What We Believe
What Christians believe makes a big difference: in our own life, in our relationships with others, and in the world. Methodists share common beliefs with other Christians from different traditions, places, and times. We also have some emphases and practices which are distinctive; we hope you'll begin to explore the basics of Christian belief with us here, and in person!
- is understood as a Trinity; He is three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- is the creator of the universe and all that is within it
- sustains His creation throughout time
- loves His creation and all humankind
- suffers when His creation suffers
- judges human behavior
- redeems all creation and reconciles peoples torn apart
- reigns, and always will reign, as Lord of all creation
- is the Son of God
- is the Son of Man
- is the Christ
- is our Lord
- is our Savior
The Holy Spirit...
- is God's present activity in our midst
- is comfort in our times of need and convicts us when we go astray
- guides us to God's will and gives us the strength to lead righteous lives
What does it mean to be saved and to be assured of salvation? It's to know that after feeling lost and alone, we've been found by God. It's to know that after feeling worthless, we've been redeemed. It's to experience a reunion with God, others, the natural world, and our own best selves. It's a healing of the alienation—the estrangement—we've experienced. In salvation we become whole. Salvation happens to us both now and for the future. It's "eternal life," that new quality of life in unity with God of which the Gospel of John speak—a life that begins not at death, but in the present. But how does salvation happen?
- By grace through faith — Salvation cannot be earned. There's no behavior, no matter how holy or righteous, by which we can achieve salvation. Rather, it's the gift of a gracious God. By grace we mean God's extraordinary love for us. In most of life we're accustomed to earning approval from others. This is true at school, at work, in society, even at home, to a degree. We may feel that we have to act "just so" to be liked or loved. But God's love, or grace, is given without any regard for our goodness. It's unmerited, unconditional, and unending love. As we come to accept this love, to entrust ourselves to it, and to ground our lives in it, we discover the wholeness that God has promised. This trust, as we've seen, is called faith. God takes the initiative in grace; but only as we respond through faith is the change wrought in us.
- Conversion — This process of salvation involves a change in us that we call conversion. Conversion is a turning around, leaving one orientation for another. It may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. But in any case it's a new beginning. 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.
- Growing in grace — Conversion is but the beginning of the new life of wholeness. Through what Wesley called God's "sanctifying grace," we can continue to grow. In fact, Wesley affirmed, we're to press on, with God's help, in the path of sanctification, the gift of Christian perfection. The goal of the sanctified life is to be perfected in love, to experience the pure love of God and others, a holiness of heart and life, a total death to sin. We're not there yet; but by God's grace, as we United Methodists say, "we're going on to perfection!"
- are created in God's image
- have the free will to accept or reject a relationship with God
- need to be in a relationship with God to be fully human
- break their relationship with God when they sin or turn away from God and His expectations for us
- are reconciled with God, creation, and the persons He intended us to be through His grace
- is Christ's body and an extension of Christ's life and ministry in the world
- is assigned with the mission to create disciples of Christ to transform the world
- is "the communion of saints"; a community comprised of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ
- is called to worship God and to support those who participate in its life as they grow in faith
- is God's Word
- is the principal authority that guides our faith and lives
- should be studied and known
- is the initiation and incorporation into the Body of Christ (the church)
- is available to persons of any age
- is symbolic of new life and a sign of God's saving grace
- is administered by pastors via sprinkling, immersion or pouring
- is a sacrament recieved only once in a lifetime
- is a holy meal of bread and wine (or grape juice) that symbolizes the body and blood of Christ
- recalls the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and celebrates the unity of all the members of God's family
- is a way we give thanks for Christ's sacrifice and are nourished and empowered to go into the world in mission and ministry
- is "open"; we welcome all who love Christ, repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another to participate regardless of their denomination, church or congregation
If you would like to explore what we believe and how we practice our faith, please contact Pastor Josh at the church office. You can find out more about United Methodism at http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe