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What kind of Lutheran Church is Gloria Christi?  What's different and what's the same?

2 Corinthians 4:1-15

Gloria Christi Lutheran Church - Greeley, Colorado

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Jesus is the only way to heaven
Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

1 Peter 1:3-12

"The early church was married to poverty, prison and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity" - Leonard Ravenhill
Isn't the church about personalities, programs, and success?  Don't we go for some religious entertainment?  No, actually, at least not if you are seeking the Christ of the Holy Bible and the Creeds.  In our area of Colorado, Gloria Christi stands as an alternative to what our society thinks is a "relevant" church or what is really "Spirit-filled" as they say.  So Gloria Christi won't be the biggest, the most slick, offering a buffet of programs and small groups for every taste, lifestyle or life situation.  But then again, ours is not simply a religious business but a congregation gathered by Christ around His Word and Sacraments in that ancient liturgy which has been passed down through the ages as a living tradition that is both evangelical and catholic, full of the Holy Spirit's work in the past and now among us.
 
"Gloria Christi" means "Glory of Christ" in Latin. This name of our Lutheran congregation expresses the Christ-centered message and worship life of the church in this place and the acknowledgment of His holy presence with us by means of His Word and Sacraments.  In short, when you depart for home after service on Sunday morning, you know you've been to church, and have been at the receiving end of God's grace in Christ.   We see the Divine Service as an encounter with Christ Jesus Himself in His Word and Sacraments, more than an opportunity for an educational lecture or "spiritual entertainment."  

Gloria Christi is a traditional Lutheran church.  We stand out from many other Lutheran churches in that we still follow the historic Lutheran liturgy with reverence and joy in God's presence.  We recognize that the Church is in the world, but not of the world, yet while each of us serves God faithfully in our various daily callings (stations) in life (not only in "church work").   We seek to address the modern, cutting-edge, issues of the day, with the unchanging truth of God's Word and the historic creeds and confessions of the Church. 

We also hold to the Scriptures as the inspired, errorless written Word of God, and the Lutheran Confessions of 1580 as a faithful summary of Scriptural teaching and practice.   These are authoritative for us.  Therefore we avoid mimicking generic American protestant trends, movements, and fads, which preach the Christian instead of Christ Himself.  We avoid the errors of Pietism and the charismatic movement.  And we also avoid the liberal moral tendencies of mainline churches and culture which seek to erode traditional marriage and morality as God designed His creation, as well as the denial of objective truth.

We hold that we are justified before God by grace alone (a pure gift) through faith alone (trust) for the sake of Jesus' death and resurrection to redeem all people in the world.  We believe this salvation is delivered to us through the Word and the Holy Sacraments, and that the Holy Spirit and God's Word are inseparable.  In short, we resolve to teach the apostolic faith (Acts 2:42) which was once for all delivered the saints (Jude 3). 

Our life together centers around that eternal Gospel (Revelation 14) in Jesus Christ who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.   Rather than being built around programs and personalities, our life together revolves around the worship of the Lamb who was slain and yet lives (Revelation 4,5).  We take up our cross and follow Christ the Lord faithfully, rejoicing together in times of joy as well as sadness, knowing the Lord Jesus is with us and conquered sin, death, and the devil. 

 

To put labels to us, Gloria Christi Lutheran Church is:

biblical - We teach the Scriptures as the inspired, inerrant, powerful, and authoritative written Word of God (2 Peter 1:16-21; 2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 119). We teach that God made the creation in six days by His powerful Word. We hold to the Scriptural moral and ethical teachings as they have been biblically and historically known among traditional Christians. We acknowledge in the order of creation a natural law revealed to the human conscience and in the design of the universe.

evangelical - We teach justification by grace alone through faith alone for the sake of Christ, the crucified and risen Lord. We teach that Christ, true God and true man, the sinless and holy one, died for all people of all time(Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 10:17; Galatians 3:10-14; Titus 3:4-7; Romans 1:16; see Augsburg Confession, Article IV).  We are an assembly of baptized believers in Christ who trust in the forgiveness of their sins in Christ alone.  Holiness and forgiveness is given to us in God's mercy, and is not something we earn or conjure up from within ourselves.  Our faith is in Christ and His Word, and not in ourselves.

apostolic - We understand that we, as the Body of Christ, are sent to faithfully teach the faith as it was received and passed on by the holy apostles of Christ (Acts 2:42; Matthew 28:16-20). We teach that the Church is to make disciples of all nations, skin colors, languages, ages, male and female, by means of baptizing and teaching all things Christ has given. We do not accept racism or racial (ethnic) segregation, but teach the Church is unified in Christ as a new people and nation (I Peter 2:9-10). The Church is a culture all her own as she is gathered out of the world.  To be apostolic is to be in mission according to our vocations in life, and together as the church is gathered as the Body of Christ.  We proclaim the Lord's death until He comes again openly in glory.

catholic - We teach and confess what has been taught by the faithful church through the ages without addition or subtraction. We do not understand the Lutheran Church to be a new church (Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:21; Matthew 16:12-25). We affirm the continuity of the church through the ages from biblical times, through the early church fathers and the Lutheran Reformation to this day. We seek to teach the biblical faith "according to the whole."

creedal and confessional - We hold to the Lutheran Confessions, as contained in the Book of Concord of 1580, without reservation, because they are a faithful summary and exposition of Scriptural teaching and practice (quia subscription, as it is called). Besides the Reformation era confessions we also confess the three "ecumenical" or ancient Creeds - the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian (Matthew 16).

trinitarian - We confess that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit eternally as is stated in Scripture and in the three historic Creeds and in the early councils of the Church.

orthodox and liturgical - We teach and practice the historically-received sacramental and liturgical practice that the church has known and handed on. We do not presume to worship in a way in which it has never been done before by apostolic Christians (Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 11:17-32; Hebrews 12:18-29). We understand that the Word of God, Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord's Supper are means of God's grace and are truly the works of God and not of man. We therefore understand them to be the instruments of the Holy Spirit. We do not understand "right doctrine" to be merely something written paper or on a shelf nor merely the purity of an ideology. Where the Gospel is purely preached and the sacraments are rightly administered, there one can find the truly "Spirit-filled" church regardless of mood.

sacramental - We believe the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper are not symbolic or simply testimonies of a Christian to others in the Church.  We believe Baptism is really a washing of regeneration, a means of grace, a means of the Holy Spirit, the washing of water with the Word, and the new birth of water and the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 5:25-28; Romans 6:1-8).  We believe Baptism is something God does and not something we do.  We believe that in the Lord's Supper the consecrated bread is really the very body of Christ and the blessed wine is really the very blood of Christ given for the forgiveness of sins (I Corinthians 10:16, 11:22-26; Luke 22:27; Matthew 26).   We also believe that the holy absolution declared in the Divine Service or in private confession is really a means of grace, instituted by Christ Himself (John 20:19-23).   We believe the sacraments are really the work of God and not of man, though God uses His ministers and the earthly elements Christ mandated as instruments of the Holy Spirit.  We also believe the canonical Scriptures and the proclaimed Word are powerful and effective - though the Gospel is rejectable and forced on no one (Romans 1:16; Romans 10:17; Isaiah 55:10-11).

Gloria Christi Lutheran Church (LCMS)

1322 31st Avenue

Greeley, Colorado 80634

(970) 353-2554
 

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