The origins of the International Lutheran Council (ILC) can be traced to a meeting of leaders of confessional Lutheran churches in Uelzen, Germany in July 1952. A second meeting was held in 1959 in Oakland, California to discuss the topic “The Fellowship Between our Churches.” This was followed in 1963 by a third meeting in Cambridge, England, where the name “International Lutheran Theological Conference” was chosen for these informal international gatherings. During the next three decades eleven more informal gatherings of the heads of confessional Lutheran churches took place. The ILC as a council of church bodies officially came into existence in 1993 in Antigua, Guatemala with the adoption of a constitution by representatives from Lutheran church bodies from all six continents.
The ILC is a worldwide association of established confessional Lutheran church bodies which proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the basis of an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and infallible Word of God and to the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord as the true and faithful exposition of the Word of God.
The ILC exists for the purpose of encouraging, strengthening, and promoting confessional Lutheran theology and practice centering in Jesus Christ, both among member churches and throughout the world
- by providing opportunities for the joint study of contemporary theological issues.
- by giving mutual support and encouragement to the heads of member church bodies.
- by encouraging and assisting member churches in planning for mission outreach.
- by strengthening theological education through conferences of theologians and seminary teachers, mission staffs and those involved with human care.
- by facilitating communication between confessional Lutheran churches of the world through the publication of ILC News.
- by stimulating and facilitating the preparation and publication of confessional Lutheran literature.
Serving as officers of the ILC are a chairman, a vice chairman, and a secretary. An Executive Committee made up of the officers and one representative from each of its five World Areas (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America) is responsible for implementing the objectives of the ILC. An executive secretary, working under the general supervision of the Executive Committee, is responsible for implementing the objectives of the ILC. Member church bodies contribute, on an annual basis, financial support (based on their baptized membership and the GNP of the country in which it exists) for the costs of operating the ILC. The Council has 35 participating church bodies. Meetings of the ILC take place on the basis of a three year cycle—in year one, regional meetings takes place, in year two the entire Council meets in conference, and in year three, a conference of representatives from each of the ILC seminaries is held.
The ILC is not a church body nor does it carry out churchly functions. It does not intend to prescribe any course of action for its members, but rather seeks to assist and strengthen them in their confessional witness and mission.
For additional information, please contact:
International Lutheran Council
PO Box 18775
St. Louis, MO 63118