United Methodists share many of the same beliefs with other Christian denominations. We don't see other congregations and denominations as competitors but as members of the same family in Christ. We don't let our differences spoil our unity as sisters and brothers in faith.
What We Believe + Teach
The resurrection of jesus
The most important moment in history was the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead, revealing that his death on the cross was not a defeat but a victory. His empty tomb and resurrection are the promise of a resurrection to come for all who put their faith in him -- on that day when God restores all things.
god as trinity
Like most Christian denominations, United Methodists believe scripture reveals God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is called the Trinity, a Tri-Unity. As three, they are co-eternal and of one purpose, will, and love.
Like all Christians, United Methodists see the Bible as our foundational document. Its authority comes from God's authority, giving us "all things necessary to salvation." We also believe that God's Word and God's World speak in harmony, and we look for ways in which the Bible and science can complement -- rather than compete with -- each other. We accept the historic Christian creeds, such as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, as summaries of the biblical faith.
Salvation by grace through faith
As sinning people, we cannot earn our way back into a right relationship with God. But we can receive that right relationship with God as a gift of his love. That's what grace is -- a gift. And receiving it is an act of faith when we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In this salvation we are forgiven of our sins, given new birth as God's children, and continually transformed as Jesus's deep, daring, daily disciples.
United Methodists see communion as a sacrament, a holy mystery in which the presence of Jesus is made real to us. United Methodists practice open communion, which means we do not believe it is our place to say who can or cannot receive the bread and cup at Jesus's table. We extend the invitation and let each person decide. We allow children to receive communion on the basis of their faith in Jesus, as appropriate for their age.
We want baptism to unite us, rather than divide us. That's why we welcome for baptism infants and children of believing parents, as well as students and adults who profess their faith in Jesus. We do not believe baptism is required for salvation or accomplishes salvation. Like communion it is a sacrament that speaks God's promises to us, and by these waters we are marked as belonging to the family of Jesus's people. For this reason, we do not believe it's appropriate to re-baptize anyone.
Our baptism service for infants and children looks forward to the day when they will profess their faith for themselves and choose to lead a Christian life. We hold confirmation classes for students in their eighth grade year to prepare them for that profession and for a life of faith. Students take these classes with a parent, and at the end of the classes, it is each student's choice whether to declare their discipleship to Jesus and make their partnership promise at FaithWestwood.