Famous Lutherans!

Last Updated on September 6, 2004 A.D

A number of years ago, a young member of our congregation was asked this question:  "Lutheran? What's that? Is that like the Mormons?" Well -- no! (see our web-section on Lutheran Beliefs for more information on what Lutherans traditionally believe, teach and confess). Why the question? It probably has a lot to do with the fact that in New England Lutherans make up only one half of one percent of the population (that's 0.5%!). Beautiful as it might be, New England ain't exactly Lutheran country. But far from being a tiny sect, Lutherans worldwide number in the tens of millions. In fact, Lutherans throughout the past five centuries have made some great contributions to society.

Below is a (somewhat eclectic) listing of some prominent Lutherans from the past five centuries. We think you'll find it interesting (and sometimes surprising!)

Note: To make this list more manageable, we have arranged the names by category. In many cases an individual could have been placed in a number of different areas; however, in part to prevent this list from becoming unduly long, we have placed each person in one category only, with a listing of his or her major contributions to church and society after his/her name. All people are Americans unless otherwise specified.

New and revised entries are indicated with a NEW ! designator.

Click here for the Faith Lutheran Church main page !

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Or learn more about our favourite Lutheran-run Auckland pest control service

Actors and Actresses

Erika Alexander, actress whose credits include the Bill Cosby show.

Loni Anderson (b.1946) celebrity, thespian, and author. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in the Lutheran Church, Loni was for a time a Sunday School teacher. She is perhaps best known for her role as Jennifer Marlowe, secretary to the oft-befuddled Gordon Jump ("The Big Guy") in the popular sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982). Since WKRP, Loni has worked regularly on the small screen, appearing in many movies made expressly for television. For the big screen she loaned her vocal talents to the character of Flo in the animated feature All Dogs Go to Heaven, which helped answer the profound theological question, "What happens when my pet dies?" Her autobiography My Life in High Heels (Morrow, 1995) details her rise to international stardom as well as her marriage to (and subsequent divorce from) fellow actor and celebrity Burt Reynolds (who, to his great credit, was also featured in All Dogs Go to Heaven).

Brice Beckham, actor who played Wesley Owens in the '80's sitcom "Mr. Belvedere"; also, his father is a Lutheran pastor.

Beau Bridges, actor

Jeff Bridges, actor

Gary Cole, actor; recently well known for his portrayal of Mike Brady in the "Brady Bunch" movies.

David Hasselhoff (b.1952) actor, producer, recording artist. Perhaps best known for his role as Mitch in "Baywatch" (once the world's most popular television program, with over one billion viewers a week!), David also starred as Michael Knight in the hit 1980's series Knight Rider (along with a really cool talking car) and in the soap opera The Young and the Restless.

Annabeth Gish, actress whose film credits include Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995), Scarlette (1994), Mystic Pizza (1988), and "The X-Files".

William Hurt (b.1950) critcally-aclaimed actor whose many film credits include The Big Chill (1983), Broadcast News (1987) Children of a Lesser God (1986) and Lost In Space (1998).

William H. Macy (b. ? ) Oscar award winning actor who starred in, among other films, Fargo and Mystery Men. Once was quoted as saying "I am Lutheran down to my socks." Presently rumored to be in the new "Jurassic Park" movie.

Ann-Margret (b.1941) actress, singer, and all around entertainer. Born in Valsjobyn, Sweden, she has twice been nominated for an Academy Award. Her many film credits include Grumpy Old Men (1993) and its sequel, Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963). She is also one of the very few Lutherans ever to have dated Elvis.

Christopher Orr, actor whose credits include Disney's The Mighty Ducks films. Later converted to the Orthodox Church.

James Rebhorn, popular Hollywood supporting actor whose film credits include Independence Day (with Will Smith), The Game (with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn), Fatal Attraction (with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close) and Seinfeld (with, well, Seinfeld). Mr. Rebhorn is a 1970 graduate of the ELCA's Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

Andy Richter (b.1966) actor and original sidekick on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Andy also appeared in Chris Elliot's motion-picture comedy Cabin Boy (along with former NBC Late Night host David Letterman).

Kevin Sorbo (b.1958). Kevin first rose to fame as the title character in the syndicated television series Hercules. He later parlayed that success into the big-screen adaptation of Robert E. Howard's classic hero King Kull in Kull the Conqueror.

David Soul (born David Richard Solberg, 1943) actor; director; producer; recording artist; starred in "Here Come the Brides" with teen heartthrob Bobby Sherman; played Detective Hutchinson in the television police drama "Starsky and Hutch" (1975-1979). David's father was Dr. Richard Solberg, who served as Senior Representative for Lutheran World Federation.

Sally Struthers - Perhaps best known for her portrayal of Gloria on the popular sitcom "All in the Family". She is also known for her work for children's charities in impoverished areas of the world.

Liv Ullman (b.1939) Norwegian actress of international renown, especially noted for the nine films she made with Ingmar Bergman. Three-time winner Best actress, New York Film Critics (1972, 1974, 1976).

Bruce Willis (b.1955) actor, recording artist, restaurant entrepreneur. Born on a military base in Germany (the heart of the Reformation!), the future movie star moved to Carney's Point New Jersey, where he attended (and was later confirmed at) Trinity Lutheran Church. Active in theater at New Jersey's own Montclair State College, Bruce's breakthrough role came in 1985 with the hit television show Moonlighting.Making an astonishingly successful transition to the silver screen, a full six of his films have grossed over $100,000,000: The Sixth Sense (1999),Armageddon(1998),Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995), Pulp Fiction (1994), Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990), and Look Who's Talking (1989). As a recording artist, his 1986 album The Return of Bruno spawned the hit Respect Yourself, which hit number 5 in January of 1987. With fellow action-hero icons Arnold Schwarzengger and Sylvester Stallone, Bruce co-founded the famous restaurant chain Planet Hollywood. Although his current denominational affiliation is unknown, our confirmands can take comfort in this: even a world-famous action hero like Bruce Willis once had to learn Luther's Small Catechism.

Steve Zahn (b.1968) Steve appeared as a member of the (fictional) pop band The Wonders in the Tom Hanks feature film That Thing You Do! (1996), and in the Ben Stiller feature Reality Bites (1994). Before embarking upon his acting career, Steve studied for a year at the ELCA's Gustavus Adolphus College in his home state of Minnesota.


