Methodists are people who have the love of God in their hearts. This is a gift of God’s Holy Spirit. And the same Spirit causes Methodists to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, with all their souls, and with all their minds, with all their strength.
The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church declares our basic Christian affirmations: (Paragraph 101)
We hold in common with all Christians a faith in the mystery of salvation in and through Jesus Christ. We share the Christian belief that God’s redemptive love is realized in human life by the activity of the Holy Spirit, both in personal experience and in the community of believers.
We understand ourselves to be part of Christ’s universal church when by adoration, proclamation, and service, we become conformed to Christ.
With other Christians we recognize that the reign of God is both a present and future reality. We share with many Christian communions a recognition in the authority of Scripture in matters of faith, the confession that our justification as sinners is by grace through faith, and the sober realization that the church is in need of continual reformation and renewal.
We also have distinctive emphases in our Wesleyan tradition. They are:
- God’s Grace: God’s grace is undeserved, unmerited, and the loving action of God. It precedes salvation as “prevenient grace,” continues in “justifying grace,” and is brought to fruition in “sanctifying grace.”
- Faith and Good Works: We see God’s grace and human activity working together in the relationship of faith and good works. God’s grace calls for human response and discipline.
- Mission and Service: We insist that personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world. By joining heart and hand, we assert that personal religion, evangelical witness, and Christian social action are reciprocal and mutually reinforcing.
- Nurture and Mission of the Church: The communal forms of faith in the Wesleyan tradition not only promote personal growth; they also equip and mobilize us for mission and service to the world. Each congregation and Christian is called to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
“These are the marks of a true Methodist. By these things alone does the Methodist wish to be distinguished from others. Somebody may say, ‘Why these are only the common, basic principles of Christianity!’ This is what Methodism is, nothing more or less. It is not a matter of denominational label but of being conformed to the will of God, as this is revealed in the Bible.”
– John Wesley
– Quoted in Basic United Methodist Beliefs: An Evangelical View, pp. 123 – 124
To learn more about our beliefs as United Methodists, click here.