VALUES AND BELIEFS
Faith = A living, daring confidence in God’s grace.
When Lutherans talk about faith, we are talking about the relationship God’s Holy Spirit creates with us. It’s a relationship where God’s promise of steadfast love and mercy in Jesus opens us to a life of bold trust in God and joyful, generous service to everyone we know and meet in daily life.
Martin Luther focused on the grace of God, which is God's unconditional love and forgiveness given to humanity through Jesus Christ. Grace is God's free gift and comes with no strings attached. Grace sets us free from guilt, fear, and worry. Grace is the cornerstone of our Christian faith.
Martin Luther was exuberant when he described the freedom of “a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that believers would stake their lives on it a thousand times.” He wrote, “Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. It is impossible for it not to be doing good things unceasingly.”
At First Immanuel we interpret the Bible in a way that takes scripture "seriously, but not literally" -- to borrow a phrase from theologian Marcus Borg. We believe the Bible is written to communicate God's saving love and goodness. We take seriously the historical and metaphorical meanings of each scripture reading, and we also ask, "How is God speaking to us through this passage, at our moment in time, given our cultural situation today?"
Faith does not close our minds to the world or close our hearts to others - rather, faith opens our hearts to Christ's inspiration and calling today. We continue to listen to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. We listen to the witness of others and we watch for the ways God is active in the world around us. Faith opens a place for engaging all people in conversation, for seeking the truth, for asking questions and speaking love in word and deed.
Our formal faith convictions are expressed in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, in Lutheran confessional writings (collected as the Book of Concord), and in the ELCA Confession of Faith. Martin Luther's Small Catechism is a simple and beautiful summary of our faith which continues to speak today.
A WELCOMING COMMUNITY, CENTERED IN CHRIST'S LOVE, JOYFULLY REACHING OUT TOGETHER
We are a "Reconciling in Christ" congregation. Together, in our diversity, we seek to embrace the love of God and welcome ALL people in Christ Jesus, including people of every race, ethnic background, social status. physical limitation, sexual orientation and gender identity. (Click link above to learn about the ministry of ReconcilingWorks.)