WHAT’S A LUTHERAN?
A Lutheran is a Christian.
This family of Christians began during the Protestant Reformation. With a membership estimated at around 80 million members worldwide, Lutheranism is the third-largest Protestant movement.
A Lutheran follows the teachings of Jesus.
Our understanding of this was articulated by Martin Luther in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in his attempt to reform the Catholic Church. We believe Jesus taught a radical way of love that included all people, especially those who knew oppression, exclusion, or rejection. Jesus eventually became the ultimate example of that love (see #3).
A Lutheran is Centered in the Cross
We know of no other God than the one we see in Jesus on the cross. There at the cross, the heart of God is exposed, vulnerable, and bleeding for the sake of the world. The cross, the primary symbol of Lutheran faith, stands for the greatest act of love the world has ever known. Through this act, we are reconciled with God and no longer separated because of sin (human brokenness). Resurrection (Jesus rising from the dead) validates this gift of love and becomes the sign of new life for all.
A Lutheran is into the Bible
The Word of God speaks truth into our lives and is the main source of our understanding of God, ourselves and the world. Through the story within its pages, we meet Jesus, the Son of God, and discover the heart of God for all people. We hold that Scripture is not necessarily always accurate or trustworthy in all its details and part, recognizing it also, as a reflection of a culture in the time it was written. We believe God’s Spirit continues to enlighten the church with new understandings and interpretations of the Bible, making it a living and breathing source of life and inspiration.
A Lutheran is part of a larger church.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A Lutheran is “sacramental.”
Lutherans observe two sacraments: baptism and communion (i.e., the Lord’s Supper). In baptism we are offered forgiveness of sin and welcomed into the Christian family. In communion, we receive the true body and blood of Christ and are nourished for the journey.
A Lutheran is centered in “grace.”
Grace mean simply, “the free gift of God’s love.” There’s nothing we can do to earn it or deserve it. It is ours simply because God gives it and it is given to all people. No, you don’t have to accept it or reach out and take it to make it effective. Rather, as we acknowledge God’s goodness, we receive it into our lives and every day becomes a celebration of it and a living out of our gratitude for it. You are loved by God. Period.