The Lutheran Church of St. Paul is a member congregation of the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod (LCMS). As a church of the LCMS, there are several things that we have committed to believe and confess as congregations together.
...that the Holy Scriptures, both the Old and the New Testament are the inspired Word of God.
For us, this comes first - that the Scriptures are truly God's word for us. God's word is living and active which creates and sustains faith in our lives each day. They are central to our life and worship as a church. We read them, study them, apply them, and share them.
They reveal to us the truth that we could not know any other way. They shape us as they bring us into the truth of who God is and what he has done, is doing, and continues to do for us.
...that the three Ecumenical Creeds (namely the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian Creeds) and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, as contained in the Book of Concord, are a true and faithful exposition of the Holy Scriptures.
Who we are as a church and what we believe is nothing new - it is what Jesus believed, taught, and handed down to the Apostles, his followers, and what they handed down to the churches, and on (and on), down to us. Because we believe truths that aretimeless and unchanging, we look back to the confession of the church that has always been (and will always be) to keep us connected to the message of Jesus Christ himself as we live in the here-and-now, planning for the future. You could say that we are Apostolic - we seek to believe just as the first Christians - and Jesus Christ himself - believed.
The Three Ecumenical Creeds
These are early statements of the faith that record what the church has always said from the very beginning about who God is and what he does for us. Because we hold so highly this truth that Jesus handed down to the apostles, we confess one of these three creeds each Sunday in church and all three throughout the year. They keep us grounded in the narrative of God that we are a part of too - all the way from creation in the beginning to new creation on the last day when Jesus returns again.
Most importantly, we confess these creeds because they truly tell the story of the Scriptures themselves. They tell us that God our Father created us; that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, came down to earth, suffered, died and rose again for our salvation, and that the Holy Spirit works to create and sustain faith in the heart of every Christian.
The Book of Concord
As the Christian Church developed over time, certain things were added to the truths of God in His story - the Scriptures - that were changing God's story and the truths found in His word. The Book of Concord is a compilation of documents from the reformation that were written with the purpose of finding, once again, that apostolic faith handed down from Jesus to the Apostles and removing many of the things that people had added to God's truth along the way.
Their goal is simple: to ground us in the unchanging truth of God and help us, today, keep our own man-made beliefs from being made equal to the Word of God.