WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS GOD’S WORD
St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is a Bible-centered Christian Church. We believe the Bible is the holy and errorless Word of God as it claims to be in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The Bible tells the story of our salvation as well as God’s will for our lives. We understand the words of Scripture as God intended them. If there are verses which seems unclear to us, we let “Scripture interpret Scripture.” That is, we look to other verses in the Bible which speak about the same issue to clarify the verses which seem unclear to us. By letting God explain his own words, we remove the element of human interpretation.
WE BELIEVE ALL PEOPLE ARE SINFUL
We believe that all people are sinful from the moment they are conceived (Psalm 51:5) and that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 5:12; 6:23). Because of our sin, there is nothing that we can do to please God “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
We believe that God does not want us to “try hard” or to “make our best effort” to live a good and decent life. Instead, Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). In other words, trying hard is not good enough. God demands absolute perfection.
WE BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST IS OUR SAVIOR
We believe that since no one could achieve such perfection because of their sin, God sent his one and only Son Jesus into the world to be our Savior from sin and death, “that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God exchanged our sin for Jesus’ holiness “so that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
We believe that Jesus is the God-man, 100% God and 100% human being. He is the Son of God who was born of the virgin Mary. He was born into this world to keep God’s law perfectly in our place (Matthew 5:17) and to suffer and die for the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2).
We believe that Jesus rose from the dead with a glorified body on Easter morning. This resurrection serves as powerful, divine proof that God has forgiven all sin for the sake of Jesus.
We believe that because of what Jesus has done, Jesus has paid the price for all sins of the entire world.
WE BELIEVE WE ARE SAVED BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST
We believe that all who trust in Jesus as their Savior have eternal life (John 3:16,36). Only those who refuse to trust in Jesus as their Savior will endure eternal death (Mark 16:16).
WE BELIEVE THE TRIUNE GOD IS THE ONLY TRUE GOD
We believe that there is one true God (Deuteronomy 6:4), who has revealed himself in three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). However, we do not have three Gods, but one God. The ancient Christian church used the word “triune” (three in one).
WE BELIEVE CHRISTIANS DO GOOD WORKS
We believe that Christians produce good works not to merit or earn anything from God (something they cannot do anyway). Instead, Christians produce good works because that’s what Christians naturally do, in the same way that an apple tree produces apples (John 15:1-8). Good works are “fruits of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25). Good works do not produce Christians, but Christians produce good works.
WE BELIEVE THE DAY OF RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD WILL HAPPEN ON JUDGMENT DAY
We believe that Jesus will return on the Last Day and judge all people. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). We reject any teaching of a “thousand year” reign of Christ on earth. Jesus said very plainly, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
WE BELIEVE THE SACRAMENTS ARE MEANS OF GOD’S GRACE
We believe that in Holy Baptism God is making a commitment to us. In baptism, he promises us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). We baptize infants because they need these promises as well since we are all sinful from birth (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12).
We believe that in Holy Communion Jesus gives us his true body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:26-28). Even unbelievers receive his body and blood in this Supper, although it is to their judgment (1 Corinthians 11:27-29).
For even more information on what we believe, view What We Believe.