Those who have known me for a long time would be able to confirm that, as I have grown and learnt more, I have changed my views, sometimes radically, on various social and political issues. Yet when it comes to the Christian faith I have only grown in my appreciation of its Lutheran expression. Why is this and what is it that Lutherans hold to and teach? My appreciation and allegiance is not due to the significance of global Lutheranism with some 80 million plus who identify as such (though not all authentically) or the 800 million to 1 billion Protestants spawned by this movement. It is, rather, much more due to the following.
The origins of the Lutheran Church
When looking at the origins of the Lutheran Church most would expect the focus to shift to Martin Luther and the explosive, Western culture changing Reformation that he helped ignite by nailing 95 thesis, or points for discussion, to the door of a Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517. The powerful Western Church had become corrupt, keeping people in ignorance and fear, promoting many distorted man made teachings and practices, even to the point of the widespread selling of forgiveness for cash through much of Europe, with the funds flowing back to Rome for huge building projects and self promotion. The account of Luther and the Reformation is a fascinating story and drama of the highest order. Viewing one of the various movies or even documentaries is highly recommended. Most find it riveting. Yet Luther was adamant that this was not about him. He never wanted a Church named after him, nor did he and his many associates in this Reformation movement want to leave the one Western Roman Catholic Church of the time (he was eventually expelled), but simply to reform it and bring it back to Jesus Christ and the New Testament teaching of the Apostles who Jesus chose and authorised.
The five solas: A simple summary of Lutheran essentials.
A helpful way to get to the heart and essence of the Lutheran articulation of the Christian faith is to look at the five solas’s (Latin for ‘only’ or ‘alone’) of the early Lutheran reformer’s . While these have been popularised in more recent times they are all well and truly contained in the prolific writings of the various founding Lutheran reformers and their official statements of belief called ‘The Lutheran Confessions’. They are as follows:
The above is only a brief introduction to the Christian faith from a Lutheran perspective. Below are some resources to enable further exploration. I am also available for consultation in order to answer any questions or assist in further exploring the Christian faith.
I was invited by the Mercury to submit, along with a number of other Hobart Church leaders, a short Easter message for their Good Friday edition. I share it here also. If you would like to ask further questions about the historical foundations and evidence for the Christian faith and/or the resurrection of Jesus, or anything regarding the faith, you can do so here (simply click on comment...you may have to add a few details if doing this for the first time):
The historical evidence for Jesus' existence and crucifixion is overwhelming. However, both Jesus and the Bible claim much more than this. They insist that Jesus' life, death and resurrection were predicted and recorded for over a thousand years beforehand by various Old Testament prophets. Further, they maintain He came to make God the Father known, his death was a necessary sacrifice for our sins, and his resurrection vindicated his claim to be one with God the Father.
During the past 2,000 years sceptics have sought to disprove the resurrection. Many were stunned by the powerful case for it. Some, Like Strobel, converted to Christianity as a result.
Lee Strobel, an award winning investigative journalist and law graduate, reported for the Chicago Tribune. He wrote a series on the resurrection because his wife had become a Christian and he thought he could easily discredit her new 'superstition'. Amazingly, he became so convinced by what he found that he ended up becoming a Christian. In the end he admitted it wasn't a lack of evidence that was the real issue, but his proud, stubborn heart and pre-conceived biases. The 2017 movie drama called 'The case for Christ' tells his story. It is readily available for purchase or streaming and the same titled book is easy to read and compelling. Hundreds of millions the world over claim to know this Jesus personally as a resurrected, living, powerful, loving and life changing person. As another convert and great defender of the Christian faith C.S Lewis said, given the claims Jesus made he can't just be a great moral teacher. He is either a lunatic, totally evil or else he is who he really claimed to be. Lewis concluded 'you must make your choice'.
Warm regards and blessings,
Pastor Mike Steicke.
The aim of this Page is to be a safe place to explore the ultimate questions of meaning and purpose and to enquire about and discuss the Christian faith from a Lutheran perspective.
A Little About Me
I am Pastor Michael Steicke, often referred to as Pastor Mike. I have been a Lutheran Pastor for over 30 years, having served Parishes in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia, before moving to Tasmania to be the Pastor of St Peters Lutheran Parish in Hobart at the beginning of 2016.