ABOUT GOD | Following the decree of the Council of Nicea (325AD), we believe that there is one divine essence which is named God, and truly is God. But there are three persons in the same one essence, equally powerful, equally eternal: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three are one divine essence, eternal, undivided, unending, of immeasurable power, wisdom, and goodness, the creator and preserver of all visible and invisible things. What is understood by the word “person” is not a part nor a quality in another, but that which exists by itself, as the Fathers once used the word concerning this issue.
ABOUT SIN | Furthermore, it is taught among us that since the fall of Adam, all human beings who are born in the natural way are conceived and born in sin. This means that from birth, they are full of evil, lust, and inclination, and cannot by nature possess true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this same innate disease and original sin is truly sin, and condemns to God’s eternal wrath, all who are not in turn born anew through baptism and the Holy Spirit.
ABOUT SALVATION | We cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God through our merit, work, or satisfactions. We receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God out of grace for Christ’s sake through faith when we believe that Christ has suffered for us, and that for his sake, our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard this faith as righteousness in his sight, as St. Paul says in Romans 3:21-26 and 4:5.
ABOUT SACRAMENTS | Concerning the use of sacraments, it is taught that the sacraments are instituted not only to be signs by which people may recognize Christians outwardly, but also as signs and testimonies of God’s will toward us in order thereby to awaken and strengthen our faith. That is why they also require faith and are rightly used when received in faith for the strengthening of faith.
ABOUT BAPTISM | Concerning baptism, it is taught that it is necessary, that grace is offered through it, and that one should also baptize children, who through such baptism are entrusted to God and become pleasing to him.
ABOUT COMMUNION | Concerning the Lord’s Supper, it is taught that the true body and blood of Christ are truly present under the form of bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper and are distributed and received there.
ABOUT THE CHURCH | It is the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel. For this is enough for the true unity of the Christian church that there the gospel is preached harmoniously according to a pure understanding and the sacraments are administered in conformity with the divine Word. It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that uniform ceremonies, instituted by human beings, be observed everywhere. As Paul says in Ephesians 4:4-5: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
ABOUT CHRISTIAN DISCIPLINES | Faith should yield good fruit and good works, and that a person must do such good works as God has commanded for God’s sake, but not place trust in them as if thereby to earn grace before God.
ABOUT FREE WILL | We confess that there is a free will in all human beings. For all have a natural, innate mind and reason – not that they can act in matters pertaining to God, such as loving or fearing God with their whole heart – but they do have the freedom to choose good or evil only in the external works of this life. By ‘good’ I mean what can be done by nature: whether to work in the field or not, whether to eat and drink, whether to visit a friend or not, to dress or undress, to build a home, to marry, to engage in a trade, and to do whatever may be useful and good. To be sure, all of this neither exists nor endures without God, but everything is from him and through him. On the other hand, a human being can, by personal choice, do evil, such as to kneel before an idol, commit murder, and the like. Therefore, even though we concede to free will, the freedom and power to perform external works of the law, nevertheless we do not ascribe to free will of those spiritual capacities, namely, true fear of God, true faith in God, the conviction and knowledge that God cares for us, hears us, and forgives us, etc. These works the human heart cannot produce without the Holy Spirit, just as Paul says 1 Cor. 2:14: “Those who are natural,” that is, those who use only their natural powers, “do not perceive the things which are of God.”
ABOUT LUTHERANISM | With the universal Christian Church, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists; Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan; and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God’s Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.
Our congregation accepts and preaches the Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther that inspired the reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century. The teaching of Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three phrases: