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What We Believe & Teach

The Church of the Epiphany has three main guiding principles:

1."In the essentials, unity; In nonessentials, liberty; In all things, love"

- 1617 by Archbishop of Split (Spalato) Marco Antonio de Dominis

2. The Nicene Creed (c. 381 AD)

(cf. Rowan Williams on The Creed)

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

3. An Outline of the Faith

commonly called "the Catechism"

(cf. http://www.bcponline.org/ )

Human Nature

Q.What are we by nature?

A.We are part of God's creation, made in the image of

God.

Q.What does it mean to be created in the image of God?

A.It means that we are free to make choices: to love, to

create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation

and with God.

Q.Why then do we live apart from God and out of

harmony with creation?

A.From the beginning, human beings have misused their

freedom and made wrong choices.

Q.Why do we not use our freedom as we should?

A.Because we rebel against God, and we put ourselves in

the place of God.

Q,What help is there for us?

A.Our help is in God.

Q.How did God first help us?

A.God first helped us by revealing himself and his will,

through nature and history, through many seers and

saints, and especially the prophets of Israel.

God the Father

Q.What do we learn about God as creator from the

revelation to Israel?

A.We learn that there is one God, the Father Almighty,

creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and

unseen.

Q.What does this mean?

A.This means that the universe is good, that it is the work of

a single loving God who creates, sustains, and directs it.

Q.What does this mean about our place in the universe?

A.It means that the world belongs to its creator; and that

we are called to enjoy it and to care for it in accordance

with God's purposes.

Q.What does this mean about human life?

A.It means that all people are worthy of respect and

honor, because all are created in the image of God, and

all can respond to the love of God.

Q.How was this revelation handed down to us?

A.This revelation was handed down to us through a community

created by a covenant with God.

The Old Covenant

Q.What is meant by a covenant with God?

A.A covenant is a relationship initiated by God, to which a

body of people responds in faith.

Q.What is the Old Covenant?

A.The Old Covenant is the one given by God to the

Hebrew people.

Q.What did God promise them?

A.God promised that they would be his people to bring

all the nations of the world to him.

Q.What response did God require from the chosen people?

A.God required the chosen people to be faithful; to love

justice, to do mercy, and to walk humbly with their God.

Q.Where is this Old Covenant to be found?

A.The covenant with the Hebrew people is to be found in the books which we call the Old Testament.

Q.Where in the Old Testament is God's will for us shown

most clearly?

A.God's will for us is shown most clearly in the Ten

Commandments.

The Ten Commandments

Q.What are the Ten Commandments?

A.The Ten Commandments are the laws give to Moses

and the people of Israel.

Q.What do we learn from these commandments?

A.We learn two things: our duty to God, and our duty to

our neighbors.

Q.What is our duty to God?

A.Our duty is to believe and trust in God;

I To love and obey God and to bring others to

know him;

II To put nothing in the place of God;

III To show God respect in thought, word, and

deed;

IV And to set aside regular times for worship,

prayer, and the study of God's ways.

Q.What is our duty to our neighbors?

A.Our duty to our neighbors is to love them as ourselves,

and to do to other people as we wish them to do to us;

V To love, honor, and help our parents and family; to honor those in

authority, and to meet their just demands;

VI To show respect for the life God has given us; to

work and pray for peace; to bear no malice,

prejudice, or hatred in our hearts; and to be

kind to all the creatures of God;

VII To use our bodily desires as God intended;

VIII To be honest and fair in our dealings; to seek

justice, freedom, and the necessities of life for all

people; and to use our talents and possessions

as ones who must answer for them to God;

IX To speak the truth, and not to mislead others by

our silence;

X To resist temptations to envy, greed, and

jealousy; to rejoice in other people's gifts and

graces; and to do our duty for the love of God,

who has called us into fellowship with him.

Q.What is the purpose of the Ten Commandments?

A.The Ten Commandments were given to define our

relationship with God and our neighbors.

Q.Since we do not fully obey them, are they useful at all?

A.Since we do not fully obey them, we see more clearly our

sin and our need for redemption.

Sin and Redemption

Q.What is sin?

A.Sin is the seeking of our own will instead of the will of

God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation.

Q.How does sin have power over us?

A.Sin has power over us because we lose our liberty when

our relationship with God is distorted.

Q.What is redemption?

A.Redemption is the act of God which sets us free from the

power of evil, sin, and death.

Q.How did God prepare us for redemption?

A.God sent the prophets to call us back to himself, to

show us our need for redemption, and to announce the

coming of the Messiah.

Q.What is meant by the Messiah?

A.The Messiah is one sent by God to free us from the

power of sin, so that with the help of God we may live in

harmony with God, within ourselves, with our neighbors,

and with all creation.

Q.Who do we believe is the Messiah?

A.The Messiah, or Christ, is Jesus of Nazareth, the only

Son of God.

God the Son

Q.What do we mean when we say that Jesus is the only

Son of God?

AWe mean that Jesus is the only perfect image of the

Father, and shows us the nature of God.

Q.What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?

A.God is love.

Q.What do we mean when we say that Jesus was

conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and became

incarnate from the Virgin Mary?

A.We mean that by God's own act, his divine Son received

our human nature from the Virgin Mary, his mother.

Q.Why did he take our human nature?

A.The divine Son became human, so that in him human

beings might be adopted as children of God, and be

made heirs of God's kingdom.

Q.What is the great importance of Jesus' suffering and death?

A.By his obedience, even to suffering and death, Jesus

made the offering which we could not make; in him we

are freed from the power of sin and reconciled to God.

Q.What is the significance of Jesus' resurrection?

A.By his resurrection, Jesus overcame death and opened

for us the way of eternal life.

Q.What do we mean when we say that he descended to the

dead?

A.We mean that he went to the departed and offered them

also the benefits of redemption.

Q.What do we mean when we say that he ascended into

heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father?

A.We mean that Jesus took our human nature into

heaven where he now reigns with the Father and

intercedes for us.

Q.How can we share in his victory over sin, suffering, and

death?

A.We share in his victory when we are baptized into the

New Covenant and become living members of Christ.

The New Covenant

Q.What is the New Covenant?

A.The New Covenant is the new relationship with God

given by Jesus Christ, the Messiah, to the apostles; and,

through them, to all who believe in him.

Q.What did the Messiah promise in the New Covenant?

A.Christ promised to bring us into the kingdom of God

and give life in all its fullness.

Q.What response did Christ require?

A.Christ commanded us to believe in him and to keep his

commandments.

Q.What are the commandments taught by Christ?

A.Christ taught us the Summary of the Law and gave us the New Commandment.

Q.What is the Summary of the Law?

A.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the

first and great commandment. And the second is like

it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Q.What is the New Commandment?

A.The New Commandment is that we love one another as

Christ loved us.

Q.Where may we find what Christians believe about

Christ?