During its 1998 convention, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod adopted a resolution officially outlining theological positions LCMS held that were contrary to those held by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Furthermore, the LCMS has outlined three main areas of disagreement with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod: the biblical understanding of fellowship, the doctrine of the ministry and the role of women in the church.
The main theological difference between the LCMS and the ELCA relates to the proper way to interpret scripture. While the LCMS holds that the Bible is the literal word of God and free from any error, the ECLA teaches that the Bible is not always accurate on such matters as history and science. The LCMS prohibits the ordination of women and homosexuals based on its reading of scripture while the ECLA permits female and homosexual ordination. The LCMS is also against the decision of the ECLA to enter into fellowship with other church bodies that do not share in all interpretations of scripture and doctrine.
While the LCMS has strong disagreements with its two main American counterparts, the synod had 36 partner churches around the world, as of 2015, with which it has full altar and pulpit fellowship, including the Lutheran Church of Nigeria, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium, the Lutheran Church of Venezuela and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti.