What We Believe
What We Believe as United Methodists
Practical and Responsible Christianity
Theology is our effort to reflect upon God’s gracious action in our lives. In response to the love of Christ, we desire to be drawn into a deeper relationship with “faith’s pioneer and perfecter.” Our theological explorations seek to give expression to the mysterious reality of God’s presence, peace, and power in the world. By so doing, we attempt to articulate more clearly our understanding of the divine-human encounter and are thereby more fully prepared to participate in God’s work in the world.
The theological task, though related to the Church’s doctrinal expressions, serves a different function. Our doctrinal affirmations assist us in the discernment of Christian truth in ever-changing contexts. Our theological task includes the testing, renewal, elaboration, and application of our doctrinal perspective in carrying out our calling “to spread scriptural holiness over these lands.”
While the Church considers its doctrinal affirmations a central feature of its identity and restricts official changes to a constitutional process, the Church encourages serious reflection across the theological spectrum. As United Methodists, we are called to identify the needs both of individuals and of society and to address those needs out of the resources of Christian faith in a way that is clear, convincing, and effective. Theology serves the Church by interpreting the world’s needs and challenges to the Church and by interpreting the gospel to the world.
Listening for the Holy Spirit
Methodists believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason.
As United Methodists, we uphold Scripture as the foundational source for Christian doctrine and our knowledge of the Triune God. We believe that Scripture is a means of grace, “received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice” (Confession of Faith). Scripture bears true and authentic witness to God’s self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It bears testimony to Holy Spirit’s ongoing activity in human history, in God’s work of creation, in the deliverance of Israel, and in the birth and continual growth of the Church.
In Scripture, we encounter Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and open ourselves to the transforming wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We affirm the Bible as the sacred scriptural canon for Christian people, following the historical councils of the ecumenical Church. Our doctrinal standards identify as canonical thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament.
As we encounter the Word of God through the words of human beings inspired by the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge that it is impossible to interpret Scripture in a vacuum. Faithful Christians properly read Scripture within community. Likewise, we claim no authority over Scripture, but rather humbly open ourselves to be transformed by the truth of the biblical message. To discern the meaning of Scripture and its bearing on our own lives and the life of the world, it is necessary to engage the interpretive lenses of experience, reason, and tradition, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These influences are, along with Scripture, indispensable to our theological task.
Our Stance as an Inclusive Congregation
Trinity United Methodist Church is committed to the inclusion of all people in the life of the church. We especially welcome individuals who have often been excluded from faith communities. Trinity recognizes the pain that has been experienced by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ+) community and acknowledges that often the damage has been inflicted in the name of God. We reject all forms of discrimination and bigotry. It is our desire to be a community of grace for all of God’s children. Trinity has many members who are passionate about actively standing against injustices done to the LGBT community and we fully support their desire to live out their passion to change the United Methodist Church. We also recognize the issues surrounding homosexuality are complex and the church is not of one mind on all issues. Diversity is not simply about gender, ethnic background or socio-economics but also includes a variety of ideas and opinions. Trinity United Methodist Church affirms that through God’s redeeming love for all, we are one in Christ. We respect the inherent and valuable contributions each member makes to the Body of Christ. We celebrate our diversity and recognize the sacred worth and dignity of all persons regardless of gender, race, age, culture, religious or ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic circumstance, educational background, family configuration, and difference in ability.