Why do we call ourselves “Evangelical?”
We call ourselves “Evangelical” not because we associate with so-called modern day “evangelical” churches. We refer to our church as “evangelical” because our church is primarily concerned with the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When we speak of the “gospel,” we are talking about the message of salvation in Christ Jesus that is proclaimed by the writers of the Holy Scriptures. We believe that all people are saved “by grace, through faith” when they believe and trust that Jesus Christ has died for their sins and the sins of the entire world, as well as the fact that He has been raised that we might have life and salvation in His name.
We believe that the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was necessary because all people are born in sin, under God’s wrath, and utterly incapable of freeing themselves from their sinful condition. As a result, it was out of great mercy and love that our Lord Jesus Christ, begotten from eternity, took on human flesh and became a man in order to die for the sins of the entire world.
Why do we call ourselves “Lutheran?”
We call ourselves “Lutheran” in honor of the late Martin Luther, who along with other reformers gave birth to what is known as the Lutheran Reformation. We believe that the Reformation of the church that occurred nearly five-hundred years ago was necessary because the teaching and the preaching of the gospel had been entirely obscured and neglected. The reformers, including Martin Luther, sought to restore the gospel and the Holy Scriptures to their rightful place within the life of the church and purify the church from abuses which destroyed the gospel.
Lutherans are defined today not by allegiance to everything that Martin Luther said, but are rather defined by their commitment to the Holy Scriptures as well as their subscription to the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the Book of Concord. The documents contained in the Book of Concord are the historic confessions of the Lutheran Church written in defense of our confession, teaching, and practice.
What do we believe about the Bible?
“We believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and standard according to which all doctrines together with all teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone, as it is written in Psalm 119:105, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” and as St. Paul says in Galatians 1:8, “Even though an angel from heaven should preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed.”The Formula of Concord: Epitome – Summary Content, Rule, and Norm
What do we believe about Jesus?
What do we believe about the Church?
What do we believe about the Lord’s Supper?
We believe, as our Lord Jesus Christ has told us, that the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is truly given “in, with, and under” the bread and wine in such a way that it is appropriate to say that the bread “is” the body of our Lord Jesus Christ and the wine “is” the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although our minds cannot fully understand how this could be so, we simply take our Lord at His word and believe what he has told us.
We believe that Christians are to eat the body and drink the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, as he has bid us to do in his last will and testament which he gave to the church on the night in which he was betrayed and in the most serious of circumstances. We believe that when Christians receive the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in the faith that what he says is true, then they truly receive forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. However, whenever someone receives the body and blood of the Lord without true faith or fails to discern the body of the Lord, they do so to their harm and judgment, as St. Paul tells us (1 Corinthians 11:27–30).
For this reason, our church lovingly cares for both its members and visitors by practicing the historic Christian practice of closed communion. This means that only those who have previously been instructed and confirmed are admitted to the Lord’s Supper at our altar. If you have questions about our practice of the Lord’s Supper, or would like to receive instruction or the Lord’s Supper with us, our pastor would be delighted to talk to you and would gladly answer any questions that you may have.
Where can I learn more?
If you would like to know more about our church and her beliefs, the best place to start would be to come to church and talk with our pastor. However, if you would like to read on your own, the best place to start reading would be the Small Catechism. The Small Catechism is made up of six parts which contain the fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, including references to Holy Scripture. These six parts are:
- The Ten Commandments
- The Apostles’ Creed
- The Lord’s Prayer
- The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
- Confession & Absolution
- The Sacrament of the Altar (or, the Lord’s Supper)
If you have read through the Small Catechism and would like to know more about the beliefs of our church, or you have additional questions, then there are two additional resources which are readily available:
- The Book of Concord, which includes all of the historic confessions of our church, to which our pastors and members subscribe. The best place to start reading in the Book of Concord is the chief confession of the Lutheran Church, the Augsburg Confession (1530).
- Our Synod’s website, which contains a basic description of Lutheran beliefs as well links to documents which address a variety of topics, including both theological issues as well as life issues.