What is a Lutheran?

To be a Lutheran is to be a Christian (not the other way around!). Many characteristics of the Lutheran way are also traits of other Christian traditions. The Lutheran Church began as a result of Martin Luther's 16th century protest of certain teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church of his day for which Luther found no biblical basis. Luther protested against church practices of his day, which taught people that salvation can be earned by one’s own efforts.

 

Central to Lutheran theology is the belief that salvation is a free and gracious gift of God. "If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) Lutheran Christians confess Jesus as the Christ, the Savior of the World. The gift of salvation is free and can't be bought for any price. Nor is faith an intellectual acceptance of doctrines about God, but a dynamic, life-changing trust in God's promises. The good works believers do are done out of thankfulness to God for what they have already received, not out of a need to earn God's favor.

 

Within the church, Lutherans are committed to: 

 

1. The task of reminding ourselves that we are catholic (with a small "c" meaning universal). We are not a breakaway sect but a part of the continuation of the universal Church built upon the foundation of Christ and the apostles. We continue to strive for the healing of division within the Church.

 

2. The task of serving as an evangelical teaching movement within the universal church---teaching that God's unconditional grace in Christ is the center of the Christian faith. We joyfully proclaim the Good News---that God has come into this world as one like us, who is Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ God shows his love and forgiveness to all humanity.

 

3. The task of living as a reforming movement---constantly letting the Holy Spirit show us where our personal and corporate lives must change in order to conform to the Gospel. When the Spirit directs us to reformation (of our own lives, the church, our society), we act in obedient trust. We seek peace and justice, calling for and working for necessary reform in God's creation.

 

Commitment to all of this cannot be sustained without prayer. We come together regularly to praise God and receive nurture and guidance. We take the Bible seriously, trusting that although some of it may appear to be straw, it holds the precious Word of God just as the manger held Jesus  (God's Word made flesh). We receive Baptism and Holy Communion as renewed promises that God will not ever or finally forsake us, but remains as close to us and to the world as cleansing water, bread, and wine.

Trinity Lutheran Church