What We Believe
GOD AND HIS REVELATION
- We believe that there is only one true God (Isaiah 44:6). He has made himself known as the triune God, one God in three persons (Matthew 28:19).
- We believe that God has revealed himself in nature (Psalm 19:1).
- We believe that God has given the full revelation of himself in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18).
- We believe that God has also given a written revelation for all people in the Holy Scriptures.
- We believe that the entire Bible is Christ-centered.
- We believe that God gave the Scriptures through men whom he chose, using the language they knew and the style of writing they had.
- We believe that in a miraculous way that goes beyond all human investigation, God the Holy Spirit moved these men to write his Word.
- We believe that Scripture is a unified whole, true and without error in everything it says, for the Savior said, “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35).
- We believe that the Bible is fully sufficient, clearly teaching people all they need to know to get to heaven.
- We believe and accept the Bible on its own terms, accepting as factual history what it presents as history and recognizing as figurative speech what is evident as such.
- We believe that the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament and the Greek text of the New Testament are the inspired Word of God.
- Although the original documents themselves have been lost, we believe that the Lord in his providential care has accurately preserved the Hebrew and Greek texts through the many hand-copied manuscripts that exist.
- We believe that the three ecumenical creeds (Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian), as well as the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the Book of Concord of 1580 express the true doctrine of Scripture.
CREATION, MANKIND, AND SIN
- We believe that the universe, the world, and the human race came into existence in the beginning when God created heaven and earth and all creatures (Genesis 1,2).
- We believe that the Bible presents a true, factual, and historical account of creation.
- We believe that God created Adam and Eve in his own image (Genesis 1:26, 27), that is, holy and righteous.
- We believe that God created a multitude of good angels. Sometime after creation, a number of these angels rebelled against God under the leadership of one of their own who is called Satan or the devil (2 Peter 2:4).
- We believe that Adam and Eve lost their divine image when they yielded to the temptation of Satan and disobeyed God’s command.
- We believe that God in his gracious providence richly and daily provides for the bodily needs of all people (Psalm 145:15,16).
CHRIST AND REDEMPTION
- We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, one with the Father from all eternity (John 1:1,2).
- We believe that Jesus at all times possessed the fullness of the Deity with all divine power, wisdom, and glory (Colossians 2:9).
- We believe that Jesus Christ, the God-man, was sent by the Father to redeem all people, that is, to buy them back from the guilt and punishment of sin.
- We believe that God reconciled “the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19).
JUSTIFICATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
- We believe that God has justified all sinners, that is, he has declared them righteous for the sake of Christ.
- We believe that individuals receive this free gift of forgiveness not on the basis of their own works, but only through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9).
- We believe that people cannot produce this justifying faith, or trust, in their own hearts, because “the man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
- We believe that sinners are saved by grace alone.
- We believe that already before the world was created, God chose those individuals whom he would in time convert through the gospel of Christ and preserve in faith to eternal life (Ephesians 1:4-6; Romans 8:29,30).
- We believe that at the moment of death, the souls of those who believe in Christ go immediately to be with the Lord in the joy of heaven because of the atoning work of Christ (Luke 23:43).
GOOD WORKS AND PRAYER
- We believe that faith in Jesus Christ always leads a believer to produce works that are pleasing to God.
- We believe that works pleasing to God are works of love, for “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10).
- We believe, for example, that the Fifth Commandment teaches that all human life is a gift from God.
- We believe that the Sixth Commandment regulates marriage and the family.
- We believe that individuals are free to make their own decisions concerning matters that are neither forbidden nor commanded by God’s Word (adiaphora).
- We believe that good works, which are fruits of faith, must be distinguished from works of civic righteousness performed by unbelievers.
- We believe that in this world even the best works of Christians are tainted with sin.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit enables every believer to produce good works as fruits of faith (Galatians 5:22-25).
- The Holy Spirit also equips the church with all the spiritual gifts it needs for its well-being (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
- We believe that a life of prayer is a fruit of faith.
THE MEANS OF GRACE
- We believe that God bestows all spiritual blessings upon sinners by special means established by him.
- We believe that through the gospel, the good news of Christ’s atoning sacrifice for sinners, the Holy Spirit works faith in people, whose hearts are by nature hostile to God (1 Peter 1:23).
- We believe that also through the Sacrament of Baptism the Holy Spirit applies the gospel to sinners, giving them new life (Titus 3:5) and cleansing them from all sin (Acts 2:38).
- We believe that all who join in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper receive the true body and blood of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine (1 Corinthians 10:16).
CHURCH AND MINISTRY
- We believe that there is one holy Christian church, which is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16) and the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23; 4:12).
- We believe that this holy Christian church is a reality, although it is not an external, visible organization.
- We believe that the presence of the holy Christian church nevertheless can be recognized.
- We believe that it is the Lord’s will that Christians meet regularly to build one another up by using the means of grace together (Hebrews 10:24,25).
- We believe that God directs believers to acknowledge oneness in faith with Christians whose confession of faith submits to all the teachings of Scripture (John 8:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:21,22).
- We believe that those whose confession of faith reveals that they are united in the doctrines of Scripture will express their fellowship in Christ as occasion permits (Ephesians 4:3).
- We believe that every Christian is a priest before God (1 Peter 2:9).
- We believe that God has also established the public ministry of the Word (Ephesians 4:11), and it is the will of God that the church, in accordance with good order (1 Corinthians 14:40), call qualified individuals into this public ministry (1 Timothy 3:1-10; 1 Corinthians 9:14).
- We believe that the church’s mission is to serve people with the Word and sacraments.
- We believe that women may participate in offices and activities of the public ministry except where that work involves authority over men (1 Timothy 2:11,12).
CHURCH AND STATE
- We believe that not only the church but also the state, that is, all governmental authority, has been instituted by God.
- We believe that God has given the church and the state their own distinct responsibilities.
- We believe that the only means God has given to the church to carry out its assigned purpose are the Word and sacraments (Matthew 28:19,20).
- We believe the proper relation is preserved between the church and the state only when each remains within the divinely assigned sphere and uses its divinely entrusted means.
- We believe that Christians are citizens of both realms and serve God by faithfully fulfilling their duties in both (Romans 13:6,7).
JESUS’ RETURN AND THE JUDGMENT
- We believe that Jesus, true God and true man, who rose from death and ascended to the right hand of the Father, will come again.
- We believe that no one can know the exact time of Jesus’ return.
- We believe that at Jesus’ return this present world will come to an end.
- We believe that when Jesus returns and his voice is heard throughout the earth, all the dead will rise, that is, their souls will be reunited with their bodies (John 5:28,29).
If you would like to learn more about what we believe and teach here at Gethsemane you can follow this link to a more detailed document.
This We Believe