Membership in a Conservative Lutheran Church

by on October 12th, 2014
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To become a conservative Lutheran, the first step is to believe in the Christian faith. In short, the Christian faith teaches that the Triune God is the only true God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, though three distinct persons, possess one undivided divine essence, so that God is one. The Hebrew Bible has a clever way of expressing this mystery of the Trinity in Unity. The Hebrew word for “God” is a plural noun, but is consistently construed with a singular verb. Strange grammar indeed! But it is an excellent way of expressing a mystery beyond human comprehension. In addition, the Christian faith teaches that the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, became flesh, and is known in history by His Name “Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ possessed a complete human nature and a complete divine nature in one person. And as true God and true man, Jesus Christ became the Savior of the world, so that the human race is saved from sin and its consequences solely by the grace of God.

But there is an insurmountable obstacle for anyone who tries to carry out this first step of believing in the Christian faith. The Bible teaches that “No man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost.” No one has the power to come to God in faith. And the Lutheran Church firmly adheres to this Biblical truth and confesses it with the words: “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel.” (from Luther’s Small Catechism) Some churches try to make it easy by calling faith in Christ a personal decision which you must make. But in the Lutheran Church you have to depend on the Holy Spirit.
But if a person does not have the power to come to God in faith, what is our personal activity in the first step? Remember that the Holy Ghost calls you by the gospel. The gospel is the means by which the Holy Spirit leads people to believe in their Savior. Therefore, go to church and read the Bible, so that the Holy Spirit can use the gospel to bring you to faith.

When faith has taken root, it is time for the second step, namely, learning the details of the Lutheran Confession. Membership in a Lutheran church means that you are expressing faith in the Lutheran creed. To understand what you are about to profess, join an adult confirmation class conducted by the pastor of the Lutheran church that you intend to join. Here you will study the six principal parts of Christian doctrine: the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, the Ministry of the Keys and Confession, and the Sacrament of the Altar. Luther’s Small Catechism will be your textbook. When the pastor feels that you have mastered the material, you are ready for the next step.

Those who have previously been baptized in a church that confesses the Holy Trinity will skip this step. But those who have not received a Trinitarian baptism will now be baptized, either in a public service or in private. It is very simple. The pastor will ask you to make a simple confession of your faith, usually by answering easy questions. He will then apply water and say: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

The final step is confirmation. Again, you will be asked to confess your faith by answering easy questions. Then you will be asked if you wish to become a member of the Lutheran Church and the local Lutheran congregation. If your response is affirmative, you will be welcomed into membership.


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