Number of Worldwide Members:
According to the Lutheran World Federation, there are approximately 66 million Lutherans worldwide.
Lutheran Church Founding:
The origins of the Lutheran denomination trace back to the 16th century and the reforms of Martin Luther, a German monk and professor who has been called the "Father of the Reformation." For more about Lutheran history, visit Lutheran Denomination - Brief History.
Prominent Lutheran Church Founder:
According to the Lutheran World Federation, 36 million Lutherans live in Europe, 13 million in Africa, 8.4 million in North America, 7.3 million in Asia, and 1.1 million in Latin America. Today in America, the two largest Lutheran church bodies are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), with more than 5 million members, and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) with more than 2.5 million members.
Sacred or Distinguishing Text:
The Bible, The Book of Concord.
Martin Luther, Pastor Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg, H. George Anderson.
Lutheran Church Beliefs and Practices:
Martin Luther and other early leaders of Lutheran faith wrote most of the Lutheran beliefs found in the Book of Concord. The Book of Concord is considered the doctrinal authority by members of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS). It contains several texts including The Three Ecumenical Creeds, The Augsburg Confession, and The Defense of the Augsburg Confession. For more about what Lutherans believe, visit Lutheran Denomination - Beliefs and Practices.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) gives less emphasis to the Book of Concord, seeing it predominantly as an historical document with valid interpretations of the Lutheran faith. The ELCA Confession of Faith includes the acceptance of the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.
(Sources: ReligiousTolerance.org, ReligionFacts.com, AllRefer.com, and the Religious Movements Web site of the University of Virginia.)