LOVT is a ministry of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). Click here to read a more detailed explanation of what LOVT and the LCMS believe. An outline of our core beliefs follow.
On the basis of the Holy Scriptures we believe in the Holy Trinity; that is, we teach that the one true God (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 8:4), is the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, three distinct persons, but of one and the same divine essence, equal in power, equal in eternity, equal in majesty (Col. 2:9, Matt. 28:19). We hold that all teachers and communions that deny the teaching of the Holy Trinity are outside of the Christian Church. The Triune God is gracious to man (John 3:16-18; 1 Cor. 12:3). Since the Fall, no man can believe in the “fatherhood” of God except he believe in the eternal Son of God, who became man and reconciled us to God by His vicarious satisfaction (1 John 2:23; John 14:6).
Humans and Sin
We teach that the first humans were not brutelike nor merely capable of intellectual development, but that God created them in His own image (Gen. 1:26, 27; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). We furthermore teach that sin came into the world by the fall of the first man, as described in Gen. 3. By this Fall not only he himself, but also his natural offspring have lost the original knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, and thus all people are at birth already sinners, dead in sins, inclined to all evil, and subject to the wrath of God (Rom. 5:12, 18; Eph. 2:1-3). We teach also that men are unable, through any efforts of their own or by the aid of any earthly thing to reconcile themselves to God and thus conquer death and damnation.
Christ Jesus and Redemption
We teach that in the fullness of time the eternal Son of God was made man by assuming, from the Virgin Mary through the operation of the Holy Spirit, a human nature like unto ours, yet without sin, and receiving it unto His divine person. Jesus Christ is therefore “true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary,” true God and true man in one undivided and indivisible person. The purpose of this miraculous incarnation of the Son of God was that He might become the Mediator between God and men, both fulfilling the divine Law and suffering and dying in the place of mankind. In this manner God reconciled the whole sinful world unto Himself (Gal. 4:4, 5; 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19).
Holy Scripture sums up all its teachings regarding the love of God to the world of sinners, the salvation won by Christ, and faith in Christ as the only way to obtain salvation, in the article of justification. Scripture teaches that God has already declared the whole world to be righteous in Christ (Rom. 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-21; Rom. 4:25). Therefore not for the sake of good works, but by grace, for Christ’s sake, God accounts all those who believe, accept, and rely on, the fact that for Christ’s sake their sins are forgiven as righteous. Thus the Holy Spirit testifies through St. Paul: “There is no difference; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Rom. 3:23-24. And again: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law,” Rom. 3:28.
Through Christ’s holy life, innocent suffering, death, and resurrection He is our Savior. And this teaching alone comforts poor sinners with the confidence that God is assuredly gracious to them. We reject as apostasy from the Christian Religion all doctrines whereby man’s own works and merit are mingled into the article of justification before God. For the Christian religion is the faith that we have forgiveness of sins and salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (Acts 10:43).
Faith in Christ
Because God has reconciled the whole world unto Himself through the vicarious life and death of His Son and has commanded the message of Christ to be proclaimed to all people so that they may believe (2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Rom. 1:5), we therefore teach that faith in Christ is the only way for men to obtain personal reconciliation with God, that is, forgiveness of sins, as both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures testify (Acts 10:43; John 3:16-18, 36). By faith in Christ, is not meant any human effort to do good works after the example of Christ, but faith in the Gospel, that is, in the forgiveness of sins, or justification, which was fully earned for us by Christ and is offered by the Gospel. This faith justifies, not because it is a work of man, but because it lays hold of the grace offered, the forgiveness of sins (Rom. 4:16).
We teach that the Holy Scriptures differ from all other books in the world in that they are the Word of God. They are the Word of God because the holy men of God who wrote the Scriptures wrote only that which the Holy Ghost communicated to them by inspiration, 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21. This is taught by direct statements of the Scriptures, 2 Tim. 3:16, John 10:35, Rom. 3:2; 1 Cor. 2:13. They contain no errors or contradictions, but are in all their parts and words the infallible truth, including those parts which treat of historical, geographical, and other secular matters, John 10:35.
We furthermore teach regarding the Holy Scriptures that they are given by God to the Christian Church for the foundation of faith, Eph. 2:20. They are the sole source from which all doctrines proclaimed in the Christian Church must be taken and therefore the sole rule and norm by which all teachers and doctrines must be examined and judged.
We reject the teaching that Holy Scripture is only in part the Word of God and in part the word of man and might contain error. We reject this erroneous teaching because it flatly contradicts Christ and His holy apostles, set up men as judges over the Word of God, and thus overthrows the foundation of the Christian Church and its faith.