John Wesley shared with many other Christians a belief in grace, justification, and sanctification. We believe he combined them in a powerful manner to create distinctive emphasis for living the full Christian life.
We believe God’s grace is manifest in all creation. God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ allows us to see the splendor of our true humanity. Divine grace is required for the restoration of God’s image in our lives.
We believe in God pursuing us to be in a relationship. This is God moving towards us. We believe in justification and assurance. Our hearts accept God’s grace through the movement of God’s Holy Spirit. We are forgiven and restored to God’s favor. This is what we commonly call today conversion. We believe in Sanctification and Perfection. The wonder of God’s acceptance and pardon for us does not end there. We are nurtured in our growth and grace. Sanctifying grace draws us towards perfection which Wesley defines as, “habitually filled with the love of neighbor and God” and “having the mind of Christ.”
United Methodists share with other Christians the conviction that Scripture is the primary source and criterion for Christian doctrine. We believe in Tradition. The theological task does not start anew in each age or each person. For centuries Christians have sought to interpret the truth of the Gospel for their time. We believe our Experience interacts with Scripture. We read Scripture in light of the conditions and events that help shape who we are, and we interpret our experience in terms of Scripture. All religious experience affects all human experience; all human experience affects our understanding of religious experience. We recognize that God’s revelation and our own experience of God’s grace continually surpass the scope of human language and reason, we also believe that any disciplined theological work calls for the careful use of Reason.
(Excerpts from The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church 2012 Paragraphs 102 and 105)