What We Believe
We share a common heritage with all Christians. We affirm the Christian faith as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. We believe:
- God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- The mystery of salvation is through Jesus Christ. God became human in Jesus of Nazareth; and his life, death and resurrection demonstrates God’s redeeming love.
- The Holy Spirit is God’s present activity in our midst. When we sense God’s leading, God’s challenge, or God’s support or comfort, it’s the Holy Spirit at work.
- We are made in the likeness and image of the Creator (cf. Genesis 1:27). Like God we have the capacity to love and care, to communicate, and to create.
- The church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today.
- We believe that the Bible is God’s Word and is the primary authority for our faith and practice.
- The kingdom or reign of God is both a present reality and future hope.
- We recognize two sacraments (sacred acts) as commanded by Jesus—baptism and Holy Communion.
As Methodists our beliefs are also shaped by the writings of English theologian John Wesley. We also believe and emphasize:
- Grace is central to our understanding of Christian faith and life. Grace can be defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it. We read in the Letter to the Ephesians: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — not the result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This incredible grace flows from God’s great love for us.
- We acknowledge God’s grace that surrounds all humanity and precedes any and all of our conscious impulses. God grace awakens in us an earnest longing for deliverance from sin and death and moves us toward repentance and faith.
- We believe God reaches out to the repentant believer in justifying grace with accepting and pardoning love. We stress that a decisive change in the human heart can and does occur under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are through faith forgiven our sin and restored to God’s favor. Following Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, “you must be born anew” (John 3:7 RSV), we speak of this conversion as rebirth, new life in Christ, or regeneration.
- We hold that the wonder of God’s acceptance and pardon does not end God’s saving work. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to increase in the knowledge and love of God and in love of our neighbor.
- We see God’s grace and human activity working together in the relationship of faith and good works. While faith is the only response essential for salvation, we know faith evidences itself in good works. We affirm the biblical precept that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17).
- We insist that personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world.