The Methodist Church has never drawn up a formal 'Confession of Faith'.
Its doctrinal standards are embodied in the following extract from The Deed of
Union, which constitutes the legal basis of the Methodist Church as formed in 1932:
The Methodist Church claims and cherishes its place in the Holy Catholic Church which is the Body of Christ. It rejoices
in the inheritance of the Apostolic Faith and loyally accepts the fundamental
principles of the historic creeds and of the Protestant Reformation. It ever
remembers that in the Providence of God Methodism was raised up to spread
Scriptural Holiness through the land by the proclamation of the Evangelical
Faith and declares its unfaltering resolve to be true to its Divinely
'The Doctrines of the
Evangelical Faith which Methodism has held from the beginning and still holds
are based upon the Divine revelation recorded in the Holy Scriptures. The Methodist Church acknowledges this revelation as the supreme rule of
faith and practice. These Evangelical Doctrines to which the Preachers of the Methodist Church both Ministers and Laymen are pledged are contained
in Wesley's Notes on the New Testament and the first four volumes of his
'The Notes on the New
Testament and the Forty-four Sermons are not intended 'to impose a system of
formal or speculative theology on Methodist Preachers, but to set up standards
of preaching and belief which should secure loyalty to the fundamental truths
of the Gospel of Redemption and ensure the continued witness of the Church to
the realities of the Christian experience of salvation.
'Christ's Ministers in
the Church are Stewards in the household of God and Shepherds of His flock.
Some are called and ordained to this sole occupation and have a principal and
directing part in these great duties but they hold no priesthood differing in
kind from that which is common to all the Lord's people and they have no exclusive
title to the preaching of the gospel or the care of souls. The ministries are
shared with them by others to whom also the Spirit divides His gifts severally
as He wills.
'It is the universal
conviction of the Methodist people that the office of the Christian Ministry depends upon the call of God who bestows the gifts of
the Spirit, the grace and the fruit which indicate those whom He has chosen.
'Those whom tl)e Methodist Church recognizes as called of God and therefore receives
into its Ministry shall be ordained by the imposition of hands as expressive of
the Church's recognition of the Minister's personal call.
'The Methodist Church
holds the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers and consequently believes
that no priesthood exists which belongs exclusively to a particular order or
class of men but in the exercise of its corporate life and worship special
qualifications for the discharge of special duties are required and thus the
principle of representative selection is recognized.
itinerant and lay are examined, tested and approved before they are authorized
to minister in holy things. For the sake of Church Order and not because of any
priestly virtue inherent in 'the office the Ministers of the Methodist Church are set apart by ordination to the Ministry of the
Word and Sacraments.
'The Methodist Church recognizes two Sacraments, namely Baptism and the
Lord's Supper as of Divine Appointment and of perpetual obligation of which it
is the privilege and duty of Members of the Methodist Church to avail themselves.'
General Conference of the Methodist Church of
Australia agrees in essence with the foregoing, and contains
the following in the Laws of the Methodist Church of Australasia, in the edition
published under the authority of President-General in 1950:
402: The General Conference shall not be empowered to:
alter or change any of the doctrines of the
Church as contained in the first
forty-four of the published sermons of the late Reverend John Wesley and in
his Notes on the New Testament, or establish or promulgate any new doctrine
"The General Rules" issued by the Reverend John Wesley and the Reverend
Charles Wesley in the year 1743.
69: (Candidates for the Ministry)
(i) 'A Superintendent nominating a candidate shall certify to the Synod that the
candidate has declared he has read the first forty-four of Wesley's published
sermons, and has consulted Wesley's Notes on the New Testament, and that he
assents to the teaching therein set forth, that he has read the book of
offices; and, further that he accepts the polity and discipline set forth in
the Book of Laws.' "