Lutherans/ELCA and Presbyterians


Greetings to you!

I have been a member of ELCA since 2006( I was actually raised LC-MS but, due to a particular lifestyle change that the LC-MS doesn't favor, I chose to leave them for ELCA).  I am a member of a local ELCA church in my hometown and, about the last year or so, I've been finding myself wanting something more in church.

So, I have been attending a small local Presbyterian Church(USA) for the last 1.3 years now.  And, I find myself wanting to leave the ELCA because I find myself very unhappy at my current ELCA Church.  I have been very hesitant in leaving the ELCA church and become a full member of the Presbyterian Church for some odd reason and, I can't quite place my finger on what the problem maybe.

This little PC(USA)church does almost the same amount of liturgy that the ELCA does and, they have communion only once a month(not that it matters one way or the other).  But, would you say that this is just being overly cautious about "moving on"?  Oh, one more piece of info about this little PC church, they have a total membership of around 35 and are "teetering on closing its doors".  But, their church attendance is around 14-15 per Sunday.

Thank you


Thank you for your question, and sorry about not getting right back to you.

So often our experience with being part of any church really boils down to the local level.  We may agree or disagree with a denomination or a position that that denomination takes (or doesn't take) but really, at the end of the day, it is the community of believers that we are closest to that determines how where we choose to participate in our journey of faith.

I would say, therefore, that if you are not feeling part of the local ELCA congregation and are finding a spiritual community where you can serve and grow at the local PCUSA congregation, then you should not feel bad about attending there.  If they do close at some point, you can always go back to the ELCA congregation if you so choose.  You could also be part of the energy that perhaps helps the Presbyterians find more folks to join with them to make a difference in your community.  

I hope that this helps,

Martin Eldred


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Martin W. Eldred


I have been a Lutheran Christian for 56 years and a Lutheran pastor for almost 28. I can answer most general questions about Luther, Lutheran History, Lutheran Theology, and a Lutheran approach to Biblical Interpretation. I am ELCA, for those who know what that means, and I tend to be moderate theologically. I hope that I can converse with those that are either more conservative or liberal than I, and especially with those who are really just seeking.


Pastors are "generalists" and generally have a working knowledge on many subjects. We are also used to working with a variety of answers from a variety of people. I teach a great deal, especially in the area of the New Testament. I particularly enjoy the Pauline literature. I have a PhD in New Testament and my dissertation was on II Corinthians.

I have been a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, an international gathering of biblical scholars and teachers, since the late 1980s.

I have written a few book reviews for the journal, "Lutheran Quarterly."

I have a B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University in Religion (Biblical Studies)and a Master of Divinity from Wartburg Theological Seminary. I also have PhD in New Testament.

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