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What We Believe

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is a member of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  This means we are a Church that upholds the teachings of Scripture as summarized in the historic creeds of the Church (Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed) and in the Book of Concord.  For a brief explanation of what that means:

We believe...

1. In Scripture as God’s Word.  We believe Scripture is the very words of God given by the Holy Spirit to the prophets and Apostles.  Thus, the entire Bible is inspired by God Himself and is without error (John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).  All of Scripture is centered on Jesus, who He is and what He has done to save people from eternal death (Luke 24:26-27; John 14:6).  God has revealed in the Bible what we need to believe to be saved and how we are to live a god-pleasing life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Rom. 15:4)

2. In the Necessity of Distinguishing God’s Law and Gospel in Scripture.  We believe that Scripture has two overarching teachings: God’s Law and Gospel (John 1:17 and 2 Corinthians 3:6).  The Law of God is what God expects of us (Mark 12:30-31) and by it we learn what sin is (Romans 3:20).  The Law should be followed by Christians but it cannot save us (1 John 1:8 and Galatians 3:10-11).  The Gospel is the teaching that Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection was accomplished to pay the penalty for the sins of the world (John 3:16 and Romans 1:16).  Only the Gospel saves us.  We believe God’s Law and Gospel are to be distinguished in preaching and teaching because each has separate and distinct aims in our lives.  The Law tells us what we are to do and exposes our inability to do it.  The Gospel delivers us from the impossibility of being perfect under God’s Law and gives us Christ to forgive us for our Law breaking.  The Gospel also changes our hearts so that the Law begins to be seen by the Christian as good and holy which we want to keep (Romans 1:16; 3:19-21; 7:7 and 2 Timothy 2:15).

3. In the Trinity.  We believe that God is Triune, meaning there is One God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

4. In Jesus.  We believe Jesus is the Son of God born of the Virgin Mary.  He is fully God begotten from eternity yet also fully man, united in one person.  His reason for coming down to earth was to die and rise again on the third day to earn forgiveness of sins and life everlasting for all people (John 1:1-14; 1 Timothy 1:15).

5. In Creation. We believe God created the entire universe through His Son in six days (Genesis 1:1-31; John 1:1-3).  We also believe that mankind is made either male or female in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).  In Scripture we learn that God has designed marriage to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman which reflects Christ’s relationship to His bride, the Church (Genesis 2:23-24; Ephesians 5:22-33).  We believe that God is still actively engaged in creating and preserving our universe and all human life (Col. 1:17).  Not only that, but God became part of His creation in the incarnation of Jesus and shed His blood for all people.  For these reasons we believe that all lives are valuable and of worth no matter their age (unborn to the elderly) or their ethnicity.

6. In Original Sin.  We believe that God made everything good, but then our first parents fell into sin because of the Devil’s temptation.  Due to Adam and Eve’s fall, everyone is born with original sin.  That is, all people are born with a heart that is opposed to the true God and in need of the Holy Spirit to turn our hearts towards God (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12; John 3:6; 1 Corinthians 2;14; Ephesians 2:3).

7. In Justification by faith alone.  We believe that we are saved by Christ alone.  He gives us His forgiveness and clothes us with His righteousness.  We cannot be saved by our own works, merits, goodness, or decision.  Rather, Jesus makes a decision to save us and gives us His forgiveness freely as a gift to be received through faith in Him (Romans 3:21-25; 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:8-9).

8. In Good Works.  We believe good works should be done by all Christians.  Good works are a fruit of faith and we do them out of a spirit of thankfulness for Our Lord Jesus Christ saving us and out of love for God and our neighbors (John 15:1-2; Ephesians 2:10).

9.  In Christ’s Second Coming.  We believe that Jesus will return a second time to judge all people living and dead (Luke 21:25-28; Acts 10:42).   Those who believed in Christ will receive a glorified and resurrected body like His own.  They will be forever in God’s presence where there will be no more pain or suffering but eternal peace, joy and fulfillment (John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; Revelation 7:13-17).  Those who rejected Jesus and His free forgiveness will be eternally lost (Matthew 5:27-30; 11:20-24; Mark 9:42-50; John 5:27-29; Revelation 21:8).  Thus, right now is the time of grace for all people to repent and believe in Christ (Acts 2:40; Hebrews 4:6-7,16)

10. In the Church.  The word “church” in the New Testament means “assembly.”  The church is not an optional part of our lives as believers.  The New Testament describes the church as the Body of Christ with each member playing an important part.  Paul writes that just as the hand cannot say it has no need of the foot so also no Christian can separate himself from the church and still be considered a Christian (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).  The Book of Hebrews says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (10:24-25). The church is meant to be the assembly of believers  who gather to meet Jesus in the Gospel preached and in the sacraments rightly administered.

11. In Worship.  The purpose of worship is first and foremost to receive the forgiveness Christ has earned by His death for us on the cross.  We believe that Jesus comes through His Word and Sacraments to give us the forgiveness that He earned 2,000 years ago.  Just as God does not zap our daily bread onto our plates but gives us our daily bread through various physical means such as farmers, truck drivers, grocery stores, etc. so also Christ gives us forgiveness through the means of God’s Word preached, baptism, absolution and the Lord’s Supper.  After Christ does this for us, we then praise and thank Him.

Worship then is a sacred time where Christ comes in holiness and love to give forgiveness and life to sinners.  Worship is not about being entertained or receiving an emotional high.  Rather, worship is about Christ coming to change and transform you into His image through His Word and sacraments (Romans 12:1-2).

It is for these reasons that we follow the historic liturgy.  An order of service that is centered around Jesus, His Word and sacraments.  It is also the reason why we conduct our worship services with a joyful reverence and holy awe of our Lord and Savior (Hebrews 12:28-29).  While Christ’s providential presence is everywhere, His gracious and forgiving presence is only found where He promises to be and that is wherever two or three are gathered in worship around Him and His Word (Matthew 18:20).

12. In Baptism.  We believe that in baptism Jesus comes to join us to Himself and wash us clean of all our sins (Mark 16:16; Romans 6:4; Titus 3:5-8).  Since everyone is born with sin (see original sin above) and in need of forgiveness, baptism is for “all nations” (Matt. 28:19) meaning all people of every age and place including infants.   Baptism is not a symbolic action showing our obedience to God nor our own decision for God.  Rather, baptism is Christ coming and claiming us as His own (Acts 2:38-39).

13. In Absolution.  We believe that Jesus has given the keys of heaven to His church on earth (Matt. 16:19; 18:18).  When pastors in the stead and by the command of Jesus pronounce absolution (i.e. that a person’s sins are forgiven) that person’s sins are truly forgiven as Jesus promises in John 20:21-23.  We believe the absolution truly gives forgiveness of sins because of Jesus' promise and because He has paid for the sins of all people (1 John 2:2).

14. In the Lord’s Supper.  We believe that the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper are actually the body and blood of Christ as He Himself says in Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20.   The Lord’s Supper is not a symbolic meal but an actual eating and drinking with the mouth the body and blood of God Himself (Jesus is God).  Whoever eats and drinks, whether believer or unbeliever, receives the physical body and blood of Christ.  For believers it gives eternal life, but to those who eat out of unbelief concerning Jesus or concerning Him being truly present, they eat and drink to their own spiritual harm (see close/closed communion below).

15. In Close/Closed Communion.  The Lord’s Supper gives the forgiveness of sins to those who receive it in faith, but those who participate in unrepentance or not recognizing that it is Christ’s body and blood do so to their own judgment as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34.  Also, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:10, 10:14-22 and 11:26 that the Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of our unity in what is taught at this congregation and in our life together as Christians.  It is for these reasons that our congregation has the Biblical and loving practice of close or closed communion.  We do not want anyone to participate in the Lord’s Supper in a manner that could cause them spiritual harm or cause them to confess that they agree with what is taught at this congregation when they really do not.  This is why we have confirmation classes for youth and adult instruction classes.  It is so that all might be spiritually prepared to receive the Lord’s Supper and in good conscience confess their agreement in what is publicly taught at Holy Trinity.  If you are not a member of Holy Trinity or one of our sister congregations in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod please speak to the pastor before coming up for communion.

16. In the Office of the Holy Ministry.  We believe that the office of pastor is given to the Church by Christ for the sake of preaching the Gospel and administering baptism, absolution and the Lord’s Supper.  The pastoral office is not created by human invention nor should anyone be a pastor unless they have met the Biblical requirements for the office (1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9) and have been called by Christ though His church (Romans 10:14-15 and Hebrews 5:1-5).  Jesus has joined the pastoral office to His church for the purpose of caring for the souls of His flock (John 10:7-14; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2).

17. Priesthood of All Believers.  We believe that the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5, 9-10) means that every Christian is called by God to live a holy life of faith in Christ and to confess the Gospel in the various vocations God has placed them.

If you want to learn more about our beliefs you can check out the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod website

We  also invite you to read The Book of Concord which is a more detailed explanation of our beliefs.

Feel free to call or stop by the church to speak to our pastor.  He  loves talking about God’s Word and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.