Early Brethren in Christ leaders bore witness to the beliefs which set the Church apart by formulating a Confession of Faith. The first confessional statement of about 1780 and others that followed reflect the Pietistic and Anabaptist influences which have shaped our doctrinal understandings. Some 100 years later, the Brethren in Christ adopted aspects of Wesleyan thought which were incorporated into subsequent doctrinal statements.
Through the years we have reaffirmed and redefined our essential beliefs. New doctrinal statements were adopted by General Conferences in 1937 and again in 1961. In 1986 we decided to give written expression to our current beliefs and life. This was done with a sensitivity to and respect for our doctrinal heritage. We regard each previous doctrinal statement of the church as having its own integrity.
In preparing the doctrinal statement we affirm an understanding of scriptural interpretation that recognizes
- the inspiration and illumination of the Holy Spirit
- the centrality of Christ in divine revelation
- the New Testament as interpreter of the Old Testament
- the scriptural focus on piety and obedience
- the essential value of community consensus in the interpretive process
It is best to read the doctrinal statement as a whole, since each of the sections is closely related to the others. Moreover, this is a summary statement of our beliefs. The Brethren in Christ Manual of Doctrine and Government, together with other publications of the church, explain more fully our understanding of biblical faith and the Christian life.
Following the doctrinal statement is a listing of selected Scripture references. Since the statement grows out of the totality of the biblical message, these references are only illustrative of the scriptural truths identified in each section. Study of these and other related Scripture passages is important for a clearer understanding of God and His will for humanity.