The goal of Grace Lutheran Church & School is to place the timeless message of the Scriptures at the heart of everything we do.

Our faith is grounded in the Scriptures alone, and is represented well in the three historic creeds of Christendom:

The Apostles Creed  |   The Nicene Creed  |   The Athanasian Creed

Our Biblical faith is also explained and represented in detail by the so-called "Lutheran Confessions," credal documents written by church reformers in the 16th century and assembled in the Book of Concord of 1580.  These confessions include:

The Augsburg Confession  |   The Apology to the Augsburg Confession  |   The Smalcald Articles

Luther's Small Catechism  |   Luther's Large Catechism  |   The Formula of Concord

Since the documents above are historical and technical, we have summarized our teachings as briefly and best as possible below.  If you have specific questions relating to the doctrine or practice of Grace Lutheran Church & School, we'd encourage you to ask them of our pastor, Nathan Zastrow.  He can be contacted here via email.

  • The Main Thing

    The heart and soul of our faith is Jesus Christ.  Other religions sell promises of a better you.  "These are the rules that will get you into God's favor," or "Our principles will make you happy."  Christianity, by contrast, is the message of work already accomplished.  What our own efforts are powerless to do for us, the Bible says, "God did by sending his own Son" (Romans 8:3).  We believe that Jesus' perfect life, his very death, and his sin-defying, Devil-defeating resurrection are now free gifts that God gives to everyone who believes in him.  We call this good news "the gospel," and it's the core of our message.

  • The Scriptures

    We believe that God reveals himself in the written Word.  With an authorship that spans 1500 years and more than 150 human authors, the message of the Bible is miraculously clear and consistent.  That's because it was was authored, word-for-word in the original Hebrew and Greek, by God himself (2 Peter 1:21).  Rather than being "a product of its time" or some kind of extended commentary on a vaguely discernible truth, we believe that the Word itself is truth (John 17:17).  It applies to all people of all time.  We abhor the twisting of words or the clipping and cutting of contexts, and we work to understand the Scriptures in the same way that they are written.

  • God the Father + Creation

    We believe that God is triune, or three-in-one.  We leave it as a profound mystery how this can be true.  The first person of the Trinity is called "God the Father," and is strongly associated with the creation and preservation of the universe.  We believe that God created everything that exists in six 24-hour days at the beginning of time (Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11).  Since then, he has continued guiding and preserving his creation through both natural and miraculous means.  He sends rain on believers and unbelievers alike (Matthew 5:45), with the ultimate goal that creation continue until every soul which would be redeemed out of it would come to faith (Acts 17:27).

  • God the Son + Redemption

    We also believe in the second person of the Trinity, also God from eternity, through whom the universe came to be (Colossians 1:16, John 1:3).  In time, because of human sin, he took on our human nature.  He became a man, completely and irreversibly, by being born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Luke 2).  He did this so that he could overcome the corruption (sin) which had subjugated humans since our fall from God at the beginning of creation (Genesis 2-3).  As a man, he met God's expectations for humanity.  He was the person none of us could be.  And having lived a perfect life, he also died, before rising from the dead three days later.  He died (first) because the punishment of human sin was placed on him as the substitute for humanity (Isaiah 53:5), and (second) because we will pass through death ourselves, and his victory is a sign and promise from God that we, too, will be raised (1 Corinthians 15).

  • God the Spirit + Sanctification

    We also believe in the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who hovered over the waters as he brought forth the universe (Genesis 1:2).  The Scriptures call him "Counselor" and "Advocate," and he is closely identified with the creation and preservation of faith.  An invisible actor who accompanies the Word wherever it is shared, the growth of the Church has always been his doing.  In the lives of individuals, he is responsible for both their conversion and their continuation in faith (Galatians 5:22).  He does not draw attention to himself, but leads everyone to the Son (1 Corinthians 12:3).  We believe that the Holy Spirit's presence is identified by the presence of the Word rather than overt emotional experiences, or glossolalia (tongue-speaking), or other outward signs.

  • The Church

    We believe in the invisible Christian Church, which is the fellowship of all believers in Christ throughout the world and in all time.  This Church is only defined and known by God, who alone can read human hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).   We reject attempts to externalize the invisible Christian Church.  On the other hand, we believe it is the Biblical obligation of visible churches to conform themselves faithfully to the Word of God and refrain from entanglement with those who do not (Romans 16:17).   We reject any attempt to guarantee the character of a visible church or confuse it with the invisible Church by means of an office (i.e. papacy), a name (i.e. Lutheran), any kind of governance (i.e. congregational, episcopal, etc), or by any outward marker other than the presence and pure teaching of God's Word.

  • The Sacraments

    We accept two sacraments - Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper.  We define a "sacrament" as an act instituted by Christ, using an earthly element connected with God's Word, which offers the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.  The sacraments are the gospel made visible and tangible.  They give a real, imputed righteousness.  They are effective in this way not because of the deserving character of the recipient or the office of the celebrant (pastor); they are effective because God promises their gifts in his Word (1 Peter 3:21, Matthew 26:28).  We recognize both the need for and promise of salvation in baptism for infants.  We recognize the body and blood of the Lord together with bread and wine in the Supper (1 Corinthians 11:27).  We therefore withhold the Lord's Supper from the uninstructed, the unrepentant, and those who publicly deviate from Scripture (1 Corinthians 11).

Our Denomination

Grace Lutheran Church is a member-congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).  Often characterized as theologically conservative, our denomination places a high priority on a clear and united confession of the Scriptures.  We view ourselves as belonging to the Church catholic (the timeless and worldwide Christian Church), while holding steadfastly to Biblical teachings even when it may put us at odds with other churches or the mood of the day.  If you're interested in learning more about the beliefs of WELS congregations, you can find more information here.

Our Worldwide Fellowship

Grace Lutheran Church, through its membership in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), is also affiliated with an international fellowship called the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference (CELC).  The member-denominations of the CELC all recognize each other as correct-teaching churches whose public confession aligns with the truth of Scripture.  Since they share the real "tie that binds," they also do the work of the Church together, like joint mission efforts, relief work, and shared language publishing.  In this way, international travelers are also welcomed to commune at shared altars, etc.  If you're interested in learning more about the confession of the CELC, we also recommend this video resource.