A Brief Introduction of our Faith and Life
Thank you for your interest in our congregation. We hope that this article will better help you understand what it is we believe and practice.
What our congregation believes can best be described by the following four adjectives. We Lutherans are Evangelical, Biblical, Sacramental, and catholic.
We are Evangelical. We are a church that emphasizes the "evangel," which is the New Testament word for "the Gospel." Nothing is more essential to our faith than the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that joyous good news that we receive forgiveness and everlasting life as a gift of God through personal faith in Jesus Christ. We reject all teachings that would suggest or imply that a person can enter heaven by his works or personal piety, for this holy Scripture rejects (Rom. 3:21-28; Eph. 2:8-10). In everything we do, be it worship, preaching, teaching, or service, this Gospel is our motivation and focus. We believe our congregation exists to "make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:18-20).
We are Biblical. We believe that every word of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament is God's inspired and inerrant Word. This Word is the only source and authority for Christian faith and life. Scripture Alone is our battle cry.
We are Sacramental. Some treat the Sacraments as unneeded extras, as mere symbols which contain no power in and of themselves. For us, Baptism and the Lord's Supper are at the center of our lives as Christians. They are powerful means of grace through which the Holy Spirit works to create, strengthen and sustain our faith. We believe Baptism to be a water of life that saves; We believe the Lord's Supper to be the true body and blood of Christ in and with the bread and the wine that gives the assurance of forgiveness.
We are catholic. Though we take our name from Martin Luther, a sixteenth century reformer of the Church. our teaching is one with the ancient, apostolic, and catholic Christian Church of the first four centuries. Luther did not invent new teachings or create a new church. Rather, by God's grace, he simply attempted to reform the Church Catholic of his day by the Gospel; he taught again the doctrine that the holy Christian Church had believed but had lost. The creeds and confessions of our Lutheran Church reflect this fact. Note: the small "c" in "catholic" is intentional. It reflects the fact that we are catholic, not Roman Catholic. Long before there was a "Roman Catholic Church" or pope, the word catholic was used in the early centuries of the Church's history. It meant "universal," the Church that is spread throughout the world, not restricted to one place; and it meant "orthodox," the Church that holds to true Christian doctrine, over against heretics. We are one with this holy catholic Church that has existed since the beginning.
Our worship is liturgical by design not by neglect. Our worship is liturgical because we believe the ancient liturgies to be faithful to the Gospel and Scripture and extremely edifying. The liturgies in our hymnal are rich with Scripture and Biblical imagery. Much of our liturgy goes back to the time of Christ or to the early Church. Further, though we encourage personal devotions in Word and prayer, we believe that public worship is the most important thing we do together. We are troubled by that tendency in the Church today that emphasizes private and individual faith to the neglect of public worship. For public worship is the chief place that Christ comes among His people to bless them.
The Bible teaches that we are saved for good works, not by good works (Eph. 2:8-10). Therefore, we Lutherans teach and emphasize lives full of love and good works. Put another way, we strive to be like Jesus in all we say, do, or think, avoiding sin and pursuing holiness. But it must be stressed again: We do this not in order to be saved by these works (only Christ's works can save us); we do it because we have already been saved by God's grace in Christ. If our Savior gave it all to save us, we gladly give our lives in His service.
We follow the some Judeo-Christian ethic that western civilization has followed for the past 1000 years, an ethic best summarized by the Ten Commandments. We uphold and strive to defend the sanctity and worth of all human life, from conception to grave. We define the family as "those related to each other by blood or marriage" and see it as a gift of God and the bedrock of our society. We view sexuality in the Biblical sense: as God's gift to be enjoyed by one man and one woman in holy marriage.