Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church

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Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church
Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church
branch Protestantism
Belief Evangelical-Lutheran
old denomination
organization structure 4 regions, 10 church districts
bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt
Establishment date 1972
Members 33,349 (as of 2018)
Communities 174 parishes in 110 parishes

The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) is a Lutheran church of old denomination in the legal form of a corporation under public law with its seat in Hanover . The church describes itself as a Lutheran confessional church. There are SELK communities all over Germany.


The church-historical origins and development of free and state-independent Evangelical Lutheran churches up to today's independent Evangelical Lutheran Church are extremely complex.

The oldest and largest predecessor church was the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church , which was created in 1830 due to the disputes over the state-ordered union of the Lutheran and Reformed Church in Prussia. This Lutheran church remained independent until 1972 (for the Federal Republic of Germany) or until 1991 (for the German Democratic Republic). In 1972 (West) and 1991 (East) she joined the SELK.

In dealing with rationalism and other theological directions of the 19th century, independent Evangelical Lutheran churches also emerged in other parts of Germany:

The four last-named Lutheran confessional churches merged in 1945 to form the (old) Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1950 the Renitente Church of the unchanged Augsburg Confession in Hesse (Kassel; Althessische Kirche) joined the (old) SELK as the fifth church.

The (old) Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church was structured on a federal basis. The leadership had a five-member superintendent college chaired by the church superintendent. This office was held by Lic. Werner Srocka ( Hermannsburg , Celle district) and Horst Brügmann ( Wriedel , Uelzen district).

The (old) SELK joined two other Lutheran churches of old denomination in 1972, namely

  • the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church (on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany ) and
  • the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church (also in the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany) to form today's Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church.

This church was joined in 1976 by the Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Church in the Diaspora and in 1991 by the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church in the GDR as further churches. With that it reached the current area of ​​distribution of its communities. However, it does not include all independent Lutheran congregations in Germany, i.e. not belonging to any regional church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Baden, which has been in church fellowship with the SELK again since 1983, and the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church continue to exist . There is no church or communion fellowship with this. The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church terminated this in 1989.


The SELK defines its teaching on the basis of the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. This attitude was already decisive for the founding of the predecessor churches, for example from the rejection of the 1817 state-ordered and sometimes violently enforced union of the Lutheran and Reformed Church in Prussia to the Evangelical Church in Prussia . Today the SELK exercises restraint or is hostile to certain tendencies in Lutheranism such as B. liberal , feminist or political models of interpretation of the Bible or the confessional writings. The SELK thus stands for a conservative line of tradition in Lutheran theology .

The Lutheran Confessions

The Luther rose : a symbol of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches

The Lutheran Confessions are for the SELK as the only valid and binding interpretation of the Bible. That is why the SELK binds itself to the Lutheran Confessions because they correspond to the statements of the Bible; this quia bond is based on the concord formula in the introduction "On the summary concept". Thus the SELK is a Concord Lutheran Church. Nevertheless, the Lutheran confessional writings from the Bible must be checked (norma normata), even if this normative application is in turn characterized by a strictly applied Lutheran tradition of interpretation. In contrast to this, the Lutheran regional churches in the VELKD are bound by the Lutheran Confessions, insofar as (quatinus binding) they agree with the Bible. This different interpretation makes it possible to represent a far larger and more liberal range of interpretations and also to allow opposing positions within a church.

The following Lutheran confessions are in the SELK confession:

  • The early church creeds (also called ecumenical creeds)
  1. The Nicene Creed (325/381)
  2. The Apostles' Creed (approx. 200)
  3. The Athanasian Creed (approx. 250)

These Lutheran confessions are summarized in the Book of Concords from 1580.

The four Lutheran solos

The four soli of the Lutheran Reformation find their correspondence in the teaching of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church:

  • The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the infallible Word of God , according to which all teaching and teachers are to be judged ( sola scriptura ). The Bible is therefore norma normans (it normalizes every norm).
  • In teaching and practice, Jesus Christ alone is the center of this Church ( solus Christ ).
  • The justification of the sinner by grace alone ( sola gratia ) is expressed in the biblical proclamation of the law and gospel and the appropriate dispensing of the sacraments.
  • Justification is seized by faith ( sola fide ) alone .


