What we Believe

Evangelical Lutheran

For some Lutheranism is hardly more than a German type of Protestantism. The Lutheran rediscovery of the doctrine of justification, however, is by no means restricted to Germany and has a much more to say than what people usually think about protestantism.

In the following you will learn more about the finer details:

Dr. Martin Luther (1483–1546)

Martin Luther originally was named Martin Luther. As did many of his contemporaries he also changed his last name into a Greek version, namely "Luther", which alludes to the Greek word ἐλεύθερος ("free"). His life is portrayed in many biographies and movies, but usually with an emphasis on his personal faith. In terms of the reformation, however, his most crucual position was being Doctor of Sacred Theology at Wittenberg University from 1512 until his death. Loyal to his oath to teach nothing but the pure Gospel, he dedicated his life to the proclamation of God's Word in Law and Gospel, which eventually lead to the reformation in Electoral Saxony and other states. Luther today is venerated as teacher of the Church and preacher of the Gospel.

The Doctrine of Justification

Our churches, moreover, teach that people cannot be justified in the sight of God by their own merits or works, but that they are freely justified on account of Christ through faith, if they believe that they are received in grace and that their sins are forgiven because of Christ, who by his death paid fully for our sins. Such faith does God impute as justice, cf. Rom 3 and 4. - Augsburg Confession, Article IV

The doctrine of justification is not an invention by Lutherans, but Christian doctrine from the very beginning. It is taught by Saint Paul in his letter to the Romans, where he explicitly addresses the link between Adam and Christ. While all mankind is fallen in Adam's disobedience, and thus has no natural fear or love for God; what is promised to all who believe that Christ died for them on the cross is the eternal salvation.

Contrary to other Christian groups, Lutheranism holds that Christians are simultaneously sinners, and saints. They are and will remain sinners since their nature is tainted, and thus require the Baptism and the other means of Grace as medicine. At the same time they are justified before God, if they believe that Christ died for them on the Cross. This faith is effected through the preaching of the Gospel by the Holy Spirit, and it grows, slowly but surely.

Law and Gospel

For the distinction between Law and Gospel is the highest art in Christianity, which each and everyone should know and master, who prides himself being "Christian" or wants to be a Christian. For where it lacks this distinction, one cannot tell a Christian from a heathen or a Jew; so important is this distinction. - Martin Luther, Sermon on Gal 3,23–29 (1532)

Not only the legal system, but also God's Word, comprises two distinct authorities, namely Law and Gospel. The Law shows that each and everyone constantly fails to fulfill God's unchangeable will, and it breaks our pride. After that the Gospel promises forgiveness of sins, God's grace and eternal life to all who believe that Christ suffered and died in their stead.

The commandments, including the one to love our neighbor is Law. The invitation to believe, however, as well as the promises attached to it, are called Gospel. Accordingly all Scripture consists in Law and Gospel, and thus must be dinstinctly shared in Law and Gospel (cf. 2 Tim 2:15).