1. What is the biggest issue that separates the ILC from other Lutheran groups?
The biggest issue separating us from other synod/conferences is our position on the Word of God– particularly the Holy Scriptures in regard to their divine, pristine preservation. We hold that the Holy Bible given by inspiration of God is 100% present TODAY and is not missing a thing! Our Lutheran Confessions are indeed faithful expositions of the chief doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, but they are always subordinate to the HOLY BIBLE! We believe that the KJV IS GOD'S WORD IN ENGLISH and that it needs no "correcting" for it has stood the test of time– God has blessed its use for almost 400 years! Every defection in doctrine that has occurred in Lutheran (and other) church bodies can be traced to their failing to hold to God's true Word. Luther once remarked that Jesus is God's internal Word, and the Holy Bible is God's external Word– we agree and we absolutely need both! "If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalms 11:3) "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:21) "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 1:13) "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Heb.10:23-25)
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18) We all need the real Jesus! Jesus is much more than "a" son of God, He is the "ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD," ...begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. (Nicene Creed)
2. Are you (the ILC) the Conference that uses only the KJV of Scripture? Is it a problem to use the NKJV?
We of the ILC use only the KJV for all of our worship services, preaching and teaching (please read our constitution and bylaws for the reasons). We see the NKJV as a problem because upon close examination it is apparent that its textual basis is not identical with that of the KJV, and it has several other problems in translation as well (for more information on this, please request a copy of the book "Comparisons" which is available free from the ILC). "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:28) The choice of which English Bible translation to use is not a matter of indifference ("adiaphora") as some erroneously contend! Because, the KJV of 1611/1769 is the ONLY English translation based upon, and faithfully translated from, the God-given and preserved Hebrew Masoretic Text O.T. and Greek Textus Receptus N.T. Back to top / Index
3. When members live far away from your congregations, how are they cared for spiritually and how do they remain connected to their congregations?
When members live far away from any of our congregations, they receive regular recordings of one of our congregation's worship services. Spiritual consultation is available from a pastor via telephone or letters at the member's request. When possible, depending on distance, the member can occasionally travel to worship at one of our churches or a pastor will visit the member (much depends on actual distance involved and available resources). If a few people are at a particular location, we encourage them to begin a congregation. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)
4. Is your Conference more with the WELS/ELS/CLC concept of Church and Ministry (Wauwatosa Theology) or with the LCMS concept (Waltherian)?
Regarding the ILC's concept on Church and Ministry– it is just what Scripture teaches; please see the "Brief Statement" on our website (originally adopted by the Missouri Synod in 1932), in particular the articles: "Of the Church" and "Of the Public Ministry" and "Of Church and State."
5. Would you clarify your position on Church and ministry, because I notice that while many synods/conferences say they subscribe to the Brief Statement of 1932, some use the Wauwatosa position and others use the Waltherian?
The ILC is an advisory body. Member congregations are independent but united in common doctrine and practice. The ILC is not a "superchurch" like WELS, CLC, and others. We pastors of the ILC meet 3 times a year to admonish and encourage one another; if a problem arises we consult Holy Scripture on the issue. As pastors of our individual congregations, we are not "popes" over the people, rather, where Scripture speaks, we speak, and where Scripture is silent, we are silent– no legalism is condoned. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20) "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:1-4)
6. What do you mean when you say "no legalism is condoned"?
What is meant is this: we of the ILC weigh what we teach and practice very carefully against the Holy Scriptures to be sure it measures up. For example, regarding Church and Ministry, some Lutheran groups do not regard the position of Christian Day School teacher as a divine call, or a lay-preacher as a divine call, but rather simply as persons who can be hired and fired by the pastor at will, without the congregation's approval. But, what does God's Word say? "He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." (Ephesians 4:10-15) That passage of scripture mentions various offices that are all for the work of the ministry, and our Lutheran Augsburg Confession states: " Article XIV: OF Ecclesiastical Order— Of Ecclesiastical Order they teach that no one should publically teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called." Therefore, if such aforesaid auxiliary offices were not divine calls, then Christians Day School teachers and so forth would have no business teaching!
Another example of legalism is when some teach that divorce is not allowed under any circumstances to the clergy. Jesus says: "And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." (Matthew 19:9) St. Paul says, by inspiration of God, "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." (1 Corinthians 7:15) Those Scriptures do not exclude the clergy! Oh, it is true that Christ's rule is– no divorce for anyone: "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matthew 19:6) But, our gracious God has given us the two aforementioned exceptions to the rule.