The confessional writings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church know three sacraments in a narrower sense : Baptism , Lord's Supper and Confession :

"Vere igitur sunt sacramenta baptism, coena Domini, absolutio quae est sacramentum poenitentiae."

“Truly, however, the sacraments are baptism, the Lord's supper, absolution, i. H. the sacrament of penance. "

The criteria of what can be considered a sacrament are described as "rites which have the mandate of God and to which a promise of grace is made."

Based on the apology of the Confession Augustana, the SELK opposes an understanding that would limit the sacraments to just two - namely baptism and the Lord's Supper. The Augustine quote "If the word comes to the element, it becomes a sacrament", is only quoted in a few places in the Lutheran confessions, but not as a "Lutheran" definition of the sacrament, but always only in defense of a quasi-magical understanding of the sacrament that is believed to be wrong where the effectiveness of the sacraments is based on criteria other than the word, as for example in the Great Catechism on the Lord's Supper. Luther only used the Augustinian formula there to establish that the sacramental effect did not flow from the priest's personal power of consecration, but exclusively from the power of God's word. In the Great Catechism, too, Luther expressly speaks of penance or confession as the third sacrament. Also in ApolCA XIII Augustine is mentioned briefly, but here only to underline the word as the actual power of the sacraments ( verbum visibile  / "visible word"). The Vere igitur sunt denotes what sacraments are. The three named are then differentiated in different degrees from those acts that could possibly also be called a sacrament.

The ordination (priesthood) occupies a special status between the sacraments and other religious acts that could, under certain conditions "referred to as sacrament," the According to confessions. If, according to the Lutheran confessions, one wants to call the "sacrament of the order a sacrament of the preaching office and gospel, then it would not be a burden to call ordination a sacrament."

Ordination is understood sacramentally in the SELK. It understands the spiritual office in the Lutheran sense as the God-given office of proclamation of the gospel and administration of the sacraments and not (against this the apology is directed) as sacerdotal sacrificial priesthood in the Roman Catholic sense. The sacramentality of ordination guarantees the objectivity of the pastoral office (in the anti-Donatist sense; Donatism ) and corresponds to the principle that salvation comes to people extra nos (“from outside”, “outside of ourselves”).

Furthermore, in relation to the apology of the Augsburg Confession, marriage / marriage can also be understood sacramentally (Apology of the Confessio Augustana, Article 13). According to the testimony of Holy Scripture, confirmation and the anointing of the sick can also be justified as apostolically attested sacramental acts through which divine and salutary grace is effectively mediated ( Jak 5,14 ff.  LUT , Acts 8,16 ff.  LUT ).

Holy Baptism

The baptism is carried out in the name of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit with water. For the SELK, Holy Baptism is a sacrament because it was ordained by Christ (cf. Matthew 28). According to Lutheran convictions, it redeems the hereditary debt. This is how she works forgiveness of sins, redeems from the evil powers of death and the devil . Through baptism, the person to be baptized becomes a theologically and canonically part of the Church. The SELK practices infant baptism, adult baptisms are only possible if the person to be baptized was not baptized as an infant, whereby prior to receiving the baptism a baptism class takes place, which usually includes the 10 commandments, the apostolic creed, the Lord's Prayer, baptism, Lord's Supper and confession includes. Re-baptism is strictly rejected as a denial of the effectiveness of the sacrament of baptism.

The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church signed the Magdeburg Declaration through its bishop on April 29, 2007 in Magdeburg Cathedral with ten other churches (including the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church in Germany and Orthodox Churches) by mutually baptizing the signatory churches is recognized.

Holy Communion

Prefatory prayer

Holy Communion is often celebrated in the SELK, on ​​Sundays in some of their congregations. The SELK is committed to the Lutheran understanding of the real presence , the real presence of Christ's body in, with and under the bread and Christ's blood in, with and under the wine. The use of grape juice or other elements than bread and wine is rejected as contrary to the foundation. In the consecration over the elements, the bread and body of Christ, wine and blood of Christ are combined into a sacramental unity. At communion , believers receive the body and blood of Christ for salvation, those who do not believe the words of the Lord's Supper according to 1 Cor 11 : 29ff  LUT , for disaster. The SELK practices a closed communion table, according to which only members of the SELK and of churches with which there is church and communion communion are allowed to receive the sacrament. However, guest approval can be granted. This is at the pastoral discretion of the local pastor.

