What We Believe

What We Believe

Three Pillars of the Lutheran Faith

Once I was visiting the home of some people of my congregation who had, some time before, become members of the Lutheran Church. I asked them what had caused them to join. Their answer was fantastic: “We became members because the Lutheran Church teaches the grace of God!” Wow! That is why I am here, too!


Salvation by Grace Alone

The heart and core of the Lutheran faith is Salvation by Grace Alone. We have been saved from our greatest enemies – sin, death and the devil – by the grace of God, that is, as a free gift of His favor. Someone defined grace in this way:


God gives us the riches of His forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift at Christ’s expense! For our Lord Jesus Christ gave up His life on the cross outside of Jerusalem, and by dying on it has suffered the punishment we had deserved for our sins! Then he came back to life on Easter morning and promises that when He comes again in all His power and in the clouds, He will raise our dead bodies and give us life forever with Him!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
 (Romans 6:23, NIV)


Salvation by Faith Alone

In addition to Salvation by Grace Alone, we teach Salvation by Faith Alone. These two teachings are really two sides of the same coin. Because Jesus died for our sins on the cross, God the Father has declared our sins – and the sins of the whole world – forgiven! God tells us this wonderful news of His grace (His kindly favor for us) and the forgiveness of sins in His Word, the Bible. When, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, we believe this good news, when we believe that Jesus “loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), then we actually have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that He already won for us on the cross. By faith in Jesus as our God and Savior we become members of God’s family.

When we say that we have this salvation by faith alone, we mean to point out that our rescue from sin, death and the devil are God’s gift to undeserving sinners. Nothing we had ever done, now do, or could ever do by way of good deeds or holy living could make us right with God. Not faith in ourselves and our own goodness, but faith in the doing and dying of Jesus alone saves us and makes us right with God.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9, NIV)


Scripture Alone

I was once at the home of a young mother. Her two-year-old was playing in the same room. Nearby was a three-legged end table with a lamp on it. In a moment the little boy walked over to the table and began to shake it. Down came the lamp! Fortunately, mother was quick on her feet and caught it before it landed on the floor.

The Bible is the foundation on which the lamp of the good news of Jesus stands. Since it is the only book given to us by God Himself, we look to it alone as the source of truthful knowledge about Him and our deliverance from sin. The disciple John wrote,

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31, NIV)

We also believe that the Bible is fully truthful and does not err. The great missionary and apostle of Jesus, Paul, wrote, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful…” (II Timothy 3:16, NIV). God caused every word to be placed into the Bible.

“Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (II Peter 1:21, NIV)


Two Teachings, Two Keys for Understanding the Bible

I have some really sad news for you. I am not happy with it myself. Inside of each of us there is a selfish and rebellious streak. I don’t always think as I ought. I don’t always act as I ought. I don’t always speak as I ought. How about you?

There is a stubborn sinfulness inside each of us that moves us to disobey God’s holy commandments. Sometimes we are worry [a lack of trust in God], sometimes we lie, sometimes we lust for someone who is not our spouse, sometimes we spread gossip, sometimes we have a hard time forgiving. We fail to love God, read His Word and pray. All of this the Bible calls sin.

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right
and never sins.” 
(Ecclesiastes 7:20, NIV)

How do we know we are sinners in God’s eyes? From the Law of God. The moral Law of God is summarized in God’s Ten Commandments, such as:

You shall have no other gods before Me.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not covet.

These commandments tell us what we are to do, what we are not to do, and how we are to be, that is, holy and sinless. I know that I am not really telling you anything new, because God wrote the basic outlines of His Law in our hearts. Your conscience has been telling you for years what I am saying now.

Since we are sinful, the Law’s effect is to show us our sins and our need for Jesus. The Bible says, “Through the law we become conscious of sin” (Romans 3:20, NIV). Sadly, horribly, disobedience to God’s Law brings the price tag of death: physical, spiritual and eternal.


The Law of God
Shows Us Our Sins (SOS)

But there is good news!

The Gospel is literally the “good news” that Jesus came to earth to win forgiveness for our sins. Listen to this good news:

“Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel… For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,…” (I Corinthians 15:1-4, NIV)


The Gospel
Shows Us Our Savior (SOS)

Now, here is the trick to being a Christian. Once the Law has accused us of all manner of sin, and that we deserve death, we must run to the shelter of the cross of Jesus where our sins have been paid for! In Christ, we have forgiveness! The disciple Peter wrote, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (I Peter 3:18, NIV).

This Gospel, this good news about Jesus, not only brings us the forgiveness of sins, it moves in our hearts a sense of gratefulness and a desire to love God in return. Our desire now is to serve this great Jesus who gave His life for our forgiveness! The disciple John wrote, “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).


History and Martin Luther

The Lutheran Church does not worship Martin Luther. He was a man, but also a man whom God used to bring people closer to the truth found in the Bible. All the above teachings are his, but we believe that he got these teachings straight from the Bible. Because these teachings are so precious to us, we thank God for the gift of Luther.

Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic monk and priest, and was born in 1483. His study of the Bible led him to the conviction that we are saved by grace alone and faith alone in Jesus Christ. His nailing of the Ninety Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31st, 1517, is generally regarded by Protestant Christians as the beginning of the Reformation.

