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What We Believe

The Lutheran church is nearly 500 years old. Martin Luther (1483-1546) was an Augustinian monk and an ordained priest in the Roman Catholic church who lived in Germany. While pursuing a Doctor of Theology degree he discovered significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the theology and practices of the church of his day.
On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the church door at Wittenberg University to debate 95 theological issues. Luther's hope was that the church would reform its practice to be more consistent with the Bible. What started as an ordinary academic debate escalated into a religious war. As a result, Luther’s desire for a reformation of the church became instead a separation from the Roman Catholic church. “Lutheran” was a name applied to Luther and his followers as an insult, but they adopted it as a badge of honor instead.
Lutherans still hold to the basic principles of theology and practice espoused by Luther, such as:

  • We are saved by the grace of God alone, not by what we do.
  • Our salvation is through faith alone. We only need to believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who died to redeem us.
  • The Bible is the only standard we use to judge what we believe and teach.

 

Luther's Small Catechism (which contains basic teachings on the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion) is still used to introduce people to the Lutheran faith, as is the more detailed Augsburg Confession. These and other Lutheran confessional documents are included in the Book of Concord.
Here are some other things we believe:

  • We believe in the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
  • We confess God as Father and Creator of the universe.
  • We confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, human beings can be reconciled to God (because our sins are forgiven, we are now worthy to be in relationship with God).
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies (makes holy), and keeps the whole Christian Church on earth.
  • We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God’s Spirit speaking through their authors, the books of the Bible record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of the church’s proclamation, faith, and life.
  • We believe that all human beings are born in sin and cannot live the life God intends for us on our own. We believe that we are justified (made acceptable) by grace through faith on account of Jesus Christ.
  • We understand that God comes to us through the Means of Grace—the Word of God and the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion. Through them, God helps us understand and receive the benefits of a relationship with God. God graciously speaks to us through the Law – what we need to do, and the Gospel – what God has done for us.