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FAQ | Beliefs and Social Issues

  1. Our Wesleyan Heritage / Nuestra Herencia Wesleyana
  2. Beliefs
  3. Doctrinal Standards
  4. For more FAQ, please visit: UMC Archives. Or you can always contact us.

Our Wesleyan Heritage

Although Wesley shared with many other Christians a belief in grace, justification, assurance, and sanctification, he combined them in a powerful manner to create distinctive emphases for living the full Christian life. The Evangelical United Brethren tradition, particularly as expressed by Phillip William Otterbein from a Reformed background, gave similar distinctive emphases.

Grace pervades our understanding of Christian faith and life. By grace we mean the undeserved, unmerited, and loving action of God in human existence through the ever-present Holy Spirit. While the grace of God is undivided, it precedes salvation as "prevenient grace," continues in "justifying grace," and is brought to fruition in "sanctifying grace."

We assert that God's grace is manifest in all creation even though suffering, violence, and evil are everywhere present. The goodness of creation is fulfilled in human beings, who are called to covenant partnership with God. God has endowed us with dignity and freedom and has summoned us to responsibility for our lives and the life of the world.

In God's self-revelation, Jesus Christ, we see the splendor of our true humanity. Even our sin, with its destructive consequences for all creation, does not alter God's intention for us—holiness and happiness of heart. Nor does it diminish our accountability for the way we live.

Despite our brokenness, we remain creatures brought into being by a just and merciful God. The restoration of God's image in our lives requires divine grace to renew our fallen nature.

Prevenient Grace — We acknowledge God's prevenient grace, the divine love that surrounds all humanity and precedes any and all of our conscious impulses. This grace prompts our first wish to please God, our first glimmer of understanding concerning God's will, and our "first slight transient conviction" of having sinned against God.

God's grace also awakens in us an earnest longing for deliverance from sin and death and moves us toward repentance and faith.

Justification and Assurance — We believe God reaches out to the repentant believer in justifying grace with accepting and pardoning love. Wesleyan theology stresses that a decisive change in the human heart can and does occur under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

In justification we are, through faith, forgiven our sin and restored to God's favor. This righting of relationships by God through Christ calls forth our faith and trust as we experience regeneration, by which we are made new creatures in Christ.

This process of justification and new birth is often referred to as conversion. Such a change may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning, yet it is part of an ongoing process. Christian experience as personal transformation always expresses itself as faith working by love.

Our Wesleyan theology also embraces the scriptural promise that we can expect to receive assurance of our present salvation as the Spirit "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."

Justification and Assurance — We believe God reaches out to the repentant believer in justifying grace with accepting and pardoning love. Wesleyan theology stresses that a decisive change in the human heart can and does occur under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

In justification we are, through faith, forgiven our sin and restored to God's favor. This righting of relationships by God through Christ calls forth our faith and trust as we experience regeneration, by which we are made new creatures in Christ.

This process of justification and new birth is often referred to as conversion. Such a change may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning, yet it is part of an ongoing process. Christian experience as personal transformation always expresses itself as faith working by love.

Our Wesleyan theology also embraces the scriptural promise that we can expect to receive assurance of our present salvation as the Spirit "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."

Sanctification and Perfection — We hold that the wonder of God's acceptance and pardon does not end God's saving work, which continues to nurture our growth in grace. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to increase in the knowledge and love of God and in love for our neighbor.

New birth is the first step in this process of sanctification. Sanctifying grace draws us toward the gift of Christian perfection, which Wesley described as a heart "habitually filled with the love of God and neighbor" and as "having the mind of Christ and walking as he walked."

This gracious gift of God's power and love, the hope and expectation of the faithful, is neither warranted by our efforts nor limited by our frailties.

Faith and Good Works — We see God's grace and human activity working together in the relationship of faith and good works. God's grace calls forth human response and discipline. Faith is the only response essential for salvation. However, the General Rules remind us that salvation evidences itself in good works. For Wesley, even repentance should be accompanied by "fruits meet for repentance," or works of piety and mercy.

Both faith and good works belong within an all-encompassing theology of grace, since they stem from God's gracious love "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit."

Mission and Service — We insist that personal salvation always involves Christian mission and service to the world. By joining heart and hand, we assert that personal religion, evangelical witness, and Christian social action are reciprocal and mutually reinforcing. Scriptural holiness entails more than personal piety; love of God is always linked with love of neighbor, a passion for justice and renewal in the life of the world.

The General Rules represent one traditional expression of the intrinsic relationship between Christian life and thought as understood within the Wesleyan tradition. Theology is the servant of piety, which in turn is the ground of social conscience and the impetus for social action and global interaction, always in the empowering context of the reign of God.

