The reader is encouraged to go to The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church by clicking here. The Articles of Religion are based upon the interpretation of the Bible.
Just as creeds such as the Apostles’ Creed summarize the belief of all Christians, the Articles of Religion of The Methodist Church and the Confessions of Faith of The Evangelical United Brethren Church form a foundation of doctrine for United Methodists. They, along with Wesley’s Sermons on Several Occasions and Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, are “standards” of doctrine for United Methodists.
The Articles of Religion
When the Methodist movement in America became a church in 1784, John Wesley provided the American Methodists with a liturgy and a doctrinal statement, which contained twenty-four “Articles of Religion” or basic statements of belief. These Articles of Religion were taken from the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England—the church out of which the Methodism movement began—and had been the standards for preaching within the Methodist movement. When these articles were voted on by the American conference, an additional article was added regarding the American context, bringing the total number of articles to 25.
These articles became the basic standards for Christian belief in the Methodist church in North America. First published in the church’s Book of Discipline in 1790, the Articles of Religion have continued to be part of the church’s official statement of belief.”
The reader may learn of how these articles are applied in our modern society for the people of the United Methodist Church by reviewing the Social Principals and Creed of the United Methodist Church.
“The Social Principles, while not to be considered church law, are a prayerful and thoughtful effort on the part of the General Conference to speak to the human issues in the contemporary world from a sound biblical and theological foundation as historically demonstrated in United Methodist traditions. They are a call to faithfulness and are intended to be instructive and persuasive in the best of the prophetic spirit. The Social Principles are a call to all members of The United Methodist Church to a prayerful, studied dialogue of faith and practice. (See ¶ 509.)”
The social principals are parsed to speak about the Natural World and five communities: Nurturing, Social, Economic, Political and World.
In the Natural World division we express our duties and responsibilities as caretakers of the natural world.
In the Nurturing Community issues of The Family, Marriage, Divorce, Single Persons, Women and Men, Human Sexuality, and other topics of modern society are discussed. The reader is encouraged to review this material to understand our beliefs.
The Social Community division discusses the topics of Rights of Racial and Ethnic Groups, Rights of Religious Minorities, Rights of Children, Rights of Young People, Rights of the Aging and other subjects. Again the reader is encouraged to review these rights.
“We claim all economic systems to be under the judgment of God no less than other facets of the created order.”
The Economic Community addresses the issues of Property, Collective Bargaining, Work and Leisure, Consumption, Poverty, Foreign Workers, Gambling, Family Farms, Corporate Responsibility, Leisure, Trade and Investment, Graft and Corruption, and Public Indebtedness.
Basic Freedom and Human Rights, Political Responsibility, Church and State Relations, Freedom of Information, Education, Civil Obedience and Disobedience, the Death Penalty and other subjects are discussed in The Political Community.
In the last community–The World Community–considers the Methodist’s role in a world where “…Unity is thrust upon us by technology…” Thoughts about Nations and Culture, National Power and Responsibility, War and Peace, and Justice and Law are presented.