For more history on Martin Luther, pick up a free copy of the 48-page booklet, Living with Luther, in our church office.

Lutheranism spread through Europe and eventually all over the globe. As immigrants came to America, so also did Lutherans. At first they were divided by geography, language (Swedish Lutherans, Danish Lutherans, Finnish Lutherans, etc.) and theology. Today there are only theological differences among Lutherans. Trinity, as part of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, holds to a more conservative view of the Bible, believing that the entire Bible is true and without error, and that all the miracles of the Bible really took place.


Other Lutheran Beliefs

The Triune God

There is only one true God. The Bible describes this God as Triune: Three Persons (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) in one God. Each Person is totally God, and yet there is just one God. This is an incredible mystery.

“Go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Matthew 28:19 (NIV)


God created the universe with all its grandeur in six days, and He sustains it with His almighty power. God also created our first parents, Adam and Eve, in His own image and perfection that they might live in fellowship with Him and be His instruments to care for His creation.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

Genesis 1:1,31 (NIV)

Our Sinful Nature

Adam and Eve, whom God created, doubted God’s Word and rebelled against Him. They broke God’s command, and their natures became evil. Because of their sin, death – spiritual, physical and eternal – has entered our world. And now every human being is born with a self-centered nature and a tendency for evil that violates God’s will and desire. All of our attempts to return to God by good deeds and efforts of our own have fallen short, because our holy God demands perfection.

When Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Who then can be saved?” He replied,

“With man this is impossible, but not with God;
all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:27 (NIV)

Jesus our Savior

God, out of pure love, gives people the forgiveness of their sins and thus reconciles them to Himself. He did this because Jesus Christ, true God from heaven, took the punishment for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. God the Father raised our Lord Jesus from the dead on Easter and thus demonstrated to the world that the sacrifice of Jesus has been accepted and that our sins have been forgiven.

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Faith in Jesus is Created by the Holy Spirit

We sinners receive God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus. Faith is the hand that accepts God’s free gift. Faith is created by the Holy Spirit through the means of the Gospel, the Good News of what Jesus has done for us.

“Apollos…was a great help to those who by grace had believed.”
Acts 18:27 (NIV)

The Church

The Church is not a building, but it consists of all people everywhere who believe in Jesus Christ as their God and Savior. The Church exists to bring the good news about Jesus to the entire world and to strengthen Christians in their service to God and others.

“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Mark 16:15 (NIV)

The Means of Grace

Jesus won the forgiveness of sins for all people on the cross. To publish this good news, God has given us special ways (or means) by which He tells us about this grace and forgiveness. Through these special means God announces that our sins have been forgiven. Thus, by these means God creates or strengthens our faith in Jesus. These ways are the Gospel (hearing the Good News about Jesus), Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

Through Baptism God the Holy Spirit offers the forgiveness of sins won by Jesus on the cross. (See Acts 2:38-39; Acts 22:16; Ephesians 5:24-27; Titus 3:5) Baptism is for adults and children. Whole households were baptized in the Bible (Acts 16:15, 33). Through Baptism God the Holy Spirit works the miracle of faith in the hearts of little children so they begin to trust in Jesus.

For a more in-depth look at infant baptism, contact our church office and ask for a copy of the booklet, Infant Baptism.

In the Lord’s Supper Jesus gives us, in a miraculous way, His true body and blood that made payment for our sins on the cross. We indeed eat bread and drink wine, as the Scriptures say (I Corinthians 11:27); but at the same time, “in, with and under” that bread and wine are the true body and blood of Jesus! How do we know this? From the simple words of Jesus, “Take and eat; this is my body….This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26, 28; NIV) So, along with the bread, truly present also is the body of Christ. Along with the wine is the true blood of Christ.

How can this be? It is a mystery to us. Jesus, who gave us this Lord’s Supper, has the power to do as He said.

The Lord’s Supper is intended not simply as a meal by which we remember Christ. It is much more. It is God’s special way of assuring us that, in Christ, our sins have been forgiven. In the Lord’s Supper, we hear the good news of the Gospel, “This body and blood were given and poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

Yet, not only do we hear the good news with our ears, God places into our mouths the very sacrifice that was made for our sins! What an incredibly amazing way for God to assure us poor sinners that we have the forgiveness of all our sins!

“This is my body given for you;…
This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Luke 22:19,20 (NIV)

The Resurrection of the Body and the Life Everlasting

When a believer in Jesus dies, his soul goes immediately to heaven to be with Jesus in great joy. (See Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23.) When Jesus comes again in His glory He will raise up all the dead, and give life to our dead bodies so that we will live with Jesus in a life with no sin, no suffering or sickness or death. We will forever be with Jesus in a life that is full of happiness.

“I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…”

Jesus in John 11:25 (NIV)

We Welcome You

We are happy you have read this description of the Lutheran/Christian faith. We especially want you to know about the peace and joy of sins forgiven through Jesus Christ, and the new life you may have with Him.

God loves you deeply. He has a special purpose for your life. He wants your life to be rich in good works and service to Him. We welcome you to join us in growing near to Jesus, in learning His Word and in serving Him!

All Scripture passages are from the
New International Version of the Bible