What is Lutheran?
WHAT IS LUTHERAN?
- Lutherans are members of one of the largest Protestant Christian denominations today. Lutheranism is based on the teachings of Martin Luther, a German monk and professor who has been called the “Father of the Reformation.” In 1517, he famously protested against the Roman Catholic Church and their sale of indulgences, among other things. In his sermons and writings, Luther stressed the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the authority of scripture alone.
- In the United States, there are many branches of Lutheranism. St. Andrew’s is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the largest branch. The ELCA confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. See below for more information on our theology and beliefs.
WHAT DOES ST. ANDREW’S BELIEVE, PREACH, AND TEACH?
- We believe that we are saved by God’s grace, which is freely given to us with “no strings attached.” This salvation was achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and is not because of anything we have done or not done, believed or not believed.
- We believe that our lives should be lived in grateful response to the gift of salvation given to us through Jesus.
- Our communion table is open to all, with no questions asked and no prerequisites. We recommend that those who have not been instructed in the meaning of communion, especially children, participate in a first communion class. However, this is not a requirement and we honor parents’ wishes with regard to their children’s communion participation.
- As Lutherans do throughout the world, we practice infant baptism. We believe that God is acting through baptism to create faith and
ELCA teaching or theology serves the proclamation and ministry of this faith. It does not have an answer for all questions, not even all religious questions. Teaching or theology prepares members to be witnesses in speech and in action of God’s rich mercy in Jesus Christ.
Scriptures, Creeds and Confessions
- The ELCA’s official Confession of Faith identifies the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (commonly called the Bible); the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds; and the Lutheran confessional writings in the Book of Concord as the basis for our teaching. ELCA congregations make the same affirmation in their governing documents, and ELCA pastors promise to preach and teach in accordance with these teaching sources. This Confession of Faith is more than just words in an official document. Every Sunday in worship ELCA congregations hear God’s word from the Scriptures, pray as Jesus taught and come to the Lord’s Table expecting to receive the mercies that the Triune God promises. Throughout the week ELCA members continue to live by faith, serving others freely and generously in all that they do because they trust God’s promise in the Gospel. In small groups and at sick beds, in private devotions and in daily work, this faith saturates all of life.