The Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church
These are a revision of the Anglican Articles of Religion. They were supplied in 1784 by John Wesley, founder of the Methodists in England, to guide Methodists in America after the revolution. The Articles provided a doctrinal foundation for a church apart from the Anglican communion. They were protected under the first Restrictive Rule of the 1808 Constitution of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The Confession of Faith of The Evangelical United Brethren Church
The EUB Confession of Faith was first adopted in 1962. It provides basic doctrinal foundation for the Christian faith and concise articulation of certain doctrinal emphases such as sanctification and Christian perfection. When The United Methodist Church was formed in 1968, it was declared a “standard” of doctrine and included under the Restrictive Rules.
The Standard Sermons of John Wesley
Four volumes of Wesley’s sermons were produced between 1746 and 1760. Beginning in 1763, they were used legally to define the basic character of Methodist preaching. While there is some debate as to the number of sermons to be included, their role in setting the basic parameters for the Wesleyan-Arminian theological tradition within the larger Church is secured regardless.
The Explanatory Notes on the New Testament
Wesley published these notes in 1755 to provide Methodists with simple helps for interpreting the Scriptures from a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective. Along with the Standard Sermons, these were adopted in 1763 to safeguard the basic character of Methodist preaching and theology.
The General Rules of The Methodist Church
The General Rules are the basic discipline for Methodists. Adopted in 1743, they were the standard for membership in a Methodist society. They include participation in small groups called “classes” and rules for living organized into three basic categories:
- Do no harm, “avoiding evil of every kind, especially that which is most generally practiced.”
- Do good, “of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all.” This included “submitting to bear the reproach of Christ, to be as the filth and offscouring of the world.”
- Attend “upon all the ordinances of God,” such as public worship, listening to sermons, communion, prayer, Scripture reading, and fasting or abstinence.