The CLC Statement of Faith and Purpose
The 1968 Convention of the Church of the Lutheran Confession asked that a statement be prepared and published that would supply a simple but definitive expression of our faith in the basic doctrines of Scripture.
The Statement of Faith and Purpose was published in 1969. It has served well as a public confession of the Church of the Lutheran Confession, and experience has shown that it has spoken to the hearts of readers in an inspirational rather than dogmatic fashion.
The Statement of Faith and Purpose was written to present what the Bible says and what we believe and teach retarding the issues of the day. While our confessional position remains unchanged, there was an effort in this 4th edition to speak simply and clearly to a world that desperately needs to hear the word of life from Jesus.
One: Our Purpose
It is our single purpose to be a Christian church that proclaims the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible. This Gospel is the only way people can know the true God and the way to eternal life. Our purpose and commitment rest upon the following statements of the Bible:
Matthew 28: 18-20: And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
John 17:3: And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Acts 4:12: Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
In reading and studying Bible passages, it is always important to know the context of the passage. For example, it is important to know that Matthew 28: 18-20 was spoken by Jesus during the forty-day period between His resurrection from the dead and His ascension to heaven. He had completed His mission of living and dying in order to redeem mankind. His resurrection from the dead proved that His mission was a success. At a designated time and place Jesus gathered His followers at a mountain in Galilee and gave them their marching orders.
As the Son of God, Jesus always had all authority on heaven and earth. But now this authority has been given to Him also as a man, since He has completed His assignment of saving the world. In His authority He is now telling His followers what they are to do during the time that remains before He returns on the last day as the Judge of the living and the dead. Their assignment as disciples or followers is to make others His disciples by baptizing them in the name of the true God, the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and by teaching them all the things that Jesus taught them. This is our great commission as Christians, for it is clear that this task is to continue as long as the world endures. Jesus promises to be with us as we carry out this work.
Another statement of Jesus, spoken at the same time, is recorded in Mark 16:15: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Gospel is the Good News of what Jesus has done for our salvation. That is why we call it “the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.” The apostle Paul summarized the Gospel in these words: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, … He was buried, and … He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4).
John 17:3 is a small portion of the prayer Jesus prayed to His heavenly Father on the night of His arrest. Notice that the true God who gives eternal life is identified as the God who sent Jesus into the world as the Christ, the promised Messiah. Notice also that the hope for eternal life is based on our knowledge of the true God and Jesus, whom the Father sent into the world to be our Savior.
Acts 4:12 was spoken by Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, when, shortly after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, he, together with John, was imprisoned by the Jewish authorities because they were openly teaching the Jewish people that Jesus had risen from the dead. Their message was confirmed by the miracle they had just performed in Jesus’ name: the healing of a crippled beggar at the gate of the Temple. When Peter was asked by what authority he and John had healed the beggar, Peter responded by directing their attention to Jesus as the only Savior of the entire human race.
This truth should make us realize the extreme importance of bringing the good news of salvation in Jesus to as many people as we possibly can. The religion of Jesus or Christianity is the only religion in the entire world that can save anyone and give him or her eternal life. Our church body therefore must have the teaching and spreading of this good news of Jesus as its main task. In fact every other task that it carries out must support this main task, or else it is not a task for our church or any other Christian church to be involved in.
One: Our Purpose (continuation)
We reject the idea of some that the main work of the church is to promote political and social causes. Our right of existence as a church body has been established by our Lord’s commission to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Therefore we are committed to say with the Apostle Paul: “I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). As individuals, Christians will show fruits of their faith by concern for social and political issues, letting their light shine before others to the glory of God.
1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
Matthew 5: 13-16: You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
As a church body our work revolves around the preaching of the Gospel, which is our full-time assignment. We are not called on as a church body to involve ourselves in matters of social justice or political parties. Of course the preaching of the Gospel in accordance with God’s Word makes it necessary for the church to preach God’s Law boldly, denouncing that which is contrary to God’s Word without fear or favor, even as John the Baptist denounced the adultery of Herod Antipas and Paul spoke about the judgment to come to Governor Felix. But Paul did not foster a campaign to do away with slavery in the Roman Empire or organize any kind of rebellion against the decrees of Emperor Nero.
Individual Christians, however, have a dual citizenship. On the one hand, they are God’s chosen special people to proclaim the praises of their saving God in word and deed. On the other hand, they are also citizens of their state, with various duties according to their station in life, whether fathers or mothers or government officials or employers or employees. Citizens have a duty to obey the laws of the land and have certain rights and privileges in certain countries to participate in social and political causes, such as voting and supporting certain candidates over other candidates, etc. This varies, of course, from one country and culture to another. In all situations and in all circumstances Christians should not hide their faith in Jesus Christ and their allegiance to Him, but openly confess their faith by what they say and what they do, as is taught by 1 Peter 2:9 and Matthew 5: 13-16, a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, addressed to His followers.