About Us

Statement of Faith

Abiding Faith is a member congregation of the South Central District of the Wisconsin Evangelical welssmallLutheran Synod (WELS).

WELS was founded in the state of Wisconsin nearly a centurly and a half ago, and now has congregations throughout the United States and Canada and supports foreign missions in many parts of the world. Our teaching is based on the Bible alone, not on human opinion or philosophy.

We believe that God has given the Bible to mankind to show the way to eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, and that the Bible is God’s truth in all its parts.  It is the only reliable guide we have for everything we face in life and death.

OUR BELIEFS

The World Teaches:

The Bible is simply an old document like any other and thus fundamentally flawed and in need of constant reinterpretation.

But Christ Teaches:

The Bible was verbally inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16), is perfect and unified in every way, and is entirely sufficient for every spiritual need (2 Tim. 3:17).  This Bible contains two fundamental messages that both revolve around Christ: Law and Gospel.  The Law is the message of what God demands (Lev. 19:2, Matt. 5:48) from us (and what we know we can’t do, Rom. 8:7), and the Gospel is God’s revelation of what Jesus Christ has done for us (John 5:39).

The World Teaches:

The Christian God is simply one in a million, and all religions have equally valid ways of getting to know Him.  This Christian God in particular is an outdated social construct.

But Christ Teaches:

From nature and our consciences, we learn only that there is a higher power that demands we be perfect (Rom. 1:20).  But from the Bible, we learn that there is one, Triune God (Father, Son and Spirit) fully revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Isa. 44:6, Matt. 28:19).  In the past two-thousand years since Christ, the church has produced several short statements to help distinguish true teaching about Jesus from distortions.  Three of these “creeds” – the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian – are recognized by Christians as accurate summaries of basic truths about Jesus.  Besides this, the Lutheran Confessions, collected during the 1500s, are also reliable expositions of true Christian teaching.

The World Teaches:

The earth is millions of years old, the product of chance, and an imperfect result of natural processes. The Bible’s account of Genesis is simply myth or poetry; humans are essentially the same as any other animal; and people are either good or morally neutral by nature (certainly not sinful to the core). Further, there is no purpose to life except what we construct for ourselves.

But Christ Teaches:

The Bible presents a true, historical account of creation – namely, that God created heaven and earth and all the kinds of creatures in six 24-hour days (Gen. 1,2). Adam and Eve were created in God’s image for the purpose of caring for, filling, and enjoying the world He created (Gen. 1:26ff). But Adam and Eve lost this perfect image by going against God. As a result, they were brought into His judgment (Gen. 3). This original sin was passed on to us, Adam and Eve’s descendants (Rom. 5:18, John 3:6). People no longer are born good by nature but totally sinful and hostile to God (Eph. 2:1).

The World Teaches:

Although maybe wise or an inspiring moral teacher, Jesus was just a human being who ultimately died a death like any other person.

But Christ Teaches:

When our imperfect natures made us unable to keep God’s law, Jesus was sent by the Father to fulfill the Law for us (Matt. 5:17). Since God is Jesus’ father, Jesus is one-hundred percent God and completely sinless.  At the same time, being born by the virgin Mary, He became one-hundred percent human at the same time as he was and always has been 100% God.  Even though completely God, Jesus took on the form of a servant and laid aside His full godly powers. Therefore, He endured suffering, temptation, and humbled Himself to a shameful death (Phil. 2:7,8). By suffering and dying, Jesus took the punishment that should have been ours.  Through His perfect obedience He became a ransom for us (Isa. 53:6, Matt. 20:28). For this reason, Christians proclaim that the forgiveness of sins has been gained entirely through Jesus – that God has literally justified all people (2 Cor. 5:21). On the third day after His death, He rose from the dead and ascended, assuring us that He was who He claimed to be and that our sins were certainly forgiven (Rom. 4:25).

The World Teaches:

If there is, in fact, something wrong with people, we need to save ourselves; and people have the ability to save themselves. If there is a God, deep down there is enough good in each one of us to dig ourselves out of our problems or at least contribute something to save ourselves, even if that means at least committing our lives to Him.

But Christ Teaches:

Because Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, God now looks on us as His innocent children. Although we continue to struggle with sin, in God’s eyes we are completely justified. This forgiveness of sins that Christ won for us on the cross is completely and totally a free gift from God (Eph. 2:8,9). In no way, shape, or form do we deserve the gift; there is nothing we can do to accept the gift; and we cannot even cooperate with God in the reception of the gift (Eph. 2:8-9). Instead, God the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts to receive this gift of justification (1 Cor. 2:14). Paul solidifies this fact when he says that we have been saved “by grace” (Eph. 2:8). Christ teaches that believers were chosen for salvation before creation (Eph. 1:4-6), but Christ does not teach that unbelievers were chosen for damnation before creation. Rather, the rejection of this gift is entirely the result of each person’s own will and has nothing to do with God’s will.  Christ wishes all to be saved and gave His life for every person in  the entire world (John 3:16).

