Lutheranism

Lutheranism

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Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

, a German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 reformer
Protestant Reformers
Protestant Reformers were those theologians, churchmen, and statesmen whose careers, works, and actions brought about the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century...

. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

. Beginning with the 95 Theses, Luther's writings disseminated internationally, spreading the ideas of the Reformation beyond the ability of governmental and churchly authorities to control it.

The name "Lutheran" originated as a derogatory term used against Luther by Johann Eck
Johann Eck
Dr. Johann Maier von Eck was a German Scholastic theologian and defender of Catholicism during the Protestant Reformation. It was Eck who argued that the beliefs of Martin Luther and Jan Hus were similar.-Life:...

 during the Leipzig Debate
Leipzig Debate
The Leipzig Debate was a theological disputation originally between Andreas Karlstadt and Johann Eck. Eck, a staunch defender of Roman Catholic doctrine, had challenged Karlstadt to a public debate concerning the doctrines of free will and grace...

 in July 1519. Eck and other Roman Catholics followed the traditional practice of naming a heresy after its leader, thus labeling all who identified with the theology of Martin Luther
Theology of Martin Luther
The theology of Martin Luther was instrumental in influencing the Protestant Reformation, specifically topics dealing with Justification by Faith, the relationship between the Law and the Gospel , and various other theological ideas. Although Luther never wrote a "systematic theology" or a...

 as Lutherans. Martin Luther always disliked the term, preferring instead to describe the reform movement with the term "Evangelical", which was derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "Gospel." Lutherans themselves began to use the term in the middle of the 16th century in order to identify themselves from other groups, such as Philippists
Philippists
The Philippists formed a party in early Lutheranism. Their opponents were called Gnesio-Lutherans.-Before Luther's Death:Philippists was the designation usually applied in the latter half of the sixteenth century to the followers of Philipp Melanchthon...

 and Calvinists. In 1597, theologians in Wittenberg
University of Halle-Wittenberg
The Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg , also referred to as MLU, is a public, research-oriented university in the cities of Halle and Wittenberg within Saxony-Anhalt, Germany...

 used the title "Lutheran" to describe their church.

The split between the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics began with the Edict of Worms in 1521
Diet of Worms
The Diet of Worms 1521 was a diet that took place in Worms, Germany, and is most memorable for the Edict of Worms , which addressed Martin Luther and the effects of the Protestant Reformation.It was conducted from 28 January to 25 May 1521, with Emperor Charles V presiding.Other Imperial diets at...

, which officially excommunicated Luther and all of his followers. The divide centered over the doctrine of Justification. Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone
Sola gratia
Sola gratia is one of the five solas propounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation; it is a Latin term meaning grace alone...

 through faith alone because of Christ alone
Solus Christus
Solus Christus , sometimes referred to in the ablative case as Solo Christo , is one of the five solas that summarise the Protestant Reformers' basic belief that salvation is through Christ alone and that Christ is the only mediator between God and man, see also New Covenant.-Protestant-Catholic...

" which went against the Roman view of "faith formed by love", or "faith and works". Unlike the Reformed Churches
Reformed churches
The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations characterized by Calvinist doctrines. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli but developed more coherently by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin...

, Lutherans retain many of the liturgical
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 practices and sacramental teachings of the pre-Reformation Church. Lutheran theology significantly differs from Reformed theology in Christology
Scholastic Lutheran Christology
Scholastic Lutheran Christology is the orthodox Lutheran theology of Jesus Christ, developed using the methodology of Lutheran scholasticism.On the general basis of the Chalcedonian christology, and following the...

, the purpose of God's Law, divine grace, the concept of perseverance of the saints, and predestination.

History



Lutheranism has its roots in the efforts of Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 who sought to reform the Western Church to a more biblical foundation.

Spread into Scandinavia


Lutheranism spread through all of Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 during the 16th century, as the monarch of Denmark-Norway (also ruling Iceland) and the monarch of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 (also ruling Finland) adopted Lutheranism.

Since 1520, regular Lutheran services have been held in Copenhagen. Under the reign of Frederick I
Frederick I of Denmark
Frederick I of Denmark and Norway was the King of Denmark and Norway. The name is also spelled Friedrich in German, Frederik in Danish, and Fredrik in Swedish and Norwegian...

 (1523–33), Denmark-Norway remained officially Catholic. Although Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he soon adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers, the most significant being Hans Tausen
Hans Tausen
Hans Tausen , the protagonist of the Danish Reformation, was born at Birkende on Funen in 1494 and died in Ribe in 1561.- Life :...

.

During his reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads among the Danish population. At an open meeting in Copenhagen attended by the king in 1536, the people shouted; "We will stand by the holy Gospel, and do not want such bishops anymore". Frederick's son Christian was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his father's death. However, following his victory in the civil war that followed, in 1537 he became Christian III
Christian III of Denmark
Christian III reigned as king of Denmark and Norway. He was the eldest son of King Frederick I and Anna of Brandenburg.-Childhood:...

 and advanced the Reformation in Denmark-Norway
Reformation in Denmark
The Reformation in Denmark–Norway and Holstein was the transition from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism in the realms ruled by the Copenhagen-based House of Oldenburg in the first half of the sixteenth century...

.


The constitution upon which the Danish Norwegian Church, according to the Church Ordinance
Church Order (Lutheran)
The Church Order or Church Ordinance means the general ecclesiastical constitution of a State.The early Evangelical Church attached less importance to ecclesiastical ritual than the pre-Reformation Church had done...

 should rest was "The pure word of God, which is the Law and the Gospel
Law and Gospel
In Christianity the relationship between God's Law and the Gospel is a major topic in Lutheran and Reformed theology. In these traditions, the distinction between the doctrines of Law, which demands obedience to God's ethical will, and Gospel, which promises the forgiveness of sins in light of the...

". It does not even mention the Augsburg Confession. The priests at least had to understand the Holy Script well enough to preach and explain the Gospel and the Epistles for their congregations.

The youths were taught from the Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

, available in Danish since 1532. They may in the end expect: "forgiving of their sins", "to be counted as just", and "the eternal life". Instruction is still similar. The first Bible in Danish was Martin Luther's. It was translated by 1550 and made available in 3000 copies. It was sold out 30 years later. Important differences from today's Roman Catholicism are the Lutherans' refutation of the ideas that tradition is a carrier of the "Word of God", and that only the communion of the Bishop of Rome had been entrusted to interpret the "Word of God".

The Reformation in Sweden began with Olaus
Olaus Petri
Olof Persson , better known under the Latin form of his name, Olaus Petri , was a clergyman, writer, and a major contributor to the Protestant Reformation in Sweden...

 and Laurentius Petri
Laurentius Petri
Laurentius Petri Nericius was a Swedish clergyman and the first Evangelical Lutheran Archbishop of Sweden. He and his brother Olaus Petri are, together with the King Gustav Vasa, regarded as the main Protestant reformers of Sweden...

, brothers who took the Reformation to Sweden after studying in Germany. They led Gustav Vasa, elected king in 1523, to Lutheranism. The pope's refusal to allow the replacement of an archbishop that supported the invading forces opposing Gustav Vasa during the Stockholm Bloodbath
Stockholm Bloodbath
The Stockholm Bloodbath, or the Stockholm Massacre , took place as the result of a successful invasion of Sweden by Danish forces under the command of King Christian II...

 led to the discontinuance of any official connection between Sweden and the papacy in 1523.

Four years later, at the Diet of Västerås
Riksdag of the Estates
The Riksdag of the Estates , was the name used for the Estates of the Swedish realm when they were assembled. Until its dissolution in 1866, the institution was the highest authority in Sweden next to the King...

, the king succeeded in forcing the diet to accept his dominion over the national church. The king was given possession of all church properties such as the church appointments and the clergy. While this effectively granted official sanction to Lutheran ideas, Lutheranism did not become official until 1593, when the Uppsala Synod
Uppsala Synod
The Uppsala Synod in 1593 was the most important synod of the Lutheran Church of Sweden. Sweden had gone through its Protestant Reformation and broken with Roman Catholicism in the 1520s, but an official confession of faith had never been declared....

 declared Holy Scripture the sole guideline for faith, with four documents accepted as faithful and authoritative explanations of it: the Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

, the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

, the Athanasian Creed
Athanasian Creed
The Athanasian Creed is a Christian statement of belief, focusing on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicumque vult, is taken from the opening words, "Whosoever wishes." The Athanasian Creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century...

, and the unaltered Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

of 1530. Mikael Agricola
Mikael Agricola
Mikael Agricola was a clergyman who became the de facto founder of written Finnish and a prominent proponent of the Protestant Reformation in Sweden . He is often called the "father of the Finnish written language". Agricola was consecrated as the bishop of Turku in 1554, without papal approval...

's translation of the first Finnish New Testament
Se Wsi Testamenti
Se Wsi Testamenti is the first translation of the New Testament to Finnish, by Mikael Agricola, the Bishop of Turku. Generally regarded as his most prominent work, the manuscript was completed in 1543, but it underwent correction for five more years. The whole work took eleven years...

was published in 1548.

Schmalkaldic War and the Formula of Concord


After the death of Luther in 1546, the Schmalkaldic War
Schmalkaldic War
The Schmalkaldic War refers to the short period of violence from 1546 until 1547 between the forces of Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire, commanded by Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba, and the Lutheran Schmalkaldic League within the domains of the Holy Roman...

 started out as a conflict between two German Lutheran rulers in 1547. Soon, Holy Roman Imperial forces joined the battle and conquered the members of the Schmalkaldic League
Schmalkaldic League
The Schmalkaldic League was a defensive alliance of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-16th century. Although originally started for religious motives soon after the start of the Protestant Reformation, its members eventually intended for the League to replace the Holy...

, oppressing and exiling many German Lutherans as they enforced the terms of the Augsburg Interim
Augsburg Interim
The Augsburg Interim is the general term given to an imperial decree ordered on May 15, 1548, at the 1548 Diet of Augsburg, after Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, had defeated the forces of the Schmalkaldic League in the Schmalkaldic War of 1546/47...

. Religious freedom was secured for Lutherans through the Peace of Passau
Peace of Passau
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V had won a victory against Protestantism in the Schmalkaldic War of 1547. Many Protestant princes were unhappy with the religious terms of the Augsburg Interim imposed after this victory. In January 1552, led by Maurice of Saxony, many formed an alliance with Henry II of...

 in 1552 and under the Cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio
Cuius regio, eius religio is a phrase in Latin translated as "Whose realm, his religion", meaning the religion of the ruler dictated the religion of the ruled...

 and Declaratio Ferdinandei
Declaratio Ferdinandei
The Declaratio Ferdinandei was a clause in the Peace of Augsburg, signed in 1555 to end conflicts between Catholics and Protestants within the Holy Roman Empire. The Peace created the principle of Cuius regio, eius religio , which meant that the religion of the ruler decided the religion of the...

 clauses of the Peace of Augsburg
Peace of Augsburg
The Peace of Augsburg, also called the Augsburg Settlement, was a treaty between Charles V and the forces of the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Lutheran princes, on September 25, 1555, at the imperial city of Augsburg, now in present-day Bavaria, Germany.It officially ended the religious...

 in 1555.

Religious disputes between the Crypto-Calvinists
Crypto-Calvinism
Crypto-Calvinism is a term for Calvinist influence in the Lutheran Church during the decades just after the death of Martin Luther . It denotes what was seen as a hidden...

