The Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C., does not have a snazzy statement of faith; we are Lutherans. Through Danske Sømands- og Udlandskirker we have placed ourselves under a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. That makes us conservative in form and liberal in contents: our church service is old fashioned, our hymns are long, and 90% of them were written before 1875, but we expect God to be quite inclusive in His sovereign choice of the saved.
Your pardon, Lord, is gained through grace:
it can alone avail us.
Our works can never our guilt efface,
the strictest life must fail us.
Before You none can boast of aught;
to fear You we are rightly taught,
on grace alone depending.
Luther, 1524, GGG236.
We believe in justification through faith alone. We realise that we can never be “good enough,” never measure up in God’s eyes. No personal commitment to Christ, however strong and sincere, no disciplined lifestyle, however strict and pious, no work of ours can possibly make right our relationship with God. Our only hope is therefore to have everything given to us by God through a God-given faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour.
Our faith is found only through the Scriptures. That is, our faith is built on the Word of God and not on the traditions of the church. We value our Lutheran traditions as we cherish our Danish heritage but realise that neither is a foundation for faith.
We feel liberated by our belief in justification through faith alone. We can do nothing for our salvation so we are free from worrying about it. Free to live a God-pleasing life. Free to do what we hope is right while secure in the faith that God will forgive us when some of our good intentions turn out to be wrong. Free to live and enjoy life.
I am today my Saviour’s guest.
Bethink, my soul, the honour blest,
the Lord will at His meal you see
and will Himself your nurture be.
To you He offers with the bread
His body which for sin has paid,
and with the wine, the precious blood,
He shed for your eternal good.
How this is done, I cannot tell;
He did not on its mystery dwell.
No mind the secret can perceive;
it is enough that I believe.
Rejoice, then, O my soul, today,
that God’s anointed servant may
extend to you the gift anew,
through which He does unite with you.
Kingo, 1681, GGG225.
As Lutherans we have two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. In baptism we become God’s children, are accepted by Him forever. In Holy Communion we receive forgiveness of our sins and the life we misused is given back to us. We believe that when Christ about the Communion bread and wine says this is my body and this is my blood then He means is not symbolises.
Exactly how the bread and wine manage to be flesh and blood we leave as an unexplained divine mystery.
We value our connection with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. Without the support of that larger structure we could all too easily drift with the latest fashions misled by well-intentioned leaders. That said, our pastor is neither a holy man nor a middleman between God and us but simply “one of us” who happens to have more formal theological education than most.
Our God is a loving Father who comes to us in our daily lives. We experience His presence among us and His guidance in our lives, but we do not expect, much less demand, speaking in tongues, prophesying, or divine conversion experiences. We envision a God who welcomes the sinner home with open arms, a God who is always seeking us, also, and maybe especially, when we are not seeking Him. We are convinced that He, despite our faults, saves us through our faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour—and then surely He will save you too.
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