In 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the university church in Wittenberg, Germany. He called for the reform of errors found in the medieval church in light of scripture. This act unintentionally began what is called the Reformation, and what many now know as Protestantism was born. Lutherans are Christians. We understand ourselves to be created and called by God the Father, followers of Jesus Christ, and a Spirit led people. We worship the Triune God alone. The sacred texts found in the Bible guide us and inform all we do. We also ascribe to many of Martin Luther’s theological teachings where they are consistent with scripture, as well as historic documents found in our book of confessions. Regarding eternal salvation, we believe that scripture reveals a person is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not one’s own purity or actions. As part of Christ’s family, we become his saints; not perfect, but a priesthood of believers who serve as his ambassadors to the world. We invite you to join us in our shared life and ministry!
Lutherans are just one family of faith within the wider Christian body. Among Lutheran denominations, Messiah is part of the Virginia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). As such, we are also members of an international communion of Lutheran faith communities called the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
Locally, we gather to worship God and build one another up through the love that is shared in our assembly. We go forth into the world to spread the Good News of God’s love, to serve others, and to call and baptize new believers into Christ’s family of faith. Holy Baptism and Holy Communion (the Lord’s Supper) are the two sacraments – special means of grace – that Lutherans celebrate. Together, God uses us to usher his kingdom into the world and prepare for Christ’s promised return. We understand our ministry as “God’s Work – Our Hands.” Please visit the ELCA’s website to learn more about our shared faith.
To have an encounter with Martin Luther and his world, join public television host, author and ELCA Lutheran Rick Steves as he takes you on a journey through Lutherland! Travel from Eisleben where Luther was born to the university town of Wittenberg where he taught and preached. After a pilgrimage south to the Vatican in Rome, the program follows the tumultuous events of the Reformation at Worms, Erfurt, Eisenach, Marburg and Augsburg.