, Philippists
Philippists
The Philippists formed a party in early Lutheranism. Their opponents were called Gnesio-Lutherans.-Before Luther's Death:Philippists was the designation usually applied in the latter half of the sixteenth century to the followers of Philipp Melanchthon...

, Sacramentarians
Sacramentarians
The Sacramentarians were Christians during the Protestant Reformation who denied not only the Roman Catholic transubstantiation but also the Lutheran sacramental union.They comprised two parties:...

, Ubiquitarians
Ubiquitarians
The Ubiquitarians, also called Ubiquists, were a Protestant sect started at the Lutheran synod of Stuttgart, 19 December 1559, by Johannes Brenz, a Swabian ....

, and Gnesio-Lutherans
Gnesio-Lutherans
"Gnesio-Lutherans" is a modern name for a theological party in the Lutheran Church, in opposition to the Philippists after the death of Martin Luther and before the Formula of Concord. In their own day they were called Flacians by their opponents and simply Lutherans by themselves...

 raged within Lutheranism during the middle of the 16th century. This finally ended with the resolution of the issues in the Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord is an authoritative Lutheran statement of faith that, in its two parts , makes up the final section of the Lutheran Corpus Doctrinae or Body of Doctrine, known as...

. Large numbers of politically and religiously influential leaders met together, debated, and resolved these topics on the basis of Scripture, resulting in the Formula, which over 8,000 leaders signed. The Book of Concord replaced earlier, incomplete collections of doctrine
Body of Doctrine
Body of Doctrine in Protestant theology of the 16th and 17th centuries is the anthology of the confessional or credal writings of a group of Christians with a common Confession of faith....

, unifying all German Lutherans with identical doctrine and beginning the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy.

Lutheran orthodoxy



The historical period of Lutheran Orthodoxy is divided into three sections: Early Orthodoxy (1580–1600), High Orthodoxy (1600–1685), and Late Orthodoxy (1685–1730). Lutheran scholasticism
Lutheran scholasticism
Lutheran scholasticism was a theological method that gradually developed during the era of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Theologians used the neo-Aristotelian form of presentation, already popular in academia, in their writings and lectures...

 developed gradually especially for the purpose of arguing with the Jesuits, and it was finally established by Johann Gerhard
Johann Gerhard
Johann Gerhard was a Lutheran church leader and Lutheran Scholastic theologian during the period of Orthodoxy.-Biography:He was born in the German city of Quedlinburg...

. Abraham Calovius
Abraham Calovius
Abraham Calovius was a Lutheran theologian, and was one of the champions of Lutheran orthodoxy in the 17th century.-Biography:...

 represents the climax of the scholastic
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

 in orthodox Lutheranism. Other orthodox Lutheran theologians include Martin Chemnitz
Martin Chemnitz
Martin Chemnitz was an eminent second-generation Lutheran theologian, reformer, churchman, and confessor...

, Aegidius Hunnius
Aegidius Hunnius
Aegidius Hunnius the Elder was a Lutheran theologian of the Lutheran scholastic tradition and father of Nicolaus Hunnius....

, Leonhard Hutter
Leonhard Hutter
Leonhard Hutter was a German Lutheran theologian.-Life:He was born at Nellingen near Ulm. From 1581 he studied at the universities of Strasbourg, Leipzig, Heidelberg and Jena...

, Nicolaus Hunnius
Nicolaus Hunnius
Nicolaus Hunnius , the thirdson of Egidius Hunnius, was an orthodox Lutheran theologian of the Lutheran scholastic tradition....

, Jesper Rasmussen Brochmand
Jesper Rasmussen Brochmand
Jesper Rasmussen Brochmand, bishop of Zealand; born at Køge, Zealand, August 5, 1585; died at Copenhagen April 19, 1652.He studied at Herlufsholm, Copenhagen, Leyden, and Franeker; became rector of Herlufsholm academy...

, Salomo Glassius
Salomo Glassius
Salomo Glassius was a German theologian and biblical critic born at Sondershausen, in the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen.In 1612 he entered the University of Jena. In 1615, with the idea of studying law, he moved to Wittenberg. In consequence of an illness, however, he returned to Jena...

, Johann Hülsemann
Johann Hülsemann
Johann Hülsemann was a German Lutheran theologian. He is known as one of the most prominent Lutheran scholastic opponents of Georgius Calixtus in the Syncretistic Controversy.-Early life and education:...

, Johann Conrad Dannhauer
Johann Conrad Dannhauer
Johann Conrad Dannhauer Orthodox Lutheran theologian and teacher of Spener....

, Johannes Andreas Quenstedt
Johannes Andreas Quenstedt
Johannes Andreas Quenstedt was a German Lutheran dogmatician in the Lutheran scholastic tradition.Quenstedt was born at Quedlinburg, a nephew of Johann Gerhard...

, Johann Friedrich König
Johann Friedrich König
Johann Friedrich König was a German Lutheran theologian.-References:...

, and Johann Wilhelm Baier
Johann Wilhelm Baier
Johann Wilhelm Baier was Lutheran theologian of the seventeenth century in the Lutheran scholastic tradition.He was born at Nuremberg...

.

Near the end of the Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

, the compromising spirit seen in Philip Melanchthon rose up again in Helmstedt
University of Helmstedt
The University of Helmstedt, official Latin name: Academia Julia , was a university in Helmstedt in the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel that existed from 1576 until 1810....

 School and especially in theology of Georgius Calixtus, causing the Syncretistic Controversy. Another theological issue that arose was the Crypto-Kenotic Controversy.

Late orthodoxy was torn by influences from rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

, philosophy based on reason, and Pietism
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

, a revival movement in Lutheranism. After a century of vitality, the Pietist theologians Philipp Jakob Spener
Philipp Jakob Spener
Philipp Jakob Spener was a German Christian theologian known as the "Father of Pietism."...

 and August Hermann Francke
August Hermann Francke
August Hermann Francke was a German Lutheran churchman.-Biography:Born at the German city Lübeck, Francke was educated at the gymnasium in Gotha before he studied at the universities of Erfurt and Kiel - where he came under the influence of the pietist Christian Kortholt - and finally Leipzig...

 warned that orthodoxy had degenerated into meaningless intellectualism and Formalism, while orthodox theologians found the emotional and subjective
Subjectivism
Subjectivism is a philosophical tenet that accords primacy to subjective experience as fundamental of all measure and law. In extreme forms like Solipsism, it may hold that the nature and existence of every object depends solely on someone's subjective awareness of it...

 focuses of Pietism to be vulnerable to Rationalist propaganda.

The last famous orthodox Lutheran theologian before the rationalist Aufklärung, or Enlightenment, was David Hollatz
David Hollatz (dogmatician)
David Hollatz, Lutheran dogmatician; born at Wulkow, near Stargard , in Pomerania, 1648; died at Jakobshagen April 17, 1713...

. Late orthodox theologian Valentin Ernst Löscher
Valentin Ernst Löscher
Valentin Ernst Löscher, was a German orthodox Lutheran theologian....

 took part in the controversy against Pietism
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

. Medieval mystical
Christian mysticism
Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions...

 traditions continued in works of Martin Moller
Martin Moller
Martin Moller was a German poet and mystic.- Life :Moller was born in Ließnitz in 1547 and became cantor in Löwenberg in Lower Silesia in 1568. He was ordained in 1572, despite never having been to university, and served as priest and deacon in Kesseldorf, Löwenberg and Sprottau...

, Johann Arndt
Johann Arndt
Johann Arndt was a German Lutheran theologian who wrote several influential books of devotional Christianity...

, and Joachim Lütkemann
Joachim Lütkemann
Joachim Lütkemann was a German theologian and writer of devotional literature.-Life:...

. Pietism
Pietism
Pietism was a movement within Lutheranism, lasting from the late 17th century to the mid-18th century and later. It proved to be very influential throughout Protestantism and Anabaptism, inspiring not only Anglican priest John Wesley to begin the Methodist movement, but also Alexander Mack to...

 became a rival of orthodoxy but adopted some orthodox devotional literature; for example, Arndt
Johann Arndt
Johann Arndt was a German Lutheran theologian who wrote several influential books of devotional Christianity...

's, Scriver
Christian Scriver
Christian Scriver was a German Lutheran devotional writer.Scriver was born at Rendsburg and entered the University of Rostock in 1647, and in 1653 was appointed archdeacon at Stendal, whence he was called in 1667 to Magdeburg as pastor of St. James's...

's and Prätorius' which were combined Pietistic literature.

Rationalism


Rationalist philosophers from France and England had an enormous impact during the 18th century, along with the German Rationalists Christian Wolff
Christian Wolff (philosopher)
Christian Wolff was a German philosopher.He was the most eminent German philosopher between Leibniz and Kant...

, Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

, and Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

. Their work led to an increase in rationalist beliefs, at the expense of faith in God and agreement with the Bible.

In 1709, Valentin Ernst Löscher
Valentin Ernst Löscher
Valentin Ernst Löscher, was a German orthodox Lutheran theologian....

 warned that this new Rationalist view of the world fundamentally changed society by drawing into question every aspect of theology. Instead of considering the authority of divine revelation, he explained, Rationalists relied solely on their personal understanding when searching for truth.

Johann Melchior Goeze
Johann Melchior Goeze
Johann Melchior Goeze was a Lutheran pastor and theologian during the period of Late Orthodoxy....

 (1717–1786), pastor of St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg
St. Catherine's Church, Hamburg
St. Catherine's Church is one of the five principal Lutheran churches of Hamburg, Germany. The base of its spire, dating from the 13th century, is the oldest building preserved in the city; after the lighthouse on Neuwerk island...

, wrote apologetical
Christian apologetics
Christian apologetics is a field of Christian theology that aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defend the faith against objections, and expose the perceived flaws of other world views...

 works against Rationalists, including a theological and historical defence against the historical criticism of the Bible.

Dissenting Lutheran pastors were often reprimanded by the government bureaucracy overseeing them, for example, when they tried to correct Rationalist influences in the parish school. As a result of the impact of a local form of rationalism, termed Neology
Neology
Neology , the name given to the rationalist theology of Germany or the rationalisation of the Christian religion. It was preceded by slightly less radical Wolffism....

, by the latter half of the 18th century, genuine piety was found almost solely in small Pietist conventicle
Conventicle
A conventicle is a small, unofficial and unofficiated meeting of laypeople, to discuss religious issues in a non-threatening, intimate manner. Philipp Jakob Spener called for such associations in his Pia Desideria, and they were the foundation of the German Evangelical Lutheran Pietist movement...

s. However, some of the laity preserved Lutheran orthodoxy from both Pietism and rationalism through reusing old catechisms, hymnbooks, postil
Postil
Postil or Postilla: a medieval Latin term for a marginal note or a Biblical commentary affixed to a text, being an abbreviation of the phrase post illa verba textus...

s, and devotional writings, including those written by Johann Gerhard
Johann Gerhard
Johann Gerhard was a Lutheran church leader and Lutheran Scholastic theologian during the period of Orthodoxy.-Biography:He was born in the German city of Quedlinburg...

, Heinrich Müller
Heinrich Müller (theologian)
Heinrich Müller was a German devotional author, Protestant author of hymns and Lutheran theologian at the University of Rostock....

