…and what it means.
As Lutherans, we understand that we belong to the Christian Church that exists beyond the boundaries of time, geography or denominational distinctions. We share a faith in Jesus Christ with billions of others. We find that faith most understandable to us when we view it through a Lutheran theological lens.
Formally, that means we believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, revealed to us in the Bible, expressed in the Church’s historic Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian) and witnessed to by the Lutheran Confessions.
That faith includes belief in:
- The Trinitarian God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- The crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the means of our salvation from sin and death
- The Old and New Testaments as God’s Word, witnessing to God’s actions through time and God’s promises to believers
- The possibility of our salvation:
- by grace alone – God’s free and undeserved gift
- through faith alone – apart from any work or worth on our part
- in the Word of God alone – Jesus Christ, whom we know through Scripture
- Baptism as a sacrament, the means of grace whereby God claims us in a relationship of lifelong growth in faith and discipleship; and as the sign of each person’s vocation or “calling,” his or her role in the world for the sake of God
- Holy Communion as a sacrament, the means of grace whereby the believer encounters the very presence of Jesus Christ through bread and wine, receiving forgiveness and the assurance of everlasting life as surely as he or she sees, smells, feels, and tastes the food and drink
- The Priesthood of All Believers; the understanding that all Christians are called to ministry within the Church and throughout their daily lives
What this means is that we live as a people with identity (as the children of God), value (redeemed at the cost of Jesus’ life), and purpose (living to make God’s presence known in all we do).
We are drawn to experience God in worship, engage one another in fellowship, grow in faith through lifelong learning, and serve those in need. Or as Martin Luther so simply put it, we believe that we are “to see Christ in our neighbor, and be Christ to our neighbor.”
To learn more about what we believe and what it means, visit the “ELCA Teachings” section of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s website.