What We Believe...
Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther was a German theologian who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic Church at that time. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg, Germany, titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). His hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible. What started as an academic debate escalated into a distinct separation between the Roman Catholic Church of the time and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. "Lutheran" became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions.
Today, nearly five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and still hold to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings, such as Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone. These comprise the very essence of Lutheranism:
- We are saved by the grace of God alone – not by anything we do;
- Our salvation is through faith alone – our faith comes from God, and we only need to trust God made known in Christ who promises us forgiveness, life, and salvation; and
- The Bible is the norm for faith and life – the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.
ELCA Confession of Faith
The Augsburg Confession
The Book of Concord (The Confessions of the Lutheran Church)
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Large Catechism