What Lutherans Believe
Our Statements of Faith
The Essentials We Believe: (Please read through these and if you have questions or concerns with any of these teachings, please talk with pastor Muenchow)
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.
Genesis 1:1,26,27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5; 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14,15; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He give every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians, we seek to live under His control daily.
2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18
About the Bible
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5
About Human Beings
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life.
Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1, 2
Salvation is God’s free gift to us even as the faith by which we accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. By the Spirit’s power we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith saved. Eternal life begins the moment one is brought to receive Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1
About Eternal Life
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God. It is grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security.
John 10:29; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25, 10:10,14; 1 Peter 1:3-5
People were created to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15; 1 Cor. 2:7-9
Our Lifestyle Statements
What We Practice
Beliefs are not worth much unless they are translated into actions. Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following seven practices:
Bible As Our Sole Authority
“The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us to do what is right.” 2 Tim. 3:15
Since God’s Word is the only completely reliable and truthful authority, we accept the Bible as our manual for living. Our first question when faced with a decision is “What does the Bible say?” We practice daily Bible reading, Bible study, and Bible memorization. The Bible is the basis for all we believe.
Autonomy of Each Local Church
“Christ is the head of His Body, the church. He is the source of the Body’s life…” Col. 1:18 (GN)
Christ is the recognized head of our church, not any person, group, or religious organization. While recognizing the value of associating and cooperating with other groups of Christians, we believe every local church should be self-governing and independent from any denominational control. In relating to our “daughter churches” that we sponsor, we encourage each congregation to determine it’s own strategy, structure, and style.
Priesthood of Every Believer
“Christ loves us, and by His death He has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom of priests to serve God…” Rev. 1:6 (GN) “You are…the King’s priests…God’s own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God.” 1 Pet. 2:9 (GN)
The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through prayer Bible reading.
“A tithe of everything you produce belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” Lev. 26:30
At Messiah we encourage our members to practice tithing for the support of Christ’s body, the church, as God commands. We recognize that giving 10% of our income is the Biblical standard of giving.
If you wait until you are “perfect”, you’ll never feel “good enough”!
The Lord’s Supper
Jesus never asked His disciples to remember His birth. But He did instruct them to remember His death and resurrection. He gave the church two visible symbols (called “sacraments”) as reminders of His death. These two sacraments are: Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.
What Is The Lord’s Supper? (1 Cor. 11:23-26) Jesus gives his true body with the bread and his true blood with the wine for the forgiveness of our sins and the strengthening of our faith in Him.
“The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread…” (vs. 23) “…and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; eat it in remembrance of me.’” (vs. 24)
“In the same way, He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; drink it to remember me.’” (vs. 25) “For whenever you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes back.” (vs. 26)
Who Should Take The Lord’s Supper?
Only those who are already believers in Christ as their Savior and who believe His promise to give His body and blood in this sacrament for the forgiveness of their sins.
“For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” 1 Cor. 11:29
Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning “against the body and blood of the Lord. A person ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.” 1 Cor. 11:27-28
“For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ…” Col. 2:12 (GN)
We practice baptism by sprinkling, but any form of application, including immersion under water — the way Jesus was baptized, and the Word is acceptable.
(Jesus said), “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; but apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
We believe the only way possible to live the Christian life is by God’s power within us. So we seek to practice a daily dependence on God’s Spirit to enable us to do what is right. (Phil. 2:13, Eph. 5:18)
Telling Others About Christ
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15
It is the responsibility of every Christian to share the Good News with those with whom God brings us into contact. We practice personal sharing about Christ and inviting friends to church.