"You Lutherans have little in common with Luther theologically"

Every so often, folks from other camps especially the Reformed camp claim Lutherans are hardly in line with Luther theologically.

So let's put that to the test.

Confessional Lutheranism holds to Book of Concord as biblical rule of faith. That book contains three writings by Luther in full, three writings in full in Luther's lifetime that he agreed to and with, and a longer version of Formula of Concord that largely quote or paraphrase Luther (yes including his Bondage which was made binding on the Lutheran faith in it).

So explain again how we- confessional Lutherans- are out of step with Luther theologically again?

Here we stand.


"Free" Will???

The common error that those who believe in "free will" make is that they look at passages with words like "choose" and "come" and "whosoever", and then wrongly *assume* that that must mean that they have the *ability* to choose. The Bible nowhere teaches this.
In fact, it teaches quite the opposite. Jesus says no one *can* (ability) come to Him unless the Father draws him. Jesus says none have life except those to whom the Son has revealed Himself. Romans 8:7-8 says that the sinful mind is hostile God, it does not submit to God's Law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the flesh *cannot* please God. Not to mention that the Bible describes the unregenerate as *dead* in sins and trespasses.
Notice, then, that these passages teach that mankind is *accountable* to choose, although they lack the moral ability to do so.
These folks counter by saying "Well then how can God say we are responsible then?"
Scripture declares we are nonetheless accountable. Jesus also commands us to be *perfect*, although none of us can do that. None of us have the ability. But we are still accountable to do so.
Please notice, then, that the only Perfection we will ever have is Christ Himself. And none of us desire Christ unless the Spirit convicts through the law and shows us Christ in the Gospel.
What many of these folks usually do is they say that God draws everyone, then leaves the rest up to man. This is another fundamental error because not only does the Bible nowhere teach this, but it also separates God's Spirit from His Word and His Sacraments. God is always pleased to *draw* people through His preached Word and His Sacraments administered. The Spirit willingly binds Himself to these.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the True Church Because of the Gospel

Many religions compete for which is the true one. And many branches of Christianity claim they are the truest to the Scriptures, or the true church. However, unfortunately, many of these claim such merely for the sake of "being right." They usually base it upon alleged "apostolic succession," or "the successor of Peter," or "truest to the Scriptures."

However, even the last case of "truest to the Scriptures" begs the question of *how*. How should the Scriptures be interpreted?

The Evangelical Lutheran Church, or Evangelical Catholics, believes that what constitutes the true visible Church on earth is the pure preaching of the Gospel and the pure administration of the Sacraments according to the Gospel. We believe that the Gospel is what constitutes the proper interpretation of Scripture. Everything is about Jesus Christ† and His work for us.

This is expressed in our Lutheran Confessions, which we believe to be faithful to the Good News of the Gospel. Apart from the Gospel, there is no church. This is why all false doctrine is dangerous. Anything that waters down the Good News of the Gospel inevitably points us toward our own efforts.

God must always come *down* to us. The Gospel is for us, for us poor, weary sinners.

It is all about the Gospel. Apart from this, there is no good news.

Christ is for us in Word and Sacrament!


Forgiveness, Life, and Salvation

Rome says that the Eucharist forgives only venial sins, but not mortal sins. This is absolutely impossible, for through the Eucharist we are receiving Christ.

Rome says that Holy Baptism only forgives original, past, and present, but not future sins. But this is impossible. For through Holy Baptism, we are brought into union with Christ.

Rome says that Absolution is conditional and dependent upon works of contrition. But this is impossible, because no one's works are perfect, but are always tainted with sin. Further, it is impossible to even know all our sins, for our hearts are that deceitful, even after regeneration. 

The bottom line is that, in Roman theology, Christ recedes into the background and ultimately has to be viewed as a mere tack-on.

If we have been united with Christ in Holy Baptism, partake of His Flesh and Blood in the Holy Eucharist, and hear His gracious Words of forgiveness in Holy Absolution, it is impossible for sin to remain. Although it remains in our heart, we are shielded and clothed with Christ Our Righteousness.

All sins are forgiven.

And where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.