Lutheran Church Missouri Synod affirms creation in six days

by

Published: 1 August 2019 (GMT+10)
Lutheran-church

Often, news coming out of various denominations can be grim. It seems every month there is a new announcement about a traditionally conservative group accepting gay marriage or other liberal ideologies. However, recently there was very good news coming from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). The Christian Post reports, “At the 67th Regular Convention of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod on Tuesday [23 July 2019], the theologically conservative denomination adopted Resolution 5-09A, titled ‘To Confess the Biblical Six-Day Creation.’”1

The official LCMS newspaper comments, “Few, if any, Christians dispute God’s creating act. Many Christians, however, struggle with the age of the earth.”2 This makes the resolution taking a stand on this issue all the more important, as many people have questions about the age of the earth.

Another important part of this resolution is that it “instructs pastors to focus on teaching the parishioners they serve, especially youth, about these issues. It asks pastors to equip their people to give a respectful Christian witness about the biblical teaching regarding creation and the intersection of faith and science.” This is crucial, because it makes little difference to have a strong stand on creation as a denomination if the ‘average person in the pew’ is never informed about it. We appreciated the youth emphasis here. The need aptly demonstrated by CMI’s FALLOUT! survey of college campuses of once-Christian youth.

The creation litmus test

How a church treats creation is indicative of its other views. You can tell from the LCMS’s view of creation what they think about gay marriage, abortion, and other controversial social issues. That’s because in today’s culture, taking a stand on creation in six days is indicative of a view of biblical authority that is not overly concerned with how the wider culture views us. And most denominations allow for gap theory, day-age theory, or other creation compromises.

On the other hand, experience has unfortunately shown that a willingness to compromise on Genesis for intellectual credibility shows that it’s ultimately only a matter of time until one compromises on other issues. And this has disastrous consequences for people’s faith. It’s not uncommon for deconversion stories to feature the epiphany that science has discredited the Bible. Often, evolutionism is a crucial step toward atheism.

By taking a stand on creation and ensuring people are educated about it, the LCMS is ‘inoculating’ their people against faith-destroying skepticism.

It’s a great time to be a creationist!

The Reverend Doctor Matthew Harrison, president of the LCMS, is quoted as saying:

“We try to only say what the Bible says, and otherwise keep our mouths shut. It’s hard for me to believe the Genesis account, … but I do believe it because I believe it’s the Word of God.”2

We applaud such a faithful stance. But the Genesis account of creation is only hard to believe because most people are so ‘evolutionized’ by education and the media which make billions of years the standard assumption. But when one knows all the biblical and scientific evidence for biblical creation in six days, about 6,000 years ago, it becomes much easier to stand confidently and defend one’s belief in the Word of God.

We at CMI aren’t taking credit for the LCMS’s taking a stand on creation, but in general, creation information is more widely available than ever before from ministries like ours. Sites like creation.com and others have tens of thousands of articles defending the truth of creation and refuting the most common evolutionary and compromising long-age arguments.

Does your church take a stand on creation? What can you do in your own church, and perhaps even denomination, to strengthen the teaching on creation? We should be encouraged by the LCMS’s bold stand on creation, because it shows that the slow slide to liberalism is not inevitable. See here on how to host an event and show people that they don’t have to have a blind faith in this area, because the evidence is actually on this side of biblical creation—not evolution and billions of years!

References and notes

  1. Gryboski, M., Lutheran Church passes resolution saying ‘God created the world in 6 natural days’, The Christian Post, 25 July 2019, christianpost.com. Return to text.
  2. Askins, R., Convention confesses: ‘God created the world in six natural days’, Reporter, 24 July 2019, blog.lcms.org. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

Luke M.
Love the "...(this resolution) asks pastors to equip their people to give a respectful Christian witness..." part as too often too many areas, particularly in online chat/discussion rooms and threads become very heated and very disrespectful on both sides of the debate.This just turns people off. A respectful dialogue works wonders when witnessing to non-believers. Great news from the LCMS, praise God.
Tabitha D.
That is wonderful! Praise God!
Rev Robert W.
This is good news. It is high time that every denomination upheld Biblical creation and instructed their pastor-teachers to teach these things to their local churches.
Melvyne C.
Good news indeed. The Lutheran Science Institute (LSI) has its own web site. It is a producer and distributor of creation apologetic materials.
Grahame G.
This is so encouraging. I pray more and more denominations and individuals churches turn away from the lies and deception of man and turn to God's truth and stand firmly, uncompromisingly and intelligently on God's word.

