On March 20, 2010, D.Th., pastor Matti Väisänen (76) was consecrated bishop by the Swedish Mission Province, that thus expands into Finland. Up till now, it has been the Luther Foundation (Luther-säätiö) that has embodied the opposition to the humane ideas of the ELCF, but now it seems that the schism is acute.On 11 August, the Chapter of the Diocese of Tampere, under whose jurisdiction Väisänen falls as a pastor, decided to strip him of his pastoral rights (pdf in Finnish). In essence, the motivation is that Väisänen tries to eat the cake and have it, too, just as I wrote in March. This is a logical and welcome step that clears tings up. The conservatives scream bloody murder, but that is their problem. As a footnote, it can be noted that the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England (ELCE) is theologically akin to the Luther Foundation and to the Mission Province, despite its name being very similar to the ELCF and the ELCA. The ELCE doesn't even belong to the Lutheran World Federation, as main stream Lutheran churches generally do, but to a conservative parallel organisation called the International Lutheran Council (ILC). This is their right, of course. Other members of the ILC are e.g. the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in the USA and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya, where Walter Obare is Archbishop.
I recently had reason to research the ELCE in the line of duty, so I wanted to share some of my findings here.
Some media reports:
Lutherstiftelsens Väisänen förlorar prästämbetet i lutherska kyrkan (Kyrkans Tidningstjänst 11.8.10)
Luther-säätiön piispaksi vihitty Matti Väisänen menettää pappisvirkansa luterilaisessa kirkossa (Kirkon Tiedotuskeskus 11.8.10)
Lutherstiftelsens Väisänen förlorar ämbetet i lutherska kyrkan (Kyrkpressen 11.8.10)
Luther-säätiön piispa menettää pappisvirkansa (Helsingin Sanomat 11.8.10)
Luther-säätiö pitää erottamista vääränä (Helsingin Sanomat 11.8.10)
Finsk biskop definitivt avstängd (Dagen 12.8.10)