The Concordia Lutheran Conference (CLC) is not a church in the Scriptural use of that word (as some synodical organizations seek to represent themselves), but is an organization of local churches or congregations bound together in true God-pleasing fellowship based on complete unity of faith and confession in accordance with God’s Word.
Membership in such an outward body is not required by Holy Scripture, nor is a synodical organization anywhere exemplified in the Bible. Yet purely practical considerations often make it advantageous for local churches to engage in cooperative projects with others of the same fellowship—things that would be unlikely for a small church to pursue and accomplish on its own, such as the preparation of a future ministry, the publication of Christian education materials and periodicals, and large-scale mission work.
The Concordia Lutheran Conference is admittedly a small organization by anyone’s standards, but there is good reason for its congregations to hang together under its banner rather than to join the larger, more powerful, and more influential church bodies in outward Lutheranism.
Those “synods” are ridden with blatant heterodoxy, that is, false doctrine and practice contrary to the Word of God, concerning which they are unwilling to be admonished and to heed correction. Their errors are not matters of “minor moment” which they say should not be divisive of fellowship, but include, among others, denial of the inerrancy and authority of the verbally-inspired Scriptures, the deity of Christ, His vicarious atonement, the resurrection of the body, the virgin birth of Christ, and God’s objective justification of the world for Christ’s sake, as well as errors regarding the creation of the world, the home and family, and numerous other matters.
For us to join any of those bodies, having marked and knowing full well their false positions, would make us partakers of their sins (I Timothy 5:22) and dumb dogs returning to the vomit (II Peter 2:22) from which we disassociated ourselves when, in 1951, we left the already then heterodox Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in obedience to God’s clear command in Romans 16:17-18.
There are also several small groups, both in the United States and abroad, that claim to be conservative, most of which we have carefully examined as to their doctrine and practice; but they too have positions which are not sustained by Holy Scripture. Unlike the larger groups mentioned above, these tend to be legalistic and to err on the side of fanaticism, binding Christian consciences to doctrines of human invention. We can no more associate with them than with the others, and for the very same reason.
On the other hand, the Concordia Lutheran Conference is sincerely interested in seeking out those individuals, congregations, and church bodies who truly share our Scriptural position in doctrine and practice.