- Apostolic Lutheran Church of America
The Apostolic Lutheran Church of America is a
Lutheranchurch established by Finnish-Americansin the early 20th century. The Finns came principally from northern Norwayand were identified under the State Church. However, there were a number belonging to a party founded by Provost Lars Levi Laestadius, of Pajala, Sweden. Eventually, there were too many arguments between these and the other Lutherans and some of the followers of Laestadius were excluded from the Sacrament. Under the lead of Salomon Korteniemi the excluded formed a congregation of their own in December, 1872, under the name of the Salomon Korteniemi Lutheran Society. In 1879 this name was changed to the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Congregation. As other congregations of Finns in Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregonwere organized on the same basis, they came into fellowship with this body under the name of the Finnish Apostolic Lutheran Church, or, as it is usually called, the Apostolic Lutheran Church.
In 1995, membership in the denomination was estimated to include 7,700 members in 60 congregations.fn|1 It has sizeable congregations in
Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, New Hampshireand in various other countries, such as Canadaand Finland. The church is governed by an elected board of elders (the Central Board) which meets regularly at various locations across the United States and Canada. The ALCA has no central headquarters facility.
In general, the ALCA accepts the creeds of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and put emphasis on the necessity of regeneration and the practical importance of absolution from
sin.The majority of the doctrine within the Apostolic Lutheran Faith is based on Luther's Small Catechism; a collection of Martin Luther's teachings. Some may believe in order to become an official member, a person must be both baptizedand confirmedas an Apostolic Lutheran under a pastor's guidance. Multiple people have become members that have never been baptized or confirmed. A majority of members today believe that it is most important to be a Christian, and not where church is attended. Reading the Bible for oneself is greatly encouraged in the ALCA. The ALCA does not hold exclusive views (such as being only true church), which is very common in Finnish Lutheran churches. The majority of members in the ALCA feel the body of Christ extends far beyond their church walls.
* [http://www.apostoliclutheran.org/ Official Website]
fnb|1 Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, editor. 6th Ed., 1999. pp 93-94.
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