What does it mean to be Lutheran?

The Lutheran Church began as a reform movement in Northern Europe within the Christian church in 1517. This movement centered on God’s Word in Jesus Christ as a word of grace and forgiveness that leads people into a trusting response of faith and love. Martin Luther was the leader of this movement at its beginning. Lutheran means literally a follower of Luther, though Luther himself said we are all followers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even so, the name remained.

Lutheran Churches can be found across the globe, with concentrations of Lutherans in Germany and Scandinavia, East Africa, India, Indonesia, and the United States. Worldwide there more than 70 million Lutherans. In the US, the ELCA is one of several Lutheran churches, with 3.5 million members.

What is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

(ELCA)

First Lutheran Church is a participating congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The presiding bishop of the ELCA is Elizabeth Eaton.  The ELCA is organized around 62 synods, and First Lutheran is a part of the Southeastern Iowa Synod, with offices in Iowa City. The bishop of our synod is Amy Current.

What do Lutherans Believe?

Lutherans do not have a long list of statements or propositions to believe. It is enough to trust in God’s gift of love and grace through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Even so, the Lutheran Church offers a rich tradition of devotional and theological writings.

Martin Luther wrote a simple instruction guide for families, called the Small Catechism that lays out God’s work of grace in Christ and what it means to trust in God. This instruction offers simple explanations to the 10 Commandments, the Apostle’s Creed,
The Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, Communion, and Forgiveness.

For a more developed statement of faith and the norms that govern First Lutheran as a church, read more here.