OUR STRATEGY FOR ENCOURAGING LIFE-CHANGE
At St. James we believe we are here for one thing: to make disciples for the transformation of the world. We do this by CONNECTING people to Christ, WORSHIPPING God above all else, GROWING in faith, SERVING the world, and GIVING generously. We believe that when we practice these actions we will become the people that God has called us to be.
ST. JAMES UMC STATEMENT OF FAITH
We believe God is the Creator and Ruler of the Universe. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity is equally the one God in being, essence, character, power and eternal qualities.
We believe that Jesus is God the Son. He is the Savior who came to earth in the flesh to reveal God to humans and to restore all of fallen humanity to a personal relationship with God. We believe Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He is both fully human and fully God. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life and embodies the truth about God and the Truth of God. Jesus willingly died on the cross to demonstrate God’s love for sinful humans and to provide salvation for all humanity. His sacrifice in our place provides all humans the means to be reconnected with their Creator. We believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus ascended into heaven, where he rules as our Lord (absolute authority) and advocate. Jesus will return to earth in the future to establish God’s perfect peace and justice for all time.
We believe in the divine personhood of the Holy Spirit as an equal part of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is God present, making people aware of their need for Jesus Christ and living within each follower to empower a life that reflects the lifestyle, values and character of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit illuminates God’s word for understanding and application in the life of each person. The Holy Spirit is involved in progressively transforming each follower into the image of Jesus Christ and is actively working within the Christian community and world at large to bring about God’s plan of redemption for all people and all creation.
We believe the Church is not a building, but a people, made up of those in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who are called to live in community and worship together. We believe that everyone in relationship with Jesus Christ is gifted, empowered, and called to serve within God’s mission to reach the world. The Church is God’s vehicle on earth to bring about God’s justice and mercy for all people.
We believe the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, reveals God’s love and plan to be in relationship with all of humanity. We believe the Bible was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the inspired Word of God, infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts. The Bible is God’s blueprint for living the Christian life and is our primary source for faith and practice. There are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
We believe men and women are made in the image of God, to be like Him in character. We are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although we have tremendous potential for good, every human is marred by an attitude of rebellion toward God called “sin.” Sin separates people from God. Because we are created by God to exist forever, every person will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is hell. To be eternally in union with Him is heaven. Heaven and hell are places of eternal existence.
We believe salvation is a gift from God to all people. Men and women can never make up for their sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can a person be saved from sin’s penalty. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until our salvation is complete, that day in which Christ returns.