Houston Telugu Church aka The Telugu Church Of Houston – Our Redeemer is a member of a larger church body known as the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit the Synod’s beliefs page to find out more.
Sometimes people will ask “Why Lutheran?”
Well, while we could take you back 500 years to the period of history known as the Reformation and a great Christian named Martin Luther, we will spare you the history lesson.
(Click this link for some facts on Martin Luther and the Reformation ).
What is really needed is an answer to the question: What does it mean to be Lutheran?
Like any other Christian denomination, the Lutheran Church exists to ensure that the Bible is taught in its truth and purity. However, we don’t only look at the Bible as a rule book for life, we also see it as God’s greatest revelation of himself, which is complete in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15-20).
Unfortunately, these days “Lutheran” doesn’t always mean what it used to. There are many different types of “Lutheran” churches. Some hold a very different view of what we mean when we say that the Bible is GOD’S TRUTH. Sometimes we are asked:
What are the main differences between the LCMS and the ELCA?
The LCMS is, of course, the branch of Lutheranism that Houston Telugu Church belongs to. The ELCA is another large body of Lutherans, whose views vary significantly from ours concerning the Bible and some key issues of faith. The ELCA is the largest Lutheran body in America with about 5 million members (the LCMS is 2.5 million), and often if you hear about Lutherans in the news, it is about the ELCA. However there are many concerns we have with the way the ELCA understands the Bible. Below is a very brief answer to the question of our differences:
The doctrine and authority of Scripture: The LCMS believes that the Bible is without error in all that it says. The ELCA avoids making such statements. Differences between the LCMS and the ELCA on the authority of Scripture also help to explain why the ELCA ordains women to the pastoral office, while the LCMS does not (based on 1 Cor. 14:33-36 and 1 Tim. 2:11-14). Similarly, on the basis of what Scripture clearly teaches (Rom 1:18-28; 1 Cor. 6:9), the LCMS position on homosexual behavior is unequivocal: homosexual behavior is contrary to God’s will, although we understand that all people struggle with unique and complicated sins thus we desire to bring the good news of forgiveness in Christ to all. To the contrary, the ELCA has declared that it lacks a consensus regarding what Scripture teaches about homosexual activity. This has lead the ELCA to take steps that have led to the ordination of practicing homosexuals as long as they are in a life-long, committed relationships. Sadly, this low view of the Scriptures has resulted in the fact that most ELCA clergy do not believe literally, even some of the most basic claims made in the Bible (i.e. That Adam and Eve were real historical people, the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.)
Feel free to email one of the pastors if you have any questions or concerns. Also, take a look below to see some of Houston Telugu Church’s core beliefs written by the pastors.
We believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the verbally inspired word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), the final authority for faith and life, inerrant, infallible, and God-breathed (Matthew 5:18; Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5).
The Lord God is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), eternally existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – co-eternal in being, co-eternal in nature, co-equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfection (2 Corinthians 13:14). God is not hidden, as though we must search to find him. Rather, he has revealed himself to us, that we might know him. He is the creator of the universe (Genesis 1:1). He has always existed, never having a beginning, never ending (Revelation 21:6), and never changing (Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6). He is the most beautiful of all things (Psalm 27:4). He is love (1 John 4:16) and he loves the world (Hosea 2:23; John 3:16). He is holy (Isaiah 6:3), he is merciful and forgiving (Daniel 9:9), he is compassionate (Exodus 34:6) he is just and rules the world with justice (Psalm 67:4).
God the Father is the creator and sustainer of life. He spoke the world into being (Genesis 1:1). Throughout history the Father has shown himself to have a track record of pursuing and loving people even in their ignorance, apathy, and rebellion (Jeremiah 31:3) .The Father desires to be known by all people (1 Timothy 2:4). He delights in loving the people whom he created (Zephaniah 3:17; Ezekiel 33:11).
Jesus Christ is true God with the Father and the Spirit – not merely a good man or a moral teacher. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, in order that he might reveal God and redeem sinful man (John 1:1-2, 14; Luke 1:35; Colossians 1:19). Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through his death on the cross as a vicarious, substitutionary sacrifice. His resurrection from the dead was literal and physical (1 John 2:2; Romans 3:24; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3-5). The Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of the Father, where he is our high priest, mediator, intercessor, and advocate (Acts 1:9-10; Hebrews 7:25, 9:24; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2).
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is true God with the Father and the Son–therefore not merely the power or energy of God (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 3:16). We believe that we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord, or come to Him (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 12:3); but the Holy Spirit has called us by the Gospel, enlightened us with His gifts, sanctified and kept us in the true faith (Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit indwells his people and gives them spiritual gifts that are manifested in numerous ways (1 Corinthians 12:1-11)
CONDITION OF HUMANITY
Humanity was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27), but through Adam’s sin the humanity inherited a sinful nature, and became alienated from God. We are by nature sinful to the core and rebellious toward God (Psalm 51:5, Genesis 8:21, Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23-24, Ephesians 2:1-3, 12). Left to ourselves, we are utterly unable to remedy our lost condition (Romans 3:22-23, 5:12; Psalm 51: 5). In short, we need to be saved from ourselves!
Salvation is free. It is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12) of God that is received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on the cross at Calvary for the forgiveness of our sin (Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 2Corinthians 5:21; John 3:16). No amount of good work or effort or church attendance or religious activity can be done to earn our way into heaven (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:28). Through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior (John 17:3), anyone can be assured that he/she will spend eternity with God.
HUMANITY IN CHRIST, THE CHURCH
Through Christ’s sacrifice, humanity was redeemed, made heirs of God’s love, and adopted as his children (Romans 5:12-19). In believing this, humanity is connected with God and made whole. In Christ, believers know joy and purpose. In Christ, we experiences true freedom and full life (John 8:36, Galatians 5:1, John 10:10). He gives us a new heart, new desires, and new perspective. The church is a body of people from all times and all places who have been made alive to the Truth of God by the Spirit, and have put their faith in the work of Christ alone as their Savior from sin (Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2). The church is not something we go to, nor is it something we do. Instead, the church is something we are. The church is here not just for itself, it exists to serve all people and adore the One – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Genesis 12:1-3, Isaiah 49:6, Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).