Where did the Lutheran Church come from?
Many people in this area of the south are not familiar with the Lutheran church. Lutherans are the oldest and one of the largest Protestant denominations in the world. there are about 7.5 million Lutherans in the U.S. and about 63 million Lutherans worldwide. The Lutheran Church began in the early 1500's when Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk, broke from the Catholic Church over practices and teachings which he felt were contrary to the Bible.
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What is the basic theology of the Lutheran Church?
The hallmark of Lutheranism is that we are justified in the eyes of God (or saved) by grace through faith. In other words, Lutherans believe there is nothing that we can do to earn or merit our salvation. Salvation comes solely as a free gift of God's grace or God's unmerited love. We don't earn God's love any more than an infant child earns the love of its parents. the parents love the child because the child belong to them. In the same way, God loves us because we are his children. We belong to God.
How is salvation accomplished or how are we saved?
Our salvation was accomplished for us by Jesus Christ's suffering and death on a cross. In this act, Jesus took the sins of the world on himself and paid its penalty. Why did he do this? The Bible says it was because God had so much love for everybody in the world that he offered up Jesus, His son, to a death that would ultimately open up the way for us to eternal life.
What is the Gospel?
The primary role of the church is to proclaim this gospel or the "good news" of what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus. As we hear the story of God's love, His Holy Spirit awakens faith in us. Faith is a sure and certain confidence in God's love and favor that gives us an inner power to live an abundant kind of life to our benefit and the benefit of others. Through faith we grow in our relationship with God so that we are not only blessed, but can be used for service in the world. Those who are in a faith relationship with god are promised the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life with God in heaven.
What is the purpose and function of the church?
The church provides a place where a faith relationship with God begins and/or is nurtured and strengthened. Through worship, learning, fellowship, and service to others our lives are changed in a positive way. As our relationship with God grows, we are empowered to experience the abundant life that our Lord intended for us. It is like an electric outlet. In order to get power to whatever electrical device we are using, we have to plug in. In the same way, we "plug in" to God's power through the church.