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  • Article 1. God – Mennonite Church USA
    and continuing patience with humankind are perfect in suffering love God s infinite freedom and constant self giving are perfect in faithful love 7 To the one holy and ever loving triune God be glory for ever and ever Exod 3 13 14 Heb 11 6 Exod 20 1 6 Deut 6 4 Matt 28 19 2 Cor 13 13 14 Gen 12 2 3 Lev 19 18 Rom 4 11 25 1 Pet 3 9 11 Gal 2 20 Rom 3 22 Exod 3 13 14 Job 37 Isa 40 18 25 Rom 11 33 36 John 1 14 18 Heb 1 1 4 Exod 20 4 6 34 5 7 Ps 25 4 10 Isa 6 54 10 Matt 5 48 Rom 2 5 11 3 21 26 1 John 4 8 16 Commentary We believe that what we know of God through revelation fits with who God really is To confess that God is Father Son and Holy Spirit is to confess that the Son and the Holy Spirit are fully divine It is also to confess that God is one and that God s oneness is the unity of Father Son and Holy Spirit for example John 10 30 14 18 20 16 12 15 20 21 22 In this confession the word God can refer to the God who is triune or to the first person of the trinity On God as the first person of the trinity compare Matt 28 19 with 2 Cor 13 13 14 and numerous other passages Confessing God as Father Son and Holy Spirit also emphasizes the shared work of creation salvation and the final consummation This trinitarian understanding of God has implications for ethics The ethical standards we receive from God as Creator are not contrary to those which are revealed by God as Redeemer For example we cannot claim that God as Creator justifies Christian participation in violence while God as Redeemer calls us to make peace without violence What the Creator intends for human conduct has been most fully revealed in Jesus Christ Some early Christian creeds express a trinitarian understanding of God with the terms essence substance or person Early Anabaptist writers such as Menno Simons and Pilgram Marpeck used mainly biblical language to refer to the triune God They also used some concepts from the early creeds Some Mennonite confessions of faith have used only biblical terminology to refer to God others have used both biblical and creedal language This confession assumes basic agreement with traditional confessions of faith though it remains with biblical terminology for the most part The article uses the word triune which is not found in Scripture Yet it is an apt term for the God revealed in Scripture and helps maintain a biblically based theological and ethical balance The relation between God and the people of faith is the context within which we have received God s revelation and which provides the basis for our understanding of God Our

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/god/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Article 2. Jesus Christ – Mennonite Church USA
    God then raised him from the dead thereby conquering death and disarming the powers of sin and evil 11 We acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Son of God the Word of God incarnate He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary As fully human and tempted as we are yet without sin he is the model human being 12 As fully divine he is the one in whom the fullness of God was pleased to dwell During his earthly life Jesus had an intimate relationship with his heavenly Abba and taught his disciples to pray Abba Father 13 He is the image of the invisible God and all things have been created through him and for him for he is before all things 14 We recognize Jesus Christ as the head of the church his body 15 As members of his body we are in Christ and Christ dwells in us Empowered by this intimate relationship with Christ the church continues his ministry of mercy justice and peace in a broken world 16 We worship Jesus Christ as the one whom God has exalted and made Lord over all He is our Lord and the not yet recognized Lord of the world We live in the assurance of his coming again as the one by whom all humanity will be judged He is the one who shall be acknowledged Lord of all and the Lamb who will reign forever and ever 17 Phil 2 5 8 Rom 1 4 1 Cor 3 11 2 Sam 7 13 14 Isa 9 1 6 Rom 1 3 2 Cor 6 18 Isa 42 1 9 Matt 4 17 Luke 4 43f Matt 57 Heb 2 17 1 Pet 3 18 Rom 8 34 Heb 7 25 John 18 36 37 Rev 5 8 14 7 17 Acts 4 12 1 John 4 14 Eph 2 13 22 Mark 3 13 19 Matt 26 50 1 Pet 2 21 23 Luke 23 46 Rom 5 18 2 Cor 5 19 Col 2 15 Eph 1 20 21 Heb 4 15 Rom 5 14 21 1 Pet 2 21 Mark 14 36 Matt 6 9 13 Rom 8 15 Gal 4 6 Col 1 15 17 19 Eph 1 22 23 Col 1 24 Acts 17 31 Phil 2 11 Rev 5 12 14 Commentary This article reflects biblical understandings of Jesus Christ in an Anabaptist Mennonite perspective It stresses for example Jesus obedience and suffering in his work of atonement his humility and servanthood as the pathway to exaltation the believers experience of Christ in the community of faith the integration of faith and ethics and peace as central to the character of Christ These themes belong to the heart of the gospel In some Protestant traditions the Messiah the Anointed One is identified as prophet priest and king the offices for which people were anointed in Old Testament times Isa 61 1 Exod 29 29 1

