What We Believe
Welcome to University Park United Methodist Church.
Our vision is to Reach Out to Bring Jesus Christ to People Where They Are.
Our mission is to Make Disciples of Jesus Christ Through Worship of God, Covenant Relationships and Service to Others.
As part of the United Methodist Church, we trace the origins of our practices and policies to England in 1739 and John Wesley’s beliefs that God’s grace is available “free in all, and free to all” through Jesus Christ.
In the United Methodist tradition, we understand God’s free grace in three ways:
- Prevenient Grace – God’s grace reaches out in exactly the same immeasurable abundance to every person who lives. This is true whether the person is aware of God’s movement toward him or her – it is not dependent on any response on the part of the individual, and even out-right rejection can in no way diminish God’s love for the person.
- Justifying Grace – The love of God that forgives and reconciles us unto God. Appropriation of this grace takes a response of faith on the part of the individual. In Christ Jesus, through Christ Jesus, we are placed in a right relationship with God from whom we have alienated ourselves through the sin of self-pride. In Christ, that sin is forgiven, forgotten – forever.
- Sanctifying Grace – God is not content just to “save” us; God is intent upon our growth to conform our lives to that of Jesus Christ. The action of “Sanctifying” grace transforms us into persons whose motive for every thought, word and deed is love of God and love of our fellow human beings.
Wesley believed – and we continue to believe today – that four criteria are used to work out one’s faith:
- Scripture, which serves as the record of God’s relationship to humankind;
- Tradition, which influences how the Bible is read and interpreted;
- Experience, which is the individual’s distinct experience of God; and,
- Reason, which acts as a guardian against aberrant belief and behavior.
We believe in the Methodist tradition that our relationship to God can never be a static thing. Rather, it is dynamic. We are either responding to God’s grace and moving toward God, or we are refusing to respond to God and “backsliding” away from God.
Grace leads us to life – abundant and eternal in quality and quantity. Life is Christ with Almighty God.