Calvary United Methodist Church | 131 West Second Street | Frederick, MD 21701 Church 301-662-1464 School 301-622-6783 office@calvaryumc.org

During the month of September, we are looking at the theological roots of United Methodists through a series of sermons on Sunday mornings. I thought I would use these “pastor ponderings” to share more about our theological heritage.

 

On Sunday mornings in worship, we will sometimes say together the words of the Apostles’ Creed and other statements of faith. These words help us grasp what we believe along with other Christians around the world and across the generations. But United Methodists have long argued that no creed can fully capture all that we might say about God and God’s work in the world. There is a living core to Christian belief that is revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, comes alive in personal and corporate experience, and is confirmed by reason. This is what John Wesley called “the scriptural way of salvation”.

 

John Wesley encouraged Methodist preachers to know and preach the doctrine found in his Notes on the New Testament and four volumes of his Sermons. In America, Methodist theology was often conveyed through hymns and through “The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church.” “The Confession of Faith of the Evangelical United Brethren Church” also provides a list of the doctrines and normative teachings of the other church that came together with The Methodist Church to form The United Methodist Church in 1968.  These represent the standard for preaching and teaching in the United Methodist Church today.

 

Beyond this essential core of Christian belief, there are many different opinions that can be held by people of faith. From the beginning, Methodists were much more interested in spreading the gospel, nurturing discipleship, and carrying out mission and service to the world than defining a formal theological doctrine. And so, we are all encouraged to follow a time-tested approach that John Wesley adopted: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.” This allows for a wider sense of diversity within Methodism than might be typical of other churches or denominations.

 

We will continue to look at what we believe as United Methodists in the next few weeks.

 

 

To learn more, look at The United Methodist Book of Discipline (2016) pp. 47-80 and  https://www.umc.org/en/who-we-are/what-we-believe

 

 

Grace and peace,

Pastor Steve