The World Teaches:

The purpose of doing good in the world is to improve our own situation, to earn favor with others (even God), or because it simply makes us feel better about ourselves. What is in fact the right thing to do, though, is for each of us to decide on our own. No one person knows for sure what’s right and wrong, so no one should impose their morality on anyone else.

But Christ Teaches:

Christ’s life of love and His death on the cross moves us in love and gratitude to seek out a life pleasing to Him (John 15:5). The law that condemned us as unbelievers now becomes our guide in life, and, because of the working of the Holy Spirit on our hearts, we strive to take pleasure in living the way He originally designed us to live. The Ten Commandments remains for us a summary of the moral laws God wants us to live by, and they shape how we interact with God, each other, and society (Matt. 22:38-40). For example, one of the commandments teaches that all life is a gift of God. So we celebrate and cherish all life in whatever form it comes and reject abortion, suicide, and euthanasia. But God does not give us specific commands for every situation in life; instead, individuals are free to make decisions over many things that are neither forbidden nor commanded. In the end, though, no matter how well we think we pattern our lives after God’s Law, we realize that our works are still tainted by sin and that it’s only through Christ’s cross that God looks on us as His children and considers our works good (Rom. 7:18-21). The Holy Spirit enables us for this life of love, as well as equips us with all the spiritual gifts needed for spreading His Word and preserving our faith (1 Cor. 12:4-11). In the early church, the Spirit provided charismatic gifts (like healing and speaking in tongues), but these gifts functioned for the sole purpose of pointing people to Christ.  It was recognized that these charismatic gifts were for establishing churches and were to be replaced in Christian maturity with faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:1-13).

The World Teaches:

If there is a God, He would not hide but always be out in the open. He would sustain His church with huge displays of power and authority coming to us in visions and direct intervention.

But Christ Teaches:

The message of salvation faith in God is given to us by the Holy Spirit simply, quietly, and mysteriously through what are called the Means of Grace: God’s Word, baptism, and communion. It is through the Word (the speaking of the gospel message) that people come to know Christ (Rom. 10:17), through baptism (the application of water with the word) that the Holy Spirit miraculously applies the gospel to sinners giving them new life (Tit. 3:5, Acts 2:38), and through communion (the Lord’s Supper) that Christ’s body and blood (present along with the bread and wine) is given for real forgiveness, comfort, and assurance in Christ’s work on the cross (1 Cor. 10:16). Through God’s Word and these two sacraments, God preserves and extends the Christian church throughout the world.  These are the only means through which people can be brought to faith and to life in heaven (Matt. 28:19,20). These are not merely signs or symbols but powerful spiritual acts, directly commanded by Christ to spread and strengthen His church.

The World teaches:

Religions should never be discriminatory and argumentative, but united. After all, they are simply different paths up the same mountain. All churches are equivalent and should unite together, never rejecting fellowship with another, because what matters most isn’t whether or not you’ve got it right, but that you’re sincere and seeking.

But Christ teaches:

There is only one true way to heaven, and therefore, there is only one true Christian church composed of believers who are scattered throughout the world (1Cor. 3:16, Eph. 1:23, 4:12). Since we cannot see the hearts of people and know that they have faith, this is an invisible body (2 Tim. 2:19). As such, it cannot be identified with any one church body. Yet, since wherever the gospel is preached and the sacraments are administered the holy Christian church is present, and since we know Christ wants believers to come together, we call these visible gatherings churches as well. Membership in these visible churches is a commitment to the church body’s doctrine and practice, and wherever doctrine and practice are in agreement, fellowship should also exist (John 8:31, 1 Thes. 5:21,22). But Christ commands believers not to practice church fellowship with people who persist in teaching or practicing beliefs that are contrary to God’s Word (2 John 10,11). Further, God has established this public ministry of the Word.  Even though all Christians have complete and equal access to God (1Pet. 2:9), God calls people to be public shepherds and servants of His church and children – servants called specifically for the task of preaching and guarding the truth about Christ (Eph. 4:11). Although Christ has provided much freedom in the organization of our churches and church offices, He has provided some principles, such as church leadership to men and not women (1 Tim. 2:11,12).

The World Teaches:

Some believe that the government has the right and responsibility to restrict the freedom of religion.  Others believe that the church ought to guide state affairs directly, and the government in turn ought to financially assist the church in its work. Some Christians believe that if the government is not Christian, they can openly disrespect and rebel against it.

