Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lutherans are not dead yet...

Well, it comes as no surprise that the numbers of Lutherans in the US is down about 10%, 11% in Sweden, and 17% in Germany.  We all know that.  What may come as a surprise is that the number of Lutherans in the so-called third world or second tier countries is booming!

Lutherans in Nigeria have increased 390%, Ethiopia up 495%, Slovakia up 631%, the Netherlands up 782% (what's up here???) and, are you ready, up 1,379% in India!  Wow!  Lutherans are exploding in some parts of the world.  There are more Lutherans in India and the Netherlands than in the ELCA, about the same size as the Wisconsin Synod in Slovakia, and more Lutherans in Ethiopia and Nigeria than in all the US Lutheran groups combined!

These Lutherans have been paying attention to what we in the West seem to have forgotten -- the vibrancy of our Word and Sacrament, Law and Gospel faith.  Would that we were experiencing the same kind of growth!  Whether or not we realize it, the promise is there.  Where we are faithful, God brings much fruit.  Sometimes that fruit is seen in growth in numbers; other times it is in growth in faith and maturity.  I just wish we actually believed what we confessed -- that God works through the means of grace.

11 comments:

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

How long before they're sending evangelists to North America?

Lund Family said...

Are these large numbers of Lutherans indentifiable as confessional Lutherans or just Lutheran in name only?

Anonymous said...

Re numbers of confessional Lutherans versus Linos, it's not like we can quantify that in the US, how could we expect to do that worldwide?

Eric said...

Pastor Peters, could you please share the citation source for these statistics? I'm not doubting them at all, but I'd love to be able to cite chapter and verse when I share them. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Judas Priest....Lutherans or Name Only Lutherans, Christians or Name
Only Christians... Only Christ can
look into a person's heart to see
if their faith in Him is genuine.
This is the reason for the labels of
visible and invisible church.

Pastor Peters said...

Actually I got them from the newest issue of the Thrivent magazine... which I do not have with me or I would gladly offer the source.

Eric said...

No problem, Pastor. Knowing it was in the Thrivent magazine is enough. I'm a librarian, you see.... :-)

Sage said...

What's telling is that (excepting for the Netherlands and Slovakia) they're all 3rd world nations. I think for the most part, Americans and Europeans are too comfortable to NEED Christ.

Blanket statement I know, but for those who have not much by our standards, seem to have grasped that which is the most vital to life. Eternal life as well.

Pr. Alex Klages said...

With regards to the Netherlands, I think that's a creative accounting thing where the tiny Lutheran body merged into a much larger union church, which was then accepted into LWF. I'd love to be proven wrong though.

William Tighe said...

I tried to post a comment along the lines of Pr. Klages' last night, but it vanished. I suspect that the Dutch statistics reflect the merger, a couple of years ago, of the small (and liberal) Lutheran Church of the Netherlands with two liberal Reformed bodies, the "Hervormed Kerk" (the historic, formerly semi-established, Dutch Reformed Church), and the "Gereformeerd Kerk" (a body that originated in the 19th Century as a somewhat more conservative split from the Hervormed Kerk). They all share a common liberalism in what is now named the "Protestant Church of the Netherlands."

Anonymous said...

Those statistics won't mean much until we discover how many of those churches are in fellowship with the LCMS (or should be).

Thrivent forgot to mention the Lutheran Church of Madagascar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malagasy_Lutheran_Church

When will this church break fellowship with the ELCA and align with the LCMS????