Why I Am A Lutheran

Why I am a Lutheran

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:42-47

Every once in a while I get the question, “why are you a Lutheran?” My simple answer is, “well, I am baptized and Confirmed Lutheran.  I also went to a Lutheran school and have always gone to a Lutheran church.” Some people then respond, “oh, you didn’t have a choice then!” That is not exactly true!

The atheist, Richard Dawkins, uses the same reasoning to try and shake the foundations of Christianity. Which, if you have read his books, he never actually is able to do! His reason why most people in America are Christians is because they were born here. You are Christian because you were born in a Christian nation and were raised in a Christian family. If you were born in Israel you would be Jewish, or Muslim in Saudi Arabia, or a Spiritist in Africa. He is trying to make the case that no one actually analyzes their faith intellectually. We just accept the traditions of our parents blindly. But this logic is fallible. All children go through a stage when they question their parents. All children begin to analyze what they have been taught and desire to pave their own way in life.  There are a lot of things that I do differently than my parents. There are also a lot of things I love that my parents taught me. My family has always been die hard Royals fans. There is nothing like Midwest loyalty! I went through a stage when I was eleven and I strayed from the path. I began following the Seattle Mariners for a couple of years. You can’t blame me. The Royals were one of the worst teams in baseball. However, in 1994 the players had a workers strike and the season was cut short. I realized how different the small market Royals actually were when compared to the rest of baseball. Players would take pay cuts to play in KC out of loyalty to the city. I loved that and I have since corrected the error of my ways! The point is that none of us blindly accept anything without evaluating it ourselves intellectually.

So back to the question of why I am a Lutheran. I can’t help it that I was born into the truth! It was a great gift that I am so thankful for. I have since discovered that the Lutheran faith is the most BALANCED of all the Christian denominations I have studied. We have one foot in the historic church and the traditions of 2,000 years of church practice (the apostle’s teaching) and we have one foot in the Bible and its authoritative truth. Most church bodies, either throw out church tradition or compromise the authority of the Bible. Some do both unfortunately. Today, many non-denominational churches are committing the same Christian heresies that were already addressed hundreds of years ago. When we forsake history, we are doomed to commit the same mistakes of the past. You also have the “American Evangelical” churches that don't emphasize the historical sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion, and the means of grace. As Lutherans we believe that our faith is God’s work from beginning to end, grace alone! We Lutherans don’t have these problems because we esteem church history. We also have always been known for our rigorous study of the Bible and our fantastic educational system, which is the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. We are a people of the Good Book and we love God’s Word! In the past, when fallible traditions of men have erred, we were the ones who faithfully corrected them with the authority of Scripture. Today, I am proud to be a Lutheran, not because my parents raised me Lutheran (though I am thankful), but because I now understand the Lutheran faith intellectually.

God Bless,

Pastor Joel