The Dream That Would Not Die
In 1897, a group committed to the free church principles set forth by Georg Sverdrup and Sven Oftedal at Augsburg and established the Lutheran Free Church (LFC). This group drafted a set of Fundamental Principles which would guide their operations. Momentum came in the form of a tremendous spiritual revival which swept the Norwegian Lutheran churches during the 1890's.
In time, however, the vision grew dim, and a new generation of leadership began to question the future of the Lutheran Free Church. They encouraged participation in a new merger, which produced the American Lutheran Church (ALC) in 1960.
In October, 1962, representatives of approximately 70 LFC congregations resisted the merger and gathered in Thief River Falls, MN. Convinced of the need for a new conservative evangelical Lutheran fellowship as well as the relevance of its free church heritage, they formed the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC). It was a return to the principles of Augsburg, and to this day is founded on the Fundamental Principles of the Lutheran Free Church.
The AFLC is not an incorporated synod, but a free association. Each local congregation is a separate corporation, and five additional corporations are sponsored by them to direct our common endeavors.
Why did the AFLC form?
The principle reasons for the formation of our fellowship of free and living congregations are that we as the AFLC:
Recognize the Bible is the inspired and inerrant authority in all matters of faith and life;
Recognize that the teaching and preaching of God's Word is the main task of the Church, to be conducted in such a way that the saints are built up and unbelievers see their need for salvation;
Believe that the congregation is the right form of the Kingdom of God on earth, with no authority above it but the Word and the Spirit of God;
Believe that Christian unity is a spiritual concept, not a man-made organization such as the World Council of Churches or the National Council of Churches;
Believe that Christians are called to be a salt and light, separated from the ways of the world, and that this difference is to be reflected in the life of the congregation as well as in the institutions of the church body.
The AFLC Annual Conference (held each year in June) reports on the various ministries are presented and recommendations made for the future. The primary purpose of the conferences is spiritual edification, and the agenda includes prayer hours and worship services together with the business sessions.