Character of a United Methodist
United Methodist congregations hold different views on how to interpret Scriptures. They also have different views of being in ministry.
Here’s the people called Methodists. What makes us United Methodist is not our social or political positions, but a course set of theological mission and ministry convictions: To be United Methodist is to believe follow and serve Jesus Christ. It is to hold together a passionate and personal evangelical gospel and a serious and sacrificial social Gospel. It is to hold together a deep and wide understanding of grace and the call to holiness of heart and life. It is to hold together a faith that speaks to the intellect and a faith that warms the heart.
To be United Methodist is to be a people who study and seek to live scripture and who read it with the help of tradition experience and reason. To be United Methodist is to invite the spirits sanctifying work in our lives to the end that we might love God with all that is with in us and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. United Methodist believe that God’s grace is available to all, not only some predestined elect. We believe that God brings good from evil but we don’t believe that God causes evil. We believe that it’s okay to ask questions and that we’re not meant to check our brains at the door of the church.
We find helpful this guideline: Refrain from evil; do all the good you can; and do those things which help you grow in love for God. United Methodist have at times been called people of the ‘radical center’ or the ‘extreme center’ — holding together the best of each side of the theological divide. It is this ability to hold together the important insights and perspectives of both the left and the right that is exemplified in a church that allows local congregations to hold varied scriptural interpretations.
We believe the world needs a vital United Methodist Church now more than ever. In an increasingly secular age, the world needs churches that can make an intellectually sound case for the Gospel, proclaim a faith that touches the heart, and call Christians to action seeking to help our world look more like the kingdom of God. It will be deeply devoted to Jesus Christ, and serious about its role as his body in the world. If it will have a future, it must help gifted young adults to answer God’s call to full-time Christian service. And it must focus on both starting new congregations and working to revitalize existing congregations. United Methodists have an approach to the gospel that 21st century people can and will respond to. Our hope is that United Methodist might be united around our common heritage and are theological and mission will convictions, so that we might be used by God to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.