Sandra Bowden, painter. Head of CVA, Christian Ministry in Visual Arts.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) German court painter; member of the council of Wittenberg and later its mayor; friend of Martin Luther and sponsor of the Reformer's oldest son. An early champion of the Reformation, this well-known an prolific artist is now especially known for his woodcuts and portraits of the Reformers.

Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515-1586) prominent Reformation artist in Germany who worked for his father and continued in his style.

Paul Granland, sculptor

Cecile Johnson, watercolorist

Cecile Ryder Johnson, artist

Gary Larsen (b.1950) cartoonist and creator of the classic comic The Far Side.

Alexandra Nechita : at 15 years old is one of the most famous artists in the world. She was once called the "Petite Picasso".


Dan Brandenstein : Former chief astronaut who flew various shuttle missions.

Mark Lee (b.1952) Colonel, USAF; former astronaut; chief of the Astronaut Office EVA Branch. Shuttle flights included missions on the Atlantis (1989), Endeavor (1992) and Discovery (1994, 1997).

LTC Jeff Williams : Astronaut on a recent shuttle mission.


Warrin Bennis, author on leadership

Herbert Brokering, pastor and author

Rita Mae Brown (b.1944) prolific author of novels, poetry, articles, book reviews, teleplays and screenplays. Her works include Outfoxed (2000), Bingo (1988), and The Hand That Cradles the Rock (1971). The author has also had a series of successful collaborations with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, on the Mrs. Murphy Mystery series, which include Murder, She Meowed (1996) and the forthcoming Pawing Thru the Past (April 2000).

Terrance Fretheim, author

Jean Garton, author of "Who Broke the Baby?"

Theodore Geisel, better known to the world as "Dr. Seuss"; well-loved children's author.

Edna Hong, author

Phyllis Kersten, author

Janet Letnos Martin, author

George Lindbeck, scholar/author

Betty Mahmoody author of Not Without My Daughter which was later made into a major motion picture starring Sally Field.

Alfred Rehwinkel - Author of "The Flood", an outstanding refutation of the evolutionists and astronomers who wish to deny the Biblical account of Creation and the Flood. Husband of Bessie Rehwinkel ( see entry on her under Physicians )

Jose David Rodriguez, author

Mary Manz Simon (b.1948) The wife of an LCMS pastor and mother of three, Dr. Simon is best known as one of Lutheranism's foremost educators and writers of religious literature for children. A teacher with a doctoral degree in education (specializing in early childhood education), Dr. Simon has taught from the preschool to graduate school. Among her dozens of books for children are Little Visits with Jesus (1995), and the new Hear Me Read series from Concordia Publishing House, featuring Bible stories that can be read out loud by children aged 2-6 (Level 1) and 5-9 (Level 2).

Bob Sylwester, author, pioneer in brain-based learning

Tim Sultan - writer for GQ magazine.

NEW ! John Updike (b. 1932) - Author. Though raised a Lutheran, present religious affiliation unknown.

E. Louise Williams, author


Peter Beskendorf a.k.a."Peter the Master Barber" (d.1538) The man with the shears that lowered the ears of Martin Luther. One of Luther's oldest and closest friends in Germany, Luther wrote his classic pamphlet A Simple Way to Pray (1535) in response to Peter's question of how someone could pray without being bothered by worldly distractions.

Beauty Contestants

Gretchen Carlson, 1989 Miss America; former Miss Minnesota; granddaughter of an ELCA pastor, now with NBC News.

Carolyn Sapp, 1992 Miss America; former Miss Hawaii. Correspondent, Fox Sports in California.

Elke Sommer (born Elke Schletz in 1940) actress and painter who has appeared in over 90 motion pictures, including The Prize (1963) and Shot in the Dark (1964). In 1959, 19-year old Elke won Italy's Miss Viarrego beauty pageant.

Bible Translators

William F. Beck (1904-1966) Biblical scholar and translator of The Holy Bible: An American Translation (Leader Publishing, 1976).

Robert G. Hoerber (1918-1996), pastor; professor of exegetical theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1974-1989). In addition to working as a translator for The Holy Bible: New King James Version, Dr. Hoerber served as the general editor of The Concordia Self-Study Bible (CPH, 1986), a Lutheran revision of The NIV Study Bible.

Biblical Scholars

Franz Delitzsch (1813-1890) German scholar and seminary professor; co-author (with C. F. Keil) of the classic 10-volume Commentary on the Old Testament.

Johann (C.F.) Keil (1807-1888) German scholar and seminary professor; co-author (with Franz Delitzsch) of the classic 10-volume Commentary on the Old Testament.

Richard Charles Henry Lenski (1864-1936) Prussian born American scholar. A prolific writer and editor, Dr. Lenski today is best remembered for his classic conservative "Interpretation of..." New Testament commentary series, first published by Wartburg Press.

Business Leaders

Marilyn Carlson Nelson, CEO, Carlson Companies

Linda Ehlers, Dayton Hudson, President, department store division

Rebecca O. Kendall, Eli Lily VP & general counsel

Hugo Magnussen, founder of the "Hugo" grocery store chain and former mayor of Grand Forks, ND.

Church Leaders

H. George Anderson (b.1932) churchwide bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1995-present).

Ralph A. Bohlmann (b.1932) theologian; seminary professor and president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; ninth president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Author of Principles of Biblical Interpretation in the Lutheran Confessions.

Herbert Chilstrom, former churchwide bishop of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (1987-1995).

James Ford (1931-2001) Chaplain, U.S. House of Representatives

Franklin Clark Fry (1900-1968) pastor and president of the United Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America.

Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg (1711-1787) pastor and church organizer. Considered to be the father of the Lutheran Church in America.

Jacob A. O. Preus II (1920-1994) seminary professor and president; president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; noted Chemnitz scholar and translator.

Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705) German churchman and founder of Lutheran Pietism.

Martin Stephan (1777-1846) German-born pastor and leader of the Saxon immigrants to Missouri who later formed the nexus of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Deposed in 1839, he was sent upriver to Illinois, where he continued to preach and minister until his death.

C. F. W. Walther (1811-1887) German immigrant and American pastor; theologian; author; hymn writer; professor and president, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; first (and third!) president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. One of the founding fathers of the Missouri Synod and one of the greatest American theologians of any age.

F.C.D. Wyneken (1810 - 1876), the second president of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

Church Musicians

Paul O. Manz (b.1919) church musician, recording artist and organist of national renown.

