I’ve discovered many amazing Christians in my life who love the Lord and seek to serve Him daily. As a Methodist pastor, many of those Christians have lived out their faith in the United Methodist Church. One of the things I’ve learned is that many Methodists are not that familiar with what it means to be a Methodist Christian. I thought I would share a few posts to outline some of the key doctrines and the significant ways we live out our faith in the world…
- We profess the historic Christian faith in God, incarnate in Jesus Christ for our salvation and always at work in human history in the Holy Spirit.
- We believe in both the sovereignty of God and in God’s love and grace poured out to all of us.
- We believe that the historic Christian message is applied anew in our current circumstances.
- We believe out teachings are grounded in Scripture, informed by Christian tradition, enlivened by experience, and tested by reason.
- Just as today, we believe the early Christian leaders were faced with diverse interpretations of God’s Word and even had severe disagreements over those differences (Acts 15, Galatians 2). The Church came up with many creeds and catechisms to try and point to agreements and while they are all helpful in our faith, we believe that no formal creed or doctrinal standard can be the exhaustive authoritative Christian teaching. No sets of words can express the fullness and completion of God’s Word.
- We believe in the Trinity – the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This embraces the biblical witness.
- We believe the created order is designed for the well-being of all creatures.
- We believe that humans, as sinful creatures, have broken the covenant and become estranged from God. We regularly wound ourselves and one another and we wreak havoc on God’s creation.
- We believe we all need redemption.
- We believe that we hold in common with all Christians that a faith in the mystery of salvation in and through Jesus Christ is central to our faith. God truly loves us all in spite of our sin, God judges us, summons us to repentance, pardons us, receives us by that grace given in Jesus Christ, and gives us hope of life eternal.
I will continue in the days and weeks ahead to help us focus on our doctrines and our identity as Methodist Christians. It is my hope that we will stand firm on the essentials of our faith!