We bear witness that the Bible is the only authentic and infallible source of God’s revelation to mankind, and that it is the only inerrant and completely adequate source and norm of Christian doctrine and life. We hold that the Bible is inerrant in its original manuscripts, and as a whole and in all its parts, the Word of God under all circumstances regardless of one’s attitude toward it. (AFLC “Declaration of Faith”)
The Triune God
We bear witness that God is one divine essence, and that there are three persons in this one divine essence, equal in power and alike eternal: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. All three are one divine essence, eternal, without division, without end, of infinite power, holiness, wisdom, and goodness. (Augsburg Confession, Art. I)
We bear witness that God is the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. We bear witness that the Genesis account of human origins is a faithful historical record in which God created the universe including Adam and Eve in six literal days. (Free Lutheran Seminary Corporation, June 13, 2007)
The Lord Jesus Christ
We bear witness that God the Son became man, born of the Virgin Mary, and that the two natures, divine and human, are so inseparably united in one person that there is one Christ, true God and true man, who was truly born, suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried in order to be a sacrifice not only for original sin but also for all other sins and to propitiate God’s wrath. The same Christ also descended into hell, truly rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God that he may eternally rule and have dominion over all creatures. The same Lord Jesus Christ will return openly to judge the living and the dead. (Augsburg Confession, Art. III)
The Holy Spirit
We bear witness that the Holy Spirit is true God together with the God the Father and the God the Son. Through the Word of God, the Holy Spirit uses the Law to awaken in our hearts a deep sense of sin and the Gospel in Word and Sacrament to cause us to receive the grace of God in Christ. Through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, one’s knowledge of the Gospel becomes a true and living faith as a repentant sinner lays hold of Christ as His only Savior from sin, death, and the power of Satan. We bear witness that the Holy Spirit graciously sanctifies a believer in which He day by day renews him more and more after the image of God. Through the Word of God and the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Spirit graciously preserves the believer through all temptations in the true and living faith until the end. (Luther’s Small Catechism and Explanation, Questions 199, 202, 203, 210, 212, 229, 233)
The Human Race
We bear witness that although Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, because of the temptation of Satan and their fall into sin, every person propagated according to nature is born in sin. We bear witness that this hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit. (Augsburg Confession, Art. II)
The Way of Salvation
We bear witness that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that in justification, we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. We bear witness that God regards and reckons this faith as righteousness. (Augsburg Confession, Art. IV)
The Christian Life
We bear witness that sanctification is the gracious work of the Holy Spirit whereby He day by day renews the believer more and more after the image of God. Empowered and motivated by the Holy Spirit and the Gospel of grace, the believer denies himself, strives against the devil, the world, and his own flesh and grows in love toward God and man and seeks to do the will of God in all things. (Luther’s Small Catechism and Explanation, Questions 229, 231)
The Means of Grace
We bear witness that the Means of Grace, Gospel-Word and Sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), are the instruments through which the saving and sanctifying benefits of Christ’s death on the cross are conveyed to a repentant and believing sinner. Through these means, God gives the Holy Spirit who creates faith in those who hear the Gospel. We bear witness that the Sacraments are holy ordinances made by God Himself, in which He gives and confirms His invisible grace through outward and visible means. We bear witness that since Baptism is offered to all and since all are born in a state of sin, infants too should be baptized, receiving therein the regeneration conveyed through water and the Spirit. We bear witness that the Lord’s Supper is for true Christians wherein the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation are given through believing reception of the true Body and true Blood of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine. (Augsburg Confession, Art.’s IX, X, XIII; Luther’s Small Catechism and Explanation, Questions 333-357)
The Christian Church
We bear witness that the one holy Christian Church is the assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in its purity and the Sacraments are administered according to the Gospel. We bear witness that the holy Christian Church is found in the congregation which is the right form of the Kingdom of God on earth. We bear witness that the congregation consists of believers who, by using the Means of Grace and the spiritual gifts as directed by the Word of God, seek salvation and eternal blessedness for themselves and for their fellow men. We bear witness that the congregation is subject to the Word and Spirit of God, and acknowledges no other ecclesiastical authority or government above itself.(Augsburg Confession, Art. VII; AFLC Fundamental Principles, Nos. 1, 2, and 5)
The Office of the Ministry
We bear witness that although every believer is a member of the “priesthood of all believers,” the office of pastoral ministry has been instituted by the Lord Jesus Christ for the preaching and teaching of God’s Word and the administration of the Sacraments. A pastor is first of all, a servant of Christ and His Word, and also a servant of the congregation as he administers these Means of Grace. We bear witness further that the order of Creation and the testimony of Scripture, together with the example of Christ and His apostles, teach that women should not hold the pastoral office. (Augsburg Confession, Art. V), et al.
The Return of Christ
We bear witness that the Lord Jesus Christ will return on the last day for judgment and will raise up all the dead, to give eternal life and everlasting joy to those who believe and are elect but to condemn the ungodly and the devil to hell and eternal punishment. We bear witness that eternal life is the blessed state in which believers are free from all evil and live forever in fellowship with their God and Savior, praising God in the company of the holy angels, in everlasting peace and joy. We bear witness that eternal punishment is the dreadful state of separation from God, and everlasting anguish and suffering in hell.(Augsburg Confession, Art. XVII; Luther’s Small Catechism and Explanation, Questions 259, 260).
The Lutheran Confessions
We bear witness that the Apostolic, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, and Luther’s Small Catechism are faithful expositions of the truths of Scripture.
The Fundamental Principles
We bear witness that the “Fundamental Principles” of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations are a faithful exposition of the truths of Scripture regarding the nature and mission of the Christian congregation.