Carl F. Schalk (b.1929) church musician and prolific writer of hymn tunes.

Ralph C. Schultz (b.1932) church musician; 7th President, Concordia College, Bronxville, NY; accomplished choir director; arranger of sacred music; composer of hymn tunes.

(for the Bach family, see "Composers" below)

Civil Rights Leaders

Will Herzfeld, ELCA pastor. Perhaps the best known African American Lutheran leader, Rev. Herzfeld has also served as pastor in the LCMS, AELC. Worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the pursuit of civil rights for African Americans.


Dana Carvey (b.1952) comedian and actor known especially for his gift of mimicry. Former member of Saturday Night Live (1986-1993), where he created many numerous characters, including "The Church Lady." His film credits include the mega-hit Wayne's World and its sequel.


Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703) German church musician and composer. Cousin of J. S. Bach's father.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) German church musician. One of the greatest composers of all time, known especially for his organ compositions, his chorales, the Mass in B Minor, and the Brandenburg Concertos.

Karl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) German church musician and composer. Son of J. S. Bach.

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach (1710-1784) German church musician and composer. Eldest son of J. S. Bach.

Howard Hansen (1900-?) A native of Nebraska. Hanson became one of the most influential American composers, music educators, and music advocates of the last century; he was also a director of the Eastman School of Music (1924-1964).

Cindy McTee (b.1953) Award-winning American composer and music educator. Graduated from the ELCA's Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington (1975), where she later served as music professor (1981-1984). Currently Professor of Music at the University of Texas, Ms. McTee's compositions have been played by numerous orchestras and wind ensembles throughout the world.

Georg Friedrich Handel  - Renowned composer, possibly best known for his Messiah and the famous Hallelujah Chorus.

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847) German composer; the grandson of Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. His many compositions include the famed incidental music to Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the Reformation Symphony (which utilizes the melody of Martin Luther's classic Reformation hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God.")

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) German composer and church musician. An early model of J.S. Bach, his many compositions include cantatas, chorale pieces, canons, fugues, and preludes. Today he is especially known for his Canon in D (often simply referred to as Pachelbel's Canon).

Contemporary Christian Music

David and Barbara Anderson of Fellowship Ministries, Phoeniz, AZ. Leaders in the movement to bring contemporary music styles into Lutheran worship services. Noted especially for The Other Song Book (1984; revised edition, 1987).

George Baum, pianist, singer-songwriter. Co-founder of Limb Records recording artist Lost and Found. Grand-prize winner of the 1998 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Co-creator of the musical sub-genre "speedwood" (also known as "acoustic thrash."). George's brother Bill and sister-in law Brooke are ELCA pastors serving in the Northeast.

Michael D. Bridges, guitarist, singer-songwriter. Co-founder of Limb Records recording artist Lost and Found. Grand-prize winner of the 1998 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Co-creator of the musical sub-genre "speedwood" (also known as "acoustic thrash.").

John Ylvisaker (b.1937) singer, recording artist and composer of contemporary hymns including "(I Was There to Hear Your) Borning Cry". His album Cool Livin' was an early attempt to reach out to young people with the Gospel, using a unique fusion of folk, jazz, modern lyrics, and occasional whimsy.

Devotional Writers

Johann Arndt (1555-1621) German theologian noted for his devotional writings.

Richard Bimler (b.1940) humorist; public speaker; author; president of Wheat Ridge Ministries.

Henric Schartau (1757-1825) Swedish churchman who greatly influenced religious life in Sweden.


Armin H. Meyer, U.S. Ambassador to Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Japan (where he was appointed by President Richard Nixon).  He lived in the Middle East for 27 years, and was a close personal friend with the Shah of Iran before the Shah's death. 


Mary Beth Blegen, teacher at Worthington High School in Southwest Minnesota and National Teacher of the Year (1996).

Taito A. Kantonen (1900-1993) Finnish born American minister and Lutheran educator.

O. P. Kretzmann (1901-1975) pastor; Lutheran educator; president of Valparaiso University.

Dr. Gene Veith : As of this writing is the director of the Cranach Institute.

Rosa J. Young (d.1970) African-American Lutheran educational missionary.

Entertainment Journalists

Mary Hart, "Entertainment Tonight" host. Bears the distinction not only of outlasting all her male co-hosts on ET, but is the only Lutheran ever to have her legs insured by Lloyd's of London for a million dollars.

Pat O'Brien, "Access Hollywood" host. Quite possibly the only Irish-Lutheran in his field.


Doris Christopher - founder of "The Pampered Chef"

Ron Gangelhoff  (d.1990s) founder and former president of the Chicago Cutlery Company; philanthropist; supporter of Concordia College, St. Paul, Minnesota

Steve Jobs - Co-founder of Apple Computer. We know that he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church as a teen by Reverend Doctor Martin Rudolph Taddey, Jr. at Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Palo Alto, CA. ( As an aside, this web page is maintained on an Mac ! )


Gilbert Millaender, professor at Valparaiso University; regarded by many as one of the best known Lutheran ethicists in the U.S. today.

Larry Rasmussen, pastor; ethicist, Union Seminary, New York


Rev. Henry Foege - one of the first white missionaries into the interior of Papua New Guinea; He later became the General Administrator of all Good Samaritan Nursing Homes in the midwest before his death.

J. K. Wilhelm Loehe (1808-1872) German pastor and churchman who trained and sent hundreds of Lutheran clergy to America to minister to the settlers and evangelize the Native Americans.

Film Makers

Ron Maxwell, film producer whose credits include Gettysburg.

Ivan David Ortiz, film director

Ivan Gonzalo Ortiz, film producer

Paul Scrader, film director

Rick Steves, PBS travel program host

John Woo - Hollywood director. Recently directed "Wind Talkers" starring Nicholas Cage.

Game Show Hosts

David Ruprecht, host of Supermarket Sweeps now on PaxTV here in the Northeast, and son of the late Pastor Martin Rupprecht, Grace Lutheran (LCMS) St. Petersburg, FL.

