The central teaching of Lutherans is the doctrine of justification, which is God removing the guilt and penalty of sin from a believer while at the same time declaring the sinner righteous through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. It is the saving of a believer from their sins by God’s gift of grace.
LCMC Statement of Faith
We believe, teach, and confess the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe, teach, and confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe in him.
Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
The proclamation of God’s message to us as both law and gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy in the person and work of Jesus Christ through whom God was pleased to reconcile all things to himself.
The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God. Inspired by God’s Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God’s revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them, God’s Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.
We believe, teach, and accept the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the sole authoritative source and norm of our proclamation, faith, and life.
We accept the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed as true declarations of the scriptural faith we believe, teach and confess.
We believe, teach and accept the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and Luther’s Small Catechism as true witnesses to the Word of God, normative for our teaching and practice. We acknowledge that we are one in faith and doctrine with all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
We believe, teach, and confess the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid expositions of the Holy Scriptures.
We believe, teach, and confess the gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the priesthood of all believers for God’s mission in the world.
We believe in the Triune God that defines God as three divine persons, the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is considered to be a mystery of Christian faith. According to this doctrine, there is only one God in three persons. Each person is God, entire. They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin. While distinct in their relations with one another, they are one in all else. We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
We are members of the Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ (LCMC), an association of Lutheran congregations in the United States, an affiliation of autonomous Lutheran congregations who are free in Christ, accountable to one another, rooted in Biblical Scriptures and the Lutheran confessions in the Book of Concord, and working together to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations.
LCMC is congregational in structure, rejecting the historic episcopate of the ELCA and recognizing the ordination of women as pastors.
We believe in the Biblical authority that marriage is between one man and one woman and therefore do not bless same-sex partnerships or permit congregations to be members if they have non-celibate gay pastors.
We reject the Historical episcopate of the ELCA as composed of bishops in valid Apostolic Succession, where only a person in a line of succession of bishops dating back to the Apostles, can be a bishop, and only such a person can validly ordain Christian clergy. Those who accept the succession believe it must be transmitted from each bishop to a successor by the rite of the laying on of hands or Holy Orders.
We believe in Biblical authority as refers to the extent to which propositions within the Old and New Testament scriptures are authoritative over human belief and conduct, as well as the extent to which their propositions are accurate in matters of history and science.
We believe in Sacraments as sacred acts of divine institution. God is, in a way specific to each sacrament, present with the Word and physical component. He offers to all who receive the sacrament forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation. In line with Luther’s initial statement in his Large Catechism; where some speak of only two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion.
We believe in Baptism as a saving work of God mandated and instituted by Jesus Christ. Since the creation of faith is exclusively God’s work, it does not depend on the actions of the one baptized, whether infant or adult. Even though baptized infants cannot articulate that faith, Lutherans believe that it is present all the same.
In Holy Baptism the Triune God delivers us from the forces of evil, puts our sinful self to death, gives us new birth, adopts us as children, and makes us members of the body of Christ, the church.
Because it is faith alone that receives these divine gifts, Lutherans confess that baptism works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe.
Lutherans administer Baptism to both infants and adults.
We believe in Holy Communion, also referred to as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper, where the true body and blood of Christ are truly present in and with the consecrated bread and wine for all those who eat and drink it.
We believe in Education and lifelong study of the catechism as considered basic in most Lutheran churches. Almost all maintain Sunday Schools, and some host or maintain Lutheran schools, at the preschool, elementary, middle, high school or university level. Lutheran schools have always been a core aspect of Lutheran mission work.
Liturgy and music form a large part of Lutheran worship services. Martin Luther was a great fan of music and most Lutheran churches are musically active with choirs of all types. Lutherans also preserve a liturgical approach to the celebration of Holy Communion, emphasizing the sacrament as the central act of Christian worship.
Lutherans accept the following creeds as true declarations of the faith of this church:
The Apostles’ Creed has its roots in the “Old Roman Creed,” used in some parts of the ancient church as early as the third century, with variations rooted in the New Testament. While this creed does not come from the apostles, its roots are in keeping with the teaching of the New Testament apostles. The creed describes the faith into which we are baptized.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s 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 to the dead. On the third day, he rose again; he ascended into heaven; he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Nicene Creed (first adopted by church leaders in 325 at the First Council of Nicaea) is the most widely accepted ecumenical creed in the Christian faith and it is an essential part of the doctrine and liturgy of Lutheran churches.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father; through Him, all things were made. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven, was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried. On the third day, He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Athanasian Creed takes its name from Athanasius, the great theologian of the fourth century who defended Trinitarian teaching. The creed’s origin is uncertain, and many scholars believe that it comes from the fifth or sixth centuries because of its Western character. The Athanasian Creed expresses two essential elements of Christian teaching: that God’s Son and the Holy Spirit are of one being with the Father; and that Jesus Christ is true God and a true human being in one person. Traditionally it is considered the “Trinitarian Creed.” In many congregations, it is read aloud in corporate worship on Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost.
Whoever wants to be saved should above all cling to the catholic faith.
Whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable will doubtless perish eternally.
Now, this is the catholic faith: We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.
For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another. But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, coeternal in majesty.
What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit.
Uncreated is the Father; uncreated is the Son; uncreated is the Spirit.
The Father is infinite; the Son is infinite; the Holy Spirit is infinite.
Eternal is the Father; eternal is the Son; eternal is the Spirit: And yet there are not three eternal beings, but one who is eternal; as there are not three uncreated and unlimited beings, but one who is uncreated and unlimited.
Almighty is the Father; almighty is the Son; almighty is the Spirit: And yet there are not three almighty beings, but one who is almighty.
Thus the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God: And yet there are not three gods, but one God.
Thus the Father is Lord; the Son is Lord; the Holy Spirit is Lord: And yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord.
As Christian truth compels us to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so catholic religion forbids us to say that there are three gods or lords.
The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten; the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son.
Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits.
And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.
Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.
It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh.
For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: That our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son is both God and man.
He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother — existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.
Although he is God and man, he is not divided but is one Christ.
He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity.
He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures.
For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man.
He suffered death for our salvation. He descended into hell and rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
At his coming, all people shall rise bodily to give an account of their deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life, those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.
This is the catholic faith.
One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.
Lutherans are Christians who accept the teachings of Martin Luther (1483 – 1546), a German theologian who realized that there were significant differences between what he read in the Bible and the practices of the Roman Catholic church at that time. On October 31, 1517, he posted a challenge on the door of Wittenberg University, titled “95 Theses” (theological issues to debate). He hoped that the church would reform its practice and preaching to be more consistent with the Word of God as contained in the Bible. What started as an academic debate escalated into a distinct separation between the Roman Catholic church of the time and those who accepted Luther’s suggested reforms. “Lutheran” became the name of the group that agreed with Luther’s convictions. Today, five centuries later, Lutherans still celebrate the Christian Reformation on October 31, holding to the basic principles of Luther’s theological teachings, such as Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone. These comprise the very essence of Lutheranism:
We are saved by the grace of God alone — not by anything we do;
Our salvation is through faith alone — a confident trust in God, who in Christ promises us forgiveness, life, and salvation; and
Bible scripture alone is the norm for faith and life — the true standard by which teachings and doctrines are to be judged.
Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification “by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.” Martin Luther taught that the Bible was the written Word of God and the only reliable guide for faith and practice. He held that every passage of Scripture has one straightforward meaning, the literal sense as interpreted by other Scripture.
Lutherans affirm that the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but every word of it is the direct, immediate word of God. Lutherans are confident that the Bible contains all one needs to know to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life.