STATEMENT OF FAITH
STATEMENT OF FAITH OF SHEPHERD OF THE DESERT LUTHERAN CHURCH AND SCHOOL
Shepherd’s mission is…
Leading people to follow Jesus…
Shepherd exists to help individuals…
Discover…who God is and His great love for us as shown through the saving grace of Jesus Christ…
Develop…and strengthen our faith and our personal relationship with
Declare…the Good News of Jesus Christ in our daily living in both
words and actions…
We believe and teach…
The GOSPEL – Shepherd is focused first and foremost on the gospel of Jesus Christ. This gospel declares to us that God is not angry, wrathful or disassociated from His people. Rather God, through His Son Jesus Christ, is shown to be merciful, forgiving, loving and deeply committed to mankind in a personal manner.
The BIBLE – The focus of our teaching is from the Holy Bible, which we confess is the inspired Word of God. We believe that the Bible dictates all of our teaching and practice. We believe that the Bible’s main purpose is to show us Jesus and that through Jesus we have eternal life (John 20:21-22). Our sermons and studies are filled with the Good News of God’s love and are rooted in the Bible.
The TRINITY – Shepherd teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists; Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan; and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith and action through God’s Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God.
The Apostles’ Creed, in addition to the Nicene and Athanasius Creed, has served as a summary of scriptural beliefs on the nature of our Triune God since the earliest days of Christianity. They summarize what Christians have always confessed when gathered around the Word of God in the name of God’s Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit. They are the truths that we believe, teach, and confess at Shepherd.
As Lutherans and as part of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, we accept and teach the Bible-based writings of Martin Luther that inspired the reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century and we subscribe to all of the symbolical books contained in the Book of Concord of the year 1580. The teaching of Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three short phrases: Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture alone.
Grace alone – Salvation is God’s free gift, which is offered at the Initiative of His love, not something we can earn. Through His suffering and death on the cross as the substitute for all people of all time and through His resurrection, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for all. God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and to save the ungodly.
Faith alone – The gift of salvation is offered to all who, by God’s grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, repent of their sin and receive Jesus in faith as Savior and Lord.
Scripture alone – The Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine and life.
On Holy Baptism, we believe that Baptism is one very special way that God delivers to us the blessings Jesus Christ won for us. Baptism is not something we do, but something God does. It is a sacred act in which God Himself is at work forgiving sins, giving new life in Christ and bestowing on us the Holy Spirit with all of His gifts (Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15-16; Rom 6:3-6).
On the Lord’s Supper, we believe that in this Sacrament of the Altar our Lord and Savior is continually distributing to us the body and blood of the sacrifice that He made for us, the sacrifice by which He paid for the sins of the entire world. Thus, receiving His body and blood, we receive forgiveness, life and salvation. We do not try to explain how Jesus is present under the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. Rather, we believe, teach, confess and rejoice that He is present (1 Cor 11:17-31).
On the sanctity of human life, we believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other state or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life (Ps 51:5; Ps 139:13-16).
On marriage, gender and sexuality, because in all matters we look to the Bible as the inerrant and infallible Word of God and believe that it clearly communicates God’s design and plan for life and behavior, we believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female, that these two distinct complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God and that rejection of one’s biological sex is in opposition of the plan God sets forth in His Word. We believe that marriage has only one meaning and that God created marriage to be exclusively the union of one man, naturally born as a male, and one woman, naturally born as a female, in a single exclusive union expressed in love, commitment and shared fidelity for life, and that intimate sexual activity is to occur exclusively within that union. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, incest, use of pornography and bestiality) is sinful and offensive to God (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10). We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19-21; Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 6:9-11).
We believe that love and respect are due, and to be offered, to all people, as we are all created in the image of God. However, when the Scriptures speak against other philosophies, belief systems, and behaviors, we will be true to the Scriptures and will speak the truth, but will do so in love.
This Statement of Faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible Word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality, and the proper conduct of mankind, is the sole and final source of all that we believe. For purposes of Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church and School, our Senior Pastor, with the advice of the Board of Elders and Board of Directors, is our final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application.