Where did the Lutheran Church originate? Back around the 16th century, Martin Luther was a German monk in the Roman Catholic Church who was very dissatisfied with the way that the church was being run. He felt that they had strayed from the original doctrines and principles that Jesus Christ had taught and that he read in the Bible. He tried to get them to make changes, but instead he was excommunicated and his life was threatened. The Lutheran Church was his answer to all of the questions he had about the misunderstandings of those doctrines and principles. He and the other early Lutheran Church founders wrote The Book of Concord as a statement of their tenets and beliefs. It is still in use in the Lutheran Church today.
After the Reformation, in order to escape persecution by other churches, many of the Lutheran Church in Germany and Scandinavia came to America for religious freedom and established homes, businesses, schools, colleges, and universities.
The Lutheran Church today has around 66 million members. While in some parts of the world they are losing members, in other areas such as in South and Central America, they are gaining membership. The largest population of Lutherans is in Europe, then Africa, and then the United States.
Here is a basic outline of their beliefs:
1. Baptism can be done when a person is any age and both infants and adults are baptized as a sign of renewal in the Lutheran Church.
2. Every member has the right to read and interpret the scriptures without the mediation of a priest. In the Roman Catholic Church in Martin Luther’s day this was not allowed.
3. The sacrament is a way to strengthen one’s faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. The bread and wine represent the sacrifice of the Savior, but do not turn into the essence of the body and blood of Christ.
4. People are saved by their belief in salvation rather than by their good works or sacraments.
5. Salvation is open to all human beings regardless of their station. It is not limited to a select few privileged individuals.
6. If you want answers about the Gospel, go to the only true source-the Scriptures.
The Lutherans have been around for hundreds of years and have withstood many challenges and they are still facing the challenges of a modern changing world as they move into the future.