The Rev. Martin E. Marty, Lutheran theologian, author and teacher, answers that question quite simply: “A Lutheran is a follower of Jesus Christ, a member of the Christian Church. He or she would be defined as an evangelical Christian. The term “evangelical” refers to a term Protestants like to use to point out that their faith centers in the good news of what God has done for people in Jesus Christ.”
Lutherans believe that to be called into fellowship with Christ is also to be called into community with other believers, that the church is essential to Christian life and growth and exists for hearing and living out God’s word. Most Lutherans are willing and eager to work alongside other churches in ecumenical ministries and projects. Lutherans believe in the Triune God. God created and loves all creation. And God’s son, Jesus Christ, transforms lives through his death on the cross.
Who was Martin Luther?
Again, let’s hear from Pastor Marty: “He was a fallible, energetic, robust, occasionally crude, never dull German monk who had tried to please God by living the disciplines of a monastery. But he experienced the wrath, not the love of God, for these efforts. A reading of the Bible, particularly the letters of Paul, led him to the experience of God’s unmerited goodness. He became a preacher, reformer, church leader, author of scores of books, family man, and proclaimer of the fact that God forgives people out of love, through Jesus Christ.”
What Sacraments do Lutherans Observe?
Two: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist, both visible acts of God’s love. In Baptism, God promises grace and forgiveness and with abundant love establishes a new community. In the Eucharist, those who come to the table for this sacred meal of bread and wine receive a gift that is once again the real presence of God’s forgiveness and mercy, nourishing believers in union with their Lord and with each other.
What does ELCA mean to you?
There are several "brands" of Lutheran - ours is the ELCA: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
CLICK HERE to see a video where some others - clergy and lay people - share what the ELCA means to us.