United Methodists share a common heritage with Christians of every age and nation. This heritage is grounded in the apostolic witness to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, which is the source and measure of all valid Christian teaching. We are based on the canon of Christian scripture and we adopt ecumenical creeds such as the formulations of Nicaea and Chalcedon. These statements of faith, along with the Apostles’ Creed, contain the most prominent features of our ecumenical heritage. Many distinctively Protestant teachings were transmitted into United Methodist understanding through doctrinal formulations such as Articles of religion of the church of England and the Heidelberg Catechism of the Reformed tradition.

With Christians of other communions we confess belief in the triune God – father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We hold in common with all Christians a faith in the mystery of salvation in and through Jesus Christ. We share the Christian belief that God’s redemptive love is realized in human life by the activity of the Holy Spirit, both in personal experience and in the community of believers. This community is the church, which the Spirit has brought into existence for the healing of the nations. With other Christians we recognize that the reign of God is both present and future reality. The church is called to be that place where the first signs of the reign of God are identified and acknowledged in the world.

We share with many Christian communions recognition of the authority of scripture in matters of faith, the confession that our justification as sinners is by grace through faith, and sober realization that the church is in need of continual reformation and renewal. We affirm the general ministry of all baptized Christians who share responsibility for building up the church and reaching out in mission and service to the world.
With other Christians, we declare the essential oneness of the church in Christ Jesus. This rich heritage of shared Christian belief finds its expression in our hymnody and liturgies. Our unity is affirmed in the historic creeds as we confess one holy, catholic, and apostolic church. it is also experienced in joint ventures of ministry and in various forms of ecumenical cooperation.
Nourished by common roots of this shared Christian heritage, the branches of Christ’s church have developed diverse traditions that enlarge our store of shared understandings. Our avowed ecumenical commitment as United Methodists is to gather our own doctrinal emphases into the larger Christian unity, there to be made more meaningful in a richer whole. If we are to offer our best gifts to the common Christian treasury, we must make a deliberate effort as a Church to strive for critical self-understanding. It is as Christians involved in ecumenical partnership that we embrace and examine our distinctive heritage.