There is one and only one real God.
The Bible is the Word of God. It does not merely contain the Word of God, but is the Word of God. The Bible is to be understood literally except for those portions that the Bible itself indicates are to be taken figuratively. While some things about God and our relationship to Him can be learned from nature, only the Bible reveals to us what we need to know for salvation. The Bible is to be our only source and basis for doctrine.
From the Bible we learn:
The one real God is beyond full human understanding. Using a human word, He is “Triune”; that is, He is one indivisible God but also three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God created all things in six ordinary days by the power of His word less than 10,000 years ago. When God finished His creating work, everything was perfect.
Adam, the first man, brought sin and death into this world when he and his wife disobeyed God. Death is God’s just sentence against sin. Since Adam, all people are born sinful and are under God’s holy anger against sin and His just sentence of death, including eternal death in a very real hell.
God provided a way for humanity to escape eternal death. He did not ignore justice, but sent His Son into the world to take humanity onto Himself to serve as humanity’s substitute under God’s law, living the holy life God’s law demands and suffering the punishment for sin that God’s justice demands. The Son of God did this as the Christ – both human, born of the virgin Mary and named Jesus; and God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the Christ, lived and died for all humanity. By his holy life and by his innocent death on the cross he made complete atonement for everyone. By rising from the dead he proved there is life after death and assured us that God has accepted his offering for our sin.
By the convincing power of His Word, God moves but does not force people to repent of their sins and to believe that because of Christ, God forgives all sin, restores spiritual life, and promises eternal life in peaceful harmony with God. This is Christian faith. Christian faith responds to God’s love and His gift of salvation by striving to obey his commandments to love Him and all humanity.
God offers this salvation to everyone, but this salvation is received only through faith in the atoning work of Jesus, the Christ. There is no other way of salvation, no other way to escape God’s eternal justice against sin. Our good works cannot add anything to what Christ has done. Good works are the result of knowing we have salvation, not a means for gaining salvation, either in whole or in part. No other religion or philosophy brings people to Christian faith.
In love for everyone, we want everyone to hear the message of the Bible so that it can turn them to repentance and faith. It is therefore our mission to share the message of God both in our community and, in cooperation with other Christians, around the world. We also keep teaching God’s Word to ourselves so that it will keep us and our children in saving faith. The Bible, God’s Word, is the means by which God brings and works his blessing of faith in our hearts. Connected with the Bible are two sacred rites that, because of their connection with the Word, create and strengthen Christian faith: the sacraments of Baptism and Lord’s Supper.
Christian faith is not limited to or defined by any organization or denomination. While Christian faith is a matter of the heart and therefore invisible to human eyes, we trust the power of God’s Word to create Christian faith wherever the Bible is properly used and we trust there are Christians wherever the Bible is in use.
While not every false teaching necessarily destroys Christian faith, every false teaching attacks Christian faith. We therefore strive to keep our doctrine and teaching pure and in complete agreement with the words of Scripture. False teaching always threatens the unity of the Church. Therefore we join together with other Christians and recognize Christian fellowship when we are agreed on doctrine, and strive to work out differences on the basis of Scripture when we don’t yet have full agreement.
With regard to some social issues, we believe:
There is no disagreement between the teachings of the Bible and true science. True science is a valuable discipline and truly scientific investigation has provided many benefits to society. We oppose naturalism, the religious doctrine that all things can be and are to be explained by natural processes that can be discovered through science. To rule out the possibility of God’s supernatural power is to make a statement about God. That is not science, but religion. It is pseudo-science. God created nature and often works through and in nature; therefore there is benefit in studying nature and discovering its secrets. But excluding God and his ability to work at a supernatural level from consideration is a sinful dogma that needs to be opposed.
Marriage is God’s institution. He designed it when he created one man and one woman and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Husband and wife are to be one flesh. What God has joined together man is not to separate. Therefore we believe and teach that marriage is to be the life-long union of one man and one woman. Sexual intimacy in marriage, practiced in love and care, is God’s design and God-pleasing; but outside of marriage it is sin. Those who teach or practice contrary to this design are not beyond the reach of God’s mercy, but they need to repent of their sin and in faith strive to live in accordance with God’s will.
Before God’s Law and Gospel men and women are on equal standing. Both are equally sinners. Both are offered salvation equally through faith in Christ. Both are equally precious in God’s sight. In the home and in the church, however, God has given men and women different roles. Men have the responsibility to lead in love for all under their leadership. Women are to respond to loving leadership with respectful assistance. In that framework both men and women are to use their varied talents and abilities God has given in mutual service, love, and respect. This arrangement reminds both men and women that we are God’s creation and that we sinned against God; therefore we both need His grace and mercy. This arrangement in the home is to be a reflection or model of the relationship between Christ and the Church: self-sacrificing love and happy and secure submission. This arrangement for home and church does not dictate what the roles for men and women are to be in society in general, as in business or government.
