VISION & Values
Everything we say and do is our attempt to lean into our vision and values. We derive these from the Scriptures and the ancient practices of the church. Reading through our values will give you the clearest picture of the kind of church Pangea strives to become.
A church that follows in the way of Jesus,
to inspire others in the way of love.
Hope | The world as it is, isn’t the world as it will be.
God intends the world to be a place where all relationships are made right. Jesus, through his life, death, resurrection and ascension, empowers all people to live as signposts of a better world. God reconciles us to God's self as the beginning of God's renewed humanity and world. This is good news. Our lives as they are, aren't our lives as they will be. Christ is our hope!
Inclusion | Communities of love offer embrace, not exclusion.
There are no prerequisites to love. God loves us before we ever could love God. And that is what we are invited to image to the world around us. We refuse to let anything get in the way of relationship, insofar that it depends on us. If you are human, you belong at Pangea; you belong with us.
Peacemaking | We practice nonviolence and contend for others.
Making peace is what God did through the cross and resurrection of Jesus. This peace extends to individuals, human communities, and all of creation. At the personal level, Jesus taught us that nonviolent resistance is part of the vocation of his followers. His vision of peace sparks revolutions of love. As followers of Jesus in a divided and violent world, we are committed to finding nonviolent alternatives and to learning how to make peace between individuals, within and among churches, in society, and between nations.
Transformation | Knowing and following Jesus makes us more human.
If you want to know what it looks like to be fully human, look at Jesus. He, the "second Adam" as the Apostle Paul would say, is the prototype of what God intends humanity to be. So, the more we know and follow Jesus, the more we become Christlike, the more we become truly human: the image bearers we were always called to be. Jesus is not opposed to our humanness, but invites us to flourish into the fuller version of our God-given humanity. The Bible sometimes calls this "sanctification."
Mystery | Ancient faith fosters wonder and refuses to put God in a box.
The church in the twenty-first century is part of a narrative that goes back 2,000 years. As we read the Scriptures, we commit ourselves to doing what we can to interpret and apply the texts with first century contexts in mind. But the story moved forward from there. The church throughout the generations, with its ancient practices and postures, is our story. And yet the church is just one chapter in the story of God, one that started in creation and will reach its culmination in the renewal of creation. We co-create the future as we partner as actors in the Divine drama. The God who guides this compelling narrative is bigger than any categories or ideas with which we try to entrap the Spirit. We worship a God who leaves us in awe, and accepts us in our doubts.
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT GOD AND THE WORLD
In what follows, we offer a few of our convictions about God, humanity, and the cosmos. At the end of the day, we strive to follow Jesus. The following ideas help root us in that journey.
BRETHREN IN CHRIST
Pangea is a church affiliated with the Brethren in Christ Church in the U.S. As such, we share in the BIC's belief values, all of which give voice to some of our core theological convictions.
The following values of the BIC, give expression to our Anabaptist, Pietistic, Wesleyan, and Evangelical-ish (and the "-ish" is quite intentional) streams of influence. It would be safe to say that Anabaptism is the primary influence and that all the others find their meaning within that overarching framework. In order to give a “bird’s eye view” of our denominational beliefs and practices, the Core Values of the BIC are as follows:
- Experiencing God's Love and Grace: We value the free gift of salvation in Christ Jesus and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.
- Believing the Bible: We value the Bible as God's authoritative Word, study it together, and build our lives on its truth.
- Worshiping God: We value heartfelt worship that is God-honoring, Spirit-directed, and life-changing.
- Following Jesus: We value wholehearted obedience to Christ Jesus through the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Belonging to the Community of Faith: We value integrity in relationships and mutual accountability in an atmosphere of grace, love, and acceptance.
- Witnessing to the World: We value an active and loving witness for Christ to all people.
- Serving Compassionately: We value serving others at their point of need, following the example of our Lord Jesus.
- Pursuing Peace: We value all human life and promote forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation, and non-violent resolution of conflict.
- Living Simply: We value uncluttered lives, which free us to love boldly, give generously, and serve joyfully.
- Relying on God: We confess our dependence on God for everything, and seek to deepen our intimacy with God by living prayerfully.
MENNONITE WORLD CONFERENCE
By the grace of God, we seek to live and proclaim the good news of reconciliation in Jesus Christ. As part of the one body of Christ at all times and places, we hold the following to be central to our belief and practice:
- God is known to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Creator who seeks to restore fallen humanity by calling a people to be faithful in fellowship, worship, service and witness.
- Jesus is the Son of God. Through his life and teachings, his cross and resurrection, he showed us how to be faithful disciples, redeemed the world, and offers eternal life.
- As a church, we are a community of those whom God's Spirit calls to turn from sin,acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, receive baptism upon confession of faith, and follow Christ in life.
- As a faith community, we accept the Bible as our authority for faith and life, interpreting it together under Holy Spirit guidance, in the light of Jesus Christ to discern God's will for our obedience.
- The Spirit of Jesus empowers us to trust God in all areas of life so we become peacemakers who renounce violence, love our enemies, seek justice, and share our possessions with those in need.
