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The ‘Four Alls Of Methodism’ For Today

My church at Knaphill is redesigning its website. I’ve been asked to write a ‘Statement of Faith’ for it. While Methodism doesn’t generally produce doctrinal statements in the way many Christian organisations have since around Victorian times, I have drafted something based on core Methodist beliefs. This is what I have come up with – although I’m sure it will need tweaking:

What do we believe? The Methodist Church holds the same basic beliefs as all the major Christian traditions. These are summarised in documents such as the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.

We are historically connected to the Protestant Reformation, and John Wesley was particularly influenced by the warm devotion of Moravianism and Arminianism’s stress on human free will.

In particular, historic Methodist belief can be summed up as ‘Four Alls’:

All need to be saved
All can be saved
All can know they are saved
All can be saved to the uttermost

What do these mean? Here is a brief outline:

All need to be saved
We believe that human selfishness (‘sin’, if you want the religious word) separates us from God and makes us deserving of divine judgement.

We are unable to change this of ourselves, but God can. Jesus’ death on the Cross absorbs the power of evil and the cost of forgiveness, putting us right with God. His resurrection gives us new life.

Our response is to trust this good news and turn away from our selfish ways of living in gratitude for what God has done in Jesus.

All can be saved
We believe no-one is beyond the possibilities of God’s transforming love. This good news is for everyone. God does not exclude anyone from the offer of his love. That means you and me!

All can know they are saved
What’s more, God wants us to be sure that he loves us. We believe God wants us to have that assurance. It comes through both the promises God makes us in the Bible and in an inner personal experience of God’s love through the Holy Spirit.

All can be saved to the uttermost
The Christian life isn’t just about being forgiven now and waiting for heaven. It’s about our lives being changed for the better here and now. We believe God wants to do that through the power of the Holy Spirit. We want to live differently as a sign of gratitude for God’s love. We want to make a difference in the world as a result.

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