As we prepare this week to celebrate the birth of the church on that first Pentecost, it might be good to review how our denomination is staying faithful as the church of Jesus Christ. Here are the four core values of our church that guide us.
We are Christ Centered
We confess the apostolic faith in Jesus Christ according to the Holy Scriptures. We affirm the authority of the Scriptures as the authoritative source and norm, “according to which all doctrines should and must be judged” (Formula of Concord). We accept the ecumenical creeds and the Lutheran Confessions as true witnesses to the Word of God.
We start with Jesus Christ. Our foundation is of course the Word of God as found in the scriptures which point us to God through Jesus. All other witnesses, creeds and confessions must support that foundation. Other human witnesses and documents must be supported by the Word of God.
We believe that the mission of the Church is to preach the Gospel and to make disciples for Christ. We believe that making disciples—in our congregations, in our communities and nations, and around the world—must be a priority of the Church in the present age.
It is our main goal to share the Good News of Jesus Christ so that all may know His Grace and Salvation. As we grow in Faith, we are to help others become disciples of Christ. All else that we do and how we do it should further the true mission given to us through the Holy Spirit. Other agendas must not take the place of Christ’s mission.
We affirm the ecumenical creeds and the faithful witness of the Church across time and space. We endorse the form and practices of the universal Church that are consistent with Scripture, particularly the office of the ministry and the tradition of worship under Word and Sacrament. We seek dialogue and fellowship with other Lutheran churches and with faithful Christians of other confessions.
Though we are open to the Holy Spirit guiding us in new ways of sharing Jesus Christ, no new message should replace what we were first given. Replacing the Gospel with other philosophies, human ways or political schemes is not allowed. We will work with all other followers of Christ who serve Him first and do not dilute the Gospel with anything else. There are no additions to the scriptures and the faithful witness of the Church since that first Pentecost.
We strive to be a church that is organized to facilitate the ministries of local congregations in a posture of servanthood and a spirit of partnership, through the provision of resources, connections and information.
Though the church has found many structures and forms to aid the spreading of the Gospel, the means of witness are still found primarily in the gathering of Christians called the congregation. It is this witness that allows the faithful to share Jesus with those who do not yet know Christ.
We share resources so that congregations may faithfully do the mission of Christ. It is the people of God who can best tell what Christ has done for them, share their stories and nurture new Christians called and transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray that God through the Holy Spirit may keep All Saints Lutheran faithful to the mission of Jesus Christ. And that the North American Lutheran Church may not stray from these core values.