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of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 1. God
We believe that God
exists and is pleased with all who draw near by faith. We worship the one holy and loving God
who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally.
We believe that God has created all things visible and invisible, has
brought salvation and new life to humanity through Jesus Christ, and
continues to sustain the church and all things until the end of the
Beginning with Abraham and Sarah, God has called forth a people of
faith to worship God alone, to witness to the divine purposes for human
beings and all of creation, and to love their neighbors as themselves. We have been joined to this people
through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ and by confessing him to be
Savior and Lord as the Holy Spirit has moved us.
We humbly recognize that
God far surpasses human comprehension and understanding. We also gratefully acknowledge that God
has spoken to humanity and related to us in many and various ways. We
believe that God has spoken above all in the only Son, the Word who
became flesh and revealed the divine being and character.
God's awesome glory and
enduring compassion are perfect in holy love. God's sovereign power and
unending mercy are perfect in almighty love. God's knowledge of all
things and care for creation are perfect in preserving love. God's
abounding grace and wrath against sinfulness are perfect in righteous
love. God's readiness to forgive and power to transform are perfect in
redemptive love. God's unlimited justice and continuing patience with
humankind are perfect in suffering love. God's infinite freedom and
constant self-giving are perfect in faithful love. To the one holy and ever-loving triune
God be glory for ever and ever!
(1) Exod. 3:13-14; Heb. 11:6.
(2) Exod. 20:1-6; Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:13 .
(3) Gen. 12:2-3; Lev. 19:18; Rom. 4:11-25; 1 Pet. 3:9-11.
(4) Gal. 2:20; Rom. 3:22.
(5) Exod. 3:13-14; Job 37; Isa. 40:18-25; Rom. 11:33-36.
(6) John 1:14, 18; Heb. 1:1-4.
(7) 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.
1. 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
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.
2. 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 knowledge of God comes mainly from this
relationship and its history, which began with God calling out the
household of Abraham and Sarah. (See Heb. 11:8-12 and note the oldest
texts for verse 11: "By faith Sarah . . . received power to conceive .
. . because she considered him faithful who had promised.") At the same
time, we believe that the God whom we confess is the one and only true
God of all creation and of all humanity. Even before calling a
particular people, God was revealed through creation and spoke to
3. God both surpasses
human understanding and is truly knowable through revelation. Our
knowledge of God rests in this tension. Further, God's characteristics
(or "attributes") sometimes appear contradictory to us. For example,
how can God be both just and merciful, characteristics which in human
experience often seem opposed? Yet we confess that in the divine being
these attributes are perfectly united. Finally, according to Scripture,
the love of God has a certain priority in relation to other divine
attributes. The article reflects this emphasis by such phrases as
"righteous love" rather than by playing "righteousness" off against
"love" or by focusing on one without the other.
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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