Since earliest times, the Christian Church has used statements of faith to summarize Biblical teachings. The earliest of these statements is called the Apostle's Creed. It is witnessed as already being in common usage by A.D. 325. While certainly not written by the Apostles it is called the Apostle's Creed in that it accurately reflects what these first preachers of the Church taught about God. “Creed” comes, from the Latin word “credo” meaning “I believe.”
With the universal Christian Church, Lutherans teach and respond 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 final 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.
Here is the text of the Creed with each statement accompanied by some of the Scriptural texts that the creedal statement summarizes.
Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 4:5)
In God (Deuteronomy 6:4 1 Corinthians 8:6)
The Father (Psalm 89:27; Matthew 7:11)
Almighty (Genesis 7:1; 2 Corinthians 6:18)
Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 33:6; John 5:17)
And in Jesus (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 1:21)
Christ (Daniel 9:24; John 3:34)
His only (Zechariah 13:7; John 1:14)
Son (Psalm 2:7; Matthew 16:16)
Our Lord ( Jeremiah 23:6; John 20:28)
Who was conceived (Jeremiah 31:22; Luke 1:31)
By the Holy Spirit (Daniel 2:45; Matthew 1:20)
Born ( Isaiah 9:6; John 1:14)
Of the Virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:43)
Suffered (Isaiah 50:6; Luke 23:25)
Under Pontius Pilate (Psalm 2:2; Luke 18:32)
Was crucified (Psalm 22:17; John 3:14)
Died (Daniel 9:26; Romans 5:8)
And was buried (Isaiah 53:9; John 12:24)
Descended into hell (Psalm 16:10; Ephesians 4:9)
And on the third day (Hosea 6:2; Matthew 26:32; Acts 10:40-41)
He rose again from the dead (Isaiah 63:1; 2 Timothy 2:8)
Ascended into heaven (Psalm 68:19; Colossians 2:15)
And sits at the right hand of the God the Father Almighty (Psalm 110:1; Mark 16:19)
From thence he will come (Isaiah 66:15; Acts 1:11)
To judge (Wisdom of Solomon 6:6; Acts 17:31)
The living and the dead (Daniel 12:2; 1 Corinthians 15:51)
I believe in the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 12:10; John 15:26)
The holy (Psalm 45:14; Ephesians 5:26)
Christian Church (Psalm 22:26; Matthew 16:18)
The communion of saints (Exodus 19:5; Ephesians 4:3)
The forgiveness of sins (Psalm 32:1; Acts 10:43)
The resurrection of the body (Isaiah 66:14; John 5:28)
And the life everlasting (Psalm 16:11; 1 Peter 1:4)
Amen! (Psalm 72:19; 2 Corinthians 1:20)
The Meaning of Luther’s Seal
Grace and peace from the Lord. As you wish to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, let me answer you in a most friendly way some of my thoughts about my seal that I want to fashion as a kind of symbol for my theology.
The first element should be a black cross within the heart, which retains its natural color, so that I would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. 'For one who believes from the heart will be justified' (Romans 10:10). Now about the black cross which puts the flesh to death and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural [red] color. The cross does not kill of the human nature altogether, rather keeps alive and preserves human nature in a new life. 'The just shall live by faith' (Romans 1:17) but only by faith in the Crucified.
This heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12).
This rose stands in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed.
Around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in heaven lasts forever and has no end. It is more precious than all other kinds of joy and wealth, just as gold is the most noble, most precious of all metal.
May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen.
The Solas of LutheranismBeing "Lutheran," our congregations accept and teach the 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.
The Lutheran ConfessionsThe Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod accepts the Scriptures as the inspired and inerrant Word of God, and subscribes unconditionally to all the symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church as a true and unadulterated statement and exposition of the Word of God. We accept the Confessions because they are drawn from the Word of God and on that account regard their doctrinal content as a true and binding exposition of Holy Scripture and as authoritative for all pastors, congregations and other rostered church workers of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
- The Three Ecumenical Creeds
- The Augsburg Confession
- The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
- The Large Catechism
- The Small Catechism
- The Smalcald Articles
- Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope
- The Epitome of the Formula of Concord
- The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord
What is Lutheran Worship?What does the Lutheran Confessions teach about worship?
