What We Believe
What is the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod?
The word "Synod" in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod comes from Greek words that mean "walking together." The term has rich meaning in our church body because congregations voluntarily choose to belong to the Synod. Though diverse in their service, our congregations hold to a shared confession of Jesus Christ as taught in Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. 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.
What does "Lutheran" mean?
Our congregations accept and preach the Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther that inspired the reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century. The teaching of Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three phrases: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone.
What are the "Lutheran Confessions?"
Lutheran congregations are confessional. Our congregations believe the Lutheran Confessions are a correct interpretation and presentation of biblical doctrine. Contained in The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, these statements of belief were transcribed and shared broadly by church leaders during the 16th century. Luther's Small Catechism contains essential summaries of our beliefs, while the Augsburg Confession gives more detail about what Lutherans believe.
What is the Bible?
The Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is the collection of the thoughts-even the very words-that God gave to the authors of the Biblical books. The Bible is a gift God has given to His church. It is not a collection of ancient fables and myths. The Bible is the sure and certain means that God the Holy Spirit uses to communicate God's Word to us today.
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ is true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary. He is our redeemer who has purchased and won us from all sins, from death, and the power of the devil, by His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death. He is risen from the dead and lives and reigns to all eternity.
What about Baptism?
Baptism is the water included with God's command and combined with God's Word. It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the word of God declares, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16) Infants and children are baptized for the same reason that adults are baptized, because of the command and promise of God. What is promised in Baptism is given to all who receive it; therefore, infants and young children also have the promise of God. But most importantly, as sinners, infants need what Baptism gives.
What about the Lord's Supper?
Here at Bethlehem Lutheran Church we believe that the body and blood of Jesus is really present in, with, and under the bread and wine, and through the Sacrament of Holy Communion, God gives us the forgiveness of sins and strength for the Christian life. We also believe it is important that everyone who comes to the Lord’s table confess the same faith. If you are not a member of Bethlehem or a sister congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod or have questions about our beliefs concerning the Lord’s Supper, please wait until we have an opportunity to visit with you about our teaching before partaking of the Sacrament. Feel free to speak with our Pastor or one of the elders of the congregation.
For more information visit www.lcms.org
(Sources: Luther's Small Catechism; What About.... Dr. A.L. Barry; www.lcms.org/belief-and-practice)