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Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the teachings of the sixteenth-century German reformer Martin Luther. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation and, though it was not his original intention, left Western Christianity divided.

The split between Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church arose mainly over the doctrine of justification before God. Specifically, Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification "by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone," distinct from the Roman Catholic view of works in addition to faith. Lutheranism is also distinct from the Reformed Churches, another major church which arose during the Reformation. Unlike the Reformed Churches, Lutherans have retained many of the sacramental understandings and liturgical practices of the pre-Reformation Church. Lutheran theology differs considerably from Reformed theology in its understanding of divine grace and predestination to eternity after death.

Today, millions belong to Lutheran churches worldwide; furthermore, the world's 400 million Protestant Christians can trace their tradition, at least in part, back to Luther's reforming work

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The Bible.
Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, "by scripture alone") is the assertion that the Bible as God's written word is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter ("Scripture interprets Scripture"), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine. Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the reformer Martin Luther and is a formal principle of Protestants today (see Five solas). It may be contrasted with Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Oriental Orthodox teaching in which doctrine is taught by the teaching authority of the church, drawing on the "Deposit of Faith" and based on what they consider to be Sacred Tradition, of which the Bible is a subset.
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Photo of Mark Hanson at Augsburg College
Mark S. Hanson is currently the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2003, Hanson was elected President of the Lutheran World Federation, a role which he serves concurrently with his role as ELCA Presiding Bishop. He serves on the executive council on the executive board of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Hanson is author of Faithful Yet Changing: The Church in Challenging Times (Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis: 2002). Hanson was reelected on the second ballot, thus becoming the longest-serving Presiding Bishop in the ELCA's history. Previous Presiding Bishops have served only a single term since the ELCA's conception in 1987.
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A room in the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt.
A monk's room in the Augustinian monastery near the University of Erfurt, where Martin Luther resided.
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...that Paul Henkel, operating out of his son's printing house, became one of the first and only Lutheran publishers in the United States for years?



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