The basic beliefs of the United Methodist Church include:
God is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The writings in the Old Testament and New Testament are the inspired word of God.
While human beings were intended to bear the image of God, all humans are sinners for whom that image is distorted. Sin estranges us from God and corrupts human nature such that we cannot heal or save ourselves.
Salvation through Jesus Christ
God's redeeming love is active to save sinners through Jesus' incarnate life and teachings, through his atoning death, his resurrection, his sovereign presence through history, and his promised return.
The grace of sanctification draws one toward the gift of Christian perfection, which Wesley described as a heart "habitually filled with the love of God and neighbor" and as "having the mind of Christ and walking as he walked."
The UMC recognizes only two sacraments: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Other rites such as Confirmation, Ordination, Holy Matrimony, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick are performed but are not considered sacraments.
In Holy Baptism, the Church believes that Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized, but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. It believes that Baptism is a sacrament in which God initiates a covenant with individuals, people become a part of the Church, is not to be repeated, and is a means of grace. The United Methodist Church generally practices Baptism by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion and recognizes Trinitarian formula baptisms from other Christian denominations in good standing. The United Methodist Church practices infant baptism as well as the baptism of adults who were not baptized as infants.
The United Methodist Church affirms the real presence of Christ in Holy Communion (the bread is an effectual sign of His body crucified on the cross and the cup is an effectual sign of His blood shed for humanity), believes that the celebration is a remembrance of Jesus’ death, believes the sacrament to be a means of grace, and practices open communion.
The UMC believes that people, while corrupted by sin, are free to make their own choices because of God's divine grace.
The UMC believes that God gives unmerited favor freely to all people, though it may be resisted.