Lutheranism 101

The spiritual guide of the Lutheran Church is the German Reformer
Martin Luther (1483-1546)

In Luther’s time, the church taught that a person had to earn God's forgiveness. Luther as well as large segments of the population were terrified that a vengeful God would condemn the undeserving to burn in the eternal fires of hell. In his fear, Luther became increasingly obsessed with trying to please God. Unfortunately, no matter how many good works he did, he could never be sure that his efforts were sufficient to merit God’s forgiveness.

As Luther studied and taught, he gradually began to realize that the gospel teaches that God’s grace cannot be earned, but is given as a free gift from God to all people.

This insight gave rise to the Reformation and to the emergence of the Protestant churches.

Lutheran Principles

#1 - We cannot love before we have experienced love.

#2 - God’s love is given to us without preconditions as free gift in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

#3 - The experience of God’s love is called faith. Faith is not a prerequisite for God’s love; the experience of faith is a gift from God.

#4 - Having first experienced God’s love through faith, we are enabled to love God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and our neighbors as ourselves.

#5 - As humans, we continually doubt that God really loves us unconditionally and without any preconditions. This makes it difficult for us to love others unconditionally. That is why we continually return to the heart of the Lutheran experience, which is to hear the gospel, the good news of God’s grace and unconditional love for us.

All that Lutherans do and believe has its source in God’s grace. How we organize our church, administer the sacraments, how we worship, how we engage in mission, and how we celebrate life in all its aspects is based on the experience of God’s grace and unconditional love. This love we first receive from God, we strive to pour out into the world again. Thus, we make it known to all people that God loves them, and that they are in God’s grace until the end of the ages.            

The congregations of St. Matthew & St. Timothy belong to the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, ELCICwhich is a member of the Lutheran World Federation.