What We Believe

We are a community of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) Lutheran Christians who come together for worship, fellowship, learning and service to others. Although we are a diverse group from all walks of life, backgrounds and generations, we are united around the essential beliefs and core values we have embraced from our rich Lutheran heritage.

Pastor Kelly Fryer, in her book Reclaiming the ‘L’ Word, expresses our essential beliefs well through five simple, yet profound guiding principles.

They are:

  1. Jesus is Lord
  2. Everyone is welcome
  3. Love changes people
  4. Everybody has something to offer
  5. The world needs what we have

These beliefs and values guide us in how we approach things, how we relate to each other, and how we make people feel welcome within our congregation. This short video explains it pretty clearly.

Hills of Peace is a thriving congregation with average attendance of 85 at Sunday worship. One of our main areas of focus is continuously strengthening our Children’s and Youth Ministry. This has led to building a stronger Sunday School, establishing a youth group, and hosting Vacation Bible School during the summer.

Hills of Peace is a united congregation of people. We work together in a spirit of harmony, generosity and gratitude. As an active member of the ELCIC, we join with Lutheran Christians across BC and Canada in the work of our church in all parts of Canada and around the world.

What do ELCIC Lutheran Christians believe?

First and foremost, we believe that God loves you no matter what!

No age, expression, ability, status, identity, orientation, diagnoses, transition, behaviour, sentence, or other lived experience, affects how, how much, or whether God loves you.

Now a little more of the formal bits about Lutheranism that might help in understanding life lived as a Christian:

What’s a theologian?

“Every one of us is a theologian of sorts because we all have questions about God. Whenever we begin to wonder about why we were born, or why bad things happen to good people, or what God is really like, we are doing theology.

Each one of us has our own basic set of beliefs about life. Scratch around under the surface a bit and you will discover what those beliefs say about God and you.” (p.71)

Who is Jesus?

“To understand God, you have to start with Jesus. [Lutherans] believe that this Jew, who was born in Bethlehem, who grew up in Nazareth, lived and taught in ancient Palestine, and who was then crucified in Jerusalem at about 33 years of age, was and is God.

That’s where our faith begins and ends. It is that simple- and that complicated. At the heart of our faith is not what Jesus taught, but who Jesus is.

Martin Luther developed a slogan that we Lutherans believe is the heart of Christianity: ‘justification by grace through faith.’

What that means is that they way our lives turn out for here and eternity has nothing to do with how much we try to be good and do good, or how badly we screw up trying. Salvation is a pure act of grace on God’s part.

God’s love for us was shown once and for all in the dying and rising to new life of Jesus Christ. God died on that cross for us. That’s God’s grace in action.

All God asks us to do is to have faith. Faith is simply another way of saying, ‘Trust God.’” (p.72)

What else do I need to know about God?

“There’s nothing particularly Lutheran about what we believe about God. Everything we teach is found in the Bible. [Lutherans] insist on that. If you want to talk about God, and you can’t find anything in the Bible to back up your opinion, then [a Lutheran] won’t accept your opinion, because that’s all it is — your opinion…

…basic [Lutheran] beliefs about who God is are not any different from what the majority of other Christians believe about God. We all talk about God in what is called Trinitarian language. The Trinity- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – sums up what we know about God.

This Trinitarian language was developed by the early Christians. They talked about God as the Trinity. You won’t find the word ‘Trinity’ in your Bible, but the idea is solidly based on what the Bible teaches about God.

In the Trinity, we know or experience God in three persons. This isn’t like having three different gods. [Lutherans] believe that there is only one God.

The problem is trying to explain God who really cannot be explained with human terms. Theologians do all sorts of fancy tricks to try to explain exactly what the Trinity is. In the end they finally say that it is a mystery.” (p.73–74)

What are we really saying in the Creeds?

“Early Christians had trouble sorting out ideas about the Trinity too. After much talk, they came up with statements that summed up what they believed about God. We call these statements ‘creeds.’  The early Christians agreed that these creeds said some things that we know for sure about God.

Lutherans accept three creeds: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.

Martin Luther explains the Apostles’ Creed with some very good answers in his Small Catechism. The Apostles didn’t write this creed. However, the people who did believed that they were saying what the Apostles would have said if they had still been around to write it. I’ll give you a brief outline here.

The first part of the Creed, or what is called the First Article, talks about God the Father. Most people believe that there is a God. Yet saying that there is a God doesn’t really tell us anything about God. Even the devil believes in God, but the devil believes that God is the enemy.

[Lutherans] believe in God as Father. I won’t get into the problems that this masculine word is causing for some people these days. Historically, ‘Father’ has been meant to describe God as a good and loving parent and was not intended to say that God is male rather than female, because God is not human. God is God. God takes a personal interest in the world, just as loving parents care for their offspring.

We also believe in the Son of God, the subject of the Second Article. I’ve already explained most of this, except to add that [Lutherans] believe that Jesus rules the world (that’s that part about sitting at the right hand of the Father) and will come again to judge every person, living and dead.

The Third Article talks about the Holy Spirit. Even our faith is a gift of God. Faith is the work of the Holy Spirit who builds the Christian Church. This Church has nothing to do with being a Lutheran or any of the other labels we Christians use.

The real Church exists in the hearts of believers and is known only to God. Day after day, the Holy Spirit feeds our faith and makes us strong with God’s grace. The Spirit will do that until the day when we enter eternity with our gracious God.” (p.74-75)

Why is worship so important to Lutherans?

“Liturgy and hymns say what we think about God and our lives with God. Every hymn and phrase in our official books has been carefully selected and debated. A word that didn’t say it just right has sometimes been cause for a popular hymn to be left out of the book, or for a congregation to avoid using it even if it did manage to get in there.

In you want to know what the people in a congregation believe, watch what hymns they like and use. Singing those hymns is a way of saying what you believe, reinforcing it, teaching it and learning it. That’s why Martin Luther wrote hymns and encouraged us to be a singing church.” (p.77)

Anything that I should be taking away from this for my life?

“Have you ever come across a situation where someone has done something really, really terrible and someone else asked, ‘How could he (or she) have done something so wicked?’…

Did you ever notice how you might have the best of intentions and promise yourself that you aren’t going to do a certain thing?  Then you go out and do the very thing that you were so determined that you weren’t going to do?

Or you really mess up?  You’ve been having a bad day and you snap at someone. Or you get mad and say things that you regret later. Why do we do that?

Because we are sinners. [The biblical writer] Paul had the same experience. He talks about it in Romans 7 and says that God’s grace in Jesus is stronger than what he calls our slavery to sin. Jesus’ death on the cross sets us free to be saints.

…Salvation is a gift of God. It does not depend on what we do and don’t do.

…Simultaneously saint and sinner, that’s [Lutherans]!

If we are simultaneously saint and sinner, everything we do is contaminated by sin, but the saint in us is still up to a lot of good in spite of that sin.” (p.77-79)[1]

[1] All quotes taken from: Ward, Kenn. This Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ours. (Wood Lake Books: Winfield) 1994.