These are the core beliefs upon which the United Methodist church is founded:
- The Trinity: We believe there is one God, known to us in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- Jesus Christ: We believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, the image of the invisible God.
- The Resurrection: We believe that Jesus Christ lived, died upon the cross for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose from the dead.
- The Bible: We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. We believe that all that we need for salvation is found in the Holy Scriptures of the Bible.
- Free Will: We believe that all people are created with free will. While we seek God’s guidance and direction for our lives, God does not determine our actions. We are free to make our own decisions, and are responsible for our actions. This freedom includes the will to accept or reject Christ.
- Salvation by Faith Alone: We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. No amount of good works can save us.
- Good Works: Having accepted Christ, we naturally want to express our faith through good works. However, these good works are not a means to salvation.
- Sanctification: The first step in our faith journey is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and is often called “Justification”. Justification is the beginning of a lifelong process of becoming more Christ-like which is called sanctification.
- Ministry of All Believers: We are all gifted by God, and each of us has a calling to express those gifts as a part of the work of Christ and his church. Therefore we are all ministers of the Gospel.
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are the things that we consider to be central and essential to our faith as Christians. In this sense, Thornton Heights UMC is orthodox in its theology. You can read more at this link to the Foundational Documents of the United Methodist Church.
Although the United Methodist Church is orthodox in its theology, we are also proud to be a “Big Tent Church.” John Wesley, the founder of Methodism was quoted saying things like:
- “If your heart be as mine, then give me your hand.”
- “As to all things that do not strike at the root of Christianity, think and let think.”
- “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.”
In other words, United Methodists strive to be a welcoming family to everyone, even when at times we disagree with one another on “non-essential” issues. Thornton Heights UMC is part of a network called Reconciling Ministries which means our church voted to highlight our welcome of LGBTQ+ people (read in more detail below). Regardless of views, we encourage everyone to seek justice, healing and mercy for those “on the margins” just like Jesus did, and that includes our LGBTQ+ siblings.
Additional denominational information can be found at these links:
The Thornton Heights UMC is part of the Many Waters District
The Many Waters District is part of the New England Annual Conference
The New England Conference is part of the United Methodist Church