WHAT IS A LUTHERAN CHURCH?
A WELS Lutheran Church is a church that believes what Martin Luther believed and taught what Luther taught. This does NOT mean that we worship Luther. Martin Luther believed and taught what the fathers of the early Christian church taught, and what the apostles before them taught, and what Jesus taught to them: that Jesus is God's Son, the Savior of the world who paid the price for our sins and made us right with God again. Really, a Lutheran Church is better described as a Christian church.
The term Lutheran originated as a derogatory name used against Luther. Luther disliked the term and preferred to describe the movement as “Evangelical” (preaching the gospel, the good news about Jesus). Lutherans began to use the term by the middle of the 16th century in order to distinguish themselves from other groups.
These five “solas” (only’s) are statements that came out of the Reformation to describe what a Lutheran church is:
SOLA SCRIPTURA - LUTHERANS STAND ON SCRIPTURE AS THEIR FOUNDATION OF FAITH.
SOLA FIDE - LUTHERANS BELIEVE FAITH ALONE SAVES APART FROM WORKS.
SOLA GRATIA - LUTHERANS BELIEVE THAT IT IS ONLY BY GOD'S GRACE THAT WE ARE SAVED.
SOLUS CHRISTUS - LUTHERANS BELIEVE THAT IT IS THROUGH CHRIST'S WORK ALONE THAT WE ARE SAVED.
SOLI DEO GLORIA - LUTHERANS BELIEVE THAT THE GLORY FOR OUR SALVATION GOES TO GOD ALONE.
Grace Lutheran is a Bible-based church. We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, the only authority in matters of doctrine and faith, and as such, is free of error. We believe that the Bible is God's written revelation of himself to us. In his Word, he teaches us everything we need to know in order to gain salvation from him. We believe that in the Bible, there are two main teachings: Law and Gospel. God uses the Law to show us our sin and our need for a Savior, and he uses the Gospel to show us that his great love for us provided a Savior -- Jesus -- to earn our salvation for us. We believe that God uses his Word and his Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and create saving faith in us.
Grace Lutheran Church is an apologetic church. This means that we "apologize" (defend) our faith using the words of three creeds from the time of the early Christian church: The Apostles' Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Athanasian Creed. These creeds are not the words of God, but are accurate expressions of Biblical teaching that were used to refute error in the early Christian church. They are still accurate and relevant today.
Grace Lutheran Church is a confessional Lutheran church. This means that we subscribe to the writings of Martin Luther and other theologians from the Reformation era who spoke against the errors that had crept into the Christian church. As with the creeds, their writings are not the words of God, but they are correct expositions of Biblical teaching.