I was raised in a devout Lutheran family and was a sincere member of the Lutheran Church for 15 years. However, an intense study of Scripture in my mid-teens led me to conclude that there were fundamental differences between Lutheran theology and Biblical truth. I ultimately made the difficult decision to leave the church of my upbringing.
My Lutheran Upbringing
I was born into a thoroughly Lutheran family. My parents were devout Lutherans and raised me in the Lutheran church from birth. I attended Sunday school every week, participated in Luther League youth activities, and was confirmed in the Lutheran church at age 12.
The Lutheran faith was deeply ingrained in all aspects of my family’s life. We had nightly Bible readings and prayers together. My parents forbade activities like smoking, drinking, gambling, etc. As far as I knew, being a Lutheran defined what it meant to be a devoted Christian.
What I Appreciated About Lutheranism
There were many positives about my Lutheran upbringing. I’m thankful for:
- The emphasis on Scripture reading, even if it was fairly superficial,
- Nightly devotions and family prayers
- The godly example set by my parents
- Prohibitions against clearly sinful activities
- The rich Lutheran history and heritage
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home and church community. My sincere intent here is not to condemn Lutheranism entirely but to explain my journey toward greater Biblical truth.
An Incessant Quest for Truth
At age 15, I began poring over Scripture on my own. For the first time, I studied the Bible not just for devotional snippets but to understand God’s completely revealed truth.
I started asking hard questions about Lutheran doctrine and practice versus the Bible’s clear teachings. My study over many months made me increasingly uneasy about the disparities I saw.
God’s Word tells us, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). I became passionate about pursuing that freedom through knowing God’s objective revelation.
Troubling Discoveries from Scripture
I won’t attempt to list all the disagreements I uncovered between Lutheranism and Scripture during my months of intense study. But here are some core issues that bothered my conscience:
1. Denominations Themselves
In Acts 20:28–30, Paul warns that false teachers will arise and draw people after themselves. He condemns calling oneself after church leaders, saying, “Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor 1:13).
Yet I was part of a church named after Martin Luther. Lutherans are devoted followers of Luther’s particular teachings. I realized that denominations, while commonplace today, are foreign to the 1st-century church I read about in Scripture.
2. Infant Baptism
My studies revealed no Biblical justification for baptizing babies and unbelieving children. Baptism in Scripture follows an individual’s repentance and profession of faith in Christ (Acts 2:38; 16:14–15; 16:31–34).
Yet Lutheranism baptizes helpless infants based on the faith of parent/sponsor proxies. I concluded that infant baptism, while sincerely intended, is an unscriptural tradition of man.
3. Baptismal Regeneration
Not only does Scripture teach the wrong mode and subjects of baptism, but Lutherans ascribe an unbiblical regenerating power to the ritual itself. But Peter clearly declares that baptism is “not the removal of dirt from the flesh” (1 Pet 3:21). There is no spiritual power in water application alone.
4. Pastors as Ultimate Church Authorities
In Lutheranism, the seminary-educated pastor is the local church’s supreme authority. Laity are expected to accept their doctrinal pronouncements unquestioningly. But Scripture shows that Christ alone is the head of the church (Col 1:18) and God’s word is the sole authority (2 Tim 3:16-17).
5. Multiple Other Concerns
Many other Lutheran beliefs and practices troubled me, including:
- The extra-biblical Book of Concord as doctrinal authority
- Infrequent communion vs. weekly Lord’s supper meetings (Acts 20:7)
- Liturgical formalism was absent from the early church
- Unbiblical church leadership roles are unknown to the apostles
- Women pastors and leaders, contradicting Scripture
- Worldly lifestyles and entertainment choices
- Ecumenical unity efforts with apostate denominations
This is just a sampling of the differences I perceived between Lutheran tradition and Biblical truth. Over time, the weight of these discrepancies burdened my conscience greatly.
An Excruciating Decision
After months of intensive personal Bible study, I reached an agonizing conclusion: I must leave the cherished church of my childhood.
I loved my family and did not want to abandon our shared faith tradition. But I could not, in good conscience, continue embracing doctrines and practices that diverged from Scripture. I had to take my stand with God’s infallible Word as the sole religious authority.
In God’s strength, I made the difficult choice to resign my Lutheran membership and simply be a New Testament Christian. My solid rock became not Luther or his theology but Christ alone (1 Cor 3:11). I intended to follow the early church’s example of walking only per His Word.
My decision severed me from family and religious ties. But obeying God’s truth called me to a radical stand regardless of earthly consequences (Luke 14:26-27). Peace flooded my soul as I aligned fully with Scriptural teachings at last.
My Life Since Leaving Lutheranism
That intensely formative experience as a teen firmly fixed God’s Word as my source of spiritual light and guidance. I’ve never regretted taking a stand on Scripture versus human denominational tradition.
Leaving familiar Lutheranism launched me on an incredible lifelong quest to understand and apply all of Christ’s glorious teachings. I’m still learning! My relationship with him grows continually deeper and richer.
I love studying with others who simply want to be New Testament Christians. Iron continues sharpening iron as we explore and apply Biblical truths together. My desire is never contentious debate but to kindly share the conclusions my diligent studies have led me to.
Perhaps this account of my struggles as a young Lutheran will challenge you to examine your own church’s teachings. Compare them to the purity of Scripture. Let God’s Word be the perfect mirror showing anything in your doctrine or practice not aligned with His will.
“Test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess 5:21). Evaluate all you believe against Scripture. Whatever diverges from Biblical truth, dare to stand with the Bible instead of comfortable religious tradition.
I know it’s hard. But the rewards are infinite and eternal. Determine to follow Jesus on the narrow way—wherever it leads, whatever it costs (Matt 7:13-14). With His grace, you can do it. And walking in His true light fills life with joy unspeakable!
I welcome any feedback or sincere questions you may have about my story.
Korean Community Church Of New Jersey