Who We Are

 WHO WE ARE:

We are a congregation of Lutherans just off the corner of Oradell Ave. and Forest Ave. in Paramus, NJ. We’re the church with the giant cross in front and across the street from Bergen Catholic High School.

We have been here a little over 60 years. We are blessed to still have a few original members in our congregation however, we are certainly different than we were 60 years ago as is our whole society.  We are delighted by liturgical worship with lots of musical variations and active service to people in need.

We are Christians. We are Trinitarian. We believe in God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are committed to a congregational life that helps faith grow.

WHAT IS A LUTHERAN?

Lutherans are not people who follow the teachings of Martin Luther. We are Christians who read the Bible with Luther, to discover a loving and caring God shown to us in Jesus Christ.

Martin Luther was a German theologian born in the 15th century who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Church at that time. On October 31, 1517 he posted a challenge to debate, titled the “95 Theses”  (95 theological issues) on the door of Wittenberg University’s Church.  His hope was that the church would reform its practices and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible.

Today nearly five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate Reformation Day on October 31 and still hold to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings, such as Grace alone, Faith alone and Scripture alone. These three are the very essence of Lutheranism:

  • We are saved by the grace of God alone- not by anything we do.
  • Our salvation is through faith alone- confident trust in God, who in Christ, promises us forgiveness, life and salvation.
  • The Bible is the norm for faith and life- the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.

WHERE DID OUR DENOMINATION COME FROM?

Over the years different Lutheran bodies were established and organized to meet the needs of Lutherans in communities and nations all over the world. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the largest Lutheran group in North America. The ELCA was founded in 1988 when three North American Lutheran church bodies united. There were three different churches. Immigrants to the United States naturally formed along home country bases.  We’re not Scandinavian or German anymore: we are an international church. 

As Lutherans we call ourselves a reforming, not a reformed, movement within the whole Christian church.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as part of practicing the Christian faith, has engaged in ecumenical dialog with other church bodies for decades.  In fact, the ELCA has entered into cooperative “full communion” agreements (sharing common convictions about theology, mission and worship) with several other Protestant denominations including:

  • the Moravian Church
  • the Episcopal Church
  • the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • the Reformed Church in America
  • the United Church of Christ
  • the United Methodist Church

The ELCA has an ongoing dialog with the Roman Catholic Church. In 1999 representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Roman Catholic Church signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. What this document says is that we do agree on the way we are justified before God as we preach and teach now in the 21st century.  This represented a historic consensus on key issues of faith and called for further dialog and study together.

Lutheran churches are open to all, regardless of background. The ELCA is almost 5 million members strong with nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

We expect and welcome visitors as we acknowledge that we’re all visitors in the presence of God. God chooses to call us family!