, and Christian Scriver
Christian Scriver
Christian Scriver was a German Lutheran devotional writer.Scriver was born at Rendsburg and entered the University of Rostock in 1647, and in 1653 was appointed archdeacon at Stendal, whence he was called in 1667 to Magdeburg as pastor of St. James's...

.

Revivals



A layman
Laity
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

, Luther scholar Johann Georg Hamann
Johann Georg Hamann
Johann Georg Hamann was a noted German philosopher, a main proponent of the Sturm und Drang movement, and associated by historian of ideas Isaiah Berlin with the Counter-Enlightenment.-Biography:...

 (1730–88), became famous for countering Rationalism and striving to advance a revival known as the Erweckung, or Awakening. In 1806, Napoleon's invasion of Germany
War of the Fourth Coalition
The Fourth Coalition against Napoleon's French Empire was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and the United Kingdom....

 promoted Rationalism and angered German Lutherans, stirring up a desire among the people to preserve Luther's theology from the Rationalist threat. Those associated with this Awakening held that reason was insufficient and pointed out the importance of emotional religious experience.

Small groups sprang up, often in universities, which devoted themselves to Bible study, reading devotional writings, and revival meetings. Although the beginning of this Awakening tended heavily toward Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

, patriotism
Patriotism
Patriotism is a devotion to one's country, excluding differences caused by the dependencies of the term's meaning upon context, geography and philosophy...

, and experience, the emphasis of the Awakening shifted around 1830 to restoring the traditional liturgy, doctrine, and confessions of the Lutheran church in the Neo-Lutheran
Neo-Lutheranism
Neo-Lutheranism was a 19th century revival movement within Lutheranism which began with the Pietist driven Erweckung, or Awakening, and developed in reaction against theological rationalism and pietism...

 movement.

This Awakening swept through all of Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 except for Iceland. It developed from both German Neo-Lutheranism and Pietism. Danish pastor and philosopher Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig
Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig
Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig , most often referred to as simply N. F. S. Grundtvig, was a Danish pastor, author, poet, philosopher, historian, teacher, and politician. He was one of the most influential people in Danish history, as his philosophy gave rise to a new form of nationalism in...

 reshaped church life throughout Denmark through a reform movement beginning in 1830. He also wrote about 1,500 hymns, including God's Word Is Our Great Heritage
God's Word Is Our Great Heritage
God's Word Is Our Great Heritage, is the title of a popular hymn sung in many churches, especially the Lutheran Church. This hymn was inspired by Psalm 16:6: "...yea, I have a goodly heritage." KJV- History :...

.

In Norway, Hans Nielsen Hauge
Hans Nielsen Hauge
Hans Nielsen Hauge was a noted revivalist Norwegian lay minister who spoke up against the Church establishment in Norway. Hauge is considered an influential personality in the industrialization of Norway...

, a lay street preacher, emphasized spiritual discipline and sparked the Haugean
Haugean
Haugean was a pietistic state church reform movementintended to bring new life and vitality into a Norwegian State Church which had been often characterized by formalism and lethargy....

 movement. In Norway, the Awakening drove the growth of foreign missions to non-Christians to a new height, which has never been reached since. In Sweden, Lars Levi Læstadius
Lars Levi Læstadius
Lars Levi Læstadius was a Swedish Lutheran pastor of partly Sami ancestry. From the mid 1840s and onward he became the leader of the Laestadian movement...

 began the Laestadian
Laestadianism
Laestadianism is a conservative Lutheran revival movement started in the middle of the 19th century. It is strongly marked by both pietistic and Moravian influences. It is the biggest revivalist movement in the Nordic countries. It has members mainly in Finland, North America, Norway, Russia and...

 movement that emphasized moral reform. In Finland, a farmer, Paavo Ruotsalainen
Paavo Ruotsalainen
Paavo Ruotsalainen was a Finnish farmer and lay preacher.Born in Tölvänniemi as the oldest son of plain farmers, he received his first bible at age six. At the time of his confirmation he had already read it three times. His preoccupation with the words of the bible gained him the nickname...

, began the Finnish Awakening
Awakening (religious movement)
The Awakening is a Lutheran religious movement in Finland which has found followers in the provinces of Savo and Ostrobothnia. The origins of the movement are in the 18th century. It has functioned inside the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland throughout its existence...

 when he took to preaching about repentance and prayer.

In 1817, Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel .-Early life:...

 ordered the Lutheran and Reformed churches in his territory to unite, forming the Evangelical Church of the Prussian Union
Prussian Union (Evangelical Christian Church)
The Prussian Union was the merger of the Lutheran Church and the Reformed Church in Prussia, by a series of decrees – among them the Unionsurkunde – by King Frederick William III...

. The unification of the two branches of German Protestantism sparked the Schism of the Old Lutherans. Many Lutherans, called "Old Lutherans
Old Lutherans
Old Lutherans refers to those German Lutherans who refused to join the Prussian Union in the 1830s and 1840s.Attempted suppression of the Old Lutherans led many to immigrate to Australia and the United States, resulting in the creation of significant Lutheran denominations in those countries.The...

", chose to leave the state churches despite imprisonment and military force. Some formed independent church bodies, or "free church
Free church
The term "free church" refers to a Christian denomination that is intrinsically separated from government . A free church does not define government policy, nor have governments define church policy or theology, nor seeks or receives government endorsement or funding for its general mission...

es", at home while others left for the United States and Australia. A similar legislated merger in Silesia
Silesia
Silesia is a historical region of Central Europe located mostly in Poland, with smaller parts also in the Czech Republic, and Germany.Silesia is rich in mineral and natural resources, and includes several important industrial areas. Silesia's largest city and historical capital is Wrocław...

 prompted thousands to join the Old Lutheran movement. The dispute over ecumenism overshadowed other controversies within German Lutheranism.

Despite political meddling in church life, local and national leaders sought to restore and renew Christianity. Neo-Lutheran Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe
Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe
Johann Konrad Wilhelm Löhe was a pastor of the Lutheran Church, Neo-Lutheran writer, and is often regarded as being a founder of the deaconess movement in Lutheranism and a founding sponsor of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod . He was a pastor in nineteenth-century Germany...

 and Old Lutheran free church leader Friedrich August Brünn both sent young men overseas to serve as pastors to German American
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

s, while the Inner Mission focused on renewing the situation home. Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried von Herder was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the periods of Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, and Weimar Classicism.-Biography:...

, superintendent
Superintendent (ecclesiastical)
Superintendent is the head of an administrative division of a Protestant church, largely historical but still in use in Germany.- Superintendents in Sweden :...

 at Weimar and part of the Inner Mission movement, joined with the Romantic movement with his quest to preserve human emotion and experience from Rationalism.

Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg
Ernst Wilhelm Theodor Herrmann Hengstenberg , was a German Lutheran churchman and neo-Lutheran theologian.He was born at Frondenberg, a Westphalian village, and was educated by his father, who was a minister of the Reformed Church and head of the Frondenberg convent of canonesses...

, though raised Reformed, became convinced of the truth of historic Lutheranism as a young man. He led the Neo-Lutheran Repristination School of theology, which advocated a return to the orthodox theologians of the 17th century and opposed modern Bible scholarship. As editor of the periodical Evangelische Kirchenzeitung, he developed it into a major support of Neo-Lutheran revival and used it to attack all forms of theological liberalism and rationalism. Although he received a large amount of slander and ridicule during his forty years at the head of revival, he never gave up his positions.

The theological faculty at the University of Erlangen in Bavaria became another force for reform. There, professor Adolf von Harless
Gottlieb Christoph Adolf von Harless
Gottlieb Christoph Adolf von Harless , was a German Lutheran theologian.-Life:He was born at Nuremberg. As a youth, he was interested in music and poetry, and was attracted by ancient and German classical literature, especially by Jean Paul. He was indifferent to Christianity...

, though previously an adherent of rationalism and German idealism
German idealism
German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s, and was closely linked both with romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment...

, made Erlangen a magnet for revival oriented theologians. Termed the Erlangen School of theology, they developed a new version of the Incarnation, which they felt emphasized the humanity of Jesus better than the ecumenical creeds
Ecumenical creeds
Ecumenical creeds is an umbrella term used in the western church to refer to the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The ecumenical creeds are also known as the universal creeds. These creeds are accepted by almost all mainstream Christian denominations in the western...

. As theologians, they used both modern historical critical and Hegelian philosophical methods instead of attempting to revive the orthodoxy of the 17th century.

Friedrich Julius Stahl led the High Church Lutherans
High Church Lutheranism
"High Church Lutheranism" is the name given in Europe for the 20th century Lutheran movement that emphasizes worship practices and doctrines that are similar to those found within both Roman Catholicism and the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism...

. Though raised a Jew, he was baptized as a Christian at the age of 19 through the influence of the Lutheran school he attended. As the leader of a neofeudal
Neofeudalism
Neofeudalism refers to a theorized contemporary rebirth of policies of governance, economy and public life reminiscent of those present in many feudal societies....

 Prussian political party, he campaigned for the divine right of kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

, the power of the nobility
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

, and episcopal polity
Episcopal polity
Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

 for the church. Along with Kliefoth and Vilmar
August Friedrich Christian Vilmar
August Friedrich Christian Vilmar, German Neo-Lutheran theologian; born at Solz November 21, 1800; died at Marburg July 30, 1868. In 1818-20 he studied theology at Marburg, only to learn doubt from rationalism, and from doubt to pass to unbelief...

, he promoted agreement with Roman Catholicism with regard to the authority of the institutional church
Magisterium
In the Catholic Church the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. This authority is understood to be embodied in the episcopacy, which is the aggregation of the current bishops of the Church in union with the Pope, led by the Bishop of Rome , who has authority over the bishops,...

, ex opere operato
Ex opere operato
Ex opere operato is a Latin phrase meaning "from the work done" referring to the efficacy of the Sacraments deriving from the action of the Sacrament as opposed to the merits or holiness of the priest or minister....

 effectiveness of the sacraments, and the divine authority of clergy. Unlike Roman Catholics, however, they also urged complete agreement with the Book of Concord.

The Neo-Lutheran movement managed to slow secularism and counter atheistic Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, but it did not fully succeed in Europe. It partly succeeded in continuing the Pietist movement's drive to right social wrongs and focus on individual conversion. The Neo-Lutheran call to renewal failed to achieve widespread popular acceptance because it both began and continued with a lofty, idealistic Romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 that did not connect with an increasingly industrialized
Industrialisation
Industrialization is the process of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial one...

 and secularized
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 Europe. At best, the work of local leaders resulted in specific areas with vibrant spiritual renewal, but people in Lutheran areas overall continued to become increasingly distant from church life. By 1969, Manfried Kober complained that “unbelief is rampant” even within German Lutheran parishes.

The Bible


Traditionally, Lutherans hold the Bible of the Old
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

s to be the only divinely inspired book, the only source of divinely revealed knowledge, and the only norm for Christian teaching. Scripture alone
Sola scriptura
Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, sola scriptura demands that only those doctrines are to be admitted or confessed that are found directly within or indirectly by using valid logical deduction or valid...

 is the formal principle of the faith, the final authority
Rule of Faith
The rule of faith or analogy of faith is a phrase rooted in the Apostle Paul's admonition to the Christians in Rome in the Epistle to the Romans 12:6, which says, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith."...

 for all matters of faith and morals because of its inspiration, authority, clarity, efficacy, and sufficiency.