Biblical (aka "young earth") creationism is the clear and unequivocal teaching of God's word and explains historical and scientific evidence far better for those with a humble heart.

If you still haven't trusted God's word yet and are holding onto the hypotheses of fallen humans who have little or no respect for God's word, surrender your will to God today. He is right. His word is easy to understand. And you will find freedom to see things far more clearly.
Tommy S.
Now would be a good time for CMI to reach out to this church and show them the resources they have available to help solidify their new stance.
Mikeorc W.
The incredible momentum of Christian mythology is falling off rapidly. Soon the authority granted to the tellers of silly stories will be negligible and educated people will be able to say openly, "That's stupid and is easily disproved".

The heavens were created after the earth?? Do we believe the ignorant priest from 2000 years ago who passed along this tripe or acknowledge that astronomy has shown that the earth is not the center of anything.

Religion is about old men trying to control the rest of us. Bad idea and thankfully the 'believers' will become fewer and fewer as time passes.
Lita Cosner
It is very easy to mail insulting declarations of victory, but a lot harder to substantiate those claims.
The truth is that Christianity vs evolution involves very deep worldview-level questions that both sides have to grapple with. Both Christianity and evolution involve claims about the beginning of the universe and life on earth that defy the laws of science. In other words, both Christians and evolutionists invoke miracles in their origin stories, but evolutionists have no miracle-worker.
Old men have traditionally held a lot of power in Western society, whether we’re talking about political leaders, religious leaders, or the early evolutionists. The history of the world is a lot less egalitarian than most would like to admit. The difference is that the Bible holds everyone, regardless of power or prominence, to the same standard.
Truth is not determined by how many people believe in it, but confident predictions of atheist utopias have all failed so far. In fact, even Richard Dawkins admits that Christianity may be a bulwark from something worse. So it is likely that what would replace Christianity is not atheism, but a different religion. Good thing then that there's no indication that Christianity is going anywhere.
Bruce D.
The Bible says that creation took 6 days. However, since the sun was not created until the 4th. day to mark the days Gen1:14-16), maybe 'day' means something other than 24 hours as we know it prior to the fourth day. We also know that Earth's rotation is slowing slightly with time. Thus, a 24 hour day was longer in the past. According to 2 Peter 3:8, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." I'm ok with a six day creation but am not so sure about the definition of 'day'.
Lita Cosner
Bruce, it is such compromise that the Lutheran church is taking a stand against. How would you get the idea that the days were long periods of time from Scripture? You wouldn't, that comes from evolutionary ideas that necessarily put death before sin, thus undermining the Gospel itself. See Did God create over billions of years? and 2 Peter 3:8: 'one day is like a thousand years for more information why your solution does not work.
Roystreet R.
I find it an interesting time seeing it has to be a denominational “resolution” to agree with Gods word. It is good that they affirm they believe the 6 day creation. Their “resolution” should be we believe the Bible at all points. At one time it would be almost unbelievable that they could even believe evolution or some type of hybrid creation-evolution
Denise E.
The resolution suggests studying three reports, totaling over 300 pages. They contain excellent discussions on creation and fall issues including theological concepts nearly unique to 6 day or "young earth" creation. However, I did not notice even a sentence about Noah's flood and fossils, or any scientific apologetics to support a young earth. The denomination appears to balk at mentioning scientific geological (vs. theological) young earth creationist information and commentary. I think this is a combination of tension within the denomination on age of earth issues, and reluctance to study or present scientific ideas/models which may become outdated or wrongly placed on the same level as scripture. This leaves interested laity (including children) and teachers usually searching outside denominational publications and schools for ways to handle issues like dinosaurs, fossils, and millions of years dating. Listening in a Bible class, participants not only mention young earth/six day creation, but also suggest a day-age theory, a non-historical Genesis, gap theories, or even evolutionary creation (theistic evolution). I suspect this situation is true of other conservative denominations. All should have and promote more accessible scientific information about 6 days for all of creation. Also, thanks to CMI for speaking to churches at venues other than a worship service.
Gary B.
Evolution says death brought about man but God says man brought about death.
Kenneth B.
Kenneth E. Bahr Teacher emeritus Milwaukee Lutheran High School
Thank you for bringing to our attention that we Lutherans Mo. Synod believe in a God-Creator of Heaven and Earth and in a 6 days creation. How did society of ancient times come up with the 7 day week outside of the Bible and Genesis referring to the length of the first week. We are expected to accept by faith what our God has inspired writers to write.
David H.
Thanks for this article! As a voting delegate to the convention, I was glad to see this resolution passed.

