Statement of Faith
WHAT WE HOLD AS COMMON CHRISTIAN FAITH
We believe as an evangelical body in the historic statements of faith as expressed in the Apostolic and Nicene Creeds. In specific:
1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are wholly inspired by God, infallible and the only supreme and final authority in faith and life (Psalm 19 and 119; II Tim. 3:16,17; II Pet. 1:19-21).
2. We believe in One God, eternally existing in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; II Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6).
3. We believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth (John 1), born of the virgin Mary (Matt. 1:22, 23), in His perfect and sinless humanity (II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:22), His atoning death and the cleansing power of His blood (Rom. 3:21-26; Heb. 9:11ff), His bodily resurrection from the dead (Luke 24), His ascension into heaven (Acts 1) and His present life there for us as our High Priest and Advocate (Heb. 7:25 and Ch. 8). We believe in His personal, triumphant return according to His promise in the Scriptures (Matt. 24; Acts 1:11).
4. We believe that man was created in the image of God as male and female (Gen. 1:26); that he sinned, and thereby incurred the death which is separation from God (Gen. 3; Rom. 3:23); and that all human beings are sinful by nature and in need of redemption which is accomplished alone by the grace and power of God through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Rom. 3:23, 24; 5:1, 2, 6-12; I Cor. 15:21, 22).
5. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice; and that all who believe in Him are justified freely on the ground of His sacrificial death, and become heirs of eternal life through His resurrection. (Rom. 3:24; Rom. 8:17; I Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 3:28, 29; Titus 3:7).
6. We believe that God has always acted with grace and mercy to bring about salvation. A child of God is one who has been moved by the Holy Spirit to accept by faith the gift of eternal life which leads to repentance and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Luke 13:3; John 16:8; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom. 10:9,10; Eph. 2:8-10; I Pet. 1:3-5; I John 3:1).
7. We believe in the fellowship of believers visibly united in the local church (Acts 2). We believe in prayer (Matt. 6:5ff; Phil. 4:6, 7), the call to do God's will enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit according to the Word of God and a lifestyle of holiness and obedience (Eph. 4:17-5:20; I Pet. 1:15, 16). We believe in the reality of Satan and his kingdom of darkness which opposes the kingdom of light (Matt. 4:1-11; Eph. 6:10-18, I Pet. 5:8,9; I John 2).
8. We believe in the immortality of the soul (Luke 12:20; John 3:16, 17), the resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15) and the translation of the living at the return of Christ (I Thess. 4:13ff). This is a future state determined by a just and righteous divine judgement either to life everlasting with God unto blessing for the saved, or to life everlasting apart from God unto condemnation for the lost (Matt. 25:31-46; II Cor. 5:10; II Thess. 2).
WHAT WE HOLD AS MENNONITE DISTINCTIVES
1. We believe in the centrality of Christ as the Scriptures are interpreted and applied in our daily lives. "For no other foundation can man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 3:11).
2. We believe that upon personal salvation and upon public confession of faith, the believer should voluntarily join and participate in a believers' church (Acts 2). If this believer is not baptized on the basis of faith, this should be done according to the Lord's command (Matt. 28:18-20). To be part of this priesthood of believers means to gather with one another in order to encourage, exhort and disciple one another in mutual respect and submission according to the gifts and talents God gave each person (Rom. 12; Eph. 5:21; Col. 3:1-17; Heb. 10:24, 25; I Peter 4:7-11).
3. We believe that the ordinances of Baptism (Rom. 6:1-14) and the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:17ff) and the opportunity for foot washing (John 13:1-17; I Tim. 5:10) do not bestow grace but rather are symbols and reminders of our salvation and walk with Christ in obedience to His commands (Col. 2:6-23). Link to Baptism Video.
4. We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to live according to our citizenship in the kingdom of light in the midst of the kingdom of darkness (Matt. 5-7). This lifestyle seeks to honor the teachings and examples of Christ and His apostles as we know it from the New Testament (Matt. 5:48; Luke 6:36; I Thess. 1:6-8; I Pet. 2:21; Eph. 5:1; Phil. 2:5; Heb. 12:2). Principle elements of the Christian's life are as follows:
a. Grace and peace as expressed in every opening phrase of the NT epistles. Grace teaches that we are utterly dependent upon God for salvation and life (I Cor. 15:10; Eph. 1), both here and in eternity, and demands a response of love, compassion and forgiveness (Matt. 23:23; Luke 6:36; Eph. 4:32). Peace teaches that by God's grace we have peace with Him (Rom. 5:1), therefore, we believe that we are called to have peace with all men, if that is possible (Rom. 12:16-18; I Pet. 4:8-10), refraining from any form of retaliation or violence and overcoming evil with good (Matt. 5:38-48; Rom. 12:21; I Pet. 2:21ff; 3:8ff). This call to peace applies to our relationship with our closest loved ones, our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors and even our enemies (James 1:27 and Ch. 2).
b. Righteousness and justice (Ps. 89:14). God dealt righteously and justly with our sin in Christ, so we believe that we are to walk in truth with all men, not needing to take oaths, join secret societies or engage in unethical alliances (Ex. 20: 3-5; Matt. 5:33-37; II Cor. 4:1-4, 6:14-7:1; James 5:12) but to refrain from all forms of evil (Rom. 12:21), calling people to repentance and holiness, and to support and aid those who are unjustly treated and oppressed (James 1:27 and Ch. 2).
c. Responsible stewardship of God's creation, material resources and time that He has entrusted to us as citizens of His kingdom (Gen. 2:15; Prov. 30:7-9; 31:10-31; Eccl. 5:18-20; Matt. 25:14-29; Luke 21:1-4; Eph. 5:16; I Tim. 6:6-11).
5. We believe that there are various expressions of Christian discipleship within the body, and the reality of diversity of convictions held among true believers due to our fallenness and lack of complete understanding (I Cor. 13:12). Yet, in all our diversity we believe that all should defend the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), and do everything possible to preserve the unity of this local body (Rom. 14: I Cor. 13:13; Gal. 6:1,2; Eph. 4:1-3) as we seek the mind of Christ (Rom. 15:5,6; I Cor. 1:10; II Cor. 13:11; Phil. 2:1-4).
6. We believe in the spiritual separation of church and state (John 18:36). Christians are called to be peaceful citizens and loyal to their government (Rom. 13; Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:17; I Tim. 2:1,2 ). Yet, in conflicts of conscience the highest loyalty is to God and His Word (Acts 4:18,19, 5:29; Daniel 3 and 6).
7. We believe marriage to be the union of one man and one woman as ordained by God, and that this union is a foundational institution for society and the church (Gen. 2:20-24; Matt. 19:5; Eph. 5:31). We hold that believers should not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers in marriage (II Cor. 6:14-16). Those who desire to be married in the church should seek to counsel with the pastor(s) (Prov. 1:4), and those experiencing marital problems are urged to seek the confidence and help of the pastor(s) or other believers, as divorce is to be avoided as contrary to the will of God (Malachi 2:16; Matt. 5:31, 32). We encourage wholesome family life, and ask parents to dedicate their children in the church, and to train them to love the church and His Word (Deut. 6:6,7; Malachi 2:15; Eph. 6:4).