Ephesians 4:3-6 (NRSV)
3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
We believe in the one holy catholic (universal) and apostolic church
The Church is the Body of Christ. As followers of Jesus Christ we have the awesome responsibility of carrying on Christ’s ministry in the world today. This does not mean that the Church is perfect. Over and over again the Bible speaks of God’s choosing imperfect people to do His Kingdom work in the world. People looking for the perfect Church will never find it.
In his book, the Rise of Christianity, sociologist Rodney Stark argues that Christianity “won” in the Greco-Roman world because it offered people a better life. Christianity offered love in a visible and life-changing way. It addressed the crises of life, natural catastrophe, plagues, illness, and death by providing meaning and hope unavailable through paganism. It provided models of courage, compassion, and generosity in its saints and martyrs. People were convinced that Jesus’ resurrection assured theirs and that his return would bring restoration to a world broken by tragedy and human folly. Christians believed in what they would doing so strongly that they were willing to die for their belief.
To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachments. To cities filled with orphans and widows, Christianity provided a new and expanded sense of family. To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fires, and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective nursing service.
The church is about promoting love in our cities, towns, and communities; it’s about God’s great love in Jesus Christ and making that love known in the world. Certainly, we should want to meet the challenge of being the Church in the 21st century. Abraham Joshua Heschel says this:
Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless.
As the Body of Christ and the people of God, I know we want to be more than that. As a Church, we can. Think about it!