Volume 2, No. 2 -- May 1995


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,

and Pennsylvania.



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

our day.

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

Common Service.

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.



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

Indianapolis, IN

April 22 & 23, 1995



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)