- We gather regularly to worship, to celebrate the Lord's Supper, and to hear the Word of God in a spirit of mutual accountability.
- As a worldwide community of faith and life we transcend boundaries of nationality, race, class, gender and language. We seek to live in the world without conforming to the powers of evil, witnessing to God's grace by serving others, caring for creation, and inviting all people to know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
In these convictions we draw inspiration from Anabaptist forebears of the 16th century, who modeled radical discipleship to Jesus Christ. We seek to walk in his name by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we confidently await Christ's return and the final fulfillment of God's kingdom.
Our theological tradition is Anabaptism, which emerged during the "radical reformation." Below answers the question “What is an Anabaptist?” through the Core Convictions of the Anabaptist Network (the founders of Urban Expression). If you want to read an excellent introduction to contemporary Anabaptism, check out this accessible book: The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of Radical Faith by Stuart Murray. Core convictions from the book include:
Jesus is our example, teacher, friend, redeemer and Lord. He is the source of our life, the central reference point for our faith and lifestyle, for our understanding of church and our engagement with society. We are committed to following Jesus as well as worshipping him.
Jesus is the focal point of God’s revelation. We are committed to a Jesus-centered approach to the Bible, and to the community of faith as the primary context in which we read the Bible and discern and apply its implications for discipleship.
Western culture is slowly emerging from the Christendom era when church and state jointly presided over a society in which almost all were assumed to be Christian. Whatever its positive contributions on values and institutions, Christendom seriously distorted the gospel, marginalized Jesus, and has left the churches ill-equipped for mission in a post-Christendom culture. As we reflect on this, we are committed to learning from the experience and perspectives of movements such as Anabaptism that rejected standard Christendom assumptions and pursued alternative ways of thinking and behaving.
The frequent association of the church with status, wealth and force is inappropriate for followers of Jesus and damages our witness. We are committed to exploring ways of being good news to the poor, powerless and persecuted, aware that such discipleship may attract opposition, resulting in suffering and sometimes ultimately martyrdom.
Churches are called to be committed communities of discipleship and mission, places of friendship, mutual accountability and multi-voiced worship. As we eat together, sharing bread and wine, we sustain hope as we seek God’s kingdom together. We are committed to nurturing and developing such churches, in which young and old are valued, leadership is consultative, roles are related to gifts rather than gender and baptism is for believers.
Spirituality and economics are interconnected. In an individualist and consumerist culture and in a world where economic injustice is rife, we are committed to finding ways of living simply, sharing generously, caring for creation, and working for justice.
Peace is at the heart of the gospel. As followers of Jesus in a divided and violent world, we are committed to finding non-violent alternatives and to learning how to make peace between individuals, within and among churches, in society, and between nations.
The ReKnew Manifesto
Although this is a document that isn't "official" in any sense, we'd say that it points to several theological tendencies at Pangea. So in no way are we officially affiliated with ReKnew or under its authority, but we think Greg Boyd and the community around ReKnew has penned some core theological ideas that inform the sorts of things we tend to emphasize or wrestle with at our church. You can read the whole statement here.
CONFESSION AND CREED
The following Confession and Creeds reflect the historic Christian roots from which Pangea emerges. The Apostle's Creed, The Nicene Creed, and The Confession of Faith of the Brethren in Christ Church give a clear look at our spoken beliefs. The ancient Creeds have slight additions/alterations to fit our Anabaptist convictions. These changes are marked with an asterisk. Also, "I" language stated as "we" language in the Apostle's Creed.
CONFESSION OF FAITH OF THE BRETHREN IN CHRIST IN THE US
We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God as the final authority for faith and practice.
We believe that the Scriptures reveal the triune God whose person, nature, and character forever is God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is the source and foundation of all that is. God has established order and relationships within creation.
We believe that God created man and woman in His image. Because human beings chose to disobey God, their nature became sinful, resulting in alienation from God, from one another, from themselves, and from the rest of creation.
We believe that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came to earth to reveal the Father and to provide God’s only plan of salvation for sinful humanity. New life in Christ is given to all who turn from evil through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit enables the believer to make full surrender to the work of Christ and to walk in the fullness of the Spirit’s power.
We believe that the Holy Spirit works in the world, intercedes for the believer, and is present in the life of the church, gifting persons for witness and service. The church is God’s primary means for worship, fellowship, evangelism, and discipleship.
The final destiny of all things lies in God’s hands. We believe that the return of Christ in power and glory is certain and may occur at any time. God will judge righteously at the close of the age. All created things will be brought to their proper order in the eternal Kingdom.
THE NICENE 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 became truly human.
He announced and embodied God's Kingdom.*
He revealed the full character of God
by healing the sick,
raising the dead,
and confounding the powers.*
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,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, and
who 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 renewed* world to come. Amen.
THE APOSTLES' CREED
We believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
We believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He announced and embodied the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.*
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
****Additions to Apostles' Creed and Nicene Creed were inspired by The Mennonite Worker, an intentional community in Minneapolis. Wherever we have added a sentence or key word, these are marked with an asterisk [*]. Although we are perfectly content to recite the common version of the Creeds, these slight additions serve to better express our theology, particularly our understanding of the life of Jesus.