Statement of Faith
The beauty of being an ELCA Lutheran is that you are allowed and encouraged to think and
ask faith questions. We have basic faith tenants, listed below, but when it comes to many issues
of faith and ethical life, our church gives guidance to you, might encourage a specific belief or
practice, but does not require people to all think or believe the same thing. Hence, regarding
current hot button issues such as homosexuality, abortion and gun control,our members
may not be like minded.
However, we are like minded in our devotion to Jesus as God's revelation of Godself as savior.
Let us introduce you to St. Michael Lutheran Church, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran
Do you have questions about God but don’t know where to ask them?
Been turned off by judgmentalism in the church?
Made to feel unworthy of God?
Wonder why Christians often seem more about hate and exclusion than love?
Really don’t have a problem with evolution and believe God created in this manner, but are afraid to voice it?
Have issues with the concept of a loving God sending people to hell?
Really can’t buy that every word in the Bible came directly from the mouth of God?
Faith and Doubt - We encourage questions about God and understand that doubt is a normal part of faith.
Biblical Interpretation - We believe that God inspired the Biblical writers, but did not dictate it to them. Hence, it isinfluenced by the culture and bias of these writers, which may or may not match that of God. It then is a process of continual discussion and research to discover God’s truth in the pages of scripture. We interpret the Bible, always, thorugh the lens of Jesus as God in the flesh. His love and life modeled God's ways.
Grace versus Law - You’ll hear grace filled preaching and teaching here, more about love, acceptance and possibilities, rather than sin and judgment. We understand sin to be a state of brokenness for humanity and the world, rather than just doing bad things that deserve punishment.
Heaven and Hell - We understand heaven to be a gift God gives humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is not a reward for good behavior. We understand hell, then, to be not a punishment from God, but rather more of a choice people make to live separated from God.
Evolution - God created the world and is still creating the world through a process that began 14 billion years ago. The Biblical creation stories (There are two of them.) are not meant to be science but myths (something that always is, but never was) about God and ourselves. The contain truth about the human condition and about God’s love and mercy, but are not history.
End Times - We do not use the book of Revelation as a map to predict end times, believing instead what Jesus told the disciples in Acts, chapter one, in the New Testament--that no one knows the time except God. He also told his followers in that text that we should be spending our time telling others about God’s love. Hence, we concentrate on doing that in words and actions as the Hands and Feet of Christ, rather than worry about the future times. God is in control of that.
Homosexuality - Our denomination does not condemn homosexual people. In fact, the ELCA voted in 2010 to be supportive of gay unions and of gay and lesbian pastors who have life partners. However, not all in the national church agree on the sinfulness or not, of homosexuality as an orientation or of homosexual acts. At St. Michael, all God’s people are welcome and we accept you as you are!
Ordination of Women - The ELCA has ordained women into ministry since 1970. Since we do not interpret the Bible literally, we see nothing in it to deny women this calling, nor to place them below men in any way. Both men and women are created in God’s image.
Abortion - People in the ELCA disagree on this hot button issue. Some folks are pro-choice; others are pro-life. This Church does not insist on either point of view. Our national church does officially consider abortion sinful, but also acknowledges that it may sometimes be an option of last resort.
Luther and Lutheranism
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Martin Luther was eight years old when Christopher Columbus set sail from Europe and landed
in the Western Hemisphere. Luther was a young monk and priest when Michaelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel in Rome. A few years later, he was a junior faculty member at a new university in small-town Germany, intently studying the Scriptures, “captivated with an extraordinary ardor for understanding Paul in the Epistle to the Romans.”
In these days Luther was tormented by the demand for righteousness before God. “I did not love,
yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God.” Then, in the midst of that struggle with God, the message of the Scriptures became clear, like a long-shut door opening wide. When he realized that a “merciful God justifies us by faith … I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”
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.”
This discovery set Luther’s life on a new course —both his own life and his public service as a preacher and teacher. When a church-endorsed sales team came to the Wittenberg area in October, 1517, Luther was concerned that the promotion and sale of indulgences undermined the promise of God’s unreserved mercy in Jesus and the faith that trusts that promise. His 95 Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences became the first of a life-long stream of books, sermons, letters, essays, even hymns in which he expressed his confidence in this life-giving promise from God, the Gospel, and its liberating implications for all of life in church and society.