With the universal Christian Church, Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church of Normal, IL teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists; Jesus Christ, the Son, who became man to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan; and the Holy Spirit, who creates and sustains faith through God’s Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; 2 Chronicles 6:36; Galatians 4:4)
Why are we Lutheran? In the sixteenth century, the Lutheran reformers uncovered the Gospel that had been obscured in the medieval church. We are Lutheran because we believe in and subscribe unconditionally to the biblical truths of Christianity as confess in the Book of Concord of 1580, which articulates true Christian teaching. We are Lutherans because we place the forgiveness of sins through Jesus’ death and resurrection at the center and are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. All of this is revealed to us in Holy Scripture alone. Martin Luther helped inspire the Reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century. The teaching of Holy Scripture by Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three short phrases: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:14-17; 1 Corinthians 11:26)
Grace alone: God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly. Faith alone: By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the eternal life that it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through Him. Scripture alone: The Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.
GOD: We believe in one true God, the Triune God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. SIN: We believe that man was created in the image of God, but through the fall into sins, all people are in bondage to sin, death, and the devil, and are unable to make themselves right with God on their own. JESUS CHRIST: We believe that Jesus Christ is true God and true man, born of the Virgin Mary; that He lived a perfect and holy life for us, shed His holy and precious blood for us on the cross to pay for the sins of the world, and that He rose from the grave on the third day, declaring His victory over Satan, sin, and death. HOLY SPIRIT: We believe that the Holy Spirit delivers Christ’s forgiveness, life, and salvation to us through the Preaching of the Gospel, Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that through repentance of sin and faith in Christ that is worked in us by the Holy Spirit is essential for salvation. We believe this gift of salvation is expressed in fruits of faith in Christian’s lives by doing good works that are pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter who dwells in Christians, convincing them of Christ’s teaching through His Word, and helping them to live a life that is pleasing to God in our vocations of life.
OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY: We believe that Jesus instituted the Office of the Ministry to continue His forgiving presence in His gifts of Preaching and the Sacraments. WITNESS: We believe that Christ’s Church is sent out to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel by bearing witness to the hope that is within us through Jesus Christ our Lord. MERCY: We believe that Christ’s Church is to deliver God’s mercy to the poor, weak, and defenseless, showing love to one another. GOOD WORKS: We believe that good works can’t save us, but they are expected of us by God for the good of our neighbor who needs them constantly. CHRIST’S RETURN ON THE LAST DAY: We believe that Jesus will come again on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead and to give eternal life to all who believe in Him.
OUR CONFESSIONAL LUTHERAN STANDARD ACCORDING TO OUR CONSTITUTION: This Congregation acknowledges and accepts all canonical books of the Old and News Testaments to be the inspired Word of God and all the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church contained in the Book of Concord to be a correct exhibition of Christian doctrine taken from the Holy Scripture. In This Congregation no doctrine shall be taught or tolerated which is at variance with the Word of God, and with the said Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (The Book of Concord, 1580)