The authority of the Scriptures has been challenged during the history of Lutheranism. Martin Luther taught that the Bible was the written Word of God, and the only reliable guide for faith and practice. He held that every passage of Scripture has one straightforward meaning, the literal sense as interpreted by other Scripture. These teachings were accepted during the orthodox Lutheranism
Lutheran Orthodoxy
Lutheran orthodoxy was an era in the history of Lutheranism, which began in 1580 from the writing of the Book of Concord and ended at the Age of Enlightenment. Lutheran orthodoxy was paralleled by similar eras in Calvinism and tridentine Roman Catholicism after the...

 of the 17th century. During the 18th century, Rationalism
Rationalism
In epistemology and in its modern sense, rationalism is "any view appealing to reason as a source of knowledge or justification" . In more technical terms, it is a method or a theory "in which the criterion of the truth is not sensory but intellectual and deductive"...

 advocated reason rather than the authority of the Bible as the final source of knowledge, but most of the laity
Laity
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all people who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order .In the past in Christian cultures, the...

 did not accept this Rationalist position. In the 19th century, a confessional
Confessionalism (religion)
Confessionalism, in a religious sense, is a belief in the importance of full and unambiguous assent to the whole of a religious teaching...

 revival
Confessional Lutheran
Confessional Lutheran is a name used by certain Lutheran Christians to designate themselves as those who accept the doctrines taught in the Book of Concord of 1580 in their entirety, because they believe them to be completely faithful to the teachings of the Bible...

 reemphasized the authority of the Bible and agreement with the Lutheran Confessions.

Today, Lutherans disagree about the inspiration and authority of the Bible. Theological conservatives use the historical-grammatical method
Historical-grammatical method
The historical-grammatical method is a Christian hermeneutical method that strives to discover the Biblical author's original intended meaning in the text. It is the primary method of interpretation for many conservative Protestant exegetes who reject the so-called historical-critical method used...

 of Biblical interpretation, while theological liberals
Liberal Christianity
Liberal Christianity, sometimes called liberal theology, is an umbrella term covering diverse, philosophically and biblically informed religious movements and ideas within Christianity from the late 18th century and onward...

 use the higher critical method. The 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center
The Pew Research Center is an American think tank organization based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping the United States and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. In 1990, Donald S...

 surveyed 1,926 adults in the United States that self-identified as Lutheran. The study found that 30% believed that the Bible was the Word of God and was to be taken literally word for word. 40% held that the Bible was the Word of God, but was not literally true word for word or were unsure if it was literally true word for word. 23% said the Bible was written by men and not the Word of God. 7% did not know, were not sure, or had other positions.

Inspiration


Although many Lutherans today hold less specific views of inspiration, historically, Lutherans affirm that the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but every word of it is, because of plenary, verbal inspiration, the direct, immediate word of God. The Apology of the Augsburg Confession
Apology of the Augsburg Confession
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession was written by Philipp Melanchthon during and after the 1530 Diet of Augsburg as a response to the Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession, Charles V's commissioned official Roman Catholic response to the Lutheran Augsburg Confession of June 25, 1530...

identifies Holy Scripture with the Word of God and calls the Holy Spirit the author of the Bible. Because of this, Lutherans confess in the Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord is an authoritative Lutheran statement of faith that, in its two parts , makes up the final section of the Lutheran Corpus Doctrinae or Body of Doctrine, known as...

, "we receive and embrace with our whole heart the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the pure, clear fountain of Israel." The apocryphal books were not written by the prophets, by inspiration; they contain errors were never included in the Judean Canon that Jesus used, and therefore are not a part of Holy Scripture. The prophetic and apostolic Scriptures are authentic as written by the prophets and apostles. A correct translation of their writings is God's Word because it has the same meaning as the original Hebrew and Greek. A mistranslation is not God's word, and no human authority can invest it with divine authority.

Divine authority


Historically, Lutherans maintain that Holy Scripture, the Word of God, carries the full authority of God. For confessional Lutherans, every single statement of the Bible calls for instant and unqualified acceptance. For Lutherans that are more aligned with mainline Protestantism, a basic claim is made that the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life. This allows for historical-critical methods for interpretation.

Clarity


Historically, Lutherans understand the Bible to present all doctrines and commands of the Christian faith clearly
Clarity of scripture
The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture is a Protestant Christian position teaching that "the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and, therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture , it may be searched and known by other...

. God's Word is freely accessible to every reader or hearer of ordinary intelligence, without requiring any special education. Of course, one must understand the language God's Word is presented in, and not be so preoccupied by contrary thoughts so as to prevent understanding. As a result of this, no one needs to wait for any clergy, pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

, scholar, or ecumenical council
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

 to explain the real meaning of any part of the Bible.

Efficacy


Lutherans confess that Scripture is united with the power of the Holy Spirit and with it, not only demands, but also creates the acceptance of its teaching. This teaching produces faith and obedience. Holy Scripture is not a dead letter, but rather, the power of the Holy Spirit is inherent in it. Scripture does not compel a mere intellectual assent to its doctrine, resting on logical argumentation, but rather it creates the living agreement of faith. As the Smalcald Articles
Smalcald Articles
The Smalcald Articles or Schmalkald Articles are a summary of Lutheran doctrine, written by Martin Luther in 1537 for a meeting of the Schmalkaldic League in preparation for an intended ecumenical Council of the Church.-History:...

 affirm, "in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word."

Sufficiency


Lutherans are confident that the Bible contains everything that one needs to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life. There are no deficiencies in Scripture that need to be filled with by tradition
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

, pronouncements of the Pope
Obsequium religiosum
Obsequium religiosum is a Latin phrase meaning religious submission or religious assent, particularly in the theology of the Catholic Church.-Second Vatican Council:...

, new revelations
Revelation (Latter Day Saints)
Latter Day Saints teach that the Latter Day Saint movement began with a Revelation from God . They also teach that revelation is the foundation of the church established by Jesus Christ and that it remains an essential element of His true church today...

, or present-day development of doctrine
Development of doctrine
Development of doctrine is a term used by John Henry Newman and other theologians influenced by him to describe the way Catholic teaching has become more detailed and explicit over the centuries, while later statements of doctrine remain consistent with earlier statements.-Newman's book:The term...

.

Law and Gospel



Lutherans understand the Bible as containing two distinct types of content, termed Law and Gospel
Law and Gospel
In Christianity the relationship between God's Law and the Gospel is a major topic in Lutheran and Reformed theology. In these traditions, the distinction between the doctrines of Law, which demands obedience to God's ethical will, and Gospel, which promises the forgiveness of sins in light of the...

 (or Law and Promises). Properly distinguishing between Law and Gospel prevents the obscuring of the Gospel teaching of justification by grace through faith alone.

Lutheran Confessions


The Book of Concord
Book of Concord
The Book of Concord or Concordia is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century...

, published in 1580, contains ten documents which some Lutherans believe are faithful and authoritative explanations of Holy Scripture. Besides the three Ecumenical Creeds
Ecumenical creeds
Ecumenical creeds is an umbrella term used in the western church to refer to the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The ecumenical creeds are also known as the universal creeds. These creeds are accepted by almost all mainstream Christian denominations in the western...

, which date to Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 times, the Book of Concord contains seven credal
Creed
A creed is a statement of belief—usually a statement of faith that describes the beliefs shared by a religious community—and is often recited as part of a religious service. When the statement of faith is longer and polemical, as well as didactic, it is not called a creed but a Confession of faith...

 documents articulating Lutheran theology in the Reformation era.

The doctrinal positions of Lutheran churches are not uniform because the Book of Concord does not hold the same position in all Lutheran churches. For example, the state churches in Scandinavia consider only the Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

as a "summary of the faith" in addition to the three ecumenical Creeds. Lutheran pastors, congregations, and church bodies in Germany and the Americas usually agree to teach in harmony with the entire Lutheran Confessions
Book of Concord
The Book of Concord or Concordia is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century...

. Some Lutheran church bodies require this pledge to be unconditional because they believe the confessions correctly state what the Bible teaches. Others allow their congregations to do so "insofar as" the Confessions are in agreement with the Bible.

Justification



The key doctrine, or material principle, of Lutheranism is the doctrine of justification. Lutherans believe that humans are saved from their sins by God's grace
Sola gratia
Sola gratia is one of the five solas propounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation; it is a Latin term meaning grace alone...

 alone (Sola Gratia
Sola gratia
Sola gratia is one of the five solas propounded to summarise the Reformers' basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation; it is a Latin term meaning grace alone...

), through faith alone (Sola Fide
Sola fide
Sola fide , also historically known as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, is a Christian theological doctrine that distinguishes most Protestant denominations from Catholicism, Eastern Christianity, and some in the Restoration Movement.The doctrine of sola fide or "by faith alone"...

). Lutherans believe that this grace is granted for the sake of Christ's merit alone (Solus Christus
Solus Christus
Solus Christus , sometimes referred to in the ablative case as Solo Christo , is one of the five solas that summarise the Protestant Reformers' basic belief that salvation is through Christ alone and that Christ is the only mediator between God and man, see also New Covenant.-Protestant-Catholic...

). Orthodox Lutheran theology holds that God made the world, including humanity, perfect, holy and sinless. However, Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 chose to disobey God, trusting in their own strength, knowledge, and wisdom. Consequently, people are saddled with original sin, born sinful and unable to avoid committing sinful acts. For Lutherans, original sin is the "chief sin, a root and fountainhead of all actual sins."

Lutherans teach that sinners, while capable of doing works that are outwardly "good," are not capable
Incurvatus in se
Incurvatus in se is a theological phrase describing a life lived "inward" for self rather than "outward" for God and others.Paul of Tarsus wrote of this condition in the Epistle to the Romans 7:15, 18-19:...

 of doing works that satisfy God's justice. Every human thought and deed is infected with sin and sinful motives
Concupiscence
Concupiscence is often defined as an ardent, usually sensual, longing or lust. The concept is most commonly encountered in Christian theology, as the selfish human desire for an object, person, or experience...

. Because of this, all humanity deserves eternal damnation in hell
Hell in Christian beliefs
Christian views on Hell vary, but in general traditionally agree that hell is a place or a state in which the souls of the unsaved suffer the consequences of sin....

. God in eternity has turned His Fatherly heart to this world and planned for its redemption because he loves all people and does not want anyone to be eternally damned.

To this end, "God sent his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil, and to bring us to Himself, and to govern us as a King of righteousness, life, and salvation against sin, death, and an evil conscience," as the Large Catechism
Luther's Large Catechism
Luther's Large Catechism consisted of works written by Martin Luther and compiled Christian canonical texts, published in April of 1529. This book was addressed particularly to clergymen to aid them in teaching their congregations...

 explains. Because of this, Lutherans teach that salvation is possible only because of the grace of God made manifest
Theology of the Cross
The Theology of the Cross is a term coined by the theologian Martin Luther to refer to theology that posits the cross as the only source of knowledge concerning who God is and how God saves...

 in the birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection, and continuing presence by the power of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

, of Jesus Christ. By God's grace, made known and effective in the person and work of Jesus Christ
New Testament view on Jesus' life
The four canonical gospels of the New Testament are the primary sources of information for the doctrinal Christian narrative of the life of Jesus. There is not a single New Testament "view" on the life of Jesus, the four Canonical gospels tell different but connected stories...