@GrahameG & TommyS, This isn’t a new position for the LCMS. It is a renewed affirmation of our existing position. The LCMS has proclaimed the Bible as God’s Word and the world as divinely created since its founding in 1847. Views shared with all confessional Lutherans since the Reformation.

Before Morris & Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood (1961), LCMS Professor Alfred Rehwinkel wrote The Flood-In Light of the Bible, Geology, and Archaelogy (1951) in which he confessed a biblically faithful interpretation of Noah’s Flood.

Rehwinkel wrote, “We accept this view of the original earth because a correct interpretation of the Creation account in Genesis compels us to do so. But here, as in so many other instances, we are not exclusively dependent upon Genesis or other parts of revelation for our information, but geology itself comes to our aid and produces the physical evidence for this view.”

@Roystreet R. Our recent resolutions focused on Creation, Marriage, Human Sexuality, etc. not because they are the only Biblical truths we proclaim, but they are key issues in church & society where the war for truth is currently being waged.

@Denise E. The LCMS has held firmly and consistently to the first sentence in the Rehwinkel quote. It has also been quite hesitant to delve into scientific conclusions even when they support Scripture. Historic Lutheranism has had such a strong “Scripture Alone” stance since Luther that it tends to limit other voices so as not to rival or overshadow God’s Word. An unfortunate side effect of that noble effort is that many of our pastors are unaware of the scientific evidences of the very creation account they already believe.
Ian M.
Hello Lita, "The truth is that Christianity vs evolution involves very deep worldview-level questions that both sides have to grapple with." May I suggest that Christianity [creation] vs evolution is not the fundamental issue. Isn't the real issue, truth vs anti-truth, "God said" vs "did God say"? The creation account is framed by the phrase "God said...", Gen.1 verses the serpent's first recorded words, spoken to Eve, "Did God say... ". Gen.3 It would appear that evolutionists are just repeating Satan's first words. and creating an illusion to justify their unbelief hoping others will follow them.
Philippus S.
God gives wisdom to those that fear Him, He Loves those that fear Him, He is the Creator of Heaven And Earth in Six day's on on the 7th He rested, blessed it and the Creation of seven day week was completed as well. Pro 19:8  He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good. They will not be a Christain Church if they found otherwise!
John M.
Considering we know that creation is nothing short of an impossible miracle, then how long does it take to do the impossible? The fact is, there is not enough time to do the impossible, it’s impossible. Okay, then how long to do the impossible with Divine intervention. Apparently 6 days!
Ademola A.
This is no big deal. I don't see the need for a "pat on the back here". Creation is a historical fact, regardless of what any church teaches. There are many churches that teach creation, but are yet apostate. Ultimately, even the good things we do as Christians are sinful and only acceptable to God , because of our Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the triune God Head. We are still unprofitable servants. Luke 17:10
Lita Cosner
While I appreciate the sentiment, the fact that the Lutheran church is standing strong in an area where many are compromising is a reason to publicize and celebrate it, we think.
John R.
The late Dr Ted Letis would have been very pleased! (I'm not sorry) [Editor: Dr. Ted Letis was a prominent member of the LCMS]
Judi K.
As a member of a LCMS, this brought me to thankful tears.
Morris G.
The Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Synod, of which I am a member, also holds to and teaches the creation in 6 days, young earth world view.
Thomas C.
Science and history are different. Science can only prove what is demonstrated today. And then assumes it also applies to other times. Since an assumption is not proof, science cannot prove the past events. Only accurate eye witnesses can report what has happened. So it is imperative to determine who was there to see that history.
Jeffrey V.
The Reverend Doctor Matthew Harrison, president of the LCMS, is quoted as saying:

“We try to only say what the Bible says, and otherwise keep our mouths shut. It’s hard for me to believe the Genesis account, … but I do believe it because I believe it’s the Word of God.”