A symbolic understanding of the Lord's Supper is rejected. For this reason the SELK has not signed the Leuenberg Agreement and consequently also rejects church and communion fellowship with member churches of the EKD .

Members of other churches with a similar understanding of the Lord's Supper, but with whom there is no church and Lord's Supper fellowship due to other theological doctrinal differences, are also not permitted to receive the sacrament, except in individual pastoral care cases.

Holy Confession

Based on the doctrine that every person is a sinner and therefore absolutely dependent on God's grace and forgiveness, and because of the great importance of justification in Lutheran theology, confession has a high priority in the SELK. Individual or private confession before a pastor is provided for in the church order, but not prescribed. Normally, the confession therefore takes place in common in the context of a divine service.

As a rule, according to the Lutheran understanding, confession is celebrated before every sacrament service. In the so-called “general confession” it includes confession of sin and absolution with the laying on of hands by the pastor. There is also the private confession to the pastor. Confession is understood as the assurance and approval of the justification of the sinner. In some communities there is a separate confessional service with a confessional address before the sacrament service.

The central importance of the justification of the sinner is shown in the liturgical process: Basically, the foundation words of Jesus (John 20) are read out, the confessional prayer is spoken either together or for the community by the pastor, and the confessional questions are asked: “If you confess your sins, you repent of yours Sins, do you think that the forgiveness that I promise you is God's forgiveness? ”To all three questions the pastor asks the congregation, the person who wants to receive the absolution answers“ yes ”. The pastor refers to his authority conferred by Christ in ordination: “In the power of the command that the Lord has given his church, I, as God's called servant, proclaim the grace of God to you. Come and receive God's forgiveness. ”The confessors come to the altar and kneel. The pastor lays hands on each one and says: “Your sins are forgiven.” At the end he says to all who kneel at the altar: “In the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Go in the peace of the Lord. ”Confession ends with a prayer of thanks and a vote of blessing. Either the confessional service ends with a song verse or the Lutheran mass continues with the introit . The process of individual or private confession is similar to that of general confession. In the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church only an ordained pastor is allowed to make confessions.

Understanding of ministry and ordination

Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity in Hamburg

The SELK represents a derivation of the office from the specific tasks from or under the apostolate , i.e. as a counterpart to the community ( in persona Christi ), which are shown in the public preaching of the word and the dispensing of the sacrament.

The SELK does not know a sacrament of consecration in the Roman Catholic sense, but can use the term consecration for the order of worship, blessing and the mission to proclaim the word and administer the sacrament ( ordination ). Rather, on the basis of the apology of the Confessio Augustana, Article 13, the SELK is able to speak of a sacrament of consecration if this is understood to mean preaching God's word and administering the sacraments. A sacrificial priesthood (sacerdotes), as in the Roman Church, was and is rejected because Christ's sacrifice on the cross does not need to be repeated.

“Through the sacrament of the order or priesthood, the adversaries do not understand the preaching office and the office of giving and distributing the sacraments, but understand [it] of priests who are ordered to sacrifice ... But where one wants to call the sacrament of the order a sacrament of the preaching office and the Gospel, it would be no burden to call ordination a sacrament. For God instituted and commanded the preaching office, and it has the glorious promise of God. If one wants to understand the sacrament of the order (clerical office), one would also like to call the laying on of hands a sacrament. For the church has God's command that it should appoint preachers and deacons. "

Accordingly, the concept of consecration is used in the SELK. The pastor acts “instead of and on the command of Jesus Christ” in the exercise of his public ministry and the administration of the sacraments; Based on this understanding, the pastor has sole permission to administer the sacraments and the special task of proclaiming the gospel publicly, while preserving church doctrine and creed and preventing doctrines deviating from the creed. The latter relates above all to the duty of supervision and visitation of the superior clergy towards pastors and parishes in their area of ​​office. In contrast to the non-ordained, the public “preaching office” according to the Augsburg Confession, Article 5 (sermon and administration of the sacraments) is only given to the clergy in the ordination.

