What We Believe
God’s Word is the standard and authority for all we do.
There is a variety of interpretations of Scripture even within the Body of Christ, the Church universal. Thus, at some point, we will always encounter theological differences among Christians who connect to us. When this happens, we fully embrace the axiom: In essentials, unity (Ephesians 4:4-6); in non-essentials, liberty (Romans 14); in all things, charity (1 Corinthians 13:2).
God’s People devote themselves to the teachings of the apostles.
For an overview of our doctrinal understandings please click here.
God’s People are called into a mutually committed community.
Members of our church commit to live in harmony with our doctrine, our Membership Covenant, and matters of church government as written in the Book of Discipline. As such, members commit to live in fellowship with one another as together we obey Christ’s Great Commission to make disciples of all people; and surrender to the Great Commandment to love God and others.
To review our Partnership Covenant, please click here.
The Four Pillars
Every church or ministry family has certain distinguishing hallmarks.
Here are four ethos-shaping ‘pillars’ of the Free Methodist Church (USA): Wesleyan-Arminian Theological Heritage
- We believe that love is the motivational center of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as opposed to sovereignty and control.
- We believe that God intentionally made us as ‘persons’ in His own image and likeness, which includes the true ability to choose. If this is true, then not all that happens is predetermined by God. Instead, we choose and God is always responsive to our choices; redeeming poor choices and providentially working; moving us to faith and Christ-likeness.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit brings the light of Christ; awakening and enlightening every human being; preparing them to consider Christ.
- We believe that Jesus died for the sins of all humans, not for just a few whom he chose before creation. Since Jesus atoned for all, all have the possibility of being redeemed from the guilt of their sins and the power of their self-centered being. All who call on the name of the Lord (in repentance and faith) shall be saved.
Emphasis on Holiness
We have great confidence in the grace of God in Christ, and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit to set us free from slavery to self and sin. We believe that we can truly love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. That loving relationship with God enables us to love others and live righteously.
Concern for the Poor
Jesus said about his own mission (among other things): “…and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” This preaching to the poor was the crowning proof that he was the Messiah. Our Free Methodist movement formed in 1860 under circumstances that moved us to take up this obligation to preach the gospel to the poor. Thus, we are pledged to active concern whenever human beings are demeaned, abused, depersonalized, enslaved or subjected to demonic forces in the world. We bring Christ to the world and the world to Christ.
Holistic Biblical Exegesis
Theology considers the whole counsel of God’s Word, which is also rightly discerned. Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, utilized a balanced interpretive approach, which we call The Wesleyan Quadrilateral. It always begins with Scripture, which is discerned, interpreted and applied through: Reason, Tradition (wisdom of the early church fathers in the second through sixth centuries), and Experience. Whenever any of these four components is either over emphasized or neglected, the danger of imbalance or erroneous interpretation increases.
The Gospel and Salvation
We believe that God wants to reconcile all who will call on the name of Jesus, to himself by means of the sin-bearing work of Jesus.
- God created us to have a relationship with Himself (Ephesians 1:4-5).
- Human sin separates each one from God (Romans 3:23) and results in spiritual death (separation) from God (Romans 6:23).
- Jesus addressed the sin problem by becoming the all-conquering Christ (Christus Victor); taking our sins upon Himself, bearing the consequent judgement of death, yet being raised from death by the Father. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Peter 3:18; Acts 2:23-24).
- Jesus Christ offers the gift of salvation (forgiveness/reconciliation) to everyone (John 1:12). It cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- Each must individually believe in Him as the Christ and receive the gift of new and eternal life. (Romans 10:9).
You can be reconciled to God today by a heart-driven response of repentance (turning from self and sin), and faith (confident trust) in Jesus Christ. Consider the following prayer as one you might pray:
Gracious Father, thank you for creating me and loving me even though I’ve ignored you or gone my own way. I realize that I am a sinner and I need you in my life. I believe you sent your Son Jesus to conquer sin and death for me. Forgive and cleanse me. I welcome the work of the Holy Spirit to point me to Jesus the Christ. I will follow you faithfully. Dwell in me and make me like your Son. I receive your gift of salvation. Amen.
The Sacraments: Baptism and Communion
We observe two sacraments: holy practices that Jesus commanded:
Christ was baptized (Matthew 3:13-15) and he commanded us to baptize others (Matthew 28:19-20). We baptize by immersion.
Baptism is administered to believers as a declaration of their faith in Jesus as Savior; telling the world we are truly his followers (Matthew 10:32).
Baptism doesn’t make you a believer; it shows that you already are one. The act of baptism isn’t what saves you. Only faith in Christ does that (Ephesians 2:8-9). Baptism is symbolic – an outward act of an inward spiritual change that has already taken place.
Baptism identifies us with Jesus. Going in and out of the water illustrates Christ going in and out of the grave. St. Paul wrote it this way: “…When we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him. For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”
(Romans 6:3-4). Baptism illustrates and confirms that our old life of sin is done and a new life in Christ has started.
We provide a ritual of child dedication to the Lord as a covenant between parents and God on behalf of the child. The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to choose Christ.
Jesus never asked his disciples to remember his birth. He did ask them to remember his death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), which we do in public worship once a month.
The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death. As Christ promised, he is really present in the sacrament, but his body is given, taken and eaten only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. We believe that God’s encouraging, convicting, and cleansing grace is readily available each time we remember Christ.
Because we believe that Jesus is uniquely present in this act of remembering, we approach it reverently. Self-examination is essential, since it is possible to remember Christ in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27). We center our heart and mind on him; listening for his counsel to our soul. Based on what he speaks, we might need to promise to restore a damaged relationship (Matthew 5:23-24), or confess a sin prior to receiving communion (1 John 1:9).
The bread and wine are not literally the body and blood of Christ.