What We Believe

Christ UMC Statement of Belief      

God

We believe there is One true God Who exists eternally in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus

We believe that Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God – 100% God and 100% Man.  He was born of a virgin.  He lived a sinless human life and died on the cross as our substitute taking upon Himself the penalty for our sins, and He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven where He sits today at the right hand of God.  We believe that Jesus will return to earth at a time of God’s choosing.

The Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is present and at work at all times making people aware of their need for Jesus Christ.  When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and then constantly reminds us of all Jesus said to us.  We believe the Holy Spirit guides us in our Christian walk, reveals our sin, and points us to the Father.

The Bible

We believe the Bible is God’s Word, fully true, written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We affirm that the core of the Christian faith is revealed in Scripture as “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3; NRSV). We look to the Bible therefore as our authority and trustworthy guide, which “is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16; NRSV). We believe Scripture to be the church’s primary and final authority on all matters of faith, practice and lifestyle.

Our Sinfulness

While all human beings are made in the image of God, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  We believe our sin separates us from God, and we all need a Savior.

Salvation

We believe a person is saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Before a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, that person is living in spiritual darkness (John 8:12) and is separated from God by their sin (John 3:36, Ephesians 2:11-12).   Furthermore, we believe a person who is not in relationship with Jesus is far from God (Ephesians 2:13) and faces eternal separation from God.  A person is saved from that eternal separation from God as a free gift when that person places his or her faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16).  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by Me”(John 14:6). 

The Blessing of Salvation Before Eternity

Outside of a relationship with God through Jesus, personal peace and satisfaction in life are self-generated and will ultimately fade.  God does not intend for us to live by our strength alone.  Jesus invited us to go to Him with our weariness and our burdens, and He would give us rest from the grind of life (Matthew 11:28).  Finally, we believe that a relationship with Jesus leads to peace in this life.  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world”(John 16:33).

The Blessing of Eternity

We believe that Jesus will return to earth personally and in bodily form, and He will usher in the final judgment and establish His Kingdom.  We do not know exactly what this will be like, nor do we know when it will happen (Matthew 24:36).  We do believe that our eternal destination in either heaven or hell is determined by our response to Jesus Christ.

Our Need to Communicate with God Through Prayer

We believe that we were formed by God to have an intimate friendship with Him.  In fact, we believe God so deeply desires that relationship with us that He created within us a desire for fellowship with Him.  “God set eternity in our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  He promises that if we approach Him through prayer, He will respond.  James 4:8 declares, “Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.”  What’s more, we believe God’s response is filled with blessing.  “Call to Me and I will answer you.  I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Our Need for Christian Community

We believe that God made us to need community.  He made us to be in community with Him, and He made us to be in community with others. God’s creation of humanity wasn’t complete and good until God made both man AND woman.  They were made to be helpers and companions (Genesis 2:18-25). Jesus’ desire is for us to experience the same level of community with one another that He shares with the Father. “My prayer is… for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You.”(John 17:20-21)  Paul wrote in Romans 12:5, “In Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Because of this need for community, we constantly strive to expand our offerings so that all members of our church have access to community-building activities like small groups, Bible studies, and Sunday school classes (Hebrews 10:24-25).

Our Need to Give Witness To Our Faith

We believe that our faith in Jesus commands that we intentionally share our faith with others. Jesus declared that we, as His disciples, are “the salt of the earth”(Matthew 5:13), and “the light of the world”(Matthew 5:14).  Those words maintain that it is impossible for us to separate our relationship with Jesus from the witness we are to give to others.  More importantly, those who do not know Jesus depend on His followers to tell them about the saving work of Jesus.  “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him?  And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him?  And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” (Romans 10:14). 