, a person is forgiven, adopted as a child and heir of God, and given eternal salvation. Christ, because he was entirely obedient to the law with respect to both his human and divine natures, "is a perfect satisfaction and reconciliation of the human race," as the Formula of Concord asserts, and proceeds to summarize:
[Christ] submitted to the law for us, bore our sin, and in going to his Father performed complete and perfect obedience for us poor sinners, from his holy birth to his death. Thereby he covered all our disobedience, which is embedded in our nature and in its thoughts, words, and deeds, so that this disobedience is not reckoned to us as condemnation but is pardoned and forgiven by sheer grace, because of Christ alone.


Lutherans believe that individuals receive this gift of salvation through faith alone. Saving faith is the knowledge of, acceptance of, and trust in the promise of the Gospel. Even faith itself is seen as a gift of God, created in the hearts of Christians by the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word and Baptism. Faith receives the gift of salvation rather than causes salvation. Thus, Lutherans reject the "decision theology
Decision theology
Decision theology is the belief by some fundamentalist and evangelical sects of Christianity that individuals must make a conscious decision to "accept" and follow Christ . Some Christian denominations object to the "decision theology" theory as contradicting the monergism of orthodox historic...

" which is common among modern evangelicals
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

.

Trinity


Lutherans are Trinitarian; they confess in the Nicean Creed: the version in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) is the 1988 ecumenical (ELLC) version. But the Lutheran Service Book(2006) of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Lutheran Church–Canada (LCC) is that of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer with modernized spelling of the words "catholic" and "apostolic", with changes in capitalization of these and other words, and with "Holy Spirit" in place of "Holy Ghost". Lutherans reject the idea that the Father and the Son are merely faces of the same person, stating that both the Old Testament and the New Testament show them to be two distinct persons. Lutherans believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.
"We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal."

Two natures of Christ



Lutherans believe Jesus is the Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

, the savior promised in the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

. They believe he is both by nature God and by nature man in one person
Hypostatic union
Hypostatic union is a technical term in Christian theology employed in mainstream Christology to describe the union of Christ's humanity and divinity in one hypostasis.The First Council of Ephesus recognised this doctrine and affirmed its importance, stating that the...

, as they confess in Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

that he is "true God begotten of the Father from eternity and also true man born of the Virgin Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

".

The Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

explains:

[T]he Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably enjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.

Sacraments



Lutherans hold that sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

s are sacred acts of divine institution. Whenever they are properly administered by the use of the physical component commanded by God along with the divine words of institution, God is, in a way specific to each sacrament, present with the Word and physical component. He earnestly offers to all who receive the sacrament forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. He also works in the recipients to get them to accept these blessings and to increase the assurance of their possession.

Lutherans are not dogmatic about the number of the sacraments. In line with Luther's initial statement in his Large Catechism some speak of only two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion, although later in the same work he calls Confession and Absolution "the third sacrament." The definition of sacrament in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession
Apology of the Augsburg Confession
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession was written by Philipp Melanchthon during and after the 1530 Diet of Augsburg as a response to the Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession, Charles V's commissioned official Roman Catholic response to the Lutheran Augsburg Confession of June 25, 1530...

lists Absolution as one of them. Since Absolution is a return to the forgiveness given in baptism, strictly speaking there are only two sacraments. Confession
Confession in the Lutheran Church
In the Lutheran Church, Confession is the method given by Christ to the Church by which individual men and women may receive the forgiveness of sins; according to the Large Catechism, the "third sacrament" of Holy Absolution is properly viewed as an extension of Holy Baptism.-Beliefs:The Lutheran...

 is not practiced among Lutherans as often as in the Roman Church. Rather, it is expected before receiving the Eucharist for the first
First Communion
The First Communion, or First Holy Communion, is a Catholic Church ceremony. It is the colloquial name for a person's first reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Catholics believe this event to be very important, as the Eucharist is one of the central focuses of the Catholic Church...

 time. Some churches also allow for individual absolution on Saturdays before the Eucharistic service. A general absolution (known as the Penitential Rite) is proclaimed in the Eucharistic liturgy. Lutherans do not emphasize "penance" as a retribution of sin but rather the proclamation of God's forgiveness by the "called and ordained" minister of the Holy Gospel.

Baptism


Lutherans hold that Baptism is a saving work of God, mandated and instituted by Jesus Christ. Baptism is a "means of grace" through which God creates and strengthens "saving faith" as the "washing of regeneration" in which infants and adults are reborn. Since the creation of faith is exclusively God's work, it does not depend on the actions of the one baptized, whether infant or adult. Even though baptized infants cannot articulate that faith, Lutherans believe that it is present all the same.

Because it is faith alone that receives these divine gifts, Lutherans confess that baptism "works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare." Holding fast to the Scripture cited in 1 Peter 3:21 "and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Therefore, Lutherans administer Baptism to both infants and adults. In the special section on infant baptism
Infant baptism
Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism or pedobaptism from the Greek pais meaning "child." The practice is sometimes contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or...

 in his Large Catechism
Luther's Large Catechism
Luther's Large Catechism consisted of works written by Martin Luther and compiled Christian canonical texts, published in April of 1529. This book was addressed particularly to clergymen to aid them in teaching their congregations...

, Luther argues that infant baptism is God-pleasing because persons so baptized were reborn and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Eucharist




Lutherans hold that within the Eucharist, also referred to as the Sacrament of the Altar, the Mass, or the Lord's Supper, the true body and blood of Christ are truly present "in, with, and under the forms" of the consecrated bread
Sacramental bread
Sacramental bread, sometimes called the lamb, altar bread, host or simply Communion bread, is the bread which is used in the Christian ritual of the Eucharist.-Eastern Catholic and Orthodox:...

 and wine for all those who eat and drink it, a doctrine that the Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord is an authoritative Lutheran statement of faith that, in its two parts , makes up the final section of the Lutheran Corpus Doctrinae or Body of Doctrine, known as...

calls the sacramental union
Sacramental Union
Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

.

Conversion


In Lutheranism, conversion or regeneration in the strict sense of the term is the work of divine grace and power by which man, born of the flesh, and void of all power
Total depravity
Total depravity is a theological doctrine that derives from the Augustinian concept of original sin...

 to think, to will, or to do any good thing, and dead in sin is, through the gospel and holy baptism, taken from a state of sin and spiritual death
Spiritual death
In Christian theology, spiritual death is separation from God. Humans are separated from God because of sin, which entered the world through the Fall of Man, and are reconciled to God through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ....

 under God's wrath into a state of spiritual life of faith and grace, rendered able to will and to do what is spiritually good and, especially, made to trust in the benefits of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

During conversion, one is moved from impenitence to repentance. The Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

divides repentance into two parts: "One is contrition, that is, terrors smiting the conscience through the knowledge of sin; the other is faith, which is born of the Gospel, or of absolution, and believes that for Christ's sake, sins are forgiven, comforts the conscience, and delivers it from terrors."

Predestination


Lutherans adhere to divine monergism
Monergism
Monergism describes the position in Christian theology of those who believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, works to bring about effectually the salvation of individuals through spiritual regeneration without cooperation from the individual...

, the teaching that salvation is by God's act alone, and therefore reject the idea that humans in their fallen state have a free will
Free will in theology
Free will in theology is an important part of the debate on free will in general. This article discusses the doctrine of free will as it has been, and is, interpreted within the various branches of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism...

 concerning spiritual matters. Lutherans believe that although humans have free will concerning civil righteousness, they cannot work spiritual righteousness
On the Bondage of the Will
On the Bondage of the Will , by Martin Luther, was published in December 1525. It was his reply to Desiderius Erasmus's De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio or On Free Will, which had appeared in September 1524 as Erasmus's first public attack on Luther, after being wary about the methods of...

 in the heart without the presence and aid of the Holy Spirit. Lutherans believe Christians are "saved"; that all who trust in Christ alone and his promises can be certain of their salvation.

According to Lutheranism, the central final hope of the Christian is "the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting" as confessed in the Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

rather than predestination. Lutherans disagree with those who make predestination - rather than Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection - the source of salvation. Unlike Calvinists
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

, Lutherans do not believe in a predestination to damnation, usually referencing "God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" as contrary evidence to such a claim. Instead, Lutherans teach eternal damnation is a result of the unbeliever's sins, rejection of the forgiveness of sins, and unbelief.

Divine providence


According to Lutherans, God preserves his creation, cooperates with everything that happens, and guides the universe. While God cooperates with both good and evil deeds, with evil deeds he does so only inasmuch as they are deeds, but not with the evil in them. God concurs with an act's effect, but he does not cooperate in the corruption of an act or the evil of its effect. Lutherans believe everything exists for the sake of the Christian Church, and that God guides everything for its welfare and growth.

The explanation of the Apostles' Creed given in the Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

declares that everything good that people have is given and preserved by God, either directly or through other people or things. Of the services others provide us through family, government, and work, "we receive these blessings not from them, but, through them, from God." Since God uses everyone's useful tasks for good, people should look not down upon some useful vocations as being less worthy than others. Instead people should honor others, no matter how lowly, as being the means God uses to work in the world.

Good works



Lutherans believe that good works
Good works
Good works, or simply works, within Christian theology are a person's actions or deeds, contrasting with interior qualities such as grace or faith.The New Testament exhibits a tension between two aspects of grace:...

 are the fruit of faith, always and in every instance. Good works have their origin in God, not in the fallen human heart or in human striving; their absence would demonstrate that faith, too, is absent. Lutherans do not believe that good works are a factor in obtaining salvation; they believe that we are saved by the grace of God - based on the merit of Christ in his suffering and death - and faith in the triune god. Good works are the natural result of faith, not the cause of salvation. Although Christians are no longer compelled to keep God's law, they freely and willingly serve God
On the Freedom of a Christian
On the Freedom of a Christian sometimes also called "A Treatise on Christian Liberty"...

 and their neighbors.

Judgment and eternal life


Lutherans do not believe in any sort of earthly millennial
Millennialism
Millennialism , or chiliasm in Greek, is a belief held by some Christian denominations that there will be a Golden Age or Paradise on Earth in which "Christ will reign" for 1000 years prior to the final judgment and future eternal state...

 kingdom of Christ either before or after his second coming on the last day. Lutherans teach that, at death, the souls of Christians are immediately taken into the presence of Jesus, where they await the second coming of Jesus on the last day. On the last day, all the bodies of the dead
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 will be resurrected.

Their souls will then be reunited with the same bodies
Human body
The human body is the entire structure of a human organism, and consists of a head, neck, torso, two arms and two legs.By the time the human reaches adulthood, the body consists of close to 100 trillion cells, the basic unit of life...

 they had before dying. The bodies will then be changed, those of the wicked to a state of everlasting shame and torment
Suffering
Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm. Suffering may be qualified as physical or mental. It may come in all degrees of intensity, from mild to intolerable. Factors of duration and...

, those of the righteous
Imputed righteousness
Imputed righteousness is a concept in Christian theology that proposes that the "righteousness of Christ ... is imputed to [believers] — that is, treated as if it were theirs through faith." It is on the basis of this "alien"...

 to an everlasting state of celestial glory. After the resurrection of all the dead, and the change of those still living, all nations shall be gathered before Christ, and he will separate the righteous from the wicked.

Christ will publicly judge all people by the testimony
Testimony
In law and in religion, testimony is a solemn attestation as to the truth of a matter. All testimonies should be well thought out and truthful. It was the custom in Ancient Rome for the men to place their right hand on a Bible when taking an oath...

 of their deeds, the good works of the righteous in evidence of their faith, and the evil works of the wicked in evidence of their unbelief. He will judge in righteousness in the presence of all people and angels, and his final judgment will be just damnation
Damnation
Damnation is the concept of everlasting divine punishment and/or disgrace, especially the punishment for sin as threatened by God . A damned being "in damnation" is said to be either in Hell, or living in a state wherein they are divorced from Heaven and/or in a state of disgrace from God's favor...

 to everlasting punishment for the wicked and a gracious gift of life everlasting to the righteous.

Comparison among Protestants


This table summarizes the classical views of three different Protestant beliefs about salvation.
Topic Lutheranism Calvinism Arminianism
Human will Total Depravity without free will until spiritual regeneration
Regeneration (theology)
Regeneration, while sometimes perceived to be a step in the Ordo salutis , is generally understood in Christian theology to be the objective work of God in a believer's life. Spiritually, it means that God brings Christians to new life from a previous state of subjection to the decay of death...

Total Depravity without free will permanently due to the nature of divine sovereignty Total depravity, with prevenient grace
Prevenient grace
Prevenient grace is a Christian theological concept rooted in Augustinian theology. It is embraced primarily by Arminian Christians who are influenced by the theology of Jacob Arminius or John Wesley. Wesley typically referred to it in 18th century language as prevenient grace...

, does not preclude free will
Election Unconditional election to salvation only Unconditional election
Unconditional election
Unconditional election is the Calvinist teaching that before God created the world, he chose to save some people according to his own purposes and apart from any conditions related to those persons...

 to salvation and damnation (double-predestination)
Conditional election
Conditional election
In Christian theology, conditional election is the belief that God chooses, for eternal salvation, those whom He foresees will have faith in Christ. This belief emphasizes the importance of a person's free will...

 on the basis of foreseen faith or unbelief
Justification Justification of all people completed at Christ's death Justification is limited to those predestined to salvation, completed at Christ's death Justification made possible for all through Christ's death, but only completed upon placing faith in Jesus (hypothetical universalism)
Conversion Monergistic
Monergism
Monergism describes the position in Christian theology of those who believe that God, through the Holy Spirit, works to bring about effectually the salvation of individuals through spiritual regeneration without cooperation from the individual...

, through the means of grace
Means of Grace
The Means of Grace in Christian theology are those things through which God gives grace. Just what this grace entails is interpreted in various ways: generally speaking, some see it as God blessing humankind so as to sustain and empower the Christian life; others see it as forgiveness, life, and...

, resistible
Monergistic, through the inner calling of the Holy Spirit, irresistible
Irresistible grace
Irresistible Grace is a doctrine in Christian theology particularly associated with Calvinism, which teaches that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing...

Synergistic, resistible due to the common, sufficient grace of free will
Preservation and apostasy Falling away
Backslide
Backsliding is a term used within Christianity to describe a process by which an individual who has converted to Christianity reverts to pre-conversion habits and/or lapses or falls into sin, when a person turns from God to pursue their own desire...

 is possible, but reflection on one's faith provides assurance of preservation
Perseverance of the saints
Perseverance of the saints
Perseverance of the saints, as well as the corollary—though distinct—doctrine known as "Once Saved, Always Saved", is a Calvinist teaching that once persons are truly saved they can never lose their salvation....

: the eternally elect in Christ will necessarily persevere in faith and subsequent holiness until the end
Preservation is conditional
Conditional preservation of the saints
The Conditional preservation of the saints, or commonly conditional security, is the Arminian belief that believers are kept safe by God in their saving relationship with Him upon the condition of a persevering faith in Christ...

 upon continued faith in Christ; reflection on one's faith provides assurance
>

Practices



Liturgy


Lutherans place great emphasis on a liturgical
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 approach to worship services; although there are substantial non-liturgical minorities, for example, the Haugean
Haugean
Haugean was a pietistic state church reform movementintended to bring new life and vitality into a Norwegian State Church which had been often characterized by formalism and lethargy....

 Lutherans from Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. Music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 forms a large part of Lutheran services. Lutheran hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s are sometimes known as chorale
Chorale
A chorale was originally a hymn sung by a Christian congregation. In certain modern usage, this term may also include classical settings of such hymns and works of a similar character....

s. Lutheran hymnody is well known for its doctrinal, didactic, and musical richness. Most Lutheran churches are active musically with choirs, handbell choirs, children's choirs, and occasionally carillon
Carillon
A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in a free-standing bell tower, or the belfry of a church or other municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to play a melody, or sounded together to play a chord...

 groups that ring bells in a bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

. Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

, a devout Lutheran, composed music for the Lutheran church.

Lutherans also preserve a liturgical approach to the celebration of the Mass (or the Holy Eucharist/Communion), emphasizing the sacrament as the central act of Christian worship. Lutherans believe that the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ are present in, with and under the bread and the wine. This belief is called Real Presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

 or sacramental union
Sacramental Union
Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

 and is different from consubstantiation
Consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine,...

 and transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

. Additionally Lutherans reject the idea that communion is a mere symbol or memorial
Memorialism
Memorialism is the belief held by many Protestant denominations that the elements of bread and wine in the Eucharist are symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus, the feast being primarily a memorial meal. The theory comes largely from the work of Reformed theologian Huldrych Zwingli...

. They confess in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession
Apology of the Augsburg Confession
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession was written by Philipp Melanchthon during and after the 1530 Diet of Augsburg as a response to the Pontifical Confutation of the Augsburg Confession, Charles V's commissioned official Roman Catholic response to the Lutheran Augsburg Confession of June 25, 1530...

:
"...we do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it. Among us the Mass is celebrated every Lord's Day and on other festivals, when the Sacrament is made available to those who wish to partake of it, after they have been examined and absolved. We also keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of readings, prayers, vestments, and other similar things." (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV.1)


Besides the Holy Communion (Divine Service), congregations also hold offices, which are worship services without communion. They may include Matins
Matins in Lutheranism
A typical order of Matins in Lutheranism is found in the Lutheran Service Book, the recently published hymnal of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod....

, Vespers
Vespers in Lutheranism
Vespers in Lutheranism is the evening prayer service in the Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours. The word comes from the Greek εσπερινός and the Latin vesper, meaning "evening."-Order of Vespers:...

, Compline
Compline
Compline is the final church service of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. The English word Compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The word was first used in this sense about the beginning of the 6th century by St...

, and Easter Vigil. Private or family offices include the Morning and Evening Prayers from Luther's Small Catechism. Meals are blessed with the Common Table Prayer
Common table prayer
The Common Table Prayer is arguably the best known mealtime prayer among North American Lutherans. Several other variations also exist.- History :...

, , or other prayers, and after eating the Lord is thanked, for example, with . In addition, Lutherans use devotional books, from small daily devotional
Daily devotional
Daily devotionals are publications which provide a specific spiritual reading for each calendar day. They tend to be associated with a daily time of prayer and meditation...

s, for example, Portals of Prayer
Portals of Prayer
- Overview :Portals of Prayer is a quarterly publication of the Concordia Publishing House of St. Louis, Missouri, the denominational publisher for The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod with a printed circulation of almost 900,000 copies each quarter...

, to large breviaries
Breviary
A breviary is a liturgical book of the Latin liturgical rites of the Catholic Church containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, the Psalms, readings, and notations for everyday use, especially by bishops, priests, and deacons in the Divine Office...

, including the Breviarium Lipsiensae
Evangelisch-Lutherische Gebetsbruderschaft
Evangelisch-Lutherische Gebetsbruderschaft is a German Lutheran religious society for men and women, based on the doctrines of the Holy Bible and Book of Concord, with regular prayer for the renewal and unity of the Church.Prayer Brotherhood was founded in Leipzig by Lutheran theological students...

and Treasury of Daily Prayer.

In the 1970s, many Lutheran churches began holding contemporary worship
Contemporary worship
Contemporary worship is a form of Christian worship that emerged within Western evangelical Protestantism in the twentieth century. It was originally confined to the charismatic movement, but is now found to varying extents in a wide range of churches, including many that do not subscribe to a...

 services for the purpose of evangelistic outreach. These services were in a variety of styles, depending on the preferences of the congregation. Often they were held alongside a traditional service in order to cater to those who preferred contemporary worship music. Today, few but some Lutheran congregations have contemporary worship as their sole form of worship. Outreach is no longer given as the primary motivation; rather this form of worship is seen as more in keeping with the desires of individual congregations. In Finland, Lutherans have experimented with the St Thomas Mass or Metal Mass
Metal Mass
Metal Mass is a heavy metal music service of worship. In it the traditional hymns are adapted to heavy metal style, following a Lutheran service pattern. As reported by The Washington Times and AFP, it has become a popular phenomenon in Finland, drawing hundreds of people, especially youth, to...

 in which traditional hymns are adapted to heavy metal. The Lutheran World Federation, in its Nairobi Statement on Worship and Culture, recommended every effort be made to bring church services into a more sensitive position with regard to cultural context.

Lutheran churches use hymnals as well as electronic projection media. In 2006, both the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, in cooperation with certain foreign English speaking church bodies within their respective fellowships, released new hymnals: Evangelical Lutheran Worship
Evangelical Lutheran Worship
Evangelical Lutheran Worship or ELW is the current, primary liturgical and worship guidebook and hymnal for use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, replacing its three predecessors, the Lutheran Book of Worship , the Hymnal Supplemental , and...

 (ELCA) and Lutheran Service Book
Lutheran Service Book
Lutheran Service Book is the newest official hymnal of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and the Lutheran Church–Canada . It was prepared by the LCMS Commission on Worship and published by Concordia Publishing House, the official publisher of the LCMS...

 (LCMS). Along with these, the most widely used among English speaking congregations include: Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (1996, ELS
Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Synod or ELS is a US-based Protestant Christian denomination based in Mankato, Minnesota, USA. It describes itself as a conservative, Confessional Lutheran body.-Membership:...

), The Lutheran Book of Worship
Lutheran Book of Worship
Lutheran Book of Worship is a worship book and hymnal used by several Lutheran denominations in North America. It is often referred to by its initials as the LBW, and in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America the LBW is sometimes called the "green book" as opposed to With One Voice, a...

(1978, LC-USA
Lutheran Council in the United States of America
The Lutheran Council in the United States of America was an ecumenical organization of American Lutherans that existed from 1967 to 1988. Succeeding the National Lutheran Council, it was founded by four Lutheran church bodies: the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, the...

), Lutheran Worship
Lutheran Worship
Lutheran Worship is one of the official hymnals of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Published in 1982 by Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, Missouri, it is the LCMS' third English-language hymnal and was intended to replace The Lutheran Hymnal...

(1982, LCMS
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod is a traditional, confessional Lutheran denomination in the United States. With 2.3 million members, it is both the eighth largest Protestant denomination and the second-largest Lutheran body in the U.S. after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Synod...

), Christian Worship (1993, WELS
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is a North American Confessional Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Characterized as theologically conservative, it was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As of 2008, it had a baptized membership of over 389,364 in more than 1,290 congregations,...

), and The Lutheran Hymnal
The Lutheran Hymnal
The Lutheran Hymnal is one of the official hymnals of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Published in 1941 by Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, Missouri, it was the LCMS' second official English-language hymnal, succeeding the 1912 Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book...

