Our Basic Beliefs
First United Methodist Church Dayton adheres to the faith and core values of our Christian heritage and United Methodist tradition. In brief form, we believe in:
The Trinity: The one, true, omnipotent God, Creator of all things, who exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Bible, the divinely inspired writings which reveal the true Word of God: the supreme, authoritative standard for faith and practice, to be received by the community of faith through the Holy Spirit as the sure guide to a personal relationship with the Lord and effective discipleship.
The value and dignity of all people who, though created in God’s image to live in joy and holiness, are separated from God and each other by sin and brokenness.
The powerful, undeserved, loving activity of God’s grace as God pursues us, seeking to redeem all persons in a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world.
Jesus, fully human and fully divine, who lived without sin as a perfect example, assumed the judgment due sinners by dying in our place, was raised from the dead, ascended to the heavenly Father, and offers salvation to all who repent and put their faith in Him as Lord of their lives.
The indwelling presence and transforming power of the Holy Spirit, who gives to all believers a new life, abundant and eternal, and equips us with spiritual gifts for our true calling to obedient discipleship and holy living.
The unity of all who honor Jesus as Lord in the Body of Christ; the Church manifesting the faith passed down first from the Apostles through worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, observance of the sacraments, fellowship, service within the Body, and witness and sacrificial outreach to others throughout the world.
The ultimate victorious reign and future return of Jesus Christ, who will judge all people with justice and mercy and honor the choices we have made, either for hell or for heaven and eternal communion in joy with God.
A Distinctive: Growing in Grace
We have inherited our basic beliefs from Christians who have gone before us and we respect diversity in theology. As long as our different perspectives are rooted in the essentials of the Christian faith and are consistent with the Scriptures, then these differences will enhance our understanding of God and challenge us all to grow in Christ. However, there is a distinctiveness to the Methodist movement begun in the 18th century that should be noted. We are emphatic about the central importance of GRACE.
Grace pervades our understanding of the Christian life. By “grace” we mean the powerful, undeserved, loving activity of God in human existence. We understand that grace is expressed in our lives in three basic ways: brining us to faith (prevenient grace), transforming us (justifying grace), and then nurturing us and drawing us toward perfect love (sanctifying grace)
First, we believe divine love surrounds all humanity at all times. This grace prompts our first wish to please God, our first glimmer of understanding concerning God’s will, and our first inkling of having sinned against God. Long before we reach out to God, God is persistently seeking us with love.
Second, we believe God reaches out to the repentant sinner with accepting and pardoning love. A decisive change in the human heart occurs under the prompting of grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to bring us into a right relationship with God as we accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives. This change is called “conversion” or “new birth”, and the new relationship with God is called “salvation”. 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.
Third, we believe faith in Christ is bound to be expressed in outward works of love; that personal salvation leads us to a mission of evangelical witness, caring service, and social action for human liberation, reconciliation, justice and peace. The underlying energy of the Wesleyan theological heritage stems from an emphasis on practical Christianity: the realization of authentic discipleship in the daily lives of believers. When faced with a decision, we are to ask ourselves: What would Jesus do? And then, as God through the Holy Spirit gives us guidance, we are to do it!