A Lutheran is a Christian. Christians join the Lutheran church because Lutherans preach the whole counsel of God, both Law and Gospel, teach the Bible in all of its truth and purity, and administer the sacraments according to Christ's institution and mandate. The Word and the Sacraments are God's means of delivering His Gifts to His Church in every age. The most important thing in the Christian faith is Jesus' death on the cross and Resurrection from the dead to save you from your sins. A Christian is justified, or made right with God, by God’s action in Christ Jesus by His Gift of undeserved grace, through faith, not by works (so that anyone could boast). Even this faith is a Gift, given by the Spirit at conversion or at Baptism. By this gift of faith, a Christian receives all the Gifts the Lord graciously bestows.
A Lutheran is evangelical. Lutherans focus upon the evangel, that is, the Holy Gospel, the Good News about Jesus Christ. A Lutheran Christian lives in the forgiveness of sins, in the Gospel. This is done by daily drowning the sinful nature, the Old Adam, through daily contrition and repentance so that a new man may arise and live before God in righteousness and purity forever. This baptismal faith is nourished by daily study of the Bible, regular worship attendance, and partaking the Lord Body and Blood in His Holy Supper. Since Christ alone is our hope for salvation, a Lutheran desires to share the Good news about Jesus so that all may have the Gift of Eternal Life. Lutherans were the first to be known as evangelicals because of their focus on the Gospel of Christ.
A Lutheran is confessional. The sainted A. L. Barry wrote, " A Lutheran is a person who believes, teaches, and confesses the truths of God's Word as they are summarized and confessed in The Book of Concord. The Book of Concord is a collection of Lutheran creeds that evangelically confess the pure truth of the Holy Bible. The part of the Confessions that Lutheran laypeople are most familiar with is Luther's Small Catechism. The confessions recognize that, he Word of God is and should remain the sole rule and norm of all doctrine (FC SD, Rule and Norm, 9). Creeds (like the Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed) were originally written to combat false teachings and to preserve the church from error. The Lutheran confessors intended the same thing when they presented the Augsburg Confession (1530), the Apology [Defense] of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, the Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord (1577). In 1580, all the confessional writings were gathered into a single volume, The Book of Concord. Concord is a word that means harmony. A true Lutheran pastor unconditionally subscribes to the confessions, according to the words of C. F. W. Walther, because he recognizes the fact that they are in full agreement with Scripture and do not militate against Scripture in any point, whether the point be of major or minor importance; and that he therefore heartily believes in this divine truth and is determined to preach this doctrine. A pastor promises to teach according to the Scriptures and Confessions at ordination or subsequent installations."
An electronic version of the Lutheran Confessions is available to download for free from http://www.bookofconcord.org.
A Lutheran is catholic. That Lutherans are small “c” catholic means that they believe, teach, and confess that which the One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church has always and at all places believed, taught, and confessed about God and the forgiveness of sins from the Bible alone. The teachings of the Lutheran Church are nothing new, but are the pure, authentic, original Christian faith. Luther’s reformation was conservative. He did not start completely from scratch, but made purifying the existing church his emphasis. Anything in the church or her worship that was contrary to the Word of God was removed. Anything that was neither commanded nor forbidden by the Bible was retained as an aid to teaching and nourishing the faith. Therefore, Lutherans have the benefit of the historic (1,600+ year-old) Divine Service, vestments, the use of a catechism, a system of weekly readings for worship, and the treasured hymns and canticles of the church.
A Lutheran is an evangelical, catholic, confessional Christian!
Today, there are 66 million Lutherans belonging to 250 different autonomous Lutheran churches around the world. The largest numbers of Lutherans are to be found in Germany, the place where the Reformation took place during the early part of the 16th century. The 9.5 million Lutherans in North America belong to dozens of different Lutheran church bodies, groups whose teachings vary widely. The largest of these at 5.1 million is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), with 2.5 million baptized members, ranks as the second largest Lutheran church body in North America and the 11th largest denomination in the USA. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) has 410,000 members and is the third largest Lutheran Church in the United States of America.
Being a Lutheran is much more! Please email, call, write, or visit to ask us for more information!
Who is Martin Luther? Martin Luther (November 10, 1483–February 18, 1546) was a German theologian, an ordained pastor, an Augustinian monk, and a church reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation. Luther's call to the Church to return to the teachings of the Bible led to his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church. His translation of the Bible helped to develop a standard version of the German language. His hymns inspired the development of congregational singing in Christianity. On June 13, 1525, he married Katharina von Bora. Luther died confessing the faith he taught.
Hymn based upon the Bible
Invocation (Matthew 28:19-20)
Confession and Absolution +
(Hebrews 10:22; Psalm 124:8; Psalm 32:5)
Introit (a Psalm)
Kyrie (Mark 10:47)
Gloria (Luke 2:14; John 1:29)
Salutation (2 Timothy 4:22)
Collect of the Day based upon the Bible
Old Testament Reading (or one from Acts)
Gradual (a Psalm)
Epistle Reading (from a New Testament Letter)
Gospel Reading (from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John)
Nicene Creed (based upon the Bible)
Hymn of the Day (based upon the Bible)
Sermon based upon the Bible
Offertory (Psalm 51:10-12)
Gathering of Offerings
The Prayer of the Church (Philippians 4:7)
Preface / Proper Preface
Sanctus (Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 21:9)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
Words of Institution
(Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24;
Luke 22: 19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
Pax (John 20:19)
Agnus Dei (John 1:29)
Distribution with hymns
Nunc Dimittis (Luke 2:29-32)
Post Communion Collect
Benediction + (Numbers 6:24-26)
Hymn based upon the Bible
Read the Bible citations for yourself!
The Luther Rose, also known as the Luther Seal, is easily the most recognized symbol for Lutheranism, and for good reason. Martin Luther personally oversaw the creation of this symbol. It provides a beautiful summary of his faith, a faith that is common to all Christians, of every place and every time. Here is how Luther explained the meaning of his seal:
"Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For one who believes from the heart will be justified" (Rom. 10:10). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. " The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17) but by faith in the crucified. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal. This is my compendium theoligae [summary of theology]. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation. May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen." *
* Martin Luther, Letter to Lazarus Spengler, July 8, 1530, as included in the translation by Amy Marga from "Luthers Siegel: Eine elementare Deutung seiner Theologie," in Luther 67 (1996):66–87. Translation printed in Lutheran Quarterly, Vol. XIV, Num. 4, Winter 2000, pg. 409-410. The text used for this translation is from Johannes Schilling, Briefe, Auswah, Ubersetzung und Erlauterungen in Vol. 6 of Ausgewaehlte Schriften/MartinLuther. The text of Luther's letter is also found in the Weimar edition of Luther's Works, Briefe Vol. 5:444ff and in English translation in Luther's Works: American Edition, Vol. 49:356-359).
THE LUTHERAN CHURCH—MISSOURI SYNOD,
1300 W 5th Street (Across from the Hospital)
Sheridan, WY 82801
Pastor: The Rev. Paul J Cain