We Believe, Teach and Confess
According to Holy Scripture, and in the unity of the one, holy catholic faith,
we believe, teach, and confess that:
The one and only true God is the Triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - as revealed by Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of the Father, and His prophets, apostles, and evangelists in the Holy Scriptures (Mt. 28:20).
Every human being is conceived and born dead to God, is entirely predisposed to sin, is without inherent fear, love, or trust in God and is lacking in the ability or will to turn toward God, is entirely turned against God and is therefore under the sentence of eternal death and damnation (Eph. 2:1-10; Ps. 51:5).
Jesus Christ is true God, eternally begotten of the Father, and at the same time true man, born of the Virgin Mary, and is the only Savior from sin and the only Mediator between God and humanity (Jn. 1:1-3,14; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 Jn. 5:20; Acts 4:12) - who, by his perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross, has won the entire forgiveness of sins and eternal life for every human being, from the beginning to the end of the world (Rom. 3:21-26; Gal. 4:4-5; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Jn. 2:2); who rose bodily from the dead on the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-5); and who now reigns at the right hand of God as Lord over all (Eph. 4:10-12).
We are justified, or declared not guilty, in the sight of God and rescued from sin, death, and damnation not by our works but solely by God's undeserved kindness, His grace given as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ, whose perfect life and sacrificial death as 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' fully atone for our sins (Rom. 3:21-28; Eph. 2:8; John 1:29).
The blessings and benefits of Jesus' saving death and resurrection, namely the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation, are offered, delivered, and applied to us by means of the Gospel in all its forms (the preached and written Word, Baptism, Absolution, Lord's Supper), through which the Holy Spirit works faith in Christ. To this end Christ has instituted the Office of the Ministry and sends pastors to preach and administer the holy sacraments in His stead and name (Jn. 6:63; 16:12-15; Lk. 24:47; Mt. 28:19; Jn. 20:21-23; 1 Cor. 11:23-26).
Good works, prayer, and holiness of life are the fruit of faith in Christ, not the cause of faith or salvation (Jn. 15:5; Heb. 11:16 ).
Holy Church is present wherever believers are gathered about Jesus Christ and His gifts, that is, wherever the Gospel of Jesus Christ is purely preached and taught, and Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, Holy Communion are administered according to Christ's mandate and institution, even though unbelievers or hypocrites may also be numbered among those gathered (Mt. 18:20; Acts 2:42; Mt. 13:47-48).
Holy Baptism, which is water applied in the Name of the Triune God according to Jesus' mandate and promise, works rebirth and renewal, delivers and applies the forgiveness of sins, joins the baptized to Jesus' death and resurrection, and grants eternal life and salvation to all who believe the promise of salvation attached to Baptism (Mt 28:19-20; Jn. 3:5; Titus 3:5; Eph. 5:25-26; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:11-12; 1 Peter 3:21). The Christian Church has always practiced infant baptism according to the instruction of Jesus and His Word.
Holy Absolution, which is the forgiveness of sins spoken by the Pastor to a penitent sinner in Jesus' name, actually offers, delivers, and applies the forgiveness of sins to the repentant person with the full authority of the crucified, risen, and reigning Christ (Mt. 16:19; 18:18; Jn. 20:21-23). The word of forgiveness in Holy Absolution is to be heard as Christ our dear Lord speaking to us Himself (Luke 10:16 ).
Holy Communion, or the Lord's Supper, is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ given under bread and wine, for Christians to eat and drink, instituted by Jesus Christ Himself, for the forgiveness of their sins (Mt 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). The Christian Church has always held that the Lord's Supper IS the very real and true body and blood of our Lord Jesus. We simply believe as Jesus said and instructed the disciples to continue.
The Christian life is one of continual repentance and faith, from which flow good works as the fruit of faith (Mt. 12:33 ; Lk. 24:47).
Our Lord Jesus Christ will appear visibly on the Last Day to raise the bodies of all the dead, to condemn those who reject Him in unbelief together with the devil and his demons to hell and eternal punishment, and to give eternal life to all who trust in Him for forgiveness, life, and salvation (Rev. 1:7; Mt. 25:31-46; Jn. 5:28-29).
Holy Scripture, or the Holy Bible, is the written Word of God, is the very 'breath of God' and so is without factual error and is the only source and final authority and judge of all teaching, practice, and life. Holy Scripture preaches the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the repentance and faith of the sinner (2 Tim. 3:16 ; 2 Pet. 1:22 ; Luke 24:47).
The Word of God is a two-fold word - the Law, which reveals our sin and seeks and kills the sinner, and the Gospel, which announces, offers, delivers, and applies the forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, creates faith in Him, and gives new life and identity to the believer in Christ (Rom. 1:16; 3:21-22; Gal. 2:19-20)."
