You Speak with a Lutheran Accent

In conversation with Lutheran World Relief's Andean Region Director.

In conversation with Lutheran World Relief’s Andean Region Director.

Español | It normally doesn’t take more than a minute or two of conversation in Spanish with a Latin American or US Latino before they ask me, “where did you learn Spanish?”

Aprendí en el Perú. “I learned in Peru,” I normally respond, purposefully skipping over the boring details that explain why I speak with the accent that I do (while having studied Spanish in lots of different places and with teachers from lots of different backgrounds, Peru is the country where I lived the longest and learned the most).

¡Con razón! – “Well, no wonder!” – is normally their answer. “You speak with a Peruvian accent.”

This past week in my Lutheran Confessions class, I learned that when it comes to matters of faith and life, I also speak with a Lutheran accent. It probably won’t take more than a minute or two of conversation (regardless of the language we’re speaking) before you realize that I talk like a Lutheran. You might me hear me saying things like,

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Spain's publication of Luther's Small Catechism.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Spain’s publication of Luther’s Small Catechism. Photo from luteranos.net

We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

I believe that I cannot by own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word.

I talk with the accent that I do because I learned how speak about my faith from Luther’s Small Catechism. For the past 500 years, Luther’s Small Catechism has given Lutherans everywhere a language to talk about our faith. This little “handbook of the Christian faith and life” (Luther uses the word enchridion for the subtitle of one of his editions, meaning “handbook”) gives us the ABCs of Christianity.

It takes the message of Scripture – repentance and forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus – and puts it into simple terms for the head of the household to teach to his family. What, then, does it mean to speak with a Lutheran accent? Hopefully, that I speak about the Gospel of Jesus in clear, simple terms!

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