Generals & Admirals

Thomas Boyle, famous privateer captain during the War of 1812. ( Not sure if he made admiral, but we'll put him here just in case :-) )

LtGen Roger DeKok, Vice Commander of Air Force Space Command

Rear Admiral J. Floyd Dreith, first Lutheran Chief of Chaplains, US Navy (1958-1962)

Rear Admiral Byran Holderby, Chief of Chaplains, US Navy (1996-2000)

Victor Langford, U.S. Army General, pastor and chaplain

Donald Muchow, Chief of Chaplains, USNavy (1992-1996)

John Moellering, US Army General, former West Point commandant

John Peter Muhlenberg (1711-1787) pastor; U.S. Congressman; Brigadier General in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The eldest son of Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg, he was a friend of US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

Lauris Norstad (1907-1988) : became the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO in Europe (serving in that position from November 20, 1956 - January 1 1963). He held this position during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Was the only Air Force officer to date to hold the position.

Martin Henry Scharlemann (1910-1982) U.S.A.F. Chaplain and Brigadier General; seminary professor and acting seminary president, Concordia Seminary St. Louis (1974); author and theologian. Some of his best writings can be found in the posthumous collection The Making of A Theologian (Concordia Seminary, 1984).

Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. Army general; leader of the famed "Operation Desert Shield/Storm."

RADM Ross Trower, Former Chief of Chaplains for the Navy, later entered the pastoral ministry and reported serving as associate Pastor at St. Marks Lutheran Church in Alexandria, VA.

General John Vessey, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


Sidney Eckman Ahlstrom (1919-1984) professor of Modern Religious History at Yale and author of the classic Religious History of the American People.

Paul L. Maier (b.1930) professor of History at Western Michigan University; noted writer of both fiction and non-fiction.

Jaroslav Jan Pelikan (b.1923) religious scholar and professor at Yale; former professor at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; co-editor of the American Edition of Luther's Works (55 volumes) and author of the series' companion volume Luther the Expositor; converted to the Orthodox Church in the 1990s.


Dr. Paul Friedemann: The story of Dr. Paul Friedemann is recorded in 2 books and one manuscript: "Germans from Russia in Oklahoma," by Douglas Hale and "Bread for the Third Generation," by Jene Friedemann, and "Dr. Paul Friedemann, Oklahoma Humanitarian," by Andre DuChateau.  He was among the first German Lutheran settlers in Oklahoma and a member of the Friedens Kirche of Marena, Oklahoma, located 10 miles west of Stillwater.  This later became Salem Lutheran Church of Stillwater.  Dr. Friedemann's genealogical connection to J.S. Bach will be the feature of an article in "Bach Perspectives, Vol. 6, University of Nebraska Press," to be released in the Summer of 1992 and will be authored by leading Bach scholar, Christoph Wolff.  Dr. Friedemann was the founder and one-time post master of Kiel, Oklahoma, which was later renamed Loyal, Oklahoma due to anti-german sentiments during W.W.II. 

Hymn Writers

Rusty Edwards (b.1955)  Lutheran pastor and author of many hymns that have been published in hymnals in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand.

Martin Franzmann (1907-1976) seminary professor of New Testament theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; poet; hymn writer. Author of the famous hymn "Thy Strong Word."

Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) German hymn writer.

Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig (1783-1872) Danish church leader and hymn writer.

UPDATED Marty Haugen (b.1950) writer of many contemporary hymns and liturgies, including the well-known Holden Evening Prayer. Reportedly converted to the RC Church.

Martin Rinkhart (1586-1649) German pastor; poet; composer. Wrote the classic hymn, "Now Thank We All Our God."

Benjamin Schmolck (1672-1737) German theologian; hymn writer and author of devotional literature.

Stephen Paul Starke (b.1955) Connecticut pastor; hymn writer; LCMS New England District Vice-President.

Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769) Onetime German merchant and ribbon weaver; ascetic who later became a popular preacher and teacher; poet and devotional writer. Wrote many hymns, including "God Himself is Present."

Jaroslav J. Vajda (b.1919) writer of contemporary hymns including "Now the Silence."

Ice Cream Magnates

Ted Drews, tennis pro; founder, Ted Drews ice cream. For generations, St. Louisans have cooled off to Ted's terrific soft serve (served with a scoop!) and filled themselves with an ice-cold concrete. For years Ted was involved with the athletic program at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Ed Kruse, CEO of Blue Bell Ice Cream, third largest Ice Cream Company in the USA.

Marvin M. Schwan (1929-1993) businessman; founded Schwan's Sales Enterprises, Inc. in 1952. Known for their yellow home delivery trucks, Schwan's Delicious Fine Foods is known nation-wide for their quality and service. An active layman during his life, Mr. Schwan left a charitable trust which helps benefit conservative Lutheran institutions and entities .

(Print) Journalists and Editors

Herman John Otten (b.1933) pastor; religious journalist; conservative advocate; marathon runner. Founder, publisher and editor of Christian News. Author of Baal or God. Editor of The Christian News Encyclopedia and publisher of The Holy Bible: An American Translation (1976) and the new English edition of C.F.W. Walther's classic Pastoral Theology (1995). Perhaps the most influential Lutheran conservative in American today.

Charles Porterfield Krauth (1823-1883) pastor; theologian; author and editor.

Jean LeMon, editor, Better Homes & Gardens

Martin Emil Marty (b.1928) pastor; church historian; theologian; seminary professor; prolific author; senior editor of the Christian Century. One of the foremost religious scholars of the 20th Century.

Richard John Neuhaus (b.1936) pastor; author; social commentator; research institute president; editor of the journal First Things. A longtime Lutheran, Reverend Neuhaus later converted to Roman Catholicism and was ordained a priest in 1991.

Language Scholars

William F. Arndt (1880 -1957) seminary professor of exegetical theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Greek Scholar; author. Co-editor of the standard reference A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.

Frederick W. Danker (b.1920) seminary professor of exegetical theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; Greek Scholar; author. Co-editor of the second edition of the standard reference A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.


Rebecca O. Goss, Eli Lily Vice President and general counsel

Justus Jonas (1493-1555) German lawyer; theologian; reformer.

Daniel Joy, attorney and New York State Judge.

Edwin Meese III, lawyer; Counselor to the President of the United States (1981-1985); U.S. Attorney General (1985-1988); currently holds The Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at The Heritage foundation in Washington, D.C.

William Rehnquist (b.1924) lawyer; appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by Richard Nixon in 1972; Chief Justice since September 26, 1986.

Liturgical Scholars

Arthur A. Just, Jr. (b.1953) pastor; exegete; seminary professor, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN. The author of a two volume commentary on Luke (1996/97), Dr. Just is a former pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Middletown, CT.

