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Statement of Faith
- We believe in one God eternally existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. More…
- We believe that God has revealed himself in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inspired Word of God, and ultimately through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. More…
- We believe that in the beginning God created all things by His Son. He made people in His divine image, with free will, moral character, and a spiritual nature. More…
- We believe that mankind fell into sin, bringing wickedness and death upon the human race; that as sinners, people are self-centered and self-willed, unwilling and unable to break with sin, without God’s redemptive plan. More…
- We believe that there is one Mediator between God and humanity, the Man Christ Jesus, who died to redeem us from sin and arose for our justification. More…
- We believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, a free gift given by God to those who repent by turning from their sinful ways and believe. More…
- We believe that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, brings about new life, gives guidance in and for daily living, empowers for service, and enables perseverance in faith and holiness. More…
- We believe that the church is the body of Christ, the community of the redeemed, a disciplined people obedient to the Word of God, and a fellowship of love, intercession, and healing. That Christ commissioned the church to go into all the world, making disciples of all the nations, and ministering to every human need. More…
- We believe that those who repent and believe should be baptized with water as a symbol of baptism with the Spirit, cleansing from sin, and commitment to Christ. More…
- We believe that the church should observe the communion of the Lord’s Supper as a symbol of his broken body and shed blood for the forgiveness of sin and of the fellowship of His church, until His return. More…
- We believe that Christian marriage is intended by God to be the union of one man and one woman for life, and that Christians should only marry one who shares their faith in Christ. More…
- We believe that Christians are not to be conformed to the world but should seek to conform to Christ in every aspect of life. More…
- We believe that it is the will of God for Christians to show Christ-like love to everyone and to do all that we can to live in peace with others. More…
- We believe that the state is ordained by God to maintain order in society, and that Christians should honor rulers, witness to the state, and pray for governments. Being subject to authorities to the extent that they do not conflict with the Word of God. More…
- We believe that at death the unsaved enter into everlasting punishment and the saved into the eternal presence of Christ, who is coming again. He will raise the dead, transform the living, sit in judgment, and bring in God’s everlasting kingdom. More…
Article 1. God and His Attributes
We believe in almighty God, the eternal Spirit who is infinite in His attributes of holiness, love, righteousness, truth, power, goodness, and mercy. This one and only God has revealed Himself as existing eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that God is the Creator of all things, a God of providence, and the Author of our salvation through Christ. Although He is too great to be comprehended by the human mind, through Christ we can truly know Him. In redeeming love He entered into a covenant relationship with Abraham, later with the people of Israel, and has now made through Christ an eternal covenant in which He offers to the human race the forgiveness of sins and the blessings of divine children, to those who will repent and believe.
We believe in Jesus Christ the divine Son of God, who was with the Father from all eternity, who for our salvation took upon Himself human nature, and who by His redemptive death and resurrection conquered the forces of sin and Satan and atoned for the sins of mankind. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, and surrendered to God’s redemptive purpose, was crucified. He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now as Lord and Christ at the right hand of the Father intercedes for the saints. He is the Lord and Savior of all Christian believers, and the coming judge of the living and the dead. We believe in His full deity and full humanity according to the Scriptures.
The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who was sent by the Father and the Son to bring to individuals the redemption of Christ. We believe in His personality as set forth in the Scriptures: that He loves, searches, testifies, guides, empowers, and intercedes for the saints.
Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Matthew 22:37; John 1:18; John 3:16; Romans 8:1-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 11:6.
Article 2. Divine Revelation
We believe that the God of creation and redemption has revealed Himself and His will for mankind in the Holy Scriptures, and supremely and finally in His incarnate Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s purpose in this revelation is the salvation of all mankind. Although God’s power and deity are revealed in His creation, so that the nations are without excuse, this knowledge of Him cannot save mankind, for it cannot make Christ known. God revealed Himself in saving word and deed to Israel as recorded in the Old Testament; He fulfilled this revelation of Himself in the word and deed of Christ as recorded in the New Testament. We believe that all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, that men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. We accept the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God, and through the Holy Spirit as the infallible Guide to lead mankind to faith in Christ and to guide them in the life of Christian discipleship.
