“Belief” is a loaded word. Ask others what they believe, and you’ll get varied answers.
We honor that. Because while we all might vary in what we think about God,
what you’ll hear being taught here comes from the part of the Jesus movement called
You might have heard this word before. All it means is good news! Unfortunately, it’s been used to mean other things by other people. But that’s all we’ll say about that. When you hear “evangelical” from a Lutheran, it really is about the good news of God’s love. Freely given. For you. And for all of us. Seriously!
This is a theological identity and a historical one. Theologically, it means that we are saved by grace, and there’s nothing we can do to change God’s mind. When people ask us, “When were you saved?” we say, “two thousand years ago on the cross.” Historically, well you can read more about that here and here.
If we’re saved by grace, should I still be a good person? Great question! Yes—but—we shouldn’t trust our works as if they help us earn God’s grace and love. That’s already been taken care of by Jesus. Faith results in a changed way of living. And when we get it wrong? We turn to the sacraments.
There is no spiritual ladder we climb to get closer to God. Instead, God comes to us in the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, reminding us of how we are to live in the world for the sake of our neighbor. As God welcomes all in baptism and takes care of all in communion, we strive to do the same.
In a world governed by legalism—telling people what they can and cannot do, who they can and cannot be—we read the Bible and look for Jesus. In reading and telling the stories of scripture, we remind ourselves and others that the one at the center of scripture is wildly generous with grace and love.
Because of the grace and love found with Jesus, our congregation and our national church (ELCA) affirm the identity of all as God-created regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, or any thing else that is used to separate us. Our church body has a lot to say on a lot of things here.