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What We Believe

  

WHAT WE BELIEVE

 

 

God’s Revelation


 

      There is one true God (Isaiah 44:6) who has made himself known as triune, that is, one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).



 

      God has revealed himself in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:18; 3:16).  He has also revealed himself in the Bible, speaking through men who wrote as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).



 

      All of Scripture is true and without error (John 10:35; 17:17).  It tells us all that we need to know about God and how to get to heaven (2 Timothy 3:15).



 

      We reject any worship that is not directed to the Triune God, that does not honor Jesus as true God, or that claims that all religions lead to the same God.

 

 

Creation, Mankind, Sin


 

      God created our world in six natural days by the power of his almighty Word.  (Genesis 1:1 – 2:3).  He created man and woman in his own image, that is, holy and righteous (Genesis 1:26-27).



 

      The devil, in the form of a serpent, tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God.  This brought upon them God’s judgment of death (Genesis 2:17; 3:1-7).  Since then, all people are conceived and born in sin (Psalm 51:5), spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), and unable to earn God’s favor by their own efforts.



 

      We reject all theories of evolution and all attempts to reconcile the Scriptural account of creation with such theories.  We reject all views that look upon people as basically good by nature and able to save themselves. 


 

Christ and Redemption


 

      Jesus Christ, true God, also became true man when he was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35).



 

      Jesus Christ, the God-man, came to earth to redeem mankind, that is, to buy us back from the guilt and punishment of sin.  By his perfect obedience to God’s commands, all people are declared holy (Romans 5:18,19).  By suffering for the sins of all people on the cross, he paid the full price for our guilt (Isaiah 53:6; Matthew 20:28).



 

      Through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, the entire world has been reconciled to God (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:19,21).  We are justified, that is, declared not guilty, through Christ’s work alone (Romans 4:25).



 

      We reject any teaching that says Christ paid the penalty only for the sins of some people, or only made a partial payment for sins.


 

Justification by Grace through Faith

 

 

 

      We receive God’s free gift of forgiveness through faith, that is, through trust in Christ and his redeeming work.  We can do nothing to earn this gift in part or in whole (Ephesians 2:8,9).



 

      Those who do not have such faith in Jesus Christ forfeit their salvation (Mark 16:16; John  8:24).



 

      The Holy Spirit works faith in our heart through hearing the gospel, that is, the good news of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness he won for all sinners (Romans 10:17).



 

      At death, the souls of those who believe in Christ go immediately to be with him in the joy of heaven (Luke 23:43).  The souls of those who do not believe in Christ go to an eternity of misery in hell (Luke 16:22-24).



 

      We reject every belief that people can in any way contribute to their salvation.  We reject the idea that all people will be saved, even those without faith in Christ (John 3:36).  We reject the belief that there are other ways to salvation besides faith in Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).


 

The Means of Grace


 

      The means of grace are the instruments through which the Holy Spirit creates and strengthens faith, distributing the gifts of forgiveness and salvation.  These means of grace are the gospel in the Word and in the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.



 

      In the Word, we hear that we are forgiven for Christ’s sake (Romans 3:23,24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21).



 

      In the Sacrament of Baptism the Holy Spirit gives new life (Titus 3:5) and cleanses us of sin (Acts 2:38).  Since infants are born sinful and in need of forgiveness (John 3:6), Baptism is also for them (Matthew 28:19; John 3:5).



 

      In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s true body and blood are distributed (1 Corinthians 10:16; Matthew 26:26,28) for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28).



 

      We reject the view that babies are not to be baptized and that they cannot believe (Luke 18:15-17).  We reject the view that Christ’s body and blood are only symbolized by the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper.


 

The Christian Life


 

      Our Lord has saved us by his grace, calling us out of the darkness of unbelief into his marvelous light.  In response to his salvation, we will declare his praises (1 Peter 2:9-10) by our worship, by our holy lives, and by our witness to others.



 

      Christians will want to gather around the means of grace, that is, the Word and Sacraments, regularly to strengthen their faith (Romans 10:17), to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:24-25), and to work for the spread of the gospel into all the world (Mark 16:15).



 

      Above all, Christians will seek to join a congregation that is faithful to the Word of God in all its teachings (John 8:31; Romans 16:17).



 

      Christ will come again on a day that no one can know (Matthew 24:36) to raise all the dead (John 5:28,29) for judgment (Matthew 25:31-46).



 

      We reject the view that it is unimportant to be an active member of a Christian congregation.  We reject the idea that what a church teaches is unimportant.



 

      We reject the teaching that Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years in a physical, earthly kingdom (John 18:36).



 

To learn more about our beliefs, go to our church body’s website, www.wels.net, and click on “Faith.”  There you will find a more complete explanation of what we believe, as well as a Question & Answer feature.

 

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