Who are we?
We are Christians who believe that Jesus is our Saviour who loves, accepts and forgives us.
As Lutheran's we believe that:
- The Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the only source for all matters of faith, teaching and life.
- God's gift of salvation is found through faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God who died for our sins on the cross and rose to life.
- The Gospel is "good news" that frees us and allows us to live as forgiven people.
- We need both gospel and law in our lives.
Who is the Lutheran Church?
We belong to the Christian church believing that it is through the Holy Spirit and faith in Jesus that people are forgiven and loved.
We are a confessing church in which God's word is taught and explained and God's gifts of Baptism and the Lord's Supper are administered.
We are an accepting church acknowledging other Christian denominations as part of the wider Christian church.
We are an open door church where all people are welcome to come and receive God's Word being taught and preached.
Along with fellow Christians we confess the teachings stated in the creeds of the church.
- Apostles' Creed: This creed dates back to the early Christian church (hence it's name). It expresses the Christian church's teachings and beliefs.
- Nicene Creed: This creed was written in AD325 at the council of Nicaea to combat heresies which threatened the church. It is the most ecumenical of the creeds expressing how God works in the world. It states emphatically the Triune Nature of God (three persons in one) leaving no area for dispute.
- Athanasian Creed: This creed takes its name from Athanasius, who was a great theologian of the Fourth century who defended God's Trinitarian nature. This creed expresses two essential elements of Christian teaching:
- God's Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are of one being with the Father.
- Jesus Christ is truly God and truly human in one person.
The Lutheran Church dates back to the time of Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) in Germany and was the first of the Protestant churches. Luther rediscovered in God's Word that people don't get into a right relationship with God by 'good works', rather, God's acceptance of us is entirely a free gift received by faith in Jesus. Martin Luther was a reformer, not a revolutionary. He sought to reform church practises of the day and brought people back to the 'good news' of the Gospel. The Reformation catch cry is: 'You are saved by grace, through faith.' Luther is respected in the church for all he did to bring the Gospel to people. Luther's writings and hymns are still used in the Lutheran church today … but it is not Luther who is worshipped, rather God who has created all things.
What does the Lutheran Church teach?
- The Bible is the written and inspired word of God for us.
- We believe that there is only one true God - the triune God - who is three separate persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- God the Father is the creator of all things. Through God's word all things were made and he continues to care for his creation.
- Jesus Christ the Son was sent to die for the sins of all as we are unable to save ourselves.
- The Holy Spirit leads us to faith in God and nurtures and equips us to live out that faith.
- Creation is an act of God bringing into existence all that is in the world by the power of his word.
- Man and woman once created in the image of God, chose to go against God's command bringing sin into the world.
- Sin is all that is against God's will in what we think, say, do and do not do. It destroys God's perfect creation and creates a barrier between God and humankind.
- Salvation is God rescuing us from our sinfulness through the death of Jesus on the cross. It is a gift.
- Our Justification (being saved) happens on account of Christ; all who believe in Jesus are 'justified' or declared innocent by God.
- The Gospel is the good news which brings the joy of believing that through Christ and his death for us we are forgiven.
- Eternal life is the gift for all who believe and are baptised.
- Death is not the end. It does not separate a believer's relationship with God.
- The Law teaches us that we have sinned and we should be punished. It also prepares us to receive our Savour who forgives all of these sins.
- Faith is created in us and given to us by the Holy Spirit.
- Grace is God's loving kindness towards us who are unworthy of such love. We say we are saved by the grace of God.
- The 'means of grace' are the Bible, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper. God has given the church these ways to receive the forgiveness of sins.
- Baptism is where the water and the word of God are used for the washing away of our sins. It is here we become a member of God's family.
- In the Lord's Supper we receive the bread and the wine which is the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins.
- Prayer is a personal way in which people can communicate with God.
- On Judgement Day - the time of which is unknown to us - Jesus will return. Those who believe in Jesus will have eternal life.
To sum up, the Lutheran faith teaches that a person can only be saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
How does the Lutheran Church worship?
Worship is the central activity of the church as God's people respond to what God has first done for us. The Gospel is central to all Lutheran worship.
God meets us in worship to speak to, to forgive, strengthen, nurture and bless us.
- In worship we confess our sins and are forgiven;
- We hear God's word being read;
- We hear the Good News preached;
- The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper are administered and celebrated.
- The people of God meet together to support each other in faith.
- God's Holy Spirit is at work to develop our faith in Christ.
In worship God gives so many good things, especially his love and forgiveness and his own body and blood to strengthen his people. Our response to God's gracious gifts is through prayer, and singing praise, by serving God and loving others.
The Lutheran Church celebrates two sacraments (rites which bring God's grace to those receiving it).
Through Baptism God gives new life and makes the person his very own child and a member of his family forever.
We baptise babies as well as children and adults. We follow this practise since the Triune God promises to come to people through baptism with his love, forgiveness and acceptance, no matter what their age.
God the Holy Spirit is at work in baptism. The Holy Spirit brings baptised people the blessings Jesus gained for us through his death on the cross, 'forgiveness of sins, freedom from death and the devil, and life with God forever'.
2. Holy Communion
In the Lord's Supper the body and blood of the Lord Jesus with the bread and the wine is received. This is God's personal guarantee of the forgiveness of sins.
In Holy Communion the Triune God again shows his love and forgiveness, accepting all just as he did in baptism.
Eating at the Lord's Table with other believers gives us a glimpse of heaven and gives strength for the hard work of our daily life.
Joining the Lutheran Church
Becoming a member of a Lutheran congregation can occur in several ways:
- Baptism for adults and children who after instruction can publicly state their faith in the Triune God.
- Affirmation of Faith/Confirmation for those who have been baptised and wish to publicly reaffirm their faith in the Triune God. This usually occurs after instruction in a Pastor's class.
- Transfer of membership from one Lutheran congregation to another.
A Teaching Church
Christian education is treasured within the Lutheran Church. This dates back to Martin Luther who spoke directly about children being brought up in the faith. He taught that through regular family devotions Christian faith is taught and caught.
We encourage learning of the Bible and the faith through:
- Individual and small group Bible studies
- Confirmation / Affirmation of Faith classes
- Sunday school and kid's clubs
- Preaching and teaching in worship
- Men and Women's groups
These teaching activities aim to offer the best in education from a Christ-centred perspective, placing Christian worship and God's wisdom at the centre of all learning.
As Christians we are called to… "go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything [Jesus] has commanded. Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV)
So, as Christians we have the responsibility to tell others of God's love and forgiveness and share with them the Gospel of Christ. This can be through witnessing to others personally and through our actions, as well as providing the written Word.
The Gospels state that we are all sinners and are in need of God's love and forgiveness. Then, through God's love for us in sending Jesus to die for our sins, we are forgiven and accepted in God's sight.
We are saved by God's grace, through our Faith in Jesus Christ. GRACE ALONE, FAITH ALONE, WORD ALONE
Lutherans in the Community
As a Christian our deepest need is to be part of a meaningful community where God's Word is preached and taught.
Your local Lutheran Church is such a community. As Christians we need the church to receive God's Word, the sacraments and the Forgiveness of Sins. The Church also needs you because every member has gifts and talents to bring for the spreading of God's Word and love to the community.
Living out our Christian Life means living in fellowship with our church and community. It is being a disciple, actively learning what it is that God wants for our lives.
Being a Lutheran is not just being a member of a church, but being an active disciple in spreading God's love to all around us in our daily lives.
Lutherans in New Zealand
The Lutheran Church has been in New Zealand for over 150 years. We are a small church with congregations spread throughout New Zealand. In the 1800s many arrived in New Zealand from Germany and Scandinavia. Many more arrived from Europe following World War II. Since the 1990s there has been an influx of people from Africa, Asia, and many other parts of the world.
Lutherans in the World
We believe that we are part of the whole Christian church which is the body of Christ and we value our ties with the wider church.
Lutheran churches are found throughout the world (about 80 million people), with the largest number of Lutherans living in the Scandinavian countries, Africa, Germany, USA, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Tanzania, India, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
The Lutheran Church of New Zealand (LCNZ) has a close relationship with the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) of which we are part of. We rely on the LCA for the training of our pastors at Australian Lutheran College in Adelaide.