What We Believe
The standard answer to "What do you believe?" is very different among American Christians. Of the major denominations in the United States, and the world, the Lutheran Church is rather unique in its teachings. Contrary to popular belief, we are neither Protestant nor Catholic. We confess three Means of Grace: the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper. Confession and Absolution may be called a fourth Means of Grace or it may be understood as part of the Gospel.
An excellent outline of our belief can be found in the Apostles' Creed. It's examined and explained in an article called "Who is Jesus?" on the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) website. Also available is a somewhat longer article to explain our Belief & Practice. This latter link includes more detail on specific topics.
Our only source and rule of our beliefs and faith is the Holy Bible. During the 16th century, the Lutheran Reformers compiled all of the official writings that explained our exposition of Scripture in The Book of Concord. For those who wish to know the official position of all who call themselves confessional Lutherans, this is it!
There are many questions and concerns that people have raised in the last hundred years or so that have been answered in a contemporary format by various Lutheran churches. The Internet has been a real blessing in making this information available to a larger audience. Here is a link to What About?, a series of articles by former LCMS President A.L. Barry. Another handy reference is the online version of the Christian Cyclopedia.
At the 2001 LCMS Synodical Convention, Resolution 7-17A was passed reaffirming the synod's doctrinal understanding of church and ministry. Specifically, the resolution acknowledged our belief in this doctrine as spelled out by Dr. C.F.W. Walther in his book, "Church and Ministry (Kirche und Amt)". The theses (statements) that Dr. Walther outlined are examined in detail within the book itself, including supporting material from Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and other writings.
At the 2004 LCMS Synodical Convention some motions were passed and decisions made which caused our congregation to reconsider its membership in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. By a virtually unanimous vote, the congregation withdrew its membership from the LCMS and became an independent Lutheran congregation on September 13, 2004. Our decision was acknowledged by the Michigan District of the LCMS on October 26, and the Missouri Synod on November 29, 2004. There are certain advantages to being an independent congregation, which Redeemer is exercising as we adjust to this change.
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