From published results of
the General Synod 1909 located in the Moravian archives Winston
(Includes the eight
essentials (a – h) that were replaced by the Ground of the Unity
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The Foundation of our
Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are, and abide, the only
rule of our faith and life. We regard them as God's Word, which He spake
to men of old time through the prophets, and at last through the Son and
His apostles, to instruct them unto salvation through faith in Christ
Jesus. We are convinced that all truths that declare the will of God for
our salvation are fully contained therein.
We ever hold fast to our genuine Moravian view, that it is not our
business to seek to determine what Holy Scripture has left undetermined,
or to contend about mysteries impenetrable to human reason. We would
keep steadily in sight the aim set before us by the Apostle Paul, Eph.
4, 13, 14, that we may all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of
the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure
of the stature of the fulness of Christ; that we may be no longer
children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of
doctrine." At the same time, we would never forget that every human
system of Doctrine remains imperfect, for, as the same Apostle says,
I Cor. 13, 9, ,. We know in part:
The Substance of our
hold every truth revealed by God as a precious treasure, and sincerely
believe that such a treasure must not be given up, even though we could
thereby save our lives. Luke 9, 24. But especially this holds good of
the doctrine which the Moravian Church has from the beginning regarded
as her chief doctrine, and to which she has, by God's grace, ever held
as a precious jewel: That Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins;
and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. I John 2:2. For Him
who knew no sin, God made to be sin on our behalf: that we might become
the righteousness of God in Him, 2 Cor. 5, 21: or, as we sing in one of
Whosoever believeth in Christ's redemption.
Will find free grace
and a complete exemption
this our chief doctrine the following facts and truths, clearly attested
by Holy Scripture, stand in essential connection, and therefore form,
with that chief doctrine, the main subjects in our knowledge and
preaching of salvation:
The doctrine of the Total Corruption of human nature, that,
since the fall, there is no health in man, and that he has no power to
save himself. John 3, 6; Rom. 3,23; 7, 18;
Rom, I, 18-32; 3, 9-18;Eph.2,8-13.
The doctrine of the Love of God the Father to fallen
humanity, that He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world,
and so loved the world that He gave His only- begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth on. Him should not perish, but have eternal. life.
Eph. 1, 3, 4; 2,4; John 3, 16 ; I John, 4,9.
The doctrine of the real Godhead and the real Humanity of
Jesus Christ that the only-begotten Son of God, through whom all things
in heaven and earth were created, forsook the glory which He had with
the Father before the world was, and took on Him our flesh and blood,
that He might be made like unto His brethren in all things, yet without
John 1, 1-3; ],14; 17,5; Phil. 2, 6,7; Heb.2,14,17; 4,15; . Col. 1,
17-19; I John 5, 20.
The doctrine of our Reconciliation with God and our
Justification before Him through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ; that
Christ was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our
justification, and that alone by faith in Him we have through His blood
forgiveness of sin, peace with God, and freedom from the service of sin.
Rom. 3, 24, 25; 5, 1 ; I Cor. 1, 30; Heb.2,17; 9,12; I Pet. 1, 18, 19;
IJohn1,9: 2 Cor. 5, 18, 19.
The doctrine of the Holy Ghost and the working of his
grace; that without Him we are unable to know the truth; that it is He
who leads us to Christ, by working in us the knowledge of sin and faith
in Jesus, and that He gives us the witness that we are children of God.
John 16, 8-11, 13, 14 ; I Cor. 12, 3; Rom,8, 16.
The doctrine of Good Works as the fruit of the Spirit; that
in them faith manifests itself as a living acting power, which impels us
to follow willingly the commands of God, out of love and gratitude to
Him who died for us. John 14, 15 ; Rom. 6, 11-14; I Cor. 6, 20; Gal.
I John 5, 3-5; Eph. 2, 8-10; Jas. 2, 17.
The doctrine of the Fellowship of Believers with one
another; that they are all one in Christ Jesus, the Head of His body,
and are all members one of another. John 17, 21 ; Matt. 23, 8;
Eph. 4, 4.
doctrine of the Second Coming of the Lord in glory, and of the
Resurrection of the dead, unto life or unto judgment. Acts 1, II; John
6,4°; 11, 25, 26; 3, 36; 5, 25-29;
I Thess. 4, 14-17.
we do not combine these truths and our apprehension of them in a
strictly formulated Confession, our understanding of the chief content
of Christian doctrine has, in a special way, found expression in what
the Church has solemnly professed, year by year, for more than a
century, in the " Litany for Easter morning."
