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Luther's Small Catechism

Martin Luther wrote the Small Catechism as a guide for pastors to teach their congregations, and fathers as they teach their families the basics of the Christian faith. As Martin Luther said in his introduction to the Small Catechism “But Christ Himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully. The Father of all grace help us to do just that. To Him be praise and thanks forever through Christ our Lord. Amen.”  Learn More

What do Lutherans Believe?

Lutherans believe what the Bible says—as explained clearly in the Lutheran Confessions:

Grace Alone:
God does it all. The Father creates, Jesus Christ redeems, and the Holy Spirit plants faith in us sinners through the Means of Grace: the Word of God (the Bible), and the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.

Scripture Alone:
Only the Bible, which is clearly explained in the Lutherans Confessions. The Confessions add nothing to nor delete anything from the Bible.

Faith Alone:            
  1. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” —Ephesians 2: 8-9
  2. God reaches down to us through Word, Baptism and Communion. We are all sinners and lack any capacity to “make a decision to believe”
  3. We do good works out of our vocation, not to earn heaven.
Luther's Rose, or Luther's Seal was designed by Martin Luther in 1520 as a personal symbol to summarize his faith. Learn More

What Lutherans in the pew "Believe and Confess Daily and Study for a Lifetime."

The Small Catechism  has six chief parts

  1. 10 Commandments • Shows our sin and our need for a Savior outside of ourselves. Learn More 
  2. Apostle’s Creed • Shows us the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Learn More 
  3. Lord’s Prayer  • Teaches us how to talk with God. ”Thy will be done.” Learn More
  4. Baptism  • This is God’s Work, through water plus Word of God. We are buried with Christ in  Baptism, and arise a new person. Daily we confess and daily we arise. Learn More
  5. Communion • This is God’s Work through the bread and wine plus the Word of God. Learn More
  6. Confession/Forgiveness • In worship, Pastors forgive sins “as from God” after Baptism. Learn More

Learning about Lutheran Worship

1. 3-Year Lectionary •  In our worship service, we preach through the Bible every 3 years. Each service includes an Old Testament, New Testament, and Epistle lesson. Over each three-year lectionary period, we hear the entire Bible.
2. Church Year • The Church year annual Calendar is based on the life of Christ. The year begins in Advent, as we prepare for the birth of Christ (Christmas) and continues through Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. Learn More []
3. The “Liturgy” •  Liturgy is the Order of Worship. Every Lutheran service includes these parts:
a. Confession of sins and forgiveness
b. Prayer and Praise
c. Word (Readings from Old/New Testament, Psalms, Gospel).
d. Sermon (Law and Gospel)
e. Holy Communion
f. Thanksgiving
g. Dismissal to Vocation

"The rhythm of our worship is from God to us." —Lutheran Worship, 1982

What do we mean by "vocation"?

Vocation is where we, as repentant, forgiven sinners, live our daily lives with family, friends and neighbors, with co-workers and casual acquaintances and with total strangers.                                                                  

 By the Holy Spirit, we are to love God and love our neighbors. This is a constant, lifetime challenge because:
• In the world, we encounter those who hate God and Christians, and
• We are still sinners every day, even though we are repentant and forgiven sinners through Christ’s sacrifice.
• Vocation is hard but possible through Father creating, Son redeeming and Holy Spirit planting faith through the Means of Grace (Word, Baptism, Communion).

Martin Luther
What is Luther's Small Catechism?
A Visual Guide. (click to enlarge)
Used with permission, prepared by Pastor Matt Richard, with additions by Deacon Tim Carter, Concordia, LCMS, Kingsport, Tennessee