A DECLARATION OF FAITH (1977)
CHAPTER EIGHT -- THE CHRISTIAN MISSION
1 (1) God sends the church into the world.
2 God has not taken his people out of the world,
3 but has sent them into the world
4 to worship God there and serve all humankind.
5 We worship God in the world
6 by standing before the Lord in behalf of all people.
7 Our cries for help and our songs of praise
8 are never for ourselves alone.
9 Worship is no retreat from the world;
10 it is part of our mission.
11 We serve humankind
12 by discerning what God is doing in the world
13 and joining God in that work.
14 We risk disagreement and error
15 when we try to say what God is doing here and now.
16 But we find guidance in God's deeds in the past
17 and in God's promises for the future,
18 as they are witnessed to in Scripture.
19 We affirm that the Lord is at work,
20 especially in events and movements
21 that free people by the gospel
22 and advance justice, compassion and peace.
23 (2) God sends us to proclaim the gospel.
24 God sent his Son
25 to proclaim release to those who are bound,
26 to announce that God's promised kingdom is at hand,
27 to urge everyone to repent and believe the good news.
28 The Lord is moving toward the time
29 when the glorious liberty of the children of God
30 will be manifest throughout the whole creation.
31 We testify God is at work here
32 when people obey Christ's commission
33 to witness to him and make disciples of all nations,
34 when they spread the good news by their words
35 and embody it in their lives.
36 We believe that God sends us
37 to tell all nations
38 that Christ calls everyone to repentance, faith and obedience.
39 We are to proclaim by word and deed
40 that Christ gave himself to set people free
41 from sin and self-hatred,
42 from ignorance and disease,
43 from all forms of oppression,
44 and even from death.
45 We are to offer them in Christ's
46 fullness of life now and forever.
47 We must not distort the gospel
48 by weakening its promises or demands,
49 by identifying it with oppressive structures,
50 by pointing to ourselves instead of Christ.
51 We must not restrict our proclamation
52 to persons just like ourselves.
53 We invite people everywhere
54 to believe in Christ and become his followers.
55 We urge them to join us in telling others the good news
56 and in struggling for justice, compassion, and peace.
57 (3) God sends us to strive for justice.
58 God has reached out to those who suffer injustice
59 and defended the excluded, the poor, and the hungry.
60 The Lord is moving toward the time
61 when justice will roll down like waters
62 and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
63 We are persuaded God is at work here
64 when people deal fairly with each other
65 and labor to change customs and structures
66 that enslave and oppress human beings.
67 We believe God sends us to work with
68 to correct the growing disparity
69 between rich and poor nations,
70 to achieve fair legislation justly administered and enforced,
71 to make the operation of courts and penal institutions
72 more just and humane.
73 We are charged to root out prejudice and racism
74 from our hearts and institutions.
75 We are commissioned to stand with women and men
76 of all ages, races, and classes
77 as they struggle for dignity and respect
78 and the chance to exercise power for the common good.
79 We must not countenance in the church and its institutions
80 the inequities we seek to correct in the world.
81 We must be willing to make such amends as we can
82 for centuries of injustice which the church condoned.
83 (4) God sends us to exercise compassion.
84 In his concern for justice in the social order
85 God has never forgotten the needs of individuals.
86 In the end the Lord will judge all persons
87 by the simple, unremembered acts of kindness
88 they did or failed to do
89 for the least of their sisters and brothers.
90 We acknowledge God is at work here and
91 when people show personal concern for each other
92 and work to make helping agencies,
93 including the church itself,
94 more compassionate.
95 We believe God sends
96 to risk our own peace and comfort
97 in compassion for our neighbors.
98 We are to give to them and receive from them,
99 accepting everyone we meet as a person;
100 to be sensitive to those who suffer in body or mind;
101 to help and accept help
102 in ways that affirm dignity and responsibility.
103 We must not limit our compassion to those we judge deserving,
104 for we ourselves do not deserve the compassion of God.
105 (5) God sends us to work for peace.
106 God has brought out of the horrors of warfare
107 the judgment and deliverance of nations.
108 Yet the Lord has condemned the atrocities of war
109 and warned his people not to trust in military might.
110 The Prince of Peace does not bring in his rule by force.
111 The Lord is moving toward the time
112 when nations will not learn war any more.
113 We affirm God is at work here and now
114 when people are ashamed of the inhumanity of war,
115 perceive the threat of annihilation
116 that hangs over the human race,
117 and seek other ways of settling international disputes.
118 We believe God sends us
119 to minister to people on all sides of wars:
120 the victims,
121 the participants,
122 and those who in conscience refuse to participate.
123 In is our duty to attack the causes and roots of war,
124 to unmask idolatry
125 that places national security above all else,
126 to urge all nations to devote to making peace
127 the resources, intelligence, and energy
128 that have gone to making war.