BAPTISM & HOLY COMMUNION
Thank you for taking the time to learn about us! Let us give you a brief overview of our central beliefs. As Lutheran Christians, we celebrate two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion.
Baptism – God’s redemption and complete embrace.
The sacrament of Baptism is a rite that welcomes a person into the Body of Christ. It is God’s way of attaching a promise of love to that person for the rest of their life. It offers forgiveness and adoption, literally washing you into the community as God’s own son or daughter. The rest of our lives then become a time of growing in understanding and responding to the gift of grace that has already been freely given in Christ. We believe that God claims us in Baptism and we simply receive his Grace. Therefore we baptize infants on up in age. If you or your child desire to be baptized, please speak to the office at 860-540-0839. We would be honored to help you join the people who are “walking wet”.
Oh God our father, at the baptism of Jesus you proclaimed him your beloved son. and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful to their calling to be your daughters and sons, and empower us all with your spirit through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
In Holy Communion, Jesus offers himself to us again and again, in reassurance of our forgiveness and of his continuing presence in our lives. We believe that Jesus draws us to himself in a unique and special way through the gifts of his Body and Blood with mystery of the bread and wine. The theological word for this is “consubstantiation”. If you hear the invitation of Christ to come and be fed, you are welcome here, whatever your background. Classes are offered for children and their parents that teach about Holy Communion but they are not a prerequisite for taking part. We usually suggest that this preparation when your child is in the first grade or older. If your child is younger and already communing, please speak to the pastor so we can welcome him or her.
“I believe with all of my heart that God’s people possess God’s provision to accomplish and fulfill God’s purposes in the world.” — Joel Vestal
Besides offering fun and fellowship, our Sunday School program has 3 goals.
The first goal all of our education programs is to ensure that the children know they are loved by God. The first priority of our teaching staff is therefore to love your child. Second is to help them to get to know God’s love for them revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. And third is to lead them to understand the ways their lives are to be a response to that love.
Our Sunday School meets during the regular school year at 10:20 a.m. after worship service. Sunday School is specifically not during worship because we welcome children in worship and want them to be with us! There is a children’s message during service, and many participate actively , reading, serving and praising. Their presence and participation enriches our worship. All are welcome to worship and see, taste, and hear how wonderful God is. Please feel free to contact the pastor with any questions.
The 5 Solas
The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century changed Christianity forever. Roused to action by the corruption and abuses they saw in the Roman Catholic church of the time, visionary pastors and leaders like Martin Luther and John Calvin spearheaded a movement that transformed Christianity and eventually led to the emergence of the Protestant denominations that exist today.
The Reformers were guided by the conviction that the church of their day had drifted away from the essential, original teachings of Christianity, especially in regard to what it was teaching about salvation—how people can be forgiven of sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and receive eternal life with God. The Reformation sought to re-orient Christianity on the original message of Jesus and the early church.
The Five Solas are five Latin phrases (or slogans) that emerged during the Reformation to summarize the Reformers’ theological convictions about the essentials of Christianity.
The Five Solas are:
- Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
- Sola Fide (“faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
- Sola Gratia (“grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
- Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.
- Soli Deo Gloria (“to the glory of God alone”): We live for the glory of God alone.
Let’s have a brief look at each of these five points.
The Scriptures are our ultimate and trustworthy authority for faith and practice. This doesn’t mean that the Bible is the only place where truth is found, but it does mean that everything else we learn about God and his world, and all other authorities, should be interpreted in light of Scripture. The Bible gives us everything we need for our theology.
Every word of the 66 books of the Bible is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also helps us to understand and obey Scripture.
SOLA FIDE AND SOLA GRATIA
We are saved solely through faith in Jesus Christ because of God’s grace and Christ’s merit alone. We are not saved by our merits or declared righteous by our good works. God grants salvation not because of the good things we do, and despite our sin.
As humans, we inherited (from our ancestor Adam) a nature that is enslaved to sin. Because of our nature, we are naturally enemies of God and lovers of evil. We need to be made alive (regenerated) so that we can even have faith in Christ. God graciously chooses to give us new hearts so that we trust in Christ and are saved through faith alone.
God graciously preserves us and keeps us. When we are faithless toward him, he is still faithful.
We can only stand before God by his grace as he mercifully attributes to us the righteousness of Jesus Christ and attributes to him the consequences of our sins. Jesus’ life of perfect righteousness is counted as ours, and our records of sin and failure were counted to Jesus when he died on the cross.
Sola fide and sola gratia express the teaching of Ephesians 2:8:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
God has given the ultimate revelation of himself to us by sending Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:15. Only through God’s gracious self-revelation in Jesus do we come to a saving and transforming knowledge of God.
1 Timothy 1:5. Because God is holy and all humans are sinful and sinners, 1 John 1:1 Hebrews 7:25 Romans 8:34. Neither religious rituals nor good works mediate between us and God. Acts 4:12 by which a person can be saved other than the name of Jesus. Hebrews 7:23, and his sacrificial death alone can atone for sin.
SOLI DEO GLORIA
Glory belongs to God alone. God’s glory is the central motivation for salvation, not improving the lives of people—though that is a wonderful by product. God is not a means to an end—he is the means and the end.
The goal of all of life is to give glory to God alone: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). As The Westminster Catechism says, the chief purpose of human life is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”