Our people come from many backgrounds and are in very different places in their spiritual journey. It would be naïve to define exactly what everyone in our spiritual community believes. There are, however, some common convictions that are forming who we’re called to be as the people of God.
An Expanded Summary of Beliefs:
We believe… in one God who is, in his nature, a trinity, that is, eternally existent in three Persons, namely the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each Person is wholly God, and yet there are not three Gods, but only One. These Persons love each other. God is love.
We believe… that God loves us.
We believe… that God created the universe, that the universe he created is very good, and that He still upholds the universe.
We believe… that the purpose for a person’s life is to have a relationship with God, glorifying and enjoying him forever. Mankind has rebelled against God, however, and left the relationship. Every person gives ample evidence that this is the case. Our rebellion, called sin (= self-worship), creates a chasm between us and God, who is holy. Sin’s consequences are ruinous.
We believe… that people try many ways to close the chasm between themselves and God, e.g. morality, rituals, self-help, etc.
These things may be all right in themselves, but they don’t have the ability to return us to God. The only way back to God is the way he gave us. The way God provided is Jesus Christ, his Son.
Regarding Jesus Christ:
We believe… that Jesus Christ is God himself (the 2nd Person of the Trinity), who came to earth and became a man, born of the virgin Mary. He is the God-man.
We believe… that Jesus led the life of a loving servant to others.
We believe… that Jesus went to the cross for us. There he received the verdict and sentence on sin that belonged to us, and he suffered it in our place, instead of us. He took it away, and so in his Person ended the chasm between man and God. In him we are now returned to a relationship with God, fully forgiven.
We believe… that Jesus rose bodily from the grave three days after he died. He is alive; God lives with us. His fellowship gives us great comfort in the trials of this life.
Regarding the Gifts of Christ:
We believe… that when we die our souls will go to heaven, and one day (the great day when Jesus re-appears on the earth in glory) our bodies will be raised, as Jesus’ body was, and re-united with our souls, to live in a new existence beyond suffering and death in a renewed universe. In short, Christ gives us eternal life.
We believe… that even now Christ gives forgiveness, Christ gives peace, Christ gives help, guidance, and new power for living. In him we have a new identity: `child of God’ and also `saint’.
We believe… that the `hand’ which receives God for oneself and these good things he freely offers is faith. Faith is personally trusting and believing in Jesus and his promises.
Regarding the New Life:
We believe… that certain results start to grow when a person comes into a relationship with Jesus through faith, and then regularly repents of self-worship (sin) and also practices self-denial (obeying, instead, the Holy Spirit). That person will, more and more over time, reflect the active love of Christ toward others, and will experience the power of God.
We believe… that persons who grow in their relationship with God are invariably also persons who worship, fellowship with other Christians, read the Bible, pray, serve others, receive service from others, and share their faith in Jesus.
Regarding the Church:
We believe… that the Church is not a building, but is people, the family of God, headed by the Father.
Regarding the Word and Sacraments:
We believe… that the Bible is the word of God. God caused it to be written in order to speak to us so that we could live in a right relationship with him and all things. The Bible is true and utterly trustworthy.
We believe… that, in order to speak to us, in addition to the Bible God has also instituted two sacraments. In Baptism God adopts us and gives us his saving promises, e.g. forgiveness of sins, eternal life, the Holy Spirit, etc. In Holy Communion God gives his very self to us (the actual body and blood of Christ under the bread and wine) and, also, once again, his saving promises.
We believe… that the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are accurate summaries of key teachings of the Bible. We affirm everything that they affirm and reject everything that they reject.
We believe… that the Small Catechism and Augsburg Confession are also accurate and helpful summaries of key teachings of the Bible.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.