St. John will do whatever it takes for the sake of God's Kingdom.
As a church body, we know that, of our own ability, we cannot accomplish such a broad and challenging mission. But our mission is achievable when we:
- RELY on God
- RELATE to others as Christ has taught
- RESPOND to His grace with the help of the Holy Spirit
All of our church’s ministry groups and opportunities are listed under these three key terms: RELY, RELATE, and RESPOND.
Our Essential Beliefs
Our theology is not innovative -- anyone familiar with historic Christian doctrine will find that these statements fall in the center of evangelical theology ("evangelical" means theology derived from the evangel, or the Gospel; in other words, it is Biblical theology rather than speculative theology or theology rooted in tradition).
We believe that there is one true, Holy God, eternally in three persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- each of Whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created out of nothing the world and all the things therein, thus manifesting the glory of His infinite power, wisdom, and goodness. By His Power He continues to sustain His creation. By His Providence He is operating throughout history to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
Genesis 1:1,26,27, 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14
About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the eternal second Person of the Trinity who was united forever with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute, thus satisfying divine justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended to heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5, 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14,15; 1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 1:3,4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6:14,15; Titus 2:13
About the Holy Spirit and the Christian Life
The essential accompaniment of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ is a life of holiness and obedience, attained by believers as they submit to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. He was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to mankind the saving work of Christ. Through the Word of God and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the Holy Spirit works and sustains faith in the hearts of people. The Holy Spirit enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them recognition of their need of a Savior, and regenerates them. At the point of salvation, He permanently indwells every believer to become his/her source of assurance, strength, wisdom, and uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the edification of the body. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Scripture. His indwelling presence, power, and control are appropriated by faith, making possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13, 14:16,17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18
About the Bible
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God and that it was given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of chosen men. Scripture speaks with the authority of God and reflects the backgrounds, history, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. We hold that the Scriptures are infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105,160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5
About Human Beings
We believe and teach that since Adam and Eve sinned, all men and women are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God and without trust in God. This nature, state, or origin (spiritual depravity), will bring condemnation and eternal death upon those not born again. People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by this sinful attitude of disobedience toward God.
Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1, 2
The central purpose of God's revelation in Scripture is to call all people into fellowship with Him through Jesus Christ. Originally created to have fellowship with God, man defied God, choosing to go his independent way, and thus was alienated from God and suffered the corruption of his nature (original sin), rendering him unable to please God. The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all individuals thus born in the image of Adam have suffered these consequences and are in need of the saving grace of God.
The salvation of mankind is, then, wholly a work of God's free grace, not the result, in whole or in part of human works of goodness, and must be personally appropriated by repentance and faith. Therefore, a person is made right (justified) with God when he/she believes that he/she is forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for his/her sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Therefore, a person is justified by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ alone. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day of its full consummation. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1; 1 Peter 1:3-5; John 10:29
About the Sacrament of Baptism
We believe that Baptism is one of the miraculous means of grace (another is God's Word as it is written or spoken), through which God creates and/or strengthens the gift of faith in a person's heart (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 12:13). We believe that the Bible says that infants can believe (Matthew 18:6) and that new birth (regeneration) happens in Baptism (John 3:5-7; Titus 3:5-6). The infant's faith cannot yet, of course, be verbally expressed or articulated by the child, yet it is real and present all the same (Acts 2:38-39; Luke 1:15; 2 Timothy 3:15). The faith of the infant, like the faith of adults, also needs to be fed and nurtured by God's Word (Matthew 28:18-20), or it will die. Lutherans do not believe that only those baptized as infants receive faith. Faith is also created in a person's heart by the power of the Holy Spirit working through God's (written or spoken) Word.
Baptism should soon follow conversion for the purpose of confirming and strengthening faith in accordance with God's command and promise. Lutherans baptize people of all ages - from infancy to adulthood. We do not believe that Baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. All true believers in the Old Testament era were saved without baptism. The thief crucified alongside Jesus was promised eternal life even though he died unbaptized (Luke 23:39-43). Mark 16:16 implies that it is not the absence of Baptism that condemns a person but the absence of faith. At the same time, Baptism is not to be despised or willfully neglected, since it is explicitly commanded by God and has His precious promises attached to it. It is not a mere "ritual" or "symbol," but a powerful means of grace by which God grants faith and the forgiveness of sins.
About the Sacrament of The Lord’s Supper
We also believe and teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present in, with and under the bread and wine as they are distributed to those who eat in the Supper of the Lord. Those who receive the Lord's Supper -- those confessing their sins, trusting in Christ, and promising with the aid of the Holy Spirit to live a life of obedience -- receive forgiveness of all sins, the assurance of salvation, and strength in their Christian lives.
About the Church
The corollary of union with Jesus Christ is that all believers become members of His body, the Church. There is one true Church universal, comprised of all those who acknowledge and receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The Scripture commands believers to gather together in order to devote themselves to worship, prayer, the teaching of the Word, the administration of Baptism and Holy Communion as established by Jesus Christ, fellowship, service to the body through the development and use of talents and gifts, and outreach to the world. Wherever God's people meet regularly in obedience to this command, there is the local expression of the Church. Under the watch-care of elders and other supportive leadership, its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the one ultimate purpose of glorifying God.
About Human Destiny and Christ’s Return
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God's judgment will reveal His justice in consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life. Moreover, we believe and teach that at the consummation of the world, Christ will appear for judgment, and will raise up all the dead; He will give to all who trusted in Him eternal life and everlasting joys; but those who did not trust in Him, He will condemn to be tormented without end.
About the End Times
Lutherans are "Amillennialists," different from popular "millennial" views of the end times. We agree with all Christians that Jesus will come again at the end of time; that his return is imminent and motivates us to be diligent and passionate in outreach. We believe that no one can predict when his return will occur, only God the Father knows. We do not believe that the Bible teaches a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ. The millennial reign of Jesus began when he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. His millennial reign continues forever (Ephesians 1:19-23). We believe that the tribulation of the Christian church began when Jesus ascended into heaven and will continue until his return. The tribulation will significantly intensify in the time period immediately prior to Jesus' second coming. The Church is simultaneously living in the tribulation and under the authority and power of Jesus' millennial reign. We believe that the rapture will take place when Jesus comes at the end of time (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18). We do not teach a "pre-, mid- or post-tribulation rapture." We believe in a God who will accomplish his plan and purpose at the end of time regardless of the various views of the Body of Christ. We believe that the Church's time and energy is best spent on Kingdom work and the growth of our individual lives of faith rather than on the mysteries of end-times prophecies.
About The Lutheran Confessions
We believe and teach what the Christian Church has confessed since early times as contained in the ancient creeds: Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. We believe and teach that the doctrinal writings of the Lutheran Church, as contained in the Book of Concord, are true and correct expositions of the Word of God.