There are many different churches in Norway and it may at times be hard to grasp the difference between the ones that exist, especially outside The Norwegian Church.
Therefore we wish to give you a brief explanation of who we are.
Frikirkens official name is The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church. What does this mean?
We are a lutheran church.
We belong to the lutheran branch and are therefore on the same branch as The Norwegian Church. In other words, we are lutheran.
We are an evangelical church.
Therefore, we belong to same tradition as most churches except for the catholic and the orthodox church. Furthermore, one of our most important heritage from the reformist of the 1500 hundreds is e.g. the following edicts from Luther:
- The word alone – not tradition.
We believe that the Bible is the word of God and that it is a crucial foundation for what we believe and teach, and for how we live.
While the catholics build their theology on the bible and tradition, Martin Luther claimed that only the scripture could give us the answer to theological questions. He therefore dismissed the authority of tradition, represented in the pope’s word and the church councils.
- Faith alone – not deeds.
Martin Luther criticized the church of his time for laying to much weight on deeds. He said that salvation is given by faith alone, not deeds. This was, by Luther, founded in the Paul’s letter to the Romans, in the New Testament. See Romans 3,20-22: «20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–»
- By grace alone – not human power.
What did Luther believe could give salvation, when good deeds weren’t enough? Luther believed only by God’s grace could man be saved. We as humans can only receive mercy, not gain it through our own strength. In other words, God’s goodness is freely given through grace.
We are a Free church
When the Free Church was born in 1877 it was mainly a reaction to the state church order of the time. One of the main slogans was:”The church should be led and managed by their own, believing members.”
In other words, we are a church that is free and independent from the Norwegian state. We choose who we want to hire, we take responsibility for our own economy and activity.
We also have more freedom than the Norwegian Church to decide over our own services and how they are organized.
If you wish to know more please contact our pastor or our elders.