Arthur Carl Piepkorn (1907-1973) pastor; army chaplain; author; seminary professor, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; a leader in the Roman Catholic-Lutheran dialogues of the 1960's and early 1970's.

Luther Dotterer Reed (1873-1972) pastor; liturgical scholar; author; seminary professor and president.


F. Melius Christiansen, founder of the St. Olaf Choir and renowned for his a capella settings of hymns, and his sons Olaf, who succeeded him at St. Olaf and also composed some beautiful setting and Paul J., who founded the music program at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and followed the family tradition of being an outstanding choral conductor and composer.

Justino Diaz, opera singer

Kurt Elling (b.1967) jazz musician; Grammy nominated recording artist for Blue Note Records. Kurt is a graduate of the ELCA's Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota and later attended Divinity School at the University of Chicago before embarking on a career as a jazz singer. His vocal styling have been praised by none other than the great Artie Shaw.

Janie Fricke, country music star

Hilary Hahn, young violinist

Adolph Herseth, lead trumpeter with the Chicago Symphony.

Marta Casals Istomin, cellist; President of the Manhattan School of Music; widow of the famed cellist Pablo Casals, whose foundation she directs.

Jerry Hadley - Opera singer; reported to have once been a member of Zion Ev. Lutheran Church in Stamford, CT.

Craig Hella Johnson, singer, music director

Kris Kristofferson (b.1936) singer-songwriter, actor, Rhodes Scholar, country music icon, and former professor at West Point. Along with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings, Kris formed the classic group The Highwaymen. His many film credits include A Star Is Born (with Barbara Streisand) and The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea. Thankfully, God's grace is boundless.

Gary Lewis (b.1946), drummer, vocalist, bandleader, and recording artist. Founder of the 60's hit sensation Gary Lewis and the Playboys whose 1965 recording "This Diamond Ring" shot to number one. Between 1965 and 1966, the group scored 7 Top 10 hits, and by the end of the 1960s had placed 15 songs in Billboard's hot 100.

Lyle Pearce Lovett (b.1957) singer-songwriter; recording artist; actor. His great-great maternal grandfather was one of the founding members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Klein, Texas (established 1873). Lyle's third album, Joshua Judges Ruth (1992) neatly lists in order the three books of the Old Testament between Deuteronomy and 1 Samuel. His next album I Love Everybody (1994) further reflects a knowledge of the Scripture and God's call in Leviticus 19:18 (later referenced by Christ): "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself." It's also a good application of all of 1 Corinthians 13, where St. Paul says, "ÉBut the greatest of these is love."

Kurt Masur (b.1927) German classical musician and recording artist of international renown. Since 1991 this famed conductor has served as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic.

Peter & Jim Mayer, members of the Jimmy Buffet band

John Mellancamp (b.1951) musician, singer, recording artist, songwriter, painter. His many hits include "Jack and Diane," and "Small Town." With Neil Young and Willie Nelson, John founded Farm Aid, a non-profit organization for farm assistance.

Ethel Merman - According to her story on the A&E program "Biography" aired April 22, 2000, she was born Ethel Zimmerman to Lutheran parents in New York. Trained as a stenographer, she took an inteerest in singing at a young age and eventually used Ethel Merman ( dropping the "Zim" from her name ) as a stage name to hide her singing jobs from her parents.

L. David Miller - Former dean of the School of Music and choir director at Wittenburg University; recognized, along with the choir, by Congress for his efforts in being "ambassadors of good will."

Michael Peterson, country music star. A skilled athlete, Michael entered the ELCA's Pacific Lutheran University on a football scholarship, where he was help win a national championship as a left offensive tackle. He is currently one of the hottest young stars in country music.

James Thiele ( 1930-1997 ) Senior Organist at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Flinders Street, Adelaide, South Australia, for nearly 50 years and was one of the leading Lutheran organists in Australia. In 1996 he recieved an Order of Australia Medal for his contributions to the music of the Lutheran Church and was also involved with producing the Australian Lutheran Hymnal.

Stephen Werner, rock drummer

Roger Williams, well known pianist. Born Louis Weertz, he is the son of a Lutheran pastor.

Nazi Hunters

 Beate Klarsfeld - An Austrian Lutheran woman who, with her French Jewish husband, began a long campaign to bring Nazi war criminals to justice shortly after the end of WWII. Her most famous case was the capture of Klaus Barbie.

Newscasters and Sportscasters

John Bachman, WHO TV, Des Moines, Iowa

Jack Cafferty, CNNfn anchor

Jim Henderson, Director of Sports and Senior Sports Anchor at WWL-TV in New Orleans

Joel Hochmuth CNN reporter

Cliff Johnson, retired veteran broadcaster for CBS radio, whose career began in 1934 at radio station KSOO in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Cliff attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls and Concordia University in River Forest. Recently he recorded his first CD Passages to Peace, where he reads selections of the Bible in his unique storytelling style.

Donna Kelley, CNN anchor

Verne Lundquist, CBS sports

Cliff Michaelson, WCSH TV, Portland, Maine

Mike Miller, Milwaukee TV news

Pat O'Brien, "Access Hollywood" host

Jim Phillips (1934-2003) Known as the "Voice of the Tigers". Well-known sports announcer at Clemson University.

Dane Placko, FOX news, Chicago

Dick Reeves, CBS radio news anchor, retired

Jonathan Reitz, KJSH-TV, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Jane Robelot, CBS news

Orion Samuelson, WGN TV and radio

Ray Scherer, born in Fort Wayne, IN, graduate of Valparaiso University, who went on to be the NBC White House correspondent in the 1950's and 60's.

John Scott, NBC news

Susan Spencer, CBS news

Ron Steele, KWWL-TV, Waterloo, Iowa

Michelle TaFoya, CBS sports

Bill Whitney, CBS radio news

Jim Wacker, CBS Sports

Nobel Laureates

Dag Hammarskold (1905-1961) Swedish economist; statesman and Secretary General of the United Nations. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.


Robert Bly, poet

Jill Alexander Essbaum, poet

Bill Holm, poet

Francisco Molina, poet

Esais Tegner (1782-1846) Swedish bishop and Swiss national poet.


Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher; author and theologian.


Nikolas Selnecker (1528-1592) German pastor; medical doctor; hymn writer.

