WHAT WE BELIEVE AND TEACH
THE BIBLE: We believe and teach that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of the church’s proclamation, faith and life. The truth we learn in the Bible is both reliable and dependable for believing and living as followers of Jesus Christ.
GOD: We believe and teach that there is one God who is the Creator of us and all that exists. God has revealed himself to us as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God expresses his power through what he has created. God makes himself known to us through the person of Jesus, the Lord and Savior of us all. God continues to make himself known to us through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
JESUS CHRIST: We believe and teach that Jesus is the Christ. He is Savior and Lord. This is expressed in the words of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended to the dead/hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT: We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is the presence and power of God at work in the world, especially in human lives. The Spirit is at work in convicting sinners of their need for God’s grace, and in empowering people for effective Christian living. The Spirit produces “fruit” in the lives of believers as expressed in the fifth chapter of Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
SIN: Sin describes our condition and our actions…what we are and what we do. All of life is affected by sin. Sin separates us from the Lord causing discord and brokenness with God and with others. Sin is expressed not only in broken relationships, but in personal greed, unloving thoughts, disobedient actions and hurtful deeds as well.
SALVATION: Salvation describes God’s activity in restoring us to a right relationship with himself. God forgives us and gives us the promise of eternal life. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God provides salvation which makes it possible for us to be saved from the consequences and power of sin. Out of his gracious love this salvation is offered through the Word and Sacraments and received by faith. Faith is believing and trusting Christ as Savior and Lord. We believe and teach that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. We believe and teach that God desires for all people to be saved, rejecting the idea that some people are predestined to be saved and others are predestined to be lost.
CHRISTIAN LIVING: Christians are called by God to live in a way that is pleasing to him. The Christian life is one of dependence on the Holy Spirit, who equips people with wisdom, discernment and power to do the will of God. The fruit of the Spirit as expressed in Galatians is evidence of a God-pleasing life. The Christian life is also expressed in responsible management of resources such as time, money, and abilities; in sacrificial giving to make the Gospel known to all people; and in helping to prevent and alleviate suffering.
THE CHURCH: We believe and teach that the Church is the people of God, the Body of Christ, created and sustained by God himself. All Christians are part of the church universal (catholic). The Biblical expression of being a member of the Church is faithful participation in worship, regular fellowship and generous support of the mission of one’s congregation.
SACRAMENTS: We believe and teach that Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are the two Sacraments given by Jesus Christ to his Church. We teach that Baptism is the sign and means of incorporation into the Christian life and the Church. Through Baptism God makes us his own as we are joined with Christ and with his people. Both children and adults are candidates for Baptism, which means we baptize both believers and the children of believers. We do not “re-baptize” people, but accept the validity of all Christian Baptisms. We teach that it is imperative for children who are baptized to come to a personal faith in Christ in order for the promises of Baptism to be effective. Even though we teach the importance and necessity of Baptism for Christian discipleship, we do not teach that unbaptized children are lost from God.
HOLY COMMUNION: Also called the “Lord’s Supper” and the “Eucharist” in many congregations. We teach that Holy Communion is the meal of grace that God uses to reassure, renew, and strengthen us in our relationship with him. It is also a sign and means of our unity and fellowship with other believers. We teach that in and with the bread and wine of this Sacrament we receive the Body and Blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. God fills us with the life and presence of Christ through this precious meal. We are to receive this Sacrament with a believing heart, trusting that God loves and forgives us more than we can imagine and more than we deserve. All adult Christians are invited to participate in Holy Communion along with children who are prepared through our “Welcome to The Lord’s Table” classes.
OUR LUTHERAN IDENTITY: We identify with the Church movement which began in the sixteenth century in Europe, sometimes called the Lutheran Reformation. We teach the Lutheran themes of grace alone, faith alone, word alone and Christ alone. We are a member of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC) and are involved cooperatively in the mission of the Church around the world.
THE THINGS TO COME: We affirm the words of the Apostles’ Creed that Christ “will come again to judge both the living and the dead,” and we believe in “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” We avoid what we view to be speculative teachings concerning the “end times.” As Christians, we believe that every day is an opportunity to live in a vital, loving, and growing relationship with God. We do not fear the future. “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
HUMAN SEXUALITY: The Christian Church is called to be in the world, but not of it. Our lives are to reflect the will and purposes of the God who created and loves us. The Word of God, not the ways of the world, is the ultimate standard by which we are called to live. This includes our sexuality, marriage and the ordination of pastors.
Many denominations and congregations have already or will soon be deciding on what they believe and teach regarding human sexuality. Here at Faith, we believe the teaching of the Scriptures and the nearly 2,000 year old traditions of the Church are clear on such matters. As a result of our faith and conviction, we affirm the following statement as adopted by the Church Council of Faith:
We believe, teach and confess that:
1. Sexuality is a good gift God graciously bestows on humanity for the sake of love, devotion, and procreation.
2. By creating us male and female, God has built gender complementarity into the very fabric of human existence.
3. Marriage, the lifelong union of fidelity between one man and one woman, is the only relationship God has ordained for the full expression of human sexuality.
4. Marriage is neither a private arrangement nor merely a human construct or custom. It is, rather, a divine institution by which God has founded human community in a joy that begins now and is brought to perfection in the life to come.
5. Neither the Scriptures nor the Lutheran Confessions grant any authorization to the church to recognize as divinely approved any relationship other than the marriage of one man and one woman for the full expression of human sexuality.