Beliefs and Teaching of the Moravian Church
The Moravian Church is a Christocentric (Christ centered) community that emphasizes community, the person and teachings of Christ, and simplicity in doctrine and lifestyle. We would rather practice faith, love, and hope than participate in divisive debates. When divisive conversations are unavoidable, we do our best to conduct them in a way that reminds us that our relationship with Christ and each other is more important than being right or wrong. Moravians also tend to look for the simple grains of truth in Scripture rather than attempting to find answers for every question. One of the best examples of this is found in our Communion theology. The Moravian Church is one of the few denominations that does not define how Christ is present in communion. We believe Christ is really and truly present in Communion since Jesus said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood.” Because scripture does not state how Christ is present and because attempts to clarify his presence have led to division rather than relationship, we do not define how he is present because we know he is present.
The official doctrinal statement of the World Wide Moravian Church is the Ground of the Unity. We adopted it in 1957 and have revised it occasionally. Our current version Ground of the Unity was adopted by the Unity Synod of 1995 which was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1995.
Each province of the World Wide Unity upholds the Ground of the Unity, but because the Ground of the Unity is not an exhaustive faith statement, each province also has their own Covenant for Christian Living that addresses their specific practices and lifestyle. The Northern and Southern Provinces in the United States and Canada share a Covenant for Christian Living which can be read here.
The Moravian Church also recognizes that things are essential to being a Christian, things that serve those essentials, and things that are incidental to being Christian. The Essentials are: God creates, redeems, and sanctifies (makes us more like Christ or blesses us) and we respond in Faith, Love, and Hope. If God does not create, redeem or sanctify, we cannot be Christian. Neither can we be Christian if we do not respond with Faith, Love, and Hope. The Ministerials serve the Essentials and are given by God to lead us to the Essentials. The most important is the Bible and the others include Baptism and Holy Communion, confirmation, marriage, the Church, clergy, and doctrine. The Incidentals are matters of culture and preference like the language used in worship, style of music for worship, architecture, version of the Bible, etc. We recognize the Incidentals are nothing to fight over, that we should use the Ministerials properly so that they do lead us to Christ, and that we must live lives of Faith, Love, and Hope because God does create, redeem, and sanctify. You can learn more about the Essentials, Ministerials, and Incidentals here.
To learn how Moravians read and interpret the Bible, please click here.
Our motto is: “Our Lamb has Conquered; Let us Follow Him!”