In last month’s Good News Letter, I started a series of articles called “why we are United Methodists” and this month I am listing the basic concepts of what we believe as United Methodists. John Wesley, our founder, believed there were a number of common Christian beliefs and we have adopted those beliefs as United Methodists.
These core beliefs are as follow:
- We believe in and worship the divine Trinity. We praise God one in three divine persons Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the full divinity of Jesus Christ.
- We believe Christ to be the eternal, supreme God.
- We believe in the atonement and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ sacrificed his life and poured out his emptiness for human salvation.
- We believe that our salvation comes about through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the biblical authority in which Scripture is the sufficient rule of both Christian faith and our practice. The Bible contains all that is necessary for human salvation and for the reform of the church.
- We believe in the justification by faith alone. Faith must engage our heart and our mind in knowing God in three persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in regeneration and holiness. As an evangelical church we affirm that grace is received from God as we continue to renew our trust in God.
- We believe in the Christian church. The church is a, “society” of believers and is necessary to come together to hear the Word of God, receive the sacraments and be in friendship together to support one another.
- We believe in the sacraments of baptism and communion. Baptism is the evidence that we are forgiven of our sins and we are born again into a new birth through Jesus Christ. Communion, The Lord’s Supper, offers us outward sacramental signs of bread and wine and the inward grace signified by these signs.
By accepting these beliefs as Wesleyans and as United Methodist, we experience as John Wesley would call, “the way of salvation” or “the way to heaven.” John Wesley recognizes three stages of receiving grace – first Prevenient Grace, second Justifying Grace and thirdly Sanctifying Grace. These three forms of grace come with us as we find God’s way to salvation for each one of us.