The Central Point of our
In accordance with the above-named chief articles of
Christian doctrine, Jesus Christ, the Person of our Saviour, is the
central point in our preaching of Salvation. For in Him we have the
grace of the Son, the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy
Ghost. The testimony of Him, which we sum up as the word of the cross, I
Cor. 2, 2, that is, the testimony of Christ's freely giving Himself to a
human life, suffering, and death, and of the treasures of grace thereby
obtained for us, is the beginning, middle, and end of our preaching. We
direct men unto Him who of God is made unto us wisdom, and
righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. In so doing we labour
at the chief calling of the Moravian Church, to proclaim the Lord's
We hold that, while through the law of God comes the
knowledge of sin, Rom. 3, 20, We are led to still deeper contrition of
heart by the Holy Sprit’s witness to Jesus. .For our want of faith In
Him, our indifference to His sufferings and death, and our deep-seated
natural enmity to Him are the real sins of the heart. John 16, 8, 9.
To behold the Saviour's bitter death shows us how deserving of
condemnation human nature is, and also lets us feel that therein is the
only ground of our justification before God, of our reconciliation to
Him, of our redemption from death as the wages of sin, and from all
bondage to things temporal, so that our conscience is cleansed from dead
works to serve the living God. Heb. 9, 14.
Growth in Grace
is the aim of the Moravian Church, which she has never lost sight of, to
set forth a living Church, in which every individual member is a true
A true Christian becomes such only through faith, the living
personal faith of the heart. To this, again, belongs a deep and thorough
knowledge of the misery of sin, of being worthy of condemnation, and of
the need for redemption. Through faith the sinner receives from God, by
grace, forgiveness of sin, justification before God, peace with God, and
the right to become a child of God. Luke 7, 48-50 ; Rom. 5, I ; John 1,
The same race, which brings the soul to the knowledge of
sin, which makes the sinner just before God, and a child of God, works
in him also true sanctification. This sanctification consists not merely
in the putting away of particular vices and sins, or sinful habits, but
in a complete renewal of the inmost mind, and the decision of the whole
heart for the Lord. We love Him who first loved us, and we prove our
love by doing the will of God from the heart, and obeying His commands.
That this takes place in the heart depends not on man's will or
strength, but alone on God's mercy. It is God who, by His Holy spirit,
works both to will and to do in all them that, with fear and trembling,
are working out their own salvation.
In regard to the manner in which God's mercy brings about
the great change in human hearts, both Holy Scripture and the experience
of believers show great diversity in God's ways of leading souls to
their eternal salvation. Some are able, like Paul, to give the day and
hour of the deciding turn in their inner life, when, called and awakened
by the voice of God, they found righteousness and peace in believing.
With others, again, the experience of their awakening and pardon is not
compressed into anyone definable point of time.
The mark common to all true children of God is this, that they have
received the Spirit of Christ. Rom. 8, 9. This Spirit of Christ, by His
witness, makes them sure that they have the forgiveness of sins, that
they are children of God and heirs of eternal life. He works in them,
instead of the spirit of bondage and fear of the wrath of God, the
spirit of adoption whereby they cry " Abba, Father!" He impels them to
follow after that sanctification, without which no man shall see the
Lord. He sheds abroad in their hearts the love of God, through which
they receive power, that they let not sin reign in their mortal body
that they should obey the lusts thereof. He reproves them, makes them
sorrow for the sin that is still in them, and works in them heartfelt
confidence, so that they ever again confess their sins to Him who is
faithful and just to for- give us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. In view of the goal of sanctification in Christ such a
child of grace, in deep humility, but also with holy decision, declares
with Paul, not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect;
but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which I was
apprehended. Phil. 3, 12.
All the power thus to press towards the goal is given us by
the gracious working of the Holy Ghost, if we do not cease to look in
faith to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith; that is, to the
whole merit of His life, suffering, dying, and rising again, and if we
abide in the constant confidential intercourse of a pardoned sinner with
his Saviour. John 15, 4, 5.
