We Believe that . . . 

  • The Bible is the Word of God -- absolute truth. It shows God in action. 
  • God is one God in three persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
  • Man and woman were created by God in holiness, but sinned (rebelled). We cannot by our own powers come back to God. 
  • The Savior, Jesus, died to save the world from sin. 
  • A person is justified (saved), not through merit, but only by God's grace, through faith. 
  • Repenting means sincerely regretting one's sins and asking for Christ's forgiveness and guidance. 
  • The church is all those people who sincerely accept and believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. 
  • Baptism, a sacrament, establishes new life in a person. It remakes him or her in God's spirit. 
  • The Lord's Supper, a sacrament, is the Body and Blood of Christ borne by bread and wine in Holy Communion.
  • The creeds are statements of belief, not additions to the Bible. They summarize the Bible's teachings. 
  • Religion and science are not in conflict. Religion talks about the "who," the creator; science talks about the "how." 
  • A Christian's unity with fellow Christians is rooted in Christ as God and Savior.


Jesus is God's son, sent by God to become human like us. In his life and being he broke through the prison of sinfulness and thus restored the relationship of love and trust that God intended to exist between himself and his children. Though he is eternal, with God at the beginning of time, he was born on earth of a virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was at once truly God and truly human.

The man, Jesus of Nazareth, lived and died in Palestine during the governorship of the Roman administrator Pontius Pilate; we believe him to be the Messiah chosen by God to show his love for the world. He is God, yet with all the limitations of being human. His relationship to God, however, was not one of sin but rather of perfect obedience to the Father's will. For the sake of a sinful world, Jesus was condemned to death on the cross.

But death could not contain him. On the third day after his execution, the day Christians observe as Easter, Jesus appeared among his followers as the risen, living Lord. By this great victory God has declared the Good News of reconciliation. The gap between all that separates us from our Creator has been bridged. Thus, Christ lives today wherever there are people who faithfully believe in him and wherever the Good News of reconciliation is preached and the Sacraments administered. 



The Christian church is made up of those who have been baptized and thus have received Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world. Sometimes it is referred to as "the Body of Christ." Lutherans believe that they are a part of a community of faith that began with the gift of the Holy Spirit, God's presence with his people, on the day of Pentecost. The church, regardless of the external form it takes, is the fellowship of those who have been restored to God by Christ. Indeed, to be called into fellowship with Christ is also to be called into community with other believers.

The church is essential to Christian life and growth. Its members are all sinners in need of God's grace. It has no claim on human perfection. The church exists solely for the hearing and doing of God's Word. It can justify its existence only when it proclaims the living Word of Christ, administers the Sacraments and gives itself to the world in deeds of service and love. Most Lutherans recognize a wider fellowship of churches and are eager to work alongside them in ecumenical ministries and projects.


A Lutheran is a Christian -- one who trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior. Lutherans share a common faith with other Christians. They accept the Bible as a true source of Christian love, guidance and doctrine, and accept the same ancient creeds (for example, the Apostles' Creed). But they also proclaim God's message by emphasizing salvation through faith, teaching that a person is to live not according to a formula of do's and don'ts, but in the freedom of Christian love, and distinguishing between law and gospel.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), along with other Lutheran churches, can trace its roots directly to the Protestant Reformation that took place in Europe in the 16th century. Martin Luther, a German monk, became aware of differences between the Bible and church practices of the day. His writings, lectures and sermons inspired others to protest church practices and call for reform. By the late 1500s the Reformation had spread throughout Europe and followers of Martin Luther’s teachings began to be called "Lutherans." 

Today, the ELCA has more than 10,000 congregations across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, with almost five million members.

Quick Facts About the ELCA

  • The ELCA has many members, spread across the country. 
  • The ELCA is a diverse church body, becoming more so every day.
  • ELCA congregations are led by gifted men and women who have been called by God to serve their community. 
  • The ELCA offers opportunities for Lutheran education at every level. 
  • The ELCA is committed to making the world a more just and peaceful place to live.  

Read more about the ELCA >