Would Martin Luther Recognize The Lutheran Church Today?

“The neglect of Scripture, even by spiritual leaders, is one of the greatest evils in the world.”
-Martin Luther

Would Martin Luther recognize the Lutheran Church today? Or would he be disappointed, even angered, by what he saw? And what would Luther see of Lutheranism in 2017?

He would see some Lutheran churches proudly embracing evolution, open communion, the ordination of women, and other unscriptural practices. He would see some Lutheran churches denying the verbal inspiration of the Bible; calling it useful for teaching, but historically and scientifically inaccurate. He would see some Lutheran churches pursuing a full reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church, and this while preparing to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation. He would see some Lutheran churches more interested in entertainment than sound biblical teaching; more interested in membership than ministry—reluctant to use scriptural words like sin, punishment, grace, and cross.

If Martin Luther could see the Lutheran Church today, he would ask whatever discerning Lutheran should be asking: “Does the name Lutheran even meaning anything anymore?”

Sadly, the answer is no. While it is common to speak of “conservative Lutherans” and “liberal Lutherans,” the terms conservative and liberal have no place in theology. What truly matters is whether a church is proclaiming the Word of God in its fullness and truth, or not. Luther once said, “Luther himself has no desire to be Lutheran except insofar as he teaches the Holy Scripture in purity.”

Lutherans concerned about the state of Lutheranism today should measure their church’s confession and practice according to the clear teachings of Scripture. They should ask, “Does my Lutheran church . . .”

  • accept and teach the whole Bible as the divinely inspired and inerrant word of God?
  • take seriously the commission to preach the Word of God in its fullness and truth?
  • faithfully proclaim Law and Gospel according to the specific purpose of each, clearly delineating between sin and grace, faith and works?
  • teach justification by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone?
  • subscribe to and confess without qualification the historic Lutheran Confessions drawn from the Scriptures and found in the Book of Concord of 1580?
  • adhere uncompromisingly to the great principles of the Reformation: Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Scripture Alone?
  • emphasize the Means of Grace, that is, the Gospel in Word and Sacrament?
  • take seriously the Scriptural teaching that church fellowship must be based on a oneness of confession and practice?

If you are concerned by the state of Lutheranism today, please contact us. Our name is Grace Lutheran Church. We are a small confessional Lutheran church new to the Cape Coral area. Our parent synod is The Church of the Lutheran Confession; a name that really says it all.

In our worship services, you won’t find entertainment; rather, sound teaching based solidly on the Word of God. In fact, we still use the historic Lutheran liturgy and the Lutheran Hymnal of 1941.

While on our website, please take a few moments to read the What We Believe and the Devotions and Sermons pages. If our concerns are yours, we hope you will call us at 239-822-1559 or email us at answers@gracelutheran.net.

In Christ,

Grace Lutheran Church