Lutheranism

Z10

Elector Joachim II receiving Communion in Sankt Nikolai Kirche, Spandau

The Lutheran church, back then called by Martin Luther “Evangelical Church”, was founded by the same German priest in 1521 A.D. shortly after he was excommunicated by Leo X.

Lutheranism is visually much more like Catholicism than most other Protestant branches and only Anglicanism competes with Lutheranism on that.  Unlike the Baptists and Pentecostals to name a few, Lutherans believe in Sola Scriptura in a different way in which they are more open to Tradition and liturgy than these modern Protestant sects are.  This could be because Luther did not believe the Church was corrupted until well into the Middle Ages with Saint Gregory X during the Investiture Controversy.

It is definitely an expression of German Catholicism.  Protestant sects tend to contain elements of local expressions of Catholicism relating to their place of origin, but many do not contain that element that Lutheranism has.  Luther taught in favor of the Sign of the Cross [1], the Immaculate Conception [2], the Assumption [3], Mary being Mother of God and Mother of Christians [4], and a belief similar to transubstantiation called consubstantiation or sacramental union [5].  Luther upheld confession to a pastor [6], a liturgy [7], the intercession of saints [8], etc.  Lutheran theology is based on the Confession of Augsburg.

I have been to a Lutheran liturgy before.  The liturgies are beautiful and can have the feel of a Catholic church.  Unfortunately, the Lutherans do not have a valid priesthood and thus no valid Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders or Extreme Unction.  We hope that by what they believe in common with us — i.e. Holy Trinity, Real Presence, Sign of the Cross, liturgical calendar, etc – they will be motivated to be fully integrated into the Church.  That way they can fully participate in the sacramental life.  This way their pastors could confer valid Sacraments.  Some groups of Lutherans have done that and the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church is in that process.

Z10

Evangelische Liebfrauenkirche, Frankenberg, Germany

It should be noted that Lutherans have a special devotion to Mary.  Many churches are dedicated to her and named for her.  We see for example how Lutheran churches especially in Germany have names like Sankt-Maria-Kirche, Librauenkirche, Marienkirche, etc.  These churches were largely constructed in the High and Late Middle Ages as Catholic churches but were integrated into the Evangelical Church and the Schmalkaldic League during the Reformation.  We pray for the reconciliation of Lutherans to the Catholic Church.  Being born and raised in Germany, I was used to being around Lutherans since they and Catholics are about the same in percentage; it is also very difficult to tell the difference unless you look very closely.  I still haven’t gotten used to being around Baptists.  Lutherans are much more likely to reconcile than Baptists, but we pray for the reconciliation of Baptists likewise.  We ask the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, and all the angels and saints.  Amen.

[1] Luther, Martin. Small Catechism 8.

[2] Luther, Martin. Sermon: On the Day of the Conception of the Mother of God (1527 A.D.).

[3] Luther, Martin. Sermon: On the Fast of the Assumption (1522 A.D.).

[4] Luther, Martin. Sermon: Christmas (1529 A.D.).

[5] Luther, Martin. Large Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar 8:9.

[6] Luther, Martin. Small Catechism 5.

[7] Luther, Martin. Formula Missae.

[8] Luther, Martin. trans. Steinhaeuser, Albert T.W. Works of Martin Luther, Vol. III. Philadelphia: A. J. Holman Company and The Castle Press. 1930. rep. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. 1982.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s