Peter-Paul Gemeinde Hermannsburg

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Our Teaching

   As a congregation we have consciously decided to

  • work equally in English and German,
  • offer a variety of worship services, including traditional liturgical, youth and outdoor services,
  • maintain and promote our musical heritage,
  • offer programmes for all age groups in the congregation,
  • serve the community beyond our congregation (e.g. school and community projects),
  • foster good relationships with other congregations and churches and, where possible, to work together with them.

   These goals shape our congregational life.

Each of the three bells tolls its own message     Inside the church     A shaded bench provides for quiet reflection

   The basic teaching in our congregation follows the evangelical Lutheran approach:

The Church
Our church teaches that the church is a gathering of believers. The true church is no single denomination, but a gathering of all true believers who belong to the body of Christ. However, there are also good reasons for the human institution of ‘church’, organised in different denominations. No church has a monopoly on the truth; the church is by nature a mixed church which means that, like any other institution made up of imperfect human beings, it will always contain a mixture of belief and unbelief, good works and sinful deeds, things that are in line with God’s Will and things that are not. We should not expect the church to be perfect, yet at the same time the church is called to proclaim God’s Word and to call people to continual repentance and renewal. In effect, this is an expression of what Jesus tried to explain with the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-29).
Our church teaches that believers are taken up into the body of Christ through baptism - that is why only baptised Christians can be official members of the congregation. We teach that in baptism, God works - it is God who pronounces His acceptance of the baptised into His fellowship; the congregation acts out this acceptance by in turn accepting the baptised into its fellowship. Because God acts in baptism, we are able to practice infant baptism - as a rule, we baptise infants, though there may be exceptions to this rule. Of course, older children and adults, who have not yet been baptised, may be baptised if it is their wish. Furthermore: baptism and faith belong together, in the sense that God wants us to respond to Him and His gift and promises in faith. As parents, congregation members and church we therefore have the responsibility to teach all the baptised so that they can and do respond in faith. We do not practice re-baptism; God’s promise made at baptism remains true and valid, even if we have not understood it correctly or have strayed. Therefore, if understanding grows or we recognise that we have strayed, we do not need to be re-baptised. Instead, we need to ‘re-believe’, repent and turn back to God and to the original promise He made. Remembrance or reaffirmation of baptism can be celebrated in church services.
Holy Communion
Our church practises ‘open communion’, which means that any baptised Christian who believes the words "My body given for you, My blood shed for you" is worthy to receive communion. The focus during Holy Communion is on Christ’s invitation "Come to me …".
Scripture alone, Grace alone, Faith alone, Christ alone
Scripture is the ultimate authority for what we teach. Although we do rely on human writings to helps us to understand and interpret scripture, only scripture is the ultimate measure of, and authority for what we teach. We are saved, i.e. made right with God and accepted into His fellowship, through God’s grace alone, and not by our own merit. This means that, though we are called to do good works, these good works do not earn our salvation - salvation is a free gift from God. This gift is made possible through Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. We accept this gift through faith, trusting that Christ has indeed done this for us.

   Of course, we also teach much more, but this is a basic outline to help you to gain a better understanding of a church and congregation like ours.


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