This learning resource offers information about Lutheranism through the Wikiversity School of Theology. It is being expanded to be as inclusive as possible. Feel free to add links to other relevant pages and learning projects.
Introduction[edit | edit source]
Lutheranism is a monotheistic, Trinitarian religion that acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Messiah. It is a Protestant religious denomination within Christianity which traces its roots to Martin Luther, who was the founder of the Protestant Reformation. The heart of the Reformation was in Germany, where Martin Luther lived and taught, and the Lutheran Church arose from those pastors in Germany who intended to remain faithful to the goals of Martin Luther and the Reformation. The confessional writings of the Lutheran fathers, including Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, and later writers (Martin Chemnitz et al), were gathered together in 1580 with the three ecumenical creeds (Nicene Creed, Apostles' Creed and Athanasian Creed) into the Book of Concord, which is also referred to as the Lutheran Confessions.
Beliefs[edit | edit source]
As a part of the Reformation, Lutherans believe that Salvation comes by God's grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide) for the sake of Jesus Christ's atoning death and without any merit on the part of those who are redeemed. Lutherans believe that the Bible alone (sola Scriptura) is the sole norm and basis of all Christian doctrine and anything which is contrary to what Scripture teaches is not in accordance with God's Will. The Book of Concord is held to be the faithful and true interpretation of the Bible and it is the basic symbolic document and body of doctrine for the Lutheran faith.
Within the Lutheran tradition, there are various doctrinal positions. The "mainline" position holds the Book of Concord to be true "insofar as" it is reflective of Scripture and employs modern historical critical scholarship in the exegesis of the Bible. The Confessional Lutheran position holds to the Lutheran Confessions "because" they are a faithful interpretation of Scripture and prefers to employ a more conservative "historical-grammatical" interpretation.
The major modern Lutheran groups are associated with the Lutheran World Federation (e.g. ELCA), the International Lutheran Council (e.g. LCMS) or the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (e.g. WELS). There are also numerous smaller Lutheran groups, especially in the United States.