What are we?
We are a “confessional” Lutheran congregation. The Lutheran Confessions ground us in a faithful understanding of the Bible. This protects us from drifting with the culture and potentially losing the correct view of Holy Scripture. The faith and teachings of the Lutheran Church are confessed in the Lutheran “symbols” which have been collected in The Book of Concord of 1580. These symbols include the Three Chief Symbols (namely, the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds), the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope, the Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord. This congregation and her pastor accept without reservation these statements of faith because they are the true exposition of the Word of God.
What makes us different than other Christian congregations, even than some other LCMS?
We are a liturgical congregation. We believe that we, as baptized children of God, are invited into Christ’s holy presence for worship, hence worship is not primarily what we do, but what Christ does for us. For this reason, it is called “Divine Service”; God’s service in Christ toward us. Furthermore, we believe that Christ is truly and bodily present in His Word-both read and preached-and in His Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. Through these means of grace Christ gives the Gifts of Heaven, including the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation to all who believe. Therefore, we have a high regard and reverence for the time we spend together in His presence.
Christian worship belongs to the whole church of all the ages. Few things are worse for a church than only using that latest fads and songs in worship. Faithful forms of worship have been passed down to us since the time of the Apostles. For this reason we use historic forms of the liturgy from the Lutheran Service Book. Some congregations have left behind Lutheran liturgical services for today’s pop fads, and in doing so have spiritually impoverished a generation. We believe that traditional liturgy and hymns are especially helpful for teaching the faith to all ages. The Divine Service unites all ages and cultures. It does not cater to any single generation, demographic or ethnic group. Knowing the liturgies by heart frees us to worship with authenticity, deep joy, and thanksgiving for life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are a congregation united in both doctrine and practice. We live in a rapidly changing age. Some LCMS congregations are trying to please everyone by offering two or more very different styles of services. What may develop from that is two or more separate congregations that share the building. “Lex orandi, lex credendi” is an ancient Latin saying meaning the way a person worships determines what one believes, and vice versa. In other words, worship style is not incidental to the theology taught, but is integral to the message. At Grace, we value worshipping together across generations, young and old together, because the family of God is not divided by ages.