Followers: 66 million worldwide
Date Founded: 16th century
Location Founded: Germany
Founders: Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon
Books Outside the Bible: Book of Concord
Belief: Arminian

This denomination began when Martin Luther released his 95 Theses in 1517. Luther taught that salvation was obtained by faith alone and that many rituals and works prescribed by the Church were not only necessary, but a stumbling block to salvation. He also believed that priests and bishops were not needed in the Church. Like many other denominations, Luther’s beliefs fall under Arminianism.

Today in America, there are two major Lutheran church bodies including the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The LCMS is more conservative in that they believe the Book of Concord is binding and true for all Lutherans and that communion can only be performed by the LCMS. However, the ELCA believes that the Book of Concord is only a guide and may not apply to everyone. ELCA also accepts communion by non-Lutheran churches. In the United States, Lutherans are concentrated in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Outside the U.S., Lutheranism is extremely popular in Europe, especially in Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.

Return from Lutheran to Christian Denomination Beliefs

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