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ELCA Social Teaching

Called into the world

The ELCA website page on Faith and Society reads:

"The ELCA is a church that believes God is calling us into the world — together. As part of this call, we seek the common good for society, provide moral vision and are committed to addressing social and cultural injustices and issues. The ELCA participates in God’s just and loving purpose for all of creation in many different ways, from the daily actions of members as citizens, to efforts in social service, to public witness for justice.

In response to God’s gracious love that seeks justice, the ELCA equips and nurtures us for our callings in the world, fosters social service and ministries of mercy, encourages learning and moral deliberation around social and cultural concerns, enacts social teaching and policy documents, interprets and applies social policy, and partners with agencies, organizations and institutions dedicated to service and justice."

ELCA Social Statements, Messages, and Policy Resolutions

One of the ways in which the ELCA acts on its committments to be a publically engaged church is its social teaching. The ELCA issues three types of social teaching: social statements, social messages, and social policy resolutions. The difference between these categories depends on the specificity of the issue being discussed.

Social statements cover broad frameworks and help us to think about our faith in the context of social life. Social statements go through a thorough process of participation and deliberation and are adopted by a two-thirds vote of an ELCA churchwide assembly. LA-MN encourages you to explore all of the social statements here, but for convieniece, we have provided links to a few of the statements below that we find informative for our work.

Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice

Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective

Economic Life: Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All

Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture

Social messages focus on timely, more specific concerns. They do not establish new positions but rather build upon previously adopted teaching, especially the social statements. Social messages are reviewed by the council of bishops and adopted by the ELCA church council. The following social messages help to inform our work (see all social messages here).

Government and Civic Engagement in the United States: Discipleship in a Democracy


Homelessness: A Renewal of Commitment

Social policy resolutions are the narrowest category of social teaching and focus on specific social policies. You can find all policy resolutions here under the "social resolutions" tab.

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