There are a lot of Christian sectors that populate the world. And one of the leading Christian groups is the belief of Lutheranism which has about eighty million followers. Many may wonder how this sect comes into existence and how does their doctrines differ from those in the Roman Catholic Church or in any other Protestant Christian faith.
The Birth of Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a reformation movement from the Roman Catholic faith in the 1550’s. This movement was initiated by Martin Luther. He was in fact a former monk who had actually taken hold and had read the entire original bible. After studying the word of God, he then renounces his membership from the Roman Catholic Church and begun to spread his new found faith. He also believed that man is saved through his faith alone to Jesus Christ. Luther also wrote 95 theses to support his belief.
The name was originally Evangelical because Luther didn’t want to name it on his own name. However, there was a time when significant men name these new faiths based on those who founded it and later on, since “evangelical” was also used by other reformists, the members decided to follow the Lutheranism brand. As time passed by, there were more variations to the original Lutheranism but still bear the name because they practice most of the Lutheranism doctrines.
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The Struggle of Lutheranism
Like most of other Protestant Christians, Lutherans have also undergone great battles. First and foremost among their foes is the Roman Catholic Church which had a great influence to the reigning emperor of Rome at the time. Then there were also the contrast with other sects and the division among the members due to conflicting issues about understanding their true belief and doctrines.
It was Martin Luther who was the first to defy the teaching of Catholicism and instigated the first movement leading to the reformation of theological practices. Because of this, Luther and his followers found a powerful opponent with King Charles V of the Roman Empire. Their battle had been more severe when the Edict of Worms was laid in 1521. The edict clearly stated that all members of Lutheranism are subject to condemnation. No one was allowed to neither receive nor defend anyone who would be found to be a supporter of this reform. Those who would be captured as advocates of Lutheranism would undergo due trial and confiscation of all his property. And anyone who could point out where Luther was could receive such a great sum of money from the emperor.
However, the hearts of Lutheranism followers were strongly devoted to their belief that they were willing to rather sacrifice their life than to renounce Lutheranism as their faith. It was then that some of them were actually executed. Among them was Johannes van Esschen together with Hendrick Voes who were both monks and were burned alive.
Against Other Reform Movements and within Lutheranism
Lutheranism had also experienced disagreements with other rising reforms and members because of their varied explanations and interpretations of the bible. However, this conflict was resolved by the Formula of Concord where the leaders had thoroughly discussed the issue and came to an agreement. They reached a unified doctrine to follow. Yet, even up until now, there are still Lutherans who believe that the bible must be taken literally while the other major group think that there is more to it.
The Advocates of Lutheranism
Although Prince Frederick did not wholly accepted any Lutheran practices and doctrines, his kidnapping of Luther had made Lutheranism progress more. In the dark walls of Wartburg Castle, Luther was able to correspond with George who helped a lot in spreading Lutheranism faith before any other higher official had also opened their minds to this conviction.
The Edict of Worms was again established but other German princes who supported Lutheranism stood up for their faith that the edict was not enforced anymore. The monarchs of Denmark – Norway and Sweden had adopted and spread Lutheranism as well in the sixteenth century. The Baltic countries were also influenced with Lutheranism from the rule of Baltic-Germans and others.
The son of Frederick also openly supported Lutheranism that even when he was not allowed to sit on the throne, he did not recant his faith. His success in the civil war had further inspired him to spread his advocacy, thus, the advancement of the Denmark-Norway Reformation.
The Influence and Doctrine of Lutheranism
The truths and doctrines practiced and believed in Lutheranism did not stop as their Christian belief. Their teachings are also used in their system of education where youths were taught the Small Catechism. Also, Lutheranism believed in the principle that humans’ salvation can be achieved only through faith that must be based on the bible scriptures, which was considered as the word of God, and only by the means of God’s grace. Good deeds are in fact not laws to be followed but the fruit of the faith one has with his Saviour.
Lutherans also believed in trinity with each God character a separate being but they share the same form of Godliness. Christ is also considered as two dimensional character, one being God and the other being the human that he was on earth as the son of Virgin Mary. Some of the teachings of the Catholic Church are still evident in Lutheranism such as the sacraments. They also have baptism by water which represents one’s acceptance of faith to Christ just as Christ was baptized by water on earth.
Lutheran services include liturgy which was also from the influence of Martin Luther’s love of music. Their music has evolved from the Catholic influence to their own forms. Lutherans are also popular with great choirs which are also subdivided into several groups to accommodate all ages.
Lutheranism was compared with other reformed groups’ doctrines and although some can coincide, the others such as the free will, the issue of predestination, the important doctrine of justification, conversion through grace, and perseverance have some distinguishing bases.