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Continental European Protestantism

Lutheran Church of Denmark

Doctrines The Lutheran Church of Denmark adheres to the central doctrinal tenets of the Lutheran Church: that there are only two true sacraments, baptism and the eucharist; that the Bible is the sole basis of faith; the priesthood of believers; justification by faith alone; salvation by grace through faith; and the power of civil authorities to regulate the church. The doctrines of the Lutheran Church of Denmark are subsumed within the following five creeds: the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, the Augsburg Confession, and Luther's Small Catechism.

History Christianity came to Denmark in the 9th century through St Angar (801-865 CE), a Benedictine monk and the archbishop of Hamburg. It was only in the 10th century, however, when King Harold Bluetooth became a Christian that the church was organised and Christianity spread throughout the country. At the beginning of the 12th century the first archbishopric for all Scandinavia was set up in Lund, Sweden.
The Reformation was supported by King Christian III (reigned 1536-1539) who decreed that Denmark would become a Lutheran state. German Lutheranism had a major impact on the Danish church from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Of particular importance was pietism which stressed holiness and personal experience in religious life. In the 19th century the church became subject to attack on its excessive attachment to rationalism. The best known critic of the church was the religious philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).

Symbols Like virtually all Protestant traditions, the Lutheran Church of Denmark avoids the use of perceived ostentatious art forms. As in all mainstream churches, bread and wine are used in the eucharist to represent Christ's body and blood. Church interiors are often bare, possibly containing a cross. On its web site the church uses a logo consisting of a white fish in red box. The fish is a traditional symbol of the church; the colours red and white are the colours of the Danish flag.

Adherents Church membership in 1995 was 4,539,773 (Europa Publications Ltd., 1997, Vol 2, 1089)

Main Centre
 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, Norregarde 11, 1165 Copenhagen K, Denmark.