Trinity Lutheran Church

“We Preach Christ Crucified.” 1Corinthians 1:23

Rev. John C. Preus, Pastor
Divine Service/Matins 9:00
Bible Class & Sunday School 10:30

Here at Trinity Lutheran Church, we believe what we preach.  Week after week, our bulletin announces what St. Paul records in 1 Corinthians 1:23: “We Preach Christ Crucified.”  We believe it.  And so week after week, Sunday after Sunday, we expect to hear it.  It is the age-old, life-saving message revealed in Scripture: that the sinless Son of God took our sins away on the cross.   The preaching of Christ crucified is received by many as both foolishness and offensive.  But to us who are called by God through this saving Gospel, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 

Everything we believe and teach and confess here at Trinity Lutheran Church revolves around this central truth that we are forgiven and declared righteous by God through faith in Christ alone.  Only here do we find a gracious God.  That is why our preaching also aims to persuade and remind all of us who listen that we have a great need for God to be gracious and merciful to us.  We learn this great need when God speaks to us in His holy law.  This law is written upon our hearts by nature.  But it is written upon stone as well lest our hearts deceive us.  And they do.  That is why we preach it here.  Only when we take God’s law to heart do we also learn what it means to say that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).  “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” the repentant sinner cries.  “I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” the Bible teaches us to say (Romans 7:24-25).  

Here at Trinity, we cry to the Lord for mercy.  And we receive it.   It is for the sake of this mercy in Jesus Christ our Savior that we also sing and proclaim His praises.   We gather first and primarily to be served.  Christ serves us through the Means of Grace, that is, through the Gospel and Sacraments.  It is by giving to us the forgiveness of our sins through these means that Christ remains with His Church today and continues to lead us by the words His Spirit teaches in the Bible (Matthew 28:18-20; John 15:26).  Our worship here at Trinity reflects this belief.  We do not seek to entertain, because that is not what Jesus sought to do.  He sought to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).  And he continues to seek and save sinners here where His Gospel is preached faithfully and His Sacraments are administered just as He intended.  “Come unto Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). 

We are a confessional Lutheran congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  We subscribe unconditionally to the doctrinal statements of the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord, because they are in complete agreement with the Word of God, namely, the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture, the Bible.  The Bible is the highest authority in the Church and the only norm of doctrine because it is inspired by God Himself to serve as a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).  

The following is a brief introduction to what we believe, teach, and confess:

 

I. God

We believe in one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In the words of the Athanasian Creed from the 5th century: "The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; and yet there are not three Gods, but one God."

In the words of our Lutheran Confessions, which also cite Holy Scripture:

"God is one divine essence who is eternal, without a body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness.  He is maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible (Nehemiah 9:6).  Yet there are three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).  These three persons are of the same essence and power." Augsburg Confession, Article I.2-3

 

II. Original Sin

We believe that man is born with sin.  Mankind's corrupted nature is turned entirely away from God.  Man would rather set himself up as God than believe in the one true God.

In the words of our Lutheran Confessions:

"Our churches teach that since the fall of Adam (Romans 5:12), all who are naturally born are born with sin (Psalm 51:5), that is, without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with the inclination to sin, called concupiscence.  Concupiscence is a disease and original vice that is truly sin.  It damns and brings eternal death on those who are not born anew through Baptism and the Holy Spirit (John 3:5)." Augsburg Confession, Article II.1-2

 

III. The Son of God

We believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, as the Apostle Peter confessed the same in Matthew 16:16.  In the words of John the Baptist, Jesus is "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).  Jesus is fully God and fully man, not half of each, but completely both.  We believe that where Jesus is, he is not only present in his divine nature, but is present with his body in his human nature as well.

In the words of our Lutheran Confessions:

"Our churches teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God (John 1:14), assumed the human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  So there are two natures - the divine and the human - inseparably joined in one person.  There is one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He did this to reconcile the Father to us and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of mankind (John 1:29).  He also descended into hell, and truly rose again on the third day.  Afterward, He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  There He forever reigns and has dominion over all creatures.  He sanctifies those who believe in Him, by sending the Holy Spirit into their hearts to rule, comfort, and make them alive.  He defends them against the devil and the power of sin.  The same Christ will openly come again to judge the living and the dead, and so forth, according to the Apostles' Creed." Augsburg Confession, Article III.1-6

 

IV. Justification

We believe that man is justified not by his own works, but for the sake of Jesus' blood and merit.  To be justified means to be declared righteous.  We cannot make ourselves righteous, but must be declared righteous by God when our sins are freely forgiven through Jesus Christ.  There is no salvation apart from believing in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, as Jesus testifies, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).  This salvation demands nothing from us but is given as a gift.

In the words of our Lutheran Confessions:

"Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works.  People are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake.  By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins.  God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight (Romans 3:21-26; 4:5)." Augsburg Confession, Article IV.1-3

 

V. The Ministry

We believe that Jesus established the Office of the Holy Ministry for the sake of giving his gifts to his people.  Through this ministry Jesus himself preaches, baptizes, forgives sin, and gives his body and blood.  The Holy Spirit works through those gifts to create and sustain faith in those who receive them.

In the words of our Lutheran Confessions:

"So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted.  Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given (John 20:22).  He works faith, when and where it pleases God (John 3:8), in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake.  This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ's sake." Augsburg Confession, Article V.1-3

 

VI. New Obedience

We believe that good works are necessary, not so that we can be saved, but because God wills that we do them.  Just as a well tended fruit tree naturally bears fruit, so a person who has the Holy Spirit and faith naturally does good works.  We do not look to good works for assurance of salvation.  For that we look to Christ alone.

In the words of our Lutheran Confessions:

"Our churches teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  It is necessary to do good works commanded by God (Ephesians 2:10), because of God's will.  We should not rely on those good works to merit justification before God.  The forgiveness of sins and justification is received through faith." Augsburg Confession, Article VI.1-2

 

The full Augsburg Confession has 28 Articles.  For more information on the Lutheran Confessions, including historical backgrounds and full texts, click on "The Book of Concord."

All quotes from the Augsburg Confession taken from the Readers Edition of the Book of Concord, published by Concordia Publishing House.