If you want to learn more about what we believe and teach we encourage you to join one of our Bible Basics class. This class is the perfect opportunity to not only as questions about what we believe but also why. Until then, here’s a brief overview of what we’re all about
Through our Bibles and from our conscience we realize that we have all fallen short of God’s expectations. We have defined good and evil on our terms instead of God’s. Nothing we do can make-up for, hide, or excuse this sin. That is why we are Christian. Only Jesus Christ who came into this world to suffer and die for our sins can make us holy. Through faith in him we are forgiven and will go to heaven.
If you’ve ever seen our full name spelled out it is St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Evangelical comes from the Greek word for gospel, or good news. This good news of free forgiveness in Christ motivates everything we do. We don’t guilt or coerce one another to follow God’s rules but instead we live for him as a way of saying thank you for everything he’s done for us.
The Bible is the sole source of everything we teach. We believe that God miraculously gave the Bible writers the very words he wanted included. It is our duty to preserve these words without adding, subtracting, or twisting them in any way. Church tradition, human emotion, science, history, and philosophy are gifts from God that can be used in service to him. None of these, however, can trump anything that Bible teaches.
Our Church identifies itself with the work of Martin Luther. Luther lived in Germany in 1500 and God used him to help the church return to foundational teachings it had strayed from. We don’t worship Martin Luther nor do we agree with everything he said or did. We do, however, give thanks that God used him to help the Christian Church remember and clearly teach that we are saved only by grace, through faith, because of Christ, and as revealed in the Scriptures alone.
Martin Luther was a powerful figure in history but he didn’t work alone. God used other church leaders to help clarify what the Bible teaches. Over time, their teachings were collected into the Lutheran Confessions. We submit to these confession as clear teachings and explanations of what the Bible teaches. They are not an attempt to add or modify Scripture but an effort to clarify truth and expose falsehood.
St. Matthew’s is part of a nation-wide church body called the Wisconsin Synod, or WELS for short. While certain practices and traditions may vary from congregation to congregation, we all believe and teach the same Biblical truths. Working together allows us to pool our resources to train pastors and teachers, support mission work, and encourage one another. The WELS itself is part of a larger world-wide conference of church bodies who work together. You can learn more about our synod here: www.wels.net or our worldwide conference here: www.celc.info