What We Believe
With other Christian denominations, United Methodists share a common belief in:
God as a Trinity – that God is one with a three-fold nature commonly described as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We believe that God is a creating God. We believe that God is a sovereign God. We believe that God is a loving God.
We believe that Jesus was both human and divine. We believe that he was born miraculously of a virgin. We believe that Jesus was crucified and died on a cross to atone for our sins. We believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that the risen Christ lives today. We believe that Jesus is our Savior. In Christ we receive forgiveness for our sins and new life. We believe that Jesus is our Lord and that we are called to pattern our lives after his.
The Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God with us. We believe that the Holy Spirit was given to the church to empower us to become Christ’s witnesses. We believe that the Holy Spirit awakens us to God’s will and empowers us to live obediently.
We believe that God created human beings in God’s image. We believe that humans can choose to accept or reject a relationship with God. We believe that all humans need to be in relationship with God in order to be fully human.
We believe that the church is the body of Christ; an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today. We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Bible is God’s Word. We believe that the Bible is the primary authority for our faith and life. We believe that Christians need to know and study the Old Testament and the New Testament (also called the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures).
The Kingdom of God
We believe that the kingdom or reign of God is both a present reality and future hope. We believe that wherever God’s will is done, the kingdom or reign of God is present. It was present in Jesus’ ministry, and it is also present in our world whenever persons and communities experience reconciliation, restoration, and healing. We believe that the fulfillment of God’s kingdom–the complete restoration of creation–is still to come. We believe that the church is called to be both witness to the vision of what God’s kingdom will be like and a participant in helping to bring it to completion.
With many other Protestants, we recognize the two sacraments in which Christ himself participated: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Through baptism we are joined with the church and with Christians everywhere. Baptism is a symbol of new life and a sign of God’s love and forgiveness of our sins. Persons of any age can be baptized. We baptize by sprinkling, immersion or pouring. A person receives the sacrament of baptism only once in his or her life.
The Lord’s Supper (Communion, Eucharist)
The Lord’s Supper is a holy meal of bread and wine that symbolizes the body and blood of Christ. The Lord’s Supper recalls the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and celebrates the unity of all the members of God’s family. By sharing this meal, we give thanks for Christ’s sacrifice and are nourished and empowered to go into the world in mission and ministry. We practice “open Communion,” welcoming all who love Christ, repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another.
Distinctive Wesleyan Emphasis
In addition, the Wesleyan tradition emphasizes an understanding that God’s grace is the center of our theology and our lives. Grace is God’s unconditional, unmerited, unlimited love acting in our lives and in the world to realize God’s will. That Grace is given to us from the time we are born to the time we die. Grace draws us to faith and love for God through Jesus Christ. It is by grace that God declares us forgiven and free to live a new life in Jesus Christ. And, it is grace that helps us to be conformed into Christ’s image. United Methodists also believe that faith must be practiced in everyday life through service to people and through mission and ministry that addresses the needs and brokenness of communities, societies and the world. We call this, “practical divinity.”