The atonement of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, took place on the cross at Calvary, and our Lord died for the sins of the whole world, not just the elect (John 1:29; 1 John 2:1–2).
Baptism is water joined with the Word of God (Ephesians 5:25–27), administered in the name of the Triune God (Matthew 28:19) (or Jesus, see Acts 10:47–48) by sprinkling, pouring (Ezekiel 36:25), or immersion (Acts 8:36–38). In baptism, God makes us born again (John 3:3–5), forgives us all our sins (Acts 2:38), and gives us eternal life (Romans 6:3–5). It is entirely a work of God (Titus 3:4–6) and only effective so long as the recipient has faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26–27). Christian parents may baptise their infant children if they will raise them in the faith (Acts 2:39). Once baptised, Christians should not be re-baptised (Ephesians 4:4–6) unless they were baptised in a cult, which is a false baptism.
The true church is the universal body of all true Christian believers anywhere they are (Colossians 1:24; Ephesians 1:20–23; Romans 12:4–5; 1 Corinthians 12:27). It is not one single denomination, religious group, or organisation. Jesus Christ has protected his church from completely losing the true gospel (Matthew 16:18), and the Holy Spirit continues to bring new members into the house of God through the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments.
The Apostles’ Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed correctly summarise the holy catholic (Christian) and apostolic faith. The Book of Concord is also a helpful guide on Christian doctrine and practice.
Deity of Christ
Jesus Christ has two natures: divine and human. Jesus is the incarnation of God (John 1:1–3, 14), by whom all things were made (Colossians 2:16), the only begotten Son of the Father (John 3:16), born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:34–35), who died for our sins, was resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:3–4), and will come again as the Final Judge (Matthew 25:31–33). Jesus is not a created being (Colossians 1:16–17), nor is he Michael the Archangel (Jude 9; Hebrews 1:4–6).
Divorce & Remarriage
Jesus and Paul prohibit divorce (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:2–9; 1 Corinthians 7:10–11). The one-flesh union which God makes between one man and one woman in marriage is indissoluble except in death, which allows widows to remarry (Romans 7:2–3; 1 Corinthians 7:39–40). Because divorce does not terminate the union, Jesus taught that whoever divorces his/her spouse and marries another commits adultery (Mark 10:11–12; Luke 16:18) and that whoever marries a divorced person commits adultery (Matthew 5:32; Luke 16:18). They remain in an ongoing state of adultery for as long as this situation persists, and so should not be given Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 5:1–5; 11:27–32). Paul instructs those who are divorced or separated from their spouse to either reconcile, if possible, or else stay single (1 Corinthians 7:10–11). In saying this, Paul seems to acknowledge that sometimes getting a civil divorce/separating from a spouse is an inevitable reality, especially in cases of serious offenses.
Evangelism is an integral part to the Christian life, and it is the duty of all Christians to proclaim the gospel to the whole world, as our Lord Jesus Christ commands (Matthew 28:19–20; Mark 16:15).
Macro evolution, the commonly held Darwinian evolution worldview, is contrary to the Word of God, undermines God’s creative works, and should be rejected (Genesis 2:7; Exodus 20:11). However, micro evolution is within the biblical grounds of orthodoxy.
All human beings have free will in secular matters and moral decisions in everyday life (Romans 2:14–16). However, humans cannot, by their own power and free will, choose to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour (John 15:5). Because of original sin (Romans 5:12), we are all born dead in our sins, and unless God does something to fix this, we would always choose against Jesus (Ephesians 2:1–3; Romans 8:7–8). We can only accept Jesus when the Holy Spirit enters us and gives us saving faith, through the Word and sacraments (1 Corinthians 12:3).
The gospel is the good news that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and resurrected on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1–4), so that all who believe in this will be forgiven by God of all their sins and have eternal life in Heaven (Romans 3:21–26).
Heaven is the eternal kingdom of God and his Son, Jesus Christ (John 5:24; Ephesians 5:5). God’s presence is in Heaven, and it is the eternal abode of Christians of all nations, languages, and ethnicities, who have died (Revelation 7:9). In Heaven there is no more sin, suffering, or death, and Christians live there in eternal bliss, harmony, and comfort (Revelation 21:3–4; Revelation 21:22–27).
Hell is the place of eternal suffering and punishment (Matthew 25:41, 46). It is the absence of God’s presence and the eternal abode of Satan, his minions, and those who do not believe in Christ or who serve a false Christ, after they die (Revelation 20:10–14). The Bible describes Hell as a place of “darkness” and “fire” which show the utter despair, agony, and hopelessness of being away from God’s presence. There are more severe punishments in Hell reserved for the more evil people (Matthew 10:13–15).
