One way to summarize our beliefs is by using the "Reformation Solas" ('sola' is Latin for 'alone'). Lutherans believe that it is by GRACE ALONE that one is eternally saved by God. It is by FAITH ALONE in CHRIST ALONE that one has access to this grace of God and its promise of salvation. Finally, SCRIPTURE ALONE is the basis for all of our doctrine and practice.
The doctrinal statements of the Lutheran Church are contained in The Book of Concord of 1580. This book contains a number of documents that set forth what Lutherans believe, teach and confess. These documents are The Augsburg Confession, The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, The Large and Small Catechisms of Martin Luther, The Smalcald Articles, The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope and The Formula of Concord.
A listing of some of our main beliefs (with some Scriptural support) may also be helpful:
- The entire Bible, which points to Jesus as the Savior, is the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God. (Please read Psalm 119:105, John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and John 5:39.)
- There is only one God, who exists in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (the Holy Trinity/Triune God). The three ecumenical creeds (Apostles', Nicene and Athanasian) are a clear and concise expression of what we believe about the Triune God.These creeds are often called "ecumenical" because they are accepted by many Christian denominations and confessions. (Please read Matthew 28:19-20 and 2 Corinthians 13:14.)
- God is the creator of everything that exists. God created everything from nothing in six literal days. (Please read Genesis 1:1-2 and Colossians 1:16.)
- Adam and Eve were created by God pure and holy. But, through their choice and the deception of the devil, they went against God's will and brought sin into the world and its ultimate consequence death. (Please read Genesis 3 and Romans 5:12-14.)
- All humans are born sinful and unable and unwilling to conform to God's holy will. Any effort from a person to live a holy life will ultimately fail. The punishment for this sin is death. (Please read Psalm 51:3-5, Matthew 15:18-19 and Romans 3:9-18.)
- No one can do enough good works to erase sin and make them acceptable in God's eyes. (Please read Romans 3:20 and Isaiah 64:6-7.)
- God, out of His great love, sent His one and only Son Jesus into the world. He lived a perfect life, took mankind's place under God's wrath and completely paid for the sins of mankind by dying on the cross. He came back to life again on the third day and rose again to give to mankind the hope of everlasting life. (Please read Isaiah 53:3-12, 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Romans 5:18-21.)
- Through faith one receives the forgiveness of sins earned by Jesus and is thus saved. (Please read John 3:14-18 and Ephesians 2:8-9.)
- The Lord brings this message of salvation to mankind through the Means of Grace: the Word and Sacraments (Holy Baptism and Holy Communion). (Please read Romans 10:17, Acts 2:38, Titus 3:4-7 & 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.)
- Good works do not earn salvation, but are expressions of thankfulness to God and are to be credited to God's working in and through a person. (Please read Ephesians 2:8-10 and Galatians 5:22-23.)
- The Lord calls Christians to gather together for worship, administration of the Sacraments, study of God's Word, mutual encouragement and to do mission work. (Please read Acts 2:42-47 and Hebrews 10:19-25.)
- Jesus will come again one day to take all believers to Himself. On the final day all the dead will be resurrected. Those who believe in Jesus as their Savior will spend eternity in heaven. Those who do not believe in Jesus as their Savior will spend eternity in hell. (Please read John 10:27-28, Revelation 21:1-4 and Matthew 25:31-46.)