Statement of Faith
Christian faith is based on the Bible as the sole rule of faith and practice. Confessions are useful and necessary insofar as they accurately explain the Scriptures. Traditionally Lutherans have embraced the Lutheran Confessions – also known as the Book of Concord or Concordia – as a clear description of orthodox, catholic and apostolic Christianity, that saving faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
The most important thing to grasp is that one is made right with God not by any good things he or she might do. Justification is by faith only, and that faith rests in the one-time substitutionary death of Jesus Christ for one’s sins.
The Lutheran Library editors believe, teach and confess the evangelical Christian faith as described by the Ecumenical Creeds, The Augsburg Confession, The Formula of Concord, and the other sections of the Book of Concord.
Biblical Christianity and The Reformation
In the early days of the Reformation, Evangelical was the preferred name. Lutheran was a derogatory term used against those who believed the Biblical doctrines. The false implication was that Lutheranism was a departure from historic Christianity. The truth was that it was a rejection of the medieval errors and abuses which had crept into the Church.
What am I, a miserable mass of corruption, that the children of Christ should be called by my name! – Martin Luther1
The Lutheran Reformation was a return to the historic faith. Luther:
I am entering on an arduous task, and it may perhaps be impossible to uproot an abuse which, strengthened by the practice of so many ages, and approved by universal consent, as fixed itself so firmly among us, that the greater part of the books which have influence at the present day must needs be done away with, and almost the entire aspect of the churches be changed, and a totally different kind of ceremonies be brought in, or rather, brought back.
But my Christ lives, and we must take heed to the word of God with greater care, than of all the intellects of men and angels. I will perform my part, will bring forth the subject into the light, and will impart the truth freely and ungrudgingly as I have received it. For the rest, let every one look to his own salvation; I will strive, as in the presence of Christ my judge, that no man may be able to throw upon me the blame of his own unbelief and ignorance of the truth.2
Recommended Reading: A Concise Summary of the Lutheran Confessions by Henry Eyster Jacobs
Image: The Interior of St Janskerk at Gouda by Hendrick Cornelisz van der Vliet
Quoted in Martin Luther – The Hero of the Reformation 1483-1546 by Henry Eyster Jacobs. Lutheran Library Edition available. Erlangen, 22: 43 sqq.; Weimar, viii., 670 sqq. ↩
From First Principles of the Reformation: The 95 Theses and The Three Primary Works of Martin Luther. Lutheran Library Edition Available ↩