According to its ecclesiology, the Lutheran Church is the only one, holy, apostolic and universal church. However, not alone and not exclusively. Thus, it is in its essence to seek unity with other confessions. By unity we do not mean a single ecclesiastic institution with uniform customs and traditions. From our point of view, for the unity of churches it is sufficient for the two mainstays of the Church, that is the Gospel and the Sacraments, to be in harmony. Everything else may even be different. We call this unity model “reconciled diversity”.
After about 450 years of separation, in 1973, Lutherans and Reformed reached this unity with the Leuenberg Agreement. Today, 103 national and regional churches have signed the Agreement.With the Porvoo Communion, established in 1993, the Lutheran Churches of Scandinavia and the Anglican Church declared mutual recognition.In 1999 the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church signed the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification”, thus overcoming mutual accusations regarding issues that were at the centre of attention at the time of the Reformation.However, there continue to be issues that divide us, above all the interpretation of what the Church and ordained ministry are. There are many encouraging initiatives for dialogue with the Orthodox Church.
Ecumenism is natural to the Lutheran Church also because they both share the same approach, that is, distinguishing what is important in theology and leaving aside what is unnecessary or misleading, putting Jesus Christ at the centre and returning to the Bible to renew theology and start from that, focusing worship on essential elements shared by all.