Roots believes in inviting everyone into the journey of faith—the mystery of knowing and being known by God, a process of deepening our understanding and growing, being forged into a diverse spiritual family, and joining together in the calling to share new life and liberation through Jesus Christ.
People who call Roots home come from different walks of life, identities, and backgrounds. Many have experienced disappointment and alienation in Christian spaces. Some have been harmed by racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, greed, isolation, abuse, or other broken realities of this world.
Roots isn’t a perfect church (as if there were such a thing), but we are a refuge for those who are seeking a safe place to explore faith, a place of healing for those who have been wounded, and an incubator and laboratory for the unique ways we are all called to serve.
Roots is an urban, multiethnic, and multigenerational fellowship of Jesus-disciples. Our beliefs are a tapestry of diverse traditions woven together from different influences, including the charismatic and Pentecostal stream, the prophetic Black church, historic Peace Church traditions like the Anabaptists, and some liturgical traditions like the Anglicans.
Jesus-centered Unity with Diversity
As a congregation in the Moravian tradition, we celebrate all the gifts of the Body of Christ. We realize that not all Roots members or regular attenders will come to the same conclusions about what the Bible teaches. Yet we believe that our unity comes from our shared allegiance to Christ, not from absolute agreement about the interpretation of Scripture. We believe that if we exhibit the radical love of Christ, our differences and diversity will enrich our life together, not divide us.
For Moravians, the Essentials are less of a list of doctrines we must affirm and more of an awareness of our relational connection with the divine. There are six:
1. God Creates (and Creation is Good)
“God is love.” Out of the overflow of the love eternally shared between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the three Persons of the divine Trinity—God created the universe and called it good. Moravians glorify God’s creative brilliance and power and honor humanity’s calling as imago Dei (the image of God) to steward God’s good creation on God’s behalf.
2. God Redeems
Missio Dei: God is on a mission. God is a liberator who has sent Jesus the Messiah to redeem humanity. The divine Son has taken up a human body and lived a human life—with all its joys and sorrows, blessings and pain. Through the incarnation (birth), ministry, death and resurrection of Christ, God has redeemed humanity from the curse of Sin and the sting of Death, making a Way of salvation.
3. God Sustains (or Blesses, or Sanctifies)
God remains present and active within the world and among God’s people. Jesus called God’s Holy Spirit the Paraclete, the Advocate or Counselor—the One called along-side us. God’s Spirit blesses, sustains, and sanctifies (makes us holy). And the Holy Spirit gives gifts to the church, empowering Jesus’s disciples to be his witnesses.
4. We Respond with: Faith
For Moravians, faith is not merely a matter of intellectual assent—a list of doctrinal beliefs. Rather, faith is a relational way of life expressed in trust and confidence in God. Many Christian traditions emphasize “justification by faith alone.” Moravians emphasize justification by allegiance alone, placing our lives in God’s hands and covenanting with God and one another.
Love is the heart of Moravian theology. For Moravians, even faith must be completed in love. And love is not merely an emotion, but action. To love God is to do God’s will and to love one’s neighbor is to seek their good. To love is to participate in the divine nature and seek justice/righteousness, which is love in public.
Moravians reorder the “three that remain” from First Corinthians 13.13 to correspond to time. Hope comes last because it defines our orientation toward the future. We joyfully await the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to consummate his Kingdom on earth as in heaven. This hope gives us the courage to be bold witnesses and endure trials. With the global body of Christ, we cry Maranatha: “Come, O Lord!”
Jesus is the Center
The Moravian Motto is: “Our Lamb Has Conquered. Let Us Follow Him.” Christocentricity (Christ-centeredness) is a hallmark of Moravian theology and spirituality. Jesus is not only God’s Son and the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, he is also our brother and the Chief Elder of the church. Through Jesus’s teachings, ministry, and especially through his self-giving death and resurrection, we see who God is most clearly. Moravians say, “Christ and Him crucified remain our confession of faith!”
Jesus compared the Reign of God to a seed that grows into a large tree of provision. He also said that he was the Vine and we are branches. The Essentials help us to see our relational connection to God and the kin(g)dom of Christ.
Learn More About Moravian Distinctives:
- The Moravian Seal
- The Moravian Star
- The Lovefeast
- The Daily Text
- The Unity Prayer Watch