By Rev. Dr. J. Patrick and Jan Bowman
Wesleyan in Doctrine
We are Wesleyan in doctrine. This means, for the most part, we affirm the historic teaching and practices of John Wesley. Wesleyans believe in one God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Savior of all persons who put their faith in Him alone for eternal life. We believe those who receive new life in Christ are called to be holy in character and conduct, and can only live this way by being filled with the Lord’s Spirit. We believe in the Bible and seek to establish Our faith and actions on its teachings. We believe God wants people everywhere to know Him and that the purpose of the church is to tell the world about Christ through its worship, witness, and loving deeds.
Pentecostal in Experience
We greatly value our personal Pentecostal experience. We know that what happened to believers in Acts 2, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, still happens to believers today. This baptism, or in-filling of the Holy Spirit, includes speaking in tongues, and the ability to function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the Apostle Paul writes of in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. We equally value the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and feel there must be a proper balance between the gifts (power) and the fruit (character). This is vital for a healthy Christian life and an authentic Christian witness to the world. Functional holiness comes as a believer grows in grace and learns in humility.
Apostolic in Vision
An apostolic vision is one that puts a working emphasis on the Word of God. As Swiss theologian Karl Barth put it, “…the apostolic community means concretely the community which hears the apostolic witness of the New Testament, which implies that of the Old, and recognises and puts this witness into effect as the source and norm of its existence.” We find a working model for this in Acts 2:42, which says, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” So our definition of an apostolic vision is one that is Word centered, relational, sacramental, and prayerful.
Biblical in Practice
We believe Biblical in practice means to recognize the primacy of Scriptural authority. John Wesley never left any doubt as to his convictions in this area. In a letter in 1739, he unequivocally stated: “I allow no other rule, whether of faith or practice, than the Holy Scriptures….” Wesley was so serious about Scripture playing the primary role in what he thought and how he lived, that his sermons and letters are infused with Scriptural phrases. It became part of his very language. We pray it is the major part of our language, as well.