The organizing convention of the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC) took place in August of 1960. The name was chosen in order to indicate that this church body was not intending to teach anything new or different but was determined to be confessionally Lutheran. Today there are many Lutheran church groups all over the world, but most of them are not truly Lutheran in what they teach or practice but are Lutheran in name only. A truly Lutheran church body not only formally subscribes to the collection of Lutheran confessions known as the Book of Concord (1580) but also strives to put this teaching into practice in all of its congregations and schools.
The CLC wants to follow the procedure stated in the Preface to the Book of Concord: “Our disposition and intention have always been directed toward this, that in our lands, territories, schools, and churches no other teaching be permitted than that alone which is based upon the holy, divine Scripture and is embodied, treated, and advanced in the Augsburg Confession and its Apology” (BC, p. 13).
In short, Lutheran doctrine is the doctrine that comes from the Scriptures, that is from the canonical books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. If the doctrine does not come from the Bible, it is not Lutheran doctrine. Therefore there can truly be no difference between Bible doctrine and Lutheran doctrine.
The name Lutheran was given to those who agreed with Martin Luther, who lived from 1483 to 1546 in Germany. The name Lutheran was given to the followers of Luther by his enemies as a term of derision. The Lutherans preferred to be called simply Christians. In order to distinguish themselves from others they called themselves the Church of the Augsburg Confession, which was adopted in 1530 as a basic statement of what Martin Luther taught from the Bible. Confessional Lutherans today believe that Martin Luther was God’s gift to His people to bring them back to true Bible teachings after many years during which the true teaching had been neglected. The Preface to the Book of Concord states: “In these last days of this transitory world the Almighty God, out of immeasurable love, grace, and mercy for the human race, has allowed the light of his holy gospel and his Word that alone grants salvation to appear and shine forth purely, unalloyed and unadulterated out of the superstitious, papistic darkness for the German nation, our beloved fatherland” (p. 5).