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Being Lutheran

A Lutheran is first and foremost a Christian, a believer and follower of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As Christians, we are thankful for the faithful witness of Martin Luther, a German Monk (1483 – 1546 A.D.), who clearly articulated foundational gospel truths in his generation, calling an errant Church back into reform and right relationship with God. Much of Luther’s teachings on Scripture were preserved and became a theological companion to understanding the Scriptures for an emerging reform movement. The irony is that Luther never wanted a denomination or church named after himself. For that reason, the German churches of the Reformation still refer to themselves today as “Evangelicals.”

Luther’s legacy of reform has thrived in the confession of certain core values:

  • Word Alone – The Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) are the inspired Word of God, authoritative for faith, doctrine, and daily living. The Bible needs to be translated into the common language of the people, so that they can read and study to know God, his character, his promises, his covenant of grace, his expressed will for His people for themselves

  • Faith Alone – We become right with God through faith in God’s atoning sacrifice for all sin in Jesus Christ on the cross. Through faith we receive Christ’s righteousness and are justified before God, the Father, and are born again children of God. Faith is the result of hearing, believing, and trusting the good news of forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus Christ.

  • Grace Alone – We are born separated and alienated from God without any knowledge of His character or plan of salvation, except that which is already revealed through His creation. We cannot free ourselves from sin or warrant our own salvation. It is only through the free gift of God in Christ Jesus that we are forgiven, redeemed, and saved. We are free from the LAW of God to live in the freedom of the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ.

  • Word and Sacrament – The church exists wherever the gospel of Jesus Christ is faithfully preached and the sacraments (The Lord’s Supper and Baptism) rightly administered. The sacraments are means of grace in that Jesus Christ is really present. Wherever Christ is present is always the potential for faith, salvation, repentance, healing, and new life!

  • Priesthood of All Believers – There is no false distinction between laity and clergy – all are charged to be faithful messengers of the gospel of Christ and anointed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Though there are different types of service, it is still the same Spirit who calls and equips them all. The Spirit calls some to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (and more) all for the equipping and building up of the body to maturity in Christ.

  • Freedom in Worship – Luther introduced hymns and liturgy in the language and rhythm of the culture and people. We continue this practice today with new emerging songs of praise and thanksgiving in the heart-beat of today’s people.

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