Thus the new life of the regenerate child of God is safely carried
on towards its glorification in the likeness of Christ and its
perfection in eternity; whilst the heart becomes from day to day more
sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor
any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus. The citizenship of all such children of grace
is even now in heaven, from whence also they ,wait for the Saviour,
Jesus Christ, who will glorify the body of their humiliation, that it
may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working-
whereby He is able even to subject all things unto Himself. Then will
their life, as yet hid with Christ in God, be manifested with Him, in
body, soul, and spirit, in glory.
The Christian Life.
great and only Master summed up the whole of Christian ethics in their
inmost spirit in the command of love to God and to our neighbour.
Therefore, following Him and His apostle. we enjoin every Christian
virtue that springs from this love, especially strict conscientiousness
in all we do or leave undone; likewise we warn emphatically against all
vices and evil habits. Yet we do both not only by pointing to Jesus
Himself as our perfect model, but we seek strength in the blood of Jesus
Christ, the Son of God, by which we are not only justified before God,
but made holy in life. Cp. Rom. 6. In accordance with the admonition of
Christ, we will ever testify that there can be no talk of good fruit
until a good tree has been planted that is able to bear good fruit.
Only when the great mysteries of God's salvation are held by
insincere minds, and conceived in a light-minded and perverted way, can
the doctrine of the Atonement be misused as a sedative for guilt or a
cloak for sin. The true believer finds, like Paul, Gal. 5, 24; 6, 14, in
the free-will sacrifice of the Son of God and in His death on the cross,
both the strongest motive and also divine power to put off the works of
darkness, and to put on the armour of light; to die with Christ unto
sin, and to live unto righteousness; and to walk not after the flesh,
but after the spirit.
The Ground of
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The Lord Jesus Christ calls His Church into being so that it may serve
Him on earth until He comes. The Unitas Fratrum is, therefore, aware
of its being called in faith to serve humanity by proclaiming the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. It recognizes this call to be the source of its
being and the inspiration of its service. As is the source, so is
the aim and end of its being based upon the will of its Lord.
The Belief of the Church
With the whole of Christendom we share faith in God the Father, the
Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe and confess that God has
revealed Himself once and for all in His Son Jesus Christ; that our Lord
has redeemed us with the whole of humanity by His death and His
resurrection; and that there is no salvation apart from Him. We
believe that He is present with us in the Word and the Sacrament; that He
directs and unites us through His Spirit and thus forms us into a Church.
We hear Him summoning us to follow Him, and pray Him to use us in His
service. He joins us together mutually, so that knowing ourselves to
be members of His body we become willing to serve each other.
In the light of divine grace, we recognize ourselves to be a Church of
sinners. We require forgiveness daily, and live only through the
mercy of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. He redeems us from our
isolation and unites us into a living Church of Jesus Christ.
The belief of the Church is effected and preserved through the
testimony of Jesus Christ and through the work of the Holy Spirit.
This testimony calls each individual personally, and leads each one to the
recognition of sin and to the acceptance of the redemption achieved by
Christ. In fellowship with Him the love of Christ becomes more and
more the power of the new life, power which penetrates and shapes the
entire person. As God's Spirit so effects living belief in the
hearts of individuals, He grants them the privilege to share in the fruits
of Christ's salvation and membership in His body.
God's Word and Doctrine
The Triune God as revealed in the Holy Scripture of the Old and New
Testaments is the only source of our life and salvation; and this
Scripture is the sole standard of the doctrine and faith of the Unitas
Fratrum and therefore shapes our life.
The Unitas Fratrum recognizes the Word of the Cross as the center of
Holy Scripture and of all preaching of the Gospel, and it sees its primary
mission, and its reason for being, to consist in bearing witness to this
joyful message. We ask our Lord for power never to stray from this.
The Unitas Fratrum takes part in the continual search for sound
doctrine. In interpreting Scripture and in the communication of doctrine
in the Church, we look to two millennia of ecumenical Christian tradition
and the wisdom of our Moravian forebears in the faith to guide us as we
pray for fuller understanding and ever clearer proclamation of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. But just as the Holy Scripture does not contain any
doctrinal system, so the Unitas Fratrum also has not developed any of its
own because it knows that the mystery of Jesus Christ, which is attested
to in the Bible, cannot be comprehended completely by any human mind or
expressed completely in any human statement. Also it is true that through
the Holy Spirit the recognition of God's will for salvation in the Bible
is revealed completely and clearly.
