Reverend Christopher Maronde wrote an excellent article on LutheranReformation.org that explains what it means to be Lutheran. The fifth excerpt is my favorite. There is nothing more important than confessing, teaching and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christ alone. Grace alone. Scripture alone. Faith alone.
Here are a few excerpts:
- We are uncomfortable with labels. We refused to be pigeonholed; we abhor being placed into any category. Labels are simplistic, we say, they are too broad or too narrow, they exclude or include. We want people to take us as individuals. But what if a label has meaning, what if it can be tied to something specific and concrete.
- What does the label ‘Lutheran’ mean? This is a different question than, ‘What do those who call themselves Lutherans believe?’ We are not looking at what those who claim this name mean by it, we are trying to define what the label actually means. Its meaning is simple: The name Lutheran refers to a person, congregation, or church body who unconditionally holds to the teachings contained within the Book of Concord, first published in 1580.
- A Lutheran is not someone who worships Martin Luther; a Lutheran is not someone who subscribes to every word that flowed from Luther’s pen.
- What makes a Lutheran a Lutheran? Not the name on the church sign, not the Luther’s rose on the wall, not hot-dishes and jello salads, but the doctrine, the teaching. If it is the doctrine of the Book of Concord, then it is Lutheran; if not, then the label is misleading not only you, but the one who wears it.
- For this label means that the Gospel is confessed, that Christ is confessed. This label proclaims what the Book of Concord proclaims: it’s all about Jesus, Christ alone given to us by God’s grace alone, revealed by the Scriptures alone, all received by faith alone.