What is a Lutheran?
We are a Christian denomination, and our roots go back to the early 1500’s when a young monk in Germany named Martin Luther was so tormented by his guilty conscience that he felt God was angry with him because of his sins. No matter how Luther tried or how many good works he performed, he found no peace with God. Then he read in Romans 3:28, “For we hold that one is justified [declared righteous by God] by faith apart from works of the law.” This is what brought him peace, joy, and hope.
Luther’s intentions were to bring certain reforms to the Roman Catholic Church that he loved and to uplift the pure Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus alone. As Luther questioned those church practices that he felt contradicted the earliest tradition of the New Testament church as well as Scripture, he was excommunicated for the basics of our confession: Christ Alone (solus Christus), Scripture Alone (sola scriptura), Faith Alone (sola fide), and Grace Alone (sola gratia). Those who agreed with this confession were called "Lutherans."