As United Methodists, we have an obligation to bear a
faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of
the Church’s life and witness. To fulfill this obligation, we reflect
critically on our biblical and theological inheritance, striving to express
faithfully the witness we make in our own time.
Two considerations are central to this endeavor; the sources from which we derive our theological affirmations and the criteria by which we assess the adequacy of our understanding and witness.
Wesley believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason.
Doctrinal. United Methodists profess the historic Christian faith in God, incarnate in Jesus Christ for our salvation and ever at work in human history in the Holy Spirit. Living in a covenant of grace under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we participate in the first fruits of God’s coming reign and pray in hope for its full realization on earth as in heaven.
The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs.
Social principles. The United Methodist Church has a long history of concern for social justice. Its members have often taken forthright positions on controversial issues involving Christian principles. Early Methodists expressed their opposition to the slave trade, to smuggling, and to the cruel treatment of prisoners.