The bread and wine in Holy Communion are the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; he is bodily present with us in this holy meal (1 Corinthians 10:16–17). By partaking in this meal, the passive recipient receives God’s grace and the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:26–28).
There is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 44:6–8) who exists in three distinct co-equal, co-eternal Persons as revealed throughout the Scriptures: the Father (1 Corinthians 1:3), Son (Jesus Christ) (John 1:1, 14; 20:28–29; Romans 10:9–13), and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3–4; 2 Corinthians 3:17). Scripture denies that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are merely three modes that God manifests himself in at different periods of time, but teaches, rather, that they are three Persons existing simultaneously in the one substance, essence, or being (Matthew 3:16–17).
Marriage is the sacred, life-long, covenantal union between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4–6), in which couples may have non-sinful sex (1 Corinthians 7:1–5) and raise children (Genesis 1:28). Therefore, polygamy, bigamy (which includes people who remarry after divorce), and homosexual marriages are unlawful marriages and adulterous unions. The Bible condemns homosexuality as a sin (Romans 1:26–32; 1 Corinthians 6:9–10).
The pastoral office is reserved for men, the husbands of one wife in a monogamous relationship, who have been called by God to undergo the ordination process, to teach the Word, administer the sacraments, and shepherd his local congregation (1 Timothy 3:1–7). The ordination of women, homosexuals, and divorced men who are remarried to another woman (while their first wife is still alive) is unbiblical and should not be practiced (1 Timothy 1:9–10; 2:12–14; 3:2).
Before the foundation of the world, God chose all Christians to receive salvation in Jesus Christ, the inheritance of Heaven (Ephesians 1:3–4, 11), to be conformed to his image, as well as to be called, justified, and glorified (Romans 8:29–30). God did not choose Christians based upon looking into the future and seeing the decision they would make for him, but rather he chose them purely based upon his grace and purpose alone (2 Timothy 1:8–9), since no one can come to Jesus unless the Father first draws them (John 6:44). Those whom God predestined to Heaven are called the elect (Mark 13:20). God did not, however, predestine anyone to Hell, because he desires all people to repent and be saved (1 Timothy 2:3–4; 2 Peter 3:9).
Resurrection of Christ
Jesus rose again from the dead bodily on the third day after his crucifixion, in the same body he died in (Luke 24:38–39; John 2:19–21). He then appeared to his disciples at various times over a period of 40 days, giving them proof of his resurrection, before ascending back into Heaven (Acts 1:3).
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, and our good works, or obedience to God’s law, has no role in making us right before God (Ephesians 2:8–10). Jesus Christ fully paid our sin ransom by his blood and death on the cross, and upon faith in him and his saving work, the believer is cleansed of all sins by his blood (1 John 1:7–9), forgiven (Ephesians 1:7), reconciled to God the Father (Romans 5:10–11), and obtains Christ’s righteousness, so that on the day of judgement, God judges Christians according to Christ’s righteousness, not that of their own (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:8–9). Christians do good works as a result of salvation, by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and not to earn salvation (James 2:26).
There are two sacraments that our Lord Jesus instituted, and the church is to administer these to its members: baptism and Holy Communion (Matthew 28:19–20; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26). The sacraments are visible channels of God’s grace, and were given to us by Jesus Christ to strengthen and nurture our faith.
The Bible is the infallible, inerrant, and only Word of God, written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it is the only authority for Christian teaching and belief (2 Timothy 3:14–17; Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:20–21). All Christian doctrines and beliefs come from the Bible alone (1 Corinthians 4:6).
Second Advent of Christ
Jesus will come again to the Earth a second time to save Christians (Hebrews 9:28) and judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42), according to our thoughts, words, and deeds (Psalm 90:8; Matthew 12:36–37; Romans 2:16). When Jesus appears, everyone will see him (Matthew 24:29–31), and no one knows or can know the day or hour of his arrival (Matthew 24:36).
All people are born sinful and unclean (Psalm 51:5), and we inherited our sinful nature from Adam (Romans 5:12–21, especially Romans 5:18–19). Throughout our lives, every person except for Jesus has done wrong against God and our neighbour, which is sin, and we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Before we believe in Jesus, we are dead in our sins, and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1–3). The punishment for sin is both physical and spiritual death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). The age of accountability is not a biblical teaching.