Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things Methodists Should Know- 4

What do United Methodists believe? That’s something we should all know. Well, the Book of Discipline outlines the basics of our faith in the section called: Articles of Religion. The Articles of Religion came through John Wesley who kept them from the Anglican Church. He only one that was changed by American Methodists was the one about allegiance to the King/Queen of England. The other Articles of Religion are simply a statement of basic Christian faith. We believe in the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thomas Langford outlines our basic beliefs with this list from his book God Made Known. Here are the things that we hold in common with all other Christians: - Belief in the triune God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - A faith in the mystery of salvation in and through Jesus Christ - God’s redemptive love as realized in human life by the activity of the Holy Spirit, both in personal experience and in the community of believers - To be part of Christ’s universal Church when by adoration, proclamation, and service we become conformed to Christ - That the reign of God is both a present and a future reality - The authority of scripture in matters of faith, justification by grace through faith, and recognition that the church is in need of continual reformation and renewal - The essential oneness of the church of Jesus Christ Langford goes on to say that a typical way of summing up United Methodist understanding of its place in the wider Christian community is to say that we are: truly catholic, truly evangelical, and truly reformed. Truly Catholic points to our heritage in the larger Christian tradition; we align ourselves with all those throughout the ages who are aligned with Jesus Christ. Truly evangelical points to our emphases on the gospel, on the centrality of grace, and on personal conversion. Truly reformed indicates our conviction that the church must undergo continual renewal and be constantly vigilant about its faithfulness to God. We often profess our faith with the historic creeds of the church: the Apostles’ Creed, and the Nicene Creed. These creeds profess the basics of all Christians. United Methodists have always subscribed to these basics of Christian faith. Some have found the creeds old and worn-out statements of faith. Maybe so, but they hold us accountable for what we believe and teach. We cannot say them without having to reflect on what we are saying. And, in a few words they proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We pledge allegiance to the God who revealed himself in Jesus Christ and invites us into that fellowship of the church where we worship, and grow, and serve Christ. To conclude: United Methodists stand with all other Christians who affirm the basics of faith. From the beginning John Wesley, our founder, was not interested in changing the doctrine of the church; he was pleased with the teachings of the church. We, too, in our time are not interested in inventing anything that is not expressed in our historical affirmations. Next week, I will talk about United Methodist distinctions. Blessings! Dave Nichols

Comments on Lectionary - Sept. 1

That Jesus would be healing comes at no surprise to any of us. Nor, is it surprising that Jesus is healing on the Sabbath. So, when the re...