1    (1) God makes himself known through his Word.
2          God has not waited to be discovered.
3          The Lord has taken the initiative
4              and addressed his Word to humankind in many ways.
5          Through the Word of God the world was created.
6          The Word became flesh in Jesus Christ.
7          Through the Word of God the New Creation is being formed.

8          We believe God's Word is God's communication to us.
9          Although God is free to speak to us in unexpected ways,
10            we confidently listen for his Word.
11            in Jesus Christ,
12            in Holy Scripture,
13            in preaching and the sacraments.

14    (2) Jesus Christ is the living Word of God.
15        The Word which was with God from the beginning
16            was embodied in Jesus Christ.
17        We hold that what God says to us and does for us
18            centers in Jesus Christ our living Lord
19            as he is remembered, known, and expected.
20        In Christ God's Word of acceptance takes flesh:
21            by grace through faith
22            we are set right with God,
23            adopted as children of God,
24            not because of anything we have done,
25            but because of what Christ has done.
26        In Christ God's Word of demand is lived out:
27            to love God and neighbor as he did
28            is what God requires of us.
29        The Spirit adds no different Word from God,
30            but leads us deeper
31        into the truth of God uttered in Jesus Christ.

32    (3) The Bible is the written Word of God.
33        Led by the Spirit of God
34            the people of Israel and of the early church
35            preserved and handed on the story
36            of what God had said and done in their midst
37            and how they had responded to him.
38        These traditions were often shaped and reshaped
39            by the uses to which the community put them.
40        They were cherished, written down, and collected
41            as the holy literature of the people of God.

42        Through the inward witness of the same Spirit
43            we acknowledge the authority of the Bible.
44        We accept the Old and New Testaments as the canon,
45            or authoritative standard of faith and life,
46            to which no further writings need be added.
47        The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments
48            are necessary, sufficient, and reliable
49            as witnesses to Jesus Christ, the living Word.
50        We must test any word that comes to us
51            from church, world, or inner experience
52            by the Word of God in Scripture.
53        We subject to its judgment
54            all our understanding of doctrine and practice,
55            including this Declaration of Faith.
56        We believe the Bible to be the Word of God
57            as no other word written by human beings.

58        Relying on the Holy Spirit,
59            who opens our eyes and hearts,
60            we affirm our freedom to interpret Scripture responsibly.
61        God has chosen to address his inspired Word to us
62            through diverse and varied human writings.
63        Therefore we use the best available methods
64            to understand them in their historical and cultural settings
65            and the literary forms in which they are cast.
66        When we encounter apparent tensions and conflicts
67            in what Scripture teaches us to believe and do,
68            the final appeal must be to the authority of Christ.
69        Acknowledging that authority,
70            comparing Scripture with Scripture,
71            listening with respect to fellow-believers past and present,
72            we anticipate that the Holy Spirit
73            will enable us to interpret faithfully
74            God's Word for our time and place.

75    (4) Preaching communicates the Word of God
76        In different styles and ways,
77            believers have related Scripture
78            to the situations in which they lived.
79        The Spirit has given them power and boldness
80            to speak God's Word through their words.
81        We believe that the preaching of the Word
82            is an event in which God himself confronts us.
83        As the gathered community speaks to God in worship
84            we expect God to speak to us in preaching.
85        Preaching can take a variety of forms.
86        When it is faithful and obedient
87            the Holy Spirit uses it
88            to convert unbelievers,
89            to strengthen believers,
90            to form and reform the church.
91        We hold that teaching goes hand in hand with preaching.
92        It prepares people to hear the Word of God
93            and enables them to reflect and act on it.

94    (5) The Sacraments confirm the Word of God.
95          In his history with his people in the world,
96          God has often made material things
97              channels through which his grace is understood
98              and powerfully experienced.
99          Out of the life and ministry of Jesus,
100            the church received Baptism and the Lord's Supper
101            as special Sacraments of God's saving action.

102        We believe that in the washing with water
103            and in the eating of bread and drinking of wine
104            the Holy Spirit demonstrates and confirms the promises
105            of the embodied, written, and preached Word
106            with vividness and power.
107        In these concrete human actions
108            believers declare their acceptance of the promises.
109        As the Word is acted out in the Sacraments
110            so the Sacraments are to be accompanied by the Word.

111        We believe that in Baptism
112            the Spirit demonstrates and confirms God's promise
113            to include us and our children in his gracious covenant,
114            cleansing us from sin,
115            and giving us newness of life,
116            as participants in Christ's death and resurrection.
117        Baptism sets us in the visible community of Christ's people
118            and joins us to all other believers by a powerful bond.
119        In baptism we give ourselves up in faith and repentance
120            to be the Lord's.
121        For both children and adults, baptism is a reminder
122            that God loves us long before we can love him.
123        For both, God's grace and our response to it
124            are not tied to the moment of Baptism,
125            but continue and deepen throughout life.

126        We believe that at the Lord's Supper
127            the community of believers in renewed
128            by the memory of Christ's life and death,
129            by his real presence in the power of the Holy Spirit,
130            and by the promise of his coming again.
131        Christ makes himself known to us in the breaking of bread.
132        He offers us his body broken for our sake
133            and his blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
134        We accept his promises and gifts
135            and depend on his life to sustain ours.
136        In turn we offer ourselves in thanksgiving
137            to the risen Lord who has conquered death.
138            we celebrate his victory here and now
139            and anticipate the joyous feast in his coming kingdom.
140        Reunited around one loaf and cup,
141            we receive strength and courage
142            to continue our pilgrimage with God in the world.

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