Q. 1. What is the heresy of "Lutheranism?"
A. 1. While it is difficult to explain the heresy of "Lutheranism" in a few words, an attempt is made to summarize the matter.
The origin of "Lutheranism" is traced to Martin Luther, a German Catholic monk and theologian, who initiated the Protestant Reformation in 1517. In that year, Luther published the 95 Theses, writings which were distributed internationally, spreading the ideas of Reformation beyond the influence and control of the Roman Catholic Curia and the Holy Roman Emperor.
Martin Luther promoted the doctrine of justification by faith alone, whereas "one is saved by grace alone through faith alone based on the Scripture alone." He taught that the Bible is the final authority on all matters of faith, denying the Roman Catholic belief of authority coming from both the Bible and the established Church Magisterium.
The Lutheran religion is one of the largest denominations of Protestantism and Christianity, with approximately 80 million followers, making it the third most common Protestant denomination after Pentecostal denominations and Anglicanism.
A questions that many ask today about christians belonging to other religions, "Are today's Lutherans considered heretics?" The Catholic Church teaches that today's christians who are born and raised in error are not guilty of the sins of their fathers. While the forefathers of today's Lutherans were excommunicated as heretics, their children and their children's children were not excommunicated. Therefore, the entrance of today's Lutherans into the Lutheran faith has never been officially declared as heretical by its action.
At the same time, it is to be acknowledged that every Lutheran knows the following or has an obligation to learn it:
- The Roman Catholic Church is the Mother Church, the Lutheran Church having been instituted by a man who broke away from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church;
- The Lutheran Church promotes doctrinal errors that have been condemned by the Catholic Church. Every Lutheran has an obligation to prayerfuflly study those errors in the hope of being enlightened by the Holy Spirit in the truth that is thought by the catholic Church;
- Once they have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit, every Lutheran has an obligation to renounce the errors that Martin Luther promoted;
- Every Lutheran has an obligation to convert to the Roman Catholic faith once they come to the realisation that they are living a faith of errors;
- By failing to embrace the Roman Catholic Church as the true faith, Lutherans who have received the Light of the Holy Spirit are now considered among the number of the heretics who have embraced the Lutheran faith. Thus they become part of the "Lutheranism heresy."
For the purpose of clarification, "A heretic is one who persistently denies a Catholic doctrine in spite of reason and an explanation of the teaching. A heresy is the belief of the heretic who opposes the divinely revealed teaching of the Catholic Church." [Catholic Doors Ministry]