What does Lutheran mean?

Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther was a German theologian who realised 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 Castle Church, 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 separation between the Roman Catholic church and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. In 1577, the Formula of Concord found approval by about two-thirds of the Evangelical churches of Germany and was then incorporated as the concluding document of the Book of Concord. The Book of Concord became the confessional standard for defining public teaching and ecclesiastical life. “Lutheran” became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions.

Today, nearly five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate the Reformation on October 31 and still hold to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings, such as Grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone. These comprise the very 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; and
  • The Bible is the norm for faith and life – the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.

Over the years, different Lutheran church bodies have been established and organised to meet the needs of Lutherans in communities and nations all over the world. In the early 1950s, Lutheran Missionaries from America started the work of the Lutheran Churches in Malaysia and Singapore.

As the work in Singapore grew, together with that in Malaysia, the Lutheran congregations in Singapore felt the need to be constituted as a separate independent church, so as not to be hindered by administrative encumbrances.

This separation finally took place in October 1997 when the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS) was officially constituted, with the first congregation set up at Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer.

Lutheranism is a faith tradition that is open to all, regardless of background. The Lutheran Church of Singapore has seven congregations in Singapore. We welcome you to learn more about our church and find out how this can have an impact in your life.

 

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