What is Lutheran?
What is Lutheran?
Lutheran refers to a branch of Christianity shaped by the theology of Martin Luther, a German friar who initiated the Protestant Reformation in 1517 (when a group of radicals split from the Catholic Church). Today Protestants include Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Church of Christ and many other groups formed into organizations called denominations. We are officially associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America denomination (ELCA) and are supported by the ELCA mission development fund.
Part of the reason we identify as being part of a larger mainline denomination is because leadership and governance of the ELCA supports our policies and positions for inclusion and affirmation of all people, especially those who identify as LGBTQ and/or transgender. Salt House is an open and affirming church. You can read a little more about that on this BLOG POST.
However, if you visit us at Salt House, you probably won’t hear us talking a lot about being Lutheran, but rather simply being followers of Jesus. We might look and feel similar to or different from what you are used to in a church, or what you’ve imagined church is like, but here’s the important stuff – what we believe:
We believe in a God who doesn’t keep score and doesn’t make faith a transactional endeavor. Faith is free. Earning favor with God is out of the question. Faith is a gift and it is both freely given and freely received. God is love and love is most fully expressed in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
We believe that people are the best expression of God’s creative and redeeming work in the world. People of all colors, faiths, abilities, sexual identities…we are all God’s children. Yeah, people suck sometimes, too. But that isn’t going to stop us from loving people as much as we possibly can.
We believe that following Jesus is a communal experience. We are bound together in God’s love to be a people who genuinely seek God’s guidance, love one another, and serve our community with justice and mercy.
We believe in the Bible as God’s Word for us. We believe there’s a better story for us than what finds its way into today’s media and political landscape. When we experience the Bible, the words of scripture help us find meaning in our own stories…especially when we read scripture together and share our own unique insights inspired by the rich diversity of our lives.
We believe in the priesthood of all believers. That means we’ve got work to do that only we can do. Yes, God is at work in us and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit, but if there’s something that needs to be done we’ve got to get our hands dirty.
So there you have it. It's what we've figured out so far. Thanks for reading.
If you really want to get in-depth with this whole thing, the ELCA website has some great resources for you here: http://elca.org/en/Faith/ELCA-Teaching