Area churches focus on Lutheran identity

fa_lutheranDo beliefs matter? Are all “Christian” beliefs the same? Or are there significant differences that have implications for life and society?
Seven area Lutheran churches are launching a joint series on Wednesday, Feb. 10. The series is titled, “Lutheran Identity.” The series will explore a “Lutheran take” on the Christian faith. It will highlight the rationale behind why we believe what we do and contrast it with other Christian perspectives.

The series begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, the start of the ancient Christian practice of Lent. Each church will be lifting up the same theme each Wednesday until Holy Week in late March.

The seven area Lutheran churches participating include Braham Lutheran Church, Cambridge Lutheran Church, Faith Lutheran Church, Long Lake Lutheran Church, Salem Lutheran Church in Dalbo, Siloa Lutheran Church and St. Andrew Lutheran Church in East Bethel.

Minnesota has one of the highest percentages of Lutherans in the United States. The population of Isanti County has the highest percentage of evangelical Christians in Minnesota.

There are theological differences between Lutherans and evangelicals in a number of significant areas including the role of women and the interpretation of scripture. This series will shed light on those differences.

Among the themes explored include: Who is Jesus? What is God’s role in baptism? What is worship? How do we interpret God’s word? What is faith?

These themes will be explored in light of the core Lutheran teaching that salvation is by the grace of God through faith alone, and not due to our own works or merit.

As part of the series, the churches will join together to fund a project by Lutheran World Relief, one of the oldest and most effective worldwide relief agencies. The project funded by the congregations will provide water and water infrastructure for a community’s fields in Kenya.

LWR is a nonprofit organization that works with local partners to provide lasting solutions to poverty, injustice and human suffering.
During the series, people are invited to read Lutheran Trump Cards: Playing Our Best Hand in the 21st Century, by Dave Daubert. “Grounded in reality and committed to God’s grace made real in Christ, Lutherans are able to be both hopeful and realistic in a way that is unique and life-giving,” says Daubert.A book discussion group will be held weekly on Thursdays, from noon to 1 p.m. at Perkins Restaurant in Cambridge.

Some of the churches will gather for a combined Good Friday service on March 25, with a message from Dr. Steven Paulson, a professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary.

The series finishes on Easter Sunday, March 27, emphasizing that Lutherans, at heart, are a people of the resurrection who believe that God is constantly at work making all things new.

The resurrection empowers people to live sacrificial lives for the sake of their neighbor, bringing resurrection life to every area of hurt and suffering around them.