499 years later, what does it mean?

Dear friends in Fallbrook,

I grew up in a Lutheran home so I’ve heard the question a million times: “What does this mean?” When we teach little Lutherans (and grown-ups, too) what the Bible says we don’t just convey the facts, we always ask—and answer—what does this mean? We want to make sure people know not just what they believe, but also why they believe it. Asking important questions and seeking relevant answers is our Lutheran identity. But I wonder if that’s what most people think of when they hear the word, “Lutheran.”

I’ll freely admit that the Lutheran tradition includes a vast canvas of people, places, and printed works that are hard to keep straight. Our history includes a bewildering array of big words like “hermeneutic,” “justification,” and “soteriology” that are hard to pronounce, let alone comprehend. On top of that, our theological forefathers were immigrants from northern Europe whose customs and language were foreign. “German” is a word that comes to mind more readily than “relevant” when you think of Lutheran identity. But is that all we are? Just an obscure immigrant tradition from old Europe? Or is our identity something more meaningful?

Now’s your chance to find out. Next year is a milestone year—500 years since the start of the Lutheran Reformation! For now, though, we’re in that most-uncelebrated of anniversary years—499 years later. But here at St. Stephen Lutheran we’re convinced now is the time to remember and recover our identity.

Lutheranism is about more than big words and potlucks—it’s about grace and freedom that changes the way we live.

Our upcoming worship series is meant to teach what the Lutheran identity is and why it matters 499 years later. In four parts, you’ll gain enlightenment without begin overwhelmed. You’ll learn the comfort the Reformation uncovered after centuries of superstition. You’ll learn not just what the Bible teaches, but why it matters today. You might even discover that Lutheranism is about more than big words and potlucks—it’s about grace and freedom that changes the way we live.

I grew up in a Lutheran home and I’m a Lutheran pastor so it’s reasonable if you assume Lutheranism is just my personal preference. But before you write it off, please take the time to explore for yourself what it means after all these 499 years. You’ll discover that we don’t talk about the truths of the Reformation because they’re part of our family history, but because they’re vital for our future.

We worship Sunday mornings at 9:30am. I hope I’ll see you then.

Serving in Christ,

Pastor Bassett