Who Are We?
Immanuel is a congregation in the Minnesota South District of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. As members of Immanuel, we believe that salvation comes by faith in the Triune God, as worked in us by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel (the good news of God’s love in Jesus). Through God’s Word and the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, we receive God’s grace and forgiveness and are strengthened in our Christian faith. Our mission includes remaining faithful to God’s Word, training people for a godly life, and sharing the love of Jesus with our community.
Key Lutheran Beliefs and Practices
A. The Bible (all 66 books of the Old & New Testament) is inspired by God the Holy Spirit and is completely true and trustworthy. The Bible is the source of all of our beliefs and practices in the Lutheran Church.
B. The main message of the Bible is Jesus Christ, the God-man Who came to this earth, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal God to us and to reconcile us back to God by His redeeming death on the cross. Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, the only way for us to enter heaven. He is worshiped as God and Lord.
C. The Bible contains the messages of both Law and Gospel. The Law commands us concerning what we should do and what we should not do. The Law also condemns us for failing to do God’s holy will perfectly. The Gospel is the good news of God’s love, acceptance, forgiveness, and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Christians need to hear the message of both the Law and of the Gospel. Lutheran pastors work hard to properly distinguish Law and Gospel.
D. The Christian Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian), while not found in the Bible, are important summaries of the Bible’s teaching about God. God is triune–three persons and yet only one God. He is the Father Who created us and cares for our needs, the Son Jesus Who died to redeem us from our sins, and the Holy Spirit Who inspired the Bible, enables us to believe, and gathers us as God’s saints in the Holy Christian Church.
E. The Christian Church is the sum total of all true (genuine) believers in Christ. All believers, but only believers, belong to this Church. Every denomination contains both hypocrites as well as true believers. We are to remain faithful to the denomination that teaches God’s Word purely and administers the Sacrament according to Christ’s institution.
F. Lutherans have two Sacraments. They are Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. In baptism, we are identified with Christ Jesus in His death and resurrection. In baptism, we are incorporated into His Church and become members of His family of faith. Every day we Christians should remember our baptism–that we belong to God as His children and that we are daily to die to sins and evil desires and are to live the new life of faith and love and holiness to the greater glory of our God.
G. Confirmed Lutherans receive the Lord’s Supper regularly–at least once a month. The Lord’s Supper is more than mere symbolism–it is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and the wine for us Christians to eat and to drink. Properly eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper strengthens our faith in God and assures us of the forgiveness of sins.
H. Salvation is by God’s grace, not by our human works. We cannot save ourselves. We are saved by believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. This faith is the work of God the Holy Spirit. Christians perform good works, not in order to gain salvation, but as an outgrowth or fruit of our Christian faith.
I. God desires us to grow in our faith and in godly living throughout our life. The fancy term for this is “sanctification.” Faith is nurtured by regular hearing of God’s Word and by the regular reception of His Holy Supper.
J. As Christians, we never reach perfection this side of heaven. This means that we daily sin much and deserve God’s wrath and punishment. The three enemies of our souls–the devil, the ungodly world, and our sinful flesh–remain with us throughout our life. It is God’s will that we live in victory, but we all fail more often than we want or want to admit. In confession, we have the opportunity to humbly confess our sins, admitting to God, to ourselves, and to others our shortcomings. In the absolution (the pronouncement of God’s gracious pardon), we hear God’s gospel word of His grace and forgiveness. Lutherans also practice private confession and absolution, but this is to be done on a voluntary basis.
K. God has given to His Church the task of making disciples of all nations (peoples). This we do as we carry the Gospel to the whole world, baptizing people in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and also teaching God’s people to know and do all He has commanded us. No one can do this task alone. This is why we form congregations and denominations–so we can carry out this great and noble work together.
L. Jesus Christ will return on the Last Day (Judgment Day) to judge both the living and the dead. Believers will go to heaven to live in joy and glory with God, the angels, and the saints forever. Those who do not believe will be condemned to a pain-filled eternity in hell apart from God’s presence. God does not want anyone to perish in hell. But those who reject the Gospel will be lost.
M. God expects us to be faithful and loving to our family, to be obedient to the civil government (unless they command us to act contrary to God’s Word and will), to be good citizens, and to be conscientious and dedicated workers in whatever vocation (calling, work) that God has given us. God promises to reward His faithful servants.
N. Children especially need to be taught the Christian faith. Parents are primarily responsible for this spiritual training. Children of all ages should regularly worship with their parents. Christian Day Schools are a major blessing to aid parents in their duty of raising their children in the faith. Sunday Schools and Vacation Bible Schools also are important tools to assist in this task. Parents, especially the fathers, are also to lead their family in table prayers and daily devotions.
O. Christians are expected to use the gifts and opportunities God has entrusted to them to help the Church of God grow. Among the talents and gifts we share are our time, our leadership and serving abilities, our money, our prayers, our Christian witness, singing, and Christian encouragement.
P. Prayer is also a key part of the Christian life. Prayer is communing with God or communicating with God in words and thoughts. All prayers are to be addressed to the Triune God, Who alone is God and can hear and help us. We pray in the name of Jesus, because He has opened the way to God for us. We should also not forget to praise and thank God for His attributes (qualities) and blessings.