Much of Lutheran belief has been well presented by the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) website. We offer some of that information here, but encourage visitors to learn more by visiting ELCA.org.
In the same way, the Catholic Church has innumerable resources for learning about the church’s history, tradition, Scripture, and catechism. The ECC website explains the shared traditions and doctrinal differences with the Roman Catholic Church. ecumenical-catholic-communion.org
- The ELCA’s story is both ancient and timely. It’s a story of a powerful and patient God who has boundless love for all people of the world. It’s a story that brings deep meaning, comfort and strength to a growing community of people who live in modern, often unsettling times.
- Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are connected to the faith of the church through the ages and around the world.
Lutherans believe in the Triune God. We are part of God’s unfolding plan.
When we gather for worship, we connect with believers everywhere and of every time.
When we study the Bible and pray, we are drawn more deeply into God’s own saving story.
When we serve others and address social issues that affect the common good, we live out our Christian faith.
The ELCA invites you into this community of Christian faith. Welcome, and explore.
- Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). Luther was a German theologian who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic church at that time. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University, titled “95 Theses” (to debate 95 theological issues). His hope was that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible.
What started as an academic debate escalated into a distinct separation between the Roman Catholic church of the time and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. "Lutheran" became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions.
Read more at ELCA.org.
- Catholics agree with Lutherans on all fundamental Christian beliefs—the Holy Trinity; the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; the simultaneous nature of Christ as fully man and fully God in all things but sin; in the Father; and in the Holy Spirit. One of the most important recent confessions of the Roman Catholic Church can be found in the Augsburg Accord, signed together with the Lutheran World Federation in 1999. It shows that what once separated the Catholic expression from the Lutheran expression of Christianity separates them no more: salvation comes by faith alone (a gift), and not by works.
- Since the early years of Christianity (dating back to the third and fourth centuries BCE), Catholicism has led the way in the development of Christian ritual and practice, as well as doctrine and teaching. It is from the Catholic Church that Saint Paul Community here in Denver receives much of its rich worship—from traditional Catholic hymns to vestiture and long-held rites of liturgy and Eucharist.
- Pope Francis I, the current leader of the Roman Catholic Church, is beginning to lead the church into a more modern place—with a new perspective on conservative theologies and church teaching. His stance toward the LGBT communities of the world, for example, has already earned him both great praise and condemnation. We celebrate the forward movement of the Catholic Church at Saint Paul, and endeavor to be inclusive in all ways, and of all traditions. The ECC traces its modern roots to the emergence of the Old Catholic movement which began in 1870 as a response to the first Vatican Council's pronouncement of Papal Infallibility and the primacy of papal jurisdiction. The Catholics of our faith communities, though recognizing the importance of the Pope in his role as a sign of unity and as an important source of leadership within the Church, view the dogma of papal infallibility as a reinforcement of authoritarianism within the Church, and a misuse of power which runs counter to the spirit, example and teachings of Jesus.