What is a Lutheran?
A Lutheran is, first and foremost, a Christian who places their trust in the grace of God. Lutherans trace their roots to the reformation of the 16th Century and are named after reformer Rev. Dr. Martin Luther. Luther, a Catholic priest himself, challenged the Catholic church to denounce what would become known as “works righteousness,” and instead focus on what the book of Romans refers to as, “justification by grace through faith.” Luther was disgusted with the corruption he observed in his church and sought to renew the church using the Bible as his source. He is credited, along with fellow reformers of his day, with starting the Protestant church movement.
There are Lutherans all around the world and many different groups of Lutherans in the United States. Lutherans are diverse in practice but all are in agreement that we are saved by the unmerited grace of God and not by our good works.
Some other key Lutheran beliefs are: that all Christians are "simultaneously both saint and sinner", that all members of the church are members of the "priesthood of all believers" and that each person can serve God by living out their own unique vocation in service to the world. Lutherans embrace paradox and encourage big questions. Lutherans read the Bible through the lens of the grace of Jesus Christ and believe it is inspired by God, but not infallible.
Lutherans celebrate two sacraments: Baptism and Communion. Lutherans practice what is known as consubstantiation. We believe that Christ is truly present in the wine and bread but that the elements remain wine and bread.
Our Saviour's Lutheran Church is a faith community in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA is the largest Lutheran body in the U.S. and one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States. The ELCA has approximately 10,500 congregations and 4.8 million members. These congregations are organized into 65 synods. OSLC is one of 96 congregations in the Northwest Washington Synod of the ELCA.