I find this interesting... For me personally, 6 days creation is not hard to believe. If you're gonna make even an earthworm, (just a little one) what is the difference between a day or even years? We still can't do it. God can, and His creative power is likened to His regenerative power. Dr. Harrison's statement shows how he stands even though it is difficult because of pressure from evolutionary influence. That is commendable, praise God. But Denying the 6 days certainly undermines the gospel.
Anil G.
Given the most pastors I meet don't seem to believe in Genesis, I would say that Christian pastors are one of the most important targets for evangelism in the world today. I also sometimes wonder whether Christian pastors are in general furthering Christianity within the current international context, or whether they are in fact inhibiting it, due to various consequences of this lack of real faith. I don't come to this perspective easily or quickly. Exposing evolution is therefore probably the most effective evangelism tool in general for all audiences world wide. Do you know any "Christian" pastors who could make use of the resources at creation.com?
Lita Cosner
Actually, many pastors are using CMI's resources, not least by having CMI speakers in their churches! While I appreciate your realization that Genesis is important, we need to be careful not to send the message that people aren't saved if they compromise on Genesis. Even many people at CMI were old earth creationists or even theistic evolutionists for years after salvation before coming to realize the importance of biblical creation. Assuming that everyone who disagrees with us isn't saved isn't the best way to help other Christians understand why creation is important! See Can compromisers really be saved?
Joe Snead S.
If one looks at the earth’s geology and life forms with the same analysis a detective uses at a crime scene, you would have no problem with Genesis 1 thru 11. For example, a victim with 2 gunshot wounds to the back of his head did not commit suicide. If the current rate of sediment deposited in the Gulf by the Mississippi River had been going on for a millions of years, the entire Midwest would be gone by now. Conclusion: the earth is young. Hadn’t heard of Professor Rehwinkel. An amazing man. True, we don’t have to depend totally on the Genesis account. The evidence is right in front of us and should be properly taught.
Sonja W.
Praise the LORD! Our God reigns!
Richard F.
I believe that Jeffrey V. is missing Matthew Harrison's point. Of course "it's hard to believe the Genesis account". After all, which part of faith is easy? It's hard to believe that the Red Sea was parted so that Moses and a couple of million Israelites could walk through on dry land; it's hard to believe that Jesus walked on water; it's hard to believe that a dead man could come back to life after three days in a tomb; it's especially hard to believe that a person as completely sinful as me has been made clean from the inside out - more pure than the the whitest snow - as righteous as Christ Jesus Himself. There is no part of faith that isn't hard. Faith is not knowledge. It is a lifelong struggle. God's Word reminds us all to "fight the good fight of faith. And to anyone who thinks believing is easy, God's Word declares, "Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall". Nonetheless, by the Holy Spirit's power at work in us, we believe. I give God thanks for the faithful confession of the LCMS and of my own church body, Lutheran Church-Canada (which is a sister denomination of the LCMS). I thank God that they have always confessed every part of God's Word from start to finish to be the inspired, inerrant Word of God, including the Genesis 6-day creation account, which the LCMS reaffirmed at its most recent convention.
Pratha S.
THIS IS GREAT NEWS!! Going just by what the Bible says -- that everything was created in 6 literal days! The Bible has ALWAYS said this -- it's only man who doesn't want to believe it.Not only should ALL Christians believe it,Genesis{indeed the whole Bible}is living HISTORY! Do you really want to face the Lord and tell Him 'I didn't go along with the Genesis account'? That's a position you DON'T want to be in! Many people have the idea that when they see the Lord that they're really going to tell Him 'just how it is'.The truth is,it won't be that way -- HE will tell them! As I said -- that's a position you don't want to be in!
Paul S.
May revival come to the Lutherans! Come Holy Spirit come!
Arthur W.
We sometimes forget that God created the laws that govern nature and so He can adjust them at will. It's no harder to believe that God created the universe in 6 24 hour days than it is to believe He stayed the passing of the sun to create an extra long day for Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14) or back up the sun for Hezekiah (2 Kings:8-11), both which would seem to counteract normal physical laws
Philip U.
The Lutheran Church of Australia has held an official Biblical creation doctrinal position since 1972 (which reflects the doctrine of the church since its inception). It can be found here and is worth reading (under Volume 1 - B 'The Scriptures - Genesis 1-3: a doctrinal statement').

[link deleted per feedback rules]

Thankfully there does not seem to be any move within the church to change this doctrine, albeit it is not necessarily the personal position of some of the clergy and laity.
Anil G.
Just answering Lita, I agree with your comment wholeheartedly. I didn't mention the salvation issue though so I'm not sure what prompted such a reply. The issue is that unless pastors can encourage faith in Genesis they're not going to be able to build strong converts, and don't qualify as that themselves either. As Jesus said to the Pharisees "if you don't believe what Moses said, how will you believe me?"

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.