However, vicars and parish deacons are allowed to lead and preach services under the supervision of a pastor; They are not permitted to institute the Lord's Supper, to give absolution in connection with confession or to confirm. In addition, equipped lecturers can lead services in which reading sermons are given but no sacraments are celebrated.

This importance of the spiritual office is also reflected in the agenda of the holy ordination : Permission for ordination in the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church SELK is only granted by the ordained members in a joint meeting of the church leadership and the college of superintendents. The ordination itself is carried out by a clergyman in the church-leading office ( superintendent , provost or bishop ). At least two other clergy assistants. The ordination candidate is presented to the congregation. This is followed by reading from the New Testament, which establish or refer to the sacred office. The ordinator then asks whether the person to be ordained is ready “to carry out his office in fidelity to the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions, and to preach the word of God loudly and purely, and to administer the sacraments according to the institution of Christ, the secret of confession true and to lead a godly life with his house. ”To this, the person to be ordained answers with yes using the request for God's help. Then he takes the vow of office in front of the congregation, in which he vows to remain faithful "to the pure teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church" before the face of God. Neither secretly nor publicly anything may be done against this. If the scriptures and creeds are deviated from, the superintendent, provost or bishop must be informed immediately and his advice and instructions awaited. After the vows of office, the Lord's Prayer and the ordination prayer are said with the laying on of hands. The ordinant kneels and is consecrated to ministry with the laying on of hands by the ordinator and the two assistants with the following words:

“After the ordination vow you have taken, I hand you over to you as a called and ordained servant of our Lord Jesus Christ the holy office of the word and the sacraments and consecrate you to a servant of the one, holy, Christian Church, in the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. ”In addition to this ordination formula, others are permitted.

As a sign of the ordained ministry, the stole can be placed over the ordinant. The ordination blessing is given to the newly ordained by the ordinator. The newly ordained person holds his first sacrament service immediately afterwards.

The SELK does not ordain women to the parish office. This topic is discussed within the church. A private initiative for women's ordination in the SELK is currently trying to make changes. The church leadership has published a pro and counter paper on this issue. The General Parish Convention responsible for teaching questions has repeatedly rejected the introduction of women's ordination, most recently at the 11th General Parish Convention from May 11 to 15, 2009 in Berlin-Spandau.

Services in the SELK

Women can work as deaconess in the SELK, as well as pastoral consultants. However, these are not ordained, but rather blessed. The tasks also differ from those of a pastor. There are also the offices of parish deacon and pastor in an honorary capacity.

The Lutheran service

Evangelical Lutheran Church Agenda

The main weekly service is usually celebrated on Sunday mornings. It is normally based on the order of the Evangelical Lutheran Church agendas with slight regional deviations from this basic pattern.

Divine services in the SELK are emphatically liturgical , the central parts are confession, sermons and the celebration of the Lord's Supper. The liturgical vestments belong in the SELK to the middle things (Adiaphora) and can be regulated by each parish itself within the framework of the church regulations of the SELK.

The following literature is used in the services of the SELK:

Administration of the SELK

The SELK is independent in its regulations and the administration of its affairs. The state of confession and tasks can be found in the constitution.

The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church is a public corporation . This legal form also applies to church districts and the vast majority of parishes. A few municipalities have association status.

A church member is anyone who is baptized in one of its parishes , is accepted into a parish or is transferred from a Lutheran parish of that church to another. Membership ends with resignation through a written declaration at the rectory, exclusion by the church council or transfer to another church.

General structure

At the head of the SELK is the bishop , who is elected by the synod on the proposal of the General Parish Convention. The seat of the church leadership is in Hanover .

Organizationally, the SELK is divided into four districts, each with a provost . Each district is divided into church districts, each headed by a superintendent .

Church leadership

The church leadership consists of the bishop, the four provosts, the executive church council and the lay councilors.

The bishop presides. The church administration conducts business between the church synods. She is responsible for preparing the Church Synod, she reports, gives an account of her activities and participates in appointments to the pastoral office.


Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt

The bishop is the pastor of the SELK, who performs this management function full-time. He is an advisor and pastor of the Church as a whole, is responsible for teaching supervision together with the church leadership, and chairs meetings of the superintendent college and the church leadership. Together with the provosts and superintendents, he approves ordinations, participates in the delegation of missionaries and in the blessing of deacons. He introduces provosts into office, visits the provosts and their communities. He represents the church in public and is in contact with other churches.

The bishop is elected by the Church Synod from two proposals from the General Parish Convention. The newly elected is introduced by his predecessor or the senior provost. The term of office is not limited, except that the Church Synod has set a limit for the term of office. One of the provosts is the bishop's deputy, currently Provost Klaus-Peter Czwikla.

Bishops since 1972:

  1. 1972–1985 Gerhard Rost
  2. 1985–1997 Jobst Schöne
  3. 1997-2006 Diethardt Roth
  4. 2006– Hans-Jörg Voigt0000

Church councils

The executive church council is appointed by the church leadership and the college of superintendents and confirmed by the church synod. He conducts the day-to-day administration and heads the church office. The current executive church council is Pastor Michael Schätzel .

The lay councils are proposed for election by the church district synods to the church synod and elected by the synod for a legislative period. This honorary position is open to both men and women. Lay church councils have a seat and vote in the church leadership, but do not participate in the approval of ordination.

College of Superintendents

The college of superintendents consists of all superintendents, the provosts and the bishop; the bishop or his deputy presides. The lay councils take part.


  • Opinion on questions of doctrine and life that affect the Church as a whole
  • Preparation of the General Parish Convention
  • Appointment of members of called committees, theological examinations and colloquiums

Joint tasks of the church leadership and the superintendent college:

  • Template for church regulations in the run-up to a church synod
  • Admission of other congregations to the SELK (e.g. from Lutheran regional churches or other Lutheran free churches)
  • Approval of ordination, granting of qualification for a parish office
  • Decision on suitability and admission as a parish deacon (differentiate: deacon ).
  • Decision on suitability and admission as a pastoral officer
  • Adoption of the establishment plan and budget
  • Election of the assessors for the arbitration and appeal body

General parish convention

The General Parish Convention meets every four years. All ordained ministers in active service are seat and vote members. Emeriti, vicars and pastors a. D. have an advisory voice. One of the tasks of the General Parish Convention is to advise on the state, path and tasks of the church. This organ also deals with questions of doctrine, worship and church practice. Resolutions that are passed on this must be confirmed by the Church Synod. He also suggests that the church synod establish pulpit and communion fellowship with other churches. He is also responsible for nominating candidates for the election of bishops and proposing them to the Church Synod.

Church Synod

The church synod is convened by the church leadership and meets at least every four years, in addition if the church leadership, supintendent college or 20 congregations so request. It consists of pastors and lay representatives who are elected by the district synods for a synod meeting. The Church Synod is composed anew with each convocation.

It has the following rights and tasks:

  • Election of the bishop and the church councils
  • Budget law for the universal Church
  • Decision on church orders
  • Decision on the reorganization of church districts and parishes
  • Decision on proposals of the General Parish Convention on pulpit and communion fellowship with other churches
  • Decision on the admission of other churches to the SELK, confirmation of the admission of individual parishes
  • Receipt and discussion of the report of the church leadership
  • Opinion on questions of doctrine, worship and life of the Church (see General Parish Convention)
  • Advice on works for the whole Church

Individual congregations can object to the decisions of the Church Synod for a limited period of time. The state of confession cannot be changed by resolution of the Church Synod, the corresponding resolutions would be invalid.


As a rule, several church districts form a region. Each region is presided over by a provost who works part-time. There are four regions, which are composed as follows:


Evangelical Lutheran Great Cross Church in Hermannsburg

The provosts of the SELK hold the regional episcopal office for their region : The respective provost introduces the superintendents into their office. He watches over the confessional proclamation of the word of God as well as the dispensing of the sacraments and holds visitations. He consults with the superintendent and belongs to the church leadership of the SELK. He should take part in church district conventions and synods, give suggestions and theological training of the pastors . He should take care of the maintenance of the contacts with other districts of the church.

The provost is elected secretly by the parish synods on the proposal of the parish parish convention. The church leadership can make suggestions.

