Beliefs and Confessions of Hope Lutheran Church
AS A MEMBER OF LUTHERAN CHURCH MISSOURI SYNOD
We accept the books of the Old and New Testament to be the inspired Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also accept the three Ecumenical Creeds namely, the Apostles’, the Nicene, the Athanasian Creeds. In addition, we accept and confess the unaltered Augsburg Confession to be a true exposition of Holy Scripture and a correct exhibition of the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. We also accept and confess the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Large and Small Catechisms of Martin Luther, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise of the Power and Primacy of the Pope and the Formula of Concord as contained in the Book of Concord. The following articles are taken from The Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
We unanimously hold and teach, in accordance with the decree of the Council of Nicaea, that there is one divine essence, which is called and which is truly God, and that there are three persons in this one divine essence, equal in power and alike eternal: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. All three are one divine essence, eternal, without division, without end, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, one creator and preserver of all things visible and invisible. The word ”person” is to be understood as the Fathers employed the term in this connection, not as a part or a property of another but as that which exists of itself.
It is also taught among us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.
Son of God
It is also taught among us that God the Son became man, born of the virgin Mary, and that the two natures, divine and human, are so inseparably united in one person that there is one Christ, true God and true man, who was truly born, suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried in order to be a sacrifice not only for original sin but also for all other sin and to propitiate God’s wrath. The same Christ also descended into hell, truly rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God, that he may eternally rule and have dominion over all creatures, that through the Holy Spirit he may sanctify, purify, strengthen, and comfort all who believe in him, that he may bestow on them, life and every grace and blessing, and that he may protect and defend them against the devil and against sin. The same Lord Christ will return openly to judge the living and the dead, as stated in the Apostles’ Creed.
It is also taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Chris’s sake, through faith, when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness, as Paul says in Romans 3:21-26 and 4:5.
It is taught among us that Baptism is necessary and that grace is offered through it. Children, too, should be baptized, for in Baptism they are committed to God and become acceptable to him.
The Lord’s Supper (Communion)
In celebrating the Sacrament of the Altar at Hope Lutheran Church, we joyfully receive Christ’s true Body and Blood for the forgiveness of our sins and for the strengthening of our faith. We also give public expression to our unity as Lutherans in the teachings of the Christian Faith. We invite properly instructed members of this or other Lutheran Church Missouri Synod congregations to commune. If you would like more information about our worship and practice, please see the Pastor.
It is taught among us that those who sin after Baptism receive forgiveness of sin whenever they come to repentance, and absolution should not be denied them by the church. Properly speaking, true repentance is nothing else than to have contrition and sorrow, or terror, on account of sin, and yet at the same time to believe the Gospel and absolution (namely, that sin has been forgiven and grace has been obtained through Christ), and this faith will comfort the heart and again set it at rest. Amendment of life and the forsaking of sin should then follow, for these must be the fruits of repentance, as John says, “Bear fruit that befits repentance” (Matt. 3:8).
The Return of Christ to Judgment
It is also taught among us that our Lord Jesus Christ will return on the last day for judgment and will raise up all the dead, to give eternal life and everlasting joy to believers and the elect but to condemn ungodly men and the devil to hell and eternal punishment.
We teach that in the fulness of time the eternal Son of God was made man by assuming, from the virgin Mary through the operation of the Holy Ghost, a human nature like unto ours, yet without sin, and receiving it unto His divine person. Jesus Christ is therefore “True God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary,” true God and true man in one undivided and indivisible person. The purpose of this miraculous incarnation of the Son of God was that He might become the Mediator between God and men, both fulfilling the divine Law and suffering and dying in the place of mankind. In this manner God has reconciled the whole sinful world unto Himself, Gal. 4:4, 5; 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:18,19.
Faith in Christ
Since God has reconciled the whole world unto Himself through the vicarious life and death of His Son and has commanded that the reconciliation effected by Christ be proclaimed to men in the Gospel, to the end that they may believe it, 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Rom. 1:5, therefore faith in Christ is the only way for men to obtain personal reconciliation with God, that is, forgiveness of sins, as both the Old and New Testament Scriptures testify, Acts 10:43; John 3:16-18, 36. By this faith in Christ, through which men obtain the forgiveness of sins, is not meant any human effort to fulfill the Law of God after the example of Christ, but faith in the Gospel, that is, in the forgiveness of sins, or justification, which was fully earned for us by Christ and is offered in the Gospel. This faith justifies, not inasmuch as it is a work of man, but inasmuch as it lays hold of the grace offered, the forgiveness of sins, Rom. 4:16
These articles taken from The Augsburg Confession, Book of Concord, Tappert edition. Fortress Press, Copyright 1959, pages 27, 28, 29,30,33,34,38. Articles dealing with Redemption and Faith in Christ, taken from Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod. CPH St. Louis (Adopted 1932) Pages 5, 6
For questions or additional information, concerning the Lutheran Church (LCMS), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Hope Lutheran Church, 1904 McArthur, Jacksonville, AR 72076, 501-982-1333.