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An Evangelical Lutheran church

The Church of Norway confesses an Apostolic, Christian faith, based on God’s revelations in the Bible. In all the services in the Church of Norway, the creed is confessed by the congregation. Usually the Apostles’ creed is used, as a distillate of the apostles’ (Jesus’ disciples) teaching.

Confessions
The Church of Norway has five Confessions. Three that are from the early church, and around which most churches are united:
• The Apostles’ creed
• The Nicene creed
• The Athanasian Creed

And two from the time of the Reformation:
• The Augsburg Confession of 1530 (Confessio Augustana)
• Luther's Small Catechism.

The most important basis for the church's confession is the Bible. Expressions of key aspects of Christian faith are also found in the hymns in the Norwegian Hymn Book.

Although the Lutheran Church emphasizes the sovereign authority of the Bible, it also acknowledges the confession texts as authoritative. The key to an Evangelical Lutheran understanding of the Bible's message is that it is about demandss and gifts, law and gospel.

 

Law and gospel

In the Old Testament, the emphasis is on God's law. Human beings’ violations of God's law must be atoned through sacrifice. The Old Testament prophets promises that Messiah (the Redeemer) will come.

In the New Testament, the entire story centers on Jesus..Jesus does not invalidate any of God's laws from the Old Testament. On the contrary, he intensifies the demands on how people should live. But Jesus teaches that people cannot have peace with God and eternal life by living in splendour. Face to face with the Holy God, human beings’ sinful nature will always overshadow grandeur. Jesus teaches that no one is saved without accepting forgiveness.

Evangelical Lutheran doctrine (The Church of Norway’s teaching) is expressed in the slogans "Justification by faith alone" and "Scripture alone". Lutheran theology has as its starting point the question "How is a human being justified before God?" All human beings are subject to ancestral sin’s rebellion against God, and God requires atonement for sin.

Jesus is in himself the fulfilment of the promises of the Old Testament. He lived a human life without sin and fulfilled the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament by giving his life as a ransom for humankind

 

Work of reconciliation

The uniqueness in the concept of salvation in the Bible is that God himself made this atonement. Jesus' death on the cross of Calvary and His resurrection from the grave three days after his death, is understood as the "work of reconciliation". God himself, through his son Jesus Christ, built a bridge over the acrimonious relationship between humans and God. People who accept Jesus’ salvation works are children of God by grace. Humans cannot in any way contribute to their salvation. Not even faith is a performance to impress God.  Faith is a gift that God gives us by his Spirit.

"I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him. But the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in true faith ...." writes Luther in his explanation to the third article of faith. The faith that makes people righteous before God is confidence in God's grace for the sake of Christ.

God therefore gives human beings grace – through Jesus Christ – “gives us his Spirit, makes us his children and brings us in to his congregation of believers," as is read in the Church of Norway baptism liturgy. The church uses the term "means of grace" when we speak about God's Word, baptism and Eucharistic communion. This is understood as the means God gives his grace through.

The Lutheran understanding that the believer can reach certainty about salvation comes from the understanding that salvation is based solely on God's grace. This is linked with the Lutheran view of the Bible, illustrated in the phrase "Scripture alone".

Kontaktinformasjon for Church of Norway

The Church of Norway web-site is presented by the communication department in the Church of Norway National Council.

Telph. +47 23 08 12 00, 
Mail: post.kirkeradet@kirken.no 

Web-editor: Svend Ole Kvilesjø
Director of Communication: Ingeborg Dybvig