We believe that the only true God is the Triune God, the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is one in essence, but three Persons. Deut. 6:4; John 10:30; Matt. 28:19. Therefore, we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity.
| Athanasian Creed |
2. GOD’S REVELATION OF HIMSELF
We believe and teach that God has revealed Himself to man, not only in creation, Rom. 1:20, and through man’s conscience, Rom. 2:14 and 15, but also and especially through His Word, the Bible. Ps. 19:7 and 8; Rom. 15:4; Rom. 16: 25 and 26. The true way of salvation is revealed only through the Word. 2 Tim. 3:15. The main purpose of Scripture is to reveal to us Christ as the Savior. Luke 24, 25-27; John 20:31.
3. INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE
We believe, teach and confess that the canonical books of the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments, in their original form as written by the prophets, evangelists and apostles, are given by inspiration of God. John 10:35; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20 and 21; 2 Pet. 3:15-17.
The Holy Scriptures are therefore without error also when they speak of scientific, geographical and historical matters, and are the only source and norm of all doctrine taught in the Church.
We believe that the Bible not only contains the Word of God, but that it is the Word of God.
We reject the conclusions of the so-called “historical-critical method” of Bible interpretation as an unwarranted and arbitrary manner of dealing with the sacred Scriptures.
We believe that the Bible is true and reliable also in its account of miracles, both in the Old and the New Testaments. We therefore regard the denial of these miracles as blasphemous and as setting one’s self up as a judge over God’s Word.
We believe that it is possible both to know the truth and to make confession of the same, and that God requires us to do both. John 8:31 and 32; John 17:17; 2 Tim. 1:13.
We accept the statement of Scripture that God created all things in six days, as set forth in Gen. 1 and 2 and elsewhere in the scriptures. We reject the theories of evolution and theistic evolution because they stand in contradiction to the account of creation as given in the Bible and accepted by Christ. Matt 19:4.
6. THE FALL
We believe and teach that God created man in His image, Gen. 1:27, possessing righteousness, but that man, through the Fall, Gen. 3:6, lost this righteousness and became by nature sinful and corrupt, Gen. 6:5; Ps. 51:5, at enmity against God, Rom. 8:7, and subject to the wrath of God and death. Rom. 1:18; Rom. 5:12; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:3
We believe that, in order to rescue fallen mankind, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, Jon 3:17, clothed in human flesh, true God and true Man in one Person. John 1:14. By His righteousness, Rom. 5:18, and by His innocent suffering, death and resurrection, Rom. 4:25, Jesus has redeemed the entire world. 1 John 2:2.
We believe that the world was declared to be righteous in Christ when He arose from the dead. Rom. 4:25; 2 Cor. 5:19. This may be called world-justification or universal reconciliation. We also hold that a person has this justification as his personal possession when he comes to faith in Christ as his Savior. This may be called personal justification. Rom. 1:17; Rom. 5:1 and 2
We reject as unscriptural any teaching that man can be saved apart from faith in Jesus Christ. John 3:16-18 John 14:16
9. THE MEANS OF GRACE
We believe that God has instituted certain Means of Grace by which He announces and imparts His forgiveness of sins and salvation to man. These Means of Grace are the Gospel, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47; John 15:3 and the Sacraments of Baptism, Mat. 28:19; John 3:5; Eph. 5:26; Titus 3:5, and the Lord’s Supper, 1 Cor. 11:23-26. It is the Word of God, connected with the outward elements, that makes the Sacraments effective Means of Grace. The written, spoken and sacramental Word is never empty ad sterile, but active and creative because it carries with it all the attributes of God Himself. Rom. 1:16; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1Thess. 2:15
The Gospel also takes the form of the Absolution, as instituted by Christ. Matt. 16:19, Matt. 18:18; John 20:21-23. The Absolution is not only a wish that sin be forgiven, but it is a powerful impartation of the same, whether pronounced in public or in private. The forgiveness of sins is accepted by all who believe. Mark 16:16; Rom. 3:28; Rom. 4:5
We believe that man’s conversion to faith in Christ is solely and alone the work of God the Holy Spirit, Eph. 2:4-9, through the Means of Grace. Rom. 10:17
We hold that the unregenerate man does not and cannot cooperate in his conversion. 1Cor. 2:14
11. GOOD WORKS
We believe and confess that good works are necessary fruits of faith in the life of the Christian, John 15:5; Rom. 6:1-2; Eph. 2:10, and are forthcoming because of thankfulness to God for His mercy. Rom. 12:1
A life of prayer likewise follows upon faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. Phil. 4:6; 1 Thess. 5:17
12. ELECTION OF GRACE
We believe that those whom God in time called by the Gospel, enlightened, sanctified and kept in the true faith have even from eternity been chosen and elected unto such adoption as children of God and heirs of everlasting life. Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:3-6; 2 Thess. 2:13-14
We believe, therefore, that the Christian can and should be sure of his salvation because the promise of God is steadfast, 1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Tim. 1:12, and his election unto salvation stands firm. Rom. 8:26-39
We reject the teaching that there is an election to damnation. Ezekiel 33:11.
We believe that when a person is saved it is due to the grace of God alone, but when a person is lost it is his own fault. Hos. 13:9.
13. THE CHURCH
We believe that there is a holy Christian Church on earth which consists of all those who from the heart accept Christ as Savior and confess Him by word and deed. This Church is invisible to our eyes, Luke 17:20, but known to God. 2 Tim. 2:19.
We believe that the Church is found where the Word of God and the Sacraments are in use.
We believe that it is the will of God that Christians shall gather together for mutual edification through Word and Sacrament, Heb. 10:25, and to labor for the promulgation of these Means of Grace throughout the world. Mark 16:15
14. THE MINISTRY
We believe that the lord wills the establishment of the Office of the Ministry for the public administration of the Means of Grace, and that properly qualified men shall be called to this Office. Acts 20:28; Rom. 10:14-15; Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5
We believe that when God’s word says that women are to keep silence in the churches, 1 Cor. 14:34, and are not to unsurp authority over man, 1 Tim. 2:12, this teaches that the Office of the Public Ministry and the right of the franchise in the Church are not to be conferred upon women. Nevertheless, Christian women are included in the universal preist hood of all believers, 1 Pet. 2:9, and have the rights and duties of such priesthood.
15. THE LAST THINGS
We believe that on the Last Day Christ will return visibility to the world, Matt. 25:31, and will raise all the dead, both the believers and the unbelievers, John 5:28-29. The believers shall enter into eternal life, but the unbelievers into eternal damnation. Matt. 25:34-46; Mark 16:16.
We reject all forms of Millennialism, i.e. the teaching the Christ will reign visibly on earth for a thousand years before the end of time. Mark 13:32-37; Luke 18:8; John 18:36
16. CHURCH FELLOWSHIP
We believe that the Scriptures require that church fellowship shall be acknowledged and exercised only on the basis of confession of and commitment to the pure Marks of the Church, the Word and Sacraments. John 8:31-32; 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 2:19-20; Eph. 4:3-6. Deviation from the teaching of the Word of God is not to be tolerated in the Church. Matt. 7:15-20; Rom 16:17; Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John vv. 9-11. We reject unionism because it tolerates error in doctrine in the Church.
The only authority in the Church is Christ who teaches His Church through the Word. Matt. 23:8; John 8:31-32; 1 Pet. 4:11.
17. THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS
We accept the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the Book of Concord because these are a correct statement of the teachings of Scripture.