We believe that the Old Testament and the New Testament together constitute the Word of God, that the Old Covenant was preparatory, that its institutions were temporary in character, and that the New Covenant in Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant. We believe that the Old Testament writings are inspired and profitable, and as the divine word of promise are to be interpreted in conjunction with the divine act of fulfillment recorded in the New Testament. Christian doctrine and practice are based upon the whole Word of God, the word of promise of the Old Covenant as fulfilled in the New Covenant.
The message of the Bible points to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to Him that the Scriptures of the Old Testament bear witness, and He is the One whom the Scriptures of the New Testament proclaim. He is the key to the proper understanding of the entire Bible.
Psalm 19; Luke 24:27, 44; John 1:1-16; John 20:31; Romans 1:19, 20; 2 Timothy 3:15, 16; Hebrews 1:1, 2; Hebrews 8:6, 7; 1 John 1:1-5.
Article 3. God’s Creation and Providence
We believe that in the beginning God created all things by His Son, and that all existence is therefore predetermined and dependent upon God, the Source and End of all things visible and invisible. He created man in His own image and breathed into him the breath of life, which set man apart from the animal creation. In free will, moral character, superior intellect, and spiritual nature, man and woman bore the image of their Creator.
In His providence God is concerned with the lives of His children, and in everything works for their eternal good. He hears and answers their prayers. By Jesus Christ He upholds the entire creation. He is Sovereign over all things, but He is not the author of sin. He has endowed man with the power of their own free will, and He holds them responsible for their moral choices.
Genesis1:1, 26, 27, 2:7; Psalm 139:7-12; Matthew 10:29; John 1:3; Romans 8:28; Colossians 1:16, 17; James 5:16.
Article 4. Mankind and Sin
We believe that God created Adam and Eve sinless and holy, and subjected them to a moral test as a means of bringing them to full spiritual maturity. They yielded, however, to the temptation of Satan and by willful disobedience to God failed to maintain that holy condition in which they had been created. This sin brought depravity and death to the human race, although humans are sinners by nature because of Adam’s fall, they are not guilty of his sin. Those who perish eternally do so only because of their own sin. The most grievous sin is the stubborn refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As a fallen creature mankind is self-centered, self-willed, rebellious toward God, unwilling to surrender to Christ, unable to break with sin, and under divine judgment.
We believe that children are born with a nature which will manifest itself as sinful as they mature. When they come to know themselves to be responsible to God, they must repent and believe in Christ in order to be saved. Before the age when children are accountable to God, their sins are atoned for through the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus Himself assured us that children are in the kingdom of God.
Genesis 1:27, 31; Genesis 3:1-19; Matthew 18:1-14; Luke 18:16; Romans 5:12-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:10.
Article 5. Christ, the Savior from Sin
We believe that there is one Mediator between God and mankind, the Man Christ Jesus. The purpose of the incarnation of God’s eternal Son was to redeem mankind from sin and death, to destroy the power and works of the devil, and to reconcile mankind to God. As a prophet, the Lord Jesus not only proclaimed God’s Word; He was in His very person the Word of God. As a priest, He Himself was the sacrifice for sin, and now makes intercession with the Father for the saints. As our risen Lord and King He is vested with all authority in heaven and on earth.
In His life the Lord Jesus demonstrated perfectly the will of God. Although tempted in all points as we are, yet He never sinned. Through the shedding of His blood He inaugurated the New Covenant, broke the power of sin for those who exercise faith in Him, and triumphed over Satan. By His resurrection from the dead, Christ accomplished the full justification of those who believe in Him. By faith each believer is united with the risen and glorified Christ, the Lord of glory.
Luke 19:10; John 1:1; Acts 2:33; Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:15; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:14, 15; Hebrews 4:15; 7:11.
