What We Believe
At St. John's, we take the traditions of the Church seriously. We also value the historic worship of the Church. However, we believe that the Bible is the only source of teaching and practice that is without error and holds absolute authority in Christ's Church. All other writings and teachers must be judged according to God's Word alone.
Below you will find the most fundamental parts of the Christian faith. Understanding what God has to say about each of these teachings of the Christian faith will help you understand what God wants you to do, what he has done for you, how you can pray to him, and how he gives you his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
"If you would enter life, keep the commandments." –Matthew 19:17
We believe that God has given his people a way to live that leads to the most fulfilling life a person could have. This way of living is God's Law.
Because of sin, the Law not only shows us what we ought to do, but it also condemns us for disobeying God's will.
The Scriptures tell us that the punishment for disobeying God's will is eternal torment. God loves all human beings and doesn't desire this fate for anyone. That is why he sent his Son to save us.
God's Law is summed up best in the Ten Commandments.
"Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes." –Romans 10:4
We believe that while the Law teaches us what we ought to do and condemns us for failing, the Gospel teaches us what God does for us and gives to us to free us from our failure to live as we should.
While we were dead in our sins and disobedience against God, our loving Father sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us and bring us back to a right relationship with God.
Jesus continues this saving work now through the Holy Spirit in the Church. In the Church, God daily and richly forgives the sins of all believers in Christ. Jesus will return in glory to raise all the dead and give eternal life to all believers.
This work of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is summarized well in the words of the Apostles' Creed.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." –John 16:23
We believe that we are in a situation where no one can perfectly keep God's Law, even if they believe in Christ for salvation. The devil, the world, and our own sinful desires constantly work against all our efforts to fear, love, and trust in God more and more, and to love and serve people better.
Because of this, nothing is more important than that we turn to God in prayer. We must pray that he would give, preserve, and increase our faith in him and the fulfillment of his Law in our life. Christ teaches us what and how to pray about these things in the Lord's Prayer.
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved." –Mark 16:16
We believe that Baptism isn't our work, but God's. In Baptism, Christ forgives all of our sins and gives the gift of the Holy Spirit.
We have faith in the promises God makes about Baptism. In Baptism, our sins are washed away and we have access to our Father in heaven. Through Baptism, we are united to Christ's death and resurrection. By the working of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, we are joined to the body of Christ, the Church.
We don't believe that plain water could do any of this. But the Word of God that he has connected to the waters of Baptism does these great and wonderful things.
God doesn't limit the gift of Baptism to any particular group of people. The promises of Baptism are "for you and your children and for all who are far off." Because of these clear words, we offer Baptism for all who believe, whether they are an infant or elderly.
If you are interested in receiving Baptism or learning more, contact us.
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” –John 20:22-23
We believe that Jesus has given authority to his Church on earth to forgive the sins of sinners who feel the burden of the wrongs they have done and desire to be forgiven. Christ has also given authority to the Church to withhold forgiveness from those who refuse to acknowledge their sin and feel no need to be forgiven.
The Church exercises this authority given by God through the pastor. We don't believe it is the pastor who forgives sins. Rather, it is Christ's Word of promise that does this.
"This is my body, which is for you...This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." –1 Corinthians 11:23-25
The bread and wine of the Lord's Supper are not plain bread and wine. Like Baptism, God has attached his word to these elements. Christ says they are his body and blood for our forgiveness. We believe his words regardless of what we see, taste, and touch.
We believe that when we celebrate this meal in remembrance of Jesus and what he has done for us and for the whole world, we aren't remembering someone who is bodily absent as when we remember lost loved ones at a family reunion. Instead, we believe God's promise when he says, "In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you."
For a brief explanation of our practice of the Lord's Supper at St. John's, click here.