What We Believe

Brief Statement of Beliefs

As Lutherans, we believe...

+ in the mystery of the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to use the traditional language; God expressed as a 'community', an  active agent in the creating, redeeming, and sanctifying of all.

+ that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and that it is our mission to share his Good News of salvation to all people.

+ that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and the source and norm for Christian living (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

+ that the Church is 'The Body of Christ', a community of baptized disciples called by God to proclaim God's Word, to share in the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, and to serve those in need.

+ that as human beings we are in need of forgiveness that comes only through the grace of God.

+ that "Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again!"


We are not an easy-answer church. We will not tell you how to vote, nor will we tell you what position you should take regarding cultural issues. We live not according to a formula of "do's" and "don'ts". Instead, we live in the freedom of Christian love, community, and responsibility. All are welcome to worship, learn, and enjoy fellowship with us! To learn more about our beliefs, please continue reading the information below. You can also learn more about us at the website of our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA): www.elca.org

 

What is a 'Lutheran'?

Our name 'Lutheran' comes from the German monk, priest, and professor, Martin Luther (1483-1546). Luther was instrumental in beginning the Protestant Reformation of the institutional church almost 500 years ago. During Luther's time, the Roman Catholic Church was the dominant, institutional church in western Europe. The Roman Catholic Church governed all aspects of one's faith. Luther questioned the teachings of the church in his day, insisting that we are saved by God's grace, not by our works or goodness. We still hold to his belief that we are sinners saved by grace. To embrace the name 'Lutheran' means we are Christians committed to following Jesus, proclaiming the good news of God's gracious love for all, and being actively involved in renewal and reform of the institutions in both church and society.

 

Salvation

As Lutherans, we proclaim the reality of God's grace. We celebrate God coming to us and saving us through Jesus Christ (John 1: 1-5; John 3:16-17). We love how the Holy Spirit opens the words of Scripture to us, liberating us (example: Acts 8: 26-39). We get excited when our faith is active in love. And we enjoy bringing hope to a despairing world.

The cornerstone of the Lutheran expression of the Christian faith is the belief that salvation only comes through the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8). The words 'saved' and 'salvation' in the New Testament are translated from the Greek root word 'soteria'. 'Soteria' can refer to both bodily health and well-being of spiritual life. The Biblical understanding of 'salvation', then, is one of spiritual healing that grabs ahold of us in this life and carries us on into 'Eternal Life', 'larger life', 'Heaven'--to only name a few of many descriptions for the mystery that awaits us at the close of our earthly lives. We proclaim that all people are sinners and that a person is saved only by the grace of God as we encounter it through Jesus Christ.

Lutherans are a collection of 'everyday' people from all walks of life who gather to worship, study, play and grow together in the name of Jesus Christ. For it is Jesus who gladly receives us as sinners and lovingly transforms us into saints (Romans 3: 21-26).

 

The Church as the 'Body of Christ'

We believe that the 'Church' is the Body of Christ on earth. Jesus of Nazareth is no longer on earth in human form. However, by saying that the Church is the Body of Christ, we believe that the presence of Jesus as the resurrected and ascended Christ continues on to this day. One of the means by which humans encounter the presence of the risen Christ is through those baptized "disciples" (life-long learners/leaders/servants) who gather together in community to hear God's Word and to participate in the Sacraments. Lutherans lift up two Sacraments: the waters of Baptism and the bread & wine of Holy Communion. The Church--with a big 'C'--is not a building, nor is it any particular institutional structure.

We believe that the Church was given by God through the Holy Spirit. During the Jewish festival of Pentecost nearly 2,000 years ago, 120 of Jesus' followers received the Holy Spirit while they were gathered together. On this occassion, they were given power to proclaim God's Good News for humankind in many different languages (Acts 2:1-21). This same Spirit continues to lead and nuture the Church, in all of its forms and in all of its congregations worldwide. St. John Lutheran Church--Hubbells Corner is one of a multitude of places where the Body of Christ gathers for worship, fellowship, and compassionate service, as we try to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as best we can.

 

The Church in Three Expressions

We recognize that the Church is present in more than in the gathering of a single congregation. The Body of Christ is revealed through all who gather together to profess Jesus Christ as their savior and who live to share the good news of God's grace. St. John--Hubbells, as with every congregation, is out on the 'front-line'. We are a mission outpost, going forth into our local community to share Christ with all we meet. In addition to the work of individual congregations, Lutherans see the Church existing in the following three expressions:

1) National -- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA, for short): This is the national denomination to which St. John--Hubbells belongs. The ELCA works closely with other denominations in ministry across the United States and the world. The ELCA is part of the Lutheran World Federation, a Lutheran body comprised of Lutherans in countries across the globe. The ELCA consitution is the model on which St. John's and all other ELCA congregations are organized and governed. The Presiding Bishop of the ELCA is the Rev. Dr. Mark Hanson. The ELCA actively participates in global ministries, in supporting Lutheran colleges and seminaries, in planting and renewing congregations, in providing relief and aid in times of natural and human-made disaster, in campus ministies, in church camps, in educating and mentoring youth, and many other ministries which are actively supported by the St. John--Hubbells congregation. You can learn more about our denomination by visiting the their website: www.elca.org.

2) Synod -- Indiana-Kentucky Synod (I-K Synod, for short): The word synod is a Greek word meaning "on the journey together". The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is comprised of 65 smaller units called 'synods'. St. John--Hubbells is in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod. Our synod's bishop is the Rev. Dr. William O. Gafkjen. The synod is repsonsible for the calling of pastors to congregations, working closely with both the pastor and the congregation during this process. The synod is a congregation's partner, assisting in a congregation's local ministry. From the synod, congregations receive assistance in areas of stewardship, ministry planting and renewal, educational and fellowship opportunities, many prayers, and much encouragement, in both good and difficult times. The Indiana-Kentucky Synod supports Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio--the seminary geographically closest to us. The synod also partners with and helps to support three, independant church camps in Indiana, run by Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Indiana-Kentucky. This is just a sampling of the ministries of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod which our congregation actively supports; to learn more, you may visit the synod's website: www.iksynod.org

3) Congregation -- The congregation of St. John Lutheran--Hubbells Corner, with the help and support of the ELCA and the Indiana-Kentucky Synod, is the primary center for sharing God's unconditional love and grace with Sunman and the surrounding areas of Dearborn, Ripley, and Franklin Counties in Indiana. Our congregation actively supports the Sunman Fire Department and Rescue Life Squad, the Sunman area food pantry, the local chapter of the American Red Cross, 'Relay for Life', 'New Horizons' (an agancy which works with special needs adults), YES Home (shelter for teenagers displaced from their families), 'Safe Passsage' (a shelter for women and children escaping domestic abuse), and 'Heart House' (Southeast Indiana's only homeless shelter)--to name a few.

All three of these expressions of 'Church' enables the baptized followers of Jesus to live out their faith in community, showing compassion for those in need, comfort for the afflicted, and justice for the oppressed.

 

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