The standard doctrines of the United Methodist Church are contained in two foundational documents from our heritage, the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. When these two bodies merged in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church both documents became part of the Book of Discipline. In addition, The Constitution of the United Methodist Church contains Restrictive Rule #16, Article I, which states that “the General Conference shall not revoke, alter, or change our Articles of Religion or establish any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrine.” [The Book of Discipline 1996, p. 26] Article II says the same concerning our Confession of Faith. In others words, they are here to stay! As long as there is a denomination known as the United Methodist Church these two documents will continue to be the standard of what our church is to believe. They form the core of our expression of the Christian faith.
So, what do they say? Glad you asked! But, instead of trying to reprint all 25 Articles of Religion and the 16 articles in the Confession of Faith as they appear in their entirety (and in 18th century English!) we have attempted to summarize these documents into “WE BELIEVE” statements. We have used more contemporary English in hopes of making them more “believer friendly.” A few of the articles, such as whether or not the United States is recognized as a sovereign nation, we have intentionally omitted. We have instead tried to catch the core of what it means to be a Christian in the United Methodist Church. Copies of the actual documents are available through the church office if you are interested.
We have also included scripture references after each statement. We believe the Bible is the primary source for “doing theology”. John Wesley referred to himself as a “man of one book” and he wanted the Methodists to be “Bible Christians”. He sought a scriptural Christianity energized by the ongoing presence of the Holy Spirit, and we are committed to do the same. Finally, we don’t claim to be the exclusive holders to the keys to the Kingdom nor do we by any means believe our doctrine to be perfect. But we do serve a perfect God who will one day help each of us to “know fully, even as I am fully known.” (I Corinthians 13:12) We do hope that reading, reflecting and discussing these core beliefs will help you to establish anchor points for your faith on your continuing journey as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. We join with John Wesley in proclaiming what we hope is the desire of us all when he said, “I want to know one thing - the way to heaven!”
Please view the slideshow below for our "We Believe" statements.