SACRAMENTS

There are two sacraments in the United Methodist Church: Baptism and Holy Communion.(see Article 16 in the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church)

Baptism

While baptism is not essential for salvation, we believe baptism is our initiation into the church and our identification as children of God, and is a means by which we experience God’s grace in a tangible way.  We believe that we do not have to earn God’s grace, but that He shares His grace freely with all of His children.  In fact, we believe that before we recognize God’s grace at work in our lives, God has been at work, wooing us toward Him, as His sons and daughters.  “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure” (Ephesians 1:4-6). God’s choice happens regardless of our age or our response.  Infant baptism is predicated on God’s gracious choice, and since it is God’s choice, baptism is an act that should not be repeated.  However, those who are baptized as children must make the choice to confirm their belief in Jesus to continue as members of the church.  Baptism of youth and adults is predicated on a profession of faith in Jesus and a repentance of sin.  We offer any of the three modes of water baptism which have been practiced throughout church history:  immersion, pouring, and sprinkling.  We accept any prior baptism in a Christian church, including infant baptism.  (see Article 17 in the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church)

Holy Communion

Like Baptism, Holy Communion is a means by which we experience God’s grace in a tangible way. Communion is an opportunity for us to renew our relationship with Jesus.  On the last night before His death, Jesus ate a special meal with His disciples.  We believe that Communion is an outward sign or symbol of the broken Body and shed blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).  While we do not believe that the bread and juice literally transforms into the actual flesh and blood of Christ, we do believe that in Communion we experience the very real presence and grace of Jesus Christ with us.  Our table is open to any and all persons who desire to come and receive.  (see Article 18 in the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church)


Twenty-Five Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church

The Articles of Religion are reprinted from the 1808 Book of Disciplineand are gathered from John Wesley’s original text, The Sunday Service of the Methodistswritten in 1784.  They are found in Paragraph 104 of The United Methodist Book of Discipline.

Article 1—Of Faith in the Holy Trinity

There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Article 2—Of the Word, or Son of God, Who Was Made Very Man

The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided; whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

Article 3—Of the Resurrection of Christ

Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.

Article 4—Of the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

Article 5—Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation

The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority was never any doubt in the church. The names of the canonical books are:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, Cantica or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the Greater, Twelve Prophets the Less.

All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.

Article 6—Of the Old Testament

The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.

Article 7—Of Original or Birth Sin

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.

Article 8—Of Free Will

The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

Article 9—Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

Article 10—Of Good Works

Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.

Article 11—Of Works of Supererogation

Voluntary works—besides, over and above God's commandments—which they call works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is required; whereas Christ saith plainly: When you have done all that is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

Article 12—Of Sin After Justification

Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

Article 13—Of the Church

The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

Article 14—Of Purgatory

The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.

Article 15—Of Speaking in the Congregation in Such a Tongue as the People Understand

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.

Article 16—Of the Sacraments

Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God's good will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.

Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel; being such as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the apostles, and partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, because they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St. Paul saith.

Article 17—Of Baptism

Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.

Article 18—Of the Lord's Supper

The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.

Article 19—Of Both Kinds

The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people; for both the parts of the Lord's Supper, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christians alike.

Article 20—Of the One Oblation of Christ, Finished upon the Cross

The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit.

Article 21—Of the Marriage of Ministers

The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve best to godliness.

Article 22—Of the Rites and Ceremonies of Churches

It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church to which he belongs, which are not repugnant to the Word of God, and are ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against the common order of the church, and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren.

Every particular church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to edification.

Article 23—Of the Rulers of the United States of America

The President, the Congress, the general assemblies, the governors, and the councils of state, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the Constitution of the United States and by the constitutions of their respective states. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.

Article 24—Of Christian Men's Goods

The riches and goods of Christians are not common as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

Article 25—Of a Christian Man's Oath

As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ and James his apostle, so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.

Of Sanctification

Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.

Of the Duty of Christians to the Civil Authority

It is the duty of all Christians, and especially of all Christian ministers, to observe and obey the laws and commands of the governing or supreme authority of the country of which they are citizens or subjects or in which they reside, and to use all laudable means to encourage and enjoin obedience to the powers that be.