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Protestant movement founded on the principles of Martin Luther. Lutheranism arose at the start of the Reformation, after Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses in Wittenberg. It spread through much of Germany and into Scandinavia, where it was established by law. It was brought to the New World by the colonists of New Netherland and New Sweden and spread through the U.S. Middle Atlantic states in the 18th century and the Midwest in the 19th century. Its doctrines are contained in the catechisms of Luther and in the Augsburg Confession. Lutheran doctrine emphasizes salvation by faith alone and the primacy of the Bible as the church's authority. The Lutheran ministry is one of servicenot special statusand is described as the priesthood of all believers. Lutherans accept two sacraments (baptism and the Eucharist) and believe in predestination to salvation. The Lutheran World Federation is based in Geneva. See alsoPietism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Lutheranism, visit Britannica.com.