COMMUNICATION JAR vol.6
How should we respond when people say, “It doesn’t matter what Christian denomination you follow (Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.) as long as you believe in Jesus and what He did for us and in the Bible. They are just different interpretations of the Bible. No one knows the truth.”
Pontius Pilate asks Jesus on Good Friday “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Though Pilate hadn’t heard him say it, Jesus-only the night before-told his disciples “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In this verse we see that belief in Jesus is key for salvation (see also Romans 10:9). In the Creeds we confess the basic truths of the Trinity about Creation, Redemption, and Sanctification. Christians around the world and across the centuries have confessed these truths, joining us in similar belief.
There are differences in doctrines, based on differing Biblical interpretations, that significantly impact different congregations’ values and practice. We believe, for example, in the Real Presence of Christ at the Lord’s Supper because of 1 Corinthians 11. Other Christian churches believe the Lord’s Supper is only symbolic. It matters what Christian denomination you follow to the extent that you care about such doctrines, but again, our salvation is rooted in Christ and His saving work on the cross, not on our doctrine. We Lutherans acknowledge the sinful human condition that affects us, even in our thoughts. Though we know that our doctrines are not perfect, nor are they divinely inspired in the same way God’s Word is, we defend them because find them true to God’s Word. This is known as defensible partiality.