The Four Aspects regarding Baptism, The Twelve Church Doctrines and The Most Important Doctrine of All
The Doctrines of the Wesleyan Methodist Church are the Biblical truths which we must ‘hold on’ to and safeguard. In a world of shifting morals and beliefs, we need anchor points to ‘hold’ us in the truth.
When you read Paul’s letters known as Epistles in the Bible, every time he wrote at some point he had to deal with bad or false teaching (heresy) and the same is relevant today. Many may lead the church astray either through ignorance or deliberate distortion of Scripture. Thus we need to ‘hold on’ to what the Bible tells us.
We accept the teachings of the Bible in its entirety. Church Doctrines do not seek to replace the Bible, but with twelve short statements we seek to summarize the main truths.
The Four Aspects regarding Baptism
Baptism by full immersion in water for a co-death, co-burial, co-resurrection experience and testimony.
Baptism into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit which places the individual into a local expression of His Person, a local Church, baptized into a place of usefulness and submitted to delegated authority in that local church.
Baptism into Fullness or Entire Sanctification (Christian Perfection) by the fire of the Holy Spirit, to cleanse the heart from sin and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Baptism into the Holy Spirit for service with tongues as the initial evidence of that baptism and then availability to the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit manifesting and being exhibited through the life.
CHURCH DOCTRINE 1
The unity of the Godhead and the Trinity of the Persons in the Godhead.
The Bible reveals there is one God. It also shows that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are God. Therefore Christian teaching of the Trinity states that God exists eternally as three persons who, while distinct, are equally and fully God.
If we don’t believe in God, we fall at the first hurdle.
The Bible states there is one God. This stands in contrast to society in general who don’t believe in God.
Other world religions offer other and many ‘gods’. We need to be clear that the Bible says there is one true God; all others are false and ‘man-made’ (idols).
The Bible says that God exists as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is difficult to understand, but at the beginning of Scripture God says ‘let us make man in our image (Genesis 1:26).
A very simplistic way to understand this is to look at water. Water can exist in three states; liquid, solid form – ice, and as a vapor – steam. At each state the water is different in form and appearance, yet still water. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each distinct, yet each God.
Don’t be alarmed if you can’t understand everything about God, it is impossible to do so – he is God! He simply asks us to believe in Him. That is possible.
Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14.
CHURCH DOCTRINE 2
The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration, the eternal conscious blessedness of the redeemed in heaven and the eternal conscious doom of the finally impenitent in hell.
Every part of human nature is deeply damaged by the Fall. We are born with a powerful bias toward sin. God commands us to confess our sin and turn from it to him as our Savior and Lord. We require the new spiritual birth which the Holy Spirit gives. Any who refuse God’s command and offer of life will suffer everlasting separation from him in hell.
Every person, no matter how moral and good, will fall short of God’s standard because of a sinful nature (we have all done things we regret). Therefore being ‘good’ is not ‘good enough’.
Being religious doesn’t make us acceptable to God (many have tried that). Acceptance comes through a ‘right relationship’ with Him. This is achieved by confessing our sins, seeking to live according to God’s ways.
This is actually impossible humanly speaking, but God the Holy Spirit works in our lives so that we can become ‘new people’ and serve him.
Many reject God or want Him on their ‘terms’. We can’t bargain or argue with God. He has made a way for us to be forgiven. If we reject this, we reject God. Sadly, the alternative is an eternal hell without God.
God doesn’t want religious people, He wants people right with Him, not just for now, but forever!
Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2, Acts 20:21, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 20:11-15.
CHURCH DOCTRINE 3
The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ: his second coming and millennial reign upon earth.
God’s eternal Son was born to Mary, a virgin, from whom he received his humanity. Fully human, he was nonetheless without sin, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. Having lived with perfect holiness, he bore in his death the penalty of all others’ sin. After God the Father raised him from death he returned in triumph to heaven where he represents his people. He will come again to rule over the earth for a thousand years.
Jesus became human like us. But if he had been born through the sexual union of a man and woman, he would have inherited the sin problem common to us all. Therefore he needed to become human in a miraculous way. This was accomplished by the creative power of the Holy Spirit causing new life within Mary, so that a child was born to a virgin.
Being born without sin was not enough. Jesus, as he grew from childhood to a man, had to remain pure in his mind, attitude and his actions. Even if he had failed once, everything would have been lost!
The whole point of a sinless birth and life was that he could be a perfect sacrifice when he died for us. When he was crucified, all the sin ever committed was ‘laid’ on him (accounted to him) and Jesus was then punished for that sin (which was ours). He then died taking the full consequences for our sin.
God the Father was satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice and therefore, according to the Scriptures, Jesus rose from the dead, triumphing over it, as the first one to rise. He rose with a new, eternal body which one day all Christians will possess. One day, he will return to reign as King of Kings.
