WHAT WE BELIEVE
What do United Methodists believe?
God. When we say the Apostles' Creed, we join with millions of Christians through the ages in an understanding of God as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons. God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.
Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He was born to the Virgin Mary by miraculous conception. Being both fully God and fully human, He lived a sinless life, perfectly revealing the Father. By His suffering, death and resurrection, he provided the only way to salvation. He rose from the dead after three days, and ascended to heaven where He rules and reigns with the Father. He will return again to earth and rule as the supreme Judge and King of all.
The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, not a mere force. His inner prompting makes people aware of their need for Jesus. He is given to every believer at the moment of salvation, to empower them to live a holy life and to grant gifts for service. He leads all believers into truth, and believers become like Christ as a result of submitting to His leading.
Humanity. Men and women are created by God in His image and all are loved by God. We are made to know God personally and to glorify Him in our lives. However, in addition to the wonderful promise and potential, each of us also has an inner attitude of rebellion against God’s leadership in our lives. That is called sin. Sin separates us from God. No one has lived a sinless life (except Jesus) and therefore all of us need God’s forgiveness and salvation through Christ.
Salvation. Salvation is a gift of God which we receive through faith in Christ – it is not earned or deserved. We are able to experience the assurance of our salvation because of God’s promise. We are saved by grace through faith.
Which sacraments are recognized?
We celebrate two sacraments ordained by Jesus Christ: Baptism and Holy Communion.
Baptism. From the beginning, baptism has been the door through which one enters the church. It was inconceivable to many that one could respond to God’s grace by reciting the renunciations, affirming one’s faith in Christ and loyalty to the Kingdom, without joining the fellowship of those who are committed to mature in that faith. We also believe that in baptism God initiates a covenant with us, announced with the words, “The Holy Spirit works within you, that being born through water and the Spirit, you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.” As the “Body of Christ” in the world, baptism commissions us to use our gifts to strengthen the church and to transform the world.
Communion. As with baptism, we use common, physical gifts of the earth, bread and juice, to celebrate and remember Jesus’ death, his self-giving sacrifice on our behalf. But Communion is not a memorial service for a dead Jesus. It’s a time to celebrate the Resurrection, to recognize and give thanks for the Risen Christ. The bread and wine represent the living presence of Christ among us. Finally, In Communion we also celebrate the final victory of Christ. We anticipate God’s coming reign, God’s future for this world and all creation. All Christians are welcome at God's table, whatever their denomination. Holy Communion is a family meal, and all Christians are members of Christ’s family. Therefore, in each congregation, when we receive the bread and cup, we join with millions of brothers and sisters across the ages and around the world.