As a part of The United Methodist Church, Lakewood UMC stands in the broad tradition of the Christian faith, founded in the bedrock belief of the early church that Jesus Christ is Lord. This confession, expressed by Simon Peter in Matthew 16:16, is foundational to all other understandings, for it implies not merely that Jesus was the unique Son of the living God, but that He lives today, as well, calling men and women to follow Him as the Sovereign of their lives.
We believe that it is only through entering into a personal relationship with this Lord that life in its fullest measure is to be found, and that salvation comes wholly through the grace of God, and not through any deeds or works which we may perform.
This gift of grace is available unto all persons, however, for our Father in Heaven is not willing that any should be lost (Matthew 18:14). With St. Paul, thus, we affirm the proclamation found in Romans 10:9, “That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
With those of other communions, we likewise confess our belief in the triune God consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Just as the Father is the Creator of all things, and the Son is the Redeemer, so too the Holy Spirit is the active presence of God in each of our lives, leading us into holy living and guiding us into the truth. We believe that the end result of His labors is our sanctification in Christ, as we become more and more like Jesus in our actions, in our thinking, and in our love towards others.
We believe in the Bible as the Word of God by which our lives are to be both informed and measured. We affirm the biblical witness to itself found in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness,” so that we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. While we do not take the Bible literally at all points (as it does not present itself in that fashion), we take it seriously at all times, and we believe, with the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, that we are indeed called to be “people of the one book.”
We believe that the true church of Jesus Christ extends far beyond our own denominational identity and we gladly join in love and in mission wherever possible with our sisters and brothers who may be a part of other expressions of the Body of Christ. As Ephesians 4:5-6 reminds us, there is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Those who wish to become a part of our congregation who may have been baptized within another trinitarian Christian community are thus welcome.
Baptism is a sign of inclusion and incorporation within God’s family, and accordingly, as the vast majority of Christians throughout the centuries have agreed, the sacrament is open not just to those who may be able to profess their faith publicly, but to children of believers, as well, whom Christ has specifically set aside a place for within His Kingdom. Similarly, when we gather together to celebrate the other sacrament of the church, Holy Communion, we believe that the table of the Lord is open to all who may be present, too, irrespective of age, denominational affiliation, or church membership.
As followers of Christ, we affirm that our God-given task in the world is to be about sharing the good news of God’s grace, and the commitment that we ask of each of our members is to take seriously this responsibility, by not only growing in their own knowledge and love of God through worship, study, and fellowship with others, but also by supporting the church with their prayers, their presence, their gifts, and their service.