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/jesus-christ/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Article 3. Holy Spirit – Mennonite Church USA
    Acts 2 16 18 John 16 8 10 Isa 63 10 Acts 5 3 Eph 4 30 1 Thess 5 19 John 3 5 Rom 8 14 17 John 14 26 16 13 1 Cor 2 14 Acts 4 24 31 Matt 10 20 2 Cor 5 5 Rom 8 26 27 Eph 1 13 14 Rom 8 18 23 Commentary According to Scripture the Spirit of God is God s presence and power active in the world The Spirit or breath of God acted in creation Gen 1 2 and continues to act in the creative process throughout the world in expected and unexpected places God s Spirit was a source of power and revealed God s wisdom to prophets and other holy people By the power of the Spirit Jesus healed the sick cast out unclean spirits and proclaimed the reign of God Matt 12 28 Luke 3 22 5 17 By the same Spirit he offered his life to God Heb 9 14 and was raised from the dead Rom 8 11 This Spirit of God and Spirit of Jesus is the Holy Spirit who is one with the Father and the Son The Gospel of John 14 16 and the letters of Paul use similar language to describe the work of the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ or the Spirit and Christ Even though each has a particular role the work of the Holy Spirit since Christ s exaltation always conforms to Jesus Christ So Christ is the standard for discerning which spirit is of God 1 Cor 12 3 John 14 26 1 John 4 2 3 Only that Spirit which conforms to Jesus Christ as we know him through the Scriptures can reliably guide our faith and life The New Testament affirms that since the resurrection we are living in a new period of God s action in the world the age of the Spirit No longer is the Spirit present only with a few now the Spirit is poured out on all flesh that is on male and female young and old slave and free Acts 2 16 21 people of all ethnic backgrounds who are being gathered into the people of God Acts 10 11 By the Holy Spirit the love of God is poured into our hearts Rom 5 5 We are adopted as children of God Gal 4 6 7 and experience new birth into the family of God This presence of the Holy Spirit is connected with being in Christ being part of the body of Christ The anointing of the Holy Spirit is offered to all people But those who do evil do not come to the light for fear that their deeds may be exposed John 3 17 21 Those who have repented of sin Acts 2 38 and are coming to the light are the ones who receive the Spirit We are most open to the Spirit s work in us when we

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/holy-spirit/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Article 4. Scripture – Mennonite Church USA
    8 The Bible is the essential book of the church Through the Bible the Holy Spirit nurtures the obedience of faith to Jesus Christ and guides the church in shaping its teaching witnessing and worship We commit ourselves to persist and delight in reading studying and meditating on the Scriptures 9 We participate in the church s task of interpreting the Bible and of discerning what God is saying in our time by examining all things in the light of Scripture 10 Insights and understandings which we bring to the interpretation of the Scripture are to be tested in the faith community Jer 30 2 Jer 36 2 Tim 3 16 2 Pet 1 21 Exod 20 1 Jer 1 9 10 Gal 1 11 12 Heb 1 1 4 John 1 14 18 Rev 19 13 Prov 30 5 John 10 35 Isa 55 10 11 John 20 31 Matt 5 17 Luke 24 27 Acts 4 11 Mark 7 13 Acts 5 29 32 Col 2 6 23 Ps 1 2 1 Tim 4 13 2 Tim 3 15 17 Acts 15 13 20 Heb 4 2 8 12 Commentary According to Scripture the term the Word of the Lord or the Word of God or the Word refers to a message that God has communicated through persons in the Old and New Testaments especially through Moses the prophets and the apostles for example Exod 20 1 Jer 1 9 10 Acts 13 44 47 Jesus proclamation of the kingdom of God for example Luke 4 43 5 1 the preached gospel of Jesus Christ for example Acts 8 25 18 5 Col 1 25 27 1 Thess 2 13 the living Word of God who became flesh in Jesus Christ John 1 1 14 a word or words from God that have been put into writing for example Jer 36 4 John 15 25 Heb 4 1 12 Referring to the Bible as the Word of God therefore means first of all emphasizing the richness and scope of the Word in the Bible Limiting the term the Word of God to its written form blinds us to the total witness of Scripture Second in referring to the Bible as the Word of God written we are acknowledging its authority for the church All other claims to represent an authoritative word on matters of faith and life must be measured and corrected by Scripture through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the community of faith The authority of Scripture has its ultimate source in God who has inspired breathed it for specific purposes in the life of the church and its members 2 Tim 3 16 17 The church confesses and recognizes the authority of Holy Scripture it does not take upon itself the right to give the Scripture its authority Precisely how God has inspired the Scriptures through the Holy Spirit is not explained in the Bible We therefore content ourselves with the assurance that Scripture

