The Lutheran church derives its name from Martin Luther (1483–1546), an Augustinian monk whose posting of the 95 Theses on October 31, 1517 sparked the Reformation. The documents presenting what Lutherans believe, teach and confess as Christians were assembled and published in 1580 in The Book of Concord. We confess the teachings of the Book of Concord because we believe them to be a faithful exposition of what the Bible itself teaches. Significantly, the very first documents included in The Book of Concord are the three ancient universal creeds compiled during the early, formative years of the Christian era—the Apostles’ Creed (ca. third century AD), the Nicene Creed (fourth century), and the Athanasian Creed (fifth and sixth centuries). Luther and the other writers of these confessions did not want to be doctrinal innovators. They, together with their contemporary descendants, maintain that we believe and teach nothing more and nothing less than what Christians through the ages have always believed.

           

Lutherans confess the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In preaching and teaching we believe the Gospel as the power of God for salvation of all who believe. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. We believe in the authority of the canonical Scriptures, the ecumenical Creeds and the Lutheran Confessions. The primary source for Lutheran theology is the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ as witnessed in scripture. Christ is the visible revelation of God to us.  Lutherans also understand scripture being relevant to daily life. Only after listening to scripture can we discern and reflect on our daily walk and apply His word to our lives.  Lutheran theology allows us to see how we must live faithfully, and have a trust-filled relationship with God. While living our faith, we come back to study and reflect and pursue holiness.

Lutherans live all over the world, with a solid presence in the US especially in the Midwest. In the US there are several organizational bodies of Lutheran, or ‘branches’ if you will. The largest body is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). There are also the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Wisconsin Synod.  The ELCA has agreements with the Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, and the United Church of Christ (UCC or Congregational) which establish these churches as “full communion” partners. There is a common confessing of the Christian faith; these churches interchange ordained clergy and engage in worship together including communion.