Jesus did all this for you. Just consider for a moment, how much he must love you.
Matthew 1:18-25, Hebrews 2:9, 1 Peter 2:21-24, Acts 2: 29-32.
CHURCH DOCTRINE 4
The justification and sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.
Through his life and death Jesus provided fully for our salvation. When we trust in him as our Savior we are completely forgiven and declared to be in right standing with God. We are now set apart for God. By the Holy Spirit’s power we can grow in the Christ-likeness God requires of us.
We could never in our own efforts make ourselves right with God; it is humanly impossible. Many religions try to do this but all will fail. It required that God did something which we couldn’t. Jesus died for us, taking our sin upon himself. When we believe this, God declares that we are forgiven and declared right with Him.
It is like a courtroom where someone pays the fine of the guilty person and the judge declares that since the crime has been paid for, the guilty person no longer has to face the consequences of the offence.
In addition to being declared ‘not guilty’ by God, he doesn’t leave us as being ‘just forgiven’, but calls us to be his people and live for him. God is holy and pure and he requires that we also follow him in this way. Not a ‘holier than thou’ attitude, but someone whose life reflects something of Jesus in every aspect. The Holy Spirit helps us to do this.
Imagine you were guilty of something and expecting to be condemned, but the one who was wronged says – “you are no longer guilty, but forgiven”. That’s what God has done for us, and more. He wants us to be set apart to serve him. Instead of being guilty, we are forgiven and accepted into the family.
Romans 3:21-24, 2Corinthians 3:17-18, Ephesians 4:23-24
CHURCH DOCTRINE 5 The fullness of the Holy Ghost for believers, with fruit following. This is also known as Entire Sanctification or Christian Perfection. Expanded Doctrine Clean hands and a pure heart. David prayed "Create in me a clean heart" Psalms 51:10-12. David didn't say "Impute to me a clean heart in thy sight, Oh Lord, but leave my sinful heart unchanged. Give me thy robe of thy righteousness to cover over my sinful nature like a whitewash because my sin shall have to remain that way until I die" No, of course David didn't say that, rather he said, "Create in me a clean heart". The Apostle John wrote that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). He also wrote in verse 8 that "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
Some people have been taught to interpret this statement in the sense that we are cleansed from all sin: past, present and future sins. If the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin, how can it be that we continue to commit sin? Either we are cleansed from all sin or we are not. I know that verse 8 says that "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." People who deny the fact of deliverance from sin like to turn this verse on those of us who understand this truth and accuse us of being deceived. However, verse 8 is addressed to people that deny their sinfulness and their need for salvation. It cannot mean that a sinless condition is not possible because verse 7 says that the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin.
If a person has been cleansed from all sin, how much sin can he have? For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Yes, all of us are tempted, but the temptation is not sin. The sin comes when we give in to the temptation. We have the promise that we can come to Christ in those times of temptation and He will have mercy on us and give us grace to help us overcome the temptation.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
God allows that temptation can be overcome if we will just submit to that "way of escape." So, see, it is a choice you get to make by virtue of the free will with which you were endowed by God. You choice is to allow the grace of God to strengthen you in the time of temptation so that you can go through and come out victorious. Thank God, it works. Useful Scriptures 1 John 1:7-9, Romans 6:1-2, 2 Corinthians 7:1, 1 Thess 5:23
CHURCH DOCTRINE 6
The baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.
God intends all Christians to know a definite experience of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This baptism will result in clear evidences of the Spirit’s work.
When we read the Bible there are many instances recorded where people had a definite experience of being filled by the Holy Spirit. This is how the church actually came into existence.
This continued right through the New Testament and there is no record of this ceasing. As a result, even today, people still have similar experiences. If people needed this baptism in Bible times, they still need it today.
This baptism is to give the individual a strength or power to live as a Christian and not for a novel/nice experience.
The initial sign and evidence is ‘speaking in tongues’ –speaking in an ‘unknown language’, which is clearly inspired by God.
Acts 2, Acts 10:44-48
CHURCH DOCTRINE 7
The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.
The Holy Spirit grants Christians supernatural abilities. Their use helps to build up, encourage and strengthen the church, a people in living union with Christ.
As we have discussed earlier the Holy Spirit empowers people to serve. Also he gives special gifts to help the Church. These gifts are extraordinary in their outworking. The early church in the Bible needed such gifts and today, we also need them to help us.
Today’s society is extremely complex and often confusing. The Church can be affected by many issues/situations which are potentially disrupting. God does not leave us alone; he knows we need encouraging and when this happens, God can dynamically work in a situation by using the gifts he has given.
1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 1 Corinthians 13:9-12
CHURCH DOCTRINE 8
The sacraments of baptism by immersion, and of the Lord’s Supper.
