Our Faith Journey
Faith is the basic orientation and commitment of our whole being—a matter of heart and soul. Christian faith is grounding our lives in the living God as revealed especially in Jesus Christ. It’s both a gift we receive within the Christian community and a choice we make. It’s trusting in God and relying on God as the source and destiny of our lives. Faith is believing in God, giving God our devoted loyalty and allegiance. Faith is following Jesus, answering the call to be his disciples in the world. Faith is hoping for God’s future, leaning into the coming kingdom that God has promised. Faith-as-belief is active; it involves trusting, believing, following, hoping.
The United Methodist Church
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 in common with all Christian communities:
God: God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons.
Jesus: We believe in the mystery of salvation through Jesus Christ. God became human in Jesus of Nazareth; and his life, death and resurrection demonstrates God’s redeeming love.
The Holy Spirit: 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.
Human Beings: Genesis 1:27 asserts that we’ve been made in the image of the Creator. Like God we have the capacity to love and care, to communicate, and to create.
The Church: The church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today.
The Bible: We believe that the Bible is God’s Word and is the primary authority for our faith and practice.
God’s Reign: The kingdom or reign of God is both a present reality and future hope.
Our Wesleyan Heritage
Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.
The distinctive shape of our theological heritage can be seen not only in this emphasis on Christian living, but also in Wesley’s distinctive understanding of God’s saving grace. Although Wesley shared with many other Christians a belief in salvation by grace, he combined them in a powerful way to create distinctive emphases for living the full Christian life.
Faith and Good Works
United Methodists insist that faith and good works belong together. What we believe must be confirmed by what we do. Personal salvation must be expressed in ministry and mission in the world. We believe that Christian doctrine and Christian ethics are inseparable, that faith should inspire service. The integration of personal piety and social holiness has been a hallmark of our tradition. We affirm the biblical precept that “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead” (James 2:17).
Mission and Service
Because of what God has done for us, we offer our lives back to God through a life of service. As disciples, we become active participants in God’s activity in the world through mission and service. Love of God is always linked to love of neighbor and to a passionate commitment to seeking justice and renewal in the world.
Nurture and Mission of the Church
For Wesley, there was no religion but social religion, no holiness but social holiness. In other words, faith always includes a social dimension. One cannot be a solitary Christian. As we grow in faith through our participation in the church community, we are also nourished and equipped for mission and service to the world.
“From Wesley’s time to the present, Methodism has sought to be both a nurturing community and a servant community. Members of Methodist Societies and class meetings met for personal nurture through giving to the poor, visiting the imprisoned, and working for justice and peace in the community. They sought not only to receive the fullness of God’s grace for themselves; but…they saw themselves as existing ‘to reform the nation…and to spread scriptural holiness over the land
Adapted from: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe