GENERAL STATEMENT OF BELIEFS
WE BELIEVE in a God who is infinite and eternal, omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful) and omnipresent (everywhere at the same time), who has been manifested and revealed in Jesus Christ and still lives among us as the Holy Spirit.
WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is the final and fullest revelation of God and that he is both fully human and fully divine (Heb. 1:1-3).
WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (I Tim. 1:15) and that having conquered death he now reigns as Lord of all (Rev. 11:15).
WE BELIEVE that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved (Romans 10:9).
WE BELIEVE that Jesus died for our sins (I Cor. 15:3) not because he had to, but because he loves us and that each of us is important, really important, in the eyes and in the heart of God (Jn. 15:13).
WE BELIEVE that once we confess Jesus as Lord, the Holy Spirit becomes a permanent presence in our lives (Jn. 14:16-17).
WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit fills (Eph. 5:16) anoints (Luke 4:18) empowers (Acts 1:6) and bestows gifts upon us (I Cor. 12:4-6) to equip the saints for ministry, to edify the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12) and set the captives free (Luke 4:18).
WE BELIEVE that the Bible is the inspired word of God written by fallible human beings who were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and that it contains all things necessary for salvation (II Tim. 3:14-17).
WE BELIEVE that the Lordship of Jesus Christ mandates that we tithe, which means giving 10 percent of our gross income to the church, and that the failure to tithe is flagrant disobedience to the word of God (Mal. 3:8-10).
WE BELIEVE that because Jesus was resurrected from the dead, we too, shall live eternally in a body that is immortal and incorruptible (II Cor. 15:20-23).
WE BELIEVE that according to God's Word and promise, Jesus is coming back in glory and that we shall live with him forever (I Thes. 4:13-18).
WE BELIEVE that until the time of Christ's return or our departure, God wants us to grow and grow and keep on growing until we reach full maturity as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
© Saint Philip AME Church Atlanta, GA. Used with permission.
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 rose 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.
SACRAMENTS IN OUR CHURCH
In the African Methodist Episcopal Church, we believe that sacraments are means whereby God expresses God’s grace to humanity. In keeping with this belief, the AME Church celebrates The Lord’s Supper and Baptism as sacraments while recognizing and occasionally participating in other diverse Christian liturgical practices when deemed appropriate.
The Lord's Supper
We believe The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of God’s covenant made to humanity for the purposes of reconciling the diverse peoples of the world necessitated by the natural human inclination to turn from God and pursue certain activities and/or thoughts that lead us away from the path God calls each person to pursue. In our church, we call these activities and thoughts sin. Because we believe in accordance with the Holy Scriptures that all persons have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, through the Lord’s Supper we commemorate Christ passion/crucifixion and commit to live our lives in greater accordance with God’s unique call on our lives.
This sacrament is administered by deacons and elders in our church on the first Sunday of each month. During the celebration of The Lord’s Supper, individuals are invited by our celebrants (persons serving communion) to come to the chancel rail, kneel if able, and receive unleavened bread and a cup of grape juice symbolic of Christ last meal with His disciples.
The unleavened bread symbolizes the brokenness that comes in our lives and our communities when we fail to properly love God, our neighbors, and our ourselves. The grape juice symbolizes the blood that Christ shed on the cross because the world’s inability to appreciate and value the gifts of love, grace, and mercy Christ offers all of us as children of God.
We believe that when an individual for the first time publicly repents or apologies for the wrong thoughts and actions that he or she has taken that seek to separate himself or herself from God, the individual is in the process of undergoing a transformation in their heart. This transformation causes an individual to desire more fully to know God through Christ Jesus and model His teachings. During this process an individual’s entire ideological outlook is reoriented/surrendered to Christ, causing the person to be “born again.” The symbol of this new birth is affirmed in the sacrament of baptism where an individual is either immersed in water, sprinkled with water, or has water poured on them.
This sacramental act dates back to water cleansing rituals found in the Ancient Near East and other parts of the globe. In some of these traditions as well as in ours, we believe the purification powers found in water and the importance of water as a natural resource indispensable to human life culminated in the production of a liturgical ritual that allows individuals to be cleansed of passed wrong thoughts and actions, and freed to live a new life.
© 2017 Sacraments in Our Church by Dominique Isaac Grate. Used with permission.