A provost is installed in his office by the bishop. The provosts can wear an official cross as a sign of their episcopal office. The term of office of a provost is not limited, unless the church district synods have set a term limit. A provost can resign from his office. He must resign if the church leadership and superintendent college come to the conclusion that his administration is no longer serving the church.

In agreement with the superintendent, the provost appoints a deputy who must also hold the office of superintendent. He has the vacancy representation until the election of a new provost.

Meeting convention

The provost regularly consults with the superintendent of his region. He should take part in the district parish conventions and the district synods of his electoral region as well as in supraregional meeting parish conventions and give suggestions for the spiritual life and for the theological training of the pastors. Regular interdistrict parish conventions, each consisting of two district parish conventions, are agreed by the college of superintendents. Meeting conventions serve for collegial exchange and common theological work.

Church districts

Organs of the church districts are superintendent, district parish council, district synod and district advisory council.

  • The superintendent introduces pastors into their office in his church district , watches over the confessional teaching and dispensing of the sacraments, is the pastor's visitor, advisor and pastor. He has the right to ordain.
  • The district pastors' convention usually meets annually, members are all pastors of the church district. The goals are unity in teaching and action, cultivating fraternal coexistence as well as scientific and practical training of the clergy.
  • The district synod usually meets annually. It consists of all pastors of the church district and at least one lay representative from each parish. It takes decisions within the scope of its jurisdiction and elects the members of the district advisory council and the delegates of the Church Synod. The lay members of the district synod are usually only elected for one synod session and not for a specific legislative period. The synod is therefore composed anew with each new convocation on the lay side.
  • The district advisory board supports the superintendent and takes on the management of the church district.

Parishes and parishes

Johannes Church Rödinghausen - Schwenningdorf

Based on the self-image that each parish Church of Jesus Christ be in place, the individual communities within the church order to manage their own affairs. Each community is your own or with a parish with at least one parish. They are encouraged to contribute to the fulfillment of common tasks in the universal church and in the church district according to their respective possibilities.

Number of church members of the SELK

on December 31:

  • 2006: 36.011
  • 2007: 35,639
  • 2008: 35,265
  • 2009: 34,899
  • 2010: 34,542
  • 2011: 34.097
  • 2012: 33,735
  • 2013: 33,463
  • 2014: 33,175
  • 2015: 33.203
  • 2016: 33,474


The SELK does not collect church taxes through the tax office, although this would be possible due to corporate law. Rather, every church member with his own income, such as salary, wages, pension, etc., is obliged to pay an appropriate church contribution, currently 3% of the gross income. Justified exceptions are possible. The church contribution is paid directly to the parish. This forwards the contributions to the general church treasury in Hanover. The general church treasury pays the pastor's salary. A direct payment of the pastors by the parishes does not take place, but the salary is paid centrally.

Church works


The Diakonisches Werk der SELK is a member of the Diakonisches Werk of the Evangelical Church in Germany and maintains various diaconal institutions. Among them is u. a. the Naëmi-Wilke-Stift hospital in Guben , the Sperlingshof children's and youth home and some senior facilities, e.g. B. the retirement and nursing home "Gertrudenstift" in Baunatal - Großenritte .

Lutheran church mission, rectory and St. John's Church in Bleckmar


The SELK is the sponsor of the Lutheran Church Mission (Bleckmarer Mission) e. V. This mission organization was founded in 1892 by the then Hanover Evangelical Lutheran Free Church. The mission house in Bleckmar has existed since 1897 . The current leader is Mission Director Roger Zieger. The Lutheran Church Mission has mission projects in Germany (Berlin-Marzahn, Cottbus- Döbbrick and Leipzig), southern Africa (Botswana and South Africa) and Brazil. There are also activities in East Asian and other European countries.


The Lutheran Theological University , based in Oberursel (Taunus), is also sponsored by the SELK. Part of the training of the theological offspring of this church takes place here. This training center is a state-recognized scientific university. Your professors are also pastors of your church.

The SELK maintains a Practical Theological Seminar (PTS) for the training of vicars and pastoral officers. There, vicars, pastoral officers and parish vicars receive practical training alongside the actual training in the parishes.

Other church works

The SELK maintains other works and institutions for the various areas of church life (youth work, office for church music, building block collection to support church building projects, office for children's worship work, commission for church education, office for community service, liturgical commission, representative for ideological issues, speaker for Senior work, etc.).

