Lutherans are a group of Christians who subscribe to many of the teachings of Martin Luther and his contemporaries. Early in the 16th century, Martin Luther, a monk and professor, posted 95 theses against the practices of the church. What was meant to reform the church, quickly divided it, and the Protestant church was born. While we recognize the divisions in the church, we continue to believe in the one universal church of which we are each a part.
Among the most important of Martin Luther’s theses were those based on salvation. The church was in the practice of selling indulgences or notes forgiving sins. Martin Luther argued that the church could not sell what Christ freely gave, that is, the forgiveness of all our sins. Other issues included the not allowing priests to marry and the power of the pope.
Given our heritage as a reforming church, we continue to look for how God is working in the church today. We know that the church is as imperfect as the people that embody it. But we also know that God is reforming the church in the same way God is working on each of us.
As a church that was born out of a monk’s wrestling with tough questions, we continue to see ourselves as a people who can make space for the gray in a not-so-black-and-white world. While there are things we know to be certain, like salvation through Jesus, we know that life presents many questions that are difficult, if not impossible, for us to answer. We do not believe God calls us to have all of the right answers, but we do believe that God calls us to reflect critically on how each helps us in our understanding of who he is and in our longing to do his will.
Lastly, Lutheranism started when Martin Luther was willing to abandon the established practices of the church to get back to the heart of our faith, that is, that God’s love is demonstrated for us in Jesus and revealed to us through his Word. We are a people who value practices that help us live our faith, but who keep what is most important central. SMTLC is a part of the ELCA branch of the Lutheran Church and a member of the New England Synod.