The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States, with about 4 million members in nearly 10,000 congregations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God's grace. For us, as the ELCA, this faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and the courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world.
We are a church that is always being made new, and at the same time, is deeply rooted in Scripture, Lutheran theology and Lutheran confessions. We are also rooted in the vibrant, diverse communities and rich histories of our congregations. It's through these roots that the Holy Spirit guides and nourishes us so that we can be a church that is both resilient and always new.
We welcome you to join this community of faith regardless of your age, race, gender, life experience, complexities and questions. You have a unique story that can only add to the richness of the larger story that makes up the ELCA. There is a place for you here!
News and updates about the ELCA can be found here, and inspirational stories, blogs and photos can be found at the Living Lutheran website.
Elizabeth A. Eaton was elected to a six-year term as presiding bishop of the ELCA in 2013. Her columns in Living Lutheran are available here.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
The ELCA confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
ELCA teaching or theology serves the proclamation and ministry of this faith. It does not have an answer for all questions, not even all religious questions. Teaching or theology prepares members to be witnesses in speech and in action of God’s rich mercy in Jesus Christ.
Social statements are teaching and policy documents that provide broad frameworks to assist us in thinking about and discussing social issues in the context of faith and life. They are meant to help communities and individuals with moral formation, deliberation and thoughtful engagement with current social issues as we participate in God's work in the world. Social statements also set policy for the ELCA and guide its advocacy and work as a publicly engaged church. They result from an extensive process of participation and deliberation and are adopted by a two-thirds vote of an ELCA Churchwide Assembly. For a complete list of social statement for the ELCA CLICK HERE.
ABOUT MARTIN LUTHER
Martin Luther was eight years old when Christopher Columbus set sail from Europe and landed in the Western Hemisphere. Luther was a young monk and priest when Michaelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel in Rome. A few years later, he was a junior faculty member at a new university in small-town Germany, intently studying the Scriptures, "captivated with an extraordinary ardor for understanding Paul in the Epistle to the Romans."
In these days Luther was tormented by the demand for righteousness before God. "I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God." Then, in the midst of that struggle with God, the message of the Scriptures became clear, like a long-shut door opening wide. When he realized that a "merciful God justifies us by faith. I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates."
What Luther discovered is the freedom of Christians trusting God's mercy in Christ. As he later wrote, "Faith is God's work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God. This faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that believers would stake their lives on it a thousand times."
This discovery set Luther's life on a new course both his own life and his public service as a preacher and teacher. When a church-endorsed sales team came to the Wittenberg area in October, 1517, Luther was concerned that the promotion and sale of indulgences undermined the promise of God's unreserved mercy in Jesus and the faith that trusts that promise. His 95 Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences became the first of a life-long stream of books, sermons, letters, essays, even hymns in which he expressed his confidence in this life-giving promise from God, the Gospel, and its liberating implications for all of life in church and society.