What We Believe
GRACE ALONE. FAITH ALONE. GOD’S WORD ALONE.
“We are all beggars. This is true.” – Martin Luther
St Matthew Lutheran Church is a part of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS). To be Lutheran simply means that we accept the scriptural truths that inspired the reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century and led to a renewed focus on the Gospel.
As a result, we uphold an extravagant and mysterious view of God’s love: that man is saved purely by God’s grace through faith alone, apart from works. We believe that God is so loving and powerful that He is actively working through His Word as well as saving and sustaining sinful men, women and children through His mysterious gifts of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
About Humanity and Sin
God made us in His image, to be like Him in character. We are the crown of God’s creation. Although we have tremendous potential for good, everyone is marred by our nature of rebellion toward God called sin. Sin separates people from God and there is nothing that we can do to restore ourselves in our relationship with God.
About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary by miraculous conception, lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days demonstrating His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory where He is the Mediator between God and people, and will return again to earth. He will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Salvation is a gift from God to all people. Men and women can never make up for their sin by self-improvement or good works. Only through faith in Jesus Christ through God’s grace can a person be saved from sin’s penalty. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of His return.
People are created to exist forever. Every person will either exist eternally separated from God by sin or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with Him is heaven. Heaven and hell are places of eternal existence.
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son as God. We believe the Holy Spirit is active among us today, bringing conviction when a person has done wrong and creating the desire for forgiveness in Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He regenerates our hearts and lives. His ongoing work is to guide, instruct, and empower believers to Godly living.
About the Bible
The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is God’s word to all. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. The entire Scriptures are inspired by God, and are infallible and inerrant. They are the unique, full and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
About Faith and Practice
Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. We recognize that we cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where Scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible.
God has created all that exists by His almighty Word, in the manner and the space of time recorded in the Scriptures, specifically Genesis 1 and 2. Since no man was around when God created the world, we must rely on His holy and perfect Word as a record of His creative work.
Baptism is for everyone! In Baptism we are united with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God adopts us through Jesus Christ as His children; children who have been given the full love and forgiveness of God. It is not just plain water, but water with God’s Word of promise that works the forgiveness of sins, new life, and salvation.
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” Acts 2:38-39
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a meal of God’s grace. We believe that in a miraculous way the body and blood of Jesus are really present in the Lord’s Supper so that our sins are forgiven. It is more than simply a remembrance of what Jesus has done but receiving Jesus and the gifts of forgiveness and strength of faith that He offers. We encourage people to be properly prepared to take the Lord’s Supper through instruction and personal devotion.
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”. Matthew 26:27-28
Statement regarding Sexuality, Gender & Marriage
(As adopted from the LCMS Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Guide, 2016).
We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of St Matthew Lutheran Church.
We believe that the term marriage has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture (Gen. 2:18-25). We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other (1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb. 13:4). We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt. 15:18-20; 1 Cor. 6:9-10).
We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of St Matthew Lutheran Church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the St Matthew members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by St Matthew in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, agree to and abide by this Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:14-16; 1 Thess. 5:22).
We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.