Our Beliefs

St. John Lutheran Church is a member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.   This means we are a confessional congregation that holds to the historic teachings of the Lutheran Church as found in the Book of Concord.  For a brief synopsis of what that means we offer the following:

We believe:

1.  In the Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit as revealed to us in the Old and New Testaments.

2.  That all people are born with original sin.  That is, that we are all born with a heart opposed to the true God and in need of a Savior to rescue us.

3.  That Jesus is the true and only Son of God.  He is fully God begotten from eternity.  Yet, He chose to become fully man born of the virgin Mary.  We hold to both the fully deity and full humanity of Jesus.

4.  That forgiveness is given by grace for Christ's sake.  We do not and cannot obtain forgiveness by our own merits, works, goodness or decisions.  Grace is given by a declaration of God who pronounces us forgiven for the  sake of the life, death, and resurrection of His Son.

5. The office of the Holy Ministry is given by God to the Church for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel and administering the sacraments.  It is not an office created by human invention.  It is an office that God chose to join to His Church to care for the souls of His people.

6.  That good works should be done by all Christians as fruits of faith. Good works cannot earn forgiveness.  They are an expression of Christ's saving presence.

7.  That the Church is living body of Christ wherein He forgives sins, creates and sustains faith.  It is God's will that the Church be the assembly of believers wherein the Gospel is preached and His sacraments are administered rightly.

8.  That baptism is more than just a religious ritual.  It actually gives and seals the forgiveness of sins.  Baptism is not about our decision that we make for God, but His decision to come to us and claim us as His own.  We further believe that baptism is meant for "all nations," that is for all people of every age and place, including infants.  For a further discussion on infant baptism please see the article on the "collegiate corner" page.

9.  That the bread and wine of Lord's Supper is actually the body and blood of Christ and that it does give the forgiveness of sins to those who receive it in faith.

10. That confession of one's sins and receiving forgiveness for those sins from the hand of the pastor are a great blessing in the Church.  We do not believe one has to enumerate all one's sins to be forgiven, but we do believe that Christ has given to the pastoral office the duty of dispensing His gifts of forgiveness to the congregation and her sheep.

11.  That Christ will return to judge the living and dead.  His "second coming" will not be for the purpose of setting up an earthly kingdom but for the final judgment of all humanity.

12.  That human will is in bondage to sin.  We are certainly free to live, reason, and act according to our understanding and thought in all worldly matters.  But where spiritual matters are concerned, our will is in bondage to sin so that we cannot choose on our own to come to faith or believe in Christ.  Faith is a gift God gives apart from the human will.

13. God is not the author of sin.  Sin was brought into the world through the failing of the first people and now persists because of humanity's corrupted nature.

14. While saints are certainly good examples to follow, they should not be prayed to or worshiped.

15.  The moral law of God should be followed by Christians but it cannot save us.  Only the Gospel saves us.  The Gospel is the teaching that Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection was accomplished to pay the penalty for the sins of the world.   Law and Gospel have separate and distinct aims in the Christian life.  The law tells us what to do and exposes our inability to do it.  The Gospel delivers us from the impossibility of our perfection under the law and gives us Christ to forgive our law breaking.  The Gospel saves.  The law condemns.

The full text of the Lutheran Confessions can be found at:  http://www.bookofconcord.org/

 

 

In addition to the doctrines set forth above from our historic confessions, our congregation also believes:

1.  That the historic liturgy of the Church is useful and should be retained.   The liturgy has historically been seen as a kind of holy conversation between the Church and our gracious God.  It is based on Scripture itself and has served the Church for two thousand years.   Over the centuries the liturgy has undergone certain changes and additions as it has been "enculturated" by various peoples.  As we sing the liturgy our voices blend with those who have been singing it since the time of Christ.  We do not follow trendy forms of worship commonly referred to as "contemporary worship."  We believe the liturgy is itself contemporary in that it captures the true needs of people in every age.

2.  That closed communion is an expression of love for souls.  Many churches offer communion to anyone regardless of personal confession or church affiliation.  Our congregation follows the historic practice of closed communion, which means we offer the Lord's Supper only to those who are members in good standing of a Missouri Synod Lutheran congregation or one of the churches in official altar and pulpit fellowship with the Missouri Synod.  In as much as God's Word warns that those who commune in an unworthy manner eat and drink judgment on themselves (1 Cor. 11:27), love compels us to withhold communion from those whose confession of faith does not agree with that of our altar, or those who are living in unrepentant sin, being unforgiving of others, or who are not yet properly instructed.  The Lord's Supper is meant to be the highest expression of our oneness in faith and love for Christ.

3.  That marriage is designed and ordained by God to be between a man and a woman.

4.  That homosexuality is inherently sinful and contrary to the will of God.  (Rom. 1:18ff  esp. vs. 27)

5.  That the unborn possess life and dignity as human beings and that abortion is contrary to God's will and breaks the 5th commandment which tell us not to murder.

6.  That God ordained the pastoral office to be occupied by men, and that women pastors are contrary to the will of God.

7.  That God created the world in 6 actual days and evolution is inherently atheistic and godless.