The Sturdy Anchor of Doctrine

This article was originally written by the Rev. Dr. Wendy Deichmann, President of United Theological Seminary:

When one decides to follow God’s call into ministry in The United Methodist Church, one is inevitably confronted with a series of historic questions, including several about doctrine. Preserved in the denomination’s official Book of Discipline, these questions are part of the required curriculum often viewed by candidates as a hurdle on path to ordination.

Each of us who has been ordained in the UMC has encountered these historic questions. They form the basis for entering into a lifetime of well-grounded Christian faith, life, and theological discourse within the Wesleyan-Pietist heritage.

These questions are:

“Have you studied the doctrines of The United Methodist Church?”

“After full examination do you believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures?” (Book of Discipline 2012, ¶330)
Dr. Deichmann writes: “The basic question for the Christian . . . is who we are and what we believe to be true . . . In the wide sea of theological discourse and doctrinal drift that characterizes a declining denomination, a sturdy, robust commitment to learning and teaching the core doctrines of the Wesleyan-Pietist Christian faith is needed. Such as (sic) commitment will go a long way toward solidly anchoring candidates for ordained ministry in the revealed truth of Jesus Christ, restoring vitality to doctrinally washed-out congregations and bringing renewal to the UMC for the sake of the mission of Jesus Christ in the world.

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