The Lutheran Confessions teach that worship is a spiritual act, not an outward act. This spiritual worship is a trusting in God and a desiring of the forgiveness, grace and righteousness of God. The righteousness of faith truly honors and obeys God for through the Gospel (Word and Sacrament) the Holy Spirit overcomes distrust and creates faith. The Spirit does not come directly (subjectively), through an inner experience or by one’s own efforts, but through this ministry of the Gospel in teaching the Word of God and rightly administering the sacraments (objectively). Reliance on one’s own works as a way of making peace with God has no place in this kind of faith; Christ has earned salvation for us and God freely and graciously gives it to us. Without faith there can be no worship nor can there be any fruits of faith.
A brief survey of the parts of the DIVINE SERVICE, the chief worship service among Lutherans.
How Do Lutherans Worship?
Because of our sin, we cannot come to God, but God must come to us. This is what takes place in the Divine Service. Through the Word and Sacraments God speaks to His people. He reminds us of our sinfulness and failure to love completely and He then forgives us and assures us of the grace we have in Jesus Christ.
This grace is central to our lives as Christians and we must treat it with all reverence and respect. It was not of our doing and it is not ours with which to tamper. Therefore worship is not a matter of novelty or entertainment, much less a matter of attempting to please the masses. For this reason we choose hymns that are doctrinally sound and theologically significant to round out our worship. Hymns, like the Divine Service, must reflect this Christo-centric “God coming to man” theology or else they are unfit for the service. May our worship always be pure and always emphasize this Biblical Christo-centric attitude.
A Summary of Christian FaithThese are the most important texts that every Christian should learn, know, and believe.
The Ten CommandmentsThe Ten Commandments show us our sin and our need for a Savior.
The Apostles’ CreedThe Apostles’ Creed helps us confess the God who has done everything to save us from sin through Jesus Christ and to make us members of His Church.
The Lord’s PrayerIn the Lord’s Prayer we call upon God, the only source for all we need.
Holy BaptismIn Holy Baptism we are united with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through Baptism the Holy Spirit gives to us the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
Confession and AbsolutionConfession and Absolution daily returns us to the promises and hope given to us in our Baptism.
The Lord’s SupperThe Lord’s Supper, also called the Sacrament of the Altar, is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink to strengthen faith against the temptation of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”
Guide to Essential Teachings in Scripture
references are presented to encourage the study of, and the meditation
on, the essential teachings of Scripture. This is by no means an
exhaustive list, nor are all the great topics found in Scripture listed
here. You'll be able to hover your pointer over the Bible reference and
the text will pop up.
Creation and the Doctrine of ManGenesis 1–2
Job 10:8–12; 38:8–9, 19–20
Justification by Grace through FaithEphesians 2:16; Romans 8:6–8
2 Corinthians 5:21
1 Corinthians 15:20–23
1 Peter 1:3–4
Romans 6:3–4; 8:1–4
SanctificationPhilippians 4:4, 8
One God in Three PersonsIsaiah 44:6
Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4–19
1 Corinthians 8:6
Baptism of Jesus; Transfiguration of JesusJohn 14:9–10
1 John 4:13
1 Corinthians 12:3
2 Corinthians 3:18
The Nature of GodPsalm 40:11, 51:1; 54:1; 85:7
Psalm 10:15; 59:5; 80:4
Psalm 53:2–3, 5
1 John 4:8–10
Jesus Christ: the God-manJohn 1:1–4, 14, 16
Hebrews 2:14–18; 4:15
1 Peter 2:22–24; 3:18
The Means of Grace2 Corinthians 5:19
1 Corinthians 12:12–13
1 Corinthians 10:14–22; 11:17–34
The Church of Jesus Christ2 Timothy 1:9
Ephesians 1:18; 4:11
1 Corinthians 6:11
1 Peter 2:9–10
Reading the Work of Martin LutherEventually, when you want to learn more about Lutheranism, you will want to read the work of Martin Luther. For those of us who don't necessarily want to add the American edition of Luther's Works to the library, it is fortunate that a number of websites that have the writings of Martin Luther for the reading. Here are some I have found.
- The first place to go to read Luther are his most beloved texts: the Small Catechism (sometimes called Luther's Little Instruction Book) and the Large Catechism. These can be readily found within the Book of Concord. You will also find here Luther's Schmalkald Articles.
- Project Wittenberg is probably the most extensive and well-known on-line collection of Luther's writings.
- Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) page for Martin Luther mirrors some of Project Wittenberg content but also has a few more writings.
- GodRules.net has a great collection of Luther's sermons along with a few other writings.
- The Internet Sacred Texts Collection features a collection of nine of Luther's sermons.
- Two site of note don't have content of their own, but point to primary source document elsewhere on the Web:
- The Lutheran Theology Website has a great list of links to Luther's writings as well as tons of great information.
- Beggars All has aggregated a great list of Luther's writings.
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