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This prayer (The Nicene Creed) describes God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, or as we know Them, the Holy Trinity. The New Testament teaches us that each of the Persons is presented as having qualities that can only belong to God. We believe in God as our Father (creating and accepting us as love-worthy human beings), our Savior (giving us His Word so that we can listen and be free to choose union with God and brotherhood with our neighbors), and as our Sanctifier (dying for our sins so that we might have eternal life).

Also central to our faith is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of our Lord and ourselves. This mother,. Who saw her own Son die for the rest of her children, is waiting and preparing a home for us all. She is, in the words of Vatican II, our "sign of certain hope and comfort".

Ultimately, we believe that the hour of our death is an end to our life on earth, over which God sits in judgment. If our life was lived according to God’s teachings, loving one another as He has loved us and following in His ways, and loving God above all else, then we are to be with God eternally (heaven). If our choice in life was less than loving God, and receiving His love, then we are left in eternal alienation (hell).

JEHOVAH WITNESS (Indoctrination process)
Jehovah's Witnesses consider their organization to be the only true Christian organization. They also view themselves as God's righteous people who are persecuted by governments and traditional Christian groups (''apostate Christendom''). Witnesses believe that the truths of Scripture were lost through apostasy that occurred centuries ago; then God used C.T. Russell to bring to light and restore many of the Christian teachings that had been lost. A few of Russell's doctrines have been kept, others have been modified over the years, and some have been discarded altogether. Jehovah's Witnesses deny many of the cardinal docrines of historic Christianity: the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, the physical resurrection of Christ, and the personality of the Holy Spirit. They also deny conscious eternal punishment for the wicked, the immorality of the soul, and the substitutionary atonement of Christ.

Coming Soon

What is the nature of the doctrine and discipline of the Episcopal Church?
The Episcopal Church offers a thoughtful approach to religion.  It believes faith involves reason as well as emotion.  Its doctrine is designed to point out, not dictate, the response to God's continuing revelation.  The focus is on God's love and the invitation to respond in mature freedom, in thanksgiving, and in loving devotion.  Basic beliefs are expressed in the Book of Common Prayer and especially the Catechism. The Episcopal Church teaches us that the approach to morality is positive rather than negative.  It is rooted in Jesus' summary of the law to love God with heart, mind, and soul and to love one's neighbor as oneself.  Its focus is not on laws and restrictions but on free and mature response to God's love and in responsibility for our neighbors.

What are the Basic beliefs of the Episcopal Church?
Episcopalians promise to follow Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.  Episcopalians believe in One God,
-- the Father who creates us and all things,
-- the Son who redeems us from sin and death,
-- the Holy Spirit who renews us as the Children of God.
Episcopalians believe the Holy Scriptures to be the Word of God and to contain all things necessary for salvation.  We believe God inspired human authors and continues to speak to us through the Bible.
Episcopalians affirm that salvation is the end of our separation from God and the beginning of a new relationship with God and with one another.  The Apostle's and Nicene Creeds are basic statements of our beliefs in God.

Basic Beliefs

Central to Mennonite teachings is the belief that Jesus Christ is the model for life. As such, Mennonites believe that Christianity is more centrally a matter of lived faith than it is a matter of propositional beliefs. Mennonites believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead in order that people might live in union with God. In relating to each other and the world in the same loving, forgiving way that Jesus practiced, they aim to continue the ministry Christ began, living in simple obedience to the Word of God. The believe that the life and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible serve as a key to the interpretation of the Bible in the context of today's world.

Mennonites recognize that all people sin -- they do wrong, failing to do good and thus losing touch with God. They believe that God sent Jesus Christ to the world to defeat the powers of evil, to confront injustice, and to free people from their sins and from their enslavement to lifestyles of self-preservation. Mennonites believe that all those who believe in Jesus Christ and who orient their lives to the Reign of God receive forgiveness for their sins, a more whole life, and the promise of living forever with God. They practice "believers baptism" to symbolize the decision of an adult to make a public commitment to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Mennonites try to follow Jesus' call to the church to bring good news to all persons. They are concerned with both the spiritual and the physical needs of the world. Essential to Mennonites is the strength of community. They gather together to encourage one another, to reaffirm their life orientation toward God's work in the world, to worship God, and to help one other discover God's ways in the world today.

