The Lutheran church is one of the major Christian churches. It is the largest Protestant church. There are more than sixty million Lutherans in the world.
The greatest number of Lutherans is in northern Europe and the USA. In Australia and New Zealand almost 255,000 people call themselves Lutherans.
The Lutheran church is the oldest Protestant church. It dates back to the Reformation in the sixteenth century when Martin Luther challenged some of the teachings and practices of the church of his day. Luther insisted that the Bible is the authority that decides what the church should teach and do. The name 'Lutheran' was given to people who believe that Martin Luther was right in his interpretation of the Bible.
The Lutheran church has been in Australia and New Zealand for more than 170 years. In the 1830s small groups of Lutherans emigrated in search of religious freedom. They settled mainly in rural areas in various parts of the country. Today the Lutheran church is made up of people from rural and urban areas and many different cultural backgrounds.
In the words of the classic Lutheran summary of faith, we believe that we are saved 'by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith'. In other words, there is nothing we can do to earn God's favour or to gain eternal life. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has won all this and more for us. We also believe that only the Bible is the source of inspiration and teaching.