The Bible is the shared standard for our faith, but members are not required to adhere to any particular creed or formulation of doctrine.
The United Church does, however, from time to time produce statements of faith that articulate our theology in the language of the time. A New Creed is a well-loved statement of faith used in many United Church congregations. Our most recent faith statement, A Song of Faith, which is quoted throughout this section, seeks to provide a verbal picture of what the United Church understands its faith to be in an early 21st-century context.
Profession of Faith
To join the United Church, members are asked to profess their faith in the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and to commit themselves to faithful conduct in the church and in the world. Accepting the Bible as the shared standard for our faith, members are not required to adhere to any particular creed or formulation of doctrine.
With the Church through the ages,
we speak of God as one and triune:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We also speak of God as
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer
God, Christ, and Spirit
Mother, Friend, and Comforter
Source of Life, Living Word, and Bond of Love,
and in other ways that speak faithfully of
the One on whom our hearts rely,
the fully shared life at the heart of the universe. (A Song of Faith)
United Church ministers, in addition, are required to be in "essential agreement" with the four statements of faith found in the Doctrine section of The Basis of Union.
As members of one body of Christ, the United Church acknowledges our Reformation (Protestant) heritage and the teaching of the creeds of the ancient church, particularly the Apostles' and Nicene creeds. Our membership in the World Council of Churches links us to a fellowship of churches that confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures.
The Risen Christ lives today,
present to us and the source of our hope.
In response to who Jesus was
and to all he did and taught,
to his life, death, and resurrection,
and to his continuing presence with us through the Spirit,
we celebrate him as
the Word made flesh,
the one in whom God and humanity are perfectly joined,
the transformation of our lives,
the Christ. (A Song of Faith)
The Bible is central to The United Church of Canada. As a source of wisdom, personal prayer, and devotion, we believe that reading and studying the Bible can bring us closer to God. It remains one of our best ways of experiencing God's continuing work of creation and liberation in the world, while offering us forgiveness, healing, and new life in Jesus.
Scripture is our song for the journey, the living word
passed on from generation to generation
to guide and inspire,
that we might wrestle a holy revelation for our time and place
from the human experiences
and cultural assumptions of another era.
God calls us to be doers of the word and not hearers only. (A Song of Faith)
We often refer to scripture as “the Word of God.” By this we mean that the writer was inspired by God, and that, through the reading of scripture, God speaks to us in our time and place.
These old, old stories—the various books that make up the Bible—are a living word that speaks in new and fresh ways to each generation. Yet we also know that they are the stories of two ancient communities—ancient Israel and the early Christian movement—trying to be faithful to God under difficult circumstances.
The stories and teachings in the Bible have a mysterious power to inform our lives. But some of what was experienced and written then doesn’t fit with today’s world. For example, there are passages in the Bible that may be read to condone slavery or condemn homosexuality. We do not accept those interpretations.
The wholeness of scripture testifies
to the oneness and faithfulness of God.
The multiplicity of scripture testifies to its depth:
two testaments, four gospels,
contrasting points of view held in tension—
all a faithful witness to the One and Triune God,
the Holy Mystery that is Wholly Love. (A Song of Faith)
- Preaching the Big Questions: Doctrine Isn’t Dusty
- We Cannot Keep from Singing: Images from A Song of Faith
- Three Ways of Grace: Drawing Closer to the Trinity
- Theology of Mission of the Church: background documents on United Church Commons