As a congregation of the Evangelical-Reformed Church of St. Gallen, All Souls seeks to be a community that is Nahe bei Gott - nahe bei den Menschen (Close to God - close to people) and actively lives out 1 Corinthians 3:11:
"For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
Through Jesus Christ, who we believe was fully God and fully human, we are close to our Creator and the world He has made. Therefore our core values are:
We adore, confess, and thank Christ through Word, Sacrament, Fellowship, Song, Prayer, Creeds, His Gospel, and keeping His way of service and love.
Expression of Faith
Every worshipping community has its own tradition or expression of faith, and at All Souls our expression is Christian and Reformed.
As a Christian community we affirm with all other Christian Churches:
+The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, And in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead; on the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, and He is seated at the right hand of God the Father; He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy catholic (universal) Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
+The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ
God has spoken to humanity through Jesus, so that we might know of His goodness, existence and endless love (Hebrews 1:1-3, Romans 1:19-21, John 3:16). We affirm that salvation is an act of God’s love that comes by grace to sin-filled people, through faith in Christ alone (Acts 4:12, John 14:6).
+The Authority of the Holy Scriptures
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are a witness to God’s love throughout the ages. They are inspired by God and authoritative to direct the behavior of His people in matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 119:2-4). We affirm the primacy of the Scriptures over all other creeds, which exist to reflect the teaching and affirmations of the Scriptures in certain times and situations.
As a Reformed community we affirm with all other Reformed Churches:
+The Marks of the Church
The founders of the Reformed tradition (Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and Peter Martyr to name a few) taught that the true Church can be recognized by two marks: preaching the Word (the Bible) and celebrating the Sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion). These two marks are the strongest ways in which Christians proclaim the Gospel and God’s love when they gather together for worship.
Every Christian tradition has confessions or statements of faith that convey their specific beliefs. In the Reformed tradition there are ten main confessions which are the:
Canons of Dort
1689 Baptist Confession
Though Scripture is higher than our confessions, we believe that they are historic witnesses of God’s love throughout the ages. (To learn more about our confessions go here – ASPC Book of Confessions)
+God's Grace in Jesus Christ
We are all sinners who fall short of God’s glory, and deserve to be left as we are. Nevertheless, we are still unconditionally loved by God and can rejoice that He does not leave us in our sins. Through Jesus Christ, God covers us with righteousness and transforms us by grace or His favor that we cannot earn.
+Election for Salvation and Service
As sinners we do not reach out and find God for ourselves; instead God reaches out in love through Jesus Christ and finds us, and this is called Election. In Election God draws us to Himself by grace, not because of anything we have done, and calls us to freely share His grace through service and love to the world.
+Covenant Life in Church
We are elected in Christ to become members of the community of His new covenant. This covenant, which God Himself guarantees, unites us to Christ and to one another in love. In Christ, we are adopted into the family of God the Father and find a new identity as brothers and sisters. Our faith requires our active participation in this covenant community by taking part in a congregation or gathering of believers.
Church discipline is often seen as punishing people for sins, but this is not so. Discipline is an act of love that is all about growing in holiness through keeping the commands of Jesus, imitating Him, and caring for the well-being of others. Sometimes discipline involves dismissing people from fellowship, which is always painful, but this should only be done with love and care for those being dismissed. Also, dismissal should only be a last resort for instances where the negative actions of a group or individual (e.g., theft, harassment or abuse of any kind, etc.) are deeply harming the life of a congregation.
+Faithful Stewardship of all of Life
Both women and men alike are called to all the ministries and offices (pastor, elder, and deacon) of the Church and every Christian is called to proclaim and live the Gospel in all places and parts of life. Through doing justice, loving mercy and walking humble with God, every Christian is called to extend the Lordship, love, and blessings of Christ to every corner of the world and to offer intercession to God on behalf of the world.
Though the Reformed tradition, has essential tenets to unite its members, it is also a broad tradition with diverse opinions on various theological subjects (e.g., baptism); also, Christianity in general is broad and diverse. Though our differences of opinion are important and enriching, they are not essentials for following Jesus. Therefore, as St. Augustine encouraged, we seek unity in what is essential, liberty in what is not essential, and the love of Christ in all agreement and disagreement.