Our Beliefs

What We Believe

A guide to the teachings and faith of the members of
Benediction Lutheran Church
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

God

On the basis of the Holy Scriptures and in confession with the whole Christian Church in the Apostle's, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, we believe, that there is one God (Dt. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4), but three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mt. 28.19; Mk. 1:9-11). We confess that each person is of one and the same divine essence and is equal in power, eternity, and majesty. This teaching that there is one name, one Lord, and one God, but three persons (Mt. 28:19) is called the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. This is a doctrine, which we cannot fully comprehend, but it is how God has revealed Himself in the Old and New Testaments.

The Holy Bible

We believe that the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16), and that the Scriptures are completely without error. They contain no errors or contradictions even in parts pertaining to historical, geographical or other secular matters. We believe that God has given the Scriptures to us to lead us to salvation in our Savior Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:20). Because they alone are the Word of God, all teaching must be based alone on them.

Our Sin and Need for Forgiveness

We believe that Adam and Eve were originally created perfect, without any sin. However, after the fall into sin (Gen. 3), all people have been born sinful (Rom. 5:12), and we daily sin (Rom. 3:23). Our sin makes us objects of God's wrath, rather than His love (Eph. 2:1-3). There is nothing that we ourselves can do to free ourselves from the bondage of our sin (Rom. 5:6). Note that not one of us is better off than anyone else (Rom. 3:10). We are all sinners, who deserve God's punishment. More than anything else the 10 Commandments show us how we have failed to live up to God's standard.

Salvation through Jesus Christ

God's Law shows us our sin and failings, but the Gospel is that God sent His Son to save us from our sin. We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who was born of the virgin Mary. He is both true God and true man in one person (Col. 2:10). He saved us first by fulfilling God's Law perfectly in our place (Heb. 7:26,27), and then by offering His perfect life as the payment of our sins on the cross (Is. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21). On Easter morning Christ rose from the dead as the Savior of the world (1 Cor. 15:17). Christ's resurrection also assures us of our eternal life with Him in heaven (1 Cor. 15:20). Christ accomplished the salvation of the whole world on the cross, but this salvation is received only through faith in Him as our Savior (Acts 10:43). We are not saved because of any of our works. Salvation is an undeserved gift of God through faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. (Eph. 2:8,9). Note that even our faith is not a work. It is a gift, which is given from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).

The Means of Grace

We believe that the Holy Spirit uses certain means to bring us to faith and to strengthen our faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. These means of grace are the Word of God and the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. In His Word God uses the law to bring us to see our sin, and the gospel to help us to see our Savior from sin Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:23). Baptism is the means by which the Holy Spirit grants us a rebirth as children of God (Rom. 6:4; Titus 3:5). In Holy Communion we receive the body and blood of our Savior in the bread and wine as a guarantee and pledge that our salvation has indeed been accomplished (1 Cor. 11:23ff).

Good Works

We are not saved because of any works that we do (Eph. 2:9). Our salvation is purely a gift of God. But as Christians we are also new creations. God gives us the will to love others as Christ has loved us (Eph. 2:10; Mt. 5:16). Good works are also the proof that faith is alive (Jas. 2:17). However, as long as we are on this earth we also have the sinful nature which fights against our new nature in Christ. So the Christian life becomes a struggle between the new nature and the old (Rom. 7:14ff). For Christians the 10 Commandments also become a guide as to how we can lead God-pleasing lives.

SOME OTHER QUESTIONS THAT PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT THE LUTHERAN CHURCH - MISSOURI SYNOD

Creation - We believe that God created the world in six 24 hour days as the Scriptures show in Genesis 1 and 2.

Close Communion - Visitors sometimes wonder why we generally do not allow non-Lutherans to receive Holy Communion. There are three reasons. First, we want to make sure that the people who receive Holy Communion are people who are properly prepared through repentance and faith in Christ (1 Cor. 11:28). Second, we want to be sure that those who receive Holy Communion realize that they are receiving Christ's true body and blood in the bread and wine (1 Cor. 10:16; 11:27-29). Finally, receiving Holy Communion together is a sign of a congregation's unity in faith and doctrine (1 Cor. 10:17; Acts 2:42; Rom 16:17).

Fraternal Organizations - Fraternal organizations which allow Christians to worship and pray with non-Christians, or which in any way imply that we can earn salvation by works in any way other than God's undeserved gift in Jesus Christ, are to be avoided by the members of our congregations. Such organizations are the Freemasons, animal Lodges, and others, which fit that description.

Right to Life - The LC-MS has a firm position that the unborn are persons in the sight of God from the time of conception, and that abortion is the taking of a human life, which is not a moral option except to prevent the death of the mother. With regard to euthanasia and assisted suicide we believe that life is a gift of God and deliberately accelerating death runs counter to our Lord's Word.

To find out more about what we believe and why:

Ask Pastor Hougard about an upcoming Adult Instruction Class or ask for a copy of Luther's Small Catechism.