Light of the Hills Lutheran Church is a Christian church, part of the worldwide Christian Church.  We believe that there is only one true God, who reveals Himself in the Bible as being three persons in one God– Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians  13:14). We believe that the Bible is the Word of God for every generation, recorded by human authors who were guided and inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). God’s Word is living and active, trustworthy and without error (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 18:30; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12). Its main message is the free gift of eternal life found in Jesus, the only Son of God.

Our congregation is called “Lutheran” because we follow the Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther, which were the driving force for the Reformation of the Church in the 16th century. God used Luther to proclaim again the biblical truth that in Jesus Christ, God is loving and merciful. Forgiveness and eternal life are gifts that God wants to give people through faith in Jesus. Luther’s goal was therefore not to add to Scripture or to split the church, but to re-form it from within to ensure that God’s gifts in Jesus were freely proclaimed with clarity and purity.

During the time of the Reformation, much of the church was reformed and revitalized and brought back to its biblical roots. The teachings of the Lutherans were gathered together in the Book of Concord of 1580, and are used as a confession of faith by our church body. These documents are viewed as true expositions of Scripture. In other words, the Book of Concord points to and summarizes the most important teachings of Scripture. They are not meant to be a replacement or substitute for Scripture, however, just like a road map that summarized a journey would never be a substitute for an actual trip.

Three main biblical teachings are important to Lutherans.  They are:

  • Grace Alone.  The Bible teaches that we are saved from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation only by God’s grace, his undeserved favor toward us.  Human beings cannot earn salvation or a place in the new creation. God, in his rich mercy, wants us to have eternal life with Him. Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
  • Faith Alone.  Faith is the only way in which we can receive God’s gifts of grace. Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, and is a creation not of man, but of God. 1 Corinthians  12:3 says, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” See also Romans 10:17. Faith is created and sustained by God working through his Word, through Baptism, and through the Lord’s Supper.
  • Scripture Alone.  The writings of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the only rule and norm by which all doctrines and teachers are measured and judged (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
  • Scripture tells Christians to pursue unity in the church, so Light of the Hills belongs to a fellowship of Lutheran Christians (John 17:20-23; Ephesians 4:3), called the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). The LCMS is a biblically traditional church body of approximately 6,000 churches in the United States. In turn, the LCMS is in official fellowship with many other Lutheran church bodies in their respective countries, connecting us to millions of other Lutherans around the globe.

    Far from binding us to a stale fellowship or empty rituals, this relationship energizes the church as we work together to advance God’s ministry and mission. This partnership also helps us to pursue true unity by providing more opportunities to share resources, encourage each other, hold one another accountable, engage in dialogue, and partner in mission. It also helps us to avoid the sort of superficial unity that would have us pretend our differences don’t exist. Instead, we can “put our cards on the table” as Lutheran Christians right away and be kind but transparent when it comes to talking about our beliefs with other Christians. In turn, this makes it easier to identify points of agreement and engage in constructive and charitable dialogue in areas where we differ.

    The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is called a “confessional” church body because we publicly confess our faith. We believe that the three ecumenical creeds are faithful declarations of the Christian faith. These include the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Likewise, the documents contained in the Book of Concord written in the 16th century are considered to be creedal confessions of the basic Christian faith, derived from Scripture.

    Our church is also a sacramental church.  We teach and practice two sacraments, or sacred acts drawn from Scripture:  Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In the Lutheran church these, along with God’s Word, are called “Means of Grace.” In other words, the Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper are “vehicles” or means of God giving his grace to his people.

    We believe that baptism is first and foremost God’s work, where he forgives sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Titus 3:5-7; Acts 2:38). Because the Bible teaches that Baptism begins with God’s action of grace, we baptize children and infants as well as adults.

    We believe that in the Lord’s Supper, along with the bread and wine, the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is actually given and received by those who eat and drink. Jesus himself declares, “This is my body…This is my blood” (Matthew 26:26-28).  The Bible teaches also that our sins are forgiven, for Jesus says in Matthew 26:28, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Because 1 Corinthians 11:28 says that we are to examine ourselves before we eat and drink, a period of instruction is appropriate before communing at the altar.

    For a fuller explanation of Lutheran teaching, we encourage you to look at the Belief and Practice or Frequently Asked Questions portions of the LCMS website. For in-depth analysis of what Lutherans believe on various topics, the LCMS maintains collections of reports from our Commission on Theology and Church Relations, which are written and produced by a team of laity and professional theologians. Our church body also has its own publishing house, Concordia Publishing House (CPH), where you can shop for books, Bible study materials, and other church-related products.

    Lutheran Hour Ministries, an organization of the LCMS that hosts various radio programs and provides resources, has put together a helpful topical series called GODCONNECTS covering topics such as “Why Jesus?,” “Why the Bible?,” “The End of Time,” and more.

    God Connects – Promo from Lutheran Hour Ministries on Vimeo.