Here at Bethlehem believing doesn’t mean checking your brains at the door of the sanctuary. Believing doesn’t mean never asking hard questions about God. Believing doesn’t mean pretending that you have it all figured out. Believing doesn’t mean suppressing your doubts. Believing doesn’t mean denying the ambiguities of life and faith. Believing doesn’t mean blindly assenting to things you don’t understand.
Here we think hard and long, wrestle with the hard questions, admit we don’t have it all figured out, and work through our doubts, because we know that here in this life we still “see through a glass darkly.”
At the same time we seek to deepen our faith. For at its heart faith is trusting in the goodness and grace of God. It’s trusting that God will do all that God promises. So faith is a relational term, something lived out in a dynamic, living relationship to Jesus Christ.
We also believe that we belong to an ancient community of faith and millions of others have gone before us, and we have much to learn from them. So for us the content of our faith is centered in the Holy Scriptures, in the ancient ecumenical creeds (the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds), and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church (documents written the sixteenth century that describe the Lutheran way of being a Christian).
We turn to biblical canon, the ancient creeds, and the Lutheran confessions because we believe that tradition is the living faith of the dead, while traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. We seek to appropriate the “living faith of the dead” as we confront our contemporary situation and think as twenty-first century Christians.