In the 16th century, what started as an academic debate escalated into a separation between the Roman Catholic Church and those who accepted Martin Luther’s suggested church reforms. “Lutheran” became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions. These beliefs comprise the essence of Lutheranism:
- 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;
- The Bible is the norm for faith and life — the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.
Today, nearly five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and hold to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings: Grace alone. Faith alone. Scripture alone.
Statements of Belief
Lutherans believe in the Triune God.
God created and loves all of creation — the earth and the seas and all of the world’s inhabitants.
We believe that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, transforms lives through his death on the cross and his new life, and we trust that God’s Spirit is active in the world.
We are part of God’s unfolding plan.
When we gather for worship, we connect with believers everywhere. When we study the Bible or hear God’s word in worship, we are drawn more deeply into God’s own saving story.
The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is part of our founding constitution. The convictions shared by Christians from many different traditions are expressed in statements of belief called creeds. These ecumenical creeds that Lutherans affirm and use in worship confess the faith of the church through the ages and around the world. The ELCA accepts the following creeds as true declarations of the faith of this church: