Ascension Bible Institute

Join us this fall for Ascension Bible Institute (ABI), starting Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.  Al Schmidt, a pastor, teacher and well-known author, will lead the class based on his book being published this fall by CPH.

Hallmarks of Lutheran Identity

During the past four to five decades, I have interacted with numerous Lutherans in my various speaking engagements in different parts of the country. In these contexts, I have often been asked by many Lutheran laypeople, “What do we Lutherans believe?” Even when this question is not asked, it is evident in other ways that many Lutherans are not only unclear about what they believe, but many also hold some faulty beliefs regarding basic biblical teachings. And many seem to know very little regarding the basic, historical teachings of the Lutheran church.

In 1972, the findings of a nationwide survey, The Study of Generations (1972), revealed that 40 percent of the Lutherans in America in the then-three-largest Lutheran bodies (the American Lutheran Church (ALC), the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) believed they were saved and justified by good works, rather than by faith alone in Jesus Christ. This large number of confused Lutherans surprised many Lutheran pastors. This study also revealed Lutherans held a number of other beliefs at odds with basic Lutheran teachings.

In light of the above background, my forthcoming presentations at Ascension Lutheran Church (beginning in September) will discuss with the class participants how and why. the following are important hallmarks of Lutheran identity.

  1. Solus Christus (Christ alone)
  2. Sola Gratia (by grace alone)
  3. Sola Fide (by faith alone)
  4. Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)
  5. Christ’s Supernatural Presence in the Lord’s Supper
  6. Luther’s Small Catechism: The Laity’s Bible
  7. The Christian as Sinner and Saint at the Same Time
  8. The Lutheran Church as The Singing Church
  9. The Lutheran Liturgy Teaches the Faith
  10. Theology of the Cross: Luther’s Unique Insight
  11. Augsburg Confession: Birth of the Lutheran Church
  12. Work and Vocation: The Mask of God

-Alvin J. Schmidt, Ph.D., professor emeritus