What We Believe

 

We are a Lutheran Christian congregation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS).  We believe, teach, and confess the Christian faith as it is found in God’s Word, the Bible.  We confess the three ancient Creeds of the Church (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds) as summary statements of the faith.  We believe that we have forgiveness, life, and salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.  It is through Jesus alone - the Way, the Truth, and the Life – that we connect with God.

 

These are the core beliefs of the faith:  

 

God

We believe in one God, in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is often referred to as the Holy Trinity.  God is not created.  God has existed from all eternity.  He is infinitely perfect.  He is the Creator of all things.

 

God the Father

We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  God the Father is the Creator of everything.  He created all things out of nothing.  In His mercy and love He still takes care of His world and all that is in it.

 

Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, being both fully God and fully man.  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  Jesus took on the sins of all people and died on a cross for them as the one and only sacrifice for our sins.  He is the Redeemer from sin through His sacrifice for us.  On the third day Jesus rose from death, victorious over it.  He ascended into heaven and is the only Mediator between God the Father and people.   We believe that Jesus Christ will return one day to judge the world.  All will be raised from death, and everyone who has put their faith in Jesus will be raised to eternal, perfect life in the renewed, new creation.

 

Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is the creator and sustainer of saving faith in God.  He creates and sustains faith through God’s living Word, Scripture.  The Holy Spirit convicts people in their hearts of sin and creates a need for forgiveness and life in Jesus Christ.  New life in Jesus Christ happens as the Holy Spirit brings a person to faith.  If anyone is in Christ by faith, he or she is a new creation.  The Holy Spirit is active in the life of the Christian to continue to work repentance and lead the person to live a Godly life.

 

Humanity

We believe God created people in His image for a loving relationship with Him.  The first people were without sin or defect.  However, tempted to doubt God and disobey Him, people rebelled against God.   This is called original sin.  Sin corrupted God’s good and perfect creation, including His human creations.  All people since have inherited that sinful nature.  Because of this, we are all born sinful, corrupted, and enemies of the God who created us.  We suffer the effects of a broken world because of sin, and we commit actual sins against God’s good will for life in our thoughts, words, and actions.

 

Salvation

We believe that despite all people’s sin and rebellion against God, God so loved His world that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in Him will not die but have eternal life.  Jesus took the eternal punishment we deserve on Himself.  He died for the forgiveness of our sins and rose that we might have eternal life with God, even now!  There is nothing we as humans can do to earn favor in God’s eyes, work our way to heaven, or save ourselves.   Salvation is only by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone.

 

The Bible

We believe that the Bible – both the Old and New Testaments – is God’s Word given to humanity.  The Bible, or God’s Word, originated from God.  The books of the Bible have many different writers but ultimately one writer – God Himself.  God inspired and led the writers to record what He gave them.  Therefore, it is true and can be trusted.  The ultimate purpose of God’s Word is to lead people to a saving relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.  God’s Word also serves to guide and empower us that we may live in a right relationship with Him and others.

 

The Church

We believe that the Church is not buildings but people.  God’s Church is the whole body of believers who trust in Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation.  A church is a community and family of faith, sharing and confessing a common faith in Christ.  The church is connected to Jesus Christ and to one another, gathered and bound together by God’s Word.  The church is not an exclusive community unto itself, however.  It does not exist for itself.  The church is a people to whom and through whom God comes in Christ and people experience Him.  The church is called to a life of selfless love for God, for one another, and for others.  We are called to freely and selflessly share the love of God with others through our words and actions, reflecting the grace and love of Christ and connecting people to Christ and His body.

 

The Sacraments

We believe that God comes to people and works through real-life, tangible means to share His love and grace with us and create and sustain faith.  God promises to be present and give grace in the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.  In these Sacraments, God promises to be present and to personally give to us the forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life Jesus won for all people in His death and resurrection.  God is also present and working in Confession and Absolution, or forgiveness of sins.

 

Baptism

We believe that in Baptism God acts to bring us into a personal, saving relationship with Him through Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection.  God adopts us in Baptism as His children, giving us His full love and forgiveness.  In Baptism God acts to give us new birth and new life with Him (John 3, Romans 6, Titus 3:5-8).  In accordance with Scripture, we believe and confess Baptism is not a work we do but God’s work.  We believe Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s Word (Matthew 28:19).  Through Baptism into Jesus Christ, God works forgiveness of sins, rescues us from death and the devil, and gives salvation to all who believe this, as He Himself promises in His Word (Mark 16:16).

 

Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper

We believe that the Lord’s Supper or Communion is a very special meal Jesus gave to His family of believers before He died for our sins.  Before Jesus went to the cross, He took bread and said, “This is my body which is given for you.”  He also took the cup of wine and said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  In Communion we believe that Jesus’ true body and His true blood are present in, with, and under the bread and wine.  How this can be we can’t exactly explain or understand.  It is a mystery our human reason can’t fully comprehend.  We take Jesus at His word by faith!  We trust that with the bread and wine we receive His body and blood as Jesus gives Himself to us in a deeply personal and profound way.

God blesses us with great benefits in the Lord’s Supper.  He gives this special meal to us to forgive our sins, to strengthen our faith, and to strengthen our union with Him and with one another as His family of faith until He returns.  We also believe that people can receive Christ’s body and blood to their harm, as the apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11.  We passionately want people to receive Christ’s body and blood for their benefit and not to their harm.  Therefore, it is a meal for baptized Christians who trust in Christ alone for salvation, who trust in His words and presence in Communion, who are repentant of sin and desire forgiveness, who are willing to forgive others, and who recognize the body of believers sharing a common faith.  We typically ask that if you have not been instructed as a Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod Christian or have questions or doubts about this meal, please speak with Pastor Michael Croom.

 

Confession and Absolution

We believe that when we confess our sins (trusting in Christ for forgiveness) that God is faithful to His promises to forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake.  We believe that God pronounces His forgiveness in and through His Church, particularly through the pastor speaking publicly for the Church on behalf of Christ and at His command (John 20:22-23, Matthew 18:18).

 

The Creeds

We confess the faith articulated in the Church’s creeds – the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.  All three of these were forged to articulate the core beliefs of the faith and combat teachings that contradicted what God says in His Word.  As we confess and live these creeds, we stand with Christians past and present who live by God’s Word alone!

 

If you have any questions about Baptism, the Lord’s Supper or any of our other core beliefs, please feel free to contact Pastor Michael Croom.  If you are interested in exploring these beliefs and more, they are covered in our adult inquiry class, From Faith to Faith: The Life of Faith.  The class meets approximately once a quarter.