What We Believe
ARTICLES Of RELIGION
METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH
I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity
There is but one living and true God, everlasting, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, 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.
II. Of the Word or the 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 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 us to God, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for the actual sins of men.
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 returns to judge all men at the last day.
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.
V. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation
The Holy Scriptures contain 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 Scriptures, 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 Song 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.
VI. Of the Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for in both 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 for only 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 obedience of the commandments which are called moral.
VII. Of Original Sin
Original sin is the corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.
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 enabling us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.
IX. Of Justification
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Savior 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.
X. 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.
XI. 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 judgments; yet they are 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.
XII. Of Works Of Supererogation
Voluntary works-besides, over and above God’s commandments-which are called 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 a bounden duty is required: whereas, Christ saith plainly, “When you have done all that is commanded of you, say ‘We are unprofitable servants.’”
XIII. 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.
XIV. 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 ordinances duly administered according to Christ’s command in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.
XV. 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.
XVI. Of Speaking
It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have the public prayer in the church or to minister the ordinances, in a tongue not understood by the people.
XVII. Of The Ordinances
Ordinances of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s professions; 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 ordinances of Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord.
XVIII. 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.
XIX. 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 an ordinance 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 the 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, and overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, 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 means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.
The Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.
XX. 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.
XXI. Of The One Oblation Of Christ Finished On 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.
XXII. Of The Resurrection Of The Dead
There will be a general resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust, at which time the souls and bodies of men will be reunited to receive together a just retribution for the deeds done in the body in this life.
XXIII. Of The General Judgment
There will be a General Judgment at the end of the world, when God will judge all men by Jesus Christ, and receive the righteous unto his heavenly kingdom, where they shall be forever secure and happy; and adjudge the wicked to everlasting punishment suited to the demerit of their sins.
XXIV. Of The Marriage of Ministers
The ministers of Christ are not commanded by God’s laws either to vow the state 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.
XXV. 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.
XXVI. Of the Rulers of the United States of America
The President, the Congress, the General Assemblies, the Governors and the Councils of States, 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 the respective states. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation.
XXVII. 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.
XXVIII. 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 or affirm, when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet’s teachings, in justice judgment and truth.
(Note affixed by the General Conference at Baltimore, 1884.)
These articles of religion set forth the doctrinal teaching of the Methodist Protestant Church, and those people who enter the ministry thereof thereby avow their acceptance of the teachings thus formulated; and good faith towards the church forbids any teaching on their part which is at variance with them.