To Tell the Truth: A History of The AALC, 1987-2012
Compiled by Rev. Dr. Duane R. Lindberg, First Presiding Pastor of The AALC
From the Forward
The American Association of Lutheran Churches (TAALC) owes its existence to GOD, the HOLY SPIRIT, who works through His Word and Sacraments to draw men and women into fellowship with Himself and with His Church. The telling of this story could begin with Pentecost; howeer, I hae assumed that it would be more appropriate to open with some of the more recent, prosaic elements of the AALC story.
The title for the history of this Church Body, TO TELL THE TRUTH, has been selected because The AALC was born out of the deep commitment to the TRUTH of both the Formal Principle (the Gospel). Also, this title relates to the theme Bible verse of this Church, recorded in the Gospel of John, Chapter 8, verses 31 and 32:
“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will make you free.’”
As one of the former Presiding Pastors of the AALC, I would acknowledge that I am not totally objective as I view the history of our Church Body. As one who was intimately involved with many events and decisions referred to in this history, I acknowledge that my subjectivity has undoubtedly colored my view of our AALC story. However, hopefully my rendering will serve as a stimulus to each reader's own memory of how the LORD has led us through these first 25 years. It is my prayer that this account of HIS/story will inspire others to accept the Lord's Call TO TELL THE TRUTH of God's love in Chrust Jesus our Savior.
Another disclaimer is in order as to why I focus initially on the seminary experience at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, rather than at Wartburg Captital, or Concordia Seminaries. This perspective was chosen not only because the author is a Luther grad, but because all of the initial officers of The AALC and most of the other clergy leaders in the beginning years had been trained at Luther Seminary. Some of us were in that summer koine Greek class, which is the setting of opening scene in our AALC Story.
Also, a word about the structure of this small piece of church history is in order. I have attempted to tell The AALC story in a two-part fashion. Part I is the chronological section, which includes the reporting on a series of events that are duration-related in the story of the Church Boy. These kronos (measured time, time and duration) chapters are demarcatd by changes in TAALC leadership, i.e., the passing of the baton from Pastor Lindberg to Pastor Aadland to Pastor Hays. Thus the periods 1957-1984, 1984-1987, 1987-1991, 1992-1999, 1999-2007, 2007-2012 are each dealt with in separate chapters, insofar as this is possible. Furthermore, to assure continuity, there is some repetition of historical material from chapter to chapter and between Parts I and II.
In Part II of the book I have attempted to present a selection of articles, sermons, and themes that give perspective and interpretation to key events in our AALC story. This section may ve viewed the kairos (time with meaning, time as opportunity) history of The AALC.
This may be helpful to the reader to have a further explanation of the book's structure. Thus, footnotes are placed at the end of each chapter. whereas information such as statistical reports, graphs, charts, tables, maps, diagrams, and historic documents, which may have a wider application to several chapters, are included in the Appendix. Photos of pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, and church buildings are included in the center section of the book. With regard to the photos, except for early or current clergy, missionaries, and deaconesses, no attempt has been made to include names or photos of all who have served their Lord through this Church Body. The author regrets any omissions of names or photos that should have been included.
Though it has been a challenge to decide which details should be included and which omitted, and to attempt to present all episodes in our Church's story, I thank the Lord of the Church and His AALC Family for the privilege of being chosen for this task. I have been blessed, as my memories have been stimulated by the written documents and photos that I have perused in the preparation of this history. I have been especially blessed by the perspective of these 25 years, to see the gracious Hand of the Lord leading His Church through the quiet times in green pastures, guiding her through challenging times protecting her from the "Scylla" and "Charybdis" of dangerous waters, and carrying her in his arms when she was tired and afraid. My response to all that the Lord has done through The AALC in these 25 short years is a glad shout of praise like St. Paul shared with his friends at Corinth:
“Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” (I Cor. 15:57)
When all is said and done, I do not ask the reader to agree with me in every detail but to grant me in every detail but to grant me the olive branch of peace, the privilege of receiving correction in the spirit of brotherly love, and forgiveness for my omissions and failures. Most of all, I covet the forgiving grace of Him who truly knows the full TRUTH about The American Association of Lutheran Churches' story.
“To Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen!” (Eph. 3:21)
Duane R. Lindberg, The Author