We believe in one true God
The Bible tells us that there is only one God. All other ‘gods’ are human inventions. The only true God is the God who made heaven and earth, the God who became a human being for us in the person of Jesus Christ, the God who calls and leads people into a right relationship with Himself. This is the Triune God –
- God the Father, who created and sustains all things
- God the Son, who became a human being, suffered and died on the cross and rose again from the dead to save the world, and
- God the Holy Spirit, who brings people to faith in Christ, and makes them the holy people of God.
We believe that we are saved by Grace Alone . . .
God is totally for us. He loves us and wants us to share life with Him, starting now and going on forever. The eternal life that He offers is a gift from Him. We don’t have to work at it or earn it. His love has nothing to do with what kind of people we are or try to be. It does not depend on how well we have lived. Even though we do not deserve His love and forgiveness, He gives it to us anyway. We understand this undeserved love of God as the grace of God.
. . . by Faith Alone
Faith means taking God at His Word, without proof. It means trusting Jesus and accepting the Bible as true, even when we don’t see any evidence – even when we can’t understand. But Christian faith does not come naturally to us. It is the special gift of the Holy Spirit. Whenever we read or hear God’s Word, the Spirit is at work – working faith in us and giving us the ability to believe what God tells us.
. . . and by Scripture Alone;
The Bible is God’s Word. We can know that there is a God, and who God is, because God has introduced Himself personally through Jesus. Jesus is God’s revelation of Himself. If we want to know God, we look at Jesus, and we find out about Jesus from the Bible. It is God’s written revelation of Himself, therefore it is without error. It is God’s Word in human words and the only authority for faith and life. God inspired men to write His Word in their own style and language. Everything we need to know about God is in the Bible.
We believe that the Church is the communion of saints;
The Christian Church is the community of all people who believe in Him as their Lord. All of its members are “saints” – that is, people whom God regards as holy because they have had their sins forgiven. We don’t join this Church by our own decision; the Holy Spirit makes us members by calling us through the Gospel, leading us to faith in Jesus, and gathering us into God’s family. The tools he uses to do this are God’s Word and the Sacraments, and the Church may be found wherever God’s Word is taught and the Sacraments rightly administered.
We believe in and practice the Sacrament of Holy Baptism
Through the waters of Baptism God initiates and welcomes us into a relationship with Himself. He adopts us into His family, making us His, offering us all of the promises and gifts of the Gospel. In Baptism God washes us clean from all the guilt we were born with, and from all the sins we have committed or will commit. Through Baptism God gives the gift of new life, not based on our decision, but on God’s. God takes the initiative and does all the giving in Baptism. We practice and believe in infant Baptism as it captures the essence of the Gospel – God accepting us before we can accept Him.
We believe in and practice the Sacrament of Holy Communion;
Holy Communion is God’s guarantee of His love. Through this sacrament God says to us again and again: “I am for you!” Whenever we celebrate Holy Communion Jesus is present as the Host who sets His meal before us. He gives us bread to eat and wine to drink. We eat the bread and drink the wine in a normal, natural way. But at the same time, in a way we can’t explain or understand, we also eat and drink the true body and blood of our living Lord – the same body and blood which He offered on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We understand this teaching as the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament. In the Lord’s Supper, along with His love, we receive the forgiveness of sins and all of God’s kindness.
In obedience to what we believe and confess as taught in Holy Scripture, and in accordance with the position of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Holy Communion at St. Paul is offered to confirmed members of St. Paul and sister LCMS congregations. Those who are not members of St. Paul or a sister congregation are asked to speak with the pastor prior to attending Holy Communion.
We believe in the value of human life.
Human beings have been created in the image of God and therefore have supreme worth and value. Their worth is dependent not on accomplishments, but on God’s love. Because God sees humanity as worth dying for, we uphold the dignity of each individual life, including the pre-born. At the same time, we acknowledge that humanity is separated from God because of sin. We joyfully proclaim the Good News that because of Jesus Christ forgiveness is a reality. God sent Jesus not to condemn us, but to save us – to deal with the problem of sin on our behalf. Because of Jesus we can enjoy God’s love and kindness each day.
We believe in a Day of Judgment and the return of Jesus Christ.
Though we don’t know the day or the hour, we joyfully proclaim His soon return. At the last day, Jesus will judge all people who have ever lived. His judgment will show his perfect justice and his amazing grace. Believers in Christ will live with him in heaven in perfect happiness forever. Those who die rejecting God’s forgiveness will go to never-ending punishment in hell.