(1941, Synodical Conference
Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America
The Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America was a Lutheran joint fellowship organization between the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod , the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod...

). In the Lutheran Church of Australia
Lutheran Church of Australia
The Lutheran Church of Australia is the major Lutheran denomination in Australia, it also has a presence in New Zealand. It has 320 parishes, 540 congregations, 70,000 baptized members in Australia, 1,130 baptized members in New Zealand, 52,463 communicant members and 450 active pastors. Its...

, the official hymnal is the Lutheran Hymnal with Supplement of 1986, which includes a supplement to the Lutheran Hymnal of 1973, itself a replacement for the Australian Lutheran Hymn Book of 1921. Prior to this time, the two Lutheran church bodies in Australia (which merged in 1966) used a bewildering variety of hymnals, usually in the German language.

Missions



Sizable Lutheran missions arose for the first time during the 19th century. Early missionary attempts during the century after the Reformation did not succeed. However, European traders brought Lutheranism to Africa beginning in the 17th century as they settled along the coasts. During the first half of the 19th century, missionary activity in Africa expanded, including preaching by missionaries, translation of the Bible, and education.

Lutheranism came to India beginning with the work of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg, where a community totaling several thousand developed, complete with their own translation of the Bible, catechism, their own hymnal, and system of Lutheran schools. In the 1840s, this church experienced a revival through the work of the Leipzig Mission, including Karl Graul
Karl Graul
Karl Graul was a leader of Leipzig Lutheran mission and a Tamil scholar. He was born in a poor weaver family in Germany. He moved to India as the director of the Lutheran Leipzig Mission in 1849 and there he mastered Tamil....

. After German missionaries were expelled in 1914, Lutherans in India became entirely autonomous, yet preserved their Lutheran character. In recent years India has relaxed its anti-religious conversion laws, allowing a resurgence in missionary work.

In Latin America, missions began to serve European immigrants of Lutheran background, both those who spoke German and those who no longer did. These churches in turn began to evangelize those in their areas who were not of European background, including indigenous peoples.

In 1892, the first Lutheran missionaries reached Japan. Although work began slowly and a major setback occurred during the hardships of WWII. Lutheranism there has survived and become self-sustaining. After missionaries to China, including those of the Lutheran Church of China
Lutheran Church of China
The Lutheran Church of China or LCC was a Lutheran church body in China from 1920 to 1951. It was established as a result of the consultations between the various Lutheran missionary bodies in China that was initiated during the China Centenary Missionary Conference held in Shanghai in 1907...

, were expelled, they began ministry in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the latter which became a center of Lutheranism in Asia.

The Lutheran Mission in New Guinea, though founded only in 1953, became the largest Lutheran mission in the world in only several decades. Through the work of native lay evangelists, many tribes of diverse languages were reached with the Gospel.

Education



Catechism
Catechism
A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

 is considered basic in most Lutheran churches. Almost all maintain Sunday School
Sunday school
Sunday school is the generic name for many different types of religious education pursued on Sundays by various denominations.-England:The first Sunday school may have been opened in 1751 in St. Mary's Church, Nottingham. Another early start was made by Hannah Ball, a native of High Wycombe in...

s, and some host or maintain Lutheran school
Lutheran school
Lutheran schools and education were a priority for Lutherans who emigrated to the United States and Australia from Germany and Scandinavia. One of the first things they did was to create schools for their children. This strong educational tradition was handed down from Martin Luther himself. The...

s, at the preschool, elementary, middle, high school, folk high school, or university level. Life-long study of the catechism is intended for all ages so that the abuses of the pre-Reformation Church will not recur. Lutheran schools have always been a core aspect of Lutheran mission work, starting with Bartholomew Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Putschasu, who began work in India in 1706.

Pastors almost always have substantial theological educations, including Greek
Koine Greek
Koine Greek is the universal dialect of the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity , developing from the Attic dialect, with admixture of elements especially from Ionic....

 and Hebrew so that they can refer to the Christian scriptures in the original language. Pastors usually teach in the common language of the local congregation. In the U.S., some congregations and synods historically taught in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, Finnish
Finnish language
Finnish is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland Primarily for use by restaurant menus and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. It is one of the two official languages of Finland and an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a...

, Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

, or Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

, but retention of immigrant languages has been in significant decline since the early and middle 20th century.

Lutherans have a heritage of not only learned theologians, but also theologically adept laypeople. Among the laity there is an emphasis on life-long study of the Bible, Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

, and other theological works.

Church fellowship


Lutherans were divided about the issue of church fellowship for the first thirty years after Luther's death. Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon
Philipp Melanchthon , born Philipp Schwartzerdt, was a German reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems...

 and his Philippist
Philippists
The Philippists formed a party in early Lutheranism. Their opponents were called Gnesio-Lutherans.-Before Luther's Death:Philippists was the designation usually applied in the latter half of the sixteenth century to the followers of Philipp Melanchthon...

 party felt that Christians of different beliefs should join in union with each other without completely agreeing on doctrine. Against them stood the Gnesio-Lutherans
Gnesio-Lutherans
"Gnesio-Lutherans" is a modern name for a theological party in the Lutheran Church, in opposition to the Philippists after the death of Martin Luther and before the Formula of Concord. In their own day they were called Flacians by their opponents and simply Lutherans by themselves...

, led by Matthias Flacius
Matthias Flacius
Matthias Flacius Illyricus was a Lutheran reformer.He was born in Carpano, a part of Albona in Istria, son of Andrea Vlacich alias Francovich and Jacobea Luciani, daughter of a wealthy and powerful Albonian family...

 and the faculty at Jena. They condemned the Philippist position for indifferentism
Indifferentism
Indifferentism, in Roman Catholic theology, describes the belief that there is no evidence that one religion or philosophy is superior to another. The Catholic Church ascribes indifferentism to all atheistic, materialistic, pantheistic, and agnostic philosophies...

, describing it as a "unionistic compromise" of precious Reformation theology. Instead, they held that genuine unity between Christians and real theological peace was only possible with an honest agreement about every subject of doctrinal controversy.
Complete agreement finally came about in 1577, after the death of both Melanchthon and Flacius, when a new generation of theologians resolved the doctrinal controversies on the basis of Scripture in the Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord is an authoritative Lutheran statement of faith that, in its two parts , makes up the final section of the Lutheran Corpus Doctrinae or Body of Doctrine, known as...

of 1577. Although they decried the visible division of Christians on earth, orthodox Lutherans
Lutheran Orthodoxy
Lutheran orthodoxy was an era in the history of Lutheranism, which began in 1580 from the writing of the Book of Concord and ended at the Age of Enlightenment. Lutheran orthodoxy was paralleled by similar eras in Calvinism and tridentine Roman Catholicism after the...

 avoided ecumenical
Ecumenism
Ecumenism or oecumenism mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice...

 fellowship with other churches, believing that Christians should not, for example, join together for the Lord's Supper
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

 or exchange pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

s if they do not completely agree about what the Bible teaches. In the 17th century, Georgius Calixtus began a rebellion against this practice, sparking the Syncretistic Controversy with Abraham Calovius
Abraham Calovius
Abraham Calovius was a Lutheran theologian, and was one of the champions of Lutheran orthodoxy in the 17th century.-Biography:...

 as his main opponent.

In the 18th century, there was some ecumenical interest between the Church of Sweden
Church of Sweden
The Church of Sweden is the largest Christian church in Sweden. The church professes the Lutheran faith and is a member of the Porvoo Communion. With 6,589,769 baptized members, it is the largest Lutheran church in the world, although combined, there are more Lutherans in the member churches of...

 and the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

. John Robinson
John Robinson (1650-1723)
John Robinson was an English diplomat and prelate.-Early life:Robinson was born at Cleasby, North Yorkshire, near Darlington, a son of John Robinson . Educated at Brasenose College, Oxford, he became a fellow of Oriel College, and about 1680 chaplain to the British embassy to Stockholm, and...

, Bishop of London, planned for a union of the English and Swedish churches in 1718. The plan failed because most Swedish bishops rejected the Calvinism of the Church of England, although Swedberg
Jesper Swedberg
Jesper Swedberg was a bishop of Skara, Sweden. He was one of Sweden's most notable churchmen. He published the first edition ever of a Swedish book of hymns in 1694, and was the father of scientist and mystic Emanuel Swedenborg.- Early life :Jesper Swedberg was born as the son of a bergsman...

  and Gezelius
Johannes Gezelius the younger
Johannes Gezelius the younger was born in Dorpat AD 1647, and died AD 1718 in Uppland. He was a theologian, professor in The Royal Academy of Åbo and also superintendent of Livonia as his father had been. He became bishop of Åbo between 1690-1718....

, bishops of Skara, Sweden and Turku, Finland, were in favor. With the encouragement of Swedberg, church fellowship was established between Swedish Lutherans
Swedish colonization of the Americas
The Swedish colonization of the Americas included a 17th-century colony on the Delaware River in what is now Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, as well as two possessions in the Caribbean during the 18th and 19th century....

 and Anglicans in the Middle Colonies
Middle Colonies
The Middle Colonies comprised the middle region of the Thirteen Colonies of the British Empire in Northern America. In 1776 during the American Revolution, the Middle Colonies became independent of Britain as the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware.Much of the area was part of...

. Over the course of the 1700s and the early 1800s, Swedish Lutherans were absorbed into Anglican churches, with the last original Swedish congregation completing merger into the Episcopalians in 1846.

In the 19th century, Samuel Simon Schmucker
Samuel Simon Schmucker
Samuel Simon Schmucker was a German-American Lutheran pastor and theologian. He was integral to the founding of the Lutheran church body known as the General Synod, as well as the oldest continuously-operating Lutheran seminary and college in North America .Later in his career, Schmucker became a...

 attempted to lead the Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the United States
General Synod (Lutheran)
The General Synod was an association of Lutheran church bodies in America....

 toward unification with other American Protestants. His attempt to get the synod to reject the Augsburg Confession in favor of his compromising Definite Platform failed. Instead, it sparked a Neo-Lutheran
Neo-Lutheranism
Neo-Lutheranism was a 19th century revival movement within Lutheranism which began with the Pietist driven Erweckung, or Awakening, and developed in reaction against theological rationalism and pietism...

 revival, prompting many to form the General Council
General Council (Lutheran)
The General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America was a conservative Lutheran church body, formed as a reaction against the new "Americanized Lutheranism" of Samuel Simon Schmucker and the General Synod....

, including Charles Porterfield Krauth
Charles Porterfield Krauth
Charles Porterfield Krauth was a pastor, theologian and educator in the Lutheran branch of Christianity. He is a leading figure in the revival of the Lutheran Confessions connected to Neo-Lutheranism in the United States.- Education and parish ministry :He was born in Martinsburg, Virginia...

. Their alternative approach was “Lutheran pulpits are for Lutheran ministers only, and Lutheran altars are for Lutheran communicants only.”
Beginning in 1867, confessional and liberal minded Lutherans in Germany joined together to form the Common Evangelical Lutheran Conference against the ever looming prospect of a state-mandated union with the Reformed. However, they failed to reach a consensus among themselves on how much agreement in doctrine is necessary for church union. Eventually, the fascist German Christians
German Christians
The Deutsche Christen were a pressure group and movement within German Protestantism aligned towards the antisemitic and Führerprinzip ideological principles of Nazism with the goal to align German Protestantism as a whole towards those principles...

 movement pushed the final national merger of Lutheran, Union
Prussian Union (Evangelical Christian Church)
The Prussian Union was the merger of the Lutheran Church and the Reformed Church in Prussia, by a series of decrees – among them the Unionsurkunde – by King Frederick William III...

