Excerpts from Who We Are, What We Believe - United Church of Christ (www.ucc.org)
- That they may all be one (John 17:21). This motto of the United Church of Christ reflects the spirit of unity on which the church is based and points toward future efforts to heal the divisions in the body of Christ. We are a uniting church as well as a united church.
- In essentials unity, in nonessentials diversity, in all things charity. The unity that we seek requires neither an uncritical acceptance of any point of view nor a rigid formulation of doctrine. It does require mutual understanding and agreement as to which aspects of the Christian faith and life are essential. The unity of the church is not of its own making. It is a gift of God. But expressions of that unity are as diverse as there are individuals. The common thread that runs through all is love.
- Testimonies of faith rather than tests of faith. Because faith can be expressed in many ways, the United Church of Christ has no formula that is a test of faith. Down through the centuries, however, Christians have shared their faith with one another through creeds, confessions, catechisms, and other statements of faith. Historic statements such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Heidleberg Catechism, the Evangelical Catechism, the Augsburg Confession, the Cambridge Platform, and the Kansas City Statement of Faith are valued as authentic statements of faith.
- There is more light and truth to break forth from God’s Holy Word. This classic statement assumes the primacy of the Bible as a source for understanding the good news and as a foundation for all statements of faith. It recognizes that the Bible, though written in specific historical times and places, still speaks to us in our present condition. It declares that the study of the Scriptures is not limited by past interpretations but is to be pursued with expectancy for new insights and help for the living today.
- The priesthood of all believers. All members of the United Church of Christ are called to minister to others and to participate as equals in the common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion.
- Responsible freedom. As individual members,we are free to believe and act in accordance with our perception of God’s will for our lives. But we are called to live in a loving, covenantal relationship with one another — gathering in communities of faith, congregations of believers, and local churches.
All are constrained by love to live in a covenantal relationship with one another . . . in order to make manifest the unity of the body of Christ and thus to carry out God’s mission in the world more effectively.
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