Jesus commanded that new believers be plunged in water to symbolize our sharing in the benefits of his saving work. His death and resurrection are the permanent basis of Christian life. Therefore he also ordained that he church should meet to remember him be eating bread and drinking wine as symbols of his body and blood.
Jesus himself was baptized not to repent of sin, but to identify himself with our humanity. It was a significant moment in his life and it is the same for us.
God recognizes that when we do an act it helps us to appreciate what the symbolic act means. By being baptized, it helps us understand something of the ‘death’ of our old life and the resurrection of our new one in serving Christ.
Similarly, with communion, this meal helps us to focus regularly and consider what Jesus accomplished when he died for us. It should be a special time of reflection and worship when we eat this meal.
Really no more need be said, other than Jesus told us to do it.
In a hectic world full of deadlines and pressure, God has helped us to remember him by partaking in a meal.
Matthew 28:19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Romans 6:3-14
CHURCH DOCTRINE 9
The divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible, comprising the Old and New Testaments, is God’s Word to us. The Holy Spirit created it by working with and through the human authors so that what they say, God says. Therefore the Bible is absolutely authoritative for right belief and behaviour.
If we do not accept the Bible as God’s word, then we are reading and applying something which is man-inspired. As a result, at its best is flawed, at its worst is disastrous.
The mystery of the Bible is that it was written over thousands of years by many different people, often writing in complete isolation of each other. But the Bible does not contradict itself, with prophecies made hundreds of years earlier being fulfilled. This gives the Bible its credibility and authenticity.
The Bible is a complete manual for living. What is especially relevant is that the Bible records people’s failures as well as their successes. It shows that God deals with real people and meets them at their point of need, remaining a Lord of mercy at all time.
The Bible is still a ‘best seller’ above all other books. There must be ‘something’ in it to make it the most read book.
2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21
CHURCH DOCTRINE 10
Church government by Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, Teachers.
Church leadership is provided by men with varying God-given ministries. They complement each other and together express Christ’s government of his church.
The Church is an organization (a group of people with a common purpose). Yet the church is unique because it comprises of God’s people, his church. It has a spiritual dimension which no other group of people have.
As a result, a straight copy of management structures from secular society would not be suitable or competent to deal with the things of God. Therefore, God has ‘gifted’ people in the church to lead it. These people are not ‘superhuman’ or promoted into positions, but God’s gift in them is recognized, nurtured and tested. When the person is found suitable, they may be ‘set’ into their place of ministry (serving).
If a church is run like a business with no spiritual awareness, then it would quickly become spiritually bankrupt. The church is a ‘living group’ to serve God, with leaders who ‘help’ people in that function.
Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-11
CHURCH DOCTRINE 11
The possibility of falling from grace.
God is faithful and gracious to his people, earnestly desiring and providing for our salvation. It is possible, however, for a Christian to forfeit salvation by a willful failure to continue in faith and obedience.
Many people think they can do what they like when they have become Christians, because they are ‘saved’. This is a misunderstanding of Scripture and an insult to God.
God has given us a free will. He has not created us as robots. Therefore we have a responsibility to follow God’s ways and serve him.
God has provided everything for us to follow him; his grace and the Holy Spirit, and he desires us to have a relationship with him. But a relationship is always two-way. If we fail and neglect God willfully, there is a danger that we break our relationship with him. This is the greatest tragedy.
If you had a friendship with someone who deliberately broke it and refused to have anything to do with you, who constantly offended and ignored you, how would you feel? I think God feels the same.
1 Corinthians 10:12, 1 Timothy 1:19, Hebrews 3:12
CHURCH DOCTRINE 12
The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.
It is our privilege and responsibility to give a tenth of our income to support God’s work. Further giving should result from increased prosperity and as we are faced both by opportunities to spread the Gospel and the world’s need.
God has given us everything; life, health and strength – and even our finances. People generally don’t like parting with money – to most, it is a precious limited resource. God, in reality, is not seeking to get our money, but our obedience and if we are obedient in this aspect he has promised to bless us far more. He can always ‘out-give’ us.
On a more ‘down-to-earth’ point, if people do not contribute financially to God’s church,
Who pays the Pastor’s wages?
Who pays for the church building?
Who pays for the maintenance of the building?
Who pays the bills?
Who helps out people in need?
Sadly, some people want everything for nothing (or at least 20 pence in the offering). God deserves far more, he has given us all we have in the first place.Useful Scriptures
The Most Important Doctrine of All
The most important of all and beyond our twelve doctrines
We believe that there is only one Head of The Church, Jesus (Jahoshua) the Christ, the Son of the living God (YHWH) and The Church is under the Headship of the Christ, The Church, which is the Body of Christ is one with The Word of God and The Holy Spirit of God and is the presence of God on the earth and the very fullness of Him. We also believe that Jerusalem is the only city on earth that should hold such a Head of The Church and will retain the only Headship of such an earthly Body known or revealed as The Church. All other representations we regard as apostate.