What We Believe
"God Our Father, Christ Our Redeemer, the Holy Spirit Our Comforter, Humankind Our Family"
Also known as the A.M.E. Church for short, the denomination is Methodist in terms of its basic doctrine and order of worship. It was born, through adversity, of the Methodist church and to this day does not differ in any major way from what all Methodists believe. The split from the main branch of the Methodist Church was not a result of doctrinal differences but rather the result of a time period that was marked by man's intolerance of his fellow man, based on the color of his skin. It was a time of slavery, oppression and the dehumanization of people of African descent and many of these un-Christian practices were brought into the church, forcing Richard Allen and a group of fellow worshippers of color to form a splinter denomination of the Methodist Church.
To find the basic foundations of the beliefs of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, you need look no further than The Apostles' Creed and The Twenty Five Articles of Religion:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead; and buried. The third day he arose from the dead' he ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Church Universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.
25 Articles of Religion Made Simple
With Supporting Scriptures by The Rev. Dr. Esther L. Seales
1. The Holy Trinity
There is one God who reveals Himself in three distinct personalities, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Luke 3:21, 22; John 10:30; John 14: 6, 7: John 14:9
2. The Incarnation of Christ
God has two natures, human and divine. He is very God and very human.
Galatians 4:4; John 1:1
3. The Resurrection of Christ
Jesus Christ arose from the dead. He was on the earth for forty days. He was seen by many.
Matthew 28: 1-10; Mark chapter 16; Luke chapter 24; John chapter 20
4. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He came and in dwelt humankind on the Day of Pentecost. He gives us power, authority, discernment, and truth.
Acts 1: 5, 8; Acts ch 2; John 14:26; John 20: 22, 23; Romans 8: 26, 27, 28; 1 Cor. 12:13
5. The Holy Scriptures
The Bible is the infallible Word of God. It was written by holy people that were inspired by God. It contains a total of sixty-six books. There are 39 books in the
Old Testament and 27 books in the in the New Testament.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1: 20, 21; Psalm 119:11; Psalm 119:105; Joshua 1:8; Hebrews 4:12
6. The Old Testament
The Old Testament is God’s Word. It was originally written in Hebrew. It contains
thirty-nine books. Its prophecy is fulfilled in the New Testament. The New
Testament was originally written I Greek. It has twenty-seven books.
Matthew 5:17; Romans 6:14
7. Original Sin
Every person on earth is a victim of the original sin, which is inherited through the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
Genesis chapter 3; 1 Corinthians 13:10; Romans 6:12-18
8. Free Will
When God created humankind, He gave them free will; they have the freedom to choose good or evil. But even when we choose to do good evil is always present, therefore we must confess our sins before God daily.
Genesis chapter 3; Romans 7:13-25; Luke 9: 23
9. The Justification of Man
We are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Him. Or good works cannot save us.
Ephesians 2: 8, 9, 10; Romans 3: 21-26; Romans 8:28-39; 1 Timothy 3:16
10. Good Works
Good works do not save us, but if we are saved and have faith we will do good works as we serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Ecclesiastes 3:13; James 2:17; Ephesians 2: 8, 9, 10; John 9:4
11. Works of Supererogation
The belief that one can do more good than God requires is called the works of supererogation. The A.M. E. Church does not believe in this doctrine. No one can do more good, or be better than he or she should be.
John 9:4; John 14:12
12. Sin After Justification
Some persons believe that one can lose his salvation, but if that person repents their salvation can be restored. John Wesley adopted the doctrine of James Arminius, a Dutch Reformer, 1560-1609) who taught that predestination is conditioned upon man’s free response to grace. He refuted John Calvin’s Five Points by developing his own doctrine which was adopted by John Wesley, (Methodism).
Note: Those who believe in eternal security use the following scriptures support their position. Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; John 5:24; Phil. 1:6; John 10: 27,28,29,30
A Christian may fall from fellowship with God, but the Christian does not fall from grace. A Christian does not save himself, therefore there is nothing that he can do to get ourselves unsaved. Jesus Christ saved humankind by His redeeming Blood, and the Holy Ghost seals humankind until the day of redemption.
Note: Those who believe that they can lose their salvation often use the following scriptures to support their position: 2 Peter 2: 19-22; Romans 1: 28-32; Hebrews 6: 1-8
All believe that:
The Holy Ghost baptizes us once. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:5
The Holy Ghost indwells us once. Acts 1:8; Acts ch 2
The Holy Ghost seals us once. Ephesians 1: 13; 4:30
But we as individuals are responsible for keeping ourselves filled with the Holy Ghost every day. Luke 9:23
13. The Church
The visible Church of Christ is a body of believers where the Word of God is preached, and the sacraments are duly administered.
Acts chapter 2; 1 Corinthians 12: 12-31; Acts 13: 1-3
Admission into the church:
Baptized as a child
Watchcare- Affiliated membership
Persons coming professing saving faith as on Decision Day
How persons leave the church
Termination of membership by:
Expulsion, expelled; a judicial matter through the quarterly conference
What is needed to make up a church:
Senior Choir – The Senior choir is the official choir of the church. All other choirs are auxiliaries.