Mennonites believe that following Christ means loving the enemy and refusing to use violence. Many conscientiously refuse to participate in military service. They try to live peaceably with others at all levels. They understand that a life oriented to God's work in the world will necessarily be a life of service to the poor, the needy, and and the marginalized, and are willing to take risks in working actively for justice and mercy in the world.

There are several Mennonite-related denominations. They include the Mennonite Church, the General Conference Mennonite Church, and the Mennonite Brethren. The first two of these are moving toward integration in the years ahead.


Basic Principles

e do well to call ourselves back to the basics even as we acknowledge that Anabaptists do not possess a corner on the truth. Clearly, on certain emphases others can teach us much. We, in turn, present our Anabaptist understanding, which encompasses 12 key principles.

1. A high view of the Bible.
While not worshipping the Bible itself, for that would be bibliolatry, Anabaptists accept "the Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God, and through the Holy Spirit…the infallible guide to lead men to faith in Christ and to guide them in the life of Christian discipleship." Anabaptists insist that Christians must always be guided by the Word, which is to be collectively discerned, and by the Spirit.

2. Emphasis on the New Testament.
Since Christ is God's supreme revelation, Anabaptists make a clear functional distinction between the equally inspired Old and New Testaments. We see an old and a new covenant. We read the Old from the perspective of the New and see the New as the fulfillment of the Old. Where the two differ, the New prevails, and thus Anabaptist ethics are derived primarily from the New Testament.

3. Emphasis on Jesus as central to all else.
Anabaptists derive their Christology directly from the Word and emphasize a deep commitment to take Jesus seriously in all of life. Such a view runs counter to notions that the commands of Jesus are too difficult for ordinary believers or that Jesus' significance lies almost entirely in providing heavenly salvation. Rather, salvation of the soul is part of a larger transformation.

4. The necessity of a believers' church.
Anabaptists believe that Christian conversion, while not necessarily sudden and traumatic, always involves a conscious decision. "Unless a person is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Believing that an infant can have no conscious, intelligent faith in Christ, Anabaptists baptize only those who have come to a personal, living faith. Voluntary baptism, together with a commitment to walk in the full newness of life and to strive for purity in the church, constitutes the basis of church membership.

5. The importance of discipleship.
Becoming a Christian involves not only belief in Christ but also discipleship. Faith is expressed in holy living. In Christ, salvation and ethics come together. Not only are we to be saved through Christ, but we are also to follow him daily in obedient living. Thus, for example, Anabaptists from the beginning renounced the oath. They determined to speak truth. "For them there could be no gradations of truth-telling." Anabaptists continue to teach that salvation makes us followers of Jesus Christ and that he is the model for the way we are to live.

6. Insistence on a church without classes or divisions.
The church, the body of Christ, has only one head. While acknowledging functional diversity, Anabaptist believers set aside all racial, ethnic, class and sex distinctions because these are subsumed in the unity and equality of the body.

7. Belief in the church as a covenant community.
Corporate worship, mutual aid, fellowship and mutual accountability characterize this community. An individualistic or self centered Anabaptism is a contradiction in terms.

8. Separation from the world.
The community of the transformed belongs to the kingdom of God. It functions in the world but is radically separate from the world. The faithful pilgrim church sees the sinful world as an alien environment with thoroughly different ethics and goals. This principle includes separation of church and state. Therefore, Anabaptists reject all forms of civil religion, be it the traditional corpus Christianum or more recently developed forms of Christian nationalism.

9. The church as a visible counterculture.
As a united fellowship of believers every Anabaptist congregation models an alternate community. Such a covenant community functions as an authentic counterculture.

10. Belief that the gospel includes a commitment to the way of peace modelled by the Prince of Peace.
Here Anabaptists differ from many other Christians. Anabaptists believe that the peace position is not optional, not marginal, and not related mainly to the military. On the basis of Scripture, Anabaptists renounce violence in human relationships. We see peace and reconciliation - the way of love - as being at the heart of the Christian gospel. God gave his followers this ethic not as a point to ponder, but as a command to obey. It was costly for Jesus and it may also be costly for his followers. The way of peace is a way of life.

11. Commitment to servanthood.
Just as Christ came to be a servant to all, so Christians should also serve one another and others in the name of Christ. Thus, separation from a sinful world is balanced by a witness of practical assistance to a needy and hurting society.

