What Is a Lutheran?
Rev. John M. Young has served as our pastor since January 2002. Originally from Naperville, Illinois, Pastor Young attended Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, earning his Master of Divinity degree in 1996. After serving five years as the assistant pastor of a Lutheran church in San Antonio, Texas, Pastor Young was called to be the senior pastor of Our Savior. Pastor Young and his wife, Raquel, have two daughters.
Lutheran beliefs are summed up in a document called the Augsburg Confession. (The complete text can be found HERE.) Below is a brief description of each of the 28 articles of faith. Click on each article to learn more.
The true God is “triune” (three-in-one), existing as three Persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in one divine Essence.
All human beings are born separated from God by their sin and must be saved.
Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity and the son of the Virgin Mary, so He is both fully God and fully human. He suffered and died on the cross to take away all sin, and He rose again to life and ascended to heaven. He will return one day in judgment.
We are not justified (made righteous) by anything we do, but only what Jesus Christ has done for us, which is received through faith.
Faith comes through the Word of God (the Bible, the Gospel) and through the Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion).
We are to obey the Law of God and do good works, but not to earn salvation, rather because it is God’s will for our lives.
The church is not a building or an organization, but rather the assembly of believers gathered around Word and Sacrament.
The authority of the church does not depend on the holiness of ministers but on the Word of God and Christ’s institution of the Sacraments.
Baptism is our entrance into God’s kingdom and is not to be denied to infants and children.
The body and blood of Christ are truly present in the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion), which nourishes our faith.
The emphasis on confession is not listing all sins but the assurance of forgiveness (absolution).
It is possible for sins committed after baptism to be forgiven when there is contrition (sorrow over sin) and faith (trusting God’s promise). Good works are the result of repentance, not the cause of forgiveness.
Sacraments do not work merely by an outward act, but they are effective when combined with faith.
Only called and ordained pastors should preach and administer the sacraments.
We observe as many church traditions as we can (ensuring they do not contradict Scripture), but not to earn forgiveness or merit anything from God.
It is acceptable to be involved in the secular world (including government, etc.), unlike some denominations who say otherwise.
All people will be raised on the Last Day when Christ returns; those whose sins are forgiven will receive eternal life and everlasting joys, while those who are unrepentant will be condemned to be tormented without end.
Human beings have free will in certain matters concerning this life, but we are not free to choose eternal salvation until the Holy Spirit regenerates us.
God created us but is not responsible for our sinfulness.
It is necessary to do good works, but “good works” are best understood as following the Ten Commandments in showing love for God and for our neighbor, not in performing invented rites and rituals which have an appearance of “holiness.”
The memory of saints may be set before us to follow their faith and good works, but not to pray to them or ask their help.
Laypeople receive both the body (bread) and blood (wine) of Christ in Holy Communion.
Lutheran pastors may be married.
We generally follow the liturgical order of worship that has been handed down through the centuries, but we are careful not to give the idea that Christ is being “re-sacrificed” in Holy Communion.
Confession is retained because it provides the opportunity for absolution, but listing all one’s sins is not necessary.
We do not require fasting or avoiding certain foods, as though such fasting were commanded by God or brought us closer to Him. (Fasting can be an important spiritual exercise, but those who do not fast cannot be told they are doing anything wrong.)
We believe that a Christian can serve God equally well in whatever calling (“vocation”) he or she has in life, and there is nothing “holier” about being a monk or a nun. (In addition, at the time of the Augsburg Confession, there were numerous abuses, including holding young people to vows that they had been compelled to make at a very early age, which are repudiated here.)
Bishops may hold ecclesiastical (“churchly”) power, but they do not have any secular (“worldly”) power by divine right. (This article also addresses many 16th-century abuses.)
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