As a part of the United Methodist Church, we share a common heritage with all Christians. In our tradition, a great emphasis is placed on Grace that comes from God through Jesus Christ.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Through His incarnation, God was in the world through the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The Gospel writers explain this in different ways. In Mark, Jesus seems to be adopted as God's Son at his baptism. In Matthew and Luke, Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit. In John, Jesus is God's pre-existing Word who "became flesh and lived among us" (1:14). However this mystery occurred, we affirm that God is wholly present in Jesus Christ.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of Man. While we believe that Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man in the sense that He too was tempted. He grew weary. He wept for His friend. He expressed His anger. Jesus is God's picture of what it means to be a mature human being.
We believe that Jesus is Christ, Messiah, or God's Anointed One. He is the fulfillment of the ancient hope to bring salvation to all peoples, for all time.
We believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. By proclaiming Jesus as our Lord, we humbly profess that His will is in control of our lives and world. By proclaiming Jesus as our Savior, we believe that He is the One who was sent by God to free us of our sin and has given us the gift of whole life, eternal life, and salvation.
We believe that God is three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God, three distinct persons. This is one way to speak about the several ways we experience God.
We believe that God is over all things, in all things, with all power, and with all knowledge. God is absolute, infinite, righteous, just, loving, merciful, and more.
We believe that God creates, sustains, loves, suffers, judges, redeems, and reigns over all of our lives.
We believe that 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, we believe that it's the Holy Spirit at work.
In the Bible, the Spirit was present in the Creation (Genesis 1:2), the Spirit was present at Jesus' baptism (Matthew 3:16), and as He entered into world to start His ministry (Matthew 4:1).
After Jesus' resurrection, He promises His disciples, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8). Just a few weeks later, on the Day of Pentecost, the first disciples and the early church was "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:2-4).
We believe that the Holy Spirit sends evidence of its presence in our lives, also called Fruit of the Spirit. "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22). We also believe that the Spirit bestows gifts to believers. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 lists nine varying gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, various tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
These fruits and gifts are gracious gifts to us through faith in Jesus Christ.
We believe that God speaks to us through the Bible and that it contains all things necessary for salvation. This authority derives from three sources:
- We hold that the writers of the Bible were inspired by God, that they were filled with God's Spirit as they wrote the truth to the best of their knowledge.
- We hold that God was at work in the process of canonization, during which only the most faithful and useful books were adopted as Scripture.
- We hold that the Holy Spirit works today in our thoughtful study of the Scriptures, especially as we study them together, seeking to relate the old words to life's present realities.
The authority of Scripture derives from the movement of God's Spirit in times past and in our reading of it today.
We believe that the church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ's life and ministry in the world today.
We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
We believe that the church is "the communion of saints," a community made up of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ.
We believe that the church is called to worship God and to support those who participate in its life as they grow in faith.
As United Methodists, we believe that Grace is a very special gift from God. Grace is "the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through the ever-present Holy Spirit."
We experience three kinds of grace in our life with God:
- Prevenient Grace - it literally means "the grace that comes before." This kind of grace calls us into a relationship with God before we are even aware of God. It prepares us to realize that God loves us so much that God seeks us out first.
- Justifying Grace - this grace is experienced when stop our vain attempts to justify ourselves before God and when we accept and experience the forgiveness, peace, joy, and love that only comes from a trust in relationship with God.
- Sanctifying Grace - this grace enables us to grow closer to the image of Christ and leads us to inward and outward holiness.