Theological Framework

Eastern Mennonite Seminary subscribes Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, adopted by Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada in 1995.

Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective: summary of articles

God We believe that God exists and is pleased with all who draw near by faith. We worship the one holy and loving God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally. 

Jesus ChristWe believe in Jesus Christ, the Word of God become flesh. He is the Savior of the world, who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and reconciled us to God by humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death on a cross. He was declared to be Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. 

Holy Spirit: We believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal Spirit of God, who dwelled in Jesus Christ, who empowers the church, who is the source of our life in Christ, and who is poured out on those who believe as the guarantee of redemption.

Scripture: We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit for instruction in salvation and training in righteousness. We accept the Scriptures as the Word of God and as the fully reliable and trustworthy standard for Christian faith and life. 

Creation and Divine Providence: We believe that God has created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, and that God preserves and renews what has been made. All creation has its source outside itself and belongs to the Creator. The world has been created good because God is good and provides all that is needed for life.

Creation and Calling of Human Beings: We believe that God has created human beings in the divine image. Human beings have been made for relationship with God, to live in peace with each other, and to take care of the rest of creation.

Sin: We confess that humanity has disobeyed God, and chosen to sin. All have fallen short of the Creator’s intent, marred the image of God in which they were created, disrupted order in the world, and limited their love for others. 

Salvation: We believe that, through Jesus Christ, God offers salvation from sin and a new way of life.  We receive God’s salvation when we repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. 

The Church of Jesus: We believe that the church is the assembly of those who have accepted God’s offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. 

The Church in Mission: We believe that the mission of the church is to proclaim and to be a sign of the kingdom of God. Christ has commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations.

Baptism: We believe that the baptism of believers with water is a sign of their cleansing from sin. 

The Lord's Supper: We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a sign by which the church thankfully remembers the new covenant which Jesus established by his death. 

Foot Washing: We believe that in washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus calls us to serve one another in love as he did. 

Discipline in the Church: We practice discipline in the church as a sign of God’s offer of transforming grace. 

Ministry and Leadership: We believe that ministry is a continuation of the work of Christ, who gives gifts through the Holy Spirit to all believers  We also believe that God calls particular persons in the church to specific leadership ministries and offices. 

Church Order and Unity: We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is one body with many members, ordered in such a way that, through the one Spirit, believers may be built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Discipleship and the Christian Life: We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to discipleship, to take up our cross and follow him. 

Spirituality: We believe that to be a disciple of Jesus is to know life in the Spirit. As the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes shape in us, we grow in the image of Christ and in our relationship with God. 

Marriage: We believe that God intends human life to begin in families and to be blessed through families. Even more, God desires all people to become part of the church, God’s family. 

Truth: We commit ourselves to tell the truth, to give a simple yes or no, and to avoid the swearing of oaths.

Christian Stewardship: We believe that everything belongs to God, who calls the church to live in faithful stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us. 

Peace, Justice, and Nonresistance: We believe that peace is the will of God.  God created the world in peace, and God’s peace is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ. Led by the Holy Spirit, we follow Christ in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, and practicing nonresistance, even in the face of violence and warfare.

Church's relation to Government and Society: We believe that the church is God’s holy nation, called to give full allegiance to Christ its head and to witness to every nation, government, and society about God’s saving love.

The Reign of God: We place our hope in the reign of God and its fulfillment in the day when Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. 


As Eastern Mennonite Seminary, we engage the Confession of Faith as an active document interweaving with many other strands from the broad context of our community of learning and ministry.  We seek to recognize and praise God for the many ways that God is working in our world. We ask how our study and practice can make God known in settings burdened by economic, social, environmental and personal degradation. Living in cultures flooded by fear, we pray for the Holy Spirit’s comfort and energy as we join others in calling people of faith to devote our primary allegiance to the God’s reign as revealed to us in Jesus Christ

As a seminary embedded within a small Christian liberal arts university we work out responses to our questions as we strengthen our relationship with the undergraduate Bible, religion and theology department, within the School of Theology, the Humanities and the Performing Arts. We claim our particular role at EMU as graduate-level scholars and practitioners in the theological disciplines.  We seek to make our study and our practice accessible as we converse with the Anabaptist-related communities of the eastern United States. We also welcome the gifts and challenges brought to the seminary by other Christian denominations and faith communities, as together we live into our vocation as part of God's mission in the region and around the world.

As students and ministers within communities of worship and mission, we cultivate perspectives and practices that are life-giving and thought-provoking as we study and serve.  We seek to model a way of being in the world that demonstrates God's shalom.  We desire that our life and work will be noteworthy because we are faithful people who covenant together to proclaim that God is love, to live justly, to love our enemies, to tell the truth, and to care for creation.

We recognize that, located in Virginia, we represent but one small branch of a worldwide family that has grown from sixteenth-century Anabaptist roots. We give thanks that God’s mission has brought us to a time and place when we can join thoughtful and challenging dialogue with Christian sisters and brothers, and friends of other faiths, who work and study with us. The ancient Christian call to know Christ and follow him in life provides us with a continual source of renewal.  We commit to producing fruitful and critically engaged leaders for the churches and the world.