About the name “Lutheran”
Lutherans are not followers of Martin Luther. Rather, like Luther, we believe the Bible is God’s Word and our authority for matters of faith and life. Luther was a German priest who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1500's. His writing, teaching, and translation of the Bible into the language of the people sparked the Protestant Reformation. Through his study of the Bible, Luther helped Christians rediscover the truth that God is loving, and that He offers forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift because of Jesus Christ. Luther taught that people - no matter how hard they try – are unable to earn God's forgiveness or a place in heaven. These are gifts received through trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Lutherans Are Congregational
Some of the distinctive beliefs of Lutherans:
1. We view God’s Word, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper as the means through which God gives people his grace.
2. Local churches or congregations are the central community for faith and practice. Congregations choose a trained person to be their pastor, who provides spiritual care and service to our members.
3. Christian education is important. Lutherans provide Sunday schools, Bible classes, home study groups, preschools, elementary and high schools, and colleges. Lutherans operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in the United States.
4. We share our faith with individuals. Collectively, we have missions or partner churches in more than 90 nations.
5. We care about people in need - providing help for children and families, and worldwide relief for the hungry, homeless, and helpless.
6. Our worship style, which includes much music and singing, often follows worship forms handed down from the early church that are rich in Scripture, and expressed in contemporary ways.
7. We believe in the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death, and that marriage is an institution created by God for one man and one woman.
8. Besides the Bible, a good summary of our faith may be found in Luther’s Small Catechism. A more detailed exposition of our faith may be found in The Book of Concord. Both of these are simply summaries and explanations of God’s Word as found in the Bible.
Lutherans Look Like You
Lutherans look like people around the world, for indeed we are. We represent the world's largest Protestant group. The 50+ million Lutherans can be found on every continent. We worship in hundreds of languages. In the United States, there are about 8 million Lutherans representing almost every people group, whether of Anglo, Hispanic, African, Asian, or Indian descent. The Lutheran Church is growing most rapidly today in Africa and Asia.
Lutherans Know Jesus Christ
Lutherans build our lives on Jesus Christ. We believe Jesus Christ is the only, perfect, Son of God. Jesus died for us and for every person in the world. Jesus rose from the dead and lives for us - and for all people who believe in Him as their Savior. Our lives - today, tomorrow, and in eternity - depend on Jesus. We can live with a sure hope of eternal life because of Jesus Christ. We know we're not perfect and that we stumble and fall in our daily walk with God. But we also live in the knowledge that our forgiveness has been won and paid for by Jesus Christ and when we repent and seek forgiveness, God will forgive us because of Jesus. We want to tell others about that sure and certain hope!
Lutherans Trust the Bible
Lutherans often refer to three teachings of the Bible as a summary of the faith that gives them hope.
1. Grace alone - God’s love and forgiveness is a gift from God to us, through His Son Jesus who died on the cross. Grace – God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.
2. Faith alone-Forgiveness of all we have done wrong and eternal life become ours through trust in Jesus as our Savior. Faith – Forsaking All I Trust in Him.
3. Scripture alone-The Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God and is our authority for all matters of faith and life.
Lutherans Are Christians who believe:
1. God is three persons in one: the Father, who created and sustains the world; the Son, who lived as a human being, died, and rose from the dead; and the Holy Spirit who works God's will in the world.
2. The Bible is God's Word, inspired by God, spoken through human writers, and is inerrant in its original writings.
3. Satan, the devil, is a real spiritual being who is opposed to God and His will, and is active in this world seeking our eternal harm.
4. Sin exists in every person. It is the root cause of all bad things people do to each other and of all the evil in this world.
5. Everyone will have existence after death - either in heaven or hell - forever.
6. God has a plan to end the world, when He will judge everyone-both living and dead.
Lutherans and the Cross
Lutherans proudly display the cross, a symbol used by most Christians. The cross symbolizes the death that Jesus died that we should have died, after living the perfect life that we should have lived.
A more in-depth exploration of our faith may be explored in the writings of our Lutheran Confessions as found in the Book of Concord. This book supports the foundations of the LCMS.
Currently, Pastor John Lehenbauer from Christ Lutheran Church in Perry is serving our congregation. If you need to speak with him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (478) 397-5914.