What is The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod?

The roots of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod run deep, tracing back to Lutheranism in Germany that resulted from the 16th century Reformation and more to the point, when in the mid-1800’s, Saxon - German immigrants established a new church body in America, seeking the freedom to practice and follow confessional Lutheranism.

The Lutheran Church in Saxony, Germany, their clergy and laity, was exposed to: “The Age of Rationalism.” Rationalism, as you may know, objectively divorced the church of its pure doctrine for the sake of reason and human logic for you see, a rationalist puts reason in the place of faith; he forgets that in God’s Kingdom of Grace not reason, but God’s Word must decide what we teach and profess. Those pastors who sided with the rhetoric of rationalism preached on current events, scientific discourses, and homespun advice. The Word was minimized; miracles were dismissed as fables. One preacher set the mood when from his pulpit he said: “I declare every so-called revealed religion to be a lie.” (Stockhardt, op.cit., 4) Faithful members of the Saxon Church were being starved for the preaching of the pure Word of God. Thus came about the Saxon determination to leave Germany and emigrate to America under the guidance of faithful-to-the-Word pastors.

The Saxons chartered five sailing vessels headed for New Orleans. On September 4, 1838, these included 6 pastors, 10 pastoral candidates, 5 teachers, 3 lawyers, 2 doctors of medicine, some businessmen and artists, and a large number of mechanics and farmers…more than 600 passengers boarded the vessels: Copernicus, Johann Georg, Republik, Olbers, and Amalia. They sailed out of Bremen in November of 1838 and all arrived in New Orleans early in January… all except the Amalia which was lost at sea.

From New Orleans, the new arrivals to America headed upstream by four steamers: Rienzi, Clyde, Knickerbocker, and Selma and arrived at their final destination, safely in St. Louis, Missouri by February 19, 1839.

During the next years, the new Lutherans-on-the-block established themselves firmly in the United States of America and built for themselves churches and schools and institutions of high learning.  Then on April 26, 1847, they “walked together” (meaning: “Synod”), including 12 pastors representing 14 congregations from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, New York and Ohio, and  signed their church body’s constitution on at First Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Chicago, Ill.  At this first meeting of the Synod they decided to call themselves: “The German Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States.” That name stuck until the Synod celebrated its 100th anniversary and at convention abbreviated its significant title to: The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

The people who belong to the local congregations of The Lutheran Church – Missouri are people of the Bible. The Bible is our Sacred Scriptures, the Word of God. We treasure God’s Word because it teaches us about eternal life through Jesus Christ. The Word is Gospel (“good news”) because it assures us of God’s love and faithfulness. It inspires us to tell others. It moves us to help people in need.

Three principles undergird our beliefs: Scripture, faith, & grace. The Scripture is the only source of knowledge about God and His will for us. Grace tells us that as human beings we cannot earn God’s love, forgiveness, or everlasting life. It is all a gift of His love. Only by faith in Jesus Christ do we receive forgiveness. Through faith in Him we come into a relationship of peace with God.

As people of the Word, we Missouri Synod Lutherans, while we often speak of “the cross” focus more on the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus died on the cross –but He rose from the dead to assure us that God accepted His sacrifice. He lives and promises us life and salvation in His name.


To this end, I welcome you to come & worship with us. Hear the message of God’s great love for you… a dying/risen love, an unconditional love, and everlasting life-giving love.