“This I believe…”

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.

And 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, died, and was buried;
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty.
from thence he shall come again 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 the life everlasting. Amen

The Apostle’s Creed

Question for the day:  “Do we understand the Methodist tradition with which we associate ourselves?”

Friends,

Happy Monday to you all.  For the past week we have been studying the means by which our founder, John Wesley, developed his theological views and beliefs.  Many times we will hear it referred to as “Wesley’s Quadrilateral.”  So far, we have examined our own belief systems based upon these 3 criteria:

1.  Is it supported by Scripture?

2.  Is it consistent with my personal experiences with God?

3.  Does it make sense?

And today we turn to the 4th criteria:  Tradition.  Is my belief supported by historical teachings and methodologies of the church? This one can get kind of tricky if you don’t actually know the history of the church.  But it is a great exercise to seek out those answers on what your church actually teaches.  For many of us coming from other denominational backgrounds, it can give us a foundation for comparison as well as help us to clearly define our own beliefs.

Once I truly began studying what the United Methodist Church truly stood for, I was so much more comfortable with it.  Many times, in reading the doctrinal and theological statements of the church, I had the thought, “That is exactly what I believe.”  And therefore, after much study, I could call myself a United Methodist without reservation.

Take for example the Apostle’s Creed written above.  We recite this creed every Sunday in our 8:30 a.m. Traditional Service.  It is a very compact statement of the core beliefs we adhere to.  If you study it, line by line, you can see that it forms the very basis for being a true disciple:  I believe in the 1 true God, salvation through Jesus alone, the Resurrection of Christ,  the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the Judgment, Eternal life and many other key elements to our faith.

If you have questions about the Methodist teachings on any topic, I encourage you to seek those answers out.  There are many resources available to us:

http://www.umc.org/site/c.lwL4KnN1LtH/b.1707359/k.BE59/Beliefs.htm

This is a link directly to the beliefs and traditions page of the United Methodist website.

I also have several books that I am willing to loan, and of course, Pastor Wade is always happy to discuss any questions we have.  We have a rich heritage and sound doctrine inside the Methodist Church.  I encourage everyone to make it a point to know what we believe and why.  It really does give us a great sense of who we are and what we are called to be as a church.

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for the early church faithful that came before us.  Thank you that they were willing to put not only their certainties, but also their struggles, on paper that we might learn from them.  I pray today that You would help me to develop my own theology in such a way that it is true and honoring to You.  I ask that You reveal Yourself to me through Scripture, Experience, Reason and Tradition, that I might trust what I believe as truth.  Help me to create a life that witnesses Your truth to the world, in whatever setting You place me.

In the name of my Savior I pray,

Amen

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