Creeds and Confessions
The Unitas Fratrum recognizes in the creeds of the Church the thankful
acclaim of the Body of Christ. These creeds aid the Church in
formulating a Scriptural confession, in marking the boundary of heresies,
and in exhorting believers to an obedient and fearless testimony in every
age. The Unitas Fratrum maintains that all creeds formulated by the
Christian Church stand in need of constant testing in the light of the
Holy Scriptures. It acknowledges as such true professions of faith
the early Christian witness: "Jesus Christ is Lord!" and also
especially the ancient Christian creeds and the fundamental creeds of the
* Note: In the various Provinces of the Renewed Unitas Fratrum the
following creeds in particular gained special importance, because in them
the main doctrines of the Christian faith find clear and simple
- The Apostles' Creed
- The Athanasian Creed
- The Nicene Creed
- The Confession of the Unity of the Bohemian Brethren (1535)
- The Twenty-One Articles of the unaltered Augsburg Confession
- The Shorter Catechism of Martin Luther
- The Synod of Berne of 1532
- The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England
- The Theological Declaration of Barmen of 1934
- The Heidelberg Catechism
- The Unitas Fratrum as a Unity
We believe in and confess the Unity of the Church given in the one Lord
Jesus Christ as God and Savior. He died that He might unite the
scattered children of God. As the living Lord and Shepherd, He is
leading His flock toward such unity.
The Unitas Fratrum espoused such unity when it took over the name of the
Old Bohemian Brethren's Church, "Unitas Fratrum" (Unity of
Brethren). Nor can we ever forget the powerful unifying experience
granted by the crucified and risen Lord to our ancestors in Herrnhut on
the occasion of the Holy Communion of August 13, 1727, in Bethelsdorf.
It is the Lord's will that Christendom should give evidence of and seek
unity in Him with zeal and love. In our own midst we see how such
unity has been promised us and laid upon us as a charge. We
recognize that through the grace of Christ the different churches have
received many gifts. It is our desire that we may learn from each
other and rejoice together in the riches of the love of Christ and the
manifold wisdom of God.
We confess our share in the guilt which is manifest in the severed and
divided state of Christendom. By means of such divisions we
ourselves hinder the message and power of the Gospel. We recognize
the danger of self-righteousness and judging others without love.
Since we together with all Christendom are pilgrims on the way to meet
our coming Lord, we welcome every step that brings us nearer the goal of
unity in Him. He himself invites us to communion in His supper.
Through it He leads the Church toward that union which He has promised.
By means of His presence in the Holy Communion He makes our unity in Him
evident and certain even today.
The Church as a Fellowship
The Church of Jesus Christ, despite all the distinctions between male
and female, Jew and non-Jew, white and colored, poor and rich, is one in
its Lord. The Unitas Fratrum recognizes no distinction between those
who are one in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are called to testify that
God in Jesus Christ brings His people out of "every race, kindred and
tongue" into one body, pardons sinners beneath the cross and brings
them together. We oppose any discrimination in our midst because of
race or standing, and we regard it as a commandment of the Lord to bear
public witness to this and to demonstrate by word and deed that we are
brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Church as a Community of Service
Jesus Christ came not to be served but to serve. From this, His
Church receives its mission and its power for its service, to which each
of its members is called. We believe that the Lord has called us
particularly to mission service among the peoples of the world. In
this, and in all other forms of service both at home and abroad, to which
the Lord commits us, He expects us to confess Him and witness to His love
in unselfish service.
Serving Our Neighbor
Our Lord Jesus entered into this world's misery to bear it and to
overcome it. We seek to follow Him in serving His brothers and
sisters. Like the love of Jesus, this service knows no bounds.
Therefore we pray the Lord ever anew to point out to us the way to reach
our neighbors, opening our heart and hand to them in their need.
Serving the World
Jesus Christ maintains in love and faithfulness His commitment to this
fallen world. Therefore we must remain concerned for this world.