Many of these tasks are on a voluntary or part-time basis. Full-time employees such as B. Church musicians are usually only active nationwide and are not assigned to individual parishes; their main task is to guide and support volunteer workers on site.

Church external relations

Church fellowship

Radevormwald, Evangelical Lutheran Martini Church

The SELK maintains full church and communion fellowship with those Lutheran confessional churches with which there is unity in doctrine and life, factually and legally (de facto et de jure). For example, she has full church and communion fellowship with the following churches:

  • Lutheran Church in Southern Africa (LCSA)
  • Free Evangelical Lutheran Synod in South Africa (FELSISA)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Missouri Synod (LC-MS) in the USA
  • Lutheran Church Canada (LCC)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church - Synod of France (EEL-SF)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium (ELCB)
  • Portuguese Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELP)
  • Spanish Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (IELB)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (Lhpk)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Diocese in Norway (DelsiN)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina (IELA)
  • American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC)
  • Lutheran Church Synod of Nicaragua (ILSN)
  • Evangelical Lutheran Concordia Celle

The church fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in Baden (ELKiB, not to be confused with the Evangelical Regional Church in Baden ) is currently restricted due to the practice of ordaining women in this church and cannot be claimed. The church fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church was suspended by the ELFK in 1984, but the SELK sticks to the existing church fellowship.

Partnership relationships with other Lutheran churches

For several years there have been partnerships with churches in Eastern Europe that are contractually agreed but are below the church and communion fellowship, e.g. B .:

Membership in Lutheran organizations

The SELK is a member of the European Lutheran Conference and the International Lutheran Council .

Transfer agreements between SELK and member churches of the EKD

There are agreements between the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK) and member churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) to transfer to the other church. These transfer agreements apply to individual parishioners who want to transfer. In terms of content, this means that, for example, members of regional churches do not leave their church but declare their transfer to the responsible pastor's office. Corresponding reports are made by the parish officials - also to the tax office with regard to church tax.

However, these transfer agreements do not apply to entire parishes. If church congregations want to change their church body, for example when church congregations from the regional churches or other church bodies are accepted into the SELK - the college of superintendents and the church leadership have to decide.

The SELK has transfer agreements with the following EKD member churches:


The SELK works at the federal level as a full member of the Working Group of Christian Churches (ACK) in Germany. Likewise, numerous parishes are members of local working groups of Christian churches. There is no church and communion fellowship between the SELK and the member churches of the EKD, as, for example, no doctrinal agreement was found on the question of understanding the communion. That is why the SELK is neither a member of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church (VELKD) nor the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) or the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD). Nevertheless, she works in committees of the VELKD, in the Martin Luther Bund , in the Diakonisches Werk of the EKD and in the German Bible Society .

Personalities of the SELK and its predecessor churches


Public figures:

See also


  • Congregational Service Office: Celebrate worship with joy. An aid to understanding the main Lutheran worship service.
  • Lieselotte Clemens: The Emigration of the Pomeranian Old Lutherans to the USA: Process and Motivation . 2nd Edition. Struve, Eutin 1990, ISBN 978-3-923457-12-0 .
  • Irene Dingel (ed.): The confessional writings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church [= BSELK]. Complete new edition. Published on behalf of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen / Bristol, Conn., 2014, ISBN 978-3-525-52104-5 .
    Previous edition: Göttingen 1930, 2010 13 [= BSLK]
  • Church leadership of the SELK: Regulations for the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church.
  • Werner Klän, Gilberto da Silva (ed.): Lutheran and independent: Introduction to the history of independent Evangelical Lutheran churches in Germany . Edition Ruprecht, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8469-0106-9 .
  • Werner Klän (ed.): Lutheran identity in church liability. Considerations on the path of Lutheran churches in Europe after the turn of the millennium (=  Oberurseler Hefte , supplementary volume 4). Edition Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-7675-7092-4 .
  • Werner Klän, Gilberto da Silva (ed.): Sources on the history of independent Evangelical Lutheran churches in Germany: Documents from the area of ​​concordian Lutheran churches (=  Oberurseler Hefte , supplementary volume 6). 2nd Edition. Edition Ruprecht , Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-7675-7138-9 .
    1st edition: Manfred Roensch, Werner Klän (eds.): Sources on the origin and development of independent Evangelical Lutheran churches in Germany . Peter Lang, Frankfurt / Main 1987, ISBN 3-8204-8990-8 .
  • Jobst Schöne (ed.): The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church. An information leaflet . 4th edition. SELK, Hanover 1995, DNB 1026674255
  • Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany. A guide through the communities . Verlag der Lutherischen Buchhandlung, Groß Oesingen 2000, ISBN 3-86147-206-6 .
  • Volker Stolle: Lutheran Church in the Social Change of the 19th and 20th Century. From the history of independent Evangelical Lutheran churches in Germany (=  Oberurseler Hefte , supplementary volume 23). Edition Ruprecht, Göttingen 2019, ISBN 978-3-8469-0310-0 .
  • Konrad Uecker: On a firm foundation of faith . Gross-Oesingen, Lutherische Buchhandlung Harms, 1995, ISBN 3-86147-111-6 .
  • Michael Voigt: Open doors. Merger of the SELK and the Evangelical Lutheran (Old Lutheran) Church on the 1st of Advent in 1991.