Article 6. Salvation by Grace through Faith
We believe that mankind is saved, not by character, law, good works, or ceremonies, but by the grace of God. The merits of the death and resurrection of Christ are adequate for the salvation of all mankind, are offered to all, and are intended for all. Salvation is appropriated by faith in Christ. Those who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord receive the gift of righteousness, are born again, and are adopted into the family of God. Saving faith involves the giving of the self to Christ, a full surrender of the will, a confident trust in Him, a joyful obedience to His Word as a faithful disciple, and an attitude of love to all mankind. It is the privilege of every believer to have the assurance of salvation. The God who saves is also able to keep each believer unto a happy end in Christ. As long as the believer lives, they stands in need of the forgiveness, cleansing, and grace of Christ.
John 3:16; John 10:27-29; Romans 4; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:8-10; 1 John 5:13; Jude 24.
Article 7. The Holy Spirit and the Christian Life
We believe that Christ as Lord and Savior does His work through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Through the Holy Spirit those who believe are spiritually born again. The supreme ministry of the Spirit is to lead mankind to Christ and His salvation. As Christians yield to Christ and obey His Word, the Holy Spirit transforms them into the spiritual image of Jesus Christ and enables perseverance in faith and holiness. He empowers them as effective witnesses to Christ and His salvation, fills their hearts with love for all mankind, and moves them to practice Christian discipleship. The Holy Spirit bestows upon each believer such gifts as He wills for the building up of the body of Christ. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is God’s seal of ownership of the Christian believer. He is God’s guarantee that He will also redeem the bodies of believers on the day of Christ.
John 16:7-15; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-21; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 12:11-13; 1 Corinthians 12-14; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 1:13, 14; Ephesians 5:30.
Article 8. The Church of Christ
We believe that God’s redemptive work in history has led to the establishment of the Christian church. Christ established His church when He poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost. In preparation for this church, He entered into covenant relationships with Abraham and his seed. Today the spiritual “seed of Abraham” are those who have faith in Christ, the people of God, the body of Christ, composed of believers from all races and nations. The church is the fellowship of those who are in the kingdom of Christ, the assembly of those who believe in Him, a community of believers. The church is corporately the dwelling place of God in the Spirit, His holy temple. It is the visible body of those who are Christian disciples. Membership in the church is dependent upon a voluntary response to God’s offer of salvation in Christ.
The primary unit of the church is the local assembly of believers. It is in the congregation that the work of teaching, discipling, witnessing, and disciplining is carried out.
We believe that Christ has commissioned the church to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe His commandments. Jesus entrusted to the church the stewardship of the Gospel and promised the power of the Holy Spirit for the work of evangelism and missions. This ministry of reconciliation is inherent in the very nature of the church. The church is interested not only in the spiritual welfare of mankind but in their total wellbeing. Jesus Himself fed the hungry, healed the sick, and had compassion on the poor. The church should likewise minister to those who are in physical or social need and to those who are physically or emotionally ill. The church should stand against discrimination, injustice, human slavery and all forms of sin as defined by God’s Word.
Amos 5:21-24; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 6:56; Romans 1:16; Romans 8:23.
The Ministers of the Church
We believe that it is the intention of Christ that there should be shepherds in His congregations to feed the flock, to serve as leaders, to expound the Word of God, to administer the ordinances, to exercise, in co-operation with the congregation, a Scriptural church discipline, and in general to function as servants of the church. In addition to the primary office of apostle, in the New Testament church there were such gifts as prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. The early church had bishops, pastors and deacons in the local congregations. Upon the pastors lay the responsibility for the leadership and pastoral care of the congregations, and the deacons served as their helpers. In each era of the life of the church, Christ through His Spirit seeks to lead the church to adapt its organization to the needs of time and place. The church is a community of believers, and its organizational structure should insure the full participation of the members with their spiritual gifts in its life and discipline. It is the duty of the church to give financial support to those whom it asks to serve as evangelists, pastors, and missionaries.
