First-born Lestadians as Members of the Church


From the very beginning, the first-born Lesstadians have been members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. This is based on policies that were made in the early days of the awakening, which have not been wanted to be changed later. In 1895, the preachers with the elder Raattamaa were in Lannavaara holding meetings. There a far-reaching decision was made: “We always want to stay in the Church, as long as we are allowed to remain there and the Word and sacraments are given to us .” This decision is also intended for future generations.


The first-born Lestadian revival movement in Finland has also from the outset based its purpose

and operations on the Bible and Luther's doctrine. This is even mentioned in the articles of association. However, it is more important than the rules that the declaration of Christianity should always be based on just this unwavering foundation.


The relations between the Church and our revival movement have always been moderately well working, even though  there have also been tensions. Laestadius, a priest of the Swedish Church, occasionally strongly criticized distortions occurring within the Church. Later generations have also done similarily. When grievances have been noticed, they have been addressed.  This is in line with the nature of a revival movement. That's also how other church revival movements have behaved. Despite criticism, we have always wanted and received the sacraments according to God's Word from the Church. We have attended church and have been able to join in prayers, hymns and thanksgiving, hear the Word of God read, and often preached. Our children have been baptized into the Church, despite varying views on the meaning of baptism.  We have also been given the opportunity to declare the Word of God in churches. Collaboration has from time to time demanded consultation and a certain degree of flexibility on both sides. The Church has needed us and we the Church.  Is it that the Finnish Church has drifted now too far from the right foundations?  Is the situation in this respect crucially different from the time of the late elders, when it was decided to stay within the church despite its shortcomings?  At all times, views have fluctuated. Some saw the church as "dead" already in the late 19th century, that it should not be

be interacted with. Points of criticism have changed. The shortcomings seen in the Church's activities are different now than were before. Accepting the priesthood of women in the past decades in Nordic churches is a difficult matter. The order of communion was, in a way, just a way to find something to criticise the Church. We have moved forward with these problems by agreeing with the congregations on the organization of the communion mass.  Attitudes towards homosexual marriage are also emotional and difficult things. So far, the Finnish Church only accepts marriage between one man and one woman, just as we do. Ecumenical discussions have taken place between churches and denominations to a greater or lesser extent from the time the West and East churches split a thousand years ago. The pursuit of ecumenism as such cannot be a false endeavor, after all it is the wish of Jesus, "that you may be one."  Whether the Church has gone too far in apostasy depends on the emphasis and the perspective on which things are assessed. At the moment, there are topical issues that we must censure in the Church.

At the same time, we defend the Church's creed based on the Word of God. However, it is safe

that we can still be in the bosom of the Church according to the decision of Lannavaara.




Church’s Creed


The doctrine and creed of the Church is based on the Bible and the Lutheran Church Confessions.  We have the same confession of faith. The question is always how firmly the foundation is held to. There can be no general condemnation of the Finnish church, because there are bishops and priests who hold fast to the Word and those who don't. There is constant strife. The official confession of the Church is, however, decisive because it can be invoked and can be fought for. It is often heard that the Church's doctrine is no longer correct. Orthodoxy is not a simple question. So as long as the congregation is made up of ruthless sinners, even though they are partakers of grace, errors are possible. The same applies to us. The crucial thing is to build on the right foundation with the guidance of the Word and the Spirit.


The First-borns’ Mission within the Church

We First-born Lestadians want to be light and salt in the world. We want to work within the Church and for our own part defend the core of the Church, that is its doctrine and creed. We can accomplish this mission given by Jesus as members of the Church,as elected representatives within the Church and supporting Bible based Church workers. Here we can also cooperate with others who are in revival movements working under the same creed. Every Christian is a witness of the resurrected Christ.