United Methodist preaching and teaching is grounded in Scripture, informed by Christian tradition, enlivened in personal experience, and tested by reason. United Methodists are part of the larger Christian faith and affirm all of the historic beliefs of the faith as articulated in the historic creeds of the church. We affirm the God of Israel who has been decisively revealed in Jesus of Nazareth and continues to be present and at work in our lives in the form of the Holy Spirit. This understanding of God is known as the Trinity. We believe that God has been revealed through the Bible, and especially through the witness of the New Testament.
Scripture – The holy Bible is our primary source for Christian doctrine. Biblical authors testify to God’s self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as in God’s work of creation, and in the Holy Spirit’s ongoing activity in human history.
Tradition – Our attempt to understand God does not start anew with each generation or each person. Our faith also does not leap from New Testament times to the present as though nothing could be learned from all Christian thinkers and preachers in between. We learn from traditions found in many cultures, but Scripture remains the norm by which all traditions are judged.
Experience – In our theological task, we examine experience, both personal and church-wide, to confirm the realities of God’s grace attested in Scripture. Experience is the personal appropriation of God’s forgiving and empowering grace. Experience authenticates in our own lives the truths revealed in Scripture and preserved in tradition.
Reason – Although we recognize that God’s revelation and our experiences of God’s grace continually surpass the scope of reason, we also believe that disciplined theological work calls for the careful use of reason. By reason we read and interpret Scripture. By reason we determine whether our Christian witness is clear. By reason we ask questions of faith and seek to understand God’s action and will.