WHAT WE BELIEVE
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church is a congregation in confessional fellowship with The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
The congregation is biblical: we depend on God’s Word for our reception of the Holy Spirit and involvement in the mystery of Christ. The congregation is evangelical: we who are justified by faith in Christ rely on God’s grace in our journey through life. The congregation is liturgical: we are shaped by the enactment of God’s Word in the Divine Service.
These are a few brief statements introducing you to what Trinity believes, teaches, and confesses.
God has revealed Himself to us as the Holy and Blessed Trinity who is one God in three eternally distinct Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; John 14-16; 2 Corinthians 13:12).
All that exists, visible and invisible, has been brought into being by God, and is sustained by God (Genesis 1-2; Hebrews 11:3).
All people are conceived and born in sin after the fall of Adam (Romans 5:12); this is called original or the root sin. Because of this first disobedience, all people cannot fear, love, and trust in God above all things; all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:11-18,23).
Jesus of Nazareth is the Eternal Son of God. God the Father sent His Son to be Savior of the world (1 John 4:14), to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). He assumed the flesh of man (John 1:1-14); lived a blameless life, obedient to the Father (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5); fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17; Romans 8:2,3); was crucified and died on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for the whole world (John 19:30; 1 John 2:2); was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-10); ascended into heaven (Acts 1:6-11); sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty (Ephesians 1:20-23); and will judge the living and the dead (Matthew 24:29-31; Acts 10:42; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Jesus of Nazareth is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world (Romans 5:6,8; 1 John 2:2; Romans 5:6, 8). He appeased the wrath of God for us (Romans 5:9). He destroyed the devil through His death for us (Hebrew 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54-56). He was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). No other name has been revealed under heaven by which we must be saved than Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). Faith is the means by which this truth is grasped by the individual and becomes one’s personal hope and belief (Romans 4:13-16, 22-25). God’s desire is that all people be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
God the Holy Spirit works and strengthens this faith in us through the preaching of the Word (Romans 10:17). Faith in Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8-9). No one can confess with the heart “Jesus is Lord” except by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).
The Church is God’s family, gathered by Him to receive His gifts of Word and Sacrament for the strengthening of faith, the forgiveness of sins, and gift of eternal life (Acts 2:42; Hebrews 10:25).
God bestows saving faith, the forgiveness of sins, and Christ’s righteousness through the regenerating gift of the Holy Spirit to all people, including infants, through Holy Baptism (Matthew 28:19; John 3:5-6; Galatians 3:26-4:7; Titus 3:3-5).
The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is truly and essentially present in Holy Communion under the bread and wine for the forgiveness of our sins (Mark 14:22-24; Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11:21-31).
Law and Gospel
The Law demands that we have true faith, love, and trust in God; but in pursuit of fulfilling it, the law further reveals that we are unable to fulfill the demands that God places upon us; thus the law reveals our sinfulness and sins to us (Romans 3:20).
The Gospel, the good news that Jesus Christ alone is our Savior, comforts our contrite hearts with the declaration that our sins are freely forgiven by faith in Christ’s saving work for us; by faith we are clothed with his perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21); by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone we are perfectly justified, declared righteous, and have the gift of eternal life (Romans 3:21-28).
If anyone preaches a Gospel contrary to this it is false, deceitful, spiritually harmful, and must be rejected, condemned, and accursed by all Christians (Galatians 1:6-9).
The Office of the Holy Ministry
The Lord Jesus Christ, having completed His ministry of justification, created this office for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel in the Word and the administration of Holy Baptism and the Holy Communion (John 20:22,23; 1 Corinthians 4:1).
As faith in Jesus Christ is the creation of the Holy Spirit, growth in the maturity of faith and the fruitfulness of faith is the work of the Holy Spirit; for without Jesus being given to us in Word and Sacrament by the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing (John 15:5). God has prepared works for us to do, showing that we are His workmanship and that He works in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13).
Prayer is the response of faith to the promises of God in Christ Jesus; the call to God in the name of Christ is created by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:5,6). The Father hears the prayers of His children, who call to Him in faith (Matthew 7:7-11).
The Last Day
Jesus is coming again to judge both the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). All flesh will be raised on the last day, the unrighteous shall depart from God’s presence and enter eternal punishment and the righteous shall enter God’s presence for life eternal (Matthew 25:31-46).
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the sole rule, judge, and norm of our faith and doctrine. The verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God is the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; John 6:68). The center of the Scriptures is the proclamation of God’s saving work in Christ Jesus (John 20:30,31; Luke 24:44-47; Hebrews 1:1-2).
The Solas of Reformation Theology
Sola Gratia: Sinners are saved by grace alone through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf (Ephesians 2:8ff).
Sola Fide: Sinners are saved from eternal death in hell only by faith in the work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:27,28).
Sola Scriptura: The Holy Scriptures, the Bible, are the inspired Word of God and the only source of wisdom, strength, comfort, teaching, and instruction for life — not human reason, not experience, not Tradition, and not manmade laws (Hebrews 1:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The Book of Concord
Trinity subscribes to The Book of Concord, which is a collection of documents that Christians from the 4th to the 16th century and since then have used to explain what they believed and taught on the basis of the Holy Scriptures. Lutherans subscribe to this book not as a rule, judge, and norm for our life on the par with the Scriptures, but because the confessions in the book are correct expositions of what the Old and New Testaments teach. The Book of Concord is a necessary collection of confessions because there are so many different interpretations of the Bible we hold in common, and so we must confess what we believe.
The Book of Concord includes the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The inclusion of the three ancient creeds indicates that Lutherans are not a sect but that they embrace and confess the ancient and orthodox faith.
The Book also contains the distinctive Lutheran Reformation writings known as the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord, with its Epitome.