Portal:Lutheranism

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Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teachings of the sixteenth-century German reformer Martin Luther. Luther's efforts to reestablish the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic Church and Carlstadt's Reform movement, launched the Protestant Reformation and, though it was not Luther's original intention, left Western Christianity divided. Augsburg Confession of 1530 established the Lutheran Church; while the 19th Ecumenical Council of Trent of 1543 officially chartered the Roman Catholic Church through the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation. Prior to 1543, Catholics belonged to the old Western Catholic Church from which Martin Luther was an ordained Augustinian monk.

The split between Lutherans and Roman Catholics arose mainly over the doctrine of justification before God. Specifically, Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone," distinct from the Roman Catholic view of works in addition to faith. Lutheranism is also distinct from the Reformed Churches, another major church which arose during the Reformation. Unlike the Reformed Churches, Lutherans have retained many of the sacramental understandings and liturgical practices of the "Old Catholics". Lutheran theology differs considerably from Reformed theology in its understanding of divine grace, predestination, baptism, sacraments of the altar and to eternity after death.

Today, millions belong to Lutheran churches worldwide; furthermore, the world's 400 million Protestant Christians can trace their tradition, at least in part, back to Luther's reforming work. Template:/box-footer

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Title page of the hymnal of the Pennsylvania Ministerium.
The Pennsylvania Ministerium was the first Lutheran church body in North America. With the encouragement of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the Ministerium was founded at a meeting of German-American Lutheran clergy on 26 August 1748. The group was known as the "Ministerium of North America" until 1792, when it adopted the name "The Ministerium of Pennsylvania and Adjacent States." The Pennsylvania Ministerium was also the source of the first Lutheran liturgy in America. Because of its unique place in the history of North American Lutheranism, the Ministerium continued to influence the church politics of Lutherans in America into the twentieth century.

Selected biography

Portrait of Thomas Cranmer
Martin Luther was a German monk, theologian, university professor and church reformer whose ideas inspired the Protestant Reformation and changed the course of Western civilization. Luther's theology challenged the authority of the papacy by holding that the Bible is the only infallible source of religious authority and that all baptized Christians under Jesus are a universal priesthood. Luther's confrontation with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, at the Diet of Worms over freedom of conscience in 1521 and his refusal to submit to the authority of the Emperor resulted in his being declared an outlaw of the state as he had been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. Much scholarly debate has concentrated on Luther's writings about the Jews. As a result of this and his revolutionary theological views, his legacy remains controversial.

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Book of Concord: Apostles' CreedNicene CreedAthanasian CreedAugsburg ConfessionApology of the Augsburg ConfessionLuther's Small CatechismLuther's Large CatechismSmalcald ArticlesTreatise on the Power and Primacy of the PopeFormula of Concord

Theology: JustificationLaw and GospelSola gratiaSola scripturaChristologySanctificationTwo KingdomsPriesthood of all believersDivine ProvidenceMarian theologyTheology of the CrossSacramental Union

Sacraments & Rites: BaptismEucharistConfessionConfirmationMatrimonyAnointing of the SickHoly Orders

Globally: Confessional Evangelical Lutheran ConferenceInternational Lutheran CouncilLutheran World FederationList of Lutheran church-bodies

History: Protestant ReformationThe start of the ReformationReformation in Denmark-Norway and HolsteinReformation in FinlandReformation in GermanyReformation in IcelandReformation in SwedenLutheran OrthodoxyGnesio-LutheransPietistsHaugeansLaestadiansFinnish AwakeningOld LutheransNeo-LutheransHigh Church LutheransConfessional Lutherans

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