Martin Luther (born – November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, died February 18, 1546.) is known as the Father of Protestantism. He was studying to become a lawyer before becoming an Augustinian monk in 1505, and was ordained a priest in 1507. While continuing his studies in pursuit of a Doctor of Theology degree, he discovered significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the theology and practices of the church. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the church door at Wittenberg University to debate 95 theological issues. Luther’s hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible. 

What started as an academic debate, escalated into a religious conflict with the Catholic Church. As a result, there was not a reformation of the church but a separation. “Lutheran” was a name applied to Luther and his followers as an insult, but they adopted it as a badge of honor.  

Lutherans annually celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and continue to hold to the basic principles of theology and practice espoused by Luther, such as Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone): 

We are saved by the grace of God alone — not by anything we do; 

Our salvation is through faith alone — we believe that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who died to redeem us. 

The Bible is the only norm of doctrine and life — the only true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged. 

Many Lutherans still consider themselves as a reforming movement within the Church catholic, rather than a separatist movement, and Lutherans have engaged in ecumenical dialogue with other church bodies for decades. 

Luther’s “Small Catechism” (written in 1529) contains teachings on the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, Holy Communion, Morning and Evening Prayers. It is still widely used to instruct people in the Lutheran faith. 

As Lutheran Christians we believe that:

  • We are saved by the grace of God – not by what we say or do.
    “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • Our words and actions are a response to God’s love for us.
  • We are the hands and feet of Christ in the world loving, serving, and caring for others in Jesus’ name.
  • Everyone is made in the image of God and is thus valued and welcome here.