The Moravian Church embraces the basic doctrines affirmed by the wider Christian Church through the ages. Our theological statements are in general agreement with “mainline” Protestant churches. Two of the most widely accepted Christian doctrinal statements, the Apostles’ and the Nicene creeds, are included in our liturgies.
Moravians have two sacraments – Baptism and Holy Communion.
Moravians have not written lengthy volumes of theology, but prefer to emphasize more the living out of our faith in our words and actions. This emphasis is highlighted in our Covenant for Christian Living, which outlines standards for our conduct with one another and with the world.
From its early years in the 15th and 16th centuries, our church has lived by the principle: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, love.”
Our early leaders stated that the essentials are that we respond in faith, love and hope to the goodwill of God the Father, the saving work of Christ, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Non-essentials would include matters such as the amount of water used in Baptism or the sort of bread used in Holy Communion.
Above all is Christ’s commandment that we love one another.
The Ground of the Unity is a brief Moravian doctrinal statement approved for use in the worldwide Moravian Church. It includes these passages:
With the whole of Christendom we share faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe and confess that God has revealed Himself once and for all in His Son Jesus Christ; that our Lord has redeemed us with the whole of humanity by His death and resurrection.
We believe that He is present with us in the Word and the Sacrament; that He directs and unites us through His Spirit and thus forms us into a Church. We hear Him summoning us to follow Him, and we pray to Him to use us in His service.
He joins us together mutually, so that, knowing ourselves to be members of His body, we become willing to serve each other.
Jesus Christ … calls each individual personally, and leads each one to the recognition of sin and to the acceptance of the redemption achieved by Christ. In fellowship with Him, [we accept that] the love of Christ becomes more and more the power of our new life, power that penetrates and shapes the entire person.
We oppose any discrimination in our midst because of race or standing, and we regard it as a commandment of the Lord to bear public witness to this and to demonstrate by word and deed that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.
We believe that the Lord has called us particularly to mission service among the peoples of the world. In this, and in all other forms of service both at home and abroad, to which the Lord commits us, He expects us to confess Him and witness to His love in unselfish service.
Our Lord Jesus entered into this world’s misery to bear it and to overcome it. We seek to follow Him in serving His people. Like the love of Jesus, this service knows no bounds. Therefore we pray to the Lord to point out to us the way to reach our neighbors, opening our heart and hand to them in their need.
In this spirit we await the appearing of Jesus Christ, go forward to meet our Lord with joy, and pray to be found ready when He comes.