…that the One True God has revealed Himself to be Triune (one God in three persons): the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. We teach and confess the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in the words of the Aposltes’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The Holy Blessed Trinity has created us, redeemed us, and sanctified us.
Originally, the first man and woman were created good. Then they sinned, breaking fellowship with God and bringing death into the world. After the fall into sin, all humanity is by nature in slavery to sin, death, and the devil. Jesus Christ alone is our Redeemer, meaning that He has purchased and won us from the power of sin, death, and the devil. Jesus Christ has redeemed us, meaning that He has bought and purchased us not with gold or silver, but by the shedding of His blood, giving to us forgiveness, life, and salvation.
An individual receives this gift of redemption by God’s grace alone. An individual is justified, declared righteous in the sight of God, by faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. This faith itself is a gift from God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit who creates and strengthens faith in the individual through the hearing of God’s Word and in the receiving of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. This message of redemption in the name of Jesus is revealed to us in God’s written Word of the Old and New Testaments. Only in these writings can we be certain and sure of what God desires for us to believe, teach, and confess.
Click here to read more in the Lutheran Confessions of 1580.
A Short Summary of What We Believe
|God has given to us the gift of His written Word. This Word reveals to us what we are to believe in our hearts and to confess with our lips.
We keep His name holy among us when we speak in unison with His
Holy Scripture sums up all its teachings regarding the love of God to the world of sinners, regarding the salvation wrought by Christ, and regarding faith in Christ as the only way to obtain salvation, in the article of justification. Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ, Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 4:25; that therefore not for the sake of their good works, but without the works of the Law, by grace, for Christ’s sake, He justifies, accounts as righteous, all those who that is, believe, accept, and rely on, the fact that for Christ’s sake their sins are forgiven. Thus the Holy Ghost testifies through St. Paul: “There is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 3:23, 24. And again: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law,” Rom. 3:28.
Through this doctrine alone Christ is given the honor due Him, namely, that through His holy life and innocent suffering and death He is our Savior. And through this doctrine alone can poor sinners have the abiding comfort that God is assuredly gracious to them. We reject as apostasy from the Christian religion all doctrines whereby man’s own works and merit are mingled into the article of justification before God. For the Christian religion is the faith that we have forgiveness of sins and salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, Acts 10:43.
We reject as apostasy from the Christian religion not only the doctrine of the Unitarians, who promise the grace of God to men on the basis of their moral efforts; not only the gross work-doctrine of the papists, who expressly teach that good works are necessary to obtain justification; but also the doctrine of the synergists, who indeed use the terminology of the Christian Church and say that man is justified “by faith,” “by faith alone,” but again mix human works into the article of justification by ascribing to man a co-operation with God in the kindling of faith and thus stray into papistic territory.
WE BELIEVE and teach that there is one true God who has revealed Himself through the Holy Bible as Triune, (one God in three persons), Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God created all things and therefore all creatures are beholden to Him. WE REJECT the notion that God is in all things (pantheism), that God is three “gods,” and that He is so utterly unified within Himself that it is impossible to have a personal relationship with Him.
WE BELIEVE and teach that the Holy Scriptures, as contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the inspired and inerrant Word of God in all matters to which they speak whether spiritual, moral, historical, geographical, or scientific. These externally revealed words and sentences of God serve as the only rule and norm for all questions of faith and life. Therefore, WE REJECT the following teachings: that the Bible merely “contains” the Word of God; that the moral precepts laid down in the Bible were “culturally conditioned” and thus not binding for modern times; that God gives “continuing revelation;” and that Scripture alone is inadequate for dealing with personal problems or theological teachings.
WE BELIEVE and teach that God created a perfect world and that sin and death came into the world through the sinful acts of two real people, namely, Adam and Eve. We also believe and teach that, because of Adam’s sin, all people are born as sinners (Psalm 51:5) and are by their fallen human nature enemies of God. (Romans 5:10) Therefore, WE REJECT the beliefs that the account of the fall in the Book of Genesis is an “ancient myth” or is merely symbolic; that infants are born innocent and remain in that state until they reach an “age of accountability;” and that mankind is evolving to a higher level of perfection.