We may not withdraw from it through indifference, pride or fear.
Together with the universal Christian Church, the Unitas Fratrum
challenges all with the message of the love of God, striving to promote
the peace of the world and seeking to attain what is best for all people.
For the sake of this world, the Unitas Fratrum hopes for and looks to the
day when the victory of Christ will be manifest over sin and death and the
new world will appear.
Jesus Christ is the one Lord and Head of His body, the Church.
Because of this, the Church owes no allegiance to any authority whatsoever
which opposes His dominion. The Unitas Fratrum treasures in its
history the vital experience of the Headship of Christ of September 16 and
November 13, 1741.
The Unitas Fratrum recognizes that it is called into being and has been
sustained hitherto only by the incomprehensible grace of God.
Thanksgiving and praise for this grace remain the keynote of its life and
In this spirit it awaits the appearing of Jesus Christ, goes forward to
meet its Lord with joy, and prays to be found ready when He comes.
The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living
Formerly known as The Brotherly Agreement of the
for use in the congregations of The Moravian Church in America, Northern
Province and Southern Province.
©The Interprovincial Board of Communication, Moravian Church in
America. This book, or portions thereof, may be reproduced by Moravian
congregations. Otherwise, this book, or portions thereof, may not be
reproduced without permission.
Interprovincial Board of Communication
Moravian Church in America
P.O. Box 1245, Bethlehem PA 18016-1245
Telephone 610-867-0594 or 800-732-0591
Revised according to the Northern and Southern Provincial Synods of
1998 and approved by the PEC's meeting jointly in 2001.
This Moravian Covenant for Christian Living is an attempt to state in
clear arrangement and contemporary form a document which has long served
the Moravian Church. The Church today has need of a clear statement of
its faith and life through which each member may become aware of the
nature of his/her Christian commitment. Such a document can become an
invaluable aid in the instruction of both new and present members and a
meaningful guide in the expression of the Christian life. That such a
revision of the Agreement should have been made is entirely in harmony
with the spirit of the early Moravian Church which believed that all
forms should be updated and made relevant to the present life of the
Church. The Moravian Covenant in its original form was adopted by the
Moravian Church at Herrnhut, Saxony, as the Brotherly Agreement on May
12 of the year that marked the Church's spiritual renewal, 1727. The
Covenant was not intended to be a "discipline" forced on the
congregation from above, but rather an "agreement" into which
the members entered voluntarily. This pervades the new Covenant, which
in itself is only a recommended form, to be voluntarily accepted by each
of the local congregations before it becomes effective for their
Most of the Covenant deals with the Christian life, and since it is
in terms of everyday life that the Christian witness is often most
effectively borne, the document is subtitled "Principles by Which
We Live and Bear Our Witness." The theme of "witness" is
carried out in all the sections. The introductory section, "Ground
of Our Witness," deals briefly with the faith and doctrine of the
Moravian Church, something that is not explicitly dealt with in older
forms of the Covenant. Section I, "The Witness of the Christian
Life," describes the "how" of the life in Christ and thus
forms a basis for all that follows. The following sections then consider
various areas of Christian responsibility. Section II deals largely with
Christian responsibility in the local congregation and in relation to
Christians of other churches; III, responsibility in the home; IV, one's
duties as a citizen; and V, as a Christian in the world. Variations in
the form of the Moravian Covenant recommended by Synod may be adopted
only with the approval of the Provincial Elders' Conference.
The Moravian Covenant for Christian Living
Formerly known as The Brotherly Agreement of the Moravian Church
Principles by Which We Live and Bear Our Witness.
The Ground of Our Witness
1 We are called into a Christian fellowship by the Lord Jesus Christ,
according to the eternal purpose of God the Father (Ephesians 3:11) by
the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:18-21), and as members of Christ's Body, the
Church, to serve all people by proclaiming the Gospel and witnessing to
our faith by word and deed.
2 The Triune God as revealed in the Holy Scripture of the Old and New
Testaments is the only source of our life and salvation; and this
Scripture is the sole standard of the doctrine and faith of the Unitas
Fratrum and therefore shapes our life.
