What We Believe In
The most important and, in fact, the only thing that God demands from us, this that we honored him as God: that all the hope was set only on It that we entirely in life and death, in time and in eternity trusted in Him.
The sin of the person consists just that it is not capable of it that he thinks of himself more, than of God that his heart does not belong entirely to the Lord. The sin is not separate acts, but remoteness of the person from God, in a frontage of the person to itself.
In the majority of religions, and in many Christian Churches learn that the person himself has to become to some extent pleasing to God, has to work on itself that the sin has to be overcome by internal forces of the person. Because of such appeals of people addresses himself again and again. Rescue becomes its business. He hopes, at least, partly for himself. And therefore, he cannot set all the hope entirely on God. The person is also more religious, more he relies to those upon own forces, and the farther he from God. It is a vicious circle. In it the tragedy of a human sin: even if the person by the efforts, really, becomes better, he all the same, thereby, moves away from God. And this tragedy is inevitable because the person is so suited. Everything teaches us around that if we want to reach something, it is necessary to make efforts for it, it is necessary to change something in itself. In the Lutheran doctrine it is called the law. Executing the law externally, the person can look very just, but as this righteousness is reached due to efforts of the person, it takes away him from God and therefore such righteousness is a generation of a sin.
From this vicious circle God in Jesus Christ gave vent to us: through his death and Revival God forgave us, accepted us. Accepted without any conditions, once and for all. The story about it is called the Gospel. The gospel completely overturns habitual outlook. If the person comprehends the Gospel, then he already should not do something for the rescue any more. He just understands that he is already saved. It is saved without any merits. He is obliged by the rescue only to God. The rescue both all the best and the greatest the person sees now not in himself but only in God. It is also belief: a look out of, a view of Christ, refusal of that most to save itself – full confidence to God. The believer is just then when refuses achievement of the righteousness and accepts that he, such what he is, just or injust – is accepted by God. As if the person carelessly would fall into the opened arms of God, without thinking of himself any more. It is righteousness of the Gospel, a belief. The righteousness based not on own achievements and acts but only on forgiveness of God. The believer does not wonder: “And whether I made for the rescue whether sincerely I confessed in sins, whether firmly I trust?”. The believer thinks only of Christ, of what was made by Him.
To trust – means to understand that nothing from what in me cannot become the reason of my rescue.
To trust means: among all doubts and temptations to look out of itself – at the crucified Christ and only at Him.
It is also execution of what is demanded by God: to hope entirely for Him, to be focus only on Him, only in Him, but not in itself to look for rescue. Therefore, only the belief (but not affairs, not work on itself) is saving. Truer: not belief, and what we trust in – God as He opened to us in life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Around this central statement (confession), this radical focus on Jesus Christ all other dogma of Lutheran Church is also formed, at the same time it keeps a majority of traditional dogmas of Christianity.
LUTHERAN CHURCH SERVICE
Not to look for own merits, but, having recognized the helplessness before a sin, to trust in God – to believe completely. Because of the sinfulness it is very difficult for the person, it is almost impossible. Therefore, it is necessary to announce to him the Gospel again and again, turning his look out of itself – on Jesus Christ’s cross. Again and again the person needs to proclaim the forgiveness given him from God. Again, and again to remind that not he saves himself that his rescue – a merit only Christ. In it there is also the main sense of a Lutheran church service. All course of a church service and all device of each church building it is subordinated to this purpose.
The story (announcement) about rescue shows in different forms, first of all – in a sermon.
Therefore, in each church there is a department with which the pastor or the preacher preaches the sermon. The sermon is the announcement of the Gospel in a live and form which is guided by a relevant situation of believers available and clear to them. Therefore, the sermon is also the center of a Lutheran church service.
The second center is a Sacrament of the Participle which is made on Lutheran regularly (in some communities every week or even more often). The altar standing in each church by a table for this sacred meal. Sacrament for Lutherans is the same Word of forgiveness “told” in especially material form. Taking bread and wine in the Participle, the audience tastes the Body and Blood Christoff. It means that the God’s love touches in a material, notable way them that they in literal sense accept in themselves God in Jesus Christ’s death forgiveness. On an altar, as a rule, there is a crucifixion lit with candles reminding of the God death of Christ Redeemer. Also, on an altar the Bible which is the most ancient and most authoritative certificate on Christ lies.
The altar is open (everyone can approach it: adult and child, woman and man): Christ calls all on the meal; all are called by Him to hear and taste the Word of rescue. To the Participle in Lutheran Church all Christians, from their belonging to this or that Church are usually invited if they recognize that in this Sacrament, they accept the Body and Blood Christoff.
