#1 How Do Lutherans Worship?
Traced back to Martin Luther, a 16th-century Reformation philosopher, Lutheranism is one of the five major branches of Protestant Christianity (along with Anglicanism, Baptism, Calvinism, and Methodism).
The ways in which Lutherans worship include the following:
- Evangelically – Through gospel and spreading the word of God.
- Catholic-Influenced – Often, there are styles of worship that format themselves after the Catholic procedures of sacraments and tradition.
- Through Music – Songs, choir, and hymns are regularly of great importance in Lutheranism.
- Through Prayer – Sometimes, prayer can be conducted through music, but whether spoken or sung, prayer is a foundational principle in nearly all Christian faiths.
- Through Sacraments – By using sacraments such as Baptism and the Holy Communion (also known as Eucharist), Lutherans honor the life and death of Christ. They do support infant baptisms, while many Protestant faiths are opposed to it.
- Traditionally – Ultimately, the style of Lutheran worship is seen as welcoming, spiritual, and traditional. They tend to congregate in a group for worship, which is also a historically traditional context for worship.
Lutheran worship is God-centered and community-oriented. The Lutheran Church of Australia writes of their worship:
“Traditional Lutheran worship has been passed down through the centuries. Lutherans use many special words in worship. Many are from ancient Church and biblical languages that have been passed down from one generation to the next. In many local congregations, there is an effort to modernize these ancient words. Lutherans are always involved in retranslating and retelling the language of the Church’s worship so that the language used in worship is more accessible to a wide variety of people.”
- “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:24.
- “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” – Romans 12:1.
- Gsl. Church – What Lutherans Believe; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; April 6th, 2017.
#2 How Do Lutherans Baptize Adults?
The sacrament of baptism is what engages one into a full-fledged Christian life, offering oneself to God. After being initiated into the faith, one must remain open to God for life.
Lutherans are one of the few that support infant baptisms, feeling (similarly to Catholics) that a child should be baptized as early as possible. Catholics often baptize on the 8th day of a child’s life, due to biblical relevancy.
Nonetheless, many adults are baptized into the Lutheran faith as well. The ways in which Lutherans baptize adults are:
- By sprinkling water onto one’s head (not full-immersion as was done to Jesus allegedly)
- With prayer throughout
- Through a trinitarian formula
The main distinction is that many Christians believe in full-immersion because this is how Jesus was baptized, but Lutherans support a more Catholic style of baptism.
- “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” – Acts 22:16.
- “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” – John 3:5.
- Why Lutherans Baptize Everyone (Including Babies); Peace Church DFW; October 9th, 2012.
#3 How Do Lutherans Get to Heaven?
The beliefs of Lutherans surrounding heaven include:
- A person must have faith and live by grace
- To have faith, one must understand the trinitarian belief in God
- Scripture is necessary for all disciples of God
- One must follow the word of God (the Bible)
- Jesus is the pinnacle of salvation
- Baptisms are useful (adult or infant); but not a requirement for salvation
Lutherans believe that even if a person was not baptized, they can still live a Christian life with the morals worthy of salvation. Because of this, Lutherans place a primary focus on the ‘grace’ by which one lives their life, moreso than small gestures or actions.
Lutherans support that God will account for one’s cumulative lifetime and determine the worthiness of heaven based on the grand scheme of his or her life.
- “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.” – Revelation 21:4.
- Bethanylutheranfort.org – What Do Lutherans Mean by ‘Grace Alone?’ October 25th, 2017.
#4 How Do Lutherans View Communion?
Similar to Catholics, Lutherans take a literal approach to Communion (rather than an interpretive one).
This means, instead of thinking that the bread and wine represent Christ in a symbolic way, Lutherans and Catholics believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are legitimately present during the ceremony of Eucharist (Holy Communion).
With these elements as true representations of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind, Lutherans hold Communion in high-regard and engage with it respectfully.
Lutherans note that Christ is present at the sacrament of Eucharist.
- “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” – Acts 2:42.
- “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” – 1 Corinthians 10:17.
- “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” – Matthew 26:26-28.
- What is the Lutheran Position on Communion?; September 7th, 2020.
#5 How Do Lutherans Celebrate Easter?
Lutherans tend to celebrate Easter by beginning with a Good Friday service. Many Lutherans will honor the season of Lent, sacrificing something in the name of Jesus’s death. During Lent, there may be purple decorations and flowers around the Church leading up to Easter.
By Good Friday, there is typically a ceremony of Communion, leading into Easter on Sunday.
Lutherans celebrate Easter with:
- A church service or mass
- Prayers for Jesus
- Honor and reverence for Christ’s sacrifice for humanity’s sinful nature
- An Easter egg hunt for the children
- A feast or gathering post-meeting
- An overall assembling of earnest Lutherans worshipping together
Generally, the service for Easter and subsequent celebrations will mirror most Protestant Christian denominations.
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.
- Patheos – Should You Go To a Lutheran Church this Good Friday? Concordia Lutheran Nashville; April 17th, 2019.
#6 How Do Lutherans Pray?
Lutherans tend to pray:
- In a group/congregation
- During meetings
- Before/after meals
- In times of crisis
- In times where guidance is required
- With their hands together
- With their eyes closed
- With rosary beads, sometimes
- Without ceasing
In a study done by the Bana Group in 2017, nearly 80% of American adults claim to have prayed in the last season.
The contents of these prayers range in order from highest percentage to lowest percentage:
- Gratitude – 62%
- Family needs – 61%
- Guidance in crisis – 49%
- Health – 47%
- Forgiveness – 43%
- Urge – 43%
- Safety – 41%
- Peace – 37%
- Meal Blessings – 37%
- Special Requests – 34%
- Government Affairs – 24%
- Global Concerns – 20%
- Sleep – 12%
- Scripture Reciting – 8%
- Other – 8%
- “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” – Jeremiah 33:3.
- “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” – Ephesians 6:18.
- Lcms.org – A Simple Way to Pray; May 1st, 2013.