Proud to be Lutheran?

Earle D. Treptow

“Raise your hand, if you’re proud to be Lutheran.” Hoping to avoid embarrassment, you take a quick peek around the room to see what others are doing. Raise your hand and risk being viewed as proud and arrogant or embarrassed. Lower your hand and risk hiding your faith and failing to confess before others.

Before you decide whether to raise your hand or not, reflect on the answer revealed by your daily life. What do your attitudes and actions say about how you view being Lutheran?

I cannot speak for you, so let me mention what I’ve observed in myself. As I read about church bodies that exchange the truth of God’s Word for the “prize” of cultural relevance, I’m proud to be Lutheran. When I argue with a friend whose church views Baptism as nothing more than an act of obedience, I’m proud to be Lutheran. I proud to confess God’s truth about Baptism.

I’m proud that I haven’t fallen for the false teachings so many others have because they haven’t faithfully searched the Scriptures. I’m proud that I still hold to what God says in his Word, unlike those who have essentially rewritten it to suit their fancy. All of that is to say that I’m proud to be Lutheran . . . but I shouldn’t be. In the end, my celebration of the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation becomes this: “I’m proud of me and my orthodoxy.”

Sometimes my attitudes and actions send a different message regarding what I think about being Lutheran. When I tire of hearing that I can do nothing to contribute to having life with God or when I want the preacher to fast forward through the message of forgiveness in Christ and get on to how I should live to please God, I’m not exactly proud to be Lutheran. When I won’t invite people to worship because I feel that close Communion seems unloving, I show myself embarrassed to be Lutheran. All of that is to say that I’m not proud to be Lutheran . . . but I ought to be.

Whether it’s misplaced pride or inappropriate embarrassment, the problem is the same on both sides. I’m entirely too concerned with self, either in thinking that God must be impressed with my commitment to the truth or in wanting to minimize teachings that I feel stand in the way of the church’s growth.

To be Lutheran is to put aside everything you’ve done for God and to hold instead to Christ’s perfect righteousness in your place. Being Lutheran means clinging to Christ alone for the forgiveness of all your sins and finding your value in God’s unconditional love for you in Christ. It means finding your joy not in how you’re feeling about the Lord, but in his promises. We do not wish to boast in Luther or in a body of doctrine, but in Christ. Boasting in Christ is good, proper, and God-pleasing, because the Lord himself works it in us. “Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord’ ” (1 Corinthians 1:31).

So, go ahead and raise your hand!

Contributing editor Earle Treptow, a professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin, is a member at Calvary, Thiensville, Wisconsin.


Do you have a manuscript, idea, or story from your own life you’d like to share for use in Forward in Christ or on Use our online form to share it to our editorial office for consideration.


Get inspirational stories, spiritual help, and synod news from  Forward in Christ every month. Print and digital subscriptions are available from Northwestern Publishing House.


Author: Earle D. Treptow
Volume 104, Number 8
Issue: Augsut 2017

Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2021
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us

Print Friendly, PDF & Email