If you could describe the Lutheran church in one word, it would be GRACE — the fact that we are saved by Christ’s death on the cross, a gift which we cannot accomplish on our own. We strongly emphasize God’s mercy and forgiveness. We strive to live faithfully in response to the love we have already received from God. While not a uniquely Lutheran concept, we are careful to focus on this gift of grace because it is key to our historical beginnings.
In the 1500s, Dr. Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic monk, challenged the selling of indulgences and practice of the sacraments as ways to earn salvation. He stressed that we are unequivocally saved by grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ — not through human rites, goodness, or works of the law.
While he hoped to reform the church he loved, his teachings proved to be such a departure from the Catholic church of that time, a new denomination was formed. Lutheranism grew from its German base northward to Scandinavia.
American Lutheranism was born out of the waves of immigration which populated our country in the 1800s and 1900s. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (our denomination at Christ the Lord) is the result of years of church mergers, the most recent of which took place in 1988.
For more information on the Lutheran church than you’d ever want to know, check out the ELCA website.