United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. According to our foundational statement of beliefs in the Book of Discipline, we share the following basic affirmations:
We describe God in three persons. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are commonly used to refer to the threefold nature of God. Sometimes we use other terms, such as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
We believe in one God, who created the world and all that is in it. We believe that God is loving and we can experience God’s love and grace.
We believe that Jesus was human. Jesus lived as a human and died by crucifixion. We believe that Jesus is divine. Jesus is the Son of God. We believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that the risen Christ lives today. (Christ and Messiah mean the same thing—God’s anointed.) We believe that Jesus is our Savior. In Christ we receive abundant life and forgiveness of sins. 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 comforts us when we are in need and convicts us when we stray from God. 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 a 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 for the transformation of the world. We believe that the church is “the communion of saints”, a community made up of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ. We believe that the church is called to worship and love God as well as love their neighbor in tangible ways.
We believe that the Bible is God’s Word. We believe that the Bible is the primary authority for our faith and practice. We believe that Christians need to know and study the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The Reign 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. We believe that the reign of God is both personal and social. Personally, we display the kingdom of God as our hearts and minds are transformed and we become more Christ-like. Socially, God’s vision for the kingdom includes the restoration and transformation of all of creation.
We celebrate two sacraments in which Christ himself participated: baptism and holy communion. Sacraments are powerful channels through which God makes God’s grace, God’s presence, available to us.
Through baptism, God joins us together with Christians everywhere and in every time. God bestows upon baptized persons the presence of the Holy Spirit and marks them as God’s own. God gives each baptized person a new identity, beloved child of God. Persons of any age can be baptized. We baptize by sprinkling, immersion, or pouring. A person receives the sacrament of baptism only once in their life.
Holy Communion (The Lord’s Supper, Eucharist)
Holy Communion is a sacred meal of bread and the fruit of the vine where we reliably encounter the presence of God. The meal recalls and reenacts 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. We 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.
For additional information regarding The United Methodist Church, please contact us and visit UMC.org.