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Lutheran Theology and Beliefs
Who Are These Lutherans?
from a study series on Lutheranism by Pastor
Mueller, a previous interim pastor at Immanuel First Lutheran Church
We know that the first step is the most important step.
In this study we look at the fundamental foundations, answering two
questions in the process:
- What makes the Christian religion different from
- What makes a Christian religion Lutheran?
The answers to these questions will define us right from
Every culture has some idea of a supreme being.
Romans 1:18-23 reminds us that this
is the case. All men know - deep down - that they are not in control of
their lives. The existence of natural religion as
a world-wide phenomenon proves that fact. Such man-made religions are
related to the source of life, or good or evil, or food, or other
factors related to a geographical and cultural setting. Even modern
sophisticated man cannot escape this reality.
- Man's ideas are narrow in scope.
Acts 17:22-23 shows us that natural religions usually have multiple
gods, because natural man cannot comprehend divinity, and
makes his gods like himself, limited in scope and power, and with human
feelings and actions. (See also 1 Kings 18:27-29.)
- Man's concepts are also based on an ANGRY
Acts 17-22-23 also shows us the superstition and fear of the unknown
that govern natural religion. Man lives in fear of a power that
punishes his wickedness. Theological note: This is
known as natural knowledge of God and is all that is left of the
relationship that the Heavenly Father had with Adam and Eve before the
- Man's natural relationship to God is based
The entire book of Hosea illustrates man's predicament using the
illustration of prostitution to show how God abhors
the way man tries to approach him. Natural religion is a
violation of a sacred trust. (See Hosea 1:2 and chapters 2
and 3.). Fear and superstition do not bring man closer to God. Rather
than calming God's anger through sacrifice, man's foolishness is
compounded (Romans 1:18-23). Note: Man's concept of
God as angry is not wrong, but man's fear limits his vision like the
blind man and the elephant.
Jesus Christ as God's Son and Man's Savior is
the message of the Christian Church.
- God took the first step. (John
- That God reached out first
the basic difference between
Christianity and the natural religions. If this initial action is not
God's, then Christianity is suspect.
- The message of Jesus as Savior comes to us
as a free
gift which dare not be abused.
- Colossians 2:16-3:14 shows us how easy it is
to try to combine natural religion and Christianity. Man, because of
his pride, "wants to do something" and has no
eagerness to accept what is free. (He himself is "cheapened" through
The Lutheran Church teaches that God's OBJECTIVE
grace can be found only in the pages of Scripture.
John 6:60-69 relates how Jesus lost
followers when He spoke of Himself as the "only way"
to heaven. Luther, because he was bothered by his sin and desperately
needed a way out, was not offended by this message, but accepted it
with joy and defended the source, vigorously refusing to return to
man-made ideas about God. Note: The Lutheran reliance on the objective
authority of Scripture can be used as a point of comparison to other
denominations whose authority is more varied.
God Reveals Himself - in Holy Scripture - as a
Loving God - through Jesus Christ.
This one statement - and its parts - answers both
questions asked at the beginning of this lesson.
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