History of Laestadianism
Lars Levi Laestadius, the rector of the Karesuando congregation, received the living gospel proclaimed by a Sami girl named Maria. As a result of this, Laestadius’ sermons underwent a transformation and many people began attending the Karesuando church from great distances to hear his sermons. The established revival movement has been called as “Laestadianism” since the 1840s. Consequently, the awakening expanded rapidly among the Finnish speaking population and services were arranged in various parts of Northern Scandinavia.
Laestadius co-worker Juhani Raattamaa preached in Finnish. During their time, they began using the words “In Jesus’ name and blood” for proclamation of the forgiveness of sins. This Biblical proclamation focuses on the core of the gospel and is still the main message of Conservative Laestadians. When the gatherings became regular events in the late 1800’s, various communities established Associations of Peace to arrange services. The Central Association of the Finnish Associations of Peace (SRK) was established in 1914 to cater the local associations.
Today there are more than 180 independently operating RYs (congregations) in Finland. Their equals, or sister organizations, can be found in Sweden, Norway, Russian Federation, Estonia, Canada, The United States, Togo and Ghana.
How We Believe
The basis of the doctrine in Conservative Laestadianism is the Bible and the Lutheran confession. We believe that the Bible is the highest authority in matters of faith and life. The central issue in Conservative Laestadianism is the sermon about the teachings of Jesus, as well as His suffering, death and resurrection. A person is justified solely by faith, solely by grace, solely for the sake of Christ.
According to Christian doctrine the work of Christ continues here on the earth through the work of the Holy Spirit in His congregation where God justifies the sinner in His congregation. Jesus has through the power of the Holy Spirit given the congregation and its members a duty to proclaim the gospel to all people. The core of the gospel is the remission of sins in Jesus’ name and blood. Faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.
This saving gospel has travelled from biblical time to the present day in this way; a person has heard the proclaimed gospel, believed it and then preached the gospel to the next generation.
Also today, at these Summer Services, it is possible to hear the gospel of the kingdom of God proclaimed and believe sins forgiven based on the reconciliation of Jesus.