Bessie Rehwinkel : A woman physician in America during the early 1900's. She practiced in Wyoming when it was still a new frontier and was confronted with the daily struggles of pioneer life. While there, she treated a young Lutheran student pastor, Alfred Rehwinkel. They were married and served for a while in rural Canada. They were married for over 50 years and served as a faculty family at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer - Born the son of a Lutheran pastor, he was ordained to the Office of the Holy Ministry and served as Pastor of St. Nikolai's Church in Strasbourg. He later gave up the ministry in favor of medicine and devoted the rest of his life to helping the poor and sick. He is also well known as an accomplished organist and his arrangements of the works of J.S. Bach ( some of which were done along with Charles M. Widor ) are still in print and enjoyed to this day.

Politicians and Statesmen

Bob Bergland, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Karl Buchsel (1803-1889) German pastor; general superintendent of Neumark and Niederlausitz. Influential in forming the Prussian Union.

John Hamre, deputy director, US Department of Defense

John Hanson - Regarded by some as the first President of the United States, he was elected in 1781 under the Articles of Confederation, not our present Consititution, and served a one year term. His father was a Lutheran pastor.

Per Lonning (b.1928) Norwegian pastor and youth leader; member of Norwegian Parliament; Dean of the Cathedral of Bergen.

Thomas S. Kleppe - Secretary of the Interior under President Ford.


Cecil Andrus (D) - former U.S. governor of Idaho

Otis R. Bowen, M.D. (R); former U.S. governor of Indiana and Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan

John Carlin(D) - former U.S. governor of Kansas

Jim Geringer (R)- U.S. Governor of Wyoming

Jacob Aall Ottesen Preus (R) - former governer of Minnesota (1921-1925) and father of two other entries on our list - J.A.O. Preus (former LCMS President) and Robert Preus (former president of Concordia Theological Seminary.)

Stan Stephens (R) - former U.S. governor of Montana

Don Sundquist (R)-- U.S. Governor of Tennessee

Al Quie, former U.S. Governor of Minnesota

Kings and Queens

Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632) King of Sweden and supporter of the Reformation during the Thirty Years War.

U.S. House of Representatives ( Current as of start of 108th Congress )

Douglas Bereuter (R); Nebraska (1st District)

Sherrod Brown (D); Ohio (13th District)

Lois Capps (D); California (23rd District)

John Carter (R); Texas (31st District)

Norman Dicks (D); Washington (6th District)

Darlene Hooley (D); Oregon (5th District)

William Janklow (R); South Dakota; also former governor of that state.

Ron Kind -- (D); Wisconsin (3rd District)

Tom Latham (R) Iowa (5th District)

Zoe Lofgren (D); California (16th District)

David Minge -- (D); Former Minnesota rep.(2nd District)

Jim Nussle -- (R); Iowa (2nd District)

Doug Ose; (R); California (3rd District)

Michael Oxley (R); Ohio (4th District)

Collin Peterson (D); Minnesota (7th District)

Thomas Petri (R); Wisconsin (6th District)

Martin Sabo (D); Minnesota (5th District)

John Shimkus (R); Illinois (19th District)

Bill Shuster (R); Pennsylvania (9th District)

Charles Stenholm (D); Texas (17th District)

U.S. House of Representatives ( Former)

William Dannemeyer (b.1929) former Republican Congressman from California and noted advocate of Confessional Lutheranism and traditional morality.

Steve Gunderson, former Congressman; author.

Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg (1750-1801) Ordained a Lutheran minister in Pennsylvania, he went on to become a member of the Continental Congress and, after the Constitution went into effect, served as the Speaker of the House during the First and Third Congresses.

Mark Neumann, former Congressman

Tim Penny, former Congressman; author

Floyd Spence (d. 2001) (R); former South Carolina rep. (2nd District)

U.S. Senators

Conrad Burns (R) Montana

Rod Grams (R); former senator from Minnesota

Byron Dorgan (D) North Dakota

Ernest (Fritz) Hollings (D) South Carolina

Tim Johnson (D); South Dakota

Paul Simon (b.1928) former Democratic Senator from Illinois; educator; author.

Pro-Life Leaders

Linda Bartlett, president "Lutherans for Life"

Jean Garton, author, speaker. Dr. Garton's many writings include the classic work Who Broke the Baby?


Richard R. Caemmer, Sr. (1904-1987) preacher and seminary professor of homiletics at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and later Christ Seminary-Seminex.

Walter A. Maier (1893-1950) pastor; exegete; seminary professor; author; religious broadcaster. One of the best-known radio evangelists of his day, cited by Billy Graham as an early influence. Founder of and first speaker of The Lutheran Hour.

Oswald C. J. Hoffman (b.1913) pastor and preacher of great renown. Dr. Hoffman was principle speaker of The Lutheran Hour from 1955-1988. He is now Honorary Speaker of this famed program.

Homer Larsen; pastor of the largest Lutheran congregation in Iowa, and speaker for nationally broadcast Christian Crusaders.

Dale A. Meyer (b.1947) pastor; former professor of homiletics at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; principle speaker of The Lutheran Hour.

Carl Olof Rosenius (1816-1868) Swedish Lutheran lay preacher; noted spiritual leader and prolific writer.

Paul Scherer (1892-1969) pastor; author; radio preacher; seminary professor of homiletics.

Wallace Schulz (b.1944) pastor and former speaker of The Lutheran Hour.

Hagen Staack (1913-1992) pastor and college professor; especially known for his appearances on NBC television's Frontiers of Faith.

Edmund A. Steimle (1907-1988) clergyman; seminary professor of homiletics; religious broadcaster. Dr. Steimle was especially known for his sermons on The Protestant Hour broadcast.

Helmut Thielicke (1908-1985) German professor of Systematic Theology; popular preacher.


Ardath Rodale, CEO Rodale Press


David Chytraeus (1531-1600) German theologian; historian and co-author of the Formula of Concord.

Martin Chemnitz (1522-1586) German pastor; seminary professor; defender of the faith. His classic Examination of the Council of Trent is the definitive Lutheran response to the Counter-Reformation of the Roman Catholic Church. As a theologian, second in greatness only to Martin Luther.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German Doctor of the Church; pastor; professor, the University of Wittenberg; prolific author; hymn writer; Bible translator; Biblical scholar; hero of the faith. His 95 Theses, nailed on the front door of the Castle Church at the University of Wittenberg on October 31, 1517 caused a firestorm which resulted in The Reformation. His importance in the history of Western Christianity and Western Civilization is immense. In the opinion of many, one the greatest theologian of all time.

