“The Trinity” a.k.a. “The Hospitality of Abraham” by Andrei Rublev

The Lutheran church engages in a great deal of service and justice work. From Lutheran World Relief to Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Lutherans are busy serving their neighbor’s needs in many ways. We do a lot of work for a church our size. Where does all that energy come from?

Theology is at the heart of Lutheranism. “Theology” here refers to our preaching and teaching of God’s Word. What the Lutheran church believes, teaches, and confesses is contained in the Book of Concord. Although there are many aspects to Lutheran teaching, the Lutheran church sees itself as part of the greater universal Church, both east and west. This universal or “catholic” Church includes many denominations, such as Methodist, Episcopal, Reformed, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox churches.

With all of these and many other branches of the One Church, the Lutheran church shares the ancient faith of Nicea in the Triune God. For this reason, a good place to start in learning about Lutheran teaching would be Martin Luther’s explanation of the Apostle’s Creed, which can be found below.

God bless!

+Vicar Gabriel

 

The First Article: On Creation

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

What is this? Answer:

I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties. In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. And all this is done out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.

 

The Second Article: On Redemption

And [I believe] in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. On the third day he rose [again]; he ascended into heaven, seated at the right hand of God, the almighty Father, from where he will come to judge the living and the dead.

What is this? Answer:

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father in eternity, and also a true human being, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned human being. He has purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I may belong to him, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally. This is most certainly true.

 

The Third Article: On Being Made Holy

I believe in the Holy Spirit, one holy Christian church, the community of the saints, forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the flesh, and eternal life. Amen.

What is this? Answer:

I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith. Daily in this Christian church the Holy Spirit abundantly forgives all sins—mine and those of all believers. On the Last Day the Holy Spirit will raise me and all the dead and will give to me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true.

 

Luther’s Small Cathechism, in Robert Kolb, Timothy J. Wengert, and Charles P. Arand, The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 351–364.