A Circuit is a church that is attached to another church; it has a single pastor who serves the two churches. They may or may not have joint Official Board Meetings.
A station is a church that has over 50 members; it is autonomous; it is not connected to another church for support.
The A.M.E. Church does not believe in purgatory, which is the doctrine which teaches that there is a place between heaven and hell, (an intermediate state) where souls go after death to be cleansed of sin. The A.M.E. Church does not believe in the worship of images, relics, and saints. Such doctrine is not found in the Bible. This is what the Roman Catholic Church teaches.
15. Speaking in Tongues
Public worship should be conducted in a language that the people can understand. Every believer can have the manifestation of tongues that can be used as his or her private prayer language of the Spirit, (Romans 8:26, 27). But not every believer has the gift of tongues wherein he can speak in another language as well as interpret for the body of Christ. I Corinthians ch 14
16. The Sacraments
The A.M. E. Church believes that a sacrament is a holy rite that was instituted by Jesus Christ or a rite in which Jesus Christ participated. The A.M.E. Church only recognizes two sacraments and they are Baptism and Holy Communion.
Baptism is the act of using water to symbolize the cleansing that has taken place within the individual when he or she is saved. Baptism is the sign of regeneration of the New Birth. It marks the beginning of the Christian life. Baptism is an act of obedience. Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to baptize, (Matthew 28:16-20). Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist because He wanted to fulfill all righteousness, and He wanted to identify with sinners, (Matthew 3:11-17). The A.M.E. Church believes in three modes of baptism… sprinkling, pouring, and immersion.
Some Christians believe that baptism should only be done by immersion, and they use the following scriptures:
Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 2:11, 12; Matthew 3:11-17 to support this belief. They believe that baptism is complete immersion under water just as Jesus Christ was immersed in the water by John the Baptist. They believe that baptism by immersion symbolizes the death and burial of the old way of life. Coming up out of the water symbolized the resurrection to new life with Christ.
18. Holy Communion
Holy Communion, (Holy Eucharist, The Lord’s Supper) commemorates Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross of Calvary for the remission of sins. The bread represents the broken body of Christ, and the wine represents the shed blood of Christ. The A.M.E. Church does not believe in the Catholic doctrine of transubtantiation, which says that the bread and wine are changed into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:24; Luke 22:14-20; Matthew 22: 14-30; Mark 14: 22-25; John 13
Jesus told us that we may partake of Holy Communion as often as we wish, (1 Corinthians 11:25). The Passover meal became known to Christians as The last Supper.
See relationship between the Passover and Holy Communion in Exodus chapter 12.
19. Communion in both kinds
Both the bread and the wine are to be used as communion elements.
20. The Sacrifice of Christ
The sacrifice of Christ is for the sins of the whole world, both original and actual. Christ
Jesus is the propitiation of our sins. This means that Jesus Christ is the only offering that
completely satisfies God concerning humankind’s sin, (Hebrews 10: 11-17). Propitiation means satisfaction. 1 John2:2; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17
21. The Marriage of Ministers
Ministers may marry or choose to remain single; this is their personal preference
Genesis 2:18-25; 1 Corinthians chapter 7; 1 Timothy chapter 3; 1 Corinthians chapter 13
22. The Rites and Ceremonies of the Church
The Apostles’ Creed and the Twenty-five Articles of Religion are the two historical documents which lay the foundation for the doctrinal beliefs of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
According to the Book of Common Prayer, The Apostles Creed is an ancient creed of baptism that was used in the Church’s daily worship to recall the parishioner’s Baptismal Covenant.
The A.M.E. Church adopted most of its liturgy and ritual from the Methodist Church. And the Methodist Church received its ritual and liturgy from the Church of England.
The Twenty-five Articles of Religion are derived from the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion in the Church of England. John Wesley selected twenty-four of them, and added No. 23, which speaks to the church’s attitude toward our national government.
The members should practice the ritual and Order of Service that the church has selected. These rituals and ceremonies are found in the A.M.E. Hymnal, Traditional Book of Liturgy and the A.M.E. Book of Worship. The church has the authority to adapt these given rituals and liturgy to the culture in which the church is planted, ensuring that it remains Biblically based and in keeping with the Doctrine and Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Romans 13:2
23. The Government of the United States
The United States is a democracy within a republic. The church believes that it can be most effective in changing the quality of life for its people if it has a voice in the government. Ezekiel 21:27; Matthew 17:24-27; Romans 13:1; Mark 12: 13-17; Proverbs 11:14; Deuteronomy 28: 12, 13; Psalm 75: 6, 7; Jeremiah 29:11
24. A Christian’s Goods
Christians have a right to own property, have investments, and obtain wealth. God blesses His people so that they may be a blessing to others.
Proverbs 6: 6-11; Proverbs 13:22; Proverbs 22:7; Proverbs 31: 10-30; Luke 15: 22-24; Acts 2: 42-47; Matthew 5:42; Malachi 3: 8-11; Luke 6:38; Ruth 2: 14-23; Deuteronomy
28: 1-14; 3 John 1:2
25. A Christian’s Oath
Christian’s should not swear. They may take an oath, however as may be required by the courts of the land.
Matthew 5:33-37; Romans 13:1