So I’ve been in a learning mode when it comes to learning more about what it means to be Lutheran. Trying to learn more about the Sacraments, liturgy and of course the history. All thanks to the wealth of information at Wittenberg Trail. Obviously it’s beneficial as I’ve contemplated entering the ministry from time to time over the years. But even if I don’t go that route I’m learning how important it is to UNDERSTAND your faith, in order to be a witness to others and to grow in that faith. It’s even more important to gain an understanding of the Word and Sacraments and the Lutheran Confessions I think as a leader at my church. That’s why I enjoy reading the blogs listed under LCMS on the blogroll – I’ve learned a great deal in the short time I’ve been reading them. This little explanation of Lutheranism is one of the things I came across tonight as a result of that reading. Thanks Pastor Weedon!
Here’s a little excerpt:
The difference comes down to two of the fundamental questions that define religious communities as communities: “Who are we?” and “What are we doing?” The Lutheran answer is sacramental, which makes the Lutheran understanding of “church” different from that of evangelicalism different in kind rather than in degree.
“Who are we?” Our definition as Christians is baptismal. In baptism, we believe that God forgave our sin, thus defining us as his family, binding us both to himself and to each other. Because this sacrament is God’s word and work rather than ours, it’s not something we can undo or unmake any more than you can undo your earthly family. You can run from it and reject it, but you can’t unmake it.
“What are we doing?” Evangelicals go to the megachurch to get jazzed on praise & worship, hear some healthy principles for living, engage in some kind of activity/workshop, or get connected to some kind of small group? Lutherans go to church to hear the Gospel and celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Forgiveness is at the root of both, and is shaped in different ways. Lutheran preaching is preaching Christ and declaring peace in his name. It prepares us for the Lord’s Supper, in which we believe Jesus himself gives us his body and blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. If God creates creates and defines the community through baptism, then he sustains it through the Supper.
So why’s this make it a different religion?