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Basic Beliefs of Lutheranism

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John-Thomas Taylor

on 10 January 2014

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Transcript of Basic Beliefs of Lutheranism

Dietary Restrictions
There aren't any dietary restrictions and there's very little tradition of fasting at all.
Prohibited Behaviors?
Original prohibitions of the Bible, meriting death, which are generally ignored in modern practices.


Lying about virginity
Consuming blood
Working on the Sabbath
Number of adherents to Lutheranism in the World?
The LWF now has 142 member church bodies in 79 countries representing 70.3 million of the world's 73.9 million Lutherans.
Important celebration/rites associated with Lutheranism?
Lutherans retain many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the Pre-Reformation Church, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist, or Lord's Supper. Baptism is also largely practiced.
Holy Places? Nope
Smalcald Articles (II ii 22-23), "Even if there were some good in them, relics should long since have been condemned. They are neither commanded nor commended. They are utterly unnecessary and useless. Worst of all, however, is the claim that relics effect indulgences and the forgiveness of sin and that, like the Mass, etc. their use is a good work and a service of God.”
Central Figures
Martin Luther (1483-1546) gained followers in his attempts to reform the Catholic Church and, after he was excommunicated due to his 95 Theses, his followers began calling themselves Lutherans despite slight opposition from Martin Luther himself.
Books Central to Lutheranism
The Bible - The only source of divinely revealed knowledge.
Old Testament
New Testament
Originally every passage of Scripture was believed to have one straightforward meaning, the literal sense as interpreted by other Scripture.
Today, Lutherans disagree about the inspiration and authority of the Bible. The following information is from multiple studies on the Lutheran population in the US.
30% believe that the Bible was the Word of God and was to be taken literally word for word.
40% held that the Bible was the Word of God, but was not literally true word for word or were unsure if it was literally true word for word.
23% said the Bible was written by men and not the Word of God.
7% did not know, were not sure, or had other positions.
Religious Symbols
Basic Beliefs of Lutheranism
Baptism, of no specific form, is necessary for spiritual regeneration.
Each individual has the right to reach God through Scripture with responsibility to God alone. It is not necessary for a priest to mediate.
Salvation comes by grace through faith alone; not by works and sacraments.
Salvation is available to all humans through the redeeming work of Christ.
Scriptures contain the one necessary guide to truth.
Trust in Jesus is necessary for salvation.
Recognize that God's Word does not address every matter of practice, though if God's Word has spoken to a matter then Lutherans must follow God's Word on that matter.
In death, the souls of Christians are immediately taken into the presence of Jesus, where they await the second coming of Jesus on the last day. On the last day, all of the bodies of the dead will be resurrected. Their souls will then be reunited with the same bodies they had before dying.
Jesus is the Christ, the savior promised in the Old Testament. He is both by nature God and by nature man in one person
Sinners, while capable of doing works that are outwardly "good," are not capable of doing works that satisfy God's justice.
Lutheran Church Divisions
The ELCA and the LCMS comprise 94% of Lutherans in the United States, the WELS and ELS comprise 5%,
The 4 Major Synods of the Lutheran Church denominations.
ELCA - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
LCMS - The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
WELS - Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
ELS - Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The WELS and ELS are currently in a fellowship with each other.
The Luther Rose, also known as the Luther Seal. It is a coat of arms, personally created by Martin Luther in the year 1519 to summarize his faith.
The official seal of The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
The logo cross of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod is comprised of three crosses in one. It declares that “we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity.”
Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560) was an important scholar-theologian of the Lutheran Reformation. He served as Luther's spokesperson, since as a condemned criminal Luther often could not appear at conferences and debates.He was a close associate, and after Luther's death assumed leadership of the Lutheran movement.He wrote two of the key texts in the Book of Concord (1580): the Augsburg Confession (1530) and its Apology (1531).
There is no theology of official sacred spaces within Lutheranism.
The key insight of Luther's theology is that salvation is a one-way affair.It is a gift from God to humans.There is nothing humans can do to prompt or earn this gift. One immediate consequence of this theology is to undermine the idea of a priesthood, yet some modern Lutherans do attend Church even though it's not a mandatory practice for them.
The same goes in regards to sacred objects or relics.
LWF = Lutheran World Federation
