CHRIST is a title that comes from the Greek word meaning, “Anointed One” In Hebrew, the word for Anointed One is “Messiah.” It refers to Jesus’ office as Prophet, High Priest, and King. It reminds us that in eternity God chose and in time promised and sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world. It also reminds us that both as individual Christians and as a congregation of Christians, “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
EVANGELICAL means “centered on the Gospel.” The Gospel is the good news that Jesus, our Savior, lived a holy life of obedience to God’s Law in our place, died on the cross as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and rose again on the third day as the sure guarantee that our sins have been forgiven. We call ourselves “evangelical” to remind ourselves that what St. Paul said in Romans 1 is also true for us, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”
LUTHERAN indicates our Scriptural position. What Martin Luther (1483-1546) taught and what confessional Lutheran churches continue to teach is not something new. Rather, it is the teaching of the Bible and that of the ancient church of the apostles and early Christians. As St. Paul writes to the Ephesians, "By grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast." To this very day, true Lutheran churches continue to teach what the Bible teaches, namely, that God saves sinners by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, and as revealed to us in Holy Scripture alone.
CHURCH comes from a Greek word literally meaning, “those who have been called out” as in 1 Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." Holy Scripture defines a church as an assembly of believers around the Gospel in Word and Sacraments (Holy Baptism and Holy Communion). Thus, we are also reminded of what our Savior’s purpose is for us.
As we gather to preach and teach, learn and hear the Gospel, Jesus our Savior
1) daily and fully forgives all sins to us;
2) sends us the Holy Spirit to strengthen our faith in Him as our Savior and Lord;
3) keeps us firm in this one true and saving faith as long as we live, until he brings us from the Church on earth to the Church in heaven;
4) and produces the fruits of good works in our hearts and lives. (Among these fruits of faith is that of “declaring the praises” of our Savior by proclaiming His Gospel to the world so that through it others may be called “out of darkness into his wonderful light.”)