Who We Are and What We Believe at St Paul
St. Paul Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. To explain who we are we have reprinted two documents below that have been published by our denomination. Read them, compare them with what the Bible says, and get to know who we are a little bit better.
"Who Are the Lutherans?"
Lutherans Center Their Faith in Jesus Christ
(Published by Concordia Publishing House)
Lutherans Look Like You
Lutherans look like people around the world-for indeed we are. We represent the world's largest Protestant group. The 58 million Lutherans can be found on every continent. We worship in hundreds of languages.
In the United States, there are about 9 million Lutherans. We are African-American, Anglo, Asian, Hispanic, Indian.
Lutherans Know Jesus Christ
Lutherans build our lives on Jesus Christ. We believe Jesus Christ is the only, perfect, son of God. We believe that Jesus died for us and for every person in the world. And we Lutherans believe that Jesus rose from the dead and lives for us - and for all people who believe in him as their Savior.
Jesus brings people close to God. Lutherans believe our lives - today, tomorrow and in eternity - depend on Jesus.
Lutherans live with a sure hope of eternal life because of Jesus Christ.
We know we're not perfect, that we stumble and fall in our daily walk with God. But we also know that our forgiveness has been won and paid for by Jesus Christ and when we repent and seek forgiveness, God will forgive us because of Jesus.
And, we want to tell others about that hope!
Lutherans Are Christians
Lutherans hold beliefs that are shared by many Christians:
1. God is three persons in one: the Father, who created and sustains the world; the Son, who lived as a human being, died, and rose from the dead; and the Holy Spirit who works God's will in the world.
2. The Bible is God's Word, inspired by God, spoken through human writers and completely inerrant.
3. Sin exists in every person. It is the cause of all bad things people do to each other and of all the evil in this world.
4. Everyone will have existence after death - either in heaven or hell - forever.
5. God has a plan to end the world, when he will judge everyone-both living and dead.
Lutherans proudly display the sign of the cross, a symbol used by all Christians. The cross symbolizes the terrible death that Jesus suffered as punishment for their sins.
How Lutherans Got Started
Lutherans Trust the Bible
Lutherans take their name from Martin Luther. He was a German priest who broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1500's Luther's writing and teaching sparked the Protestant Reformation. Through his study of the Bible, Luther helped the Christian Church rediscover the truth that God is loving and that he offers forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift because of Jesus Christ. Luther taught that people - no matter how hard they try - cannot earn God's forgiveness or a place in heaven. It is a gift that people receive through faith in Jesus Christ.
Lutherans often refer to three "solas" (Latin for "alone") as a summary of the faith that gives them hope.
1. Grace alone-God loved the world, though we do not deserve his love. He sent his Son to love the unlovely and save the ungodly.
2. Faith alone-Jesus has provided for our forgiveness and life; those who hear this promise and believe it, have what it offers. People don't "get" faith; God gives it as he gives us his promises.
3. Scripture alone-The Bible is the only source that shows God's will and the only basis for faith.
Lutherans talk about Law and Gospels The Bible gives the Law, showing God's expectation of people and the terrible consequences for not following his commands. But the Bible also reveals the Gospel-the "good news" of God's love and forgiveness.
Lutherans Are Congregational
Lutherans have other distinctive beliefs:
1. We view Baptism and the Lord's Supper as the means by which God gives people his grace.
2. Local churches, or congregations, are the central community for faith and practices Congregations choose a trained person to be their pastor.
3. Christian education is important. Lutherans provide Sunday schools, Bible classes, home study groups, preschools, elementary and high schools, and colleges.
4. We share our faith with individuals. Collectively, we sponsor mission programs worldwide.
5 We care about people in need - providing hospitals, help for children and families, and worldwide relief for the hungry, homeless, and helpless.
6 Our worship style, which includes a lot of music and singing, is often "liturgical," following the worship form handed down from the early Christian church. It is often expressed in contemporary forms.
Please join us for worship and Bible studies.
The following Bible readings will tell you more about the "good news":
· John 3:16
· Ephesians 2:8-9
· Romans 5:1-21
· Acts 2:38-42
· Romans 3:22-24
· Acts 4:12
"What Lutherans Believe"
1. There is only one true God. He has revealed Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
(Published by the Lutheran Laymen's League)
2. God is the creator of everything that exists.
3. People were originally created by God pure and holy. They lived according to God's will, doing what was pleasing to Him.
4. Adam and Eve, the man and woman God created in the beginning, went against God's will and brought sin into the world. Since that time, all people have been conceived and born in sin.
5. Sin is living out of relationship with God, not living according to God's will, and thus transgressing His holy will in thought, word and deed.
6. People cannot save themselves by their good works or restore themselves to a right relationship with God.
7. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world. He is both true God and true man. He lived to fulfill God's law for us, died on the cross to pay the penalty our sins deserved, and rose from the dead so that we might have eternal life. He ascended into heaven, where he now sits at the right hand of The Father to intercede for us.
8. Because of Jesus' death on the cross, God declares a person just - or righteous - and forgiven. This happens not because of human effort, but because the justification won by Jesus is applied to the one who believes in Jesus as avior.
9. Faith in Jesus is a gift of God, given by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus all the glory belongs to God.
10. The means of grace are the Word, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion. By these means, God applies the merits of Jesus' atoning death to all who believe in Jesus as their Savior.
11. Jesus will come again to take all believers to Himself. On the final day, all the dead will be raised. Those who are still alive will be bodily transformed. After this, the final judgment will take place. Unbelievers will go into eternal damnation, and believers into eternal life.
12. The true Christian church is made up of all believers of all times who believe in the Triune God and in Jesus Christ as their only Savior.
13. The true visible church is the church which correctly preaches and teaches God's Word and administers Holy Baptism and Holy Communion according to the teachings of Scripture.
14. Christians are called to tell others that the only way of salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ, and to show their faith by their deeds of love towards others.