THE INDIANAPOLIS CONFERENCE NEWS
Volume 2, No. 2 -- May 1995
ANNOUNCING THE LMS-USA!
The Second Indianapolis moved far beyond the role of being merely a forum for
theological dialogue. Plans are that such dialogue will continue. However
at the April 24th and 25th conference the steering committee moved to form a
new Lutheran church body, the Lutheran Synod and Ministerium - USA.
The LSM-USA is described as a church body in the "conservative middle" or
"moderate conservative" position of American Lutheranism today. Major
theological emphases of the new entity include 1) a view of Holy Scripture as
"divinely inspired, inerrant, and infallible"; 2) the complete autonomy of
the local congregation; 3) a practice of liturgical worship; and 4) an
understanding of the Holy Spirit as working with the Church "solely through
Word and Sacrament." In regard to the last point, the LSM-USA has taken a
stand in "opposition to those who would narrow or limit the work of the Holy
Spirit through undue insistence on the legitimacy of the 'sign gifts' [i.e.
tongues, healings, prophecy, revelation] as being operative on a normative
basis in our day."
The LSM-USA traces its roots to four (4) American Association of Lutheran
Churches (AALC) pastors, who met in Chicago in March of 1994 to organize an
effort to counteract the inroads of neo-orthodoxy and charismatic renewal
movement theology in the AALC. These four (4) pastors, with backgrounds,
evenly divided in the former ALC and LCA, formed the "AALC Forum" as an
instrument of reform within that Synod. At the June 1994 convention of the
AALC, it became evident that all such efforts were futile. Following that
convention, the Forum added another pastor and congregation and subsequently
organized the first Indianapolis conference on Inerrancy which met in
Indianapolis in August of 1994. The result of that conference was the
Indianapolis Statement on Holy Scripture, which was given final form and
adopted as the position of the new LSM-USA at this year's Second Indianapolis
The LSM-USA will be an ongoing Forum for theological discussion for clergy
and laity. Synodical membership for pastors and congregations shall be by
subscription to a series of doctrinal statements. These include the
Indianapolis Statement on Holy Scripture, the (3) Ecumenical Creeds
[Apostles;, Nicene, and Athanasian], the Unaltered Augsburg confession, and
Luther's Small Catechism.
The Rev. Ralph Spears, pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Indianapolis,
was named temporary President/Pastor of the Synod and can be contacted for
further information at the church address 2837 East new York Street,
Indianapolis, Indiana 46201, and church phone (317) 637-8870. Congregations
involved in the formation of the LSM-USA are located in Wisconsin, Indiana,
INTRODUCING THE LUTHERAN SYNOD AND MINISTERIUM - USA
The Lutheran Synod and Ministerium-USA has been formed in the "conservative
middle" or "moderate conservative" position of American Lutheranism today,
The LSM-USA is a "coming together" of those who will covenant to "walk
together" through the "signing under" of a series of doctrinal statements.
Initial "subscription" is be to:
+ The Three Ecumenical Creeds
+ Luther's Small Catechism
+ The Unaltered Augsburg Confession
+ The Indianapolis Statement on Holy Scripture
The LSM-USA has abeen organized to provide:
+ A recommended list of clergy
+ An opportunity for fellowship, ministry and mission for "moderate
conservative" Lutherans or for those who see themselves in the "conservative
+ A Forum for theological discussion for laity and clergy.
+ Publication and/or recommendation of good, biblically sound, and
theologically solid educational materials.
What follows are several proposed brief statements on several
theological issues that have achieved consensus by the founding pastors. The
purpose of these statements is to assist individuals and congregations in
their assesment of this new opportunity for united efforts of fellowship and
mission. As the LSM-USA meets in Forum, more detailed statements will be
forthcoming to which member congregations will be asked to subscribe if they
wish to be with us in full fellowship.
1. We believe the Bible is God's Word and self-revelation to us, and as such,
it is without error in all it touches, whenever and however it speaks whether
in matters of faith, doctrine, history, geography, or science.
2. We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and
eternally existing in three persons; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3. We believe that Jesus is God incarnate, who through his sinless life,
atoning death, and bodily resurrection, won salvation over sin, death and the
power of the devil.
4. We concur with Luther's understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit,
who, solely through the Word and Sacraments, calls, gathers, enlightens, and
sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth. On the other hand, we stand
opposed to those who would narrow or limit the work of the Holy Spirit with
an undo insistence on the legitimacy for the "sign gifts" [i.e., tongues,
healings, prophecy, revelation etc.] being operative and even normative in
5. We believe that the Lutheran Confessions and the Apostles, Nicene, and
Athanasian Creeds contained in the Book of Concord of 1580 are the correct
exposition of the teaching of Holy Scripture.
6. We are a liturgical church. We practice, without reservation, the use of
the lectionary, vestments, and an order of service such as that found in the
7. We understand the basic unit of the church to be the local congregation.
As such, it should be self-governing and it alone should hold title to its
property. The LSM will have authority only to advise and recommend.
INDIANAPOLIS CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE
The presentations on the Holy Spirit and his Gifts presented at the Second
Indianapolis Conference are available in either booklet form or on audio
tapes. The four presentations are:
1. A Biblical Basis
Rev. Ralph Spears
2. What was Unique to the Apostolic Era
Rev. John Erickson
3. The Orthodox Lutherans
Rev. Donald Thorson
4. The Holy Spirit in the Means of Grace
Rev. Roy Steward
In book form, all four presentations will be available for around five
dollars. If you would like a copy, contact, Rev. John Erickson (P. O. Box
31, Chetek, WI 54728). If you desire a set of autio tapes, contact Rev.
Ralph Spears (the cost has not been determined as of this mailing).
The Third Indianapolis Conference
St Matthew Luth. Church
April 22 & 23, 1995
INDIANAPOLIS ANNOTATED STATEMENT ON HOLY SCRIPTURE
One of the more important items of business at the Second Indianpolis
Conference was reviewing and putting the Indianapolis Statement on Holy
Scripture in final form. The steering committee looked at two versions of
the statement in their pre-conference meeting. The decision was unamious to
go with the more detailed annotated version which would "flesh out" and make
clear, from our standpoint, a number of theological terms.
This 'worked over' statement was then presented to the Monday evening session
of the Conference for information and critique. The suggestions and concerns
expressed were taken into consideration at the post-conference steering
committee meeting where the statement was put in final form and given
This statement on Scripture is one of the doctrinal statements to which
innitial subscription will be required for membership in the LSM-USA. This
document is now available for distribution. If you should desire a copy,
contact one of the founding pastors.
The committee also gave the LSM-USA Constitution approval. It will soon
ready for distribution to those who request a copy.
In addition to the above business, the steering committee approved the name,
logo, and seal for the new church body as well as the application form and
procedure for clergy and congregational application for membership in the
The steering committee of the Indianapolis Conference is made up of one
clergy member and one lay representative from each of the member
congregations. Congregations represented at the recent conference were:
Faith Lutheran, Altoona, PA, Barley Ev. Lutheran, Bakers Summit, PA., St.
Matthew Lutheran, Indianapolis, IN, Christ Lutheran, Chippewa Falls, WI, and
Christ Lutheran, Chetek, WI. Only Community Lutheran of McAllister, WI, was
without representation. Rev. Ralph Spears, acting President/Pastor of the
LSM-USA may be contacted should you desire further information on this new
opportunity for fellowship and mission.
Rev. Ralph Spears
2837 East New York St.
Indianapolis, IN 46201
(317) 637-8870 (o)
(317) 356-8295 (h)