It is the function of the church to demonstrate to the world the will of God, to witness to all mankind of the saving power and intention of God in Christ, and to make disciples of all the nations. The church seeks to lead all mankind to the obedience of faith. Believers unite in the church for instruction and nurture, for worship, for inclusion in the witnessing and evangelizing body of Christ, for the observance of the ordinances, for Christian fellowship, and for the discipline of the Word and the Spirit of God. The Spirit leads the church to discover the gifts which He has bestowed upon the members for the building up of the body. The church has the obligation to speak authoritatively on God’s will. It shall listen to the Word of God and obey it in the moral and spiritual conflicts of each era of history.
The church is called to be a community of believers under the lordship of Jesus Christ, a loving fellowship of brethren and sisters who are concerned for the total welfare, both spiritual and material, of one another. This concern results in the attempt to help the erring believer find the right path; it includes sharing generously both financial aid and the word of encouragement, and a willingness to give and receive counsel.
We believe that the Lord Jesus has given authority to His church to exercise discipline. The purposes of discipline are to lead each member to full stature in Christ, to restore to full fellowship the members who fall into sin, to clarify for all members the meaning of Christian discipleship, to promote the purity of the church, to warn the weak and immature of the serious character of sin and disobedience to God’s Word, and to maintain the good name and witness of the church before the world. In this work the church employs public teaching, private counseling, intercessory prayer, earnest warning and rebuke, and encouragement. And the church must, with a deep sense of loss, recognize that the one who goes on to full apostasy and spiritual ruin has severed his relationship with Christ and His body. The standard in church discipline is the Word of God as interpreted by the church. The believers should share in the work of discipleship and seek earnestly to restore the fallen member.
Ceremonies and Practices
The Lord Jesus and His apostles instituted ordinances for the church to observe permanently as symbols of Christian truths. The apostolic church literally observed them. Among these are baptism with water, the communion of the Lord’s Supper, the laying-on of hands in ordination, the anointing of the sick with oil, and the institution of Christian marriage of one man and one woman. When the church observes ordinances as expressions of a heart of faith, divine blessings are received, and a Christian witness is given.
Since the Lord Jesus arose from the dead on the first day of the week, the Christian church, following apostolic precedent, observes the first day of each week in memory of the Lord’s resurrection.
Exodus 2:24; 24:8; Matthew 5:13, 14, 23, 24; Matthew 18:15-18; Matthew 23:8; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 15; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 5: 4-5, 11-13; 1 Corinthians 9:14; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11; 2 Corinthians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Galatians 3:6-9; Galatians 6:1; Ephesians 2:11-22;Ephesians 4:11-13; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 5:20; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 1:5-9; Hebrews 13:17; James 2:14-17; James 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 5:2-3.
Article 9. Christian Baptism
We believe in obeying the instruction of the Lord Jesus to baptize believers with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In order to qualify for baptism, one must repent, turn to Christ in sincere faith, and accept Him as Lord. We regard water baptism as an ordinance of Christ which symbolizes the baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine cleansing from sin and its guilt, identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and the commitment to follow Him in a life of faithful discipleship. The mode of baptism is dependent upon the individual in what is most meaningful to their public testimony of faith.
Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:16-21; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:4-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 3:21.
Article 10. The Lord’s Supper
We believe in observing the communion of the Lord’s Supper as an ordinance instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize and to remind us of the New Covenant. We recognize the bread and the cup as symbols commemorating Christ’s broken body and shed blood, of our spiritual life in Him, and of the spiritual unity and fellowship of the body of Christ. Each believer shall examine themselves and be personally responsible so as not to partake of the sacred emblems carelessly or while living in sin. The church shall invite to Communion only those who have peace with God and with their fellow mankind, and who share the faith of the church. The Lord’s Supper shall be observed faithfully until the Lord comes.
Luke 22:19, 20; 1 Corinthians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 11:24, 26.
