- Human beings were created holy by God but lost this holiness through disobedience. We are still disobedient as evidenced by our inability to keep the Ten Commandments perfectly.
- God loves us in spite of our disobedience. He loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to take the punishment that we deserve because of our disobedience.
- Jesus Christ is both true God and man. He lived a holy and perfect life on earth, suffered and died on the cross in our place for our sins, and rose again to prove His victory over sin and death for the forgiveness of all people.
- Full and free forgiveness is offered to everyone. Those who believe in Jesus as their personal Savior and accept His forgiveness, face life with a new joy and a greater confidence.
- The Holy Spirit wants to impart this belief in everyone through the power of God’s Word, the Bible, which we believe to be Gods inspired revelation of Himself to us.
- The Church is composed of all those who rely on Him for forgiveness and eternal life and follow His teachings. It is not a place or a club or a secret society. It exists through and around all believers.
- Christ will come again visibly at the end of time as the righteous Judge of the world, raise all from the dead, and give to believers in Christ eternal life.
More detail about what Lutherans teach Read about Holy Cross mission, values and vision
What’s The Problem
Many people are not aware that there is a need for salvation, or “being saved.” It is assumed that as long as you try to be a good person, that is all God requires for heaven. It is such a common belief, that every religion in the world is based on that principle: salvation by works.
The only religion that teaches differently is Christianity. Christianity teaches something different, because the Bible teaches something different. The Bible teaches that we need salvation, because we cannot save ourselves. Since God expects perfection from us (Leviticus 19:2), anything less, which is sin, must be punished. And the punishment for any and all sin is being separated from God forever after we die (hell).
That’s what we deserve, but it is not what we receive. God has figured out a way to spend forever with us (heaven) and be sure that sin is punished at the same time.
What the Bible Teaches
The Bible clearly teaches that heaven is a gift that comes through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. God sent Jesus, who is the Second Person of the Trinity, to be a fellow human being. He was able to live a perfect life in our place, and die an innocent death as the payment for the sins of the whole world.
It’s a pretty neat arrangement. God loves us so much that He’s willing to take the punishment of our sin on Himself so that we could be with Him forever!
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” Acts 16:31.
The Bible is God’s Word
Lutheran Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word. By that, we mean that every word contained in the Bible (Scripture) was intended to be there by God. He used humans beings to write the words, and used their individual style of writing, but the words are God’s Words. As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:
“All Scripture is God-breathed [inspired] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Since God provided the words included in Scripture, we can also believe that there are no errors or contradictions in Scripture. We believe and teach that the Bible is inspired and inerrant.
The reason the Bible was given to us from God was to share with us the wonderful message of His grace and forgiveness in Jesus. Everything in Scripture points us to Jesus and the forgiveness He earned on the cross for each of us.
The Bible is the way God touches our hearts and creates faith (if we don’t trust Jesus yet), and strengthens faith (if we do trust in Him). So go ahead, read God’s Word and let Him speak to your heart!
What is the nature of a Lutheran Church?
- A Christian Church – A Lutheran first and foremost is one who trusts in Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. A Lutheran proclaims Jesus Christ as God’s only Son and Savior to the World, shares a common faith with other Christians, and works together for the common good of all mankind according to God’s will given in the Bible.
- A Bible Church, both Old & New Covenant – It is the authority and only norm for all Christian living and activity. It is the absolute truth and shows God in action in and among His creatures and creation.
- A Confessional Church – The Lutheran Church believes that Jesus Christ is Lord, and the Bible reveals all of God’s will.
- An Ecumenical Church – The Lutheran Church works for the unity of all Christians.
- A Visible Church – A Lutheran Church is where Christians gather together to hear God’s Word.
- An Invisible Church – The Lutheran Church is made up of all people the world over who are saved by faith, accepting Christ as Savior and Lord in their life and living out that faith in the world.
Half of the world’s Protestant people are Lutherans. There are over 9 million Lutherans in the United States.
Dr. Martin Luther
The founder and leader of Lutherans is Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546). He was a pastor, professor, author, composer of hymns, and a reformer. He posted a thesis containing 95 reforms he wanted the church to openly discuss on the door of the Wittenburg Church in 1517. This started a whole chain of events that split the Catholic Church and created the Protestant (protester) Movement of denominational congregations. Dr. Martin Luther publicly called for correction of errors in the medieval church. His ideas still stimulate new thinking in the church, and as such he is respected, but not worshipped.
About the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
The word “Synod” in The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod comes from the Greek words that mean “walking together”. It has rich meaning in our church body, because the congregations voluntarily choose to belong to the Synod. Diverse in their service, these congregations hold to a shared confession of Jesus Christ as taught in Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.
With the universal Christian Church, The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists; Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan; and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God’s Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.
Being “Lutheran,” our congregations accept and teach Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther that inspired the Reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century. The teaching of Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three short phrases:
- Grace alone: God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly.
- Scripture alone: The Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.
- Faith alone: By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the eternal life that it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through Him.
The congregations of the Synod are “confessional”, that is, they hold to the Lutheran Confessions as the correct interpretation and presentation of Biblical doctrine. Contained in The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church , these statements of belief were put into writing by church leaders during the 16th century.