Grace Lutheran Logo

Teaching

How can I find out more about what Lutherans believe?

Lutheran Christianity uniquely binds itself to the Holy Scriptures, the Bible (Old Testament and New). The Lutheran Confessions of 1580 do not stand above or alongside the Bible as a man-made source of new teachings. They reflect an understanding of what the Scriptures have to say to us, as the very Word of God, and to explain them clearly as God intended them to be preached and understood. Lutheran pastors and congregations use these confessional documents to state clearly their faith and to judge their own teaching, because they faithfully convey the teaching of Holy Scripture, which is the only reliable rule and norm of all teaching in the Christian Church. Lutheran Christianity refuses to offer anything unique or new to what it means to be simply Christian. Everything we preach, teach, and confess is bound to Scripture and therefore not new or unique to us.

Where can I find these Lutheran Confessions?

The confessions of the Lutheran Church are contained in a book called, The Book of Concord, or, Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, published as a collection in the year 1580 to serve as a clear statement of what the Scriptures teach. You can read the Book of Concord online. This site also offers a selection of the more famous Reformation documents, like Martin Luther's 1517 Ninety-Five Theses and 1518 Heidelberg Disputation. Pastor always has a copy of these Confessions and will happily read and study them with you!

That book sounds really old. Is it still relevant to me today?

The Book of Concord is, above all, a practical book (and if you get the new edition, it's full of great pictures, too!). Every page is concerned with what God's holy Word has to say to you, first of all, as a sinful human being, and second, as someone for whom Christ, the eternal Son of God, shed his blood and died, to forgive your sins, to give you life eternal and every good thing by grace alone, through faith alone. No doctrine is presented in these Confessions that is trivial; rather, each confesses in its own way that sinful man is declared innocent and forgiven by Christ's blood shed for you. Again, nothing is "specifically Lutheran" or only for academic theologians, though at times it is a bit weighty. It is good reading for all Christians, as it summarizes what the Bible says to you. It will change the way you read the Scriptures, helping you to hear clearly God's Law, which condemns you in your sin, and God's Gospel, the word of grace and forgiveness in Christ Jesus, with the purity and clarity God intends.
To see an edgy and highly caffeinated endorsement of the Book of Concord and its significance today, check out Rev. Jonathan Fisk's August 2010 Worldview Everlasting post. Or read Myrtle's story at Just A Note.

Ok, I'm interested. What's in the book?

The Book of Concord is actually a book of books. As a beginner, the best place to start reading is the Small and Large Catechisms, written by Dr. Martin Luther. You might then move to the Augsburg Confession and its Apology. Continue then with the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. Finish your reading with the Formula of Concord, both the Epitome and its Solid Declaration. Here's what's included:

Ok, I still have questions. Or, I'm just overwhelmed!

That's understandable! And that's what pastors are for. If you have questions or concerns, or would like to learn more about the Lutheran teaching, please don't hesitate to e-mail Pastor Boyle at pastor.boyle@gmail.com. He'll happily answer any questions or respond to any concerns you might have. Again, this is rich, delightful stuff. But the more you dig into it, the richer you are for it!