WHAT DO LUTHERANS BELIEVE?
Lutherans are a diverse group of people, convinced that the Holy Spirit is leading us toward unity in the community of God. When we gather for worship, we connect with believers in every place in every time. When we study the Bible and pray, we are drawn more deeply into God’s own saving story. When we serve others and address social issues that affect the common good, we live out our Christian faith.
Lutherans began their unique history with a 16th Century movement led by Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk. Lutherans were among the first to be called “Protestants” or “Evangelicals.” Today Lutherans are the second largest Protestant church in the world, with approximately 70 million members worldwide.
Lutherans always place themselves as part of the larger story of the Christian Church. We are Christians first, Lutherans second. We seek to deepen our relationships with all Christians and people of other faiths. In this way, we work to respond to the way Jesus inspires us to love God and love neighbor.
As Lutherans, we don’t claim to possess all truth, but do believe that God’s Holy Spirit reveals to us truth and wisdom daily. God chooses to teach us surprising things all the time, sometimes in unexpected ways through unexpected people. One of the names of God is “Redeemer,” the one who takes that which is broken and wrong and makes us whole and right. There is nothing that has been done to us, or that which we do to others, that God does not forgive and that God cannot heal. We seek to live an abundant life in that forgiveness and healing. At St. Stephen’s we remind ourselves often of these gifts with the phrase, “Amazing Grace, Joyful Lives.”
Part of our healing work is to seek ways of living the way of peace with our neighbors. We are a curious people, always wanting to learn about the experiences of all people. That is one reason why there are Lutheran ministries in 79 countries worldwide, and why some of our largest churches are in Africa. These relationships can only enhance our spiritual growth.
More information about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is found at www.elca.org.