What We Believe

The United Methodist Church was formed by the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren in 1968. The Methodist movement started when Anglican brothers John and Charles Wesley and a band of friends gathered together seeking revival and renewal in the 1700’s in England. The Evangelical United Brethren was formed as the merger of the former Evangelical Association (Evangelical Church), founded by Jacob Albright, and the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, founded by Mennonite preacher Martin Boehm and German Reformed pastor Philip William Otterbein.  

When The United Methodist Church was formed, both the Confession of Faith of The Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church, which reflect in large part The Articles of Religion of the Church of England, were adopted as basic statements of The United Methodist Church’s understanding of the Christian faith. Both of these are printed in our Book of Discipline, which contains the beliefs we have agreed upon as a denomination. (Please note, as you search through the denomination’s website and other publications, the information published in the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions, Wesley’s Sermons and Notes, represent the official position of the denomination.)

Confession of Faith of The Evangelical United Brethren Church
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/confession-of-faith

The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-articles-of-religion-of-the-methodist-church

Wesley’ Sermons and Notes
Wesley’s Sermons and Notes are also included in our foundational documents of what we believe together as a denomination. If you would like to read Wesley’s sermons and notes and other writings, here is a link:
http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/

Distinctive Wesleyan Emphases
The Methodist tradition developed as distinct expression of the Christian faith, often in contrast to and representing a middle way between other Christian traditions in the surrounding Christian landscape of Wesley’s time. Here are some of the distinctive Wesleyan Emphases:
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/distinctive-wesleyan-emphases1

The Nature, Design, and General Rules of Our United Societies
Wesley did not set out to begin a denomination, but to bring revival to his own life and for those with whom he was in contact. United Societies were common in his day as gatherings of Christians seeking to be more faithful to the Lord together. This link includes information about the United Societies and the smaller accountability groups called bands, as well as the General Rules of those societies.
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-general-rules-of-the-methodist-church

Seeking Answers to Questions of Faith and Life
Methodists have inherited from Wesley a particular approach to seeking answers to questions of faith and life. Wesley was very studious and well-read. He read and carefully considered the writings of other Christians throughout the generations, studied the original languages of the Bible, and dialogued and exchanged letters with other well-known preachers of his day, in order to understand and interpret his own faith experience and interpret the life of faith to those who looked to him for leadership. This is the tradition we have inherited. We do not “do theology” in a vacuum or in isolation. Here are links that explain the sources we consider when seeking to understand how to live faithfully as Christians in the world:

The Nature of Our Theological Task
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/the-nature-of-our-theological-task

Theological Guidelines: Sources and Criteria
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-sources-and-criteria

Theological Guidelines: Scripture
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-scripture

Theological Guidelines: Tradition
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-tradition

Theological Guidelines: Experience
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-experience

Theological Guidelines: Reason
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/theological-guidelines-reason

 

Sacraments in The United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church recognizes two sacraments — Baptism and Holy Communion. Below is a summary of each, as well as links to documents with more detailed explanations:
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/sacraments

By Water and the Spirit: A United Methodist Understanding of Baptism (from the Book of Resolutions 2016)
Below is a link to the denomination’s position on Baptism
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/by-water-and-the-spirit-a-united-methodist-understanding-of-baptism

This Holy Mystery:
A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion
http://s3.amazonaws.com/Website_Properties/what-we-believe/documents/this-holy-mystery-communion.PDF

 

The Social Principles
Wesley is known for advocating for both personal and social holiness. The Wesley brothers and their friends lived in a time when British society was morally troubled, and in the societies which were the birthplace of Methodism, members were expected to serve among the poor in the community, in addition to their other practices of devotion and means of grace. Methodists throughout the generations have been on the forefront of justice and mercy ministries. If you would like to know more about what The United Methodist Church as a denomination has agreed upon regarding social and justice issues, here is a link to the preface of the Social Principles, with links to each major subject area in a menu to the left after clicking on this link.
http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/preface

 

The Structure of The United Methodist Church
If you would like to know more about the history of The United Methodist Church or how The United Methodist Church is structured or organized, here are links to more information:
http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/history
http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/constitutional-structure
http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/organization-church-as-connection

 

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