The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Is Pilate a saint?

Maybe. And so are you.

In the Apostles' Creed we confess our faith "in the communion of saints." Coptic Christians call Pontius Pilate a saint. Do we? If not, why not? 

I love questions that are easy to answer. No, we don't consider Pontius Pilate a saint. For the most part, Lutherans tend to talk about saints with a lowercase "s." We consider saints forgiven sinners — that means us (and other believers) — by the grace of God.

This meaning is prominent in the New Testament when describing "holy ones" — the church as a communion of believers in Christ. It's the most common understanding of the phrase "the communion of saints" as a further expression of the confession, "I believe in ... the holy catholic church."

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February issue


Embracing diversity