ST. LUKE'S LUTHERAN CHURCH OF BAY SHORE
ST. LUKE'S LUTHERAN CHURCH is a warm and welcoming congregation of 300+ members on Main St. (Montauk Hwy.) in the Long Island seaside community of Bay Shore. The congregation was founded in 1925 and has been a faithful Christian witness in the Lutheran tradition to the Island and beyond for 97 years. Formerly a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the congregation voted in 2005 to leave that institution in order to focus full time on proclaiming the gospel as a Lutheran church steeped in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.
OUR FAITH is firmly rooted in the Word of God revealed in the Bible and articulated in Martin Luther's Pauline "theology of the cross" in the 1530 Augsburg Confession, its Apology and the 1580 Book of Concord. We firmly believe we are declared just by God's forensic pronouncement from the cross that all of our sins are truly and fully forgiven for Jesus's sake and that His righteousness is imputed to us by God's grace and mercy received by His gift of faith alone. By baptism God creates a priesthood of all believers to proclaim the good news of His favor in Jesus Christ.
WE REJECT as pseudo-religious systems any form of synergistic free will teaching of justification or righteousness by our works or "infused" grace. We reject any schemes of meritocracy through a supposed keeping of the law, or a so-called "third use" of the law as a "Christian guide," since the law can only ever condemn us (lex semper accusat) showing us our need for Christ. We reject any belief in the moral progress or ascendancy of man's nature, of so-called progressive church movements or any certitude in visible church, of Christian unity through episcopal hierarchy and other ecclesial myths, all of which are a theology of glory and a rejection of the bondage of the will to sin. We believe that God is known through his Word alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone who justifies us by His gift of faith received in baptism.
WE BELIEVE in the primacy of the preached Word and the hearing of it as the central act of worship. We reject the mixing of the two kingdoms, church and state, and stress the teaching of law and gospel—the former to condemn us, the latter to save us, without confusing the two. "The Law says, 'Do this, do that' and it is never done. The Gospel says, 'Believe this,' and it is already done." -- (Martin Luther). We have no interest in moralistic "culture wars," churchy politics, or the worldly preoccupations of institutional churches. Rather than engaging in ecumenical institutional missions to "unite the church," we recognize that the Holy Spirit alone unites the church through the preaching of the Word and preserves it in unity in faith in Christ who declared from the cross "it is accomplished." Thus, with St. Paul, we "desire to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified"
(1 Corinthians 2:2). Thanks be to God!
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If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2. Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God's glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.”
Dr. Martin Luther — On the day of the Feast of St. Peter the Apostle, 1521
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." — C.S. Lewis