A Statement of Beliefs of the WELS
- God and His Revelation
Genesis 1:26 Let us make man in our image. Matthew 28:19 Baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
a. The Father who created us
b. The Son who redeemed us (bought us back from Satan to the Father)
c. The Holy Spirit who sanctifies us (sets us apart as God’s people)
We believe God reveals himself in:
a. Nature: Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of god, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
b. The Bible: John 3:16 God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
- The Bible
We believe the Bible is factual on all matters (science, history, etc.) and contains no errors. John 10:35 Scripture cannot be broken.
We believe God used men, using their own style, to write the Bible. 2 Peter 2:21 Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (Verbal Inspiration) 1 Corinthians 2:13 We do not speak in words taught by human wisdom, but words taught us by the Holy Spirit.
- Creation and Man
We believe God created man sinless. Genesis 2:26 Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness. (Man’s thoughts were in full harmony with God’s thoughts.
We believe man lost this divine image by yielding to the temptation of the devil and sinning. This brought sin and death to ALL men. Psalm 51:5 Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Romans 8:7 The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
We believe no man can save himself. Romans 3:23 For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- We Believe in Jesus Christ, the God-man.
We believe Jesus is:
a. True God: 1 John 5:20 Jesus Christ, he is true God and eternal life.
b. True man: 1 Timothy 2:5 There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
We believe Jesus died and rose for all men. Isaiah 53:5 He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Luke 24:5-6Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he is risen!
OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION: Jesus died for all men for all time. This is the chief teaching of the Bible.
We believe there is nothing we can do to earn heaven by ourselves. Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of the righteous (good) things we have done, but because of his mercy. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- We Believe in the Holy Spirit
PERSONAL JUSTIFICATION: Christ’s work becomes mine personally by faith.
The Holy Spirit gives us the gift of faith by using the Means of Grace.
We can reject the gift of faith. Mark 16:16 Whoever does not believe will be condemned.
The Holy Spirit strengthens and keeps us in faith to live God-pleasing lives. This is called SANCTIFICATION. Our good works and God-pleasing lives are a result of faith, never the cause.
- The Means of Grace
What they are: The Bible, Baptism, Lord’s Supper (Communion)
What it is: Matthew 3:11 I baptize you with water. Matthew 28:19 Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
What it offers: Acts 22:16 Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away. Romans 6:3 All of us who baptized into Christ, were baptized into his death. 1 Peter 3:21 This water symbolizes baptism, that now saves you.
Baptism offers us forgiveness, a new life with Christ and heaven.
For whom it is intended: Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
ALL Nations including babies.
Babies are sinful: John 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh.
Babies can believe: Matthew 18:6 If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
What it is: 1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ.
The Lord’s Supper offers bread and wine in a natural way and Christ’s body and blood through a miracle. Through this we receive forgiveness, strength for Christian living and eternal life. We call this the REAL PRESENCE – meaning Christ’s body and blood are really present along with the bread and wine.
For whom is it intended: Repentant sinners who
a. Believe in the real presence
b. Are well instructed about the Bible and Lord’s Supper
c. Are able to examine themselves
d. Agree with all the teachings of the Bible
Questions to ask yourself before Lord’s Supper
a. What is present?
b. What is offered?
c. Am I truly sorry for my sins?
d. Will I, with the Holy Spirit’s help, change my sinful life?
- The Holy Christian Church
The Holy Christian Church is all people everywhere who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Since true faith is inside a person only God knows for sure who its members are. For this reason we call it the “INVISIBLE CHURCH”.
A Christian congregation is a group of people gathered around the Word and sacraments. We call these “VISIBILE” churches.
God wants us to separate from false teaching churches:
a. Out of love for God and his Word: 2 Corinthians 13:8 We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.
b. Out of love and concern for our souls: Romans 16:17 I urge you brothers to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
c. Out of love and concern for the souls of others: Titus 1:13-14 Rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and pay no attention to the commands of those who reject the truth.
God wants us to test visible churches. We do that by studying the teaching of the Bible with the teachings of the church. They must agree 100%.
God wants us to join with churches that teach the Bible in all its truth and purity. This involves five areas:
• Lord’s Supper
• Mission Work
- The Public Ministry
1 Peter 5:2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing.
Our church has pastors who serve as shepherds of God’s flock. This is ordained by God and called the Office of the Holy Ministry.
- Christ Returns and Judges
We believe all the dead will be raised up: John 5:28-29 The souls of believers will go to heaven: Mark 16:16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
The souls of unbelievers will go to hell: Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
We believe that at Christ’s return the present worlds, as we know it, will come to an end. 2 Peter 3:13 But in keep with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
We reject any denial of the bodily resurrection and the reality of hell