Lutherans are members of one of the largest Protestant Christian denominations today. Lutheranism is based on the teachings of Martin Luther, a German monk and professor who has been called the “Father of the Reformation.” In 1517, he famously protested the Roman Catholic Church and their sale of indulgences, among other things. In his sermons and writings, Luther stressed the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the authority of scripture alone.
In the United States, there are many branches of Lutheranism. St. Andrew’s is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the largest branch. The ELCA confesses the Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In our preaching and teaching the ELCA trusts the Gospel as the power of God for the salvation of all who believe.
The ELCA is divided into sixty-five geographic areas called Synods, each of which elects a bishop. Each ELCA congregation is a member of a synod. St. Andrew’s is a member of the Pacifica Synod, which includes the California counties of San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial, as well as the entire state of Hawaii.
What does St. Andrews believe, preach and teach?
We believe that we are saved by God’s grace, which is freely given to us with “no strings attached.” This salvation was achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus and is not earned or based on anything we do or don’t do, believe or don’t believe.
We believe that our lives should be lived in grateful response to the gift of salvation given to us through Jesus.
Our communion table is open to all, with no questions asked and no prerequisites. We recommend that those who have not been instructed in the meaning of communion, especially children, participate in a first communion class. However, this is not a requirement, and we honor parents’ wishes regarding their children’s communion participation.
As Lutherans do throughout the world, we practice infant baptism. We believe that God is acting through baptism to create faith and ELCA teaching, or theology, serves the proclamation and ministry of this faith. It does not have an answer for all questions, not even all religious questions. Teaching or theology prepares members to be witnesses in speech and in action of God’s rich mercy in Jesus Christ.
We accept the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired 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.