In recent years our little north woods town of Boulder Junction, Wisconsin has used the marketing slogan “Bringing Classic Back” for our tourism focus. We’ll borrow that tagline here to describe our confession as it shows itself at Trinity.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Boulder Junction is a congregation of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. As such we hold to a particular and definite biblical understanding and confession in both teaching and practice. One might call this confessional or classic Lutheranism, as known by the confessions (creedal writings) of the Lutheran Church as contained in the Book of Concord of 1580. We do not understand our Lutheran Church to be a “new church” that originated in the 16th century nor when the LCMS was founded in 1847. Rather we understand the Lutheran confession to represent historic, biblical, creedal, and liturgical Christianity that has been confessed down through each century. The Lord has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. God has put us here to serve this area in Vilas County, Wisconsin and along this part of Upper Michigan in the great north woods.
This identity of our Lutheran congregation expresses the Christ-centered message and worship life of the church in this place and the acknowledgment of His holy presence with us by means of His Word and Sacraments. In short, when you depart for home after service on Sunday morning, you know you’ve been to church. We seek to be faithful to the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship in the Lord’s Supper and the ordered prayer life of the Church. We seek to live faithfully in the world but not of the world until our Lord’s return in glory on the Last Day.
At Trinity Lutheran Church of Boulder Junction you’ll still find Bible, Catechism, and hymnal thoroughly used in our life together in Christ. We believe the historic liturgy and the faithful body of hymns in our Lutheran heritage best reflect what we receive from Holy Scripture and confess in the Book of Concord. We believe that these are assets for the faithful proclamation of the gospel to all because they confess the changeless and universal faith that we have received from the faithful who have gone before us. We wish to remain distinctly confessional in teaching and practice passing on what we have received, rather than blending in with the landscape of pop Christianity. We simply intend to set for the truth in love in all its fullness and trust that the Holy Spirit does indeed do His work in His time as a gift, without our added agendas or attempts to manage what is clearly His doing.
Right here where God has put us we have God’s faithful and reliable promises in Christ. We have preserved for us here “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). It is the faithful deposit that is handed down in stewardship from the holy apostles of the Lord Jesus. It does not change. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the sure promise that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His mercy never ceases. Once and for all Christ has paid for our sins upon the cross. For all humanity of all time, Jesus has said, “it is finished.” He tells us that our sins are paid in full. All of our failures, selfishness, cruelty, idolatry, and transgressions against God’s commandments were laid upon Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
And Jesus has been raised physically from the dead to deliver to us an eternal victory over sin, death, and hell. For those who believe in Jesus Christ, these treasures and gifts can never be taken away. God in Christ is both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Jesus. For those who are baptized into Christ are clothed with Christ – God sees us then eternally as His redeemed children, covered in the righteousness of the Son eternally begotten of the Father who also fulfilled for us all righteousness and pronounced us righteous for His sake.
And the Church of the Lord has the charge then to deliver the “whole counsel of God” and to “teach all things” faithfully as a stewardship of the mysteries of God. The Church is not called upon to make it up as they go along or simply “do what works.” The Church is called to be faithful, as are the ministers of Word and Sacrament who proclaim Good News and administer the holy sacraments. As we live, work, play, shop, rest, and struggle with life, let us find our rest, our comfort, our peace, and certainty in the unchanging truth of Christ, His Word, and the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
If you are a Christian who has been away from God’s Word and Sacraments, make the time for church. We need to hear God’s Word regularly and have it faithfully taught (Romans 10:17; Acts 2:42). Our faith lives from what it receives in God’s holy Word and Sacraments. Without it we become numb to our spiritual hunger and thirst and become cold and lose our faith. Faith is more than just remembering, it is trust that depends upon what God continually gives in Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit in the Lord’s chosen means of His Word and Sacraments. The truth matters. Saving Christian faith must have a true object and not just optimism or nostalgia or assuming the culture’s values and standards. The Lord perseveres in His reaching out toward us. Let Trinity serve that and teach you the “whole counsel of God,” the apostolic faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Return to the Lord, for He is gracious and merciful. Times of renewal, repentance, and divine forgiveness are here for you at Trinity Lutheran Church. Be established, grounded, and centered in Christ with us at Trinity!
Come and grow, learn, pray, worship in reverence, receive the Lord’s gifts, witness out in the world in your calling in life and know the ancient Christian faith and worship alive today for you! Evangelical and catholic are the old words that describe the substance of our traditional Lutheran congregation in teaching and practice.
Our pastor is glad to offer instruction for those coming from other beliefs and who have come to trust the good news of Christ and acknowledge that truth. Catechetical instruction is offered for young and old. Please also feel free to ask questions about our beliefs, practice, and understanding the Divine Service.
PATHS TO COMMUNICANT MEMBERSHIP IN OUR FELLOWSHIP AT TRINITY
Which path toward membership is determined to a large degree by the individual’s background. Meeting with the pastor is the best place to start. But generally speaking, the following description of the paths toward baptized, communicant membership are followed:
+ TRANSFER – For those coming from another congregation of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (or a congregation in our church fellowship, such as TAALC or LC-C), who are already baptized communicant members of their previous congregation, are usually simply transferred by action of both congregations. The pastor will still wish to discuss matters of teaching and practice given the divergences in some LCMS congregations.
+ GENERAL ADULT CATECHISM CLASS – For those coming from non-Lutheran Christian background (for example Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, non-denominational, etc.) usually adult catechesis (instruction) is held to cover biblical teaching as summarized in the catechism and to cover the historic Lutheran liturgy. This course usually will go for some months, but usually less than a year. Because of divergent issues between the LCMS and the ELCA, prospective members from congregations of the ELCA will typically be asked to go through adult catechism class as well. Public confirmation and affirmation of our confession of the faith is mandatory before being received into communicant membership.
+ ADULT CATECHISM CLASS WITH EXTRA ATTENTION – For those coming with no or little Christian background thorough catechesis (instruction) will be needed toward both receiving Holy Baptism, public affirmation of the Lutheran confession of the faith, and to be received as a communicant member of the congregation. In mind for this path are those coming from non-Christian religions or no religion at all (for example Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, atheist, agnostic, pagan, unitarian).
For those coming from other Christian denominations and are already baptized, we want to ensure in these days that such were baptized with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. For those baptized with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, there is no need for another baptism and it would be wrong to have another one. Those baptized among Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Oneness Pentecostals will need to be baptized again, so to speak, though in such cases those baptisms were not properly Scriptural.
+ YOUTH CATECHESIS – Baptized youths at Trinity now are typically going through Catechism Class (“confirmation”) during middle school years, with some flexibility as to which grade or the precise age. Our concern has to do with the student’s readiness as well as the commitment of the parent(s). A minimum of three years of intensive instruction are required at Trinity prior to going through the rite of confirmation. The pastor reserves the right to commend a student for another year when deemed necessary for admission to the altar. Generally only children of parents who are already attending Divine Service regularly will be admitted to catechism class toward confirmation. Children of parents who are will not attending regularly will not be admitted.
Parents seeking the sacrament of Holy Baptism for their infant children are asked to meet with the pastor regarding this.
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