What We Believe

We are a Lutheran Christian congregation of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS).  We believe, teach, and confess the Christian faith God gives us in His Word, the Bible.  Everything that we believe and confess to be true comes from Scripture alone.  We believe that we have forgiveness, life, and salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.  It is through Jesus alone - the Way, the Truth, and the Life – that we connect with God, know God, belong to God.

These are the core beliefs of the Christian faith: 

We believe in one God, yet in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Often referred to as the Triune God or Holy Trinity, this is who God says He is.  That God is One, yet three is a mystery beyond our human ability to understand.  And, that’s okay!  God is much bigger than our human understanding, and we need a God that is much bigger than us and our understanding!

God is not created.  God has existed eternally.  He is infinitely almighty, perfect, righteous, and holy, as well as infinitely loving, merciful, gracious, and compassionate.
God the Father
We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  As the initiator of all things created, God the Father is the Creator of everything.  He created all things out of nothing by His Word.  His creating of us is an act of love.  In His mercy and love He still takes care of His world and all that is in it, including us!
God’s Son Jesus Christ
All things were and are created through God’s Son who “in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4)” became man.  We believe that Jesus Christ is both true God and true man.  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  Jesus took on the sins of all people, lived a perfect life that we don’t and never could, and died on a cross for us as the one and only sacrifice for our sins.  He is our Redeemer from sin, death, and the power of the devil through His sacrifice for us.  On the third day, Jesus rose from death, victorious over it.  He ascended into heaven, intercedes for us with God the Father, and reigns over all things for the good of His Church.   Jesus Christ will return one day to judge the world.  All the dead will be raised from death, and all the living will be transformed.  Every person who lived by faith in Jesus will be raised to eternal, perfect life in the renewed, new creation.  Jesus is life!
Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is the creator and sustainer of saving faith in Christ and giver of new life with God.  He creates and sustains faith in Jesus through God’s living Word, Scripture.  Through the Word, the Holy Spirit convicts people in their hearts of sin and creates recognition of our need for forgiveness and life in Jesus Christ.  New life in Jesus Christ happens as the Holy Spirit brings a person to faith.  Saving faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8)!  If anyone is in Christ by faith, he or she is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)!  The Holy Spirit is active in the life of the Christian to continue to work repentance, maintain faith, and lead the person to live a Godly life by God’s Word.
God created people in His image for a loving, eternal relationship with Him.  The first people, Adam and Eve, were without sin and lived in perfect relationships with God, each other, and all creation.  Created by God, every life is important and has immeasurable value from the moment of conception and throughout life.
Man and Sin
Tempted by Satan to doubt God, Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  This brought sin into the world.  Sin corrupted God’s good and perfect creation, including His human creations.  All people since have inherited this sinful nature.  Because of this, we are all conceived and born sinful (Psalm 51:5), corrupted, enemies of the God who created us, and dead in our sin (Ephesians 2:1-3).  We suffer the effects of a world broken by sin through things like sickness, disease, natural disasters, broken relationships, wars, and death.  Because we are sinful, we commit actual sins against God’s good will for life in our thoughts, words, and actions by the things we do and by the things we don’t do.
Despite our sinfulness and rebellion against God, God so loved His world that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in Him would not die apart from Him but have eternal life.  Jesus became man and lived a perfect life in our place.  Jesus took the eternal punishment we deserve.  He died to take away our sins and give us forgiveness and rose that we might have eternal life with God, even now!  There is nothing we as humans can do to earn favor in God’s eyes, work our way to heaven, or save ourselves.  Salvation is a gift of God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Bible
The Bible – both Old and New Testament – is God’s inspired Word.  The books of the Bible have many different writers but ultimately one writer – God Himself.  God inspired and led the writers to record what they did.  Therefore, it is true and can be trusted.  Jesus is the heart and center of all of the Bible.  The ultimate purpose of God’s Word is to lead people to a saving relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ.  God’s Word also serves to guide and empower us that we may live in a faithful and loving relationship with Him and others (2 Timothy 3:14-17).
The Church
The Church is not buildings but people.  God’s Church is all people of all time who trust in Jesus alone for forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.  A local church, or congregation, is a community and family of faith, sharing and confessing a common faith in Christ.  The church is connected to Jesus Christ and to one another, gathered and bound together by God’s Word.  The church is not an exclusive community for itself, however.  That is, it does not exist for itself.  The church is a people to whom and through whom God comes in Christ, and we experience Him and His grace.  The church is called to a life of selfless love for God, for one another, and for others.  We are called to freely and selflessly witness and share the love of God with others through our words and actions, reflecting the grace and love of Christ and connecting people to Christ and His body.
