The Lutherans


Martin Luther

Martin Luther

Wikipedia - 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.[citation needed] 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;[2] furthermore, the world's 400 million Protestant Christians can trace their tradition, at least in part, back to Luther's reforming work.

During the 1500s, political economic and social changes, together with a new religious doctrines and practices, formed a true "reformation" in German life.  In the years following Luther's clashes with the church, the Reformist movement grew rapidly.  More and more people accepted Luther's teachings and those of other reform leaders.  Various groups organized and broke away from the Roman Catholic Church.  The 1500s were a time of political turmoil, as German princes separated from the Holy Roman Empire to rule their own states.  Oppressed peasants began to organize and rebel against feudalism.  As a result, changes in Christian doctrine took place in an environment of rapid social change in Germany. 

By 1526, Masses were being celebrated in German rather than Latin,  and various German territories had established their own churches, separate from Rome.  The reformers began to be called "Protestants" when they protested theological rulings made by the Diet of Speyer in 1529.  In an attempt to reach a compromise, Catholic and Protestant leaders met at Augsburg in 1530.  Philip Melanchthon, Luther's close friend, wrote "The Augsburg Confession" to explain Luther's position and to try to reconcile Catholic and Protestant beliefs.  This document later became one of the official doctrinal statements of the Lutheran church.  The Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555, this agreement stated that no member of the empire would make war against another on religious grounds.  Each territory would be either Catholic or Protestant, determined by the ruling prince's religion.  Subjects were free to move to territories where their religion was practiced.  In large cities where both religions had been practiced, people could make a choice. 

The Book of Concord is a collection of Lutheran writings that sought to reconcile doctrinal disputes and clarify beliefs.  This book contains "The Augsburg Confession," "The Smalcald Articles," "The Formula of Concord," the "Small Catechism," the "Large Catechism," and more.  Published in 1580, the Book of Concord helped lay the foundation for modern Lutheranism.  Lutheranism soon spread outward from Germany.

Lutheran (Foreign Protestant) Immigration to Nova Scotia

Lunenburg was founded in 1753 by a group of predominantly German-speaking settlers known as the Foreign Protestants. The Foreign Protestants were brought to Nova Scotia in 1750-1752 by the British, in an attempt to colonize the area with people loyal to the British Crown.

Recruiting of Foreign Protestants began in Europe in 1749, with Public Notices offering land and materials for farming and housing. The settlers came primarily from the Palatinate, Württemberg, Montbéliard and Switzerland. Almost 2000 Foreign Protestants arrived in Halifax. In the spring of 1753, under the auspices of the British military, the settlers left Halifax for Lunenburg, aboard 14 transport ships.