A Lutheran is one "who follows the ideas and teaching of the German religious leader Martin Luther" (Cambridge Dictionary). Lutheranism, a major branch of Protestant Christianity, traces its foundation and doctrines back to the teachings of Martin Luther (1483-1546), the German monk whose emphasis on salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone and the supremacy of the Bible over church tradition differed from the Catholic Church and sparked the Protestant Reformation in the early sixteenth century. A widespread denomination in Germany, many of the earliest Lutherans in the United States were German immigrants. Though its traditional, liturgical service style made the church resistant to the emotional, highly unorthodox practices of Great Awakening services, the large influx of German immigrants to the United States in the middle of the nineteenth century nonetheless saw the expansion of American Lutheranism, particularly in the Midwest (Britannica; Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 186, 298-9).

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