What kinds of visible local congregations and synods, however, are there in external Christendom?

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There are two types of visible local congregations, synods and church federations:
  1. Those that teach and confess God’s Word in its truth and purity (orthodox or doctrinally pure churches) and
  2. Those that tolerate and teach false doctrine (heterodox or doctrinally impure churches).

The doctrinally pure Church at the beginning of the New Testament era consisted of the apostolic congregations, later it consisted of those churches purified by the Lutheran Reformation, and in our day it includes the faithful Lutheran (confessional) congregations and synods. The heterodox church during the post-apostolic era included, for example, the Arians; in our day: the Roman Catholics, the Greek Orthodox, the Reformed churches, the re-baptizing movements, and the nomi181 nal Lutherans. Heterodox federations today are the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches.