Christus Victor

Making Christ Known

We are an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) congregation growing in the likeness of Christ by:

Worshiping, praying, and studying God’s word;
Being together with other people; and
Acting in faith through words and deeds both inside and outside our church walls.

If the Lutheran Church is the true one, why was it founded almost 1,500 years after Jesus’ death?

Jesus said: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

While it says that in Matthew 16:18, Mark 8:27-33 has a much different version of the story.  In fact, according to Mark, shortly after Peter's declaration that Jesus is the Christ, Jesus yells at Peter "Out of my sight Satan!"  Luke, on the other hand, does not mention the incident at all (see Luke 9:18-27).  First of all, Martin Luther did not want to start a new church.  The main reason he brought the 95 Theses (points for scholarly discussion) was to simply point out that we are saved by grace through faith and that forgiveness is not for sale.  At that time, the Catholic Church was selling indulgences—papers signed by Archbishop Tetzel, authorized by the Pope, guaranteeing less time in purgatory. Luther viewed this as wrong and fought against it. In fact, he was embarrassed that his followers were called "Lutherans."  By the end of his life, he called the movement he started "the Evangelical Church" (the Gospel centered church).  Since then the Lutheran Church has not always been "Gospel centered,” so other denominations and movements have begun to correct the errors of the Lutheran Church.  Perhaps the most concise answer to your question lies in Luther's satis est:  It is enough if the sacraments are administered rightly and the gospel preached in its purity."  If you find a denomination or congregation where that statement is true, you will have found Christ on earth.