Equipping Lutherans to be Gospel-motivated voices For Life.
Every Lutheran congregation upholding the God-given value of human life and influencing society to do the same.
Lutherans For Life believes that the Church is compelled by God’s Word to speak and act on behalf of those who are vulnerable and defenseless. The crisis of our times is the repudiation of Biblical truth manifested in the wanton destruction of innocent human life through legalized abortion-on-demand and the growing threat to the lives of others through legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia. Therefore, as Lutherans For Life, we will strive to give witness, from a Biblical perspective, to the Church and society on these and other related issues such as chastity, post abortion healing, and family living.
Five Core Values of Our Ministry Together
- God’s Word informs and God’s Spirit empowers our work and witness. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Corinthians 5:14)
- Faithfulness to Biblical truth and integrity of witness are more valuable than political expediency. (1 Corinthians 4:1-5)
- Response to life issues is with the mind of Christ; prayerfully with humility, compassion, selflessness, speaking the truth in love. (Philippians 2: 1-8; 2 Timothy 2: 24-26)
- Education remains our focus, trusting the Holy Spirit to change hearts and minds. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
- We uphold the sanctity of human life because all people are created by God whose intent for them is to bear His image for time and for eternity. (John 10:10)
A Little History of Lutherans For Life
Lutherans For Life began as a personal dream of Dr. C. Jack Eichhorst. His efforts to make that dream a reality commenced in 1976 when Jean Garton, Robert Jensen, Leigh Jordahl, Sam Nafzger, Richard Neuhaus, and Michael Rogness agreed to meet with him to “explore common concerns about human life issues with a view to organizing a pan-Lutheran group to deal with them.”
Seventeen people attended a meeting in St. Louis on May 24, 1977, initiated by Dr. Ralph Bohlmann, Rev. Sam Nafzger, and Dr. J.A.O. Preus. As a result, a committee consisting of Jack Eichhorst, ALC theologian; Jean Garton, LCMS laywoman; Leigh Jordahl, LCA professor; and Eugene Linse, LCMS professor, met at Concordia College, St. Paul, Minnesota, on August 22, 1978, to consider an organizational structure. A name was chosen; a philosophy was adopted; and officers were selected. Garton became President; Eichhorst, Vice President; Jordahl, Secretary; and Linse, Executive Director.
As its first official act, Lutherans For Life sent letters of announcement to the presidents of the American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, the Lutheran Church in America, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church. A request was made of the presidents to urge their members to observe October 1, 1978, as Respect Life Sunday and “with prayer and meditation express thanks for their own lives and also sadness for the lives of pre-born children that have been terminated because they were unwanted.”
Lutherans For Life (LFL) was officially incorporated on April 17, 1979, with its national office located on the campus of Concordia College, St. Paul, Minnesota. At the time of incorporation, the first board consisted of Dr. George Muedeking and the officers. Soon the board included twelve members; and over the years, numerous Lutheran pastors and laypeople faithfully served on the National Board of Directors.
Rev. Edward Fehskens joined the ministry as Executive Director in August of 1985. In May of 1991, the headquarters of LFL relocated to Benton, Arkansas, southwest of Little Rock. A structure that housed the “Congo Mercantile” for 63 years was converted into an office as well as living quarters for the director’s family.
The philosophy of LFL was revised in 1992. It states:
Lutherans For Life believes that the Church is compelled by God’s Word to speak and act on behalf of those who are vulnerable and defenseless. The crisis of our time is the repudiation of biblical truth manifested in the wanton destruction of innocent human life through legalized abortion-on-demand and the growing threat to the lives of others through legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia. Therefore, we will strive together, as Lutherans For Life, to give witness from a biblical perspective to the Church and society on these and related issues such as chastity, post-abortion healing, and family living.
From 1992-1996, LFL produced a national radio program on the Jubilee network. Speaking of Life featured daily commentaries by Dr. Jean Garton.
In 1995, Rev. Fehskens resigned his position as Executive Director to return to full-time parish ministry. During his ten years of service, he helped build a strong network of chapters and state affiliates. At the 1995 convention, Dr. Jean Garton was honored for 17 years of service. Linda Bartlett was elected President of the board of directors of LFL.
Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb became the new Executive Director in April of 1996. In May of that year, LFL’s headquarters relocated to Nevada, Iowa, north of Des Moines.
Lutherans For Life, Inc. has assisted in the development of Lutherans For Life of Australia and Lutherans For Life of Canada in addition to working with interested pro-life Lutherans in other countries.
At the request of a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences in Moscow, LFL provided them with resources on abortion, chastity, and post-abortion healing. In 1996, LFL was invited to Romania (at that time the country with the world’s highest abortion rate) to assist in the development of Pro-Vita, a Romanian Christian pro-life group. Since that trip, LFL has supported Pro-Vita financially; many brochures have been translated into the Romanian language; and two caring pregnancy centers have been developed. Opportunities exist for continued involvement with Pro-Vita.
The Board of Directors adopted the following Mission Statement in 1997:
The Mission of Lutherans For Life is to witness to the sanctity of human life, through education, based on the Word of God.
The Campus Life Project, which seeks to encourage students to become advocates for human life, was launched at Concordia University, Mequon, Wisconsin, in September 1997. Other Concordias, as well as secular colleges, have benefited from this project.
National LFL officially went on-line in 1997.
In 1998, Lowell Highby came on staff as the first Director of Media and Development (now Director of Communications). The intent of this position is to enhance and expand the avenues of LFL’s outreach and its “For Life” message.
In 2004, Diane Schroeder, who had been Treasurer, was elected President of Lutherans For Life. Diane took over from Linda Bartlett who stepped down after serving as President since 1995.
In early 2009, LFL contracted with Kay L. Meyer, from St. Louis, Missouri, to work part-time as Director of Development.
LFL has developed a wide variety of pro-life and family resources including bulletin inserts, brochures, booklets, resource manuals, DVDs, CDs, Teaching For Life curricula, and more--all part of our Life Resource Catalog.
The quarterly journal, LifeDate, is mailed to LFL members and interested persons nationally and internationally. Directions is published quarterly for LFL Chapters, State Federations, Life Advocates, and Life Ministry Coordinators. Life Sunday resources, including sermons and bulletin inserts, are new each year.
Resources for pastors, congregations, and lay people are provided at the Life Center, and in the field through educational events and Renewal For Life.
Word of Hope, LFL’s post-abortion ministry, brings hurting women together with Christian caregivers so that hope, healing, and reconciliation with the Lord might be experienced. LFL affiliates have established caring pregnancy centers, post-abortion ministries, and congregational programs that provide supportive services for those confronted with unplanned pregnancies.
LFL holds an annual national conference.
LFL co-sponsored two amicus curia (“friend-of-the-court”) briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court and continues to motivate Lutheran citizens to be “salt and light” in a culture that increasingly embraces death as a solution to human problems.
LFL is represented on the National Pro-Life Religious Council.
As a grassroots organization which desires to help others live out their faith according to God’s will, Lutherans For Life seeks to share Jesus Christ through teaching, caring, and serving.