Lutherans don’t so much look for what will make them “different” from other denominations, as they seek what will join them to Christ through the faithful keeping of what the prophets and apostles have taught. What joins us to believers of all times and places can be summed up in four points:
Sola Gratia — “Grace Alone”
Fallen humans are only restored to live with God by His good will toward us, shown in Christ. We can do nothing to earn or deserve God’s love.
Sola Fide — “Faith Alone”
A believer receives the benefit of God's grace and Christ’s work by trusting God’s Word and promise. Faith is not so much a “decision” as it is the movement of the heart that the Holy Spirit works in us when we are born to a new life.
Sola Scriptura — “The Word Alone”
The Holy Bible, inspired by God, is the only reliable source of truth about grace and life. In the history it recounts, the Bible shows us exactly what we need to know and believe (no more, no less) to have a life in Christ. Because the Scriptures were inspired, we also teach that as God originally gave them, the writings were without error.
Solus Christus — “Christ Alone”
Jesus Christ, perfectly divine and perfectly human, is the center of Scripture, the object of faith, and our hope for grace; it is in Christ alone that we have new life. It is Christ alone Whose death covers our sin; it is Christ alone Who, rising from the grave gives eternal life to those who call upon Him in faith.
For further information or answers to a specific concern, position papers of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod may be obtained free of charge by calling Mt. Calvary’s church office at (309) 688-4321 and requesting the “What about...” series.