Portal:Lutheranism

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Lutheranism

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Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity which identifies with the theology of Martin Luther (1483–1546), a German friar, ecclesiastical reformer and theologian.

Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation in the German-speaking territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Beginning with the Ninety-Five Theses, first published in 1517, Luther's writings were disseminated internationally, spreading the early ideas of the Reformation beyond the influence and control of the Roman Curia and the Holy Roman Emperor. The split between the Lutherans and the Catholics was made public and clear with the 1521 Edict of Worms: the edicts of the Diet condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas, subjecting advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all property, half of the seized property to be forfeit to the imperial government and the remaining half forfeit to the party who brought the accusation. The divide centered primarily on two points: the proper source of authority in the church, often called the formal principle of the Reformation, and the doctrine of justification, often called the material principle.

Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Scripture alone", the doctrine that scripture is the final authority on all matters of faith. This is in contrast to the belief of the Catholic Church, defined at the Council of Trent, concerning authority coming from both the Scriptures and Tradition. In addition, Lutheranism accepts the teachings of the first seven ecumenical councils of the Christian Church. The Augsburg Confession, a Lutheran statement of belief contained in the Book of Concord, teaches that "the faith as confessed by Luther and his followers is nothing new, but the true catholic faith, and that their churches represent the true catholic or universal church". When the Lutherans presented the Augsburg Confession to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, they believe to have "showed that each article of faith and practice was true first of all to Holy Scripture, and then also to the teaching of the church fathers and the councils".

Unlike Calvinism, Lutherans retain many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the pre-Reformation Church, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist, or Lord's Supper. Lutheran theology differs from Reformed theology in Christology, the purpose of God's Law, the divine grace, the concept of perseverance of the saints, and predestination.

Today, Lutheranism is one of the largest denominations of Protestantism. With approximately 80 million adherents, it constitutes the third most common Protestant denomination after historically Pentecostal denominations and Anglicanism. The Lutheran World Federation, the largest communion of Lutheran churches, represents over 74 million people. Other Lutheran organizations include the International Lutheran Council and the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, as well as independent churches.

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The Lutheran liturgical calendar is a listing which details the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by various Lutheran churches. The basic element to the calendar is Sunday, which is a festival of Jesus’ resurrection. However, Christian Churches have historically observed other festivals which commemorate events in the life of Jesus or of significant individuals in the history of the Church. The purpose of the liturgical calendar is to guide commemorations as a part of the daily worship of the Lutheran Church. There is some variation associated with the observance of the calendar, as each Lutheran Church creates its own calendar and each congregation must choose independently how many individuals will be commemorated within a given year and how many festivals and lesser festivals they will publicly celebrate, especially if they do not coincide with a Sunday.

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Martin Luther was a German monk, theologian, university professor and church reformer whose ideas inspired the Protestant Reformation and changed the course of Western civilization. Luther's theology challenged the authority of the papacy by holding that the Bible is the only infallible source of religious authority and that all baptized Christians under Jesus are a universal priesthood. Luther's confrontation with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, at the Diet of Worms over freedom of conscience in 1521 and his refusal to submit to the authority of the Emperor resulted in his being declared an outlaw of the state as he had been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. Much scholarly debate has concentrated on Luther's writings about the Jews. As a result of this and his revolutionary theological views, his legacy remains controversial.

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Book of Concord: Apostles' CreedNicene CreedAthanasian CreedAugsburg ConfessionApology of the Augsburg ConfessionLuther's Small CatechismLuther's Large CatechismSmalcald ArticlesTreatise on the Power and Primacy of the PopeFormula of Concord

Theology: JustificationLaw and GospelSola gratiaSola scripturaChristologySanctificationTwo KingdomsPriesthood of all believersDivine ProvidenceMarian theologyTheology of the CrossSacramental Union

Sacraments & Rites: BaptismEucharistConfessionConfirmationMatrimonyAnointing of the SickHoly Orders

Globally: Confessional Evangelical Lutheran ConferenceInternational Lutheran CouncilLutheran World FederationList of Lutheran church-bodies

History: Protestant ReformationThe start of the ReformationReformation in Denmark-Norway and HolsteinReformation in FinlandReformation in GermanyReformation in IcelandReformation in SwedenLutheran OrthodoxyGnesio-LutheransPietistsHaugeansLaestadiansFinnish AwakeningOld LutheransNeo-LutheransHigh Church LutheransConfessional Lutherans

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