Saturday, October 31, 2009

What Lutherans Are and What They Believe

[Note: I don't know who wrote this. I didn't. It was probably written by one of my pastoral predecessors at Salem Lutheran Church. This summary of Lutheran Christianity has been on our website for many years. But I thought it would be an appropriate post for this Feast of the Holy Reformation. +HW]

We are a Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox Community of disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are catholic, That is, we believe and teach what has been taught and believed by the Church of Jesus Christ throughout the ages.

We are evangelical. That is, we are centered in the Gospel of Christ. The focal point of our beliefs is the amazing work that God has done on behalf of His people in order to rescue them from sin and all its consequences.

We are orthodox. That is, we are zealous for the right teaching and proclamation of the treasure that Jesus has entrusted to His Church. In this way, we are able to give God the right glory that He so richly deserves.

We are Lutheran. That is, we are identified with the Spirit-led reformer of the 16th century who initiated the rediscovery of the Gospel which had been obscured by centuries of false teaching and traditions.

Our basic beliefs:

We believe, teach and confess that there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Apart from this Triune God (One God in three distinct persons) there is no other. Rejected is the error that the True God is any other than the Triune God, or the error that all religions essentially lead to the True God.

We believe, teach and confess that the Second Person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ is True God, begotten of the Father from eternity and True Man, born of the virgin Mary, by the working of the Holy Spirit. He alone is the Savior of all, whom the Father sent to restore all things. Rejected is the error that Jesus is not God or that He did not accomplish all things necessary for man's salvation.

We believe, teach and confess that at the fall into sin, man's nature became so totally and thoroughly corrupted that he is by nature turned away from God and, from the time of conception, is under God's just condemnation. Rejected is the error that man is somehow morally neutral or that in some regard, he has retained certain powers which may aid him in returning to God.

We believe, teach and confess that salvation is by God's grace alone through faith in the atoning work which the Son accomplished on behalf of all men. Rejected is the error that man may/must somehow aid or cooperate in some way in order to obtain salvation.

We believe, teach and confess that this Christian faith is solely the work of the Holy Spirit, bringing light into man's sin-darkened heart, bringing life to that which was dead, making those who were enemies of God into God's dearly loved children. Rejected is the error that man must open himself, call upon the Lord or invite Him into his heart.

We believe, teach and confess that the Holy Spirit, using His chosen means, namely the Word and the Sacraments, converts, saves, forgives sins and brings to everlasting life. Rejected is the error that the Spirit works apart from means or that man should expect the Spirit in other than His chosen means.

We believe, teach and confess that Jesus has established His Holy Christian Church to preach the Word and administer the Sacraments, so that all might become disciples of the Lord. Rejected is the error that Jesus established His Church with powers other than the preaching of the Gospel and making disciples of all nations.

We believe, teach and confess that the good works that man does is a result of the good that the Holy Spirit has placed within him. They are the fruit of a living faith. Rejected is the error that man may somehow do good works apart from faith or that they contribute toward faith, or in aiding to gaining salvation.

We believe, teach and confess that at the Last Day, all men will rise again, and that those who are believers in Jesus will receive everlasting life, and that those who reject Jesus will receive everlasting condemnation. Rejected is the error that those who do not have faith in Jesus can somehow receive eternal life or that there is no everlasting condemnation for the evil.

1 comment:

christl242 said...

Beautifully stated and very timely, Father Hollywood.

Thank you!

Christine