the entire world. We hope in the coming years that the Old Latin School
will host many more conferences where papers of interest to Lutherans
worldwide are presented and published.
The ICCL in Wittenberg had representatives from 41 countries, which
represented 23 million Lutherans worldwide. The conference theme was
“Celebrating the Reformation Rightly: Remembrance, Repentance,
Rejoicing.” A goal of the conference was to help prepare world
Lutheranism for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the
Reformation in 2017. The papers presented in this journal are to
contribute to that anniversary celebration.
The Lord has blessed us greatly. Confessional Lutheranism is here for
this moment to take the confession of the Lutheran church into the
I hope that you enjoy the papers presented in Wittenberg and find
them edifying and helpful as you consider the upcoming celebration of
the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod