WHAT WE BELIEVE
As part of the United Methodist Church, our beliefs are spelled out in our Book of Discipline. We have put some of that book into modern language. If you want more, our Articles of Religion and Confession of Faith are available in print in The Book of Discipline and online at UMC.org
We believe in the one true, holy and living God, who creates and sustains all things visible and invisible. He is infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness and love, and rules with gracious care for the well-being and salvation of everyone and everything. We believe that the one God reveals himself as the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, distinct but inseparable, eternally one in essence and power.
We believe in Jesus Christ, and that He was, in every way fully God and fully human. He is the eternal Word made flesh, the only begotten Son of the Father, born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. He truly lived, suffered and died on the cross, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven to be with the Father until His return. He is our Savior who intercedes for us, and by Him all humanity will be judged.
The Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from and is one with the Father and the Son. The Spirit makes the world aware of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. The Spirit calls to the hearts of all people to follow Jesus and become part of His Church. The Spirit comforts, sustains and empowers the faithful, guiding them into all truth.
The Holy Bible
We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God. The Holy Spirit allows us to understand its words so that the Bible can be the guide for Christian faith and practice.
We believe the Christian Church is the community of all people who follow Jesus as their Lord. We believe it has grown from a rich tradition begun by the apostles and as such is bigger than any denomination. It is through this community God has established that we grow, are challenged, hear the word of God proclaimed, and experience the sacraments of baptism and communion.
We believe the Sacraments that were established by Christ, are means of grace through which God works in us, empowering, strengthening and confirming our faith in God. We believe that Jesus established two Sacraments: Baptism and Communion.
We believe Baptism is a sign of entrance into the body of Christ. It is a symbol of repentance and inner cleansing from sin, a representation of the new birth in Christ Jesus and a mark of Christian discipleship.
In addition to adults being baptized, we believe children have been claimed by God through Christ and are heirs of the Kingdom of God. As such, they are acceptable subjects for Christian Baptism. Children of believing parents through Baptism become the special responsibility of the Church. They should be nurtured and led to personal acceptance of Christ, and by profession of faith confirm their Baptism.
We believe that Communion is a representation of our redemption. Through Communion, we remember the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. It is a means of the love and union which Christians have with Christ and with one another. All those who choose to follow Jesus are welcome at the table. Our communion table is not ours, but the Lord’s, and it is Jesus who invites all present to join Him at the table.
Sin and Free Will
We believe everyone has sinned and cannot live a holy life without the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we are born again, we cannot see the Kingdom of God. We believe, however, as we are influenced and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are able and freed to exercise God’s will for good.
Reconciliation Through Christ
We believe God was in Christ reconciling the world with God. The offering Christ freely made on the cross is the perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, redeeming humanity from all sin.
Justification and Regeneration
We are counted as righteous before God only because of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is not a result of our own action, but as we put our faith in Jesus.
We believe in an idea called regeneration. By the power of the Holy Spirit we can be renewed in righteousness. That renewal allows us to have a relationship with God and experience newness of life. By this new birth we become reconciled to God and are enabled to serve God with our will and emotions.
We believe that although we have experienced regeneration, it is possible to depart from grace and fall into sin. When this happens we may be renewed again by the grace of God.
We believe good works are the necessary fruits of faith, but they do not have the power to remove our sins or to avoid divine judgment. We believe good works, pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, spring from true and living faith. Indeed, we believe that it is through and by them that true and living faith is made evident.
Sanctification and Christian Perfection
We believe sanctification is the work of God’s grace through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, by which those who have been born again are cleansed from sin in their thoughts, words and acts, and are enabled to live according to God’s will. Entire sanctification is a state of perfect love, righteousness and true holiness which every regenerate believer may receive by being delivered from the power of sin, by loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and by loving their neighbor as themselves. This is a gift for those who have faith in Jesus that can be received either gradually or instantaneously. Because our striving for holiness helps us see God, we believe that this gift should be sought by every Christian.
We believe this experience does not deliver us from the weakness, ignorance, and mistakes common to humanity, nor from the possibilities of further sin. The Christian must continue on guard against spiritual pride and seek to gain victory over every temptation to sin. Each person must respond wholly to the will of God so that sin will lose its power over them. As we do that, the evil things of Earth, the flesh, and the devil are put under our feet so that we can rule over these enemies with watchfulness through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Judgment and the Future State
We believe all people stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ, both now and in the last day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead whereby the righteous will go on to life eternal and the evil to endless condemnation.
We believe worship is the duty and privilege of all people who, in the presence of God, praise God, recognize our own humble state and seek to dedicate our lives to following Jesus. We believe worship is essential to the life of the Church, and that gathering together to worship is necessary to Christian fellowship and spiritual growth.
We believe the way we worship does not need to be the same in all places but may be modified by the church according to circumstances and the needs of the people. It should be in a language and form understood by the people, consistent with the Holy Scriptures and seek to guide and enlighten all those present, and be performed in accordance with the order and Discipline of the Church.