What Lutherans Believe, Generally
A Lutheran is a Christian who trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Lutheranism is not merely an organization, it is a faith. The basics of this faith include a belief
- In the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
- God is the ultimate source of all life. He is the creator. He is also the one who, as our Father, provides every need of body and being.
- Jesus, as true God and true man, lived, died and rose again so that he might redeem us from sin and death. In this, he opened the way for us to become children of God.
- The Holy Spirit is our guide, comforter, advocate and teacher without whose help it would be impossible to believe in God or live the Christian life.
- That the Bible is God's Word to us and as such is the final authority for faith and life. It is every person's book, as emphasized by Martin Luther when he translated the Bible into the common language of his day.
- That together with the Word, God has given us the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, as means of bringing about the new birth and sustaining our fellowship with God. Through these ordinary gifts, God is present for us in a very real way.
- That the heart of religion is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. This relationship is established, not through our achievement or hard work, but by God's free and gracious gift. We are justified (made right before God) by faith apart from the works the law. It is God who, for the sake of Christ, forgives us and frees us from the slavery of sin.
- That this relationship, though personal, is not private, but one that is maintained and cultivated in the community of God's people. In worship around God's Word and the Sacraments, in prayer, praise and thanksgiving, in careful study and genuine care and mutual consolation, the Holy Spirit sustains God's people for lives of faith, love and service. This fellowship of forgiven sinners coming together to worship and share with each other is the church.
- That the Christian Way is not only a set of beliefs but a commitment to a way of living. We seek to serve others, following the example or Jesus. We strive for peace and justice in the world. We seek to use the gifts God has given us in the places where God has called us to do the work God has given us to do. Whether on the job, in the home or out in our neighborhoods, we are called to live the good news of God's kingdom coming among us.
- That life with God is eternal. Despite any temporary discouragement and disappointment, God's future for us, this planet and its people are pointed to in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, the first fruits of God's new creation.