Lutheranism is the name used to describe the movement following Martin Luther's call to reform the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century. It also refers to the authoritative doctrines and practices in the Lutheran churches and can be used as a general term for Lutheran churches worldwide. Opponents of Martin Luther (1483-1546) first applied the term Lutheran to his followers in the early 1520s as a nickname to demonstrate the human origin of the movement. ^[1]^

The Lutheran movement led to the division of the western church as new Protestant communities emerged around the world. Lutheran scholar Carl E. Braaten notes that "[n]ew ecclesiastical structures, at first intended as interim arrangements until unity could be restored, eventually became permanently established in separation from the Roman Catholic Church.^[2]^

As of 2000 there are roughly seventy million Lutherans worldwide of whom between nine and ten million live in the United States and Canada. ^[3]^

History

Three different events have been identified as the birth of Lutheranism: the posting of the ninety-five theses by Martin Luther on October 31, 1517; Luther's "tower experience" which occurred at some time between 1514-1518; the endorsement of the Augusburg Confession in 1530. ^[4]^ Despite the differences, Martin Luther is seen as the originating figure and his theology, especially as it was developed by Philip Melanchthon (1497-1560), is the origin of typical Lutheran thought.

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Theology

The primary doctrines of Lutheran theology stem from three 'solas' of the Reformation: sola Scriptura, sola gratia, and sola fide.

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See also

Notes

  1. ? Braaten, 401.
  2. ? Braaten, 402.
  3. ? Johnson, 722.
  4. ? Buschart, 32.

References

  • W. David Buschart, Exploring Protestant Traditions: An Invitation to Theological Hospitality. IVP Academic, 2006.
  • J. F. Johnson, "Lutheran Tradition" in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, edited by Walter A. Elwell. Baker Academic, 2001, 719-22.
  • Carl E. Braaten, "Lutheranism" in The Oxford Companion to Christian Thought, edited by Adrian Hastings et al. Oxford University Press, 2000, 401-3.

External links