, and Reformed churches into a single Reich Church
Protestant Reich Church
The Protestant Reich Church, officially German Evangelical Church and colloquially Reichskirche, was formed in 1936 to merge the 28 regional churches into a unified state church that espoused a single doctrine compatible with National Socialism...

, now the Evangelical Church in Germany
Evangelical Church in Germany
The Evangelical Church in Germany is a federation of 22 Lutheran, Unified and Reformed Protestant regional church bodies in Germany. The EKD is not a church in a theological understanding because of the denominational differences. However, the member churches share full pulpit and altar...

, in 1933.

Presently, Lutherans are divided over how to interact with other Christian denominations. Some Lutherans assert that everyone must share the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) in complete unity (1 Cor. 1:10) before pastors can share each others' pulpits, and before communicants commune at each others' altars, a practice termed closed (or close) communion
Closed communion
Closed communion is the practice of restricting the serving of the elements of Holy Communion to those who are members of a particular church, denomination, sect, or congregation...

. On the other hand, other Lutherans are practice varying degrees of open communion
Open communion
Open communion is the practice of Christian churches that allow individuals other than members of that church to receive Holy Communion...

 and allow preachers from other Christian denominations in their pulpits.

While not an issue in the majority of Lutheran church bodies, some of them forbid membership in Freemasonry
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

. Partly, this is because the lodge is viewed as spreading Unitarianism
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

, as the Brief Statement of the Missouri Synod reads, "Hence we warn against Unitarianism, which in our country has to a great extent impenetrated the sects and is being spread particularly also through the influence of the lodges." A 1958 report from the publishing house of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is a North American Confessional Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Characterized as theologically conservative, it was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As of 2008, it had a baptized membership of over 389,364 in more than 1,290 congregations,...

 states that, "Masonry is guilty of idolatry. Its worship and prayers are idol worship. The Masons may not with their hands have made an idol out of gold, silver, wood or stone, but they created one with their own mind and reason out of purely human thoughts and ideas. The latter is an idol no less than the former."
The largest organizations of Lutheran churches around the world are the Lutheran World Federation
Lutheran World Federation
The Lutheran World Federation is a global communion of national and regional Lutheran churches headquartered in the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The federation was founded in the Swedish city of Lund in the aftermath of the Second World War in 1947 to coordinate the activities of the...

, the International Lutheran Council
International Lutheran Council
The International Lutheran Council is a worldwide association of confessional Lutheran denominations. It is to be distinguished from the larger Lutheran World Federation, which is an association of the more theologically moderate to liberal Lutheran churches, all of which are in full communion with...

, and the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference
Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference
The Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference is the successor to the Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America except that it is international in scope rather than restricted to North America....

. These organizations together include the great majority of Lutheran denominations around the globe. The Lutheran World Federation supports the activities of Lutheran World Relief
Lutheran World Relief
Lutheran World Relief is an international nonprofit organization specializing in International Development and Disaster Relief. It was headquartered in New York, but has been based in Baltimore, Maryland since 1995....

, a relief and development agency active in more than 50 countries. The LCMS
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod is a traditional, confessional Lutheran denomination in the United States. With 2.3 million members, it is both the eighth largest Protestant denomination and the second-largest Lutheran body in the U.S. after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Synod...

 and the LCC are members of the International Lutheran Council (ILC). The WELS
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is a North American Confessional Lutheran denomination of Christianity. Characterized as theologically conservative, it was founded in 1850 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As of 2008, it had a baptized membership of over 389,364 in more than 1,290 congregations,...

 and ELS
Evangelical Lutheran Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Synod or ELS is a US-based Protestant Christian denomination based in Mankato, Minnesota, USA. It describes itself as a conservative, Confessional Lutheran body.-Membership:...

 are members of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference.
Many Lutheran churches are not affiliated with the LWF, the ILC or the CELC: The congregations of the Church of the Lutheran Confession
Church of the Lutheran Confession
The Church of the Lutheran Confession is a conservative Christian religious body theologically adhering to confessional Lutheran doctrine. Founded in 1960 in Minnesota, it has approximately 75 congregations in 24 U.S...

 (CLC) are affiliated with their mission organizations in Canada, India, Nepal, Myanmar, and many African nations; and those affiliated with the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, are especially active doing mission work in Africa and East Asia.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF)-aligned churches do not believe that one church is singularly true in its teachings. According to this belief, Lutheranism is a reform movement rather than a movement into doctrinal correctness. For that reason, a number of doctrinally diverse LWF denominations, now largely separated from state control, are declaring fellowship and joint statements of agreement with other Lutheran and non-Lutheran Christian denominations.

The Lutheran World Federation and the Missouri Synod engaged in a series of official dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church since shortly after the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

. In 1999 the LWF and the Roman Catholic Church jointly issued a statement, the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification
The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification is a document created by and agreed to by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation in 1999, as a result of extensive ecumenical dialogue...

(JDDJ), that stated that the LWF and the Roman Catholic both agreed about certain basics of Justification and lifted certain Roman Catholic anathema
Anathema
Anathema originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:...

s formerly applying to the LWF member churches. The Missouri Synod has participated in most of these talks, though not the one which produced the Joint Declaration and to which they were not invited. While some Lutheran theologians saw the Joint Declaration as a sign that the Roman Catholics were essentially adopting the Lutheran position, other Lutheran theologians disagreed, claiming that, considering the public documentation of the Roman Catholic position, this assertion does not hold up.

By contrast, the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference and International Lutheran Council as well as some unaffiliated denominations such as the Church of the Lutheran Confession
Church of the Lutheran Confession
The Church of the Lutheran Confession is a conservative Christian religious body theologically adhering to confessional Lutheran doctrine. Founded in 1960 in Minnesota, it has approximately 75 congregations in 24 U.S...

 (CLC) maintain that the orthodox confessional Lutheran churches are the only churches with completely correct doctrine. They teach that while other Christian churches teach partially orthodox doctrine and have true Christians as members, the doctrines of those churches contain significant errors. More conservative Lutherans strive to maintain historical distinctiveness while emphasizing doctrinal purity alongside Gospel-motivated outreach. They claim that LWF Lutherans are practicing "fake ecumenism" by desiring church fellowship outside of actual unity of teaching.

Although not an "ecumenical" movement in the formal sense, in the 1990s influences from the megachurch
Megachurch
A megachurch is a church having 2,000 or more in average weekend attendance. The Hartford Institute's database lists more than 1,300 such Protestant churches in the United States. According to that data, approximately 50 churches on the list have attendance ranging from 10,000 to 47,000...

es of American evangelicalism have become somewhat common. Many of the largest Lutheran congregations in the United States have been heavily influenced by these "progressive Evangelicals." These influences are sharply criticized by some Lutherans as being foreign to orthodox Lutheran beliefs.

The Porvoo Communion
Porvoo Communion
The Porvoo Communion is a communion of 12 mainly northern European Anglican and Lutheran churches. It was established in 1992 by an agreement entitled the Porvoo Common Statement which establishes full communion between and among the churches...

 is a communion of episcopally led Lutheran and Anglican churches in Europe. Beside its membership in the Porvoo Communion, Church of Sweden also has declared full communion with the Philippine Independent Church
Philippine Independent Church
The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, (officially the or the IFI, also known as the Philippine Independent Catholic Church or in Ilocano: Siwawayawaya nga Simbaan ti Filipinas (in in Kinaray-a/Hiligaynon: Simbahan Hilway nga...

 and the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

 (ELCA) has been involved in ecumenical dialogues with several denominations. Recently, the ELCA has declared full communion with several American Churches: the Moravian Church
American Provinces of the Moravian Church
The Moravian Church in America is part of the world wide Moravian Church Unity. It dates from the arrival of the first Moravian missionaries to the United States in 1735, from their Herrnhut settlement in present-day Saxony, Germany. They came to minister to the scattered German immigrants, to the...

, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Presbyterian Church , or PC, is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. Part of the Reformed tradition, it is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the U.S...

, the Reformed Church in America
Reformed Church in America
The Reformed Church in America is a mainline Reformed Protestant denomination in Canada and the United States. It has about 170,000 members, with the total declining in recent decades. From its beginning in 1628 until 1819, it was the North American branch of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1819, it...

, the United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church is a Methodist Christian denomination which is both mainline Protestant and evangelical. Founded in 1968 by the union of The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the UMC traces its roots back to the revival movement of John and Charles Wesley...

, and the United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

.

Throughout the world


Today, millions belong to Lutheran communities, which are present on all populated continents. Lutheranism is the largest religious group in Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

, Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, and the Dakotas
The Dakotas
The Dakotas is a collective term that refers to the U.S. states of North Dakota and South Dakota together. The term has been used historically to describe the Dakota Territory, and is continued to be used to describe the collective heritage, culture, geography, fauna, sociology, the economy, and...

. Lutheranism is also the dominant form of Christianity in the White Mountain
Fort Apache Indian Reservation
The Fort Apache Indian Reservation is an Indian reservation in Arizona, United States, encompassing parts of Navajo, Gila, and Apache counties. It is home to the federally recognized White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, a Western Apache tribe. It has a land area of 2,627.608...

 and San Carlos
San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation
The San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, in southeastern Arizona, United States, was established in 1871 as a reservation for the Chiricahua Apache tribe. It was referred to by some as "Hell's Forty Acres," due to a myriad of dismal health and environmental conditions.-Formation:President U.S....

 Apache nations. In addition, Lutheranism is a main Protestant denomination in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 (where it forms about half the country's Christian population), Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

, North Sumatra Indonesia
North Sumatra
North Sumatra is a province of Indonesia on the Sumatra island. Its capital is Medan. It is the most populous Indonesian province outside of Java. It is slightly larger than Sri Lanka in area.- Geography and population :...

, and Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

.

Although Namibia is the only country outside Europe to have a Lutheran majority, there are sizable Lutheran bodies in other African countries. In addition, the following nations also have sizable Lutheran populations: Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, especially in the heavily German
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

 and Scandinavian Upper Midwest
Upper Midwest
The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau's Midwestern United States. It is largely a sub-region of the midwest. Although there are no uniformly agreed-upon boundaries, the region is most commonly used to refer to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and...

.

Lutheran bodies


Further reading

  • ALC Historical Perspective: Nervig, Casper B. Christian Truth and Religious Delusions, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1941.
  • CLC Perspective:
  • Confessional & Historical Perspective: Günther Gassmann & Scott Hendrix. Fortress Introduction to the Lutheran Confessions. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8006-3162-5.
  • General Council Historical Perspective:
  • LCA Historical Perspective:
  • LCMS Perspective:
  • LCMS Perspective:
  • LCMS Perspective:
  • LCR Perspective:
  • Neo-Lutheran Historical Perspective:
  • Norwegian Synod Historical Perspective:
  • Slovak Synod Historical Perspective:
  • WELS Perspective:
  • Comparison of about 50 Lutheran church bodies in America:
  • Comparison of Catholic, Lutheran, and Protestant doctrine:

External links