Bethany Lutheran Church is a Christian church, part of the worldwide Christian Church.
- We believe that there is only one true God, who reveals himself in the Bible as being three persons in one God– the Father, who created and sustains the world; the Son, who became and lived as a man, died, rose from the dead and returned to heaven, taking up again His full glory and power; and the Holy Spirit, who brings people to faith in Jesus Christ and imparts to them the blessings of faith. Each is fully God, and yet there is only one God, not three.
- We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, spoken through human authors. It is trustworthy and without error. Its main message is the gift of eternal life found in Jesus, the only Son of God.
- We believe that all people are born in sin (original sin) and that we sin against God every day and are in need of His forgiveness.
- We believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior and that He is true God and true man and that He died on the cross to atone for the sins of all mankind. But the Good News is that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and opened the gates of heaven to all who believe in Him.
- We believe that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ even though there is no merit or worthiness in us.
Bethany Lutheran Church is also a fellowship of Lutheran Christians. We are affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a Biblically conservative church body. The LC-MS is called a “confessional” church body because we publicly confess our faith. We believe that the three ecumenical creeds are faithful declarations of the Christian faith. These include the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.
Our congregation is called “Lutheran” because we follow the Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther, which were the driving force for the Reformation of the Church in the 16th century. God used Luther to proclaim again the Biblical truth that in Jesus Christ, God is loving and merciful. Forgiveness and eternal life are gifts that God wants to give people through faith in Jesus. During the time of the Reformation, much of the church was reformed and revitalized and brought back to its Biblical roots. The teachings of the Lutherans were gathered together in the Book of Concord of 1580, and are used as a confession of faith by our church body.
Lutherans still hold to Luther’s theological teaching of Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone. These comprise the very essence of Lutheranism:
- Grace Alone. The Bible teaches that we are saved from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation only by God’s grace, his undeserved favor toward us. Human beings cannot earn their way to heaven. God, in his rich mercy, wants us to have eternal life with Him. See Ephesians 2:8-10.
- Faith Alone. Faith is the only way by which we can receive God’s gifts of grace. Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, and is a creation not of man, but of God. 1 Corinthians 12:3 says, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” Faith is created and sustained by God working through his Word, through Baptism, and through the Lord’s Supper.
- Scripture Alone. The writings of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the only rule and norm by which all doctrines and teachers are measured and judged (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Our church is a sacramental church. We teach and practice two sacraments, or sacred acts: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In the Lutheran church these, along with God’s Word, are called “Means of Grace.” In other words, the Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper are “vehicles” or means of God giving his grace to his people.
- We believe that baptism is first and foremost God’s work, where he forgives sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this. See Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Titus 3:5-7; Acts 2:38 etc. Because the Bible teaches that Baptism begins with God’s action of grace, we baptize children and infants as well as adults.
- We believe that in the Lord’s Supper, along with the bread and wine, the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is actually given and received by those who eat and drink. Jesus himself declares, “This is my body…This is my blood.” See Matthew 26:26-28. The Bible teaches also that our sins are forgiven, for Jesus says in Matthew 26:28, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Because 1 Corinthians 11:28 says that we are to examine ourselves before we eat and drink, a period of instruction is appropriate before communing at the altar.