At St. John Lutheran Church, we strive to walk in the historic, orthodox tradition of the apostolic Church, bearing witness to the love and truth of the Word of God as proclaimed by the apostles and affirmed by believers for 2,000 years. Among all the matters of faith and life that we can articulate, the following statements represent some of our core beliefs and practices.
The Triune God
We believe in and teach God as He reveals Himself in the Holy Scriptures, One God in Three Persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We affirm the apostolic witness to the Triune God as expressed in the historic Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds.
We believe and teach that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born to the virgin Mary. Jesus lived a sinless life and died in our place, all of which was to save us from hell, empower us for sanctification, and bring us to heaven. Jesus, the living Word of God, is our Savior and Lord.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is the power and presence of God Himself at work in the world, convincing sinners of their need for God’s grace, showing them the beauty of Jesus Christ, and empowering saints for transformed and growing Christian lives of discipleship.
We believe and teach that the 66 books of the Bible are the inspired, infallible Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of our proclamation, faith, and life. The truth of the Bible is both reliable and dependable for believing and living as followers of Jesus Christ.
Sin, baptism, and regeneration
We believe and teach that all are born with sin which intrinsically affects who we are and what we do. But God provides a means through “water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) for us to be reborn (regenerated) as children of God. Therefore, we are called to be baptized, that God might fill us with His renewing Spirit in the covenant of grace and faith. Both children and adults are candidates for baptism, which means we baptize both believers and children of believers. We teach that it is essential for children who are baptized to come to a personal faith in Christ in order for the promises of baptism to be effective. Even though we teach the importance and necessity of baptism for Christian discipleship, we do not teach that unbaptized children are lost from God.
We believe and teach that in addition to baptism, Holy Communion is a second sacramental means through which God forgives and strengthens us, uniting us in true fellowship with Him and one another. We affirm with the Lutheran Confessions that we receive the Real Presence of Christ’s body and blood “in, with, and under” the bread and wine. All baptized, believing adult Christians are welcome to participate in Holy Communion, along with children who have received their First Communion.
We believe and teach that the Church is the people of God, the Body of Christ, created and sustained by God Himself. The biblical expression of being a part of the Church is faithful participation in worship, daily prayer and study of the Bible, regular fellowship, and generous support of the mission of the congregation.
MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY
We believe and teach that the Scriptures and the nearly 2,000-year orthodox tradition of the Church are clear on such matters as sexuality and marriage. We affirm that marriage, the lifelong union of fidelity between one man and one woman, is the only relationship God has ordained for the full expression of human sexuality. Single people are expected to remain chaste and married persons faithful to their spouses.
Sanctity of life
We believe and teach that God has made all human life sacred from the moment of conception. We thus advocate and work toward preserving and sustaining the lives of all people across the full span of life—from the preborn to the elderly. Thus, we affirm the sanctity of every human life from “womb to tomb.”
We believe and teach that the mission of the church is mission. God calls us together for worship, learning, and fellowship and then sends us out to take the Good News of Christ to the world in word and deed. We are committed to engaging in a number of mission outreaches locally in the Roanoke Valley and globally in several places, including Nicaragua and Zambia.
THE LAST THINGS
We believe and teach that Jesus Christ “will come again to judge both the living and the dead,” and we believe in “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.” But we avoid what we view to be speculative teachings concerning the “end times” or “last things.” Rather, we affirm that every day is an opportunity to live in a vital, loving, and obedient relationship with God. Thus, in the Lord we do not fear, and we trust Him for all His future promises.