To address this question to people who do not believe the Bible would be meaningless. We address it to those who profess to be Christians in general, and to Lutherans particularly.
The foundation and substance of Christian doctrine is that which was taught by Christ and His apostles. “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11), and “…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20). Historically the Lutheran Church dates its origin to the 16th century Reformation (Martin Luther, the Augsburg Confession, the Formula of Concord).
“First then [we receive and embrace with our whole heart] the Prophetic and Apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the pure clear fountain of Israel, which is the only true standard by which all teachers and all doctrines are to be judged” (Triglotta FC, Thor. Declaration, p. 851, para.1).
It is to the shame of much of Lutheranism in these waning days of Lutheran confessionalism, that many while claiming the name of “Lutheran” have kicked over the traces that are the mark of the Lutheran Church. Today the standard by which teachers and doctrines are judged is personal opinion, personal whims, societal standards, social agendas, and political correctness.
Today it is not sufficient to respond to an inquiry by saying, “I am a Lutheran.” The name “Lutheran” just as the name “Christian” has lost its distinctive definition.
Especially of those who claim the Lutheran name but who for whatever reason no longer hold to sound Lutheran teaching
Do you as a Lutheran believe that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is therefore inerrant and absolute truth? Do you believe that Scripture is the only “true standard by which all teachers and doctrines are to be judged?” If not, why not?
Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? If not, why not?
Do you believe that there are doctrines beyond the grasp of human reason that are to be believed through faith? If not, why not?
Do you believe that the true God is the Triune God and that any other god is an idol? If not, why not?
Do you believe that God created the world in 6 natural days, by the power of His Word? If not, why not?
Do you believe that original and actual sin mark the sinner as worthy of eternal condemnation and death? If not, why not?
Do you believe that Christ (the Messiah) whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament was conceived (according to His humanity) of the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, and as the Son of God and Son of Mary (God-Man) died for the sins of the world? If not, why not?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and that only those who believe in Him will have eternal life in heaven? If not, why not?
Do you believe that the Law exposes sin and condemns the sinner, and that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes? If not, why not?
Do you believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, without the deeds of the Law? If not, why not?
Do you believe it is God’s will that we should faithfully and gladly hear and learn the Word of God? If not, why not?
Do you believe that the Means of Grace—the Gospel in Word and Sacrament (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper)–are the marks of the Church? If not, why not?
Do you believe that the body and blood of the Lord are truly present sacramentally in the Lord’s Supper? If not why not?
Do you believe that God instituted marriage as the union between one man and one woman? If not. Why not?
Do you believe that God declared the husband to be the head of the wife and that the wife is to submit to him in Christ, and that together they are to love each other as they are loved by the Lord? If not, why not?
Do you believe that children are a gift of God and that life as it begins in the womb is to be protected? If not, why not?
Do you believe that it is the will of God that men serve in the public ministry of the Word in the Church? If not, why not?
Do you believe that the Word of God and only the Word of God is to be taught in the Church? If not, why not?
Do you believe it is God’s will that the churches are to be agreed in what is taught in order to practice fellowship with one another? If not, why not?
Do you believe that upon the established fact that a church or a pastor teaches contrary to the Word of God (the doctrines which we have learned) such are to be avoided? If not, why not?
Do you believe that when the Lord returns believers in Christ will go to heaven, and those who have rejected Christ will go to hell? If not, why not?
Finally, do you believe that the primary commission of the Church is to preach the Gospel of salvation in Christ, and to that end sin and grace (Law and Gospel) are the essential teaching of the Church? If not, why not?
All of the above and more that we have not addressed are historic teachings of Reformation Lutheranism drawn from the Bible, and are set forth in the Confessions of the Book of Concord to which historically every faithful Lutheran pastor has subscribed.
Have you asked your pastor if he stands without reservation upon the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions?
Does your church and church body proclaim the Word of God faithfully?
If you or your pastor believe the Bible is the Word of God, what justifies compromising any of its teachings?
If you or your pastor do not believe the whole Bible is the Word of God, why believe any of it?
If you or your pastor do not believe that the whole Bible is the Word of God, who shall decide what is and what is not to be believed?
If you do not believe what the Lutheran Church faithful to the Reformation teaches, why do you call yourself a Lutheran?
Finally, if you do not believe the whole Bible, how do you hope to be saved?
Jesus said, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Jesus also said to the Jews who believed in Him “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free…(John 8: 31-32).
“If it is not Scripture, it is not Lutheran.