Nurture and Mission of the Church — Finally, we emphasize the nurturing and serving function of Christian fellowship in the Church. The personal experience of faith is nourished by the worshiping community. For Wesley there is no religion but social religion, no holiness but social holiness. The communal forms of faith in the Wesleyan tradition not only promote personal growth; they also equip and mobilize us for mission and service to the world.

The outreach of the church springs from the working of the Spirit. As United Methodists, we respond to that working through a connectional polity based upon mutual responsiveness and accountability. Connectional ties bind us together in faith and service in our global witness, enabling faith to become active in love and intensifying our desire for peace and justice in the world.

Herencia Wesleyana. Énfasis Wesleyanos Particulares.

Aun cuando Wesley compartía con muchos otros cristianos la creencia en la gracia, la justificación, la seguridad y la santificación, él las combinó de un modo poderoso creando así un énfasis particular de cómo vivir la vida cristiana en plenitud. La tradición evangélica de los Hermanos Unidos, especialmente según la expresó Philip William Otterbein, de trasfondo reformado, ofreció énfasis particulares similares.

La gracia domina nuestro entendimiento de la fe y vida cristiana. Por gracia entendemos la acción inmerecida y amorosa de Dios en la existencia humana mediante el Espíritu Santo quien está siempre presente. Aunque la gracia de Dios es indivisible, ésta precede a la salvación como gracia preveniente, continúa como gracia justificadora, y culmina como gracia santificadora.

Afirmamos que la gracia divina se manifiesta en toda la creación aun cuando el sufrimiento, la violencia y el mal están presentes en todas partes. La bondad de la creación encuentra cumplimiento en los seres humanos, quienes están llamados a una relación de pacto con Dios. Dios nos ha dotado de dignidad y libertad y nos ha llamado a ser responsables por nuestras vidas y por la vida del mundo.

En la autorrevelación de Dios, Jesucristo, vemos el esplendor de nuestra verdadera humanidad. Aún nuestro pecado, con sus consecuencias destructivas de toda la creación, no altera la intención de Dios respecto a nosotros—santidad y felicidad de corazón. Ni limita tampoco nuestra responsabilidad por la manera en que vivimos.

A pesar de nuestro quebrantamiento, somos criaturas creadas por un Dios justo y misericordioso. La restauración de la imagen de Dios en nuestras vidas requiere gracia divina que renueve nuestra naturaleza caída.

La Gracia Preveniente — Reconocemos la gracia preveniente de Dios, el amor divino que rodea a toda la humanidad y que precede todos y cualquiera de nuestros impulsos conscientes. Esta gracia aviva nuestro primer deseo de agradar a Dios, nuestro primer atisbo de entendimiento de la voluntad de Dios y nuestra primera convicción, ligera y transitoria, de haber pecado contra Dios.

La gracia de Dios también despierta en nosotros un ansia de ser librados del pecado y de la muerte y nos mueve hacia el arrepentimiento y la fe.

Justificación y Seguridad — Creemos que Dios alcanza al creyente arrepentido con su gracia justificadora y su amor que le acepta y perdona. La teología wesleyana enfatiza que un cambio decisivo puede ocurrir y ocurre en el corazón humano bajo el estímulo de la gracia y la dirección del Espíritu Santo.

Mediante la fe, al ser justificados nuestros pecados son perdonados y somos restaurados al favor de Dios. Dios, al corregir nuestras relaciones mediante Cristo, despierta nuestra fe y esperanza al experimentar la regeneración mediante la cual somos hechos nuevas criaturas en Cristo.

Este proceso de justificación y nuevo nacimiento frecuentemente es llamado conversión. Tal cambio puede ser súbito y dramático, o gradual y cumulativo. Marca un nuevo comienzo, pero es parte de un proceso continuado. La experiencia cristiana de transformación personal siempre se manifiesta como fe que obra en amor.

Nuestra teología wesleyana también abraza la promesa bíblica de que podemos esperar recibir seguridad de nuestra salvación presente, cuando el Espíritu da testimonio a nuestro espíritu de que somos hijos de Dios.

Santificación y Perfección — Afirmamos que la maravilla de la aceptación y perdón de parte de Dios no es el final de la obra redentora de Dios, sino que ésta continúa nutriendo nuestro crecimiento en gracia. Mediante el poder del Espíritu Santo, se nos capacita para crecer en el conocimiento y amor de Dios y en el amor de nuestro prójimo.

El nuevo nacimiento es el primer paso en este proceso de santificación. La gracia santificadora nos lleva hacia el don de la perfección cristiana, la que Wesley describió como el corazón habitualmente lleno de amor a Dios y al prójimo y tener la mente de Cristo y andar como él anduvo.

Este don gratuito del poder y amor de Dios, esperanza y expectación de los fieles, ni lo merecemos por nuestros esfuerzos, ni se ve limitado por nuestras flaquezas.

Fe y Buenas Obras — Vemos la gracia divina y la actividad humana obrando juntas en la relación entre fe y buenas obras. La gracia de Dios promueve la respuesta y disciplina humanas.

La fe es la única respuesta esencial para la salvación. Sin embargo, las Reglas Generales nos recuerdan que la salvación se hace patente mediante las buenas obras. Para Wesley, aun el arrepentimiento debe ser acompañado de frutos dignos de arrepentimiento u obras de piedad y misericordia.

Tanto la fe como las buenas obras son parte de una teología de la gracia que lo incluye todo, puesto que ambas surgen del amor gratuito de Dios derramado en nuestros corazones por el Espíritu Santo.

Misión y Servicio — Insistimos que la salvación personal siempre envuelve la misión cristiana y el servicio al mundo. Al vincular el corazón y la mano, afirmamos que la religión personal, el testimonio evangélico y la acción social cristiana son recíprocos y se refuerzan mutuamente.

La santidad bíblica implica más que piedad personal; el amor de Dios está siempre vinculado con el amor al prójimo, una pasión por la justicia y renovación en la vida del mundo.

Las Reglas Generales representan una expresión tradicional de la relación intrínseca entre la vida y el pensamiento cristiano según ésta se entiende en la tradición wesleyana. La teología es sierva de la piedad, y ésta es a su vez la base de la conciencia social y el ímpetu para la acción social y la interacción global, siempre dentro del contexto capacitador del reinado de Dios.

Naturaleza y Misión de la iglesia — Finalmente, enfatizamos la función nutricia y de servicio de la fraternidad cristiana en la iglesia. La experiencia personal de fe se nutre en la comunidad de adoración.

Para Wesley no hay otra religión que la religión social, ni otra santidad que la santidad social. Las formas comunitarias de fe en la tradición wesleyana no solamente promueven el desarrollo personal; también nos capacitan y movilizan para nuestra misión y servicio al mundo.

La extensión de la iglesia surge de la acción del Espíritu. Como metodistas unidos respondemos a esa acción mediante una política conexional basada en nuestra mutua responsabilidad. Los lazos conexionales nos unen en fe y servicio en nuestro testimonio global, lo que hace que la fe se torne activa en el amor e intensifique nuestro deseo de que haya paz y justicia en el mundo.

Beliefs

United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. According to our foundational statement of beliefs in The Book of Discipline, we share the following basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities:

Trinity

We describe God in three persons. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are commonly used to refer to the threefold nature of God. Sometimes we use other terms, such as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

Excerpt from What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Theology (Discipleship Resources, 2002), p. 13.

God

  • We believe in one God, who created the world and all that is in it.
  • We believe that God is sovereign; that is, God is the ruler of the universe.
  • We believe that God is loving. We can experience God’s love and grace.

Excerpt from What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Theology (Discipleship Resources, 2002), p. 13.

Jesus

  • We believe that Jesus was human. He lived as a man and died when he was crucified.
  • We believe that Jesus is divine. He is the Son of God.
  • We believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that the risen Christ lives today. (Christ and messiah mean the same thing—God’s anointed.)
  • We believe that Jesus is our Savior. In Christ we receive abundant life and forgiveness of sins.
  • We believe that Jesus is our Lord and that we are called to pattern our lives after his.

Excerpt from What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Theology (Discipleship Resources, 2002), p. 13-14.

The Holy Spirit

  • We believe that the Holy Spirit is God with us.
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit comforts us when we are in need and convicts us when we stray from God.
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit awakens us to God’s will and empowers us to live obediently.

Excerpt from What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Theology (Discipleship Resources, 2002), p. 14.

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 be fully human.

Excerpt from What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Theology (Discipleship Resources, 2002), p. 14.

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.
  • 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.

Excerpt from What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Theology (Discipleship Resources, 2002), p. 14.

The Bible

  • We believe that the Bible is God’s Word.
  • We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • We believe that the Bible is the primary authority for our faith and practice.
  • We believe that Christians need to know and study the Old Testament and the New Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures).

Excerpt from What Every Teacher Needs to Know About Theology (Discipleship Resources, 2002), p. 15.

The Reign of God

  • We believe that the kingdom or reign of God is both a present reality and future hope.
  • We believe that wherever God's will is done, the kingdom or reign of God is present. It was present in Jesus' ministry, and it is also present in our world whenever persons and communities experience reconciliation, restoration, and healing.
  • We believe that although the fulfillment of God's kingdom--the complete restoration of creation--is still to come.
  • We believe that the church is called to be both witness to the vision of what God's kingdom will be like and a participant in helping to bring it to completion.
  • We believe that the reign of God is both personal and social. Personally, we display the kingdom of God as our hearts and minds are transformed and we become more Christ-like. Socially, God's vision for the kingdom includes the restoration and transformation of all of creation.

Adapted from Who Are We? Leader's Guide, p. 28.

Sacraments

With many other Protestants, we recognize the two sacraments in which Christ himself participated: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Baptism

  • Through baptism we are joined with the church and with Christians everywhere.
  • Baptism is a symbol of new life and a sign of God's love and forgiveness of our sins.
  • Persons of any age can be baptized.
  • We baptize by sprinkling, immersion or pouring.
  • A person receives the sacrament of baptism only once in his or her life.

The Lord's Supper (Communion, Eucharist)

  • The Lord's Supper is a holy meal of bread and wine that symbolizes the body and blood of Christ.
  • The Lord's Supper recalls the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and celebrates the unity of all the members of God's family.
  • By sharing this meal, we give thanks for Christ's sacrifice and are nourished and empowered to go into the world in mission and ministry.
  • We practice "open Communion," welcoming all who love Christ, repent of their sin, and seek to live in peace with one another.

Doctrinal Standards

Article I—Of Faith in the Holy Trinity

There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Article II — Of the Word, or Son of God, Who Was Made Very Man

The Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided; whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

Article III — Of the Resurrection of Christ

Christ did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.

Article IV — Of the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

Article V — Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation

The Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament of whose authority was never any doubt in the church. The names of the canonical books are:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The First Book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of Chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, Cantica or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the Greater, Twelve Prophets the Less.

All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.

Article VI — Of the Old Testament

The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.

Article VIII — Of Free Will

The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

Article IX — Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

Article X — Of Good Works

Although good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.

Article XI — Of Works of Supererogation

Voluntary works—besides, over and above God's commandments—which they call works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is required; whereas Christ saith plainly: When you have done all that is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.

Article XII — Of Sin After Justification

Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live here; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

Article XIII — Of the Church

The visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

Article XIV — Of Purgatory

The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.

Article XV — Of Speaking in the Congregation in Such a Tongue as the People Understand

It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understood by the people.

Article XVI — Of the Sacraments

Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men's profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God's good will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.

Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel; being such as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the apostles, and partly are states of life allowed in the Scriptures, but yet have not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, because they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St. Paul saith.

Article XVII — Of Baptism

Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.

Article XVIII — Of the Lord's Supper

The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.

Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.

The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was not by Christ's ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.

Article XIX — Of Both Kinds

The cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people; for both the parts of the Lord's Supper, by Christ's ordinance and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christians alike.

Article XX — Of the One Oblation of Christ, Finished upon the Cross

The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit.

Article XXI — Of the Marriage of Ministers

The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God's law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve best to godliness.

Article XXII — Of the Rites and Ceremonies of Churches

It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church to which he belongs, which are not repugnant to the Word of God, and are ordained and approved by common authority, ought to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like, as one that offendeth against the common order of the church, and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren.

Every particular church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to edification.

Article XXIII — Of the Rulers of the United States of America

The President, the Congress, the general assemblies, the governors, and the councils of state, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the Constitution of the United States and by the constitutions of their respective states. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.

Article XXIV — Of Christian Men's Goods

The riches and goods of Christians are not common as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

Article XXV — Of a Christian Man's Oath

As we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ and James his apostle, so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet's teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth.

[The following Article from the Methodist Protestant Discipline is placed here by the Uniting Conference (1939). It was not one of the Articles of Religion voted upon by the three churches.]

Of Sanctification

Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.

[The following provision was adopted by the Uniting Conference (1939). This statement seeks to interpret to our churches in foreign lands Article XXIII of the Articles of Religion. It is a legislative enactment but is not a part of the Constitution. (See Judicial Council Decisions 41, 176, and Decision 6, Interim Judicial Council.)]

Of the Duty of Christians to the Civil Authority

It is the duty of all Christians, and especially of all Christian ministers, to observe and obey the laws and commands of the governing or supreme authority of the country of which they are citizens or subjects or in which they reside, and to use all laudable means to encourage and enjoin obedience to the powers that be.