The Sacraments
God comes to people and works through real-life, tangible means to share His love and grace with us and create and sustain saving faith.  These “Means of Grace” are God’s Word and Sacraments.  God promises to be present and give grace in the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.  As with God’s living Word, in the Sacraments, God personally gives us the forgiveness of sins, salvation, and eternal life Jesus earned for all people in His life, death, and resurrection.
Baptism is not our work.  It is God’s work!  In it, God is at work to bring us into a saving and forever relationship with Himself through Jesus and His death and resurrection for us.  In Baptism, the Lord gives us His Holy Spirit, connects us to Jesus, and adopts us as His children, giving us His full love and forgiveness.
In Baptism, God give us new birth and new life with Him (John 3, Romans 6, Titus 3:5-8).  Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s Word (Matthew 28:19).  Through Baptism into Jesus Christ, God delivers forgiveness of sins, rescues us from death and the devil, and gives salvation to all who believe this, as He Himself promises in His Word (Mark 16:16).
Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion, is a very special meal Jesus gave to His family, His Church, before He died for our sins.  According to Jesus’ own Word, Jesus’ true body and blood are present in, with, and under the bread and wine in Communion.  Jesus gives Himself to us in a deeply intimate and blessed way!  We refer to this as the “Real Presence.”  This is a mystery human reason can’t fully comprehend.  We take Jesus at His Word by faith!
Our Lord blesses us with awesome benefits in the Lord’s Supper!  He forgives our sins, strengthens our faith, and strengthens our union, or connection, with Him and with one another as His body, the Church.
The Lord also tells us in 1 Corinthians 11 that people can receive Christ’s body and blood to their harm.  We care deeply for every person and passionately want people to receive Christ’s body and blood for their benefit and not to their harm.  Therefore, it is a meal for baptized Christians who trust in Christ alone for salvation, who trust in His Words about His Supper and His Real Presence in Communion, who are repentant of their sin and desire forgiveness, who are willing to forgive others, who are united in a common confession of faith as we commune together, and who are able to examine themselves regarding these things.
Because we desire everyone who communes at Trinity to do so in the faith and unity that our Lord intends, we lovingly ask anyone who is not currently a confirmed member of a Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregation, yet desires to receive the Sacrament, to first speak with our pastor, Pastor Michael Croom, about Communion.
If you are a Christian but are not receiving Communion for this reason, we invite and welcome you to the Lord’s altar during the time of Communion for a blessing.  It is a joy to give you the blessing of the Lord!
Confession and Absolution
When we confess our sins (trusting in Christ for forgiveness), God is faithful to His promise to forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake (1 John 1:8-9).  In the worship service, and during private confession, the pastor forgives, or absolves, the repentant person in Christ’s place and in faithfulness to Jesus’ command to do so (John 20:19-23, Matthew 16:19).  Confession and absolution are a precious gift given by Jesus to His Church to deliver His forgiveness and assure and comfort sinners that they are, indeed, forgiven!
Prayer, also, is a precious gift from God!  Prayer is talking to God with the words of our mouths and/or the meditations of our hearts.  We have a God who loves us so much that He promises to hear and answer every prayer of the one who has faith in Jesus!  Our Lord wants us to talk to Him as a child would to a loving father.  He invites us into conversation with Himself!  Prayers can be long or short, spoken or thought, private or with others, spontaneous or written.  The Lord urges us to “pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)”!
Living a Holy, or God-pleasing, Life
None of us are able to live a life pleasing to God on our own.  Only through faith and the new life we have in Jesus from the Holy Spirit can we please God.  Given that new life in Christ, we want and strive to live according to God’s good will for us as a response of thanksgiving and praise.  So, what is God’s will?  In the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, the Lord gave His people Israel many commands to live by.  These make up the Law of God.  The laws of God fall into three different categories, though:  the Civil or Civic laws God gave specifically to Israel to govern society or their civic life; the Ceremonial or religious laws God gave Israel to guide their worship life and holiness; and the Moral Law which is summarized in The Ten Commandments.  All of God’s Law is beneficial to understand, but it is in The Ten Commandments that God shows us what life looks like for people in a saving relationship with Him through Jesus.
Want to Learn More?
If you have questions about the core beliefs of the Christian faith or participation in receiving the Lord’s Supper, please feel free to contact Pastor Michael Croom by phone at 901.525.1056, text at 901.665.3665, or email at pastorcroom@trinitymemphis.org.  If you are interested in further exploring the Christian faith and life, Pastor Croom covers them in his adult inquiry and information class From Faith to Faith: The Life of Faith.   The class meets approximately 2-3 times a year.  We also offer instruction in the faith leading to Confirmation to our younger baptized members, normally starting around 5th or 6th grade.
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