7. Is the ILC the Conference that dealt with the "Appearance of Evil" controversy?
Yes, the case involved two unrelated persons of approximately the same age purchasing a home/business and living together. The Christian woman involved stated that no fornication was taking place; her pastor advised her to discontinue her living arrangement because of the temptations involved and the bad example that her living arrangement was giving to the young people of the congregation. The pastor was supported by neither his congregation nor the "Lutheran Churches" group with which they were affiliated. The ILC was at that time in fellowship with that other group of Lutheran Churches. The ILC sided with the pastor's Scriptural stand based on 1 Thessalonians 5:22, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." We of the ILC, together with Luther, believe that 1 Thessalonians 5:22 in the KJV means exactly what it says for it is a proper translation of the original Greek.
Prayer is an act of worship– we do not pray with those not of our fellowship, we do pray for all men. "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:1-6) "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Romans 16:17-18) [A tract on unionism is available from the ILC upon request]
9. What is the ILC's stand on the Church Growth Movement?
The "Church Growth Movement" is based on unscriptural principals using unscriptural practices. Only God can grow His Church, and He does it through Word and Sacrament, the Means of Grace (correct Law and Gospel preaching and teaching, and the proper administering of the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper as instituted by Christ).
10. What is the ILC's stand on lay ministers? If you have them, do they administer the Lord's Supper?
The ILC has had lay-preachers; they had the exact same seminary training as our pastors and that is what we require. They can fill in when a pastor is sick or out-of-town, etc. The lay-preacher may administer the Lord's Supper. In fact, any Christian laymen under the direction of his pastor may assist in distribution of the Lord's Supper. Every Christian is a member of the priesthood of believers, the called minister is the one who normally publically administers the Word and Sacraments. "But ye [all Christians] are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10) "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." (1 Corinthians 4:1)
11. What is the ILC's stand on lay-led Bible studies?
The pastors only teach adult Bible classes (or a lay-preacher may if so requested by a pastor). Volunteer men and women teach Sunday School classes for the children, under the supervision of the pastor. "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." (John 21:15-17)
If you peruse some of the ILC Journal back-issues on our website, you'll find some number statistics in the annual report(s). Our congregations are numerically small, ranging from under a dozen members to around 100 members. We do not worry about numbers, for our Lord says: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) We have God's Truth; we let Him deal with the statistics.
13. What are the primary needs of the ILC right now?
To continue to cling to the Christ of the Holy Bible as the Savior of the world; to tenaciously hold to Jesus' true Word (the real Holy Scriptures) amidst the Satanic substitutes being promulgated these days;, and, to gather others into Christ's Church, the Communion of Saints. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" (Hebrews 10:23) "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Timothy 1:13) "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:19-20)
15. Do the ILC congregations offer Bible class year-round or only during the academic year?
Most ILC congregations hold Bible class year-round, as well as Sunday School. We do not believe that anyone needs "time-off" from God's Word! "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (1 Peter 2:2-3)
16. Do the ILC congregations ever have worship services during the mid-week?
Some do; it varies based upon the individual congregation's wishes. Some have midweek Advent and Lenten services; some do not because of members' secular work schedules which make attendance impossible.
17. How often is the Lord's Supper offered? Do you have communion announcements? Private confession and absolution?
Holy Communion is offered once-a-month in all ILC congregations as the general practice. As a rule we do not have communion announcements, but communicants are alerted to properly prepare for the Sacrament in advance. Of course, we practice "Close Communion." Private confession and absolution is available to those who desire it– we encourage the troubled to come to their pastor but we do not command it.
18. Does the ILC do outreach and evangelism? If so, what ways?
The ILC's chief organized outreach is through the "Lutheran Reformation Hour" radio broadcast (you can find a link on our website to the LRH website). Every Christian among us is a missionary, for we are all to witness for Christ Jesus our Lord in our daily lives. We encourage personal witnessing as a primary evangelism tool. Some of us also place Scriptural tracts in public places, and newspaper ads are sometimes run.
