The purpose of St. Paul Lutheran Church (LC-MS) is to share with everyone the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our savior, by means of Word and Sacrament, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. - Adopted, January 28, 1990

We Believe...

  • in the Triune God; God has revealed Himself to us as three distinct persons (Matthew 28:19) in one divine being (Deuteronomy 6:4); these three persons are God the Father, God the Son, who became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth, and God the Holy Spirit;
  • that while the existence of God is revealed in nature (Psalm 19:1), it is only through His Word that we can learn who God is and His love for us.  Because the words of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, inspired by His Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16) through the pen of the apostles and prophets (2 Peter 1:21), we believe that these writings are without mistake and can be trusted, and that these are the only authoritative rule and source of Christian doctrine;
  • that all creation came into being through the Word of God (Genesis 1, John 1:3) and was created perfect; that this perfection was lost due to the first sin of Adam and Eve; and that all descendants of Adam and Eve inherit the corruption caused by this first sin (original sin) and are thus conceived and born in sin (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12);
  • that while we were still sinners and bearing the guilt of sin, the eternal Son of God took on human flesh and lived among us (John 1:14), solely out of unmerited grace and love, in order to live in perfect obedience to God's law and to be a perfect, innocent sacrifice on the cross in the place of sinners (Hebrews 10:10);
  • that early on the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ was bodily resurrected from the dead (Matthew 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6; John 20:27) and that still today the incarnate Christ is seated at the right had of God the Father (Acts 7:56);
  • that pardon from sin and peace with God were won for the whole world through the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:2), and it is this good news that the Church exists to proclaim (Matthew 28:19-20);
  • that the forgiveness of sins and everlasting live won by Christ are received by faith, and are distributed even today by Christ Himself through the proclamation of His Word (Romans 10:17) and the administration of His Sacraments; the Word and Sacraments are called "means of grace" because they are the means by which Christ comes to His people with His grace;
  • that Holy Baptism is one such means of grace; that it is a work of God, by which he calls people (including infants and little children) by water and His Word, gives them his Holy Spirit, creates faith within them, and washes away all sin (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5);
  • that the Lord's Supper is also a means of grace, where we receive the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, really present in with and under the bread and wine, given by Christ himself for Christians to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14: 22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:17-32);
  • that the work of creating, sustaining, and strengthening faith is not a work of man but a work of God alone, carried out by the Holy Spirit through the ministry of word and sacrament alone (1 Corinthians 12:3);
  • that Christ's church is found where the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and where the sacraments are administered rightly;
  • that Christ calls men to serve in the office of the public ministry of Word and Sacrament to proclaim the message of repentance and grace to all people still today (Ephesians 4:11; Acts 20:28);
  • that Christ will visibly return on the last day to give bodily resurrection to all the dead, to judge both the living and the dead, to grant eternal life to all believers, and to deliver all unbelievers into eternal condemnation (Matthew 25:31-32).

On Closed Communion

St. Paul Lutheran Church is a member congregation of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and we practice Closed Communion. The practice of Closed Communion is one that is very misunderstood in our modern age, but actually has been the practice of the Church since the days of the Apostles. Closed Communion is not practiced in order to be spiteful – instead, it is a practice born out of a desire to do what is right for one another, no matter the cost or sacrifice – the biblical meaning of the word “love.” While it would be easier for us to simply open the Lord’s Table to everyone, it would not be the right thing. This is our conviction based upon the Word of God revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

We believe that when we receive the Lord’s Supper, what we are receiving is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in with and under the bread and the wine. When Jesus says “Take and eat, this is my body; take and drink, this is my blood (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:17-29),” we take Him at His word. We believe that the body and blood of Christ, that was given into death on the cross, that was raised from the dead on Easter Sunday, that ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, is bodily present in the Lord’s Supper. What Christ gives to us in his meal is the real deal. Christ also tells us what we receive when he gives to us His body and His blood – the forgiveness of sins.

If I can use an analogy, consider a pharmacy. That pharmacy may have many things that are available for anyone. However, certain medicines are kept under lock and key, because these medicines are the real deal. They are powerful, and are dangerous if misused. Consider what St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:27 and 29 : “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord… For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.” When we receive the Lord’s Supper, we receive the real deal, a powerful means of grace that, as Paul writes, can be dangerous if misused. The misuse that Paul corrected the Corinthians about was communing when there were divisions among them (1 Corinthians 11:18). If we did not believe that the Lord’s Supper really is the body and blood of Christ, then we would have no reason for concern over who receives communion. However, because we do take Christ at His word and believe that the Lord’s Supper is the body and blood of Christ, for the sake of loving our neighbor, we must be faithful in our practice of the Lord’s Supper.

Our motivation for our practice is not a desire to be exclusionary, nor an attitude of hatefulness or superiority. Our practice of Closed Communion is motivated by Christian love for our neighbor. We take an unpopular stance for three reasons: first, to ensure that no one eats or drinks judgment upon himself or herself (1 Corinthians 11:29); second, out of a desire to avoid profaning the body and blood of the Lord by coming before him as a collection of individuals who hold divergent beliefs regarding the common Christian faith; rather, we would seek to come before Him as one body unified in belief and practice; and third, in order to recognize the divisions among us, so that God’s Word may prevail over all false teaching.

If you attend worship at St. Paul’s and are not invited to receive the body and blood of Christ, please know that this does not mean we think you are not a Christian. Instead, it is a practice born out our earnest desire to love the Lord and to love our neighbor. We do thank you for respecting our efforts to preserve our unity of faith as we join as one body in common confession to receive the body and blood of Christ.