Historians believe what we refer to as “the Apostles Creed” was adopted by early Christians as a method of remembering and reciting the core beliefs held by the disciples of Jesus Christ. Tradition states that the early believers would recite the Apostles Creed at the moment of their baptism. Today we believe that the same creed continues to hold the core values of our faith.
We believe in the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth. We believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he will come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
Faith is the basic orientation and commitment of our whole being—a matter of heart and soul. Christian faith is grounding our lives in the living God as revealed especially in Jesus Christ. It’s both a gift we receive within the Christian community and a choice we make.
Jesus Christ was the one and only Son of God, who came down from heaven for the purpose of our salvation. He was both fully man and fully God himself, without sin. He was crucified for our sins, dead and buried. On the third day, he was resurrected and later ascended to heaven from whence he shall return. Jesus is our eternal Savior and Mediator, who intercedes for us, and by him all persons are to be judged.
Used as an instrument of torture and death, we now view the Cross as a symbol of our hope in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death on the cross was an atoning sacrifice, making possible our forgiveness and reconciliation with God. To repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ are the only requirements for one to receive that salvation made possible by Jesus’ death.
Because of rebellion against God going all the way back to Adam, all persons are inclined toward sin and selfishness. Sin means missing the mark of God’s righteousness; it means to be in rebellion against God, to disobey his laws. We are unable to overcome sin by our own means and methods. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and the salvation offered through Jesus Christ that we can break free from the chains of a sinful life.
The Bible was inspired by God and contains all things necessary for salvation. When read under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Bible is our true rule and guide for faith and practice. It’s our sacred canon and, thus, the decisive source of our Christian witness and the authoritative measure of the truth in our belief.
(2 Timothy 3: 16-17)
Our Wesleyan heritage
The United Methodist Church was founded out of a movement started by John Wesley in the 18th Century. Wesley did not intend to found a new denomination, but historical circumstances and his organizational genius conspired against his desire to remain in the Church of England.
What started with John Wesley and his brother, Charles, traveling the circuit and preaching outdoors, soon grew into a movement. Perhaps the biggest theological distinction that separated (and ultimately divided) John Wesley from most of his contemporaries was the assertion that Christians could enjoy entire sanctification in this life: loving God and their neighbors, meekness and lowliness of heart, abstaining from all appearance of evil, and doing all for the glory of God.
Grace pervades our understanding of Christian faith and life. By grace we mean the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through the ever-present Holy Spirit. While the grace of God is undivided, it precedes salvation as “prevenient grace,” continues in “justifying grace,” and is brought to fruition in “sanctifying grace.”