Article 11. Marriage and the Home
We believe that at the beginning of human history God instituted marriage, as one man and one woman. He ordained that a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and that the two shall become one in love and mutual submission. We believe human sexuality is only appropriately expressed between a husband and wife within the confines of marriage. It is God’s will that marriage be a holy state, monogamous, and for life. Marriage was instituted for the happiness of the husband and wife and for the procreation and Christian nurture of children. We believe human life begins at conception. Christians shall marry only in the Lord, and for the sake of spiritual unity in the home they should become members of the same congregation. The Christian home ought regularly to have family worship, to seek faithfully to live according to the Word of God, and to support the church in its mission. We believe it is appropriate for parents to pledge themselves to the faithful Christian nurture of their children. It is also fully acceptable to God to serve Christ unmarried, as celibate disciples.
Genesis 1:27, 28; Genesis 2:24; Psalm 139; Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Ephesians 5:21 – 33; Ephesians 6:1, 4.
Article 12. Discipleship and Nonconformity
We believe that there are two opposing kingdoms to which men give their spiritual allegiance, that of Christ and that of Satan. Those who belong to Satan’s kingdom live for sin and self and refuse the obedience of faith. The kingdom of Christ is composed of those who have been born again and who have entered into a faith union with the Lord Jesus Christ. In them the fruit of the Spirit is in evidence. They recognize the lordship of Christ and perform all manner of good works. They seek for holiness of heart, life, and speech. They manifest only love toward those of other races, cultures, and economic levels. They regard their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and crucify their flesh with its affections and lusts. They should seek to be obedient to Biblical principles in their stewardship of money and possessions. Their recreational life should be consistent with the Word of God. Through the Spirit they should put off the old nature and put on the new nature.
Matthew 7:13, 14; Luke 9:23-26; Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 6:12, 19; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 4:20-32; Colossians 1:13; 1 Timothy 2.9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3, 4.
Article 13. Love and Nonresistance
We believe that it is the will of God for His children to follow Christian love in all human relationships. Such a life of love excludes retaliation and revenge. God pours His love into the hearts of Christians so that they desire the welfare of all mankind. The supreme example of nonresistance is the Lord Jesus Himself. The teaching of Jesus not to resist him who is evil requires the renunciation by His disciples of all violence in human relations. Only love must be shown to all mankind. We believe that this applies to every area of life. We must aggressively, at the risk of life itself, do whatever we can for the alleviation of human distress and suffering.
Matthew 5:38-48; John 18:36; Romans 5:5; Romans 12:18-21; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8; 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; James 2:8; 1 Peter 2:23; 1 Peter 4:1.
Article 14. The Christian and the State
We believe that the state is ordained of God to maintain law and order. We seek to obey the New Testament commands to render honor to the authorities, to pay our taxes, to obey all laws which do not conflict with the higher law of God, and to pray for our leaders. The church should also witness to the authorities of God’s redeeming love in Christ, and of His sovereignty over all mankind.
Acts 4:19; 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 1:20-22; Ephesians 5:23; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2.
Article 15. The Final Consummation
We believe that in addition to the physical order with which our senses are related, there also exists an eternal spiritual order, the realm of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, of the angels, and of the church triumphant. We believe that at death, which is a time determined by God, the righteous enter at once into conscious joy and fellowship with Christ, while the wicked are in a state of conscious suffering. The church lives and witnesses in this present evil world, a world in which rejection of God is to become even more pronounced. The church also looks forward with hope to the day of the Lord, to the personal return of Christ, and the glorious future of the kingdom of God. In His triumphant Second Coming Christ will judge Satan, and usher in the consummation of all things. His coming will introduce the resurrection of the dead, the transformation of the living saints, the judgment of the just and the unjust, and the fulfillment of His glorious reign. He will deliver the kingdom to God the Father, cleanse the world by fire, create new heaven and a new earth, consign unbelievers to eternal punishment, and usher His children into the eternal joy of heaven.
Daniel 12:2; Psalm 139; Matthew 25:34, 41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 16:22, 23; John 5:22; 1 Corinthians 15:24, 35-58; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:4; 1 Peter 1:4; 2 Peter 3:3-13; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 21:4; Revelation 22:3.
(Adapted from Mennonite Confession of Faith (1963) for the application of Mercersburg Mennonite Church)