3 With the universal Christian Church, we share our faith in the
Triune God, who revealed Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only
Savior of all people. We particularly declare His living presence and
Lordship over the Church, joy in the benefits of His life, sufferings,
death and resurrection and emphasize a close bond of fellowship with
each other in His name. We believe that Christ is present with us in
Word and Sacrament. We decline to determine as binding what the
Scriptures have left undetermined, or to argue about mysteries
impenetrable to human reason. In this regard, we hold to the principle
"In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all
4 We thankfully recognize the value of the historic creeds of the
Christian Church in calling upon believers in every age to give an
obedient and fearless testimony, recognizing Jesus Christ as Lord. A
Moravian confession of faith is to be found in the Easter Dawn Liturgy.
I The Witness of the Christian Life
5 We believe that as in baptism we have been united with Christ in
His death and resurrection, so we have died to sin and should walk in
newness of life (Romans 6:1-11).
6 When seeking guidance we find that the simplest expression of
Christian living is contained in the earliest of Christian confessions,
"Jesus Christ is Lord." This implies that obedience is due Him
as the absolute Ruler and Lord of our lives. Not only His teachings
(e.g., Matthew 5-7) but, even more, the example of His life (Philippians
2:5; Ephesians 4:20) provide an understanding of the obedience that He
desires. Although the early Church, guided by the Spirit of Jesus, did
not develop a code covering all issues, it offered guidance in various
areas of Christian living (e.g. Colossians 3:1-46; 1 Peter 2:11- 3:12;
7 Living the Christian life depends not only on our own effort but
upon God our Father, who in Jesus Christ accepts us as heirs of God
(Galatians 4:4-7) and strengthens and sustains us (Philippians 4:13).
8 We realize that our Christian faith must continually be nourished
if it is to remain living and vital. Therefore, we desire to grow in our
Christian lives through family devotions, personal prayer and study, and
the opportunities for spiritual development offered by the Church.
II The Witness of a Living Church
A. The Moravian Unity
9 Recognition of Authority As members of the Moravian Church we will
abide by the decisions made by the official boards of our congregations,
and agree to be governed, both as individuals and as a congregation, by
the enactments of the Unity Synod of the Moravian Church and of the
Synods of the Province to which our congregation belongs.
10 Stewardship We deem it a sacred responsibility and genuine
opportunity to be faithful stewards of all God has entrusted to us: our
time, our talents, and our financial resources. We view all of life as a
sacred trust to be used wisely.
11 We will support, according to our ability, the financial needs of
the local congregation, the District, the Province, and the Unity. We
will consider the support of the benevolent causes of the Moravian
Church, both at home and abroad, as a privilege, an opportunity, and a
12 We will also recognize the support of worthy causes outside of the
Church as part of our stewardship.
13 Personal Relationships Since disciples of Jesus are to be known by
the love they have to one another (John 13:35), we will cherish
Christian love as of prime importance.
14 We will be eager to maintain the unity of the Church. Realizing
that God has called us from many and varied backgrounds, we recognize
the possibility of disagreements or differences. Often these differences
enrich the Church, but sometimes they divide. We consider it to be our
responsibility to demonstrate within the congregational life the unity
and togetherness created by God who made us one. How well we accomplish
this will be a witness to our community as to the validity of our faith.
15 We will endeavor to settle our differences with others in a
Christian manner (Galatians 6:1), amicably, and with meditation, and, if
at all possible, avoid resort to a court of law (Matthew 18:15-17).
16 Worship and Sunday Observance Remembering that worship is one of
our proper responses to Almighty God, an experience designed for our
benefit, and a part of our Christian witness, we and our children will
faithfully attend the worship services of the Church.
17 We, therefore, will be careful to avoid unnecessary labor on
Sunday and plan that the recreations in which we engage on that day do
not interfere with our own attendance or that of others at divine
18 Holy Communion In the celebration of this Sacrament we receive the
renewed assurance of the forgiveness of our sins, and of our fellowship
with Christ; unite with one another as members of His Body; and rejoice
in the hope of His return in glory. Therefore, we will commune
faithfully and thus renew our pledge of allegiance to Him.
