What We Believe
These phrases express the beliefs of the United Church of Christ:
“That they may all be one.” (John 17.21) We are a uniting church as well as a united church, always praying for healing all that divides the Body of Christ in us and in this world.
“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 life are essential. The unity of the church is not of its own making, but rather a gift of God. Expressions of that unity are as diverse as there are individuals. The common thing that runs through all is love and respect.
“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. Historic statements such as the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Augsburg Confession and the Kansas City Statement of Faith are valued as authentic testimonies of faith. Today, we use the United Church of Christ Statement of Faith which was written in 1959.
“There is yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s Holy Word.” This classic statement assumes the primacy of the Bible as our source for understanding the good news and as foundational 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 because God is a still speaking God. It declares that the study of Scripture is not limited by past interpretation, but is to be pursued with expectancy for new insights and help for living today.
“The priesthood of all believers.” All members of the United Church of Christ are called to minister to others and participate as equals in the common worship of God, each with direct access to the mercies of God through personal prayer and devotion and service. Those who receive special training in pastoral, priestly, educational and administrative functions serve as servants and call others to be servants of Jesus Christ.
“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 also called into loving covenant relationships with one another, caring for the needs of community and not only ourselves.