#1 Do Lutherans Believe in Jesus?
Yes, Lutherans believe in Jesus Christ and hold him at the center of their approach to Christian worship. Lutheranism supports that faith in Jesus alone can hold the key to salvation from God and eternal blessings in Heaven.
Through scriptures such as John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” –
The Bible describes that Jesus is the ‘way, and the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6).
- “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14.
- Gsl.church.org – What Lutherans Believe; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; April 6th, 2017.
#2 Do Lutherans Celebrate Lent?
Yes, Lutherans are amongst the billions of Christians that observe Lent each year. Despite this, many Christian denominations do not honor the season of Lent; this is a preference chosen by the likes of:
Those that don’t celebrate Lent season include:
Commonly accompanied by the sacrifice of fasting, this is a season to give up something such as meat or chocolate as a period of penance to honor Christ’s sacrifice for mankind.
The reasons why Lutherans celebrate Lent and Lenten season are to:
- Prepare for Easter
- Offer atonement, sacrifice, and penance
- Lose something as Jesus did
- Challenge oneself with denial
- Repent for sins
- Reflect for a season
- Honor tradition
- “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18.
- Reasonsforhopejesus.com – What is Lent? Should I Give Up Something?; February 13th, 2018.
#3 Do Lutherans Believe in the Rapture?
No, Lutherans reject the theory of the Rapture or a second-coming of Jesus Christ.
The Rapture is rejected by Lutherans because:
- They cannot find scriptural evidence for it
- They do not believe Christ will remove all Christians from the Earth before destroying it
- They are unsure if it will be a last day or the seven-year period of ‘tribulation’
- They are divided on the interpretation of these scriptures
Pewresearch.org found that of Protestant Pastor beliefs in the Rapture:
- 36% believed in pre-tribulation
- 25% believe the Rapture is a symbol, not literal
- 18% believe in post-tribulation
- 4% believe in mid-tribulation
- 4% believe in pre-wrath
- 1% believe in Pre-termism
- 8% believe in none of these
Many feel passionately about this subject, such as the Trinity Boulder Lutheran Church that writes on their website ‘The Rapture Exposed – The Destructive Racket of Rapture.”
- “Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.” – Revelation 1:7.
- “For the Lord himself will descend from Heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
- Why Lutherans Do Not Believe in the Rapture; April 28th, 2013.
#4 Do Lutherans Believe in the Trinity?
Yes, Lutherans do honor the trinitarian approach to Christianity, promoting that there is a split entity of God that divides into three forms – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Reading the Bible to be explicit truth (leaving little room for abstract interpretation), Lutherans take a literal approach to scripture.
Because of this, they directly read scriptures that encompass a trinitarian theology – translating them as truth. One of the most referenced is Matthew 28:19, stating:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
Lutheran theology is known for rejecting the notion that God and Jesus Christ are two faces of the same person, seeing them as distinct entities and beings. Trinity Lutheran Church writes of their beliefs:
“Lutherans confess God as Father and creator of the universe.
Lutherans confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Good News of Jesus Christ is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, human beings can be reconciled to God.
Lutherans believe that Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps the whole Christian church on earth.”
- “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” – 1 Corinthians 8:6.
- Trinityokmulgee.org – Trinity Lutheran Church – What We Believe; December 7th, 2015.
#5 Do Lutherans Believe in Heaven?
Yes, Lutherans believe in Heaven and diverge on the controversy of pre- or post-tribulation Rapture (with the bulk of Lutherans stating that the Rapture likely will not occur at all).
Citing scriptural verses such as Revelation 21:4:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” –
Heaven is documented as a haven away from pain and sin. Most Christians believe in Heaven, and Lutherans are no exception to this, but they do separate from other Protestants in how salvation may occur.
Lutherans believe that a Christian can lose their salvation or opportunity for grace, but faith and action should warrant one’s entrance into Heaven. Baptism is not a requirement for salvation within the Lutheran faith; however, Lutherans support infant baptism for this very reason (to ensure the safe passage of a child’s soul into Heaven).
- “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:43.
- Heaven – Really? Living Faith Lutheran Church; November 24th, 2019.
#6 Do Lutherans Have Confession?
Yes, the third sacrament of confession is practiced by Lutherans. Lutherans highly regard absolution of their sins and see confession as an extension of the second sacrament, Baptism.
Absolution is a religious term meaning ‘forgiveness,’ and Lutherans hold absolution as a common practice of transmuting one’s sins.
Confession is made in privacy to respect one’s confidentiality, and the sign of the cross may be gestured at the start and close of the confession. Although confession is a matter of faith and doctrine, it is certainly practiced by most active Lutherans.
· “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:16.
- Confession (Lutheran Church); August 31st, 2016.
#7 Do Lutherans Have Priests?
There are some discrepancies regarding this topic, and some leave it up to personal jurisdiction and preference.
It cannot be spoken for all Lutherans; however, most Lutherans would support this terminology:
- Pastor – Yes
- Minister – Sometimes
- Priest – Minimally (some have a problem with this term as it’s too related to Catholicism)
- Reverend – Used interchangeably with Pastor
Most Lutherans would avoid terms such as Priest and Father, which signify Catholic tradition.
A major difference between Lutheranism and Catholicism is the belief that Lutherans speak directly to God, while Catholics prefer an intermediary (such as a Priest, a Saint, Mary, etc.)
- “And you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:10.
- “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” – 1 Timothy 2:5.
- Can Lutheran Pastors Be Called Priests? – Ask the Pastor; January 6th, 2016.
#8 Do Lutherans Take Communion?
Yes, Lutherans take communion as one of their only embracements of the holy Sacraments. Not only this, but Lutherans are one of the rare Christian subsects that believe that the spirit of Christ is truly present during the ceremony (not solely in a symbolic way).
1 Corinthians 10:16 says:
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?”
Reading this literally, Lutherans do believe that Eucharist (communion) is a substantially engaging ceremony through which the body and blood of Christ are present.
It is worth noting that a Catholic is not allowed to take communion in a Lutheran Church, and vice versa. The Pope has outwardly stated that the only condition under which this would be acceptable would be a life or death scenario.
- “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” – Acts 2:42.
- Did Pope Frances Say Lutherans Could Take Communion at Catholic Mass? – Catholic News Service; November 20th, 2015.