What We Believe
What We Believe About the Bible
The Bible is different than all other books in the world in that it is the Word of God. It is the Word of God because the holy men of God who wrote the Bible wrote only that which the Holy Spirit communicated to them by inspiration.
Because the Bible is the Word of God, it contains no errors or contradictions, but is, in all of its parts and words, the infallible truth. This is true even of the parts which speak of historical, geographical, and other secular matters.
Because the Bible was given to the Christian Church by God as the foundation of faith (Ephesians 2:20), it is the sole source from which all doctrines proclaimed in the Christian Church must be taken and also the only rule and norm by which all teachers and doctrines must be examined and judged.
What We Believe About Man and Sin
The first man, Adam, was created in God’s own image, that is, in true knowledge of God and in true righteousness and holiness and endowed with a truly scientific knowledge of nature.
Sin came into the world by the fall of the first man as described in Genesis, Chapter 3. By this fall, Adam and all of his natural offspring (all people) have lost the original knowledge, righteousness and holiness and, as a result, all people are sinners by birth, dead in sins, inclined toward evil and subject to the wrath of God. No one is able through any efforts of their own to reconcile themselves to God and thereby conquer death and damnation.
What We Believe About Conversion
Conversion consists in this: That a person, having learned from the Law of God that he is a lost and condemned sinner, is brought to faith in the Gospel, which offers him forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation on account of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross for all mankind. Such conversion is neither wholly or in part the work of this person, but is solely the work of God’s grace and almighty power.
What We Believe About God
God is a Trinity, that is, the one true God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, three distinct persons, but of one and the same divine essence, equal in power, equal in eternity, equal in majesty.
What We Believe About Redemption
The eternal Son of God was made man by assuming a human nature like ours but without sin. Jesus Christ is “true God, begotten of the Father from eternity and true man, born of the Virgin Mary,” true God and true man in one undivided and indivisible person. The purpose of His miraculous incarnation was to become the Mediator between God and men, both fulfilling the Law and suffering and dying in the place of mankind. This is how God has reconciled the whole world to Himself.
What We Believe About Justification
God justifies, that is, He declares as righteous all those who believe in Christ. Believing in Christ means that one believes, accepts, and relies on the fact that, because of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross on their behalf, their sins are forgiven. God justifies solely by grace, without any consideration given to works of the Law.
We reject as apostasy from the Christian religion all doctrines in which one’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.
What We Believe About Creation
God created heaven and earth in the manner and in the space of time recorded in the Bible, especially Genesis, Chapters 1 and 2. Specifically, by His almighty, creative word, God created all things from nothing in six days as we understand days.
We reject every doctrine which denies or limits the work of creation as taught in the Bible, especially that the world came into existence through a process of evolution, that it has developed more or less out of itself.
What We Believe About Faith in Christ
Faith in Christ is the only way for men to obtain personal reconciliation with God, which is accomplished through the forgiveness of our sins. We receive the forgiveness of sins only by faith in Christ. Faith in Christ does not refer to or include any human effort to fulfill the Law of God after the example of Christ, but is faith in the Gospel. Such faith in the Gospel is trust that God forgives us our sins just as He says that He does. This forgiveness was fully earned for us by Christ and is offered to us in the Gospel.
We hold that all teachers and communions that deny this doctrine of the Holy Trinity are outside the pale of the Christian Church.
What We Believe About Good Works
Before God only those works are good which are done for the glory of God and the good of man, according to the rule of the divine Law. No one can perform such unless he first believes that God has forgiven him his sins and has given him eternal life by grace without any works of his own. Good works are always and in every instance the result of faith in the Gospel.
What We Believe About Means of Grace
God is present and operates everywhere throughout all of creation and the whole earth is filled with the temporal blessings of God. But the spiritual blessings of the forgiveness of sins are given only through the means of grace that God has appointed. These means of grace are the Word of the Gospel, Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The Word of the Gospel promises and applies the grace of God, works faith and thereby regenerates people, and brings the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s Supper is the communication and sealing of the forgiveness of sins. There is no other way of winning souls for the Church and keeping them with it than the faithful and diligent use of the divinely ordained means of grace.