Our Belief in God


God is as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

God, who is one, is revealed in three distinct persons.


God is transcendent (over and beyond all that is), God is omnipresent

(everywhere at once), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omniscient

(all-knowing). God is absolute, infinite, righteous, just, loving,

merciful…and more.


What God does

God works in at least these seven ways:

God creates. In the beginning God created the universe, and the Creation

is ongoing. From the whirling galaxies, to subatomic particles, to the

unfathomable wonders of our own minds and bodies—we marvel at God's

creative wisdom.


God sustains. God continues to be active in creation, holding all in

"the everlasting arms." In particular, we affirm that God is involved in

our human history—past, present, and future.


God loves. God loves all creation. In particular, God loves humankind,

created in the divine image. This love is like that of a parent. We've

followed Jesus in speaking of God as "our Father," while at times it

seems that God nurtures us in a motherly way as well.


God suffers. Since God is present in creation, God is hurt when any

aspect of creation is hurt. God especially suffers when people are

injured. In all violence, abuse, injustice, prejudice, hunger, poverty,

or illness, the living God is suffering in our midst.


God judges. All human behavior is measured by God's righteous

standards—not only the behavior itself but also the motive or the

intent. The Lord of life knows our sin—and judges it.


God redeems. Out of infinite love for each of us, God forgives our own

self-destruction and renews us within. God is reconciling the

individuals, groups, races, and nations that have been rent apart. God

is redeeming all creation.


God reigns. God is the Lord of all creation and of all history. Though

it may oftentimes seem that the "principalities and powers" of evil have

the stronger hand, we affirm God's present and future reign.


Jesus


Son of God

We believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, and was fully God and

fully human. That Jesus is God's son.


Son of man

We believe that Jesus was fully human. He was tempted. He grew weary.

He wept. He expressed his anger. In fact, Jesus is God's picture of what

it means to be a mature human being.


Christ

Christ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, which means

God's Anointed One. For years before Jesus' time the Jews had been

expecting a new king, a descendant of the revered King David, who would

restore the nation of Israel to glory. Like kings of old, this one would

be anointed on the head with oil, signifying God's election; hence, the

Chosen One = the Anointed One = the Messiah = the Christ. The early

Jewish Christians proclaimed that Jesus was, indeed, this Chosen One.

Thus, in calling him our Christ today, we affirm that he was and is the

fulfillment of the ancient hope and God's Chosen One to bring salvation

to all peoples, for all time.


Lord

To claim Jesus as Lord is to freely submit our will to his, to humbly

profess that it is he who is in charge of this world.


Savior

We believe in Jesus as Savior, as the one through whom God has freed us

of our sin and has given us the gift of whole life, eternal life, and

salvation. We speak of this gift as the atonement, our "at-oneness" or

reconciliation with God. We recognize Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and

his victory over sin and death in the Resurrection.



Holy Spirit


The Holy Spirit is God's present activity in our midst. When we sense

God's leading, God's challenge, or God's support or comfort, we say that

it's the Holy Spirit at work.


In Matthew's account of Jesus' baptism, Jesus "saw the Spirit of God

descending like a dove and alighting on him" (3:16) and he "was led up

by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted" (4:1). After his

Resurrection Christ told his disciples, "You will receive power when the

Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8). A few weeks later, on the Day

of Pentecost, this came to pass: "And suddenly from heaven there came a

sound like the rush of a violent wind....All of them were filled with

the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:2, 4). As the Book of Acts and Paul's letters

attest, from that time on, the early Christians were vividly aware of

God's Spirit leading the new church.


In guidance, comfort, and strength

Today we continue to experience God's breath, God's Spirit. As one of

our creeds puts it, "We believe in the Holy Spirit, God present with us

for guidance, for comfort, and for strength" (The United Methodist

Hymnal, No. 884).


The Holy Spirit renews us and by strengthening us for the work of ministry.


Fruits: Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).

What sort of fruit? Paul asserts that "the fruit of the Spirit is love,

joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness,

and self-control" (Galatians 5:22).


The Holy Spirit empowers us for ministry in the world.



Human Beings


We believe that God created human beings in God's image.


We believe that humans can choose to accept or reject a relationship

with God.


We believe that all humans need to be in relationship with God in order

to experience eternal life and to live the life that God created for us.


The Church


We believe that the church is the body of Christ, an extension of

Christ's life and ministry in the world today.


We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus

Christ for the transformation of the world.


We believe that the church is "the communion of saints," a community

made up of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ.


We believe that the church is called to worship God and to support those

who participate in its life as they grow in faith.


The Bible


The Bible is God speaking to us about salvation.

We say that God speaks to us through the Bible and that it contains all

things necessary for salvation. This authority derives from three sources:


We hold that the writers of the Bible were inspired by God, that they

were filled with God's Spirit as they wrote the truth to the best of

their knowledge.


We hold that God was at work in the process of canonization, during

which only the most faithful and useful books were adopted as Scripture.


We hold that the Holy Spirit works today in our thoughtful study of the

Scriptures, especially as we study them together, seeking to relate the

old words to life's present realities.