Philip Melancthon (1497-1560) German theologian; professor, the University of Wittenberg; author; Reformation leader. A colleague and friend of Luther's, he is the author of the Augsburg Confession and the Loci Communes.

Resistance Fighters of World War II

Eivind Josef Berggrav (1884-1959) Norwegian bishop; author; resistance leader against Adolf Hitler.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German pastor; theologian; seminary professor; author; resistance fighter. Imprisoned and later executed at the concentration camp in Flossenburg.

Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976) German lay theologian known for his contributions to Biblical criticism and resistance to Hitler.

Helmut Gollwitzer (1908-1993) German theologian who became part of the Confessing Church; captured by the Soviets in 1945 and imprisoned in Russia until 1950.

Kaj Munk (1898-1944) Danish pastor and author; arrested and killed by the Nazis.

Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984) German submarine commander in WWI who became a Lutheran pastor and was later imprisoned by the Nazis.


Gerald Barney, Millennium Institute, Washington, D.C

Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade

William Foege, former executive director, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta

 Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894) : One of the pioneering scientists in the area of electromagnetics. His groundbreaking work on electromagnetic wave propagation paved the way for the development of wireless telegraphy and radio, among other applications. The standard unit of frequency - the Hertz - is named in his honor.

Grant Krafft, scientist specializing in Alzheimer's research

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) German astronomer noted for his formulation of planetary laws.

Judith Larson, scientist

Seminary Leaders

Charles Michael Jacobs (1875-1938) pastor; professor and president of Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia; editor of the Philadelphia edition of Luther's Works.

Timothy F. Lull (d. 2003) Former president and professor of systematic theology at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.

Barbara Lundblad, Union Seminary faculty, speaker

Robert David Preus (1924-1995) seminary professor, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; president, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne; theologian and author. One of the foremost authorities of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, and one of the greatest religious scholars of the twentieth century.

Samuel Schmucker (1799-1873) pastor; church leader; founder of Gettysburg Seminary.

Krister Stendahl, former dean, Harvard Divinity School

Ron Theimann, former dean, Harvard Divinity School

John Henry Tietjen (b.1928) pastor; president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis (1969-1974) and Christ Seminary-Seminex (1974-1983); former Executive Director of the Division of Public Relations, The Lutheran Council in the U.S.A. His Memoirs in Exile is an important inside look at the internal conflict within the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in the late 1960's and early 1970's, conflict which led to the formation of Seminex (1974-1983) and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (1976-1987). The AELC was a chief catalyst in the formation of America's third largest religious body, the ELCA.

Social Ministry Leaders

William A. Passavant (1821-1894) pastor; editor; founder of numerous charitable organizations.

Sports Figures

Troy Aikman, NFL Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Shane Battier, Memphis Grizzlies NBA

Kim Bauer, Woman's PGA golfer.

Jill Briles, Woman's PGA golfer.

Jim Brower, pitcher, San Francisco Giants

Matt Bullard, Houston Rockets

Karyn Bye, member of the U.S. Women's Olympic Hockey Team

Bill Cartwright, Chicago Bulls coach

Dale Earnhardt (1951-2001 ) NASCAR driver - 7-time Winston Cup Champion and winner of 76 Winston Cup events.

Darin Erstad, member of the Anaheim Angels baseball team.

Jim Gantner, member of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball franchise.

Lou Gehrig, famed baseball player whose life was cut short by the disease that now bears his name. According to his biography, he was raised in a very devout Lutheran household and in another book ("Giants of the Polo Ground") an encounter is reported where he is asked by a NYC reporter if he is Jewish - he proudly replied that he was Lutheran !

Lee Goren - college forward on the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux Hockey Team.  A native of Winnepeg Manitoba, he was drafted in the third round of the 1997 draft by the Boston Bruins. He led the Sioux in scoring with 26 goals in 1998-99 and led the NCAA in goals in 2000 with 34, earning the Most Outstanding Player honors in the title game victory over Boston College.

Tom Haller, former Dodger and Giant (baseball)

Phil Hansen, former NFL player for the Buffalo Bills

Elrod Hendricks, former Baltimore Orioles catcher

Paul Hinrichs - went to school at Concordia College St. Paul and played with the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.  He graduated from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and became a parish pastor after playing two more
years after graduation.

Dave Hoffman - Grandson of Dr. Oswald Hoffman. Two-time All-American linebacker at the Univ. of Washington; was drafted by the Chicago Bears and played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the World Football League.

Ed Hurn, former player for the NBA

Michael Jackson, former Seattle Seahawks & Washington Huskies football

Dale Jarrett, NASCAR driver - 1999 Winston Cup Series Champion and 3-time winner of the Daytona 500.

Ned Jarrett, NASCAR commentator & retired NASCAR driver. ( Won the Championship in 1961 and 1965. )

Bennie Joppru, tight end, Houston Texans

Al Kaline, long-time star outfielder with the Detroit Tigers, active in Lutheran churches in the Detroit area, and elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.

Tony Kubek, baseball player and former member of the great New York Yankees.

Tom Landry (1924-2000), legendary former coach of the Dallas Cowboys (1960-1988), who led the team to Super Bowl wins in 1972 and 1978. Coach Landry ranks third on the NFL's All-Time Win List, claiming 270 gridiron victories. As a Lutheran layman, Mr. Landry has been a major supporter and fundraiser for Concordia Univerity in Austin, Texas.

Janet Lynn, U.S. Olympic skater.

Scott Madson, Soloflex ads

Carmelo Martinez, professional baseball player

Edgar Martinez, Seattle Mariners

Madeline Manning Mims, former Olympic athlete, current Olympic chaplain.

Guido Merkens, Jr. - former player for the New Orleans Saints.

Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins; elected to the Hall of Fame in January 2004. Also played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Toronto Blue Jays.

Andy North, PGA Golfer, former US Open champion

Greg Olson, former Baltimore Orioles

Lute Olson, University of Arizona basketball coach

Hank Peters, former General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles (where he was named baseball executive of the year) and the Cleveland Indians.

