Herald Journal Columns
Sept. 8, 2003 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Where does the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod stand in its belief?

By Rev. Martin Schoenfeld, Associate Pastor, St. James Lutheran, HL

At the beginning of a new school year, many teachers will spend the first few days of school reviewing what the students have already learned.

This is done because we have a tendency to forget some things over the summer. What holds true for the students, holds true for all of us. Sometimes we forget things which we have already learned.

Therefore, I thought it would be good as we begin a new school year to take some time and review a few of the basic truths of what we Missouri Synod Lutherans believe. Remember these are only a few of the basics.

In order to receive a more complete review, you are more than welcome to join us during one of our basic adult instruction courses. These classes will be announced as they are made available.

In the meanwhile, I encourage you not only to quickly read through these 14 points, but also to take the time to look up the Bible verses and use this for a personal Bible study.

You may also choose to share this article with someone else who is not so familiar with these sacred teachings from God.

What Missouri Synod Lutheran Christians believe:

1. The Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God. It is His message to all people. The entire Bible points to Jesus as the Savior. It is important that we do not add to it or take away from what the Bible teaches.

We accept all the Bible teaches to be true whether it is popular in our culture or not. See Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21, John 20:31 and Revelation 22: 18-19.

2. There is only one true God. He has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. See 1 Corinthians 8:4 and Matthew 28:19.

3. God is the creator of everything that exists. See Genesis 1 & 2.

4. When God first created everything it was perfect. People were originally created by God pure and holy. They lived according to God's will, doing what was pleasing to Him. See Genesis 1:31.

5. Adam and Eve, the first two people God created in the beginning, went against God's will and brought sin into the world.

Since that time, all people have been conceived and born into a sinful state of existence. Sin is every thought, desire, word, and deed, which is contrary to God's law. See Genesis 3, Psalm 51:5, Romans 5:12-19.

6. People cannot save themselves by their good works or restore themselves to a right relationship with God. See Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:28, and Galatians 2: 16.

7. God sent His Son Jesus, into the world. Jesus is both true God and true man. He lived a perfect life in our place, He died on the cross to pay the penalty we deserved on account of our sins, and He rose from the dead so that we may have eternal life. See John 3:16, John 19-21, and Hebrews 4:15.

8. There is only one way to heaven and that is by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ. See John 14:6 and Acts 4:12. If you have faith in Jesus, you will be in heaven. If you reject Jesus, you will be in hell. See John 3:36.

9. Even our faith in Jesus is a gift from God given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. God deserves to receive all glory and credit for our salvation. See 1 Corinthians 12:3.

10. God the Holy Spirit works in our lives through various means. The means of grace are as follows:

A. The Word of God.

B. The Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

C. The Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Through these means of grace, God gives to us the blessings which Jesus earned for us by His life, death, and resurrection. See John 20:31, Romans 10: 17, Acts 2:38-39, and Matthew 26:26-29.

11. Jesus will come again to take all believers to Himself in heaven. On that final day, all the dead will be raised. Those who are still alive will meet the Lord in the air. After this, the final judgment will take place. Unbelievers will go to eternal suffering in hell, and believers will go to eternal glory in heaven. See Acts 24:15, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and Hebrews 9:27-28.

12. It is important that we regularly worship together in order to hear God's Word, receive His sacraments, praise God, and encourage one another. See Exodus 20:8, Psalm 95:6, Hebrews 10:25 and I Thessalonians 5: 11.

13. It is important that we do not change the message which God has given to us for any reason. We must not compromise with the world but maintain sound Biblical teaching. See II Timothy 4:2-3 and Galatians 1:8.

14. We are saved to serve. Christians are called to tell others that the only way of salvation is by faith in Jesus, and to show their faith by their deeds of love toward others. We are also to daily repent of our sin and strive to live God pleasing lives. See Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:15, John 13:1-17, and Luke 3:8-14.

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