Web links

Commons : Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b SELK statistics for 2018 . Website of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church, accessed on December 9, 2019.
  2. Werner Klän: History of the SELK ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 88 kB)
  3. SELK: Report of the 1st Church Synod on the merger to form the SELK 1972 (PDF; 201 kB)
  4. Manfred Weingarten: Confession Formation and Confessional Commitment (PDF; 35 kB)
  5. Jobst Schöne: The heresy of fundamentalism in contrast to the Lutheran understanding of the scriptures (PDF; 43 kB)
  6. Manfred Roensch: The Theological Significance of the Concord Formula Against its Historical Background (PDF; 54 kB)
  7. Apology of the Confessio Augustana XIII, in: Evangelical Lutheran Confessional Scriptures 292.4
  8. BSLK 292,3 (ApolCA XIII): "Ritus, qui habent mandatum Dei et quibus addita est promissio gratiae."
  9. BSLK 709, 10-11.
  10. See also BSLK 710.15.
  11. BSLK 705 / 706.74.
  12. BSLK 293.5 (ApolCA XIII).
  13. a b BSLK 293.9-10 (ApolCA XIII).
  14. Hartmut Günther: The Testimony of Holy Communion (PDF; 87 kB)
  15. ^ Gerhard Rost: Baptism, Penance and Faith in the Holy Scriptures and with Martin Luther (PDF; 63 kB).
  16. SELK: Amt, Ämter, Dienst ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 87 kB)
  17. Apology of the Confessio Augustana, 13, pp. 293–294.
  18. Theological Commission of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (ed.): The Office of the Church: A guidance. (pdf, 119 kB) Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church. 2nd edition, 1999, p. 24 , archived from the original on May 7, 2016 ; accessed on September 24, 2018 .
  19. ^ From: Agende of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Old Prussia 1935
  20. ^ Initiative for the ordination of women in the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELK)
  21. SELK: Pro- and Contra-paper women ordination (PDF; 87 kB)
  22. SELK: Convention of Deacons
  23. Ralph Bente: Reasonable Worship Service (PDF; 474 kB)
  24. SELK parish Berlin-Wilmersdorf: Video of the Lord's Supper in the SELK with Bishop Voigt (wmv)
  25. SELK: Basic Order of the Church (PDF; 36 kB)
  26. Evangelical-Lutheran Martinigemeinde Radevormwald: Contribution table (PDF; 1 MB)
  27. Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit Görlitz: Church and Money - rubric: About us
  28. Diethardt Roth: Church Fellowship Statement (PDF; 30 kB)
  29. Saxon Official Gazette No. 40/1998, p. 714.
  30. Lower Saxony Ministerial Gazette No. 13/1999, p. 251.
  31. ^ Interchurch agreement of September 17, 1980.
  32. a b Interchurch agreement of December 4, 1984.
  33. ^ Official Journal of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Issue 6, 2004, pp. 337–338.
  34. SELK: Handout: Ecumenical Responsibility (PDF; 209 kB)