Emmaus Lutheran Church - LCMS

Pastor David W. Kern
Worship Service: Sundays at 10 A.M.
Sunday School and Bible Class: Sundays at 9 A.M.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,


What does it mean to be Lutheran? It may come as a surprise to many of us, but Martin Luther never intended that the Lutheran church should be named after him. The expression of "Lutheran" and "Lutheran Church" were brought into use by the enemies of what the Reformer stood for. Luther warned all Christians against insurrection and rebellion. He personally protested this use of his name. Perhaps many, in his time, who sat in opposition, to name it the Lutheran church, smirked of some sense of sarcasm, as if to say those "rabble rousers"…those "troublemakers"…those "instigators"…those "Lutherans!"


Even around the year 1562, a group of French settlers was led by Admiral Gaspard de Coligny to the New World, that the Spanish had called La Florida, to help defuse some of the religious conflicts in France. Moving a number of Protestant Christians (largely Calvinistic Protestants) would have been an effort to placate some of the conflict within France. This group that settled around the St. John's River, that came to be known Jacksonville, Florida, was eventually attacked by Spanish forces, who considered the settlement to be an affront to territories already established by the Spanish crown. While the group that had been settled by the French would have been Huguenots, Spain in an effort to play-down such aggression against the French, suggested that the colony was made up of "Lutranos." Those "rabble rousers"…those "troublemakers"…those "instigators"…those "Lutherans!"


Luther, himself states, "In the first place, I ask that men make no reference to my name; let them call themselves Christians, not Lutherans. What is Luther? After all, the teaching is not mine (John 7:16). Neither was I crucified for anyone (1 Corinthians 1:13). St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3 would not allow the Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christian. How then should I—poor stinking maggot-fodder that I am—come to have men call the children of Christ by my wretched name" (Luther's Works: American Edition, Volume 45, CPH, St. Louis 1962, pages 70-71).


In speaking of Lutheran Doctrine, What Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian (CPH, St. Louis, 1959, page 857) says, "Whether Luther personally is a scoundrel, or a saint means nothing to me. His doctrine, however, is not his but Christ's own. For you see that the object of the tyrants is not only to slay Luther but also to extirpate (destroy) the doctrine…Let the person go. But the doctrine you must confess."


In His grace,


Pastor Kern


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