Merriam-Webster gives a quick definition of doctrine as “a set of ideas or beliefs that are taught or believed to be true”. Do you go to church? If yes, do you know the doctrine of the church where you attend? Do you know the “set of ideas or beliefs” that set the foundation of who you are as a church?
One of the reasons we have different churches and denominations is because of doctrinal differences. Now this can be anywhere from the governing body of the church to how involved you believe God is on a day in and day out basis.
If you answered no, that you do not go to church, you still might want to read this post. Why you ask? Good question. It is because you too believe something. You too are running on a set of beliefs and ideas that you believe to be true. Do you know what they are? Do you know why you believe them?
“BMZ Carlisle” – or more fully, Barnitz and Mt. Zion – are two United Methodist congregations. We first and foremost are followers of Jesus Christ. We then submit to and follow the teachings of the United Methodist Church.
One of the things that I cherish most about connecting to the United Methodist Church is our rich heritage.
Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. (from UMC.org, the official online ministry of The United Methodist Church)
You can read more about this heritage here.
We also have doctrinal standards, which help make the church and the denomination what it is today.
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. (from UMC.org, the official online ministry of The United Methodist Church)
You can read more about our doctrinal standards here.
Our foundation is in Christ alone as a church, as the Church. How we define this and what it means for us as a denomination is brought together in our doctrine. For us, as United Methodists, it begins here in the four works that comprise the foundation.
What is your doctrine? Where can you find it? What does it mean? I encourage you to take some time this week and explore some of the above links and reflect on these questions.