Q: What do Lee Harvey Oswald and Johann Sebastian Bach have in common (apart from both having a middle name)?
A: They were both Lutherans.
As are (or were) Bruce Willis, Björk, Beau and Jeff Bridges, William Hurt, Liv Ullmann, and dozens of other famous people.
The most famous Lutheran is of course, Martin Luther, who began the earliest Protestant church in 1517. Unlike some of the later Reformed churches, Lutheranism has retained many of the liturgical rites and sacramental understandings of the Catholic Church. For the cross, however, rather than the Crucifix favoured by Roman Catholics, Lutherans generally prefer the simple Latin Cross (favoured by Protestants).
In terms of size, the church has about the same number of adherents as Anglicans, Methodists and Baptists. There are many Lutheran churches; the main ones being the Church of Sweden, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, the Church of Denmark, the Church of Norway, and the Protestant Church of Netherlands.
In Germany, the home of Lutheranism, the main churches are the Protestant Lutheran Church of Hanover, the Protestant Lutheran Church in Bavaria, the Evangelical State Church of Württemberg and the North Elbian Evangelical Church.
Many Lutheran churches, or churches with Lutheran roots, have their own logo and here, in alphabetical sequence, are some of the main ones:
Batak Christian Protestant Church
Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa
Christian Protestant Church in Indonesia
Church in Iceland
Church of Norway
Church of Sweden
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus
Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria
Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria
Lutheran Council of Great Britain
Protestant Church in Netherlands
Simalungun Protestant Christian Church
Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
United Evangelical Lutheran Church in India
The Lutheran Cross featured at the top of this page is adorned with the Luther Rose (or Luther Seal). Martin Luther himself was involved in the creation of this logo. He explained:
"Grace and peace from the Lord.
As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology.
The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural colour, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For one who believes from the heart will be justified" (Rom. 10:10). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural colour. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17) but by faith in the crucified.
Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to how that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red27, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (Matt. 28:3 John 20:12).
Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed.
And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal.
This is my compendium theoligae ['summary of theology']. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation.
May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter.