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A creed is a rule of faith or an authoritative expression. It came from the Latin word "credo" which means, "I believe."
All Christian creeds are serious and sustained efforts to articulate the Faith and, therefore, demand respectful attention and treatment.
The Social Creed of the Christian Methodist Church represents the denomination's understanding of God's call upon it to minister to the needs of human beings in this society and the world. It represents an awareness of our religious,social and cultural heritage and their impact on our development as a people and as a unique community of Christians.
The Social Creed attempts to put into words the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church's sense of commitment and concern for the physical, intellectual, social, economic and political conditions of the communities we serve and the general society we live in.
To be sure, we believe in the brotherhood/sisterhood of man/woman and the Fatherhood of God and we believe that "out of one blood God made all the nations who dwell on the face of the earth." Thus, as people of God we believe in the personal worth of human dignity of every human being.
The Social Creed is of equal importance, in terms of our ministry to all human life, to the three Sacred creeds which will be discussed.
The Social Creed confirms that our ministry is to people everywhere and anywhere the Master sends us to serve.
The Social Creed ministers to the physical, intellectual and social needs of the people.
It addresses the theological perspective of economic life (health services, inflation, poverty and unemployment), urban life, crime, gambling, sex and human rights. Each local church shall encourage the study of the SOCIAL CREED and seek to apply its principles.
The concern of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for the social well-being of human beings springs from the act of God in Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospel, and from the life and witness of John Wesley and other Fathers of Methodism who ministered to the physical, intellectual, and social needs of the people to whom they preached the gospel of personal redemption.
The interest and activity of the CME Church in the improvement of the human condition parallels the very history of our Church. In the opening editorial of the Gospel Trumpet published in 1879, Bishop Lucius H. Holsey stated that its purpose would be to "discuss without hesitation, any phase of the civic, social, economic and political questions that may affect the well-being of the Church and race." This policy of active participation in the solution of social problems has not been restricted to literary and journalistic endeavors. It can be seen in the individual contributions of some of the leaders of our church during her history -- Lucius H. Holsey, Isaac Lane, C. H. Phillips, Randall A. Carter, J. A. Hamlett, J. A. bray, J. A. Martin and Channing H. Tobias. It can be seen in those official programs and practices on the local, regional and national levels that were designed to eradicaste crime, disease, ignorance, poverty and racial injustice. It has been demonstrated by unknown thousands who are members of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church as they have resisted oppression and pursued liberty and justice for everyone.
This is the historical tradition that undergirds and challenges our accomplishments to this day.
We believe that the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is a part of the body of Christ, and that it must express itself in the world in the light of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us many things both by word and example -- to be concerned for the welfare and the well-being of others, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to be concerned for justice. for the Church to be silent in the face of need, injustice, and exploitation is to deny the Lord of the Church.
We believe "out of one blood God made all the nations that dwell on the face of the earth," that Jesus is more uniquely His Son, that all men are brothers, and each person is of infinite worth, and a child of God. Thus, to exploit, to dehumanize any person through pride or arrogance is thoroughly unbiblical and un-Christian.
We believe that all things come from God -- the earth and its fullness, our own capacities and all we possess. We believe that all things should be held and used in joyous stewardship to God in serving Him in His redemptive purpose in the world. The Church, then, must always be in the world actively obeying God's purpose for it. As a redeemed and redeeming fellowship, the Church must seek to serve and save society. This redemption is a continuing necessity.
We also test all institutions and practices by their effect upon persons. Since Jesus died for the redemption of all men, we believe that we should help save humanity from sin and from every evil influence which would harm or destroy the person.
We believe that whatever is of interest and concern to the people -- physical, intellectual, social, economic, and political -- should also be of interest and concern to the Church. The purpose of our worship is to prepare the participants for their divinely ordained redemptive witness in every place and circumstance.
With full acknowledgment of stewardship under God and accountability to God, we stand for the acquisition of property by moral processes and the right to private ownership. We are thus obligated to evaluate each aspect of every economic order by the commands of Christ and judge its practices by the Christian gospel.
We believe that it is not only our duty to bring Christ to the individual, but also to bring the increasingly technological society in which we live more nearly into conformity with the teachings of Christ.
(a) Inflation. The Christian community is concerned with maintaining economic stability. We affirm that there exists a fundamental ethical challenge in inflation itself. We believe that inflation is detrimental to equality and casts an uneven burden upon our citizens, the greatest burden often falling upon those who are weakest politically and economically.
(b) Health Services. We stand for the provision of adequate medical care for all people, with special attention to the aging, the young and low-income individuals and groups. We support our government, individuals and foundations in required public health research, and we support legislation to meet these needs. We believe that adequate facilities with a professionally trained staff must be made available for the emotionally ill and the mentally retarded of every community. We also believe that churches may become spiritual centers of healing through worship, pastoral concern, and volunteer services for the emotionally ill.
(c) Wages and Working Conditions. Free collective bargaining has proved its values in our free society whenever the parties engaged in collective bargaining have acted in good faith to reach equitable and moral solutions of problems dealing with wages and working conditions. We do not support the opinion voiced in some quarters that strikes should be made illegal. To declare strikes illegal would be to deprive workers of their right to collective action and, even more seriously, would place in the hands of government the power to force workers to remain on the job.
(d) Automation. Through automation, a greater number of people face job displacement, economic loss, and obsolescence of their skills. We affirm that it is a Christian duty to provide for all people opportunity to earn an adequate livelihood, to avoid unemployment and waste of personal and economic resources. We believe that workers who are displaced by automation should be given opportunity for retraining.
(e) Poverty and Unemployment. We believe that the economic development which makes possible material plenty for all imposes upon us great moral responsibility, since physical, emotional and spiritual development of millions of people throughout the world is hindered by poverty. We therefore stand for the eradication of poverty everywhere.
(f) Christian Vocation. We believe that every employable person so far as possible should be engaged in some vocation to enhance the common good. This vocation should be viewed as a Christian calling for those who pursue it as well as by those who receive its benefits, and our daily work should be regarded as a sphere of service to God.
The Church and General Welfare
We believe that in order for the Church to fulfill God's purpose in the world it must concern itself with persons in every phase of their historical and social existence by defining the meaning of that existence in terms of moral and social significance, by promoting those institutions and causes which strengthen the forces for good in society, and by using its influence to combat those forces in society detrimental to the fulfillment of life under God.
(a) Peace and World Order. We believe that it is God's will that peace and goodwill prevail among people and nations. Therefore, we consider all war is evil and oppose war as a means of reaching agreement between nations. Our Church must be on the side of every effort seeking to remove those conditions of heart and mind, of social, economic and international injustice and of ideological conflict out of which wars arise. Further, our Church must actively and constantly seek to promote understanding, reconciliation and good-will to relieve suffering and raise living standards over the world.
1. United Nations - We believe that the United Nations with its related agencies should be supported by all nations as a vital and necessary instrument for discussing international problems and seeking ways of resolving conflict.
2. Christian Military Service - Jesus Christ teaches us both love of country and love of all people. Thus, respect for properly constituted civil authority as a part of our tradition. When there is genuine conflict between a person's conscience and a person's duty to bear arms in defense of his/her country, we believe that nations ought to exempt those persons from military service.
(b) The Liquor Problem. We condemn the use of alcoholic beverages, and feel it imperative to minister to those persons who are victims of alcohol. We condemn the sale and use of liquor as that which imperils the abundant life to which Christ calls us.
(c) Crime. We recognize individual and personal responsibility to society. Yet, we recognize that in many instances the growth of crime and delinquency is the result of family failure, and economic and social deprivation. When persons are found to be lawbreakers, we feel that every effort should be made to rehabilitate them and return them to society. We are unalterably opposed to capital punishment.
(d) Gambling. Gambling is a menace to society, destructive of good government, and deadly to the best interest of moral, social and spiritual life. We stand for the achievement of community and personal standards which make unnecessary the resort to petty or commercial gambling as a recreation, escape or producer of public or charitable revenue. As an act of faith and love, Christians should abstain from all acts of gambling and should participate in efforts to minister to those victimized by the practice, including compulsive gamblers.
(e) Sex and Christian Life. We believe that human sexuality is created by God for the good of human life and is sacred. Marriage is the context and the relation in which sexuality is to be expressed. Sexual relations between persons united in holy wedlock is a means of personal and interpersonal communion, an expression of mutual love, and the means of procreation. Sexual relations outside of marriage are contrary to the will of God, and constitute a blasphemous disregard of God's purposes for men and women.
(f) Human Rights. Since all men are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights, we believe that o individual should be denied these rights because of race, creed, culture, national origin or social class. Further, we believe that persons should have freedom under law to petition for these rights.
We recommend that this SOCIAL CREED be presented to our congregations orally or in printed form at least once each year and that frequent references be made to it. Every local Church shall encourage the study of the Social Creed and seek to apply its principles.