The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation so that whatever is not read therein, or is not proved thereby, is not to be required of anyone, and is not to be believed as an article of faith, or thought requisite or necessary to salvation. The sixty-six canonical books of the Old and New Testament constitute the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures are the inspired and infallible written Word of God, fully inerrant in their original manuscripts, and the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
CREATION AND HISTORICITY
The Genesis account of creation and early human history is to be accepted literally. God created man, animals, and plant life, and none of these were the result of an evolutionary process. God completed the creation process in six days and rested on the seventh day. God created man in His image and likeness, making man a unique creation and distinct from the rest of His creation.
There is one living and true God, eternally self‑existent; and in the unity of the Godhead are three persons of the same essence, attributes, and power: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
God the Father is infinite Spirit, sovereign, eternal, and unchangeable in all of His attributes. He is worthy of honor, adoration, and obedience.
Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, very God and very man, two whole and perfect natures; He truly suffered, was crucified, died, was buried, and arose bodily and victoriously over sin and death.
Jesus Christ is the only and the sufficient mediator between God and man, who by the sacrifice of Himself on the cross, provides atonement for the sins of the human race. Whoever believes on Him as personal Savior will be pardoned, forgiven and saved, and will have direct access to God through prayer.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is of one essence, majesty, and glory with the Father and Son, very and eternal God. He operates upon the sinner to bring conviction and gives assurance to the believer that he has passed from death to life. He regenerates, sanctifies, indwells, guides, instructs, and empowers those who yield to Him. He gives spiritual gifts to believers and enables them to live a holy life.
Man was created in the image of God, but through transgression fell from that holy state and thus incurred spiritual death and depravity. As man is the offspring of Adam, the nature of man is continually inclined to evil. He cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength nor through good works without the prevenient grace of God in Christ; but by the grace of God working in man and with man, he may by faith in the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ and repentance for sin be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and be justified, so that he is delivered from the power of sin and enabled to love and serve God with the will and the affections of the heart.
There is a conscious existence after death, either in heaven, an everlasting happiness in the presence of the Lord for the saved, or in hell, an everlasting torment separated from the very presence of God for all who reject salvation by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE SECOND COMING
After Jesus Christ arose from the dead and appeared on earth in a glorified body, He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God to make intercession. He will return literally, bodily, and personally to earth at God’s appointed time to judge and purge sin, to establish His reign on earth, and to fulfill His purposes in creation and redemption. This blessed hope of His Second Coming is a powerful incentive to holy living.
The universal church is all true believers regardless of church affiliation. The visible church is ordained as a congregation of the faithful in which the Word of God is preached, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper are duly administered, believers are built up in the faith, and the outreach ministry of the Great Commission is duly practiced.
Satan is a literal, personal being who is opposed to God’s work. He is the Author of evil, the Tempter of man, the Accuser of the saints, and the power behind all apostasy.
God is holy by reason of His glory, His purity, and His exaltation above others. His purpose in the believer is to purify the heart from sin and to renew His own moral image. By faith in Christ the believer is pardoned from the guilt of sin. In sanctification the Holy Spirit continues that transforming work of grace begun in regeneration, enabling the believer to live as one separated to God, thereby loving Him with his whole being, and separated from the sinful conduct of the world, thereby fulfilling the command, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.”
This doctrinal statement was established by the Board of Directors. An expanded statement of Biblical foundations is in the Southern Methodist Discipline and is available upon request.