About the ELCA
What We Believe
Lutherans believe in the Triune God. God created and loves all of creation -- the earth and the seas and all of the world’s inhabitants. We believe that God's Son, Jesus Christ, transforms lives through his death on the cross and his new life, and we trust that God's Spirit is active in the world.
We are a part of God's unfolding plan. We connect with believers everywhere. When we study the Bible or hear God's Word in worship, we are drawn more deeply into the story of the salvation of God's people through Christ Jesus.
ELCA Confession of Faith
This church confesses the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
This church confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe
Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate, through whom everything was made and through whose life, death, and resurrection God fashions a new creation.
The proclamation of God's message to us as both Law and Gospel is the Word of God, revealing judgment and mercy through word and deed, beginning with the Word in creation, continuing in the history of Israel, and centering in all its fullness in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God. Inspired by God's Spirit speaking through their authors, they record and announce God's revelation centering in Jesus Christ. Through them God's Spirit speaks to us to create and sustain Christian faith and fellowship for service in the world.
This church accepts the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of its proclamation, faith, and life.
This church accepts the Apostle's, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds as true declarations of the faith of this church.
This church accepts the Unaltered Augsburg Confession as a true witness to the Gospel, acknowledging as one with it in faith and doctrine all churches that likewise accept the teachings of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.
This church accepts the other confessional writings in the Book of Concord, namely, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, the Smalcald Articles and the Treatise, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Formula of Concord, as further valid interpretations of the faith of the Church.
This church confesses the Gospel, recorded in the Holy Scriptures and confessed in the ecumenical creeds and Lutheran confessional writings, as the power of God to create and sustain the Church for God's mission in the world.
The Confession of Faith is published in the Constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
History of the ELCA
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America was formed over 20 years ago. This new church was formed from three separate and well-established North American church bodies:
The American Lutheran Church
The Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, and
The Lutheran Church in America.
Beginning January 1, 1988, these churches, with shared beliefs and missions, officially formed the ELCA. Two decades later, this energized church is composed of 4.8 million members and nearly 10,500 congregations across the U.S. and Caribbean. Today, the ELCA reflects the rich and diverse heritage of the people it serves.
But to understand our heritage fully, one must trace our roots back through the mid-17th century, when early Lutherans came to America from Europe, settling in the Virgin Islands and the area that is now known as New York. Even before that, Martin Luther sought reform for the church in the 16th century, laying the framework for our beliefs.