B. The Unity We Seek
19 We will have fellowship, in all sincerity, with children of God in
other Christian churches, and will carefully avoid all disputes
respecting opinions and ceremonies peculiar to one or another church. In
this fellowship we will cooperate with other churches in the support of
public charities or Christian enterprises, which have a just claim upon
us as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
20 We realize that it is the Lord's will that the Church of Jesus
Christ should give evidence of and seek unity in Him with zeal and love.
We see how such unity has been promised us and laid upon us as a charge.
We recognize that through the grace of Christ the different
denominations have received many gifts and that the Church of Christ may
be enriched by these many and varied contributions. It is our desire
that we may learn from one another and rejoice together in the riches of
the love of Christ and the manifold wisdom of God. We welcome every step
that brings us nearer the goal of unity in Him.
III The Witness of the Christian Home
21 We regard it as a sacred obligation to hold to the ideal of
Christian marriage as a lifelong commitment given by our Lord in His
teaching. We consider it essential, therefore, that all persons
contemplating marriage should receive premarital counseling and that our
young people should be instructed, beginning in adolescence, in the
meaning and obligation of Christian marriage. This instruction should be
given through the Church and home.
22 We regard Christian marriage as a lifelong covenant before God
which requires the continuous loyalty of the man and the woman toward
each other. Any breaking of the marriage bond is a result of sin and
causes human suffering; therefore it is the duty of husband and wife to
meet all frictions, offenses, and disagreements with a humble, forgiving
spirit that persistently works for reconciliation. If at any time the
stability of their marriage is threatened, the couple is to seek the
counsel of a pastor, of other spiritual leaders in the Church, or of
other professional Christian counselors as soon as possible before any
other action is taken.
23 Following the example and teaching of our Lord, we acknowledge the
responsibility to deal compassionately and redemptively with human
frailty and sin in every area of life, including the failure of
marriage. As ambassadors of Christ we are called to be agents of
reconciliation, we recognize that persons of sincere faith and with good
counsel may still decide or be forced to divorce. We believe it our
Christian responsibility to pray for, support, and encourage those who
have divorced, the children of the divorced, and all who are wounded by
B. Family Life
24 As parents, remembering that our children are the property of the
Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 1:19), we will bring them up in
the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) and take all
possible care to preserve them from every evil influence. For this
reason we will seek to approve ourselves as followers of the Lord Jesus
Christ, setting an example for our children. We will give faithful
attention to the spiritual development of our children, both in the home
and in the church. We will endeavor to conduct regular family devotions.
IV The Witness of a Christian Citizen
A. Recognition of Civil Authority
25 We will be subject to the civil authorities as the powers ordained
of God, in accordance with the admonitions of Scripture (Romans 13:1; 1
Peter 2:13-14) and will in nowise evade the taxes and other obligations
which are lawfully required of us (Romans 13:7).
26 Considering it a special privilege to live in a democratic
society, we will faithfully fulfill the responsibilities of our
citizenship, among which are intelligent and well-informed voting, a
willingness to assume public office, guiding the decisions of government
by the expression of our opinions, and supporting good government by our
C. A Higher Loyalty
27 Though giving our loyalty to the state of which we are citizens,
we do recognize a higher loyalty to God and conscience (Acts 5:29).
28 For the sake of the peace which we have with God, we earnestly
desire to live peaceably with all people and to seek the peace of the
places where we dwell.
V Our Witness in the World
A. Love Toward All
29 We will not hate, despise, slander, or otherwise injure anyone. We
will ever strive to manifest love towards all people, to treat them in a
kind and friendly manner, and in our dealings with them to approve
ourselves upright, honest, and conscientious, as becomes children of
God. Together with the universal Christian Church, we have a concern for
this world, opening our heart and hand to our neighbors with the message
of the love of God, and being ever ready to minister of our substance to
their necessities (Matthew 25:40).
B. Our Manner of Life
30 We will at all times be ready cheerfully to witness to our faith
(1 Peter 3:15,16) and if need be, to suffer reproach for Christ's sake
(Luke 6:22,23). Being aware that our witness is made by both what we do
and what we avoid doing, we will endeavor to let our manner of life
"be worthy of the gospel of Christ" (Philippians 1:27),
"not being conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2). But in our
yearning for the redemption of the whole creation, we will seek to meet
the needs of the world in self-giving love, and as true yokefellows of
Jesus Christ, willingly share in the fellowship of his sufferings,
walking in his strength, by whom all things "are given us that
pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).
