Monday, May 20, 2013

What do Methodists believe?

Methodists DO have beliefs.

We believe in openness regarding doctrinal issues.  Wesley encouraged a “catholic” or universal spirit for all Christians, a willingness to be open to other ideas, and to work closely with, those we differ with in matters of worship and teachings that do not detract from the essence of basic Christian beliefs.

Methodists do not believe we are the one true church, but that we are a movement with a particular mission among the broader body of Christian believers.

The Bible is the primary source and testimony for our faith.

We do not teach the “infallibility” of the Bible as we realize it has been translated many times from the original scripts and that while it was originally written by Jews using Hebraic thought and language and then was translated into other languages using western thought processes.  We do believe that the Bible is the revelation of God’s teachings for us, and that the truth of life according to God’s revelation is found within.

We believe in the established traditions of Christianity as well as our own personal experiences with God.  The Bible is the primary source of learning, but it is not solitary, and we are to use reason, tradition, Biblical teachings, and our own personal experiences to understand God and have a personal relationship with Him.

We believe in the unity of the Bible, as we believe that the Bible tells us a single, unified story that focuses on man’s inability to reach God, but God’s great love for us, and His Grace in the solution that Christ offers every human being.

We believe that God is still active in our lives and in the Church today.

We affirm the ancient Christian Creeds.

We believe that God’s gifts of Grace and our own reason is available to all persons to assist in our discernment of God in our lives and the need for moral responsibility and illumination from study of the Bible.

We believe in personal experiences regarding God’s active love in our lives.  This allows divine illumination of our personal gifts, and when combined with our reason allows us to clarify the truth of the scriptures.

We believe in the Weslayan Quadralateral for Christian growth.  The Bible is primary, but not solitary for study, and that we also have reason, tradition, and experience to help us understand God’s will.

We believe in the Trinity of God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  One in three parts, such as ice, steam, and water are all part of the same whole.  God is without body or form and that Christ is of one being with the Father and is both fully human and divine.

We place an emphasis on the intensely personal nature of worshipping God, and believe that all Christians should constantly seek a deep, personal relationship with Him.

We cannot save ourselves.  We are sinful and that we are only saved through God’s gift of grace.

We believe that Grace is available to all human beings, so that all may be saved through it.  We do not believe in the Chosen or the Elect.

We believe in free will as a result of God’s Grace.  We are free to choose Him or reject Him.

We believe God is universally available to all, not just to an elect.

We reject predestination as we believe salvation is available to all people.

We believe that good works are signs of God’s Grace at work within us.  In other words, we do good works because we are Christians, not to be a Christian.

We believe that God’s initiative in salvation allows for, empowers, and requires a free human response to God’s amazing Grace.

We believe that we can understand God’s Grace in Prevenient, Justifying, and Sanctifying manners.  Prevenient Grace is God’s everlasting love for us, the idea that he loved us so much as to die for us even before we were born.  He is constantly wooing us, loving us, and supporting us even before we have accepted Him as our savior.  Justifying Grace is the moment we accept Him as our savior.  We are then justified in the sight of God, as all our sins are forgiven (past, present, and future).  Sanctifying Grace is our ongoing development in our Christian walk growing closer to Him, developing a personal relationship with Him, and allowing Him to work through us.

We believe you can lose God’s Grace and justification only by choice.  If you reject Him after knowing His Grace, than you have fallen from Grace.  We reject the totality of the “once saved, always saved” idea.

We believe Christians should seek personal piety by serving the two greatest commandments of Christ:  Love God, Love Others.

We believe in the universality of Grace, salvation, and the Church as a body of believers (not denominations).

We believe that all baptized Christians are called to ministry or the Priesthood of all believers.

We believe in the means of Grace that develop our personal relationship and worship of God.  These include attending worship services, preaching, the Lord’s Supper, prayer, study of scripture, and fasting.

We believe in two sacraments:  Baptism and Communion.

We believe that the Communion table is God’s table, not a Methodist one, and that all Christians are invited to accept Communion and worship.

We believe in frequent Communion to remember Christ’s sacrifice for us.

We believe in a final judgment of all mankind, and that those who are saved shall attain heaven with God, while those that reject him will suffer eternal condemnation and separation for the love and truth of God.

We reject the idea of Purgatory.

We believe in living a methodical way of life regarding study of scriptures, prayer, and worship to grow in our sanctification, and that our lives should reflect these Christian ethics of life in the community, personal morality, and seeking social morality as well, by avoiding evil, doing good, and keeping to the ordinances of God.

We believe in the openness of Christianity and reject the idea of secret societies.

We should guard our speech and always seek to heal and reconcile, not hurt or inflame.

We believe in sexual intimacy in marriage only.

We believe that every individual should earn all the money they can, save all they can, and give away all they can.

We seek social morality by charitable giving, seeking justice for the oppressed, and mercy for all.

This is why I am a Methodist.

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