What Lutherans Believe . . .
. . . that God is the Creator of the universe with all of its grandeur and beauty, and that He sustains it with His almighty power. He also created our first parents, Adam and Eve, in His own image that they might live in fellowship with Him and be His instruments to care for the creation.
. . . that Adam and Eve, whom God created, doubted and rebelled against Him. They sinned and their natures became evil. Now every human being is born with a self-centered nature and a tendency for evil that violates God's will and desire. Attempts to change human nature or to please God with our own good are doomed to failure. People need forgiveness and new life, and God provides it through His grace.
. . . that God, out of pure love, gives people forgiveness of sins and thus reconciles them to Himself. He does this even though He is a just God who punishes sin because His own Son, Jesus Christ, took the punishment for all sin for all people upon Himself when He died on the cross of Calvary. God raised Him from the dead on Easter and thus demonstrated to the world that the sacrifice of the Lamb of God has been accepted and man's sin paid for.
. . . that people receive forgiveness through faith. Faith is the hand which accepts God's free gift. Faith is created by the Holy Spirit through the means of the Gospel message which tells of God's love demonstrated in Jesus Christ.
. . . that the Bible is the source of knowledge about God and His forgiveness and is also the way in which He speaks to us today. The Bible was written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and so is true and without error.
. . . that the church is the fellowship of all those who have come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. The Lutheran Church gets its name from Martin Luther, who "reformed" the church with basic principles of faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone. The purpose of the church is to nurture faith through the Word and the Sacrament of the altar, and to share the love of God through Word and deed with the whole world in order to make other people disciples of Jesus Christ.
. . . that God has given two Sacraments to build His church, Baptism to create faith and Holy Communion - also called the Lord's Supper or the Eucharist - to nurture faith. In Holy Communion Jesus Christ gives the communicant His body and blood "in, with, and under" the bread and wine.
. . . that the fellowship which God establishes with His believers on earth will continue after this life as believers live with Him in heaven for all eternity. God provides it through His grace.
Taken from Creating a New Member welcome packet, compiled by Erwin J. Kolb and Lon R. Haack. St. Louis, Concordia Publishing House, 1983.