What is a Lutheran?
Lutherans are Christians who follow the teachings of Martin Luther, a German monk who started the Reformation about 500 years ago. He was a really smart guy and wrote and said a lot of great things, but here’s the gist of it all:
– We are saved by the grace of God alone, not by anything we do.
– We trust that our sins are forgiven by God for Christ’s sake, who died for us. (We call that trust “faith.”)
– That grace and trust frees us from fear, guilt, and worry so that we can live with joy and love.
– We respond to God’s grace by welcoming others as we have been welcomed and by loving the creation that God loves, especially the poor, hungry, lonely, and vulnerable.
Lutherans accept two Sacraments as God-given means for penetrating the lives of people with his grace. Although they are not the only means of God’s grace, Baptism and Holy Communion are visible acts of God’s love.
In Baptism, God’s grace and love are freely offered in a new community. This is especially apparent in infant baptisms. In Holy Communion, those who come to the table receive in bread and wine, the body and blood of their Lord. This gift is itself the real presence of God’s forgiveness and mercy, nourishing believers in union with their Lord and with each other.
How Lutherans Look Upon the Bible
The Bible bears testimony to the mighty acts of God in the lives of people and nations. The Old Testament is a vivid account of God’s covenant relationship to Israel. The New Testament is the first-hand proclamation of those who lived through the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. As such, it is the authority for Christian life and practice. The Bible is thus not a definitive record of history or science. Rather, it is the record of the drama of God’s saving care for creation throughout the course of history.