What We Believe
There is one God, living, everlasting, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. In the unity of the God-head, there are three persons, of one substance, power and eternity—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Son of God
The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the same and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, became human in the womb of the Virgin Mary; so that the two natures, divinity and humanity, were joined together in the person of Jesus Christ, never to be divided. One Christ, truly God and truly human, who lived, who suffered, was crucified, dead and buried to reconcile us to his Father, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original sin, but also for the actual sins of all people.
Resurrection of Christ
Jesus Christ rose from the dead and took again his body, with all things related to the fullness of human nature, he ascended into heaven and there sits until he returns to judge all people at the last day.
The Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, true and eternal God. It is by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that God is active in the world.
The Bible contains all things necessary for salvation so that whatsoever is not found in it, nor may be proved by it, is not to be required of any person or necessary for salvation. By referring to the Bible, we refer to those sixty-six canonical books of the Old and New Testaments whose authority was never in any doubt by the apostolic church.
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New Testament for in both, everlasting life is offered to humankind by Christ, who is the Mediator between God and humanity. We affirm that the fathers and mothers of the Old Testament did not receive temporary promises. Although the law was given from God by Moses as a series of ceremonies and rites that do not bind Christians, no Christian is free from obedience to the commandments which are called the moral law.
Original sin does not reside in the lineage of Adam but in the corruption of the nature of every person. Therefore, humanity is far removed from its original righteousness and goodness, and its nature is often inclined to evil, yet God called it good in its original creation.
The human condition after the fall of Adam is such that it cannot repair itself by its own strength and works of faith. We have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God given by Christ living in us that we may choose and do good over evil.
We are righteous before God only by the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through faith and not by our own works. Therefore, we are justified only by God’s grace through faith in his Son.
Although good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot cancel our sins, these are pleasing and acceptable to God, and spring out of a true and living faith, insomuch that by them, faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.
Sin After Justification
Not every sin willingly committed after justification is a sin against the Holy Spirit, and/or unpardonable. Therefore, repentance is not to be denied to those who fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Spirit, we may depart from grace and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. Therefore, it is wrong to say that we can sin no more as long as we live in grace; or deny forgiveness to those who sincerely repent.
The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful people in which the Word of God, Jesus Christ, is preached and the Sacraments administered according to Christ’s ordinance. Only in those things that are essential to the faith of the congregation is agreement required, in non-essentials liberty is granted, and in all things charity is offered.
Sacraments ordained by Christ are signs of God’s grace by which he works invisibly in us, and not only enlivens, but also strengthens and confirms our faith in him. There are two Sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospels, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion and/or Eucharist. The Sacraments were not ordained by Christ to be abused but that we should responsibly receive them.
Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference by which Christians are distinguished from others but it is also a sign of regeneration. The Baptism of young children and non-baptized adults is to be practiced in the Church as exemplified by those individuals in the Gospels, the families in the Acts of the Apostles, the tradition of the apostolic church and Jesus Christ’s preferential treatment for children, and the least, the last and the lost. No person has the need to be baptized more than once for the work of the Holy Spirit is complete in Baptism regardless of our human limitations.
The Lord’s Supper is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves but rather a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death. Insomuch that, the bread which we break is a spiritual partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise, the cup of blessing is a spiritual partaking of the blood of Christ. Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine to the physical body and blood of Christ, cannot be proved in the Holy Scriptures. The body and blood of Christ is received and eaten in a heavenly and spiritual manner. The means by which these are received is faith in Jesus Christ.
Marriage of Bishops, Elders, Deacons and Local Pastors
The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God’s law to live a life of singleness or to abstain from marriage. Moreover, all BIshops, Elders, Deacons and Local Pastors of the United Methodist Church are required to practice celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in marriage.