Lutheranism refers to Protestant congregations that adhere to the Augsburg Confession (1530), drafted by Philip Melanchthon on the basis of Martin Luther’s Great Catechism (1529). Internally, these congregations prefer the term Evangelical, referring to the good news of the Holy Scriptures, that despite the sinfulness of humankind, people are accepted unconditionally by God, justified through faith alone by God’s grace for the sake of Christ’s sacrifice.

Historically, Lutheranism is an extension of former Christian movements, which raised a protest against the practices of the Roman Catholic Church: Waldensians, Lollards, and Hussites. Martin Luther (1483–1546) was originally an Augustinian friar. His protest was initially directed against the practice of selling indulgence because it reduced God’s grace to a commodity. When the Papacy responded by threatening to excommunicate ...

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