When one decides to follow God’s call into ministry in The United Methodist Church, one is inevitably confronted with a series of historic questions, including several about doctrine. Preserved in the denomination’s official Book of Discipline, these questions are part of the required curriculum often viewed by candidates as a hurdle on path to ordination.
Each of us who has been ordained in the UMC has encountered these historic questions. They form the basis for entering into a lifetime of well-grounded Christian faith, life, and theological discourse within the Wesleyan-Pietist heritage.
Two of these questions are:
“Have you studied the doctrines of The United Methodist Church?”
“After full examination do you believe that our doctrines are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures?” (Book of Discipline 2012, ¶330)
These questions shouldn’t surprise any who stand before a conference board of ordained ministry. This is because they purposely coincide with the required UM doctrine course that must be successfully completed by every candidate for ordination. By the time these questions are officially asked, one is normally well prepared to answer in the affirmative. Those who do not so reply have already begun to forge a doctrinal and theological path leading somewhere other than the UMC.