Built on the Rock of Christ
Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV) "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."
Whereas; the Word of God demands that a Christian congregation conform to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Tim 1:3-11, 1 Tim. 6:20, 1 Cor. 9:17-18, Gal. 2:7, 1 Th. 2:4, 2 Tim. 1:12-14, 2 Tim. 2:2, Gal. 5:6) and that all matters pertaining to worship and congregational conduct be in an orderly manner (1 Cor. 14:33, 1 Cor. 14:40, Col. 2:5), we, therefore, the members of Grace Lutheran Church, Paris, Texas, set forth this understanding according to which our congregational affairs, temporal and spiritual, shall be conducted.
The purpose of Grace Lutheran Church, Paris, TX shall be to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, with the aide of the Holy Spirit, Grace Lutheran Church shall endeavor to accomplish this purpose by conducting Divine Services which proclaim the pure Word of God, administer the Sacraments; Baptism, Holy Communion, and Absolution according to Christ’s command, provide Christian education for all its members, witness the Word of God and the love of the Gospel to all who will listen, provide comfort, aide and care to the sick, the impoverished and the elderly, and treat all persons with the love of Christ.
Grace Lutheran Church, Paris, TX acknowledges and accepts all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed Word of God in all its parts, verbally inspired and inerrantly true. We acknowledge and accept all the confessional writings of the Book of Concord (1580) to be the true and correct exposition of the doctrines of the Bible. These writings are; The three Ecumenical Creeds (Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian), the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles, the Large Catechism, the Small Catechism, and the Formula of Concord.
Article VII of the Augsburg Confession: “It is also taught among us that one holy Christian church will be and remain forever. This is the assembly of all believers among who the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel. For it is sufficient for the true unity of the Christian church that the Gospel be preached in conformity with a pure understanding of it and that the sacraments be administered in accordance with the divine Word. It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that ceremonies, instituted by men, should be observed uniformly in all places. It is as St. Paul says in Eph. 4:4 , 5 , ‘ There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. ’ ”
A Church of the Augsburg Confession
Grace Lutheran Church treasures fellowship in the Gospel and in the sacraments which it enjoys with its sister churches and which it expresses through altar and pulpit fellowship; and it fosters this fellowship with all diligence. However, in accord with Holy Scripture, we repudiate unionism, that is, church fellowship with the adherents of false doctrine, as disobedience to God’s command, as causing divisions in the church, Rom. 16:17; 2 John 9, 10, and as involving the constant danger of losing the Word of God entirely, 2 Tim. 2:17-21. Thus, we:
– Reject fellowship (altar and pulpit, joint work, or mixed prayer) with any organization or church body that perverts the Gospel.
– Reject all who would call for fellowship (altar and pulpit, joint work, or mixed prayer) with any church body that denies or subverts the Gospel.
A Church in Agreement with Walther
Grace Lutheran Church recognizes the writings of C.F.W. Walther to express a proper understanding of our Lutheran theology and practice, therefore,
– We accept C. F. W. Walther’s “Church and Ministry” as the official public doctrine for church and ministry of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
– We accept C. F. W. Walther’s “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel” as a proper understanding of the heart of Lutheran preaching.
Liturgical Worship (LSB/TLH)
To visibly express our faith as traditional, orthodox Lutherans, our worship services conform to the following:
– Christ-centered worship
– Faithfulness to the true Means of Grace; Word and Sacrament
– Closed Communion
– Liturgical conformity to hymnal service settings
– Vested Pastors
– Sacrificial and Sacramental worship rubrics
– Traditional Church calendar and holy days
– Liturgical conformity to the seasons of the church
– Traditional chancel furnishings: altar, pulpit, and lectern
– Lutheran hymnody
Therefore, we reject:
– Open Communion
– Non-liturgical forms of worship
– Use of non-Lutheran worship materials
– Contemporary or Praise forms of worship
– Un-vested pastors
– Removal of altar, pulpit, or lectern from the chancel
– Praise bands
– Theatrical skits
– Lay (non-elder) readers
– Non-elder lay communion assistances
– Female acolytes
Law and Gospel Preaching
Grace Lutheran Church requires her pastors to be orthodox Lutheran pastors who preach only Scripture inspired sermons, based on the Word of God while rightly dividing Law and Gospel. Therefore: A proper understanding of Law and Gospel is necessary to bring souls to salvation by convicting them of their sin and showing them God’s answer to their dilemma; forgiveness through Christ.
The members of Grace Lutheran Church believe, teach, and confess the “Theology of the Cross” which points solely to Christ crucified for the justification of sin. Therefore, Grace Lutheran Church rejects the “Theology of Glory” which teaches that man is empowered by his reason and abilities to save himself through his work.
New Member Catechesis
Grace Lutheran Church believes Lutherans are built through solid catechesis, therefore:
– All adult non-Lutheran candidates for membership shall undergo a comprehensive adult catechism class.
– All adult transfers shall be examined to determine level of Lutheran catechesis and catechized where necessary.
– All children shall undergo a two-year catechesis program.
The mission of Grace Lutheran Church is to faithfully proclaim the Gospel.
– When we are faithful to the Gospel, preaching and proclaiming God’s Word in all its truth and purity – we are being missional.
– Outreach is a result of faith, not a means of faith.
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