by Richard O. Johnson
In 1914, a small group of pastors and laity in New York established the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau. Originally hoping to bring Lutherans into greater engagement with American life and culture, the ALPB’s work through the years expanded into a multifaceted ministry that challenged first the Missouri Synod, and then the larger Lutheran community, to take seriously the Lutheran confessional commitment to evangelism, church unity, liturgical integrity and ethical seriousness.
In this new history of the ALPB, Richard O. Johnson portrays the Bureau as an independent gadfly and a loving critic of the various Lutheran church bodies as they have confronted the multiple crises of the 20th century—two world wars, the Great Depression, the struggle against racism and discrimination, the sexual revolution, the ecumenical movement, and more.
Far more than just an institutional history, writes Luther Seminary’s Mark Granquist, Changing World, Changeless Christ is “a thoughtful and penetrating history of Lutherans in America in the twentieth century.” Concordia Theological Seminary’s David Scaer calls it “a fascinating look behind the scenes to see how Missouri Synod and then ELCA members responded to the decisions of their churches and worked to change them.”