Who We Are

What is a Lutheran?

We want the world to know that we Lutherans have our Bibles open, and we believe with simplicity what the Lord speaks there; that we are true sinners and saints at the same time, that we are thoughtful and generous, historical and current; that we pray and sing and work hard; and that theological integrity is the best way that we can serve the church at large.

Lutherans let the Law and the Gospel echo in the full voice with which God speaks it, and we are on the lookout for error because we love to hear the Truth, the life-giving voice of Jesus. Lutherans care about their families and their neighbours and the world, both in this life and in the life to come. We are working to recover the joy and delight of doctrine, of the Gospel.

God’s Word

Lutherans are Christians who believe that all Christian teachings should come from God’s Word, the Bible. We believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that everything in the Bible is true and correct. We believe that it is only through the Bible that we can know the one true God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – and His will for our lives.

The Triune God

We believe in the triune God: in God the Father, who created us; in God the Son, who redeemed us and in God the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies us – our one and only God.

God’s Grace

We are all sinful beings and can never reach the level of purity, required by God, to enter into his presence. It is only, when we come to believe in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, who with His suffering, His death and resurrection has made atonement for our sins and freed us from the slavery of sin, so that we may rise to eternal life.

The Christian Church

We cannot by our own strength believe in Jesus Christ. God the Holy Spirit gives us his true faith through the Word and the sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion. People become believers where the Gospel is preached purely and where the sacraments are administered according to Christ’s institution. This communion of believers is the Christian church.

Believers who have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour are united in fellowship in the congregation. Jesus Christ is head of the body, the church, and the believers are members of His body.

Historical Background

Lutheran Churches in South Africa were initiated by German missionaries, sent to the country to spread the Gospel among the Zulu and the Tswana.

Farmers and craftsmen, who had accompanied the missionaries from Germany eventually became independent of the mission and founded their own German-speaking congregations. They felt strongly about Jesus Christ being the focal centre of their lives and therefore built churches and designated Lutheran pastors.

These congregations erected their own schools in the vicinity of the churches, so that the Christian heritage should be preserved for their children. Besides the usual school subjects, Bible stories and the Lutheran Catechism were taught. The language in use during these times was mostly German.


In the ensuing generations and through marriage, other cultures and language groups have joined the Lutheran church. Today most Lutheran congregations have a Sunday service not only in German but also in one of the official languages. In the St John’s Lutheran Parish, in Shelly Beach, the language used for all services is English.

Unity in the Church

On His way to the cross, Jesus prayed for His disciples (John 17), asking the Father that “they may all be one” (v.21). We therefore, under the auspices of the FELSISA, strives for the unity of the church of Jesus Christ.

False doctrine is the major cause of disunity. The apostles continually warned against false doctrine and the Bible repeatedly calls for dissociation from such. Even in the early days of Christendom false doctrine was being spread and already then the church had to take a strong stand in defence of the Word of God

The Lutheran Church, under FELSISA, is committed to preaching the true Word of God and to minister the sacraments according to the Gospel.