What is a Lutheran?

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What is a Lutheran?

The modern Lutheran church is based upon the work of Martin Luther, also known as the Father of Protestantism. After originally studying to be a lawyer, Luther became an Augustinian monk in 1505 and an ordained priest two years later. As he studied, he felt that there were significant differences between the theology and practices of the church and his readings of Scripture. On October 31, 1517, he posted his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. This document challenged the church to be more consistent with Biblical teachings in its preaching and practices.

As a the result of fierce passions on both sides of the issue, the debate escalated to the extent that the reforms Luther sought resulted in a split from the Roman Catholic church. Most of Northern Europe joined the reformed or Protestant faction. Rather against Luther's wishes, Lutheran became a name that described this new movement. In recent years, major agreements between Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and other denominations, have emphasized the common Christian beliefs we all share. (To learn more about the ecumenical movement, click here.)

Nevertheless, Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation each October 31st, and follow the same principles of theology and practice Luther advocated, including

  • Sola Gratia (Grace Alone): We are saved by the grace of God alone, not by anything we do.

  • Sola Fide (Faith Alone): Our salvation is through faith alone. We need only to believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who died to redeem us.

  • Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone): The Bible is our most important guide, the only true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.

To become a Lutheran, one need only be baptized and receive instruction in the Christian faith. First Lutheran offers membership classes several times a year. If you are interested, please contact the church office.

(More information about Lutheran history)
(More information about the Luther rose, shown above.)