What do Lutherans believe?

As Lutherans, we believe that the essence of our faith lies in the boundless love of God, manifested through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. Our theological understanding centers on the foundational belief that humanity, marred by sin, stands in need of redemption and reconciliation with God.

In Jesus Christ, God's love takes on flesh and blood, entering into the human experience fully. Through his teachings, miracles, and compassionate ministry, Jesus exemplified the depth and breadth of divine love, inviting all into a restored relationship with God.

The pinnacle of God's love is seen in Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross. In his crucifixion, Jesus willingly took upon himself the sins of humanity, bearing the weight of our transgressions and offering himself as the perfect atonement for our wrongdoing. Through his death, the barrier between God and humanity was broken, and the way to forgiveness and reconciliation was opened for everyone.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the ultimate triumph of God's love over sin and death. It is the assurance of our hope and the promise of eternal life for those who trust in him. In rising from the grave, Jesus conquered death and granted us the gift of new life, free from the bondage of sin and condemnation.

As Lutherans, we affirm that forgiveness of sin is not earned through our own efforts or merits but is a gift of God's grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ. It is through faith that we are justified before God and welcomed into his family as beloved children.

In embracing the message of God's love revealed in Jesus Christ, we find comfort, assurance, and hope for the journey of faith. Our lives are transformed as we respond to God's love with gratitude, seeking to embody the same love, mercy, and compassion in our relationships with others.

As Lutherans, we proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, rejoicing in the assurance that God's love knows no bounds and that through Christ, forgiveness and reconciliation are offered to all.

The Bible as His Story

Lutherans teach that the Bible is the only infallible source and norm for faith and practice. We study the scriptures because we believe they authentically and reliably reveal God's character and will to us.

This doesn't mean all Lutherans agree on everything! The Bible is a book inspired by God and written by 40 people over 1,400 years. The writers God chose to use ranged from kings to shepherds, doctors to fishermen. 

We continue to study the Bible to learn more about the historical and cultural context of the writing. The Bible is filled with stories of people who trusted God and people who didn't, of people who chose well and people who chose poorly, of God judging and God forgiving. 

We continue to study the Bible because throughout the Old Testament, we find hints and prophecies of the Messiah who would bear the sins of His people. In the New Testament, we find those prophecies fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Following the Gospels in the New Testament, we find the church at its beginning, filled with growing pains and broken people... as the church always will be.

The Bible contains history, but in essence, it is His Story. The Bible is the story of fallen people loved by God with a long-view plan in place for redemption, forgiveness, and new life.

We also continue to study because we believe that God has given us His Word to reveal Himself to us. As the scriptures say, "The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword." The Bible continues to speak the Word of God to our souls. People who have studied the Bible for decades continue to find direction, enlightenment, and peace in the Bible.

The Three Solas of Lutheranism

Grace alone - We do not earn God's love and forgiveness. God is merciful and filled with love toward us. We can rest not when we are good enough but simply because in His grace, God has forgiven us and welcomed us home in Jesus Christ.

Faith alone - There is no set of things to do to earn our way into God's good graces. We are in God's favor as we trust in God's mercy through Jesus Christ. This, of course, affects our behavior. But it is our trust in God's love in Jesus that brings us to him, not our good works.

Scripture alone - The Bible is the only infallible source and norm for faith and practice. Many people teach many very good things. But only the teaching of the scriptures is binding.