6.4 Belief in the one, holy, universal, and apostolic church

Salvation is accessible in the church of Jesus Christ, which has been established by the Lord Himself on earth. Those human beings who belong to it have been called forth by God to eternal fellowship with God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God is worshipped in the church. The focal point of church life is the divine service.

In its spiritual nature and perfection, the church of Christ remains concealed, and can only be grasped in faith. In its historical manifestation, however, it can be perceived and experienced. In the Third Article of Faith we profess: "I believe in ... the one, holy, universal and apostolic church." Thus the church is an object of faith.

The first three Articles of Faith profess belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the same manner, Christians throughout the ages have professed belief in the church. This makes it clear that the church is not an external or trivial thing, but rather one of the fundamental elements of Christian faith. Without church, it is impossible to be a Christian.

SUMMARY

Everything that church is and ever will be is rooted in Jesus' word, work, and nature. (6.3)

In its nature the church reflects the dual nature of Jesus Christ. His divine nature is concealed while His human nature is visible. The church likewise has an invisible and a visible side which belong together inextricably. (6.3)

The invisible side of the church is perceptible in the salvific effect of the sacraments and in the word of God. (6.3)

Like the Man Jesus, the visible side of the church shares in the general history of humanity. By contrast to Him, however, the people at work within the church are subject to sin. It is for this reason that the same errors, aberrations, and lapses inherent in human beings are also to be found in the church. (6.3)

The triune God is worshipped in the church. The focal point of church life is the divine service. Without church it is impossible to be Christian. (6.4)

See also