Portal:Lutheranism

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Introduction

Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teaching of Martin Luther, a 16th century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.

The split between the Lutherans and the Catholics was made public and clear with the 1521 Edict of Worms: the edicts of the Diet condemned Luther and officially banned citizens of the Holy Roman Empire from defending or propagating his ideas, subjecting advocates of Lutheranism to forfeiture of all property, half of the seized property to be forfeit to the imperial government and the remaining half forfeit to the party who brought the accusation.

Selected article

Lars Levi Laestadius, founder of Laestadianism.
Laestadianism is a conservative Lutheran revival movement started in the middle of the 19th century. It is strongly marked by both pietistic and Moravian influences. It is the biggest revivalist movement in the Nordic countries. It has members mainly in Finland, North America, Norway, Russia and Sweden. There are also smaller congregations in Africa, South America and Central Europe. In addition Laestadians have missionaries in 23 countries. The number of Laestadians worldwide is estimated to be between 144,000 and 219,000. Because of doctrinal opinion differences the movement has been split into 19 branches, of which about 15 are active today. All branches share many essential teachings: a central emphasis on the Lutheran doctrine of justification (forgiveness and grace), an essential difference between believers and unbelievers, and that every believer has the authority to testify that others' sins are forgiven. Their central activities are revival meetings, the biggest of them being the annual Summer Services of Conservative Laestadians.

Selected biography

Portrait of Thomas Cranmer
Martin Luther was a German monk, theologian, university professor and church reformer whose ideas inspired the Protestant Reformation and changed the course of Western civilization. Luther's theology challenged the authority of the papacy by holding that the Bible is the only infallible source of religious authority and that all baptized Christians under Jesus are a universal priesthood. Luther's confrontation with the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, at the Diet of Worms over freedom of conscience in 1521 and his refusal to submit to the authority of the Emperor resulted in his being declared an outlaw of the state as he had been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. Much scholarly debate has concentrated on Luther's writings about the Jews. As a result of this and his revolutionary theological views, his legacy remains controversial.

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