History & Beliefs
Our History & Beliefs
The original Social Creed was adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1908 as a denominational statement decrying child labor and supporting the economic rights of workers, better workplace conditions, better wages and worker safety.
“The Methodist Social Creed originated...to express Methodism's outrage over the lives of the millions of workers in factories, mines, mills, tenements and company towns....The Methodist Federation for Social Service immediately took up the challenge of getting the 1908 General Conference to address the social crisis. The key strategy was to secure adoption of a statement on "The Church and Social Problems. " Proponents of the Social Creed came up with a "list of 11 social reforms the group believed the church should champion, including the abolition of child labor and an end to the sweatshop system." (Interpreter, April 1988)
The Social Creed was continually expanded and revised until, in 1972, it was completely redesigned and renamed the Social Principles.
In 2008, a poetic companion litany to the Social Creed was adopted.
The Preamble of the Social Principles
We, the people called United Methodists, affirm our faith in God our Creator and Father, in Jesus Christ our Savior, and in the Holy Spirit, our Guide and Guard.
We acknowledge our complete dependence upon God in birth, in life, in death, and in life eternal. Secure in God’s love, we affirm the goodness of life and confess our many sins against God’s will for us as we find it in Jesus Christ. We have not always been faithful stewards of all that has been committed to us by God the Creator. We have been reluctant followers of Jesus Christ in his mission to bring all persons into a community of love. Though called by the Holy Spirit to become new creatures in Christ, we have resisted the further call to become the people of God in our dealings with each other and the earth on which we live.
Grateful for God’s forgiving love, in which we live and by which we are judged, and affirming our belief in the inestimable worth of each individual, we renew our commitment to become faithful witnesses to the gospel, not alone to the ends of earth, but also to the depths of our common life and work.
To read the full text of the Social Principles, please follow this link to the United Methodist Conference informational pages: UMC.org Archives .
What United Methodists Believe
We believe that God is understood in three unique forms. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are commonly used to refer to the threefold nature of God. Sometimes we use other terms such as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
We believe in one God, who created the world and all that is in it. We believe that God is sovereign; that is, God is the ruler of the universe. We believe that God is loving. We can experience God’s love and grace.
We believe that Jesus was human. He lived as a man and died when he was crucified. We believe that Jesus is divine. He is the Son of God. We believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that the risen Christ lives today. We believe that Jesus is our Savior. In Christ we receive abundant life and forgiveness of sins. We believe that Jesus is Lord and that we are called to pattern our lives after his.
We believe that the Holy Spirit is God with us. We believe that the Holy Spirit comforts us when we are in need and convicts us when we stray from God. We believe that the Holy Spirit awakens us to God’s will and empowers us to live obediently.
We believe that God created human beings in God’s image. We believe that humans can choose to accept or reject a relationship with God. We believe that all humans need to be in a relationship with God in order to be fully human.
We believe that the church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today. We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
We believe that the church is the “communion of the saints,” a community made up of all past, present and future disciples of Christ. We believe the church is called to worship God and support those who participate in its life as they grow in faith.
We believe that the Bible is God’s word. We believe the Bible is the primary authority for our faith and practice.
We believe that Christians need to know and study the Old Testament and the New Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Scriptures).