The short answer…
We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord – the King and Savior the world so desperately needs. Through His perfect life, sacrificial death on the cross, and bodily resurrection on the third day, He has forgiven sin, defeated death, and won salvation for all people – gifts that are freely offered to all people and which are received by faith (trust) in Jesus and what He has done.
The longer answer…
Hope Lutheran Church is a member congregation of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Our teaching concerning the nature and work of almighty God can be summarized using the language of our larger church body…
With the universal Christian Church, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists; Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan; and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God’s Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.
– Website of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, http://www.lcms.org/belief-and-practice
We confess that the Bible is God’s inspired and inerrant Word, and the Bible is the source and norm for all our teaching. The testimony of the Scriptures has led the Christian Church to formulate statements of faith called “creeds” which serve as standards of belief against challenges from those who would attempt to introduce false teaching into the Church. With Christians throughout the centuries, we hold to the confession of faith and truth presented by three ecumenical (church-wide, universal) creeds: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.
As Lutheran Christians, we follow in the train of Martin Luther and those who worked alongside him during the Reformation of the 16th century. These theologians created statements of faith which pointed the church back to the centrality of Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel of God’s grace. The confessional documents of the Lutheran Church to which we subscribe exist together in the Book of Concord. Most notable are the following:
- The unaltered Augsburg Confession, the defining Lutheran confession of faith
- The Small and Large Catechisms of Martin Luther, tools created for teaching the faith both in the home and in the church
The teaching of the Lutheran Reformation and of Hope Lutheran Church can be summed up using three “solas” (“sola” being the Latin word for “alone”).
- “Sola gratia” – We believe that God saves human beings, forgives sins, and makes us His sons and daughters on the basis of His grace alone, apart from any worthiness in us.
- “Sola fide” – We believe that God counts us as righteous on the basis of faith alone, which receives God’s works and promises, apart from works of the Law. The Holy Spirit creates faith through the means of grace, the Gospel received in Word and Sacraments, which point to Jesus Christ as the crucified and risen Savior of the world.
- “Sola scriptura” – We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone are the source for teaching and belief in the Church, and that these Scriptures fully and sufficiently reveal God’s plan to save us in Jesus Christ (Gospel) and His will for how His creatures ought to live (Law).
We believe and teach that…
- The Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant Word.
- In the Bible, God is revealed as one God, yet three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- God created the world and all that exists.
- Since Adam and Eve, man is born with original sin and cannot save himself.
- God’s Law, revealed both in the Scriptures and in nature itself, is good and holy, revealing His will for how the creation ought to exist. However, it has the function of accusing all people and condemning us, since it reveals that all fall short of God’s will and are guilty of sinning against it.
- Out of His great love for His creation, God the Father sent His only-begotten Son into the world to save mankind from the curse of sin and death.
- Jesus Christ, true God and true man, born of the Virgin Mary, died on the cross for all sins, and rose bodily on the third day for us and for our salvation.
- To draw people to Jesus in faith and to build the Church (worldwide), God the Holy Spirit was sent into the world to empower the sharing of the Gospel, through which people are made alive to God and given the gift of the forgiveness of sins secured by Jesus. The Holy Spirit works through the “means of grace” (God’s Word and Sacraments) to create and sustain faith in Jesus, and He lives in all believers and binds us together as the body of Christ.
- Salvation through the forgiveness of sins comes only through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
- Such forgiveness is delivered through the Word of God and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion).
- The means of grace (Word and Sacraments), which God the Holy Spirit uses to create faith in Christ, are the same means which sustain the Christian in the life of faith in God and love for the neighbor. As such, they remain at the center of Christian worship and are appropriately called the “marks of the Church” (the things that help us recognize where the Church exists).