What We Believe

Lutherans believe in the Triune God. We are part of God’s unfolding plan.

When we gather for worship, we connect with believers everywhere and of every time. When we study the Bible and pray, we are drawn more deeply into God’s own saving story. And when we serve others and address social issues that affect the common good, we live out our Christian faith.

What do Lutherans believe?

Lutheranism is a faith founded on good news.

Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther. Luther was a German theologian who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic church at that time. On Oct. 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). His 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 distinct separation between the Roman Catholic church of the time and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. “Lutheran” became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions.

Today, nearly five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on Oct. 31, and still hold to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings, such as grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone. These comprise the very essence of Lutheranism:

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

† Our salvation is through faith alone—a confident trust in God, who in Christ promises us forgiveness, life and salvation; and

† The Bible is the norm for faith and life—the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.
For more information about our beliefs, visit the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America website.