Some of What Christians Believe

What follows is not an "official" statement of doctrine of the United Methodist Church, but a personal interpretation of that doctrine which reflects the real issues and challenges of our time, 1) based on the Word of God, 2) established in clear thinking, 3) supported by 2000 years of Christian experience, and 4) born out in the lives of today's disciples; Scripture, Reason, Tradition & Experience. [For a formal statement of doctrine, see "The Book of Discipline."]

Who Is God?

He is one God only, but mystically present and available to us as three distinct persons; the Creating Father, the Savior Son, and Abiding Holy Spirit, eternally existent without a beginning. He does not change, he is actively involved with his creation, and he is the basis of all truth and right.

What is the Bible?

The Bible, in its original languages is the Word of God, not just a version of the word of God, or containing the word of God. It is the self-revealing of God, progressively through Israel, and most completely through Jesus Christ. It came to us through a process of inspiration and translation. "For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:21 (NIV) While the process of translation renews language patterns, the truth of God's word found in that language does not change. The Bible is not self-contradictory, but does present challenges to our understanding due to its complexity, and the passage of time and change of cultures. God's never-changing communication through the Bible is couched in the ever changing languages of mankind.

What does God want of me?

He wants you to know Him. Knowing Him, he wants you to respond to His love for you, demonstrated by Christ at the cross, the place of his sacrificial death. That love is transforming. He wants to heal our wounds, erase our guilt, heal our brokenness, change our sinful behavior, and use us for his Kingdom's purposes.

What is the church?

The church exists on two levels, the visible and the invisible. The visible church is a product of history and man's actions, sometimes renewed and empowered by God and sometimes corrupt and errant. The invisible church is the Body of Christ connected by his Spirit around the globe through saving faith in Jesus Christ. The visible church is the product of man's traditions as we try to interpret God's will through time. The invisible church is being prepared for Christ as his bride, to be presented to him at the end of "this age." Membership in the visible church doesn't guarantee membership in the Body of Christ, but membership in the Body of Christ WILL reflect itself in some meaningful service and participation in the visible church.