What Do United Methodists Believe?

We, as United Methodists, have a firm and clearly stated set of beliefs. The members of Tennison Memorial United Methodist Church strongly subscribe to these beliefs. All actions as a church body should be done in accordance with these beliefs. A brief summary of the more prominent Methodist beliefs follows:

The Bible – This is our textbook, taken as the inspired and holy Word of God. The Bible contains all the truth necessary for salvation and is our chief source of knowledge about God and Christ.

God – God is the creator and sustainer of the universe; He is infinite in wisdom, power, and love. All people on earth are God’s children. God hears the prayers of any-and every person, without the need for an intermediary. The church helps one learn about and commune with God through worship in the sanctuary, fellowship with others, proclamation of the faith from the pulpit, study in classes or small groups, and other ways.

Jesus Christ – We believe Jesus Christ is uniquely God’s Son, sent by God, to be born of Mary, to make the invisible God known in human form. We believe Jesus Christ suffered and died upon the cross for us and our sins. Our salvation comes through his shed blood. We believe Christ rose from the dead, giving us assurance that there is life for us after death.

The Holy Spirit – The Holy Spirit is God here on this earth – God in us and with us. We believe the Spirit bears witness to our spirits that we are in Jesus Christ and are God’s children.

Forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls – This is the very center of the Methodist faith. Sin is both in our nature and in our actions. If we are truly repentant of our sins, as we pray in a confessional prayer, and put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are justified, saved, cleansed – not because we deserve it, but because of the grace, the unmerited favor of God.

Holiness/Sanctification – As the result of commitment to God, we grow in faith, and our love for God and for one another becomes more complete. Methodists have always emphasized holiness of heart and life. As one grows in Christian faith, the intentions of the soul become more perfect – the process called sanctification.

Conversion – Through the Christian experience of conversion, one becomes a Christian. Methodists believe the process of conversion can happen in different ways. It may be a sudden, “Damascus” type experience, or may be a heart warming experience as John Wesley who experienced the assurance of his salvation, a process that occurs over a lifetime. Conversion also occurs through a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ into the heart. Methodists have always been willing to accept the individual experience that each person has had.

The Church – Methodists accept and recognize all other Christian churches. Holy Communion in the Methodist church is open to all Christians, regardless of denomination. Methodists accept both the baptism and membership vows from any other Christian church for those transferring membership. Methodist churches have always had the custom of cooperating with other churches in every possible way. Methodism has never claimed to be the only church, only one of the Christian churches.

Baptism – Baptism is an outward sign of an inner commitment and a spiritual new birth. The early church practiced three modes of baptism: sprinkling, pouring, and immersion. Methodists are more concerned with the inner experience than the outward expressions, so we both practice and accept any mode of baptism. Sprinkling is the method used by most Methodist churches.

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