Why St. John’s?
With all of the other Lutheran congregations in the area, what makes St. John’s different?
Lutheranism is quite a varied movement.
Starting off as an attempt to simply reform Roman Catholicism, the earliest Lutheran congregations used a slightly modified version of the high-church Roman Catholic Liturgy, and quite a few Lutheran congregations continue in the ‘High Church’ style of worship.
As the Reformation continued, its leaders, including Martin Luther, wrote songs and services that were inspired in part by the traditional style of worship, but which matched more of the contemporary music styles of their day: 16th Century Germany. They encouraged congregations to continue in this practice.
Our worship services on Sunday morning are a blending of where the church has come from, with its hymns, combined with the styling and some of the new songs that contemporary American Christianity has more recently developed.
On a similar note, the Lutheran movement within the church started as a ‘back-to-bible’ movement, looking to the Bible as the only source for really reliable truth, and requiring all doctrines to agree with and be founded on it. The reformers treated the Bible with a very high level of respect, believing it to be the absolute word of God, without error.
Within the Lutheran movement, there have been some branches of the church that have placed a greater emphasis on the writings of Luther, Melanchthon, and the rest of the reformers, and there have been those who have placed a lesser emphasis on them.
At St. John’s, we strive to be Christians first, looking to the Bible as our primary authority, and maintain our Lutheran identity secondly. This is to say, while we value, agree with, and confess the truths expressed in the reformation and by the reformers, we will always strive to lift up Jesus and His word first, and to ask those we meet, most importantly– do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
We believe that the reformers understood the free gift of the gospel correctly, and the searching, saving heart of God properly. We also believe it is important to present the fullness of God’s law, as well as the full sweetness of His saving good news. These reformation understandings of scripture help to shape how we present God’s answers to life’s major questions; but the major questions in life and faith will always center around relationship with Jesus, and a life of faith in Him.
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A small group of people moved by a desire to plant a Free Lutheran congregation in Duluth, MN. With the help of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Cloquet, MN, they began meeting October 12, 1984 in homes and then in a public school. After meeting in a rented church building in the Kenwood area the congregation moved into its current home at 3601 W. Arrowhead Rd. in 1994.