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Why are we called Lutherans?

October 31st, 2010
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It is not we who call ourselves Lutherans. Rather, our adversaries call us that. We allow this to the extent that this title is an indication of the consensus that our churches have with the orthodox and catholic doctrine that Luther set forth from Holy Writ. Therefore we allow ourselves to be named after Luther, not as the inventor of a new faith but as the asserter of the old faith and the cleanser of the church from the stains of Papist dogmas. Consequently, we also do not reject the names “Christian” and “catholic,” nor do we render ourselves unworthy of them by the approval of any heretical dogma, as did the Arians, Nestorians, Eutychians, etc. Rather, we are called “Christians” from Christ as the only Author and Teacher of our faith. We are called “catholics” from our consensus with the catholic faith. We are called “Lutherans” from Luther as the asserter and defender of that faith, but especially as the reformer whom God raised up.

—Johann Gerhard, On the Church (Theological Commonplace XXV), § 156.

HT: Chris, at Lutheran Kantor

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Categories: Lutheranism
  1. November 1st, 2010 at 12:02 | #1

    I asked my Lutheran (LCMS) Pastor “Since I live in this Morman land (St. George Ut.) How am I to identify myself Christian or Lutheran? He said “Lutheran” because Lutheran is Christian. What say you?

    • November 1st, 2010 at 12:11 | #2

      Since the Mormons say they are Christian, I agree with your pastor! I’d say, “I’m a Lutheran Christian.”

  2. November 1st, 2010 at 16:48 | #3

    Don’t forget the witness opportunity that can happen by how you answer! Generic answers end conversations. Specific answers create conversations.

    Them: “You are religious? What is your religion?”
    You: “I am a Christian.”
    Them: “Okay… cool.”

    vs.

    Them: “You are religious? What is our religion?”
    You: “I am a Lutheran.”
    Them: “Huh… what’s a Lutheran?”
    You: “Funny you should ask………………………”

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