A DECLARATION OF FAITH (1977)
CHAPTER NINE --CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP
1 (1) Christ calls us to be disciples.
2 In forming his people and sending them into the world
3 Jesus called individuals to be disciples.
4 They were to share the joy of his companionship,
5 to understand and obey his teachings,
6 and to follow him in life and death.
7 We confess that Christians today are called to discipleship.
8 Life shared with Christ and shaped by Christ
9 is God's undeserved; gift to each of us.
10 It is also God's demand upon every one of us,
11 never perfectly fulfilled by any of us.
12 Forgiven by God and supported by brothers and sisters,
13 we strive to become more faithful and effective
14 in our daily practice of the Christian life.
15 (2) Christ calls us to live in disciplined
16 Jesus came to set people free
17 by the power of the gospel.
18 In so doing he did not abolish,
19 but fulfilled the law and the prophets.
20 Through his teaching and the teaching of the apostles
21 he showed what it is to be free and obedient.
22 We declare that Christ has freed
23 from trying to save ourselves by obeying the law.
24 He restores to us God's law as a gift and delight.
25 The law describes concretely the shape of our freedom.
26 When we accept its discipline,
27 it keeps our personal lives from being chaotic
28 and increases our effectiveness in the church's mission.
29 (3) Christ calls us to live in the presence of
30 Jesus lived with a constant sense of his Father's presence.
31 He put God's claim on his life above all else.
32 He joined others in God's worship and praise.
33 He drew strength from the Scriptures.
34 He prayed and taught his disciples to pray.
35 We believe Christ gives us and
demands of us
36 personal lives that are centered in God
37 and open to God's reality and rule.
38 Christ teaches us
39 to put obedience to God
40 above the interests of self, family, race or nation;
41 to offer God joyously
42 our money, ability and time.
43 It is part of our discipline
44 to observe a day of worship and rest,
45 setting aside our own working to enjoy God's work,
46 celebrating with sisters and brothers the Lord's goodness.
47 We need constantly to search out God's way in Scripture,
48 not expecting detailed directions for every decision,
49 but relying on the Word to tell us who God is,
50 to press God's present claim on us,
51 and to assure us of God's grace and comfort.
52 We are charged to pray for ourselves and others
53 with gratitude, boldness, and persistence,
54 confident that God hears and answers our prayers
55 in ways best for us all.
56 Life in God's presence issues in life for others,
57 for if we do not love sisters and brothers whom we see,
58 we cannot love God whom we do not see.
59 (4) Christ calls us to live for our neighbors
60 Jesus broadened the definition of neighbor
61 to include those ordinarily despised and excluded.
62 His life in behalf of others
63 led to persecution and death.
64 He commanded his disciples to live the same way.
65 We believe
Christ gives us and demands of us
66 lives that recognize all people in all cultures
67 as our neighbors on this planet.
68 Christ teaches us
69 to go beyond legal requirements
70 in serving and helping our neighbor,
71 to treat our neighbor's needs as our own,
72 to care passionately for the other's good,
73 to share what we have.
74 It is part of our discipline
75 to live in simplicity,
76 avoiding greed and luxury
77 that threaten our neighbor's survival.
78 We are obligated to speak the truth in love,
79 to listen with patience and openness,
80 to love our enemies,
81 to accept the risk and pain
82 which love involves.
83 (5) Christ calls us to pilgrimage toward the
84 Jesus announced the coming of God's kingdom
85 and its hidden presence in the midst of the world's kingdoms.
86 He taught his disciples to seek God's Kingdom first.
87 We believe Christ
gives us and demands of us
88 lives in pilgrimage toward God's kingdom.
89 Like Christ we may enjoy on our journey
90 all that sustains life and makes it pleasant and beautiful.
91 No more than Christ are we spared
92 the darkness, ambiguity, and threat of life in the world.
93 We are in the world, but not of the world.
94 Our confidence and hope for ourselves and other people
95 do not rest in the powers and achievements of this world,
96 but in the coming and hidden presence of God's kingdom.
97 Christ calls each of us to a life appropriate to that kingdom:
98 to serve as he has served us;
99 to take up our cross,
100 risking the consequences of faithful discipleship;
101 to walk by faith, not by sight,
102 to hope for what we have not seen.