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Doctrine Committee

The purpose of the ELS Doctrine Committee is:

  • To study and uphold the doctrine of Scripture and the confessional position and practice of the synod.
  • To help keep members of the synod informed concerning the confessional principles of the synod.
  • To keep abreast of doctrinal trends and issues and keep laity and clergy informed.
  • To advise the president in matters of doctrine and practice.
  • To provide information to the synod concerning fraternal organizations and similar religious groups.
  • To encourage continued theological study on the part of the members of the synod.
  • To assist the president of the synod in the maintenance of fraternal relations with church bodies which are in doctrinal agreement with the synod, and to seek out other church bodies which may wish to share in this oneness of faith and doctrine.
  • To keep informed, through an individual member of the committee or a subcommittee, of issues in government, law, and society which may encroach on the religious freedom or exercise of confessional freedom, and to communicate such information to the other committees and to the synodical membership in venues open to the committee.


  • Apologetics Study Document
  • Are We So Different?  The ELS and the ELCA
  • Concerning the Administration of the Sacrament of the Altar
  • Private Absolution and the Confessional Seal   At the General Pastoral Conference of the ELS in October 2019, the Doctrine Committee gave a presentation entitled “Private Absolution and the Confessional Seal.”  This presentation explains the use of private absolution in the Lutheran church and of the confessional seal.
  • Bible Translations  Based on a study of the NIV (2011), the Doctrine Committee recommends against the use of the NIV (2011). The Doctrine Committee recommends for use in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod translations such as: New King James Version (NKJV), English Standard Version (ESV), An American Translation (Beck, AAT), the New American Standard Bible (NASB 95) and the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV). These translations are accurate and understandable. The essay “Evaluating Bible Translations” by Rev. Brian Keller (WELS), is recommended for further study.

Writings by ELS Doctrine Committee Members

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