Just What is a "Lutheran?"
Lutherans are members of one of the many church traditions that follow in the theological footsteps of Martin Luther. Luther was a Roman Catholic monk and priest in the 15th century who saw abuses in the Church and set out to correct them through his writings and by coming before the Catholic officials. He was eventually condemned as a heretic for his refusal to bend to the will of the Chuch and excommunicated (thrown out). Luther never wanted to separate from the Catholic Church, but after he was excommunicated, a new denomination formed around his interpretation of the bible.
Luther believed, contrary to the Church at that time, that God's forgiveness is a free gift, not one that must be earned or bought by good works or through the sale of indulgences (a practice which deeply angered him, and which no longer occurs). Modern Lutherans continue to hold onto this as a primary tenet of our faith. We believe that no matter what a person has done or how "bad" a person might be, no one is beyond God's capacity to forgive because God's love is infinite, and human sin, as painful and destructive as it is, is not.