C. Temperance in All Things
31 Remembering the admonition of Scripture to be temperate in all
things (1 Corinthians 9:25), we shall endeavor to look upon our bodies
as temples of God's Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We must also remember
to respect the welfare of others who may be affected by our actions
(Romans 14:20,21). We are aware of the problems that can be caused by
the intemperate use of such things as alcoholic beverages, food,
tobacco, drugs, and other things. We consider it the responsibility of
every Christian to decide most carefully how they can be used in good
conscience. We regard intemperance in any area of living as being
inconsistent with the Christian life.
32 Christian: We recognize no distinction between those who are one
in the Lord. We believe that God in Jesus Christ calls his people out of
"every race, kindred, and tongue," pardons them beneath the
Cross, and brings them into a living fellowship with himself. We regard
it as a commandment of our Lord to bear public witness to this and to
demonstrate by word and deed that we are one in Christ.
33 Universal: Because we hold that all people are God's creatures
(Genesis 1:27) and that he has made of one blood all nations (Acts
17:26), we oppose any discrimination based on color, race, creed, or
land of origin and declare that we should treat everyone with love and
E. Other Areas
34 We realize that all areas of Christian life and conduct cannot be
covered in this statement of principles by which we live and bear our
witness, and we call attention, therefore, to the Christian's
responsibility to follow Christ as Lord of all areas of life.
35 We make it a duty of the Board of Elders, which is charged with
the spiritual welfare of the congregation, to see that this Moravian
Covenant be adhered to and faithfully observed; and we will cooperate
with the Board of Elders in its efforts to maintain the discipline of
the congregation. As a redemptive community we will be much more
concerned in aiding than censuring those who falter, being conscious of
our own need for correction and forgiveness.
Chief Doctrines of the Moravian Congregations
The Moravian Church regards the chief doctrine of
the Christian faith to be the conviction that Jesus Christ is the means by
which our sins are forgiven, and not our sins only, but also the sins of
the whole world. The person of Christ and his redeeming love is the
central point of our Church's teaching and preaching.
The saving work of Christ is revealed through the
Holy Scriptures. The Old Testament tells us the wonders of creation and
the mighty acts of God in bringing into being a chosen people through whom
all the peoples of the earth would be blessed. The New Testament reveals
to us the person of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. By his life, death,
and resurrection sinners are forgiven.
- The Moravian Church as a part of the Body of
Christ affirms the chief doctrines of our common faith as follows:
- The doctrine of the Holy Trinity, Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit, in whose name we are baptized.
- The doctrine of God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth, and the Father of our Lord Jesus
- The doctrine that Jesus Christ came in
human form and dwelt among us and that he gives to all who believe
in him the power to become the children of God.
- The doctrine that the Holy Spirit works
within us and enables us to know the truth.
- The doctrine that God, through Christ,
visits and redeems his people; as Jesus himself promised, "I
will come again."
- The Moravian Church administers the sacrament
of baptism for both children and adults. While it practices baptism by
the pouring or sprinkling of water, the Moravian Church does not
dispute other forms of baptism as practiced throughout the Church
- The Moravian Church invites all baptized
Christians to join with it in celebrating the Lord's Supper. Following
instruction, baptized children may receive communion.
- The Moravian Church embraces the doctrine of
the priesthood of all believers, but maintains an ordained ministry of
both men and women for administering the sacraments.
- The Moravian Church, founded in 1457 and
renewed in 1727, believes that it was called into being for the
purpose of proclaiming the Good News that God in Christ reconciled the
world to himself.
- The Moravian Church believes hat it should go
into all the world, even into the earth's remotest bounds, whenever
and wherever its Lord calls and doors are opened. Today the Moravian
Church is found in many lands and among many people of many tongues.
- The Moravian Church holds that all believers
are brothers and sisters in Christ.
- The Moravian Church "awaits the appearing
of Jesus Christ, goes forward to meet its Lord with joy, and prays to
be found ready when he comes."
In essentials, unity
In non essentials, liberty
In all things, Love
Come Lord Jesus, our Guest to be
and bless these gifts bestowed by Thee
Bless our loved ones everywhere.
And keep them in thy loving care