Brian Propp, NHL

Rick Reuschel, former Chicago Cub

Paul Reuschel, former Chicago Cub

Merv Rettenmund, Baltimore Orioles outfielder (1970-1978) and currently Batting Coach, Atlanta Braves

NEW ! Kirk Rueter, pitcher for SF Giants

John Schuerholz, general manager, Atlanta Braves

Jerry Seeman, head NFL referee

Richard (Dick) Walther Siebert: son of Professor E.G. Richard Siebert of Concordia College, St. Paul, played baseball with St. Louis Cardinals and later played for Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics.  Coached basketball at Concordia St. Paul and became head baseball coach at the University of Minnesota in 1947.  In recognition of his 30-year coaching success at Minnesota, including three NCAA baseball championships, in 1979 the university named its baseball facility Siebert Field, four months after his death in 1978. 

Richard Steele, referee

Terry Steinbach, Minnesota Twins

Gary Suter, NHL

John Vambiesbrouck, Philadelphia Flyers goalie, NHL

Duffy Waldorf -player on the the PGA Tour for the past 15 years.

Casey Wesiman, Chicago Bears

Jim Wilson, former Chicago White Sox

Dave Winfield, former Minnesota Twin

Danny Wuerffel, former New Orleans Saints quarterback

John Zimmerman - 3-Time American Figure Skating Pairs Champion of the U.S. He and his partner, Kyoko Ina, finished in 5th place at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.

Sword Swallowers

NEW ! Dan Meyer- Sword swallower featured on numerous television specials. Has also served as Executive Director of the Sword Swallowers Association International and organized the world's first Sword Swallowing Convention. In addition to this unique talent, Dan has also served as a Lutheran missionary in India, and his grandfather was a Lutheran pastor and missionary.


Garrison Keillor (b.1942) humorist; host and creator, A Prairie Home Companion (1974-present); inductee Radio Hall of Fame (1994); author of Lake Wobegon Days (1985) and nine other titles; icon of National Public Radio. There is some conflicting information on his present religious affiliation, though.

Walter Wangerin, Jr. pastor; college professor; speaker; prolific author. His award winning tome Book of the Dun Cow brought this graduate of Christ Seminary-Seminex into national prominence.

Television Characters

The Cooper Family from the sitcom One Day at a Time (1975-1984). Featuring Bonnie Franklin, Mackenzie Philips and Valerie Bertinelli (as Barbara, the girl you always wanted to join your church Youth Group). Set in Indiana, it's a natural that this family would be Lutheran (as was confirmed in at least one episode). No word on the denominational affiliation of handyman Snyder, though.

The Hansen Family (Davey, Sally, their mom and dad, and Goliath [their large dog of indeterminate breed]) from the Clokey Production Davey and Goliath. Claymation with a spiritual bent; Lutheran-produced (by one of the predecessor bodies of the ELCA) and created by the makers of the one and only Gumby! Hum along with "A Mighty Fortress" while Davey launches his toy rocket over the opening credits! (episodes of this classic series can now be purchased from The Program Source International. P.O. Box 444, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303 · 810-333-2010).

Rose Nylund ( "The Golden Girls" ) from St. Olaf Minnesota. ( Played by Betty White. ) No mention of her synodical affiliation is given in the show, but that she is a Lutheran was confirmed in at least one episode where Dorothy ( Bea Arthur ) is heard to tell her : "Rose, how would you like to be the first Lutheran on the moon?!?!?"

Woody Boyd (played by Woody Harrelson) from the classic sitcom Cheers (1982-1993), In one particularly memorable episode ( episode #251 according to one Cheers Guide on the 'net ) Woody (a Missouri-Synod Lutheran) faces a crisis of faith and conscience: should he (or shouldn't he) marry his fiancée, a member of the ELCA. Some of the more notable differences between the two denominations are broadly played, with hilarious results. A memorable moment of the dialogue went something like :

Woody - "Ask her why she thinks the Book of Concord is not in line with the Scriptures !"
Kelly - "Because it's not."
Woody - "HERETIC !!!" ( has to be physically restrained )


Carl E. Braaten (b.1929) seminary professor and author. Wrote Christian Dogmatics (2 volumes, 1987) with Robert W. Jensen.

Werner Elert (1885-1954) German professor of theology and author of numerous works, including The Structure of Lutheranism.

Robert W. Jensen (b.1930) seminary professor and author. Wrote Christian Dogmatics (2 volumes, 1987) with Carl E. Braaten.

Martin Moller (1547-1606) German pastor and author of Thesaurus Precationum.

Francis Pieper (1852-1931) Prussian-born American dogmatic theologian; professor and president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis; president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; author of the classic work of systematic theology Christliche Dogmatik (3 volumes plus index, 1917-1924).

Hermann Sasse (1895-1976) theologian and author; Australian seminary professor.

Edmund Schlink (1903-1984) German seminary professor of systematic theology and scholar of the Lutheran Confessions.

Paul Tillich (1886-1965) Americanized German-born theologian; army chaplain during WWI; seminary professor. The son of a Lutheran pastor, Rev. Tillich became one of the most foremost theologians of the first half of the twentieth century.


James Wind, Alban Institute

Thanks to the following individuals and organizations for their help in obtaining information for this list:

The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, whose devotional For All the Saints (4 volumes, 1994-1995) both provided the basis for many of the biographical synopses for saints of the past and served as inspiration for this project;

Sheri Stelling, former librarian for The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, who provided us with birth and death dates for a goodly number of entries;

Rev. Eric Shafer from the Department of Communications of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, for adding to our initial list the names of many living Lutherans and for updates;

Frank Imhoff from the ELCA News Service for updated information on members of Congress and state governors;

Jennifer Babcock from the Office of Government Information of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod in Washington, D.C;

Linda Hoops from The Church Information Center of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod;

Naomichi Masaki, researcher at Concordia Seminary Library, St. Louis, Missouri for providing the birth and death dates for some of the more obscure entries.

In addition to the above individuals and organizations, other sources for information have included Lutheran Cyclopedia edited by Erwin L. Lueker (CPH, 1954; Revised edition, 1975); as well as various internet search engines, home pages, websites, and leads from numerous Lutheran pastors, parishoners, and cybersurfers.

Special thanks also to Pastor Paul Wagner for the concept and original compilation of this list.

NOTE : New Policy on this listing: We are temporarily not accepting new additions to the listing. Corrections to errors in the list are welcome, though. Please remember that confirmable verification ( e.g. newspaper or magazine article, official website, etc. ) must be supplied before we can consider any updated information. Information that is not accompanied by a verifiable reference cannot be considered. This adherence to academic standards of reference helps ensure accuracy and safeguards the integrity of our list. 

Due to the volume of emails, timely individual responses may not always be possible.
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