The father of Methodism
THE METHODIST PORTRAIT
“Methodist is one who has ‘the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him’; one who ‘loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength.’ God is the joy of his heart, and the desire of his soul; which is constantly crying out, ‘Whom have I in Heaven but thee?.
These are the principles and practices of our sect; these are the marks of a true Methodist. By these alone do those who are in derision so called, desire to be distinguished from other men. If any man say: ‘Why, these are only the common, fundamental principles of Christianity!’ thou hast said; so I mean; this is the very truth; I know they are no other; and I would to God both thou and all men knew, that I, and all who follow my judgment, do vehemently refuse to be distinguished from other men, by any but the common principles of Christianity – the plain, old Christianity that I teach, renouncing and detesting all other marks of distinction.
The Methodist rejoices evermore, prays without ceasing, and in everything gives thanks. His heart is full of love to all mankind and is purified from envy, wrath, malice, and every unkind affection. His one desire and the design of his life are not to do his own will but the will of him that send him. He keeps all God’s commandments from the least to the greatest. He follows not the customs of the world, for vice does not lose its nature through becoming fashionable.
He fares not sumptuously every day. He cannot lay up treasures upon earth, nor can he adorn himself with gold and costly apparel. He cannot join in any diversion that has the least tendency to vice. He cannot speak evil of his neighbor any more than he can lie. He cannot utter unkind or evil words. He does good unto all men, unto neighbors, strangers, friends and enemies.
The Methodist doctrinal standards identify as a canonical thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. It also affirms the Bible as the source of all that is “necessary” and “sufficient” unto salvation and “is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice”.
Methodists share with other Christians the conviction that Scripture is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. Through Scripture the Living Christ meets us in the experience of redeeming grace. The people called Methodists are convinced that Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God in our midst whom we trust in life and death. The biblical authors, illumined by the Holy Spirit, bear witness that in Christ the world is reconciled to God.
We also believe that the Bible bears authentic testimony to God’s self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as in God’s work of creation, in the pilgrimage of Israel, and in the Holy Spirit’s ongoing activity in Human beings inspired by the Holy Spirit, faith is born and nourished, our understanding is deepened, and the possibilities for transforming the world became apparent to us.