What is a Lutheran?

At the turn of the second millennium, historians voted Martin Luther to be one of the most influential people of the past 1000 years. His posting of the 95 Theses on October 31, 1517 on the Cathedral door in Wittenburg, Germany became a turning point in history. As the Renaissance with its scientific and global discoveries emerged, this monk’s challenge to the Roman Catholic Church fit right in. The world was changing and the human mind was exploding with a need to be free to explore one’s relationship with God on an individual basis.

Martin Luther and his fellow reformers did not want to form a new church, but reform the Roman Catholic Church from where they came. Unfortunately, due to the powers and influences of the time, there was no easy path to agreement and reconciliation. Therefore, the Lutheran Church came into existence. The Lutheran Church retained its Catholic history and heritage, but also re-introduced the world to the grace and love of the Triune God.

The cry of the Reformation was “Grace Alone. Faith Alone. Scripture Alone.” Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German so people could read God’s word on their own. He wrote an instruction book so that parents could teach their children the faith. Luther firmly believed in the “priesthood of all believers” which means that all are called through baptism to a personal relationship with Christ that results in faithful living in their daily lives. It was no longer guilt and fear that governed a person’s life but the joy of knowing Christ who unconditionally loves and forgives us.

Today the Lutheran Church is known as the “Singing Church” since it was Luther who wrote many of our great hymns. We worship in many different ways because the good news of Jesus Christ must be proclaimed boldly in the context of the people gathered. Yet it is still God’s Grace, God’s Word and God’s Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion that remain our core. St. Paul’s is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We invite you to join us as we celebrate the joy of being saved by Jesus Christ.