Quite often in church it is possible to see a board with figures. These are numbers of chants from special collections which are in hands at parishioners. On each church service several church chants, as a rule, sound. These chants are written by Christians of various times and the people. It the evidence of their belief, their prayer and their confession which the singing also we join today.
In Lutheran church during the church service it is accepted to sit on benches or chairs that nothing interfered with the concentrated recognition of a sermon. To rise from benches or it is accepted to kneel only during a prayer or at especially important and solemn points of a liturgy.
Often after a sermon monetary donation gather for communal or charitable needs.
Usually imposed pastor or the preacher conducts a church service. However, he has no special “grace”, he does not differ from other. The pastor is the person who got the corresponding education on behalf of Church it is officially entrusted to them to carry out a public sermon of the Gospel and a of Sacraments.
Focus on a diverse of the Gospel (the story about forgiveness and rescue which God grants to the person), openness, simplicity, modesty and at the same time careful maintaining ancient traditions of Christian Church – here the main lines of a Lutheran church service.
ORIGIN OF LUTHERAN CHURCH
The medieval German theologian and the church figure Martin Luther (1483-1546) was one of those believers who especially sharply endured a question of the rescue. He was taught in the monastery that only that will escape who will be able sincerely and deeply to confess in sins before God. Luther steadily wondered: “And from where to me know that my repentance sincerely and deeply from where whether to me to know enough I made for the rescue?”. Eventually, his answer became: “I do not know whether rather my repentance, I do not know, whether I am worthy rescue. Skokry everything, no. But I know one: Christ died for me. May I doubt force of his Victim? Only on it, but not on myself, I will hope”. This opening shook and inspired many of his contemporaries. In western medieval times the party of his supporters who wish to update church dogma and is promptly formed. So the Reformation begins. Luther did not aspire to separation from the existing Church and creation of new. His only purpose was that in Church whatever were its external structures, traditions and forms, freely sounded prophecy the Gospel. However, owing to the historical reasons split was inevitable. Emergence of Lutheran Church became one of its investigations.
LUTHERAN CHURCH TODAY
Separate Lutheran Churches, each of which is independent, today are most widespread in Germany, Scandinavia, the Baltic and the USA. It is a lot of Lutherans in Latin America and Africa. In total in the world about 70 million Lutherans. Most Lutheran Churches are united in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). Also most Lutheran Churches is in full communication with Reformed (Calvinist, Presbyterian) Church and with a number of other Protestant Churches which remained faithful to the traditional principles of the Reformation. Lutheran theologians conduct the interested and fruitful dialogue with of Orthodoxy.
The contribution of Lutheran Church to development of divinity, to world and Russian culture is huge. Albrecht Duerer, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Wilhelm Küchelbecker, Paul Tillich, Dietrich Boncheffer, Rudolf Bultman – here only some well-known names. Each of them was the convinced Lutheran.
Many researchers economic wellbeing and political progress of the modern West with ethics of the Reformation appreciating diligence, responsibility, honesty, following to a debt, care of neighbors, ability firmly to stand on the legs, but condemning excessive luxury.
Already in the sixteenth century Lutherans appear in Russia. Before the October revolution of 1917 the Lutheranism was the second for number of believers Church in the Russian Empire and totaled several million believers, mainly German origin. The emperor of the Russian Empire was the head of the Russian Lutheran Church. In Soviet period the Lutheran Church in the territory of Russia was almost completely destroyed. Only few separate communities managed to escape.
Today there is a difficult and labor-intensive process of revival of Lutheran Church in Russia and search of new ways of a sermon of the Gospel by it in a situation of the modern world, absolutely new to it.
The evangelic and Lutheran Church is a meeting of the people who are deeply affected by an event of life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Only in this event they see a basis and the center of the spiritual life.
The evangelic and Lutheran Church is a community of people who understand all depth of the fault before God, all the sinfulness, but at the same time fearlessly hope for love of God and his forgiveness.
The evangelic and Lutheran Church is the traditional Church recognizing and the main Christian dogmas:
- about God’s triangle
- about Jesus Christ’s Divinity
- about need of Sacraments (Baptisms and Participles).
But, at the same time, it is the Church which is constantly seeking for new judgment of the ancient truth, not afraid to reflect on theological problems, to put new, sometimes “inconvenient” questions and to look for on them the answers.
The evangelic and Lutheran Church recognizes the validity of other Christian Churches announcing Jesus Christ, is open to dialogue with them and is ready to study at them.
In the doctrine, a church service and customs the Evangelic and Lutheran Church is guided by the forms and traditions developed throughout the millennia in the western Christianity.
Members of Evangelic and Lutheran Church are not fanatics, but the ordinary people who are not becoming isolated only in the circle, and ready to communication. The people leading normal everyday life, able to appreciate pleasures of the world around and not refusing them.