A global communion of national and regional Lutheran churches headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland.
Baptism - Lutherans hold that Baptism is a saving work of God, mandated and instituted by Jesus Christ. It is a "means of grace" through which God creates and strengthens "saving faith" as the "washing of regeneration" in which infants and adults are reborn.
The Eucharist - Lutherans hold that within the Eucharist, also referred to as the Sacrament of the Altar, the Mass, or the Lord's Supper, the true body and blood of Christ are truly present "in, with, and under the forms" of the consecrated bread and wine for all those who eat and drink it,[122] a doctrine that the Formula of Concord calls the sacramental union.
While Lutherans are free to fast as part of their private prayer life, very few do, there are no days set aside for it, and it is rarely if ever mentioned.
Lutherans reacted against the Catholic practices of fasting and abstinence at the time of the Reformation, and never looked back. To this day, they probably give less attention to fasting than just about any other Christian church.
Locations Based on Region
Africa - Namibia has the highest proportion of Lutherans of any country in Africa, at about 50% of the country's population.
Asia - The largest national Lutheran community in Asia is found in Indonesia.
Twelve Indonesian Lutheran churches or synods associated with the LWF claim more than 5.6 million members.
Lutherans in India number more than 1.5 million.
Europe - Membership and attendance of services in Lutheran churches, as for all of the large, state-affiliated European churches are low and decreasing. Exceptions are Germany and Austria.
Germany - The Lutheran faith was first established in some states of the Holy Roman Empire now located within Germany. Approximately 40% of German Protestants are members of regional church bodies forming the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD), a unit of the EKD comprising all Lutheran regional church bodies in Germany, except of Oldenburg and Württemberg, however, which are only associated.
Northern Europe - Lutheranism is the established church in most of the Nordic countries including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. In these countries, where most people are Lutheran, the churches are supported by taxes, either indirectly through the general taxes paid by most citizens or directly in the form of a church tax.
Lutheranism is also prominent in Estonia and Latvia.
North America - The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of 2012, it had 3,950,924 baptized members. It is the seventh-largest religious body and the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States.
Persecution Throughout History?
Under the reign of Frederick I (1523–33), Denmark-Norway remained officially Catholic. Although Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he soon adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers, the most significant being Hans Tausen.
Lutheran immigrants to Australia and New Zealand were not welcomed with open arms. There were several incidents of murders going unsolved and arriving ships sunk before they could dock.
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Lutherans and Catholics conflicted over many issues and Martin Luther was considered an outlaw. The Catholic Church and the Lutherans generally hated each other, but would collaborate occasionally to deal with their mutual hatred of the Anabaptists.
Common Stereotypes of Lutheranism?
Lutherans believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.
Lutherans like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.
Lutherans believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don’t notify them that they are there.
Lutherans usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.
Lutherans believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.
Lutherans feel that applauding for their children’s choirs would make the kids too proud and conceited.
Lutherans think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle.
Lutherans drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.
Some Lutherans still believe that an ELCA bride and an LCMS groom make for a mixed marriage.
Lutherans feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.
Lutherans are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.
Lutherans think that Garrison Keillor stories are totally factual.
Lutherans still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna noodle casserole adds too much color.
Lutherans believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.
You know you’re a Lutheran when you hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can!
These stereotypes generally come from Catholics who feel that Lutherans don't take Christianity's teachings seriously, and they are all false.
Comparison of Lutheranism & Catholicism

Both churches are liturgical.
Both believe the Bible, the three ecumenical creeds and the Ten Commandments to be authorative.
Both are governed by deacons, priests and bishops (although not all Lutheran churches follow the same hierarchy) .
Both believe in the "true presence" of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Both believe in original sin and baptism.
Many Lutheran practices were derived from the Catholic Church after their separation in the 1500's.

The main differences between Lutherans and Catholics are based on the papacy and doctrines of "justification."
By: John-Thomas Taylor
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