We Proclaim Jesus Christ
Throughout history, Christians have sought to describe their faith in Jesus Christ. Traditionally, churches have used statements of belief and confessions of faith to articulate their understanding of Jesus Christ’s person and work. Such statements provide important foundations for educating disciples and for addressing theological questions that arise from time to time.
While words are never ultimately adequate, the statement that follows describes what is at the core of our beliefs as the Community of Christ. We do not expect that there will be universal assent to this statement and reject any prescriptive use of it. Yet it is our prayer that the church will find this to be a compelling summary of our faith, and that it will be helpful to the mission of the church as it proclaims Jesus Christ and promotes communities of joy, hope, love, and peace.
- As members of the Community of Christ, we are bound together with Christians in every place and in every time by our confession of Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, author of our salvation, and head of the church.
- Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, both fully human and fully divine. In him we see ourselves and we see God, whom he tenderly called Abba, the compassionate One, who gave birth to all of creation and declared it to be “very good.” Together with the Holy Spirit, they are one.
- By the mystery of the incarnation, Jesus, born of Mary, came into the world to live and dwell among us to reveal God’s nature and will. He prophetically condemned injustice in the temple and proclaimed the good news of the coming reign of God on earth, preaching liberation to the oppressed and repentance to oppressors. He taught his followers to love God, to love their neighbors, and to love their enemies. By eating with sinners, serving the poor, healing the unclean, blessing children, and welcoming women and men as equals among his disciples, Jesus declared that all persons are of worth in the sight of God.
- Jesus was betrayed by his own friends, accused of blasphemy and treason, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to die on a cross between two common criminals. By forgiving his murderers and choosing to take on the sin, pain, and suffering of the whole world, he reconciled all of humanity to God.
- On the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead, vindicating his life and ministry, and triumphing over all injustice, even death itself. He ascended into heaven, having entrusted his followers with authority to minister in his name to the ends of the earth. He sent the Holy Spirit to be with them in their witness of the good news of the Resurrection.
- Christ is our peace, breaking down the dividing walls of hostility between us. He promises us the redemption and healing of our relationships with God, one another, and all of creation.
- The church, the body of Christ, is called to proclaim the gospel until Christ comes again. It is he who forgives us in baptism, and feeds us at his table. As disciples of Christ, we are all called to conform our lives to his by living in loving community with others, seeing Jesus in the faces of the least of God’s children, and serving those whom the world has forgotten. It is to Christ and to his gospel that we declare our loyalty and by which we will be judged.
- The promises of God in Jesus Christ are sure—that by the Holy Spirit we will be given grace to do the things we have been asked: courage in the struggle for justice, passion for peace in the midst of violence, forgiveness of our sin, stewardship in place of materialism, healing of body and spirit where there is hurt, and eternal life in the face of death.
- We live and serve in hope that God’s kingdom of justice and peace will indeed come, bringing healing to the whole, groaning creation. Putting our trust in the Risen Christ, present among us by the Holy Spirit, we press on together, giving blessing, honor, and glory to God, now and forevermore. Amen.
Questions for Individual and Group Reflection and Discussion
- Prayerfully read the statement in its entirety. What is your overall reaction to what you have read? Which parts seem to resonate particularly well with you?
- Carefully read the preamble. What is said here about the role of the statement on Jesus Christ—in the lives of the individual member, in congregations, and in the church as a whole?
- In the first paragraph, what does it mean to be “bound together . . . by our confession of Jesus Christ”? What connections do you feel to other Christians, both within the Community of Christ and in other denominations? What does each phrase—“Son of the Living God, author of our salvation, and head of the church”—mean for your personal life and that of your congregation?
- Read John 1:1–14 in the New Revised Standard Version or another good, recent translation. How do you see paragraph 2 reflecting what the author of this scripture is saying? What are the differences? How can Jesus be both “fully human and fully divine,” without one diminishing the other? What is your understanding of the Trinity (God, Christ, and Holy Spirit)? To what extent is your own belief in the Trinity adequately expressed in this paragraph?
- What does Jesus reveal about “God’s nature and will” (paragraph 3)? Which of the ministries of Jesus described in this paragraph do you find to be most significant in terms of your understanding of God? What would you add to those found in this paragraph?
- What is your understanding of Jesus’ role in reconciling “all of humanity to God” (paragraph 4)? What are examples of how you and other people betray Jesus today? Why is forgiveness so important to reconciliation?
- What is the place of the affirmation “God raised Jesus from the dead” (paragraph 5) in your faith and in your beliefs? How was Jesus’ resurrection a vindication of his life and ministry? In what ways do you feel authorized to minister in Jesus’ name? How does the Holy Spirit help you in your witness and ministry?
- In what sense is Christ “our peace” (paragraph 6)? How does Christ bring peace into your life? What relationships in your life need to be healed?
- What does it mean to understand the church as “the body of Christ” (paragraph 7)? Read 1 Corinthians 12:12–27 to see the apostle Paul’s views on this. What does it mean for you to “conform” your life to Christ’s? What will this require you to give up?
- 10. Which of the “promises of God in Jesus Christ” (paragraph 8) do you find most meaningful? What other promises would you add to this list? In what sense are God’s promises for our individual benefit on the one hand or for people in community on the other?
- What does it mean for you personally to “live and serve in hope [of] God’s kingdom” (paragraph 9)? How do you exercise “trust in the Risen Christ”? How might your life better give “blessing, honor, and glory to God”?
- Reread the entire statement on Jesus Christ. How has your reflection on this expression of the life and ministry of Jesus helped prepare you for more effective discipleship as a member of the Community of Christ? How can you use this statement in your witness of Jesus Christ to others?