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A New User Guide to the

Church of the Lutheran Confession

By Pastor Bruce Naumann
2012 by the CLC Board of Education and Publications
501 Grover Road, Eau Claire, WI, 54701

Revised: November 2016


A “synod” or denomination is a group of congregations that share the same beliefs and organizational structure. Our synod is the Church of the Lutheran Confession. The word “confession” is in the name because of our emphasis on “confessing” to the world only the true teachings of the Word of God. The CLC is dedicated to proclaiming the Good News of Christ crucified for sinners. It is made up of congregations throughout the United States and Canada, as well as affiliated churches in other countries. Our teachings and practices conform to the Scriptures (the Holy Bible), since we bow to the authority of God's inerrant and inspired Word. The salvation won for all people through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the driving force behind our efforts as a confessional Lutheran church.

All CLC member churches confess that the Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. They confess the creeds of the Lutheran Church without qualification, as they are found in the Book of Concord of 1580. Scripture itself is the source and foundation of Christian teaching and faith — while the Lutheran Confessions faithfully set forth what the Bible teaches. The name of our church body is a witness to what we believe; it is a continual reminder of our responsibility to be truly Lutheran, and therefore Scriptural in our teaching and in our practice. This principle holds true among us: “If it is not scriptural, it is not Lutheran!”



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From 1872 until about 1961 there were various conservative Lutheran synods that made up a larger federation, called the "Synodical Conference." Originally, this included the Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Synod, the Norwegian Synod, and the Slovak Synod. Organizationally, these synods remained separate from each other, but were in fellowship together, and thus were able to exchange pastors and teachers, and commune in one another's churches.

This fine arrangement for like-minded Lutherans was spoiled, however, because of unscriptural doctrine and practice that grew in the Missouri Synod throughout the 1940's and 50's. Among other things, the Missouri Synod abandoned Scriptural practices concerning lodges and Scouting, and at one point declared its agreement with the liberal American Lutheran Church. Over many years the Wisconsin Synod protested these departures from Scriptural doctrine and practice in the Missouri Synod, but things grew worse instead of better.

At its 1955 Convention, the Wisconsin Synod identified the Missouri Synod as a false-teaching church body. The right thing to do at this point would have been to withdraw from fellowship with Missouri, as well as from the Synodical Conference. This would have been in simple obedience to the instructions that God has given us in Romans 16:17 to "note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them." They repeatedly failed to do so, however. Many who were conscience-bound to remain true to the Scriptures founded the CLC in 1960.

Some assume that the CLC is still a separate church body because we felt that Wisconsin should have separated sooner than it did. In point of fact, it was not an issue of timing. Instead, the central issue was—and still is—a doctrinal difference about the reason why a separation must take place. When the WELS and ELS did sever their fellowship with the LCMS, the reason given was not the fact of false teaching within the LCMS, but because they had become convinced, in their own human judgment, that further admonition would not be productive. This was a new and unscriptural fellowship principle. (For more information on this and other issues that separate the CLC from other Lutherans, see

For more than 50 years since that time, the CLC has been a separate Lutheran church body, maintaining its own churches, schools, and publications. While we do not remain separate for the sake of being separate, we are convinced that the joint exercise of our faith should be reserved for those who are agreed on all the teachings of the Bible.

“Our right of existence as a church body has been established by our Lord’s commission to ‘preach the gospel to every creature’ (Mark 16:15). Therefore we are committed to say with the Apostle Paul: ‘I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified’ (1 Corinthians 2:2).’ From the CLC Statement of Faith and Purpose

Officers of the CLC: Pastor Paul Nolting, Moderator; Pastor Wayne Eichstadt, Secretary; 
Pastor Mark Bernthal, Vice President; and Pastor Michael Eichstadt, President


Ingram Hall: seminary and college classrooms.

The Academic Center: classrooms, library,
and administrative offices.

Graduation Day at Immanuel

Nestled in the quiet beauty of the tall green pines, God has set our Alma Mater,
guiding hearts and minds. Built on Jesus’ words of promise - - O Lord, bless her well!
Thus may e’er our Alma Mater be Immanuel!”


Some of the delegates of the 2016 CLC Convention


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Students and teachers of the CLCI Seminary, India

Executive Committe, CLC M, Myanmar

Participants in the East Africa Pastors’ Conference, with Nathanael Mayhew

Leaders and Pastors of the Himalayan CLC of Nepal

Visiting Missionary Rev. Todd Ohlmann & India Missionary Rev. Peter Evensen


The majority of the work of our church body is done through contributions to the CLC General Fund. Each year, congregations estimate their monetary contributions to the General Fund. This is called the “Cooperative Budget Plan,” or CBP. Each board sets its budget according to this plan. How these funds are used is shown in the diagram below.

The CLC also has four auxiliary funds, to which CLC members can contribute:

There are also several endowment funds: The Student Aid Fund Endowment, the CLC Foundation, the ILC Scholarship Endowment, and the Public Ministry Preparation Endowment.

CLC members most often contribute to these funds through their local congregational offerings. Your offering envelope may have several of these funds listed, or you can write on your envelope to direct contributions to a particular fund. Contributions can also be mailed directly to: CLC Treasurer, 501 Grover Rd., Eau Claire, WI 54701.

Diagram by Pastor Wayne Eichstadt


  • The CLC publishes a monthly devotional magazine, the Lutheran Spokesman, featuring timely articles on Scriptural subjects, as well as announcements concerning synodical matters. You may subscribe ($18/yr) through your local congregation, or by writing to: Lutheran Spokesman, 2750 Oxford Street North, Roseville, MN 55113.

  • The Journal of Theology is a quarterly publication, featuring scholarly articles by CLC pastors and professors. Subscriptions are $18/yr by mail at: Journal of Theology, 2750 Oxford Street North, Roseville, MN 55113.

  • CLC Ministry by Mail is a weekly publication of the CLC which offers the Gospel of Christ through printed sermons. Subscriptions are free by email, or by regular mail ($42/yr). Contact Pastor Wayne Eichstadt at The mailing address is: 417 Woodhaven Lane, Mankato, MN 56001.


Official online site of the

Immanuel Lutheran

“God’s Hand” Sunday school

CLC Missions


Statement of Faith and



For a complete history of the CLC, we recommend Out of Necessity,
authored by retired Pastor/Professor David Lau, available from:

The CLC Book

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