“On the basis of Holy Scripture we believe the sublime article of the Holy Trinity. That is, we believe that the one true God is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit – one God in three persons. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one divine essence and nature, are one God, who has created heaven and earth. The Father is begotten of no one; the Son is begotten of the Father from eternity; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit but the Son became man. The Lord Jesus became man in this manner: He was conceived without the cooperation of a man, by the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. Afterwards He suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, and will come to judge the living and the dead.” (Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles, Article I)
And so, we are Trinitarian, credal (faith-confessing) Christians.
“Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)
“Baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:11)
The Lord Jesus is eternal God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He assumed or took on a human body and soul like ours, but was without sin.
Church Reformer and Pastor Martin Luther wrote of Jesus, “As our Lord and God, Christ Jesus died for our sins and was raised again for our justification. (See Romans 4:25)
“He alone is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world (se John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquities of us all. (See Isaiah 53:6)
“All have sinned and are justified without merit [freely, and without their own works or merits] by God’s grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood. (See Romans 3:23)
“Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended by any work, law or merit, it is clear and certain that faith alone justifies us (declares us righteous) as St. Paul says, ‘For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law.’ (Romans 3:28) Also Romans 3:26: ‘That God might be just and the Justifier of those who believe in Christ.’” (Luther, Smalcald Articles, Article 2)
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
“Thomas said to Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (John 20:28)
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” (1 John 4:2)
“To them (the Hebrews) belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.” (Romans 9:5)
HOLY SCRIPTURE/THE BIBLE
Holy Scripture is the divinely-inspired (God-breathed, from Him alone), inerrant and infallible (incapable of error and falsehood) Word of the Lord. As such, Scripture differs from all other books in the world in that it is the true Word of God, written through the divine inspiration of God the Holy Spirit. In His Word, God reveals His law to us, as well as His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. The sacred Scriptures are the only source, rule and norm of Christian doctrine (teaching) and practice.
“The Word of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7)
“The Scripture cannot be broken.” (John 10:35)
“The Word of the Lord endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
“Your Word is truth.” (John 17:17)
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
“The Word of God is living and active.” (Hebrews 4:12)
MANKIND’S GUILT OF ORIGINAL SIN AND COMMITTED SINS
Since Adam and Eve’s fall into sin in Genesis 3, we are all conceived and born in sin, meaning that we share in their original sin and guilt before God. From our original sin flows committed sins that we perpetrate against God and others. Therefore, our sin and guilt is total.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
“There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” (Romans 3:11-12)
God in His holiness is justly angered by our sin and rebellion against Him, and will eternally judge and condemn all who do not believe in Him and His Son – all Who reject Him as the true God and the saving gift of faith that He gives through faith in Jesus Christ. God suffers Himself or permits Himself to be rejected, but when He is rejected, all that remains is His wrath against unbelievers in their unbelief.
“The soul who sins will die.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
“The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” (Romans 1:18)
“He who believes in the Son of God is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18)
“With the breath of His lips the Lord will slay the wicked.” (Isaiah 11:4)
God lovingly grants us eternal life and salvation from sin, death, devil and hell by His grace alone through faith in Christ Jesus alone, apart from our works or merits. That is, “in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses (sins) against them, and entrusting to them the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
Therefore we “cannot be justified, or declared righteous before God by our own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when we believe that we are received into favor, and that our sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, Who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. By this faith God regards us as righteous in His sight.” (Augsburg Confession, Article 4)
And so, Christ Jesus suffered, bled and gave His life unto death on the cross so that we poor sinners would be “justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all our sins, and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and adopted into sonship and heirship of eternal life, without any merit or worth of our own, also without any preceding, present, or any subsequent works, out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone, whose obedience is counted to us for righteousness.” (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article 3, the Righteousness of Faith Before God)
Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him Who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
“Whoever has the Son has life.” (1 John 5:12)
“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” (Romans 6:23)
Salvation is found in no one else [but the Lord Jesus,] for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“For God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)
The faith of Holy Scripture, or godly faith, is faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It is through saving faith – a gift and work of the Holy Spirit – that we apprehend the saving merits or works of Christ. That is, by faith alone, we passively receive the grace of God – the saving work of Jesus which is reckoned to us. So Christ's work is declared to us in the Word of God and apprehended by faith alone.
“Faith is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God. (John 1) It kills the old Adam (our old sinful self) and makes altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit.
“Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. And so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises, it has already done them, and is always doing them.” (Luther, Commentary on Romans)
Ephesians 2:8-9 (See above)
“Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian (the law).” (Galatians 3:25)
“A person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 2:16)
“The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17)
“But now the righteousness of God has been revealed apart from the law – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-24)
Together with the Holy Word of God and Holy Communion, Holy Baptism is a “means of grace,” or a means by which God bestows His saving grace in Jesus upon sinners. In Baptism, a person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit and saving faith in God through water and the Word of God. The baptized person becomes a child of God, acceptable to Him. Yes, Baptism is “liquid Gospel” as our gracious Lord places His Triune Name upon the baptized as he or she is baptized “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” as water is applied. No less than eternal salvation is the sure gift from God in Holy Baptism! We believe that all people of all ages, even infants and babies, are to be baptized in accordance with the Word of God.
The Rev. Luther wrote of Baptism in the Small Catechism, “It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19)
“Baptism now saves you.” (1 Peter 3:21)
“[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.” (Titus 3:5-8)
“Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)
"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children." (Acts 2:38-39)
HOLY COMMUNION/THE LORD’S SUPPER
In Holy Communion, or the Lord's Supper, Jesus Christ feeds us His true body and blood under bread and wine for the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening and enlivening of our faith, and for our eternal salvation. Thus the very body and blood of Christ are truly present in the Supper of our Lord under the form of bread and wine for us Christians to eat and drink. Holy Communion is aptly referred to as the “meal of immortality,” since as often as we feed on Christ in His body and blood, His grace and eternal life go into us. So we are filled with Him unto eternal life.
In the “Words of Institution,” the pastor speaks the words of Christ over bread and wine so that all who eat and drink of the Sacrament receive the Lord’s body and blood. As Luther reminds us, “Our Lord is at one and the same time chef, cook, butler, host, and food.” He is our Gift-giver and our Gift!
In our congregations, we honor our church body's doctrine and practice of Closed Communion. Our Communion Policy is as follows: In the Lord's Supper we receive Christ's true body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. We also confess a common faith and teaching held by all who commune together at our altar. Since only those who actually share one faith and one teaching should commune together, our altar is open only to confirmed members of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod or of a synod with which we are in altar fellowship. If you hold membership in a different church body or faith group, then in love we ask you to refrain from communing today and first visit with Pastor so that we may all "speak the same thing and be perfectly joined together in the same mind and judgment." (1 Cor. 1:10) Members of our congregation who wish to commune are asked to sign the communion registration sheet in the narthex.
“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Matthew 26:26-28)
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16)
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
“The true Church, in the most real and most perfect sense, is the totality of all true believers, who from the beginning to the end of the world from among all peoples and tongues have been called and sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the Word. And since God alone knows these true believers (2 Timothy 2:19), the Church is also called invisible. No one belongs to this true Church who is not spiritually united with Christ, for it is the spiritual body of Jesus Christ.
“The name of the true Church belongs also to all those visible companies of men among whom God's Word is purely taught and the holy Sacraments are administered according to the institution of Christ. True, in this Church there are godless men, hypocrites, and heretics, but they are not true members of it, nor do they constitute the Church.” (Rev. Walther, Altenburg Theses 1-2)
And so, the church is where the faithful saints of God gather together around Jesus Christ and His Holy Word and Sacraments. Where Jesus is, there is His church. Luther remarked, “Thank God, a seven-year-old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.” (Smalcald Articles)
Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20)
“You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20)
“Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
As a conservative, family-oriented church, we believe that all human life, from conception to natural death, is sacred, precious and is to be protected. Indeed, life is a gift from God our Creator! We hold that the infanticide of abortion as well as the murder of the terminally ill and aged (doctor-assisted suicide) are great sins and evils that are to be counseled against and avoided at all costs. Those who suffer the tragic effects of abortion and euthanasia need not despair. Rather, they are to look to God for forgiveness and comfort in His Son, Jesus Christ. (See the end of the second to last paragraph below)
According to Holy Scripture, we also hold that the only basis of the family is the life-long marriage of a man and a woman. As such, the sodomy of homosexuality, sexual relations outside of marriage, as well as unfaithfulness to one's marriage partner are all contrary to God's holy will and are contemptible in His sight. Sodomy, fornication, and adultery all do great damage to those who indulge in them. Also at enmity with, or standing in complete opposition to God and His Word is unbiblical, unnatural and unethecial transgenderism. God created mankind to be male and female, Genesis instructs us, and this separation of the sexes stands for all time.
The glaring reality of unfaithfulness to one's marriage vows, homosexuality and transgenderism is that all these severely threaten the spiritual state of people, especially endangering their eternal welfare. For this reason, all who are guilty of these things are to confess them before God, repent (turn from sin to God), seek His forgiveness in Christ Jesus, resolve to not live in such sins anymore, and lead a God-pleasing life. There is always the forgiveness of sins and hope in Jesus Christ!
We as Christians are called to live out our faith through deeds of love toward others and to tell people that the only way to salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ.