What is a Lutheran?
A Lutheran is a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Lutherans also trust that Martin Luther faithfully interpreted the Bible and called the church to reform and change. Luther was a 16th-century German biblical scholar, priest, and university professor. When he discovered that the church had been teaching some things that were not faithful to what he read in the Bible, he challenged church leaders to return to the authority of the Bible, and to give up unfaithful human-created traditions.
Some of the changes Luther advocated in the church:
Justification by grace through faith. This phrase means that we are made right with, in a good relationship with God (justified), not by anything we could do or say, but because of God’s great love for us (grace), shown in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Lutheran Christians (and others) believe this is true, as the Holy Spirit helps us to believe (faith).
Priesthood of all believers. This phrase means that each and every person has direct access to God, through prayer, reading the Bible, the sacraments. Each Christian is called to share the gospel, the good news of how much God loves us and has done for us in Jesus.
Two sacraments: baptism and holy communion. A sacrament is one of the ways God shows love and forgiveness to us, using words and physical things (water for baptism, and bread and wine for holy communion).
Worship services and the Bible should be in the native language of the people, so that everyone can read, hear, and understand what God is saying to us. Prior to this, most worship services and Bibles were in Latin, which only the priests and scholars and other highly educated people could understand.