The Evangelical Lutheran Church strives to confess faithfully the doctrine of the apostles and prophets, which is to say she is catholic (i.e. “universal”; literally “according to the whole”) in the best sense of the word. She has inherited the teachings of the blessed Reformer, Dr. Martin Luther, who sought to call the Medieval Church back to purity of doctrine and practice. Lutherans confess the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one God. We believe that God the Son took on the flesh of man in the person of Jesus Christ, that He was born of the Virgin Mary, that He fulfilled the Law in our place, suffered and died for the forgiveness of our sins, and was raised again for our justification (God’s declaration that we are righteous on account of Christ). Salvation is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, without works.
Christ is present with His Church, distributing His gifts through His divinely appointed means: Scripture, preaching, Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Lutherans confess that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are God’s inspired and inerrant Word. We confess that Baptism is God’s action for us in water and the Word, a washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, which is for all people, including infants. And we confess that “in, with, and under” the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper is Christ’s true Body and Blood.
These teachings, which Christians of every age have confessed, are taught with great clarity in the Book of Concord (1580). The Small Catechism of Dr. Luther is especially valued for its beautiful and simple statement of God's Word. Consider, for example, this small excerpt:
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own, and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.