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Reformation Roots of Lutherans
Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) 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 October 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 October 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:
Over the years, different Lutheran church bodies have been established and organized to meet the needs of Lutherans in communities and nations all over the world. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is the largest Lutheran group in North America, founded in 1988 when three North American Lutheran church bodies united: The American Lutheran Church, the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches and the Lutheran Church in America.
Lutheranism is a faith tradition that is open to all, regardless of background. We welcome you to learn more about our church and find out how we can help you along life’s path.
The ELCA is a community of faith that shares a passion for making positive changes in the world. Our faith is built around a strong belief in God as made known to us in Jesus Christ. Through worship, service, and education, we practice our faith, grow our relationship with God and experience God's grace in our lives. We also work hard to put our faith into action. In today’s complex world, we strive to make a difference in practical, realistic ways. With more than 10,000 congregations across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and 4.2 million members—we welcome you to experience this church right in your community.