graphic website title banner

The Common Confession

WordAlone document

2005


CC1) —The Lord Jesus Christ

We are people who believe and confess our faith in the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We trust and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20)

ELCA Confession of Faith (2.01–2.02b) This church confesses the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This church confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.

CC2) —The Gospel of Salvation

We believe and confess that all human beings are sinners, and that sinners are redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God alone justifies human beings by faith in Christ — a faith which God creates through the message of the Gospel. As ambassadors for Christ, God uses us to speak his Word and build his kingdom.

There is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. (Romans 5:22b-25)

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ (Romans 10:17)

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

ELCA Confession of Faith (2.02 and 2.02b) This church confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe… The proclamation of God's message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Dorado Covenant 2: The Work of Kingdom Building. We affirm an aggressive, positive stance on kingdom expansion and congregational growth.

Ten Affirmations 1: Jesus is the only way of salvation. God's justification of the godless by faith in Jesus Christ is the heart of the Gospel.

Ten Affirmations 7: Faithful Christian Worship keeps Christ at the center. The purpose of worship is to proclaim Christ and his saving work. It is not our sacrifice to God, but God coming to us to save us and guide us by his Word.

CC3) —The Authority of Scripture

We believe and confess that the Bible is God's revealed Word to us, spoken in Law and Gospel. The Bible is the final authority for us in all matters of our faith and life.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Jesus said: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

ELCA Confession of Faith (2.02.c and 2.03) The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Written Word of God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world. This church accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.

Dorado Covenant 1: The Authority of Scripture. We covenant to teach a high view of Scripture. We trust the Bible to be the only final authority for all aspects of life.

Ten Affirmations 2: The Bible is the final authority over the faith and life of the Church. The Bible is God's Word to us, spoken in Law and Gospel. It is a light to, rather than a reflection of, the world.

CC4) —A Common Confession of Faith

We accept and uphold that the Lutheran Confessions reliably guide us as faithful interpretations of Scripture, and that we share a unity and fellowship in faith with others among whom the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and the sacraments are administered in accordance with the Gospel.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:14-15)

ELCA Confession of Faith (2.04-2.06) This church accepts the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this church. This church accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. This church accepts the other confessional writings of the Book of Concord, namely the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.

Ten Affirmations 3: The Lutheran Confessions are a faithful interpretation of Scripture. As faith seeks understanding, the Lutheran Confessions reliably guide us in the truth.

Ten Affirmations 9: Christian unity is given by and centered in Jesus Christ. True ecumenism respects the diversity within the Body of Christ, embracing worship, work and service with other Christian churches without compromising core convictions.

CC5) —The Priesthood of All Believers

We believe and confess that the Holy Spirit makes all who believe in Jesus Christ to be priests for service to others in Jesus' name, and that God desires to make use of the spiritual gifts he has given through the priesthood of all believers.

By the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3-8)

Dorado Covenant 3: The Priesthood of All Believers. We choose to advance the use of all spiritual gifts through unleashing the priesthood of all believers.

Ten Affirmations 4: The Church's ministry is centered in the priesthood of all believers. In Baptism, the Holy Spirit makes all Christians priests to serve others for Jesus' sake.

Ten Affirmations 5: Congregations call pastors to serve with them in ministry. Pastors preach and administer the sacraments to keep good order in the church, but are not necessary for Christ to be present in Word or Sacrament.

Admonition Part I: It is the responsibility of all believers to participate in it and to propagate the good news where they find themselves in life. For this purpose, the Holy Spirit graces the church and invests the gifts of that grace in all believers. To preach and administer the sacraments publicly in the name of the church is the specific calling of the ordained ministry (Augsburg Confession 14). Ordination does not confer any quality or special ability higher than that bestowed in baptism. Ordination is the call to proclaim the divine word entrusted to all publicly on behalf of the whole church.

Admonition Part II: In order to ensure that an adiaphoron has not been made a theological necessity, however, what is now an exception (ELCA Constitution 7.31.17 – bylaw exception) must be made an option of equal standing. Likewise the two practices of installing bishops, with or without the participation of (three) bishops in episcopal succession, must be options of equal standing.

CC6) —Marriage and Family

We believe and confess that the marriage of male and female is an institution created and blessed by God. From marriage, God forms families to serve as the building blocks of all human civilization and community. We teach and practice that sexual activity belongs exclusively within the biblical boundaries of a faithful marriage between one man and one woman.

Jesus said: “From the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." (Mark 10: 6-8)

Dorado Covenant 4: The Institution of Marriage - One Man and One Woman. We teach and practice that a full sexual relationship belongs exclusively within the biblical boundaries of a publicly committed marriage between one man and one woman.

Ten Affirmations 10: Biblical norms establish the boundaries and proper use of sexuality. The Bible clearly teaches that marriage is a holy bond between one man and one woman and is the only proper arena for sexual activity. From marriages, families are formed which serve as the building blocks of civilization.

CC7) —The Mission and Ministry of the Congregation.

We believe and confess that the church is the assembly of believers called and gathered by God around Word and Sacrament, and that the mission and ministry of the church is carried out within the context of individual congregations, which are able to work together locally and globally.

Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit… Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 27)

ELCA Confession of Faith (2.07) This church confesses the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God's mission in the world.

Dorado Covenant 5: The Mission and Ministry of the Congregation. We believe that mission and ministry are best accomplished within the context of congregations. Facilitating that mission and ministry should be the central focus of all expressions of the Church.

Ten Affirmations 6: The local congregation is the heart of Christ's mission. The Christian Church is the assembly of believers called and gathered by God around Word and Sacrament. Regional and national structures exist to serve local churches.

Ten Affirmations 8: Church governance should be representative and accountable. Churchwide assemblies must respect the integrity and authority of local congregations.

Note: The Holy Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions are ultimately the basis for this confession, but four other documents are also cited: 1) The Confession of Faith, Chapter Two, ELCA Constitution; 2) Admonition for the Sake of the True Peace and Unity of the Church; 3) Ten Affirmations: What the WordAlone Network is for . . .; and 4) the Dorado Covenant.