Lutherans are just one type of Christian. Here are some distinctly Lutheran ideas.
The Christian church is made up of those who have been baptized and thus know that Christ is the Son of God and Savior of the world. Sometimes the church is referred to as “the Body of Christ.” Lutherans believe that they are a part of a community of faith that began with the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence with his people, on the day of Pentecost. The church, regardless of the external form it takes, is the fellowship of those who have been restored to God by Christ. Indeed, to be called into fellowship with Christ is also to be called into community with other believers.
All Believers are Ministers
Ministry is not just for pastors; it is the responsibility and the joy of every Christian. Ministry is sharing the joy and hope of God with our neighbor through service and sharing.
Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and still hold to the basic principles of theology and practice espoused by Martin Luther. Lutherans believe that God chooses to love people because God is a gracious God, not because of anything we do to please God. Lutherans believe that God inspires faith in people and through faith, people see the work of God and the way of God revealed. Lutherans believe that salvation – for this life and the next – comes through the Word of God. This means the bible, the source and norm for our lives, but more importantly it means Jesus, the Word of God in human form. This isn’t “What Would Jesus Do”; it’s “Jesus did this for you. You can do this for others.”
Saved as a Gift
Being saved is an act of God which we cannot earn. It comes to us completely as a gift. Our faith lives are in response to that gift. We are freed from attempting to do our part in salvation (because we don’t have a part) so that we can do our part in bringing God’s love to the world. For an in-depth look at Lutheran theology of grace, here is The Use Of The Means Of Grace, a statement of the ELCA.
We Are the ELCA
PFLC is one of over 9,500 congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). With about 4 million baptized members, the ELCA was formed in 1988 when three Lutheran church bodies merged. Our local area, called the Southwestern Washington Synod, has 90 congregations from Tacoma to Vancouver, from the ocean to the Cascades. Synod offices of Bishop Richard Jaech and staff are located across from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. More information about Lutheran doctrine can be found at elca.org.