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/scripture/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Article 5. Creation and Divine Providence – Mennonite Church USA
    26 31 Commentary In confessing God as Creator we refer to the one and triune God who is Father Son and Holy Spirit according to the Scriptures Creation should be understood as the work of the triune God not as the work of the Father or Son or the Holy Spirit alone Heb 1 2 3 Col 1 16 1 Cor 8 5 6 John 1 3 14 18 Some ways of speaking about God may undermine the full confession of the triune God as Creator For example speaking of God only as Creator Redeemer and Sustainer rather than as Father Son and Holy Spirit may promote the mistaken understanding that the Father alone is Creator the Son alone is Redeemer and the Holy Spirit alone is Sustainer We speak of creation as an expression of God because of biblical references to creation by the divine word Gen 1 Ps 148 5 John 1 1f Rom 4 17 In many creation stories of other religions in Bible times the world comes into being as an extension of the god or gods In these accounts the world shares in divinity or is itself divine In contrast the biblical account of creation by the word of God clearly distinguishes between God the Creator and what has been created The biblical refusal to confuse the created with the Creator or to ascribe divinity to the world fits with the Bible s rejection of idolatry in all its forms Isa 45 12 21 Acts 17 22 29 When we confess that God is the Creator of the universe we reject the idea that the world came into being without God Nor do we accept the view that God made the world out of something which had existed before the time of creation or the view that matter is co eternal with God Scripture is clear that God was before anything else existed Thus both the Old Testament word for create and the witness of Scripture as a whole imply what theology has called creation out of nothing As Creator God is ultimately owner of the earth God has given the earth to human beings to care for as God s stewards See The Creation and Calling of Human Beings Article 6 and Christian Stewardship Article 21 God continues to sustain and care for the world rather than leaving it to itself Although sin and evil have damaged God s original creation God continues to use the natural order family culture and social and political systems to sustain life and to limit the forces of evil Gen 4 15 Ps 34 Isa 19 12 25 Matt 6 25 30 John 5 17 Col 1 15 17 Even though natural disasters cause havoc in the world God continues to preserve creation and humanity from total destruction Gen 8 21 22 Therefore we need not be overcome by the fear of natural forces and other human beings which may cause suffering persecution or even death We are

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/creation-and-divine-providence/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Article 6. Creation and Calling of Human Beings – Mennonite Church USA
    Gen 1 26 30 Ps 8 5 8 Rom 1 21 23 3 Gen 2 18 23 Eph 5 21 33 4 Rom 8 38 39 5 Rom 8 19 25 6 2 Cor 4 4 Col 1 15 Commentary The image of God refers to the unique relationship of human beings to God and therefore also to their distinctive relationship to each other and to the rest of creation The term refers to human beings as a whole rather than to one particular aspect of the person Some theological understandings of human beings have focused on humanity s role as God s representative on earth to manage and care for it Some have emphasized the relationship between men and women as a symbol of the inner relationships of the triune God Other views have underscored the distinctive relationship with God for which human beings have been created And some have focused on the differences between human beings and animals especially human reason culture and morality Each of these views emphasizes one aspect of the larger biblical picture of being human which this article has summarized as being in the image and likeness of God According to Genesis 1 26 27 God created both man and woman in the divine image Both are equal in relation to God and are created for relationship with each other Woman s relation to God is not derived from man and man s relation to God is not derived from woman Genesis 2 18 describes woman as man s helper but this does not imply one sided subordination The same Hebrew word is most often used for God as help or helper for example in Deut 33 7 26 Ps 33 20 54 4 70 5 115 9 11 The rule of man over woman is a result of sin Gen 3 16 and is therefore not an acceptable order among the redeemed Gal 3 28 1 Cor 7 4 11 11 12 The renewal of humanity in Jesus Christ restores both woman and man to the divine image On Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon both men and women directly in accord with the prophecy of Joel Acts 2 1 18 see also Acts 1 12 14 In the community of faith Gentiles have the same status as Jews slaves as free and women as men 2 Cor 6 18 They are called to live in unity with each other Gal 3 25 28 and in mutual subjection to each other Eph 5 21 6 9 We believe that God created human beings with an ability to choose to obey or to disobey the word of God Gen 2 15 17 Humanity has been created with the freedom to choose the bond of a covenant relationship with God or to choose bondage to sin Rom 6 16 18 We are genuinely free only when we live in covenant with God and in conformity to God s will We believe that God

