Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 08, 2012

Lutheranisms: Why Lutherans Should Love Their Faith

(1)    Grace through faith. Martin Luther’s first “light-bulb moment,” “the just shall live by faith,” opened up the doors of the Protestant Reformation. It meant freedom for countless souls who could not find comfort elsewhere. Even today, “grace through faith” is a central element of Protestant thought. In the Reformation era the “five solas” were raised as the battle cry of the Protestant camp, two of the solas being “grace alone” and “faith alone.”

(2)    Rich tradition. The German penchant for song and the Lutheran emphasis on simplicity with a touch of grandeur are central to church tradition. As Lutherans never adopted the original Calvinist stance that forbade any kind of decoration that might be perceived as idolatry, many Lutheran churches still use a wide variety of religious décor. The emphasis is always on Christ.

(3)    A direct link to the Reformation and ultimately to Scripture. With the exception of the Book of Concord, which dates from the late 1500s, Lutheran tradition goes back directly to Martin Luther’s first decrees in the Reformation era. We share our beliefs with the early Lutheran martyrs and the devout families who risked their lives to keep the faith. Also, as texts such as the Book of Concord (the Lutheran doctrinal standard) are based solely on Scripture, it means we also have a direct and unbroken link to God’s Word.

Personally, though, there are many things I also admire about different Protestant denominations. For instance, I have always been impressed by the old-time Calvinist view of uncluttered churches that do not in any way, shape, or form risk offending the Ten Commandments. I personally have always been uncomfortable with the idea of crucifixes in Protestant churches. I prefer to think of the empty cross as signifying that Christ is no longer on the cross on which the world placed Him, that He rose above and beyond His death to become the savior of mankind. Yet that is just a personal opinion.

Concerning the Anabaptists, though that particular religion has branched out into Amish, Mennonite, etc., I admire their views on purity, their modest dress, and their attention to godly living, and also that they have retained much of their German and Swiss heritage in language, prayers, and so forth. These are just a few examples of things I admire. Instead of focusing on differences, Christian denominations would greatly benefit from sharing or at least showing an interest in each other’s cultural, faith-based, and doctrinal traditions. No church should be an island. No individual should associate only with fellow believers of any particular tradition. Imagine what could be accomplished if views were more often disseminated and explored!

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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