The Historic Liturgy of the Church is used at Risen Savior. Jesus worshiped using the historic Liturgy. In the Liturgy, the highest of worship is rendered to God. The Liturgy is Christ centered, in which God gives us the very gifts of heaven: His life-giving Word and Sacraments. Worship services are not designed for entertainment or sensation, but to prepare broken and repentant sinners to receive these gifts of word and Sacrament, and to know the truth of the incomparable riches of the grace showered on us by our gracious and loving heavenly Father. In the Liturgy, we join in communion with Christians throughout the ages in the worship of the only true, eternal, Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the only means of salvation that people have been given.
Is all contemporary worship bad or wrong?
Certainly not! Yet, we find it strange why Christians would want to worship following patterns of the American entertainment industry. To move away from Christ-center, Scriptural worship and hymns that teach the faith, speak of Christ's work - to songs performed for emotional responses and catering to consumer-driven felt needs. Sadly, contemporary worship removes the centrality of Christ & the Sacraments from the service. Praise songs and the order of worship remove Scripture and emphasize one's emotions and works. (A simply exercise is to count the number of personal pronouns - I, me, my, etc.- and verb usage in most contemporary songs to see where the focus is directed -people's response, feelings rather that on Christ's work and gifts to us.)
What about contemporary worship for the young & others who don't ‘connect' to traditional worship?
Contemporary worship is like giving your children cookies and ice cream for dinner. It's enjoyable, they want to come back, it creates an exciting rush. Junk food is what they want, it will keep them going, but is it what is best, is it most healthy? Traditional worship is centered on the highest of praise of God. According to Scripture, the highest of praise is to declare the works of Jesus and seek forgiveness from Him. To cast off something that is so well established and grounded in Scripture in favor of a type of worship that resembles the fruits of the American entertainment industry seems odd to us. Contemporary worship removes Scripture and the centrality of Christ from the service.
Jesus is very clear on how and where we meet him.
We don't come to worship to be entertained; we come to meet Jesus the Christ. He is very clear about where and how we meet Him. We meet Him: in the Word of God and its preaching; in Baptism; in the Lord's Supper. He promised to be in these as well as among those who have gathered in His Name. This is why our hymns and songs do not seek to give an ecstatic or escapist experience, but rather a Scripture based, authentic experience. Church is not about singing to screens on a wall, special effects, layers of technology and multimedia displays. Altars, pulpits, and the worship setting are not mere optional props but point us to Christ. In a pattern of worship from Scripture and what the Church has always known. Worship isn't something just ‘made-up' as we go along and adapt to culture. It is the Church that transforms culture - not the other way around.
Traditional worship IS contemporary!
It is always relevant and contemporary because it almost entirely of Scripture. A pattern of worship from the Old Testament to today. One may wonder what is going on as we speak and sing the Liturgy. The Liturgy is a vehicle or framework in which God gives us what we need, rather than what we think we need. As we worship, we find ourselves caught in a rhythm, something larger than ourselves. Such an encounter produces reverence, humility, and faith. Much of the liturgies we speak and sing are words straight from the Bible. As we sing or say these words, the Words of God become memorized and deeply rooted in our heart and mind. The Liturgy shapes our own personal history as we find ourselves being formed, even if out of habit, by our faithful worship. When our life on earth is about to be completed and we hover on the edge of a new heavenly life, we shall find a deep peace because of the promises of God that had been sung and heard in the countless hours of worship. Even as we are about to leave the company on earth for the company in heaven, we are comforted that our children and grandchildren will still be connected with us as we continue the worship that is done with the "angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven."
• is not centered in the doctrine of justification (Jesus work), but worship primarily what I do for God. It has good works (sanctification) as its goal, not the forgiveness of sins. Primary focus is ‘Law' based (what we do) rather than ‘Gospel' based (what God does)
• believes that the Word of God (substance) needs something else (style) in order to be effective. Moves from Scriptural teachings appeals to the felt needs and desires of people. The power of his Word is not enough.
• justifies its styles on the practical grounds of evangelism and increased church attendance. By appealing to observable results, it does what “works.” In order to reach people, it uses consumerism tactics and entertainment methods to “move” people. It minimizes the content of the Christian faith in order to not offend.
Due to its frequently changing form, contemporary worship cannot be easily cited. However, the following general characteristics are usually present:
• Sturdy doctrinal hymns are replaced with simplistic, repetitive praise songs.
• Doctrinal sermons are replaced with chancel dramas or how-to sermons for Christian living.
• Women given worship authority, which is strictly forbidden in Scripture.
• Worship is made meaningful by meeting the felt ‘wants' of the worshipper.
• Sacramental emphasis is diminished, while sacrificial (prayer, praise, testimonial, etc.) is highlighted.
• Lay service leadership is increased and brought to the front.
• Entertainment practices and music appeal to and manipulate the emotions.
• Evaluates success on business principles.
• Worship is seen as evangelism and therefore must be understandable and appealing to the non-Christian. (Non-Scriptural principle).