WE BELIEVE and teach that all people are sinners and are in need of the Savior. The one and only Savior is the Son of God, the Second person of the Holy Trinity, who was promised already in the Garden of Eden and in the timing of God was revealed as Jesus the Christ. We believe that He was born of the virgin Mary, that He led a sinless life, that He performed true miracles, that He died a cruel death and suffered humanity’s punishment of hell itself on the cross; that He descended into hell to proclaim His victory to those in that place; that He physically rose from the dead and bodily ascended into heaven. We believe that this same Jesus will return in the fullness of His power to judge both the living and the dead. Therefore, WE REJECT any notion that people may be saved without faith in Jesus Christ, or that salvation may be obtained through any kind or amount of human effort. We reject the mistaken idea that Jesus was merely one “prophet” among others who have come to enlighten mankind or that He was only another “great teacher.”
WE BELIEVE and teach that we are justified before God only because of the substitutionary death and victorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the central teaching of the Bible and all of the Bible must be interpreted in the light of this central truth. Just as it was at the time of the Reformation in Europe, it is still true today that we believe in faith alone which apprehends salvation through Christ’s suffering and death; in grace alone, by which we received God’s undeserved love; in scripture alone, which is the only revelation of God’s will in our lives and for our salvation. Therefore, WE REJECT any attempt on the part of sinful people to “earn” or “deserve” God’s love, which is an incredible insult to the sacrifice of His Son; that salvation is a result of any act or cooperation of the human will, and that it is possible for unbelieving humanity to “decide” to believe.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
WE BELIEVE and teach that the third person of the Holy Trinity is the Holy Spirit. Through God’s grace in Christ, the Spirit enters us at the time of our Baptism or through the work of the Spirit working through the Bible on human hearts and minds. In the lives of all believers, it is the Holy Spirit who motivates and empowers us to walk according to God’s will and to please Him with our behavior. We acknowledge that God now speaks through His means of grace, which are Word and Sacrament. Good works are the natural product of faith in seeking a life that responds to the mercy of God in thanksgiving. WE REJECT the idea that God speaks directly to people apart from the means of grace.
WE BELIEVE and teach that there is one, Holy, Christian and apostolic Church. This Church is comprised of all who trust in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation regardless of denomination. This universal Christian Church includes people who trust in Christ alone from all nations, races, cultures and times. Entrance into the Church is an act of God that brings us into fellowship with Him and with our fellow Christians. It is, therefore, essential that those seeking to be in Christian fellowship will seek out the true, visible Church on earth which teaches the Word of God in its truth and purity and administers the Sacraments as Christ has established them. While we uphold the doctrinal integrity of our denomination, WE REJECT any teaching which attempts to restrict the mercy and grace of God to any specific denomination or group. Likewise, WE REJECT the idea that membership in any specific group or Christian denomination guarantees salvation. WE REJECT the unbiblical notion that one’s relationship with God is a private matter when, in fact, the Christian faith is essentially a corporate experience.
WE BELIEVE and teach that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth in six literal 24 hour days. We believe this doctrine of creation to serve as a beginning point for any relationship with God. It is necessary to understand that God is our Creator and we are the creatures He has made. Specifically, we affirm that we are created in the image of God and, as such, we are clearly distinct from the other animals. Therefore, WE REJECT the theory of evolution as both unbiblical and unscientific. We do not accept the idea that man is currently and simply the highest form of animal and that our existence can be attributed to an unobserved, undemonstrated accident.
THE LAST THINGS
WE BELIEVE and teach that Jesus Christ will return, not secretly, but openly and in all His power to judge the living and the dead of all times, (Revelations 1:7, Acts 10:42). We believe that the dead will be resurrected, (Revelations 20:12-13). Believers will receive everlasting life in heaven, (John 3:16-18), and unbelievers will receive everlasting torment in hell (Matthew 25:46). Therefore WE REJECT the notions that all people will be saved or that unbelievers will be annihilated, (Matthew 25:41, 46); that there are many paths to God other than through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6); that people will have another chance after death to come to Christ or that people are reincarnated after they have failed the test (Hebrews 9:27).