Our faith and instruction are based on the Bible and the Lutheran Confession. We conform to the key principle of the Reformation, which maintains that the Bible is the ultimate authority in matters of faith and life, and all other instruction should be subject to it. Like Martin Luther, we believe that man can be justified, or made acceptable to God, only by faith, by grace and by the merit of Christ.
Salvation of man by Jesus is a central topic in Conservative Laestadian sermons and other instruction. Through his suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus saved man from the bondage of sin. Man can partake of this salvation through faith. Without faith it is impossible to be acceptable to God. Faith comes through hearing and personally accepting the message of God’s word. Faith is completely due to God’s work in man, not even partly to any personal merit or accomplishment. We believe, however, that faith becomes manifest in a person’s life as fruits of the Spirit and acts of love, as shown in the Bible.
We believe, in accordance with the Lutheran Confession, that the work of Christ in the world continues as the work of the Holy Spirit in his congregation. Jesus assigned and authorized his disciples to preach the forgiveness of sins to people. We believe that this assignment and authority has pertained to all followers of Jesus, all believing people throughout history. In compliance with the mission commandment we still proclaim the gospel, the good message of Jesus. The essence of the gospel is the promise of forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name and blood. Whoever believes this message will have all their sins forgiven by the grace of God. In this way God justifies a person through his Holy Spirit in his congregation.
Some key concepts of our faith
FAITH is a gift of God based on redemption by Jesus Christ. God graciously gives the gift of faith to all babies born into the world. Each child is therefore acceptable to God even before being able to understand faith. But as the child grows, this faith dies out if it is not nurtured within God’s congregation. A person who has lost the gift of faith must repent to renew that connection with God.
BAPTISM is a covenant of good conscience with God. In baptism a believing child or adult is taken into the fellowship and care of God’s congregation. Baptism guides and obliges the baptized person to live as a believing member of the congregation and the parents and godparents to teach the child all that Jesus instructed his disciples to teach.
REPENTANCE is a change of heart. In repentance a penitent person wants to have all sins forgiven, and a believing person proclaims those sins forgiven by God-given authority. The crucial part of repentance is that the penitent person accepts through faith the proclaimed absolution. His or her sins are ultimately forgiven by God, who works through a human intermediary and thereby justifies the penitent sinner. Repentance also involves a desire to renounce sin.
HOLY COMMUNION is commemorative of the last supper of Jesus and his disciples. Jesus himself instituted the celebration of communion by his followers. According to Luther, the communicant must have faith of the heart, and the purpose of communion is to strengthen this faith. Most importantly, the communicant should believe that he or she is thereby partaking of the body and blood of Christ. Receiving communion is an important way to nurture personal faith.
ENDEAVOUR is an essential part of our life in faith. Endeavour means that believers try to avoid anything that might lead them away from God and thus endanger their faith. Endeavour also involves a desire to strengthen one’s personal faith by hearing God’s word, receiving communion, participating in the fellowship of believers, asking for and proclaiming forgiveness, and availing oneself of confession. Endeavour is not a manifestation of the believer’s own effort, but a God-given desire to journey in faith and to strongly persevere in it.
ASKING FORGIVENESS AND FORGIVING are important for remaining in faith. Faith guides a person to admit and apologize whenever he has trespassed against God's will or another person and to forgive others their trespasses. Forgiveness is not merely a personal reconciliation between people. We believe that God also forgives us our trespasses.
CONFESSION means that a believer confesses his or her sins to a confessor, a reliable believing person, who preaches those sins forgiven in Jesus’ name by God-given authority. Confession is voluntary and confidential. It always involves a desire to refrain from sin. The confessor is not permitted to share the contents of a person’s confession with others. If, however, the confession involves a criminal act, the confessor must make sure that the public authorities are appropriately informed.
CONGREGATION OF CHRIST is the community of believers on earth assembled together by the Holy Spirit. The members of this congregation are partakers of living fellowship with Christ and with each other. The congregation is not primarily an external community, but its members are joined together by the personal faith they have in their hearts. External fellowship arises from their shared faith.
GOD’S KINGDOM consists of two parts: the endeavouring congregation down on earth and the rejoicing congregation in heaven. All those who remain members of the endeavouring congregation until the end will one day enter the rejoicing congregation.