On this page our Christian fellowship group has collected John Wