Our Statement of Faith
Lutheran Christians are Confessional Christians. Confessions are
summary statements of Christian doctrine drawn from the Scriptures. We
believe that the Universal Christian Creeds composed by the early
church are accurate summaries of the Apostolic faith found in the
Scriptures of the Old and New Testmanents. Every Christian is bound to
adhere to them. The universal creeds are the Apostle's Creed, the
Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. We also believe that the
Lutheran Confessions of the sixteenth century found in the Book of
Concord are accurate presentations of the Apostolic faith. In them
we find the pure teaching and explanation of the Word of God. The
Central confession of the Lutheran Church is the Augsburg Confession,
written in 1530 as a defense of the Evangelical churches to the Holy
Roman Emperor, Charles V.
The summary of our teaching below is taken from the first 21
articles of the Augsburg Confession. In the Augsburg Confession there
is no article on the nature of the Scriptures. This is because at the
time of the Reformation all parties believed that the Scriptures were
the divinely inspired and inerrant Word of God. Along with the articles
of Christian doctrine found in the Confession, Gethsemane Lutheran
Church believes that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God and the only
source, rule, and guide of the Christian faith.
The Doctrinal Articles of the Augsburg Confession
GodThere is one divine essence, which is called and which
is God, eternal, incorporeal, indivisible, of infinite power, wisdom,
and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, visible and
invisible. Yet there are three persons of the same divine essence and
power who are also coeternal; The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
And the term person is used to signify not a part or a quality in
another but that which subsists by itself.
Original SinSince the fall of Adam all men who are born
according to nature are born in sin. That is to say, they are without
fear of God, are without trust in God, and are born with a polluted,
perverted nature. And this disease or vice of origin is truly sin,
which even now damns and brings eternal death on those who are not born
again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.
ChristChrist, the Son of God took on man's nature in the womb
of the blessed virgin Mary. So there are two natures, divine and human,
inseparably cojoined in the unity of His person, one Christ, true God
and true man, who was born of the virgin Mary, truly suffered, was
crucified, dead, and was buried that He might reconcile the Father to
us and be a sacrifice not only for original guilt but also for all
actual sins of men. He also descended into hell and on the third day
truly rose again. Afterward, He ascended into heaven to sit on the
right hand of the Father forever to reign and have dominion over all
creatures and sanctify those who believe in Him by sending the Holy
Spirit into their hearts to rule, comfort, and quicken them and defend
them against the devil and the power of sin. The same Christ will
openly come again to judge the living and the dead, etc, according to
the Apostle's Creed.
JustificationMen cannot be justified before God by their own
strength, merits, or works but are freely justified for Christ's sake
through faith when they believe that they are received into favor and
that their sins are forgiven on account of Christ, who by His death has
made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for
righteousness in His sight.
The MinistryIn order that we may obtain this faith, the
ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was
instituted. For through the Word and the Sacraments, as through
instruments, the Holy Spirit is given; and the Holy Spirit produces
faith where and when it pleases God, in those who hear the Gospel.
Good WorksThis faith is bound to bring forth good fruits and
it is necessary to do the good works commanded by God. We must do so
because it is God's will and not because we rely on such works to merit
justification before God. For forgiveness of sins and justification are
apprehended by faith, as Christ Himself also testifies, "When you have
done all these things, say, 'We are unprofitable servants.'"
The ChurchOne holy church is to continue forever. The Church
is the assembly of saints in which the Gospel is taught purely and the
sacraments are administered rightly. For the true unity of the church
it is enough to agree concerning the teaching of the Gospel and the
administration of the sacraments. It is not necessary that human
traditions or rites and ceremonies instituted by men, should be alike
everywhere. It is as Paul says, "One faith, one baptism, one God and
Father of all," etc.
The Efficacy of the Sacraments in the ChurchThe church is the
assembly of saints and true believers. However, since in this life many
hypocrites and evil persons are mingled with believers, it is allowable
to use the sacraments even when they are administered by evil men,
according to the say of Christ, "The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses
seat," etc. Both the Sacraments and the Word are effectual by reason of
the institution and commandment of Christ even if they are administered
by evil men.
BaptismBaptism is necessary for salvation, the grace of God
is offered through Baptism, and children (infants) should be baptized,
for being offered to God through Baptism they are received into His
The Lord's Supper
The body and blood of Christ are truly present and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord.
AbsolutionPrivate absolution should be retained in the
churches. However, in confession an enumeration of all sins is not
necessary, for this is not possible according to the Psalm, "Who can
discern his errors."
RepentanceThose who have fallen after Baptism can receive
forgiveness of sins whenever they are converted, and the church ought
to impart absolution to those who return to repentance. Properly
speaking, repentance consists of these two parts: one is contrition,
that is, terror smiting the conscience with a knowledge of sin, and the
other is faith, which is born of the Gospel, or of absolution, believes
that sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, comforts the conscience, and
delivers it from terror. Then good works, which are the fruits of
repentance, are bound to follow.
The Use of the SacramentsThe Sacraments were instituted not
merely to be marks of profession among men but especially to be signs
and testimonies of the will of God toward us, intended to awaken and
confirm faith in those who use them. Consequently, the sacraments
should be used so that faith, which believes the promises that are set
forth and offered, is added.
Nobody should preach publicly in the church or administer the Sacraments unless he is properly called.
Church RitesThose rites should be observed which can be
observed without sin and which contribute to peace and good order in
the church. Such are certain holy days, festivals, and the like.
Secular OrderLawful civil ordinances are good works of God
and it is right for Christians to hold civil office, to sit as judges,
to decide matters of… existing laws, to award just punishments, to
engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers, to make legal contracts, to
hold property, to swear oaths when required by rulers, to marry, and to
be given in marriage.
The Return of ChristAt the consummation of the world Christ
will appear for judgment and will raise up all the dead. To the godly
and elect He will give eternal life and endless joy, but ungodly men
and devils He will condemn to be tormented without end.
Free WillMan's will has some liberty for the attainment of
civil righteousness and for the choice of things subject to reason.
However, it does not have the power, without the Holy Spirit, to attain
the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness, because
natural man does not perceive the gifts of the Spirit of God; but this
righteousness is wrought in the heart when the Holy Spirit is received
through the Word.
The Cause of SinAlthough God creates and preserves nature,
the cause of sin is the will of the wicked, that is, of the devil and
ungodly men. If not aided by God, the will of the wicked turns away
from God, as Christ says in John 8:44, "When the devil lies, he speaks
according to his own nature."”
Faith and Good WorksOur works cannot reconcile God or merit
forgiveness of sins and grace, but we obtain forgiveness and grace only
by faith when we believe that we are received into favor for Christ's
sake, who alone has been ordained to be the mediator and propitiation
through whom the Father is reconciled, but it is necessary to do good
works, not that we should trust to merit grace by them but because it
is the will of God. It is only by faith that forgiveness of sins and
grace are apprehended, and because through faith the Holy Spirit is
received, hearts are so renewed and endowed with new affections as to
be able to bring forth good works.
The SaintsThe remembrance of saints may be commended to us so
that we imitate their faith and good works according to our calling.
However, the Scriptures do not teach us to pray to the saints or seek
their help, for the only mediator, propitiation, high priest, and
intercessor whom the Scriptures set before us is Christ. He is to be
prayed to, and He has promised to hear our prayers
For a copy of the full confession go to