But Christ Teaches:

God has also instituted government authority, and therefore Christians obey the government that rules over them unless the government commands them to disobey God (Rom. 13:1,5, Acts 5:29). God has given the church and the state their own distinct responsibilities. The church preaches law and gospel, administers sacraments, and encourages Christian living. The government keeps order and peace and arranges all civil matters in society according to the light of reason. The proper relationship is preserved between the two only when each remains within its divinely assigned sphere and uses. The church should not exercise civil authority, and the state should not seek to govern by the means of religion. Christians are members of both realms (the church and the state) (Rom. 13:6,7). Therefore we reject any views that look to the church to guide and influence the state directly.

The World Teaches:

There is no afterlife where we’ll have to account for what we’ve done in this life. Perhaps our spirits continue somehow; maybe we are reincarnated. But there is no final judgment.

But Christ Teaches:

Christ will come again visibly (Acts 1:11). No one knows the exact time, although Christ has given us signs to keep us in constant expectation of his return (Matt. 24:36). When He returns, all the dead will rise, souls will unite with bodies, and everyone will be judged by God. Unbelievers will be separated from Christ in hell, and believers, cleansed by the blood of Christ, will be with Jesus forever in heaven (Phil. 3:21). Christ does not teach a thousand year reign in an earthly kingdom or on earth.  He also does not teach that Christians will be “raptured” before non-Christians. Nor does Christ teach that one individual will arise in the end times as an Anti-Christ. Rather, the signs of the end times began during Jesus’ earthly ministry and have persisted to this day and until his return.

The World Teaches:

Either baptism is a pointless empty tradition, or it’s a symbolic act we do for God.  If it’s a pointless, empty tradition, then nothing is really going on; it’s just a meaningless, powerless sprinkling of water.  And if it’s a symbolic act we do for God, then it’s still simply the powerless sprinkling of water.

But Christ Teaches:

Baptism is not just a symbolic act; it’s something God does for us.  Baptism is literally God’s way of granting sinners new life.  Through the application of water and God’s Word, a baptized person becomes a child of God.  Their sins are entirely washed away so that when God looks on them, they are spotless and holy to Him (Tit. 3:5, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16).  Christ’s gift of baptism is for all people, including infants and young children.  Infants are born having inherited the same rebellion against God as their parents, and thus they’re sinful from the start (John 3:6, Ps 51:5).  Therefore, they need Christ’s blood to wash away their sins just as much as adults, and so they’re included in God’s command to go and baptize everyone (Matt. 28:19, Luke 18:15-17).

The World Teaches:

Either communion is a pointless empty tradition, or it’s a symbolic act we do for God.  If it’s a pointless, empty tradition, then nothing is really going on; it’s just a meaningless, powerless sip of wine and swallow of bread.  And if it is a symbolic act we do for God, then it’s still simply representational and has nothing to do with Christ’s actual body and blood.

But Christ Teaches:

Communion is not just a symbolic act; it is literally eating God’s body and blood together with the bread and wine.  Christ said, “This is my body.  This is my blood,” and we cannot waiver from this teaching (Matt. 26:28, 1 Cor. 10:16).  It is God’s Word that, together with the bread and wine, causes this miracle.  Through communion believers receive full and sure forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28).  In this way, communion is something God does for us, not something we do for God.  Through communion, God has given believers an actual communion with Him that provides comfort and assurance of our membership in His family. Just as communion is a beautiful act of fellowship between the communicants and God, it’s also a beautiful act of fellowship among the communicants receiving the bread, wine, body, and blood.  We are making a constant testimony as we commune together that “we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf,” (1 Cor. 10:17).  Therefore, if we are divided in what we believe, we should wait and be completely unified in what we believe and confess about Jesus before we commune together.

The World Teaches:

Some believe that there is no God. As such, they believe that there is no one outside of the human race available to reveal a moral code, so humans have to make up their own. Some believe that homosexuality has a genetic cause, so a person is born with a desire to love someone of the same sex.

But Christ Teaches:

Scripture declares that homosexuality is a sin (1 Cor. 6:9-11, 1 Tim. 1:8-10), which is contrary to God’s intention in creating man and woman. Sinful resistance to the revealed will of God is a factor in this sin. People may become slaves to this sin (Rom. 1:18-31, 1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Many factors contribute to individual acts of sin: the sinful nature we are born with, the weaknesses of our bodies, evil influences in our environment, temptations and encouragement from other sinners, and our own sinful choice join together to lead us into sin. All of these factors contribute to homosexual sin. The proportionate role of these various factors may vary from case to case.

We must warn the impenitent that homosexuality, like all sins, excludes people from eternal life (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). The church, therefore, must not, bless same-sex marriages or unions, since these are contrary to the will of God. The church must not place into nor retain in the public ministry of the Word people who defend, condone, or persist in words or actions that are contrary to God’s law.