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Continental European Protestantism

Lutheran Church of Norway

Doctrines The Lutheran Church of Norway adheres to the central doctrinal tenets of the Lutheran Church: that there are only two true sacraments, baptism and the eucharist; that the Bible alone is the 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 Norway 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 Norway in the 11th century through the kings Olaf Tryggvason and Olaf II Haraldsson, both of whom had been baptised outside of Norway. In 1152 a national church was established, with the archbishopric in Nidaros (present-day Trondheim).
The Reformation was brought to Norway by King Christian III of Denmark (reigned 1534-59). Norway officially accepted the Reformation in 1539, leading to the deposition of those bishops who continued to support Roman Catholic theology and the confiscation of church property by the government. In 1660 the church was placed entirely under state control.
As in other Scandinavian countries, the 18th century saw the transmission of pietism from Germany to Norway. This produced a revival in Norwegian life expressed in the establishment of brotherhoods and missions.
During the second world war the church played a major role in opposing the dominance of National Socialism in Norwegian life. In the face of the Nazi attempt to control church life, all the church bishops resigned.
The monarchy and parliament continue to have considerable control over the church. The monarch has the right to appoint bishops and pastors. Although the majority of the population are baptised into the church, only about 3 % regularly attend church services.

Symbols Like most Protestant churches the Lutheran Church of Norway eschews ostentatious religious art forms, instead preferring simple architecture and bare interiors. As virtually all Protestant traditions, Christ is represented symbolically by bread and wine. The church logo consists of a red shield which contains a yellow cross with two crosses bisecting the horizontal bar of the cross.

Adherents In 1996 about 87 % of the population belonged to the Lutheran Church of Norway (Europa Publications Ltd., 1997, Vol 2: 2511).

Main Centre
 Council of Norwegian Bishoprics, POB 1937 Gronland, 0135, Oslo, Norway.