New to Living Word?  Learn More

What We Believe

Thriving Under the Authority of God and His Word

"What we believe" is, in large part, the substance of the "Discovering Living Word" class that we teach for new and existing members at least twice per year. So consider this a starting point. You may have questions about some of this - or even some opposition. You will find Living Word to be a safe place to question, learn and grow as you thrive under the authority of God and His Word.

Perhaps the best brief summary of Christian teaching is the Apostles' Creed. Most Christians cite this creed - along with the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds - as authoritative explanations of the content of Scripture.

God, Man and God's Word

  • God is - The first part of the good news of God (the "gospel") is that He exists. God is, and even His name (from the Hebrew "to be" verb) proclaims His existence (Exodus 3:14).
  • God created the world and everything in it (Genesis 1 and 2) - There is something in this universe, as opposed to nothing. God is the creator of the existence, order, beauty and complexity all around us.
  • God created man, including you (Genesis 1:26-27) - God created everything in the universe, but then He created man last of all, specifically, and in His image. God was done making rocks, trees, dogs and dirt. What He made was the pinnacle of His creation. He made you.
  • Man rebelled against His Creator - Our first parents, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God, disobeying Him to follow the lies of a talking snake (Genesis 3). Ever since that time man has been rebelling against the Creator who formed them after His own image. In fact, ever since that time man has been trying to force God into their own image. This is called sin, and because of it we are all, naturally speaking, dead in our trespasses and sins, children deserving God's righteous wrath (Ephesians 2:3).
  • God redeemed man - God redeemed man at the cross by paying for our sin with the blood of His son. God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love for mankind, even while we were dead in our trespasses and sins, made us alive through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4-6). The entire Bible tells the story of God loving His people- and doing something because of that love.
  • God calls man to repentance and faith... repentance and faith are both gifts from God, as opposed to works that we do to make ourselves right with God. We are saved "by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • ...by His Holy Spirit - The Holy Spirit is also God, the third part of what we call "the Trinity." That is a longer discussion, but suffice it to say that God is both three and one. It isn't good math, but it is an accurate reflection of Scripture. Matthew 28:19-20 is one place to find this- God tells us to baptize in one name: "The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit."
  • ...through the Word of God - God called Jesus "The Word" in John 1, using the term as a Greek philosopher would have - the means by which something is communicated. God spoke to man through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). He has also spoken through the written Scriptures, what you and I would call the "Old and New Testaments."
  • All who believe the promises of God benefit from them: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).

Lutheran Doctrine

Luther was strong on the Bible as the Word of God, saying things like:

The Bible is alive; it speaks to me. The Bible has feet; it runs after me. The Bible has hands; it lays hold of me.

Whoever believes and holds to Christ’s Word, heaven stands open to him, hell is shut, the devil is imprisoned, sins are forgiven and he is a child of eternal life. This is what this book teaches you- the Holy Scriptures- and no other book on earth.

Lutherans, though, teach that the Bible is more than God's truth. It is also the powerful means by which God creates and sustains faith in the human heart. It is powerful and effective. It is the "power of God unto salvation for all who believe" (Romans 1:16-17). For this reason Lutherans call the Bible the "primary means of grace." The "secondary" means of grace (namely, the two sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper) derive their power from that Word.

Selected Verses from the Bible regarding God's Word

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."

Romans 10:17 - So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Isaiah 40:8 - The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

Ephesians 2:19-22 - So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Isaiah 8:20 - To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Matthew 5:17 - Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

John 5:24 - Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.