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Lutheran Churches in Taiwan

There are six Lutheran Churches in Taiwan. Two of these – Taiwan Lutheran Church (TLC台灣信義會)& the Lutheran Church of Taiwan(LCT中華民國台灣信義會)– are members of The Lutheran World Federation (LWF). TLC and its mission partners, namely Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Norwegian Missionary Society (NMS) & The Danmission (DM), has about 80 mission sites (about 40 congregations, 30 church plants & 10 para-church organizations) located primarily in the urban areas of Taiwan.LCT and its mission partner, the Finnish Missionary Society (FMS), has 25 mission sites (21 congregations & 4 para-church organizations) mainly located in southern Taiwan.

The other four Lutheran bodies are: The Lutheran Church of the Republic of China(LCROC中國信義會), The Chinese Lutheran Brethren Church(CLBC中華信義會), China Lutheran Gospel Church(CLGC中華福音信義會)& China Evangelical Lutheran Church(CELC中華福音道路德會). LCROC and its mission partner, Norwegian Lutheran Mission (NLM), has about 15 mission sites (11 congregations & 2 para-church organizations) all in northern Taiwan, including Taipei, Yilan and Taoyuan. CLBC and its mission partner, Lutheran Brethren China Mission, USA (LBCM), has 15 mission sites (14 congregations and 1 church plant) in northern Taiwan, including Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli. CLGC and its mission partner, the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Free Church Mission (NLF), has 10 mission sites (8 congregations & 2 para-church organizations) in central Taiwan, namely Taichung. CELC and its mission partner, The Mission Society of Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, USA (MSLC-MS), has about 25 mission sites (23 congregations, 1 church plant & 2 para-church organizations).

Altogether, there are currently over 150 Lutheran mission sites, about 120 congregations, 30 church plants and 20 para-church organizations with over 15 thousand members.

The first Taiwan Lutheran congregation was established in Kaohsiung on June 3, 1951, with about 100 other congregations established in the following 15 years.  Most of the early congregations were started by missionaries and Chinese evangelists, who had to flee from Mainland China in the period of instability. The Headquarters of Taiwan Lutheran Church was set up in Taipei on November 10, 1954. Thirteen congregations established by 8 different missionary societies joined this Synod at that time. But CELC began to operate in 1951 and has developed independently.

This cooperation lasted for a few years. Later, some missionary societies chose to break away from TLC because of differences in mission policies. The Synod of CLBC started in 1958, and the Synod of LCROC in 1960, while the Synod of CLGC was established in 1973, and the Synod of LCT in 1977. Afterwards, TLC still had LCA (The Lutheran Church in America), ALC (The American Lutheran Church), NMS & DMS (The Danish Missionary Society) as her mission partners. LCA and ALC later combined to form the ELCA, and DMS merged with Danmission in January 2000.