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Are You Catholic?

If you are Catholic are you satisfied with your church? If not you will find the Lutheran faith to be refreshing. The Catholic church has many strengths. Primary among them it has the true Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist.

One of the biggest reasons for dis-satisfaction with the Catholic church is its stance on divorce. Many divorced, separated and re-married people know their sins, and are sorry for them. They want to start a new life with the church's blessing and long to participate in the church's sacramental life, but they are not allowed. In the Lutheran church they are.

Nor is re-marriage consummated outside the Roman Church sinful, invalid or inferior as far as Lutherans are concerned. Nor will it keep you away from the Eucharist, and full fellowship in the Lutheran church.

Another cause for disallusionment is the rash of sexual scandals brought to light in the last 20 years. Any one such act is unconscionable. Numerous, intolerable.

In the Lutheran church you will find much that is familiar: liturgy, scripture, sacraments, history and tradition. You will also find some things that are different. Lutherans do not pray to the Blessed Virgin or the Saints, or ask them to intercede for us. We believe that Jesus is the one Intercessor and High Priest, and that no other is needed.

But above all what you will find is the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ which cleanses you from all sins, however egregious they may be. Lutherans believe that sinners are justified before God by faith in Jesus Christ as St. Paul writes, "For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

This being the case Lutherans deny the notion of purgatory. Christ suffered for all sins of all humanity, and God in Christ fully pardons all who believe and are baptized. Therefore there is no need to be purged after death, and before entering heaven. This is a human opinion that strongly contradicts the merits Christ gained for us by his life, death and resurrection. We believe that Christians will suffer in this life but Scripture calls this "discipline" (Hebrews 12:5) and not purging or punishment. There is a marked difference.

Lutherans also teach that good works always accompany saving faith. They are not optional or unimportant, but are the fruit of faith and of the Spirit. But we also know from Sacred Scripture that the works of even the greatest of saints are weak, imperfect and inconsistent. (As easily confirmed by reading the autobiography of St. Theresa of Avila, or The Rule of St. Benedict) And so salvation is granted to us by faith in the crucified and risen Christ. The faith installed in us in holy baptism and strengthened in the Eucharist.

There is one thing about Lutheranism that you will not find anywhere else and that is the blessed certainty of salvation. Salvation that is begun, maintained and brought to completion by the goodness and mercy of God.

This powerful promise gives enables you to love God, to live in peace with him each day, and to die in the confidence knowing that glorious life awaits you for as Holy Scripture says, " ... whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

To find out more, contact Pastor Kavouras. pastordck@gmail.com