As Lutherans, we share in the faith expressed in the Apostle’s, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, of the Triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who created, reconciles, and sustains all things. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We believe the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth and preserves it in union with Jesus Christ in faith.
Lutherans understand faith as a living and daring confidence in God’s Grace. Faith convictions expressed as statements of belief flow from this confident trust in God. ELCA Lutherans share in the faith expressed in the previously collected Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, as well as in the Lutheran confessional writings (collected as the Book of Concord), and in the ELCA Confession of Faith.
Faith is the relationship given as a free gift of God. Faith is active. It frees us. It moves us to live a full life freely engaging in our relationship with God and with one another. Faith opens us to engage others in conversation, to engage in the sharing of the Gospel and to engage in work of Christ in the world. Faith brings confidence and daring. Martin Luther once wrote of faith, “Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good things unceasingly.”
We accept Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God. Despite the diversity of viewpoints and the complexity of the many narratives contained in the Scriptures, we believe that the story of God's steadfast love and mercy in Jesus is the heart and center of Scripture. Simply stated, the Scriptures tell about Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures to present Jesus to all who listen to or read them. That is why Lutheran Christians say that the Scriptures are the “source and norm” of their teaching and practice. As the Gospel writer John wrote, “these things are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
Philip Melanchthon, one of Martin Luther’s colleagues, wrote, “We must see what Scripture attributes to the law and what it attributes to the promises. For it praises and teaches good works in such a way as not to abolish the free promise and not to eliminate Christ.” Although the writings that comprise the Book of Concord engage a range of issues regarding teaching and practice, they do not address every question or topic. Rather, they focus on the Scriptures’ purpose: to present Jesus Christ to faith.
We believe that in the Sacrament the crucified and risen Christ is truly present “in, with and under” the elements. Luther taught that the redemptive power of the sacrament rests in the faith of the receiver. We welcome all Baptized Christians to the table to receive the Means of Grace.
We affirm the teachings of Martin Luther who was a Roman Catholic Priest and professor of Scripture Studies at Wittenberg. Luther entered religious life as a brother in the Order of Augustinian Eremites of the Strict Observance. He struggled with his faith and relationship with God. Sent to study scripture by his Abbott, Luther learned to find answers to his struggles. His study of Scripture led him to his understanding that we are all sinful and fall short of righteousness. He also came to understand that faith is a gift from God, by which we are redeemed through that faith – Justification by Faith. He believed and taught that not by our own efforts do we gain justification before God, but by the Grace of God, as revealed in Jesus Christ, we are redeemed and through redemption moved us to live in community with one another and with God. He came to understand human beings to be simultaneously saints and sinners – Simul Justus et peccator.
What Luther discovered is the freedom of Christians trusting God’s mercy in Christ. As he later wrote, “Faith is God’s work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God. This faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing. It is impossible for it not to be doing good works incessantly. Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that believers would stake their lives on it a thousand times.”
Through his association with Guttenburg, whose printing press was new, Luther was able to write and widely distribute his teachings. He also worked with Guttenburg to provide Scripture, translated into German, to the people for reading at home. His teaching was denounced by the church authorities in Rome, who excommunicated him. He is known as the “Father of the Reformation” as his teaching and excommunication sparked widespread reform in the church. Those who aligned with his teachings were called Lutherans. Luther believed himself a good Catholic priest who engaged in needed reform in the church.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Trinity is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The ELCA is the largest Lutheran Church body in the United States and a member of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). It is through the ELCA that we are able to unite with other churches across the nation and throughout the world to support those in need and gain support for our congregations. You can find more information about the ELCA and their mission at www.elca.org. The ELCA is divided into 65 geographical Synods. Trinity is we are part of the Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA)Synod. The Synod provides connection to the wider church, support and care for congregations and rostered leaders while organizing larger ministries across Southeastern Pennsylvania. You can find more information about the synod at www.ministrylink.org.