“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). With these words Jesus indicates that he wants Christians to confess publicly what they believe in their hearts.
This We Believe is one way the members of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod have chosen to confess their faith in Christ. It publicly summarizes the main teachings of our church body.
This We Believe was first published in 1967. A minor revision was undertaken in 1980. In consultation with the Conference of Presidents, the Commission on Inter-Church Relations completed the present revision in 1999. This second revision seeks to simplify the language and to add some important points of doctrine not addressed in the first two editions. The current revision was not undertaken because of doctrinal disagreement with the previous editions.
The current document does not claim to be a full treatment of all the Bible’s teachings. For a fuller exposition of the doctrines of Scripture, the reader is referred to other sources, including the pamphlet Doctrinal Statements of the WELS (Northwestern Publishing House, 1997).
It should also be noted that This We Believe was not specifically designed to serve as an outreach tool for unchurched people, but as a basis for doctrinal discussions with other church bodies and informed individuals.
It is our conviction that over the years This We Believe has been a great blessing to the church. This revised edition is presented with the fervent prayer that it may continue to serve Christ’s church, to the glory of his name and for the extension of his kingdom.