What We Believe: Our Core Beliefs
We confess the Triune God.
The Father (Parent), Son, and Holy Spirit. And we confess our faith in the Triune God as Christians following in the footsteps of Martin Luther. We are Lutheran. We believe that the Scriptures, the Creeds, the Confessions (as found in the Book of Concord) point faithfully to the Triune God and are resources for us as we teach, preach, and learn about God.
We believe that Jesus is our Lord, our Savior, our Christ.
We proclaim Jesus incarnate (in real true flesh), Jesus crucified (dying a real, true death), Jesus descended into the dead, and Jesus raised. This work of Jesus brings wholeness, healing, and salvation (being made right with God) to us, to our communities, and to the world. Nothing can any longer separate us from the love of God found in Jesus Christ, our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
We believe that we are saved by grace through faith apart from works for the sake of Christ (Ephesians 2:8).
In other words, we are made right with God as a free gift of God by grace claimed through faith apart from the things we do and don't do. We are loved. We are forgiven. We are saved. Because of Jesus. Period. There's nothing we can do to earn it or to lose it. We are sinners. That is true. And yet, because God sees us through the lens of Jesus, we are also saints.
We believe that all people are made in the image of God
and that all people are God's beloved.
On the cross, Jesus draws all people to himself (John 12:32). Not race, our sexuality, our gender, our identity, our profession, our sin can change that. God therefore has a vested interest in how people are treated and cared for (or not) by the society in which we live. We see, throughout the Scriptures, that God pushes us toward those who are found on the margins, those who are dehumanized, and treated as less than beloved. We (not just as individuals but as societies and nations) serve Jesus by serving, seeking justice for, and releasing the bonds of oppression of, to borrow language from the Gospel of Matthew, the "least of these" - the marginalized, the immigrant, the imprisoned, the hungry, the thirsty (Matthew 25:31-36).
We believe that faith is relationship - a relationship to which God is absolutely and forever committed.
Again and again, God reaches out to us. Again and again, God finds us. And again and again, we receive the gifts and the promises of God. We believe that through both encounters with the Word and through the Sacraments (Baptism and Communion) we receive these promises again as a gift from God to the church and its people, and we are assured again of God's love and salvation that we've found in Jesus. In word, in water, and in bread and wine, God's promises meet us in these ordinary elements in order to enliven, refresh, and sustain faith.
We believe that God is still active and thriving in the world.
Jesus promised to be with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). The God we meet in Jesus is active in ways that we see and don't see, in ways known and unknown. God works through the bodies and the lives of people around us - through teachers, through doctors and scientists, through the people in the check-out line, through us (the list could go on!). Even in the night, when it is hard to experience God at work, we trust that God is working to bring about life, healing, wholeness, and salvation, working to bring God's kingdom to this earth (here and now) - so that it is "on earth as it is in heaven" (Lord's Prayer). That's God's will. And God actively is working to make it reality.
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
It is a gift of God, written by humans. It is the story of God and God's relationship with God's people, the story of our relationships with God, one another, and all of creation. God uses ordinary humans to tell the story, and as ordinary humans, we are drawn into the story, we wrestle with the story (and with God! - Genesis 32:22-32), and we live out that story. In the pages, we find a story of God's love and God's commitment to being our God and to us being God's people (Jeremiah 30:22) -- a commitment ultimately made known, for Christians, in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We are changed by the story. We live the story. We continue the story.
We believe that God draws us together as a community.
We don't do faith alone.
We don't wrestle with God, with the Bible, with faith alone. But God gives us the gift of a community of faith - our own church community, the wider church, and the company of the saints. We are all part of Christ's one body, made up of different members with different gifts. Not one of us is lesser or greater than another. And not one of us is disposable or dispensable (1 Cor. 12:18-26). However we gather, wherever we gather (in person, online, around dinner tables, in the sanctuary, etc.), Christ is there.
We believe that we are sent out in service to our communities
and to the world.
Because we are saved, we are free! Free from our need to make ourselves right with God! Free to be human! Free to be all that we are! Free to live and grow in faith! Free to make a difference in the lives of others and in the wider world. And in that freedom, we are called to be Christ to our neighbor. The things we do for the sake of our neighbor, our communities, and the world flow from our faith. We "live in Christ through faith and in the neighbor through love." (Martin Luther, The Freedom of A Christian). God uses us, as imperfect as we are, to be Christ's hands and feet for the good of the world.