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/creation-and-calling-of-human-beings/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Article 7. Sin – Mennonite Church USA
    But thanks be to God who has not allowed the powers to reign supreme over creation or left humanity without hope Gen 2 17 3 22 24 6 11 12 Rom 1 21 32 6 23 Dan 9 Isa 1 12 17 Rom 6 12 18 Eph 6 10 12 Ps 14 2 4 Rom 3 9 18 Eph 2 1 3 Gal 4 1 3 Commentary Sin is a reality not an illusion We cannot explain away sin by blaming it on illness or by claiming we are victims of circumstances or of evil Sin involves personal responsibility and has real consequences In Scripture responsibility for sin and evil is ascribed not only to men and women It is also ascribed to a personal power who is given various names serpent Gen 3 1 2 Cor 11 3 tempter Matt 4 3 Satan Zech 3 1 father of lies John 8 44 the evil one Matt 6 13 and the devil James 4 7 In addition powers principalities gods of the nations and elemental spirits of the universe though not necessarily evil are prone to distort God s purposes for them They can corrupt and enslave humanity Isa 42 17 45 20 Gal 4 9 Eph 2 1 3 6 12 Col 2 15 Sin is thus not only an individual matter but involves groups nations and structures Such organizations have a spirit that can incite persons to do evil they would not have chosen on their own Governments military forces economic systems educational or religious institutions family systems and structures determined by class race gender or nationality are susceptible to demonic spirits Human violence toward each other enmity between peoples the domination of men over women and the adverse conditions of life and work in the world these are all signs of sin in humanity and in all creation Gen 3 14 19 4 3 16 6 11 13 11 1 9 Rom 8 21 People sin not only by breaking particular divine laws but also by breaking the covenant God offers to all A covenant is an agreement that establishes a relationship In the Bible God initiates the covenant with God s people Josh 24 16 18 Jer 7 23 31 31 34 Hos 2 18 23 Faith or faithfulness English words used to translate the same word in the biblical languages means living rightly within the covenant relationship Thus sin is fundamentally unfaithfulness to our relationship with God and disobedience to God s will Unrighteousness and injustice include all sin the same word in the biblical languages can be translated with either English word Hebrew and Greek do not divide as English does between the individual dimension of sin unrighteousness and sin s social dimension injustice Sin is part of the human condition we all participate in it The sin of Adam and Eve affects all Rom 5 12 19 at the same time we are held accountable for our own behavior As the Anabaptist leader

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/sin/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Article 8. Salvation – Mennonite Church USA
    church 10 In baptism we publicly testify to our salvation and pledge allegiance to the one true God and to the people of God the church As we experience grace and the new birth we are adopted into the family of God and become more and more transformed into the image of Christ 11 We thus respond in faith to Christ and seek to walk faithfully in the way of Christ We believe that the salvation we already experience is but a foretaste of the salvation yet to come when Christ will vanquish sin and death and the redeemed will live in eternal communion with God Ps 74 12 Deut 6 20 25 Exod 20 1 17 John 3 16 Gal 4 4 Heb 1 1 2 Matt 26 28 1 Cor 11 25 Rom 5 1 5 Mark 2 1 12 Rom 8 2 Heb 2 14 15 Rom 3 24 25 Col 2 13 14 Mark 10 45 Rom 6 4 Eph 2 8 9 Rom 1 5 Luke 19 8 10 Rom 5 6 10 Rom 12 2 2 Cor 3 18 Commentary In the history of Christian thought there have been three major views of the atonement Each has a basis in Scripture and contributes to our understanding of salvation By breaking the power of sin and death Christ is conqueror over evil the Christ the victor view By canceling our debt of sin Christ is a sacrifice and pays the ransom on our behalf substitutionary atonement By opening the way to new life Christ shows God s love inspiring us to receive that love and love God and others in return the moral influence view People undergo a variety of experiences in accepting salvation Some have crisis conversions while others hear the proclamation of salvation and are gradually nurtured by the community of faith before they make a commitment In either case acceptance of salvation is a personal voluntary decision Salvation is not acquired automatically because we are born into a Christian family or grow up in the church This confession uses a variety of expressions for salvation For example salvation is often expressed as justification by faith The justification that is reckoned to us as salvation Rom 4 1 12 is experienced as a covenant relationship with God A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties God offers the relationship The just or righteous person has received the offer lives according to the covenant and trusts in God s faithfulness Justification by faith and faithful obedience to the covenant relationship are inseparable Heb 11 See Discipleship and the Christian Life Article 17 New birth is another way to express salvation Human beings were created in the image of God That is they were children of God When they sinned they became children of the devil and lost their place in God s family 1 John 2 29 3 10 Through salvation we are born again or adopted into the family of God Gal

    Original URL path: http://mennoniteusa.org/confession-of-faith/salvation/ (2016-02-16)
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