What We Believe
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church and Campus Center is a congregation of Christians teaching the Gospel of forgiveness to the University of Wyoming and Laramie. We are congregation in the Wyoming District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. We love God’s Word, hearing it, speaking it, singing it, praying, confessing it, and talking about it, and we love each other.
We believe and teach that the only true God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one divine essence, as the Scriptures teach Him. We know the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds to confess what the Old and New Testaments both teach about God.
We believe and confess that all people are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God. By nature all people lack true fear, love, and trust in God that we were created with. We cannot by our own understanding or willpower or works come to or trust in Him. Sin severs us from God until our sin is taken away. Until we come to know God in Christ we will only finally trust in ourselves and in gods of our own making.
To save us from our sins, from death, and from judgment, God loved the world and sent His only begotten Son to become man and to take our place beneath the judgment God rightly has against our sin. He became our substitute, obeying God’s Law on our behalf, and suffering the punishment the Law justly threatens sinners with. Jesus is the eternal Son of God and so it true God. Jesus was born in time of the Virgin Mary without sin. We believe is our Lord because He has shown himself Lord over our sin by shedding his blood, over death by rising from the grave, and over the devil taking away his power to accuse our consciences. Whoever believes in Him as eternal life and will not enter into judgment.
So that we may believe in Jesus, God established the office of preaching the Gospel, which is the good news that God loves us in His Son Jesus by forgiving us our sins and giving us eternal life. The Gospel includes baptizing and giving Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel and sacraments to work faith in our hearts that we do not become righteous in front of God by what we do, but by His mercy and undeserved love (grace) towards us in Christ.
Living as a Christian
God saved us not for a life of futility, but to serve Him with good works which He prepared beforehand for us to walk in. Good works flow from faith in Jesus, not the other way around.
There is only once Church that will live forever. The Church is the congregation or communion of saints or lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd in the Gospel and sacraments. The Church is united by the pure teaching of the Gospel and the right use of the sacraments. We do not need the same rites or ceremonies to be united. This one Church is hidden from our eyes on this earth, but we find it by hearing the Gospel and receiving the sacraments.
“Baptism does also now save you.” “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” On the basis of the Scriptures, we believe that baptism saves us, not because it is a work that we do, but because the Word of God with the water brings us the forgiveness Christ earned for us on the cross. Without faith baptism does not save – “Whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
The Lord’s Supper
“This is my body…this is my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” The Bible teaches that we receive the actual body and blood of Christ in the Supper he instituted. The Bible teaches that is “for the forgiveness of sins.” It is not merely a symbol. The Lord’s Supper is not so much our action, but God’s action towards us through His word. His Word tells us what He gives us. We believe Him.
God gives His Church the authority to forgive sins. (John 20:22-23) For the comfort of troubled consciences we maintain the tradition of the pastor absolving the sins of those who confess them to God. The pastor does this by the authority of Christ, not from his own worthiness or some power of his own.
The writings (scriptures) of the prophets and apostles in the Old and New Testaments were given by God, and since God cannot lie or make mistakes, the Bible has no errors and cannot deceive us in anything at all. Its main message is the Gospel, or good news that God loves sinners and sent His Son to die and rise for them and give them eternal life. Knowing the difference between the Law and the Gospel is essential to understanding and interpreting Scripture.
We hold to the Book of Concord (Lutheran Confessions), including Luther’s Small Catechism, because it agrees with Scripture. The Bible is the only source and norm of our teaching. We hold to the Lutheran Confessions as we hold to the three ecumenical creeds, the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Athanasian. They faithfully present what God teaches in the Bible.