Christians are people of the Word. Understanding the content of the Bible and how to navigate God’s Word is critical, as “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31) and “all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Anchor standards for biblical literacy involve understanding the overarching narrative of Scripture focused on Christ, understanding the content and navigation of the Bible, and understanding the principles of biblical interpretation.
As people of God’s Word, Christians are to teach and hold firm to sound doctrine by “examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11), as the Bereans did. This sound doctrine (teachings of the faith) must agree with the “sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3). As God’s people learn and confirm the core teachings of Scripture that are faithfully contained in the Lutheran Confessions, they will “be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9), and they will no longer be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14). Anchor standards for Lutheran doctrine involve understanding the core teachings of Lutheran belief as found in the Small Catechism, focusing on what it means that God the Father created us and all creatures (First Article), God the Son redeemed us to be His own (Second Article), and God the Holy Spirit has called, enlightened, and sanctified us in the one true faith (Third Article).
Christian identity is tied to our heritage as God’s people throughout the history of the Church. At Peter’s confession, Jesus declared, “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). At His ascension, Jesus commanded His people to be His witnesses to the very ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Through the ages, God’s people have proclaimed Christ throughout the world, and they serve as a “great cloud of witnesses” that inspire people of God’s Word today to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1–2). Anchor standards for Christian heritage involve understanding the history of the Christian Church from the time of the Early Church to today and understanding different Christian groups and their beliefs throughout time up to today.
Our Christian calling involves a life of worship. God’s people are to “Let the word of Christ dwell in [them] richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in [their] hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). In addition to being in corporate worship, God’s people are called to be in daily prayer and meditation on God’s Word at all times, and to teach God’s Word “when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:7). Anchor standards for worship life involve understanding the elements and practices of corporate worship, understanding the forms and habits of individual and group prayer, and understanding the forms and habits of individual and group meditation on God’s Word.
Christians are called to love and serve our neighbors. Jesus Himself summarized the Second Table of the Law in this way: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). As we love and serve people in our different roles, or vocations, in life, we are to do so “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2–3). God’s chosen people in Christ are to engage in continual training “to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:12). Anchor standards surrounding works of love involve understanding Christian character, who our neighbor is, and how we are to serve our neighbor within our vocations in the household, the congregation, and society.
Christians are called to confess the truth of God’s Word in this sinful world. Jesus stated that “everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). As God’s people, we are to be prepared at all times to “make a defense to anyone who asks [us] for a reason for the hope that is in [us],” yet to do so with “gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when [we] are slandered, those who revile [our] good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Peter 3:15–16). Anchor standards for confessing the faith involve understanding why Christians believe what we believe, understanding the Christian worldview, examining why and what we believe in relationship to different truth claims, and witnessing to others about Jesus Christ, our Savior.