20. Does the ILC have a doctrinal position on cremation?
The Holy Bible does not forbid cremation. However, burial is consistently referred to in the bible as far as the disposing of the bodies of believers is concerned, and consequently is preferable (e.g. Sarah, Genesis 23:19; Jacob, Genesis 49:29 & 50:7; Moses, Deuteronomy 34:5-6; Stwephen, Acts 8:2, and our Lord Jesus Himself, Matthew 27:57-60). Nevertheless, regardless of how one's body returns to dust, the Lord will positively call it forth on the Last Day, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:28-29) It matters not whether one's "grave" is a piece of ground, the sea, outer space, or an urn; Jesus will call it back together and to life! "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (Revelation 20:13) "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." (Job 19:26-27)
Interestingly, some crowded areas of the U.S. are now only leasing cemetery plots for 15 years or so, and then the buried bodies with their coffins are dug-up and cremated in order to make room for the next batch of caskets and remains to take their place for the following 15 years. Also, think of what happens if a Christian is burned to death in a house, automobile, plane, or train fire– that person has been cremated, albeit involuntarily. Anyway, the ILC does not label cremation sinful in itself, because the Bible does not label it as sinful; but, we do encourage traditional burial because deliberate cremations mentioned in the Bible were performed on the bodies of unbelievers (see Joshua 7:25; 1 Samuel 31:12; 2 Kings 23:20; Amos 2:1 & 6:10). We Christians certainly should not desire to imitate the heathen. However, if a terrible epidemic swept an area and cremation was deemed necessary to halt its spread, no objection could be rightly raised on Biblical grounds. Some have attempted to use the following Scripture as proof against cremation: "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire..." (Deuteronomy 18:10) Such is a clear misuse of Scripture because such a "passing through the fire" is referring to human sacrifice to idols, as is evident if we compare another Scripture where that phrase is used: "And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 18:21)
22. Do the congregations of the ILC rent from other churches (Catholic, Baptist, etc.) for use for Sunday worship services, weddings, funerals? How is this handled?
Some ILC church-members in the past have rented space from other denominations for weddings. We do not encourage it, but rather advise against it, lest we appear to be in fellowship with erring church bodies. Therefore, we prefer not to make any use of the church buildings of those not of our fellowship. "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
23. Do the children of the ILC go to public schools, other parochial schools, or are they mostly home-schooled? What counsel do you offer parents about their children's education?
The children do not attend other parochial schools (schools of churches with whom we are not in fellowship); most attend public schools; many are home-schooled. It is important that proper religious instruction be attended to in the home on a daily basis regardless of whether the children are home-schooled or attend public school. The counsel we offer to parents is this: "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4) "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (2 Timothy 3:15-17) PARENTS: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THE WORD OF GOD; TEACH THEM OF THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
Also, we agree wholeheartedly with Luther's advice found in the preface to the Small Catechism:
"Therefore I entreat [and adjure] you all for God's sake, my dear sirs and brethren, who are pastors or preachers, to devote yourselves heartily to your office, to have pity on the people who are entrusted to you, and to help us inculcate the Catechism upon the people, and especially upon the young. And let those of you who cannot do better [If any of you are so unskilled that you have absolutely no knowledge of these matters, let them not be ashamed to] take these tables and forms and impress them, word for word, on the people, as follows:—
In the first place, let the preacher above all be careful to avoid many kinds of or various texts and forms of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Sacraments, etc., but choose one form to which he adheres, and which he inculcates all the time, year after year. For [I give this advice, however, because I know that] young and simple people must be taught by uniform, settled texts and forms, otherwise they easily become confused when the teacher to-day teaches them thus, and in a year some other way, as if he wished to make improvements, and thus all effort and labor [which has been expended in teaching] is lost.
Also our blessed fathers understood this well; for they all used the same form of the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments. Therefore we, too, should [imitate their diligence and be at pains to] teach the young and simple people these parts in such a way as not to change a syllable, or set them forth and repeat them one year differently than in another [no matter how often we teach the Catechism].
Hence, choose whatever form you please, and adhere to it forever." (see Triglot, pgs. 533-539)
The children in the ILC are not confused with a multitude of Catechisms or a multitude of Bible translations. They are taught from childhood the truth that the King James Version is the only true Holy Bible in the English language, for that is indeed the case, because it is the only English translation faithfully translated from the God-given and preserved Hebrew O.T. Masoretic Text and Greek Textus Receptus N.T. The modern critical Greek and Hebrew texts and the translations drawn from them are not God's Word but are rather a mixture of man's words and God's Word. Anyone using one or more of the per-versions (false-bibles) places his or her faith in great danger– and their children's faith too. Our Lord bids us to, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (1 Peter 2:2-3) God wants us to desire His pure Word and not some sour substitute that is contaminated with the false doctrines of men! Hence, we use the KJV Holy Bible (1611/1769), the 1943 Concordia edition of Luther's Small Catechism in the instruction of children and adults alike, and the 1941 Concordia edition of "The Lutheran Hymnal". "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17)