Who is a Lutheran?
Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther was a German theologian who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic church at that time. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University, titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). His hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible.
What started as an academic debate escalated into a distinct separation between the Roman Catholic church of that time and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. "Lutheran" became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions.
Today, nearly five centuries later, we still hold to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings, such as Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone. The essence of Lutheranism can be captured (although not totally) in the following statement:
We are saved by the grace of God alone -- not by anything we do; Our salvation is through faith alone -- a confident trust in God, who in Christ promises us forgiveness, life and salvation; and The Bible is the norm for faith and life -- the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.