Human life begins at conception. Therefore, a woman who is pregnant has a baby that has been entrusted to her care. To abort that baby’s life for mere convenience, comfort, or personal choice is murder. If the baby’s life must be sacrificed in order to save the mother’s life, that is the result of sin in this world and does not apply individual blame. A woman with her husband should have the right to choose whether or not to try to get pregnant, but if that choice has been taken from her by sinful action or by accident, once she is pregnant she has a baby that needs her protection.
Only God has the right to end a person’s life. A person’s quality of life – whether very young, as a baby in the womb, or very old, or anywhere in between – gives no one a valid authority to actively take steps to shorten or end a person’s life – another’s or one’s own. While we are to do all we can to preserve life, we are not required to prolong a person’s death, even if technology makes it possible.
Governments are instituted by God to punish evil and promote good. We therefore are to submit to our governments as a part of obeying God’s Fourth Commandment. But government does not have the authority to command us to condone, commit, or participate in sin, or remain silent about God’s truth. We ought to obey God rather than men, even if it results in persecution. While we can expect persecution in this world because of our faith, we may use the government’s laws for our own protection, even as the Apostle Paul used civil law to shorten his imprisonment at times and even preserve his life. To obey and use civil law we need to know the law.
• to REFLECT CHRIST in all that we do
• to GROW in CHRIST
• to WORSHIP CHRIST
• to PROCLAIM CHRIST to the world
• To REFLECT CHRIST in all that we do, serving him and others in gratitude for his gift of salvation.
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
• To GROW in CHRIST through personal and family Bible study, Sunday School, group Bible study, worship, and faithful use of the Sacraments.
(2 Peter 3:18)
• To WORSHIP CHRIST by gathering around God’s word and sacraments, sharing Christian love and fellowship with each other and building each other up in Christ.
• To PROCLAIM CHRIST by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ to our community and our world by our words, actions, prayers, and offerings.
Mission of the WELS
As men, women, and children united in faith and worship by the Word of God, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod exists to make disciples throughout the world for time and for eternity, using the Gospel to win the lost for Christ and to nurture believers for lives of Christian service, all to the Glory of God.
For additional information regarding the beliefs of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod visit http://www.wels.net/what-we-believe
History of St. John – St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church
The double name of the congregation — St. John and St. Peter — describes the congregation’s early history. Prior to an amalgamation in 1920, two congregations existed: St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church of Centerville, dedicated September 5, 1861, and St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, organized June 14, 1863, and located on Union Road west of Cleveland. St. Peter’s affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in 1868.
Pastor Margott Helidor Quehl served both congregations until 1868. His successor was Candidate Charles Dowidat, who remained until 1875. From 1875-1877 Pastor Franz Pieper served both congregations. Pastor Julius Haase served from 1877 until 1883. From 1883 to 1887 C. Jaeger was the pastor. Pastor Philip Sprengling arrived in 1887, serving for 46 years.
Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 1920 was a monumental day. The decision was made to merge the two congregations and build a new church. On July 4, 1920, the two churches agreed to build the new church and parsonage on the present location. The cornerstone was laid in 1922 and the dedication service was held on June 25, 1923. The cost was approximately $40,000. On December 1, 1928, the mortgage was paid in full.
On February 12, 1919, the first meeting of the Ladies Aid Society was held. Even during the years of the depression, the Ladies Aid Society paid $2,385 for decorating the church in 1931. In 1933, Pastor Philip Sprengling retired because of ill health, ending his ministry of 46 years. Pastor Martin Braun was installed in November 1933.
On December 6, 1948, Roland Jacobi was elected as the first president of the congregation.
Pastor Martin Braun accepted a call in 1950 after serving 17 years. His successor was Pastor Elden Bode, serving from August 27, 1950 – October 11, 1959. Pastor Gerhardt Cares succeeded him, serving from May 1, 1960 until 1966 when he accepted a call to Zion in Columbus, Wisconsin, where he still serves. Pastor Paul Knickelbein served the congregation from 1967-1968. On January 19, 1969, Rev. Henry F. Koch was installed, serving 29 years until his retirement on May 31, 1998. Pastor Aaron E. Schoenike was ordained and installed on June 20, 1999. On July 11th, 2004, Pastor David Endorf was ordained and installed, serving just under 13 years. On July 17th, Pastor Endorf accepted a call to St. John’s, Sparta Wisconsin. Rev. Randall Styx was called to out of retirement to be the vacancy pastor. On October 17th, 2017 Pastor Steven Wall accepted a the call to serve as the new pastor beginning in January 2018. Vacancy Pastor Styx currently serves the congregation.
In 1975 the congregation joined the Manitowoc Lutheran High School Federation. Seven sons of the congregation have studied at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, Wisconsin and four daughters of the congregation have graduated from Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minnesota.