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.
Being “Lutheran,” our congregations accept and teach 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 short phrases: Grace alone, Scripture alone, Faith alone.
- Grace alone – God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly.
- Scripture alone – The Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.
- Faith alone – By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the eternal life that it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through Him.
The word “Synod” in The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod comes from the Greek words that mean “walking together”. It has rich meaning in our church body, because the congregations voluntarily choose to belong to the Synod. Diverse in their service, these congregations hold to a shared confession of Jesus Christ as taught in Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.
The congregations of the Synod are “confessional.” They hold to the Lutheran Confessions as the 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 put into writing by church leaders during the 16th century.
(The simplest of these is Luther’s Small Catechism. The Augsburg Confession gives more detail on what Lutherans believe. For a detailed contemporary explanation, see “What Do Lutherans Believe?”)
Adapted from A Week in the Life of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod
copyright 1996, Concordia Publishing House.