The Faith We Confess
We believe that all people are sinful by nature (Ps. 14:3; 51:5; Is. 64:6; Rom. 3:9-18, 23; 5:12; James 2:10; 1 John 1:8) and deserve God’s punishment, now and forever. (Matt. 10:28; Is. 66:24; Matt. 7:13; Luke 16:19-31)
We believe that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world as our substitute to be sacrificed on the cross in payment for our sins. (John 1:14; Matt. 1:21; John 1:1; 20:20; Rom. 4:25; 5:8, 19; John 1:29; Is. 53:6; Rom. 3:23-25; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13)
We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. We believe that He won forgiveness for the whole world at the cross. We believe that He is the only Redeemer and the only Mediator between God and man. (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:5; 5:1; Gen. 15:6; 2 Cor. 5:19)
We believe that we are justified (declared righteous by God) solely by God's grace for Christ's sake through faith. We believe that the risen Christ now gives His forgiveness to us through the means of grace, that is, His holy Word and Sacraments. (John 3:5-8; 17:17-20; 1 Cor. 1:21; Acts 11:14; Rom. 10:17)
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and, as such, is free from error. We believe that the Bible is the only norm and rule for faith and life. (John 17:17; 10:35; 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 Cor. 2:13)
We believe that the three ecumenical creeds (Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian), Luther's Small and Large Catechisms, the Augsburg Confession, the Apology [defense] of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope and the Formula of Concord (which all comprise the Book of Concord) confess the Scriptural faith.
We believe that in Holy Communion, together with the bread and wine, we receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of faith. (Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26)
The Lutheran Church differs from all other churches in being essentially the Church of the pure Word and unadulterated Sacraments. Not the great number of her adherents, not her organizations, not her charitable and other institutions, not her beautiful customs and liturgical forms, and so forth, but the precious truths confessed by her symbols in perfect agreement with the Holy Scriptures constitute the true beauty and rich treasures of our Church, as well as the never-failing source of her vitality and power.
Wherever the Lutheran Church ignored her symbols or rejected all or some them, there she always fell an easy prey to her enemies. But wherever she held fast to her God-given crown, esteemed and studied her Confessions, and actually made them a norm and standard of her entire life and practice, there the Lutheran Church flourished and confounded all her enemies.
Accordingly, if Lutherans truly love their Church, and desire and seek her welfare, they must be faithful to her Confessions and constantly be on their guard lest anyone rob her of her treasure.
May God be pleased, as in the past, so also in the future, to bless our Church, and graciously keep her in the true and only saving Christian faith as set forth and confessed in the Lutheran symbols, whose paramount object is to maintain the gem of Luther’s Reformation, the blessed doctrine of salvation by grace only, which most wonderfully magnifies the great glory of our God, and alone is able to impart solid comfort to poor sinners.
— Preface, Concordia Triglotta, Friedrich Bente: July 4, 1921.
For more information on our beliefs, teachings and confessions, see A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod (1932) and A Statement of Scriptural and Confessional Principles (1973).
Worship in Our Congregation
The Triune God serves us in the Divine Service with His Word and Sacraments
We confess that worship (Gottesdienst) is our triune God's service to us, and our faithful responses always direct us back to God from whom all blessings flow.
Worship at Christ Lutheran congregation is always centered in our triune God's actions -- thus the hymns, liturgies and sermons must always convey God's work and not be seen as human activities. The hymns, liturgies and sermons are to be evaluated on how well they bring an awareness of God’s gracious activity into the consciousness and appreciation of the congregation.
Worship is by and for those who have a living faith. It is therefore a faith-strengthening activity for the congregation as God comes to His people through the means of grace. Those served by God in this way are then prepared to bear witness about Christ in their various callings.
Because worship is the central activity in the life of the Christian, daily personal devotions flow from and lead toward participation in the weekly Divine Service.
Trinitarian creeds and catechetical statements should be regularly incorporated into the Divine Service of the congregation so that the ecumenical nature of worship is appreciated, yet the clarity of our Lutheran focus is evident.
Worship practices or sermons which are overtly designed to manipulate hearers emotionally are inappropriately geared toward the worshiper and not the One being worshiped.
Likewise, worship at Christ Lutheran congregation will not be an entertainment event for the audience or a popularity contest for the pastor(s). While worship should always be edifying, engaging, and attractive, the focus must always be on that which is above and beyond the temporal and mundane. (Col. 3:1-4)
We confess that worship flows from the Gospel. At the heart and center of all worship is Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice for sin. In worship, the living and saving Lord comes to give us life.
We deny that worship is based on the Law, namely, that our feelings or gifts supplement the work of Christ. (Luke 24:25-35)
Our orders of service (liturgy) as well as our preaching must include God's Word of Law and Gospel. Most prominent will be the saving Gospel which offers the forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus Christ.
When we gather for worship, our focus will be on God and not on ourselves. We will avoid going through the motions of the liturgy as if by such a work we merit God’s favor.
As we strive to engage the hearts and minds of the worshipers, we will try to avoid worship becoming mindless recitation (Matt. 6:7), while valuing meaningful repetition of the Good News of God's gracious activity.
We deny that the liturgy is a mere form to produce the desired responses in worshipers.
We recognize the great gifts of the liturgy, which have been handed down to us over the centuries. This liturgical tradition includes both the historic service of Word and Sacrament (the Divine Service) as well as the many prayer offices (such as Matins, Morning Prayer, Vespers, Evening Prayer, and Compline) that can provide a framework for our Sunday services and daily prayer. Our congregation will gain an understanding and appreciation of the variety of the Church's worship life and practice as we explore and experience these services.
We use the historic liturgies because they have proven to be a reliable way to ensure the centrality of the forgiveness of sins, rather than merely for historic or aesthetic reasons.
We confess that the purpose of music in the church is to bear the living voice of the Gospel. (Heb. 12:28-29)
We deny that music is present for purely aesthetic reasons or for the satisfaction of personal tastes of worshipers or worship leaders.
Appropriate music and art is based on the church year and is in agreement with Lutheran theology. We seek to incorporate all elements of worship -- including hymns, attendant music, and readings -- into such a cohesive whole.
Worship must be thoughtfully prepared and skillfully presented. Assistants must receive careful guidance and direction before serving in congregational services.
Although musical styles change, worthiness and craft, skill and suitability are qualities consistent with our desire to bring God our very best.
The use of the visual and performing arts, in particular the use of instruments (brass, winds, strings, etc.) are to be encouraged and cultivated.
The pipe organ remains the best instrument for one person to lead congregational song, because it is a wind instrument which breathes like a singer and produces a variety of sounds.
We stress that the choir's primary function is the teaching and leading of the congregation's singing of the liturgy and hymns.
Because our worship is directed to God, the location of the choirs and instrumentalists should encourage congregational singing without attracting the primary focus to themselves.
We confess that worship is catholic (that is, universal). The gathering of God's people around Word and Sacrament reaches across cultural and social barriers to transcend both time and space.
We deny that worship is defined by the tastes and preferences of an individual or group of worshipers.
Worship at Christ Lutheran congregation will be shaped by the historic liturgical rites of Christendom, signifying that people of various Christian confessions are included in the corporate prayer and praise of the church.
All services of Sunday morning and other occasions at Christ Lutheran are public worship and will be conducted in accordance with the doctrine and practice of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod.
Orientation will be provided to new members and seekers on the scriptural principles of the LCMS regarding pulpit and altar fellowship for the sake of genuine Christian unity.
The celestial dimensions of worship, which unite us with "angels and archangels and all the company of heaven," should be clearly demonstrated through the selection, explanation, and use of appropriate liturgical texts.
Responsibility for planning and evaluating worship rests with the pastor in consultation with the Board of Elders. All rites, ceremonies, and music used in worship at Christ Lutheran will be evaluated according to the public teaching of the LCMS.
Sermons or Bible messages in the sanctuary will normally be given by those called to preach in the church. Exceptions are made for male church work students who have been trained by the pastor or other appropriate faculty.
We confess that the environment of worship should be theologically sound, aesthetically pleasing, and spiritually edifying.
We deny that art and architecture are neutral factors in a setting for worship. (1 Cor. 10:23-31)
The architectural setting and artistic elements utilized in our worship experiences and environment will conform to Lutheran theology and practices.
The centrality of Word and Sacrament will always be evident in the worship settings of our congregation -- the altar (or table of the Meal) and pulpit (or table of the Word) are equally prominent, with the baptismal font demonstrating its use as the site of our initiation into the Christian congregation.
Christ Triumphant will always be depicted as the incarnate Christ crucified in accordance with our Lutheran theology of the cross.
The furnishings of the chancel, including the seating, paraments and vestments, will be used to enhance a sense of holy awe, reverent wonder, and spiritual adoration.
Imagery drawn from the patterns, precedents and motifs of Scripture (e.g., Exodus 25 and 31) will be crafted using the natural objects of God's creation by His skilled people to celebrate His saving work in Christ our Lord.
While tastes may vary, only the best will be incorporated into the worship life of this congregation. The best will be prepared by skilled artisans (members or professionals) supervised by the pastor and the Board of Elders.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Adapted from the worship theses of Concordia University–Wisconsin
The marriage policy of Christ Lutheran Church, a member congregation of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, is and always has been consistent with the Synod’s beliefs on marriage. We believe that marriage is a sacred union of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24-25), and that God gave marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and His bride the Church (Eph. 5:32). The official position of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, as set forth in 1998 Res. 3-21 (“To Affirm the Sanctity of Marriage and to Reject Same-Sex Unions”), is that homosexual unions come under categorical prohibition in the Old and New Testaments (Lev. 18:22, 24; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 1 Tim. 1:9-10) as contrary to the Creator’s design (Rom. 1:26-27). These positions and beliefs can be found on the LCMS website, along with other statements, papers and reports on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex civil unions and “marriage.” Our pastors will not officiate over any marriages inconsistent with these beliefs, and our church property may not be used for any marriage ceremony, reception or other activity that would be inconsistent with our beliefs and this policy.
— Bylaw adopted June 14, 2015 by the Voters’ Assembly.