Modern Beliefs of the Moravian Church
The modern church is characterized by the following principles: 1.) established traditions to mark important dates in the church year, especially Advent/Christmas and Easter 2.) joyful worship with quality music and preaching promoting the practical application of the scriptures 3.) trust in the will of God 4.) the Brotherly Agreement 5.) interest in Christian education 6.) positive nurturing through fellowship 7.) missionary focus 8.) cooperative spirit with other churches. The Brotherly Agreement, a document that presented that main points of belief and practice, declared the Bible as the source of doctrine. There is no formal creed, but Christian unity, and close personal relationships, and good deeds are stressed.
It is of the prophetic tradition with the focal point of the sanctuary an open Bible instead of an alter and cross. The church accepts the Apostles Creed and the Nicean Creed.
The eight cardinal truths of the church are:
1. The universal depravity (sinful tendency) of human nature. Moravians do not dwell on this morbidly but believe that history all too clearly gives repeated evidence of this truth.
2. God's love shown in his choosing us to be his. Ephesians 1:4 says that even before the world was made, a divine plan was at work for humanity, to reach out and draw us to Christ.
3. The real godhead and the real humanity of Jesus. Here is a mystery debated for centuries, with the last word still to be spoken. Jesus took on himself human flesh that he might be like his brothers and sisters in all things, yet without sin.
4. Reconciliation with God. People are not by nature righteous, but must be put right through the sacrificial love (cross) of Christ.
5. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit. God within us points out our sin; leads us to Christ; by grace shows us the truth; guides us to faith; and gives us assurance that we are his children.
6. Good works. These are fruits of the Spirit. They identify the Christian as a person who by faith is given power to follow God's commands gratefully, willingly, and lovingly.
7. The fellowship of believers. They are all one in Jesus Christ, the Head of his Body. Through him all are members one of another.
8. The second coming of the Lord in Glory. The dead will be raised with a new body, and unbelievers will be judged. (Sawyer 30-31)
The Bible is an important source for
belief for the
As with most Christian groups, Christmas is an important holiday. The Moravian Star, a multi-pointed star, is often hung in the church and the home. At the Christmas Eve service, worshipers receive a beeswax candle trimmed in red or white, which lights the darkened church.
The Easter service usually starts indoors before dawn. A part of this service is the Easter Morning Liturgy, affirmed as a confession of faith. For those churches that have their own cemetery the congregation proceeds to God's Acre as the sun rises, leaving flowers on the graves. As death is truly seen as a short passage, the tone of the service is one of celebration. (Sawyer 42)
Children are usually baptized by sprinkling or pouring before the age of six months. Older children are confirmed after a period of religious training.
Funerals usually include the reading of a memoir. These are the same obituaries that were included in the church diaries, providing much information for genealogists.
To demonstrate the belief in simplicity, the minister usually wears a simple white gown.