WHAT IS A LUTHERAN?

MARTIN LUTHER’S THEOLOGICAL TEACHINGS OF FAITH, GRACE AND SCRIPTURE


WHAT DO LUTHERAN'S BELIEVE?

Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of German theologian Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther became one of the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.  He realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic Church at that time. In 1517, Pope Leo X announced a new round of “indulgences” to pay for the building of St. Peter’s Basilica.  On October 31, 1517, a very angry Martin Luther posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University, titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). Aided by the recent invention of the printing press, copies of his Theses spread throughout Germany and Europe.  During his very tense arguments and evental excommunication with the Catholic church, his hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible

Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of German theologian Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther became one of the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century.  He realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic Church at that time. In 1517, Pope Leo X announced a new round of “indulgences” to pay for the building of St. Peter’s Basilica.  On October 31, 1517, a very angry Martin Luther posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University, titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). Aided by the recent invention of the printing press, copies of his Theses spread throughout Germany and Europe.  During his very tense arguments and evental excommunication with the Catholic church, his hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible.

What started as an academic debate escalated into a distinct separation between the Roman Catholic Church of the time and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. “Lutheran” became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions.Today, nearly five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and still hold to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings, such as Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone.These comprise the very essence of Lutheranism:

  • We are saved by the grace of God alone — not by anything we do;
  • Our salvation is through faith alone — a confident trust in God, who in Christ promises us forgiveness, life and salvation; and
  • The Bible is the norm for faith and life — the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.

Over the years, different Lutheran church bodies have been established and organized to meet the needs of Lutherans in communities and nations all over the world. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the largest Lutheran group in North America, founded in 1988 when three North American Lutheran church bodies united: The American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in America.

Learn more about the History of the ELCA.

THE LUTHER ROSE


The Luther seal or Luther rose is a widely recognized symbol for Lutheranism. It was the seal that was designed for Martin Luther at the behest of John Frederick of Saxony in 1530, while Luther was staying at the Coburg Fortress during the Diet of Augsburg.

I HAVE HELD MANY THINGS IN MY HANDS, AND HAVE LOST THEM ALL; BUT WHATEVER I HAVE PLACED IN GODS HANDS, THAT I STILL POSSESS.

MARTIN LUTHER