As United Methodists, we have an obligation to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness. To fulfill this obligation, we reflect critically on our biblical and theological inheritance, striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time.
United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. According to our foundational statement of beliefs in The Methodist Book of Discipline, we share the following basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities.
God: God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons.
Jesus: We believe in the mystery of salvation through Jesus Christ. God became human in Jesus of Nazareth; and his life, death and resurrection demonstrates God's redeeming love.
The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is God's present activity in our midst. When we sense God's leading, God's challenge, or God's support or comfort, it's the Holy Spirit at work.
Human Beings: Genesis 1:27 asserts that we've been made in the image of the Creator. Like God we have the capacity to love and care, to communicate, and to create.
The Church: The church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today.
The Bible: We believe that the Bible is God’s Word and is the primary authority for our faith and practice.
God’s Reign: The kingdom or reign of God is both a present reality and future hope.
The Influence of John Wesley
John Wesley (1703-1792) the son of an English clergy had an intense religious experience at a meeting on Aldersgate Street in London. He became a prolific preacher and writer. John, along with his brother Charles, are considered to be the founders of Methodism. John's writings provide a core of standard doctrine that continue to guide the beliefs of the United Methodist Church.
Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, and on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” continues to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.
Our Social Creed
"Our Social Creed is a basic statement of our convictions about the fundamental relationships between God, God's creation and humanity." Part of our Book of Discipline, the "Social Principles" serve as a guide to official church action and our individual witness. They are a prayerful and thoughtful effort of the General Conference to speak to the issues in the contemporary world brom a sound biblical and theological foundation.
The Natural World: All creation is the Lord’s, and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it.
The Nurturing Community: We believe we have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor, and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage development of the fullest potential in individuals.
The Social Community: We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God's sight. We reject discrimination and assert the rights of minority groups to equal opportunities.
The Economic Community: We claim all economic systems to be under the judgment of God no less than other facets of the created order.
The Political Community: We hold governments responsible for the protection of people’s basic freedoms. We believe that neither church nor state should attempt to dominate the other.
The World Community: God’s world is one world. We pledge ourselves to seek the meaning of the gospel in all issues that divide people and threaten the growth of world community.
Commitment to Inclusiveness
We recognize that God made all creation and saw that it was good. As a diverse people of God who bring special gifts and evidences of God’s grace to the unity of the Church and to society, we are called to be faithful to the example of Jesus’ ministry to all persons.
Inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the Church, the community, and the world; therefore, inclusiveness denies every semblance of discrimination. The services of worship of every local church of The United Methodist Church shall be open to all persons.
The mark of an inclusive society is one in which all persons are open, welcoming, fully accepting, and supporting of all other persons, enabling them to participate fully in the life of the church, the community, and the world. A further mark of inclusiveness is the setting of church activities in facilities accessible to persons with disabilities.
In The United Methodist Church inclusiveness means the freedom for the total involvement of all persons who meet the requirements of The United Methodist Book of Discipline in the membership and leadership of the Church at any level and in every place.
From The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church – 2012. Copyright 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.