Why are we evangelical?
The word "evangelical" means "of the Gospel."
The Greek word "euagelion" ("Gospel" or "good
news") is the root for our English word Evangelical. Jesus
lived a perfect life, suffered, and died in order to bring forgiveness
to all people. In the Sacraments of Baptism, Absolution, and the
Lord's Supper, Jesus gives this forgiveness from the cross to
His people today. This is the Gospel. This is what we confess
and proclaim. We are evangelical because we are people of the
In our faithful Lutheran proclamation of
the Gospel - which is nothing other than the proclamation of true,
biblical Christianity - clarification must be made between our
confession as members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and
that of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The
discussion about our parishes as evangelical can often lead to
confusion in this area. The ELCA does not hold to the same view
of inspiration of the Bible. That church body arrives at significantly
different interpretations of passages of Scripture. This causes
the ELCA church body to have a different view of the Gospel. The
ELCA is a denomination of mainline American Protestantism. The
understanding of the historic Evangelical Lutheran Church is vastly
different from the ELCA.
While we are evangelical - about preaching
the Gospel - we are not part of evangelicalism, the branch of
Christianity. When Evangelicalism spreads the Gospel it follows
with a difficult dose of the law. The use of the law in "making
disciples" after sharing the Gospel in circles of evangelicalism
can only lead to distress and despair. In our proclamation of
the Gospel message, we carefully distinguish between the law and
the Gospel, so that the Gospel always dominates and the work of
Christ is first and foremost.
Why are we Lutheran?
In the sixteenth century, the Lutheran reformers uncovered the
Gospel that had been obscured in the medieval church. We are Lutheran
because we believe in and subscribe unconditionally to the biblical
truths of Christianity as confessed in the Book of Concord of
1580, which articulates true Christian teaching. We are proud
to present a uniquely Lutheran presentation of the Gospel in the
face of religious indifference. We are Lutheran because we place
the forgiveness of sins through Jesus' death and resurrection
at the center and are saved by our God-given faith.