What We Believe
About the Bible:
As Lutherans, we believe that the Bible is all it claims to be – God's inspired word. The Bible is thousands of years old, written over the course of forty generations on three different continents and in three different languages – yet it speaks with amazing continuity and clarity on all kinds of controversial topics. The Bible contains all that is necessary for us to be in relationship to God and to other people. It shows us the pathway to peace with God – it also shows us the best way to have great relationships with the people around us. The Bible has inspired billions over the course of history and has changed the lives of more people than anyone could count.
Jesus Christ is God in the flesh—He is 100% God and 100% man. As a result, He experienced all the pain, suffering, and temptation we do. But because He was God, He dealt with it all in perfect sinless ways. He did what none of us can do: He never sinned. After three years of publicly teaching and demonstrating that He was God, He was crucified on a cross, paying the price for the sin of the world. Through His crucifixion, the debt we owe for our sin has been forgiven. Jesus' resurrection from the dead testifies to this as He has defeated death, sin, and the power of the devil. Jesus is not done as He is coming back once again on the final day.
About the Trinity:
One of the great mysteries of the Bible, we believe that there is only one God, but that this God is three distinct persons – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Each person of the Trinity has its own unique role:
God the Father creates, maintains, and will judge all in the end;
Jesus the Son redeemed the world through His death and resurrection
The Holy Spirit seeks after and generates new spiritual life in people's hearts.
What is Baptism?
What benefits does Baptism give? It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. Which are these words and promises of God? Christ says in the last chapter of Mark: "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned"(Mark 16:16). In and through Baptism, God cleanses us from all of our sins, and gives us eternal life. It is all God's doing as He gives us His blessing. It is His promise.
Why are infants and young children baptized? They are baptized for the same reason adults are baptized—because of the command and promise of God. What is promised in Baptism is given to all who receive it; therefore, infants and young children also have the promise of God. They too are made children of God. They too are included in the words "all nations"(Matt.28:19). Jesus specifically invites little children to come to Him (Luke 18:15–17). But most important, as sinners, infants need what Baptism gives. By His word God created all that is seen and unseen. The unborn child, John the Baptist, leaped in his mother's womb when he heard the word of God (Luke1:41–44). Why is there any doubt that in and through the Word and the promise of Baptism, God works a similar gift of faithin the infant? If we misunderstand Baptism to be our work, then we will always cast doubt on it. When we recognize that it is not our work, but God's gracious promise and work, we realize that infants are to be baptized and receive the treasures offered in and through Baptism.
When we receive communion, we not only receive the bread and the wine, but in a supernatural way, we receive the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 26: 26-30, "this is my body...this is my blood," not "this represents my body" or this symbolizes my blood." Baptized adult Christians who know they need God's continual forgiveness, and who are sorry for their sins that believe the body and blood of Christ are in, with, and under the bread and wine are invited to share this great gift of God.
Every human being is born with a sinful nature. Attempts to change human nature or to please God with our own good works are doomed to failure, for God demands perfection. No matter how hard we try, we are not and can never be perfect. Therefore, all of us are in the same boat: we need to be forgiven. That total and real forgiveness is found only in Jesus Christ.
About the Church:
The Church is the fellowship of everyone God has brought to faith. It's not a place but a people. It consists of everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. God has given His Church two great gifts to continue its growth: Baptism and The Lord's Supper. In Baptism, God establishes a relationship with us, marking us as members of His Family and promising to always be our God. While baptism is a simple act of washing with water in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, its power lies in God's Word as He gives us a new name—His.
The power of the Lord's Supper is also found in the Word of God when Jesus promises that "this (bread) is my body...this (wine) is my blood." While the Supper is a simple act consisting of bread and wine and involving all of our senses, the Word of God insures that Jesus' body and blood are also present, in and with the bread and wine, for the strengthening of our relationship with Him.
St. John is affiliated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.