From the global United Methodist Church:
As United Methodists, we have an obligation to bear a faithful Christian witness to Jesus Christ, the living reality at the center of the Church’s life and witness. To fulfill this obligation, we reflect critically on our biblical and theological inheritance, striving to express faithfully the witness we make in our own time. United Methodists share a common heritage with all Christians. According to our foundational statement of beliefs in The Book of Discipline, we share the following basic affirmations in common with all Christian communities:
When we say the Apostles' Creed, we join with millions of Christians through the ages in an understanding of God as a Trinity—three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From early in our Judaic roots we've affirmed that God is one and indivisible, yet God is revealed in three distinct ways. "God in three persons, blessed Trinity" is one way of speaking about the several ways we experience God.
We believe in Jesus as God's special child. We call this the Incarnation, meaning that God was in the world in the actual person of Jesus of Nazareth. The Gospel writers explain this in different ways. In Mark, Jesus seems to be adopted as God's Son at his baptism. In Matthew and Luke, Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit. In John, Jesus is God's pre-existing Word who "became flesh and lived among us" (1:14). However this mystery occurred, we affirm that God is wholly present in Jesus Christ.
We believe that God created human beings in God’s image. We believe that humans can choose to accept or reject a relationship with God. We believe that all humans need to be in relationship with God in order to be fully human. When we sin, or turn our backs on God and God's expectations for us, we break our relationship with God. Through God's grace, we are restored and reunited with God, with creation, and with the persons God intended us to be.
We believe that the church is the body of Christ, an extension of Christ’s life and ministry in the world today. We believe that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We believe that the church is “the communion of saints,” a community made up of all past, present, and future disciples of Christ. We believe that the church is called to worship God and to support those who participate in its life as they grow in faith.
We hold that the writers of the Bible were inspired, that they were filled with God's Spirit as they wrote the truth to the best of their knowledge. We hold that God was at work in the process of canonization, during which only the most faithful and useful books were adopted as Scripture. We hold that the Holy Spirit works today in our thoughtful study of the Scriptures, especially as we study them together, seeking to relate the old words to life's present realities.
Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living. They placed primary emphasis on Christian living, on putting faith and love into action. This emphasis on what Wesley referred to as “practical divinity” has continued to be a hallmark of United Methodism today.