The Firstborn Laestadianism
Firstborn Laestadians are a subgroup within Laestadianism. The "Firstborn" are known for their traditionalism and their conservative pietistic ideals, and they seek to avoid "worldly pleasures". The name "Firstborn" relates to the Bible, Hebr. 12:23, which mentions "the church of the firstborn" (KJV). American and Canadian congregations always use the King James Version of the Bible. In Finland, the Finnish Bible Version of the year 1776 is used. Both Bible versions are based on the Textus Receptus.
In Sweden this group is often known as "West Laestadians". They have adopted a more critical attitude towards the Church of Sweden than other Laestadians. There are many Firstborn Laestadian congregations in the US, Canada, Finland, and Norway, one congregation in Denmark and some activity in Russia, Estonia, Latvia, the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain as well.
In the US and Canada the Firstborn are found in the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church. There are congregations in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington state, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario, Delaware, North Carolina, New York, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut. In America the Firstborns are the largest Laestadian subgroup.
The Firstborn all over the world consider the congregation in Swedish Lapland, where the Laestadian movement began, as a mother congregation. Christmas meetings in Gällivare, Sweden, are the most important annual event for the Firstborn Laestadians.
Division of Firstborn Laestadianism of Finland in 2016Edit
In 2016 Firstborn Laestadianism in Finland divided into two factions based on views concerning administering Holy Communion and Baptism by lay preachers in their own prayer houses. In August 2016 the new Association Esikoiset ry was founded by Firstborn Laestadians who want to receive Sacraments in fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, a National Church of Finland.
On 13 August 2016 Firstborn Laestadian preachers who do not accept administration of sacraments by lay preachers met in Hämeenlinna's prayer house. Some of the Firstborn Laestadians' preachers started to serve in the new Association. From the meeting of preachers in Hämeenlinna, they emphasized that in the new Association they want to receive sacraments in fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Church and work within the Church in accordance with the traditional policy of Firstborn Laestadianism. The preachers' message was that division of the revival movement does not mean change in the theology of Firstborn Laestadianism, even in the new Association. Preachers said that they will fight against liberalism and secularization together with other conservatives within the Church.
- Rytkönen, Jussi (15 August 2016). "Uusi yhdistys perustettu – Esikoislestadiolainen herätysliike jakautuu". Kotimaa24 (in Finnish). Retrieved 10 May 2019.