12. Insistence on the church as a missionary church.
Anabaptists believe that Christ has commissioned the church to go into all the world and all of society and to make disciples of all people, baptizing them and teaching them to observe his commandments. The evangelistic imperative is given to all believers. These principles constitute the essence of Anabaptism. While each emphasis can be found elsewhere, the combination of all twelve constitutes the uniqueness of Anabaptism.

The Protestant Reformation had not gone far enough. The early Anabaptists, while diverse and far from perfect, committed themselves to nothing less than the restoration of the New Testament church. We, their heirs, have the privilege of reemphasizing these twelve principles, in word and deed, here and now.


What Must a Person Do to Become a Lutheran?

To become a Lutheran, only Baptism and instructions in the Christian faith is required. If you are already baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it will be necessary only to attend a membership class in a Lutheran congregation and thus signify your desire to become a part of its community. Active members of other Lutheran congregations usually need only to transfer their membership.

What Lutherans Believe...

CREATION - Lutherans believe that God is Creator of the universe. Its dimensions of space and time are not something God made once and then left alone. God is, rather, continually creating, calling into being each moment of each day.

The BIBLE is the Word of God - absolute truth; it shows God in action. Written and transcribed by many authors over a period of many centuries, the Bible bears remarkable testimony to the mighty acts of God in the lives of people and nations. In the Old Testament is found the vivid account of God's covenant relationship to Israel. The New Testament is the first-hand proclamation of those who lived through the events of Jesus' life, death, and Resurrection. As such, it is the authority for Christian faith and practice. The Bible is thus not a definitive record of history or science. Rather, it is the record of the drama of God's saving care for creation throughout the course of history.

JESUS is God's son, chosen by God to become human like us. In his life and being he broke through the prison of sinfulness and thus restored the relationship of love and trust that God intended to exist between himself and his children. We believe him to be the Messiah chosen by God to show his love for the world. He is God, yet with all the limitations of being human.

Three Ecumenical CREEDS are statements of beliefs, not additions to the Bible; they support the Bible's teachings.

  • Apostle's Creed - is the oldest summary of Christian beliefs; tells the basic principles of the Bible; is used for general confession and religious teachings.
  • Nicene Creed - states basic beliefs about God; that He is TRIUNE -- three persons in one God; tells about His works in the world.
  • Athanasian Creed - summarizes the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and emphasizes the importance of Christ, who is true God and true Man in one person.

Man is JUSTIFIED (saved) not by one's own merit, but only by God's grace.

ETERNAL LIFE - While there is much we do not and cannot know about life beyond the grave, Lutherans do believe that life with God persists even after death. Judgment is both a present and future reality.


  • BAPTISM, establishes a new life in man, remakes him in God's spirit. Each Christian is baptized, many as infants, in order to mark the death of the sinful man in us and the rebirth into holy life - Christ's life.
  • LORD'S SUPPER, is the Body and Blood of Christ borne by bread and wine in Holy Communion. Christ's Body and Blood in, with, and under the Bread and Wine offers Christians a direct encounter with God -- Christ's body and blood are actually present "in, with, under" bread and wine. Christ again comes among us to forgive our sins, helps us to live truly Christian lives.

SIN describes not so much individual acts of wrongdoing as fractured relationships between the people of creation and God. Our every attempt to please God falls short of the mark.

PRAYER is an important aspect of daily living as Christians share their thoughts with God and He speaks to His people through His Word.

MARRIAGE is intended for life; divorce is recognized only in extreme cases.

CONFESSIONS - An accurate interpretation of the Word of God written to correct church errors.

  1. Augsburg Confession - stresses the doctrine of SALVATION by GRACE through faith in Christ as the center of the Christian faith, and the importance of the Bible and Christian doctrines in Christian religion. It also testifies against the abuses of the medieval church which Luther sought to correct.
  2. Apology of the Augsburg Confession - gives an explanation of the Augsburg Confession and a defense against enemies who would destroy the church.
  3. Smalcald Articles - Martin Luther's "last will and testament" - states the doctrine of the Trinity and Deity of Christ; emphasizes the central doctrine of Christianity: "we are saved only through faith in Christ."
  4. Formula of Concord - was written to unify the church, which had been disorganized for 30 years; officially approves all the earlier Lutheran confessions.
  5. Luther's Small & Large Catechisms - seek to explain and teach the six chief parts of the Bible: God's Law (The Ten Commandments), the Gospel (death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), Lord's Prayer, Baptism (water), Lord's Supper (bread/body & wine/blood), and God's Forgiveness to children (small) and to adults (large).

WORSHIP is offered in reverence to Jesus Christ as God's own son, come into the world to save all mankind from sin, in His death and resurrection from the dead. We celebrate His presence among us and invite all who would believe to find strength and comfort in His Word and Sacrament on a weekly basis.

CONFIRMATION - instruction classes for children and adults that strengthen and discover the faith we have been baptized into. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we knowingly choose to be disciples of Christ and confirm our faith publicly as members of His church.

LIVING FELLOWSHIP OF PEOPLE - each person is called by faith into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and sent as a daily missionary of this faith into the world. Jesus commands us to care for one another and the world around us, to come together and worship often, and raise up children in faith. We witness best by example -living a life of love and service to others.

CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY - We need Christ for He offers us new life and hope in salvation from our sins and we need one another as servants of our time, talents, money and love that every person may know Christ and come to Him as their personal Savior and Lord.

DISCIPLESHIP & MISSIONS - not just a member, but a living, vital part of Christ's body, willing to forget self and work for Christ, involved in serving God and mankind in a meaningful life filled with His eternal purpose.

CHURCH GOVERNMENT - In the Lutheran form of church government, the primary unit is the local church or congregation of Christians assembled around the Word and Sacraments. Made up of men and women who by faith in Christ are priests and kings before God. The Christian congregation is self-governing and sovereign, subject only, yet always, to the authority of Jesus Christ and His Word. It chooses its own pastor. All pastors have an equal status. The local minister performs the rite of Confirmation. The specific form of church organization is a matter of Christian liberty.

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Religions Ranked by Adherents

Last modified 6 September 2002.

(Sizes shown are approximate estimates, and are here mainly for the purpose of ordering the groups, not providing a definitive number. This list is sociological/statistical in perspective.)
  1. Christianity: 2 billion
  2. Islam: 1.3 billion
  3. Hinduism: 900 million
  4. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 850 million
  5. Buddhism: 360 million
  6. Chinese traditional religion: 225 million
  7. primal-indigenous: 150 million
  8. African Traditional & Diasporic: 95 million
  9. Sikhism: 23 million
  10. Juche: 19 million
  11. Spiritism: 14 million
  12. Judaism: 14 million
  13. Baha'i: 6 million
  14. Jainism: 4 million
  15. Shinto: 4 million
  16. Cao Dai: 3 million
  17. Tenrikyo: 2.4 million
  18. Neo-Paganism: 1 million
  19. Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
  20. Rastafarianism: 700 thousand
  21. Scientology: 600 thousand
  22. Zoroastrianism: 150 thousand

Numbers taken from calculations found at http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

The Golden Rule additions to above list

The Golden Rule or "the ethic of reciprocity" is found in nearly every religion and culture.

  • Hindu: This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain. The Mahabharata
  • Hindu: One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.  Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 113.8
  • Jain (a contemporary of Buddha): One who you think should be hit is none else but you. One who you think should be governed is none else but you. One who you think should be tortured is none else but you. One who you think should be enslaved is none else but you. One who you think should be killed is none else but you. A sage is ingenuous and leads his life after comprehending the parity of the killed and the killer. Therefore, neither does he cause violence to others nor does he make others do so.   Acarangasutra 5.101-2
  • Buddha: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. Udana-Varga
  • Zoroastrian: Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others. Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
  • Judah: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. The Talmud
  • Confucius: Tzu-kung asked, 'Is there a single word which can be a guide to conduct throughout one's life?' The Master said, 'It is perhaps the word shu. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.' Analects, 15.24
  • Confucius: Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.  Mencius VII.A.4
  • Greek:  Do not do unto others what angers you if done to you by others. Isocrates 436-338 BCE
  • Christian: "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" Matt 7:12, Luke 6:31
  • Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. Hadith
  • One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts. African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria)
  • Bahá'í:  And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbor that which thou choosest for thyself. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, 30

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