As our pastor often says, Christianity is different from all other religions in this way: In other religions, people reach up to their God while, in Christianity, God reaches down to his people. God loves us and saves us through his grace alone. He has given his only begotten son to die for us and redeem us from our sin. Perhaps we haven’t earned this. Perhaps we don’t deserve this. But, it is so.
Because we are so joyful about and grateful for this, we are inspired to do good works and help others. We do this out of love and a sense of freedom, not because we have to in order to earn our way towards salvation. These wonderful ideas are called the Theology of the Cross. This life-giving and healthful theology puts God and his grace at the center.
Sometimes, even Christians can get this wrong. They believe that they have to earn salvation through good works in order to become saved. They may believe that they are never quite good enough to deserve God’s love. They may even feel, when bad things happen to them, that these things came about because they just didn’t have enough faith. These mistaken, yet often popular, ideas are called the Theology of Glory. This mistaken and damaging theology puts man and his works at the center.
In simple terms, this is who we are and what we believe: We at Bethel are a diverse group of Christians who, touched by the Holy Spirit, have faith in a loving God who reaches down to us and forgives us and saves us through his grace. Because of this, we are now free to be the joyous and loving children of God. And, because of this, we want to reach out to help others in need. We believe that God has given his only begotten son to die for us and redeem us from our sin. We also believe that God reveals himself to us through scripture. We are not perfect, but we are all repentant sinners, forgiven and saved by God’s mercy and grace. We stand firmly in the Theology of the Cross which puts God and his grace at the center. We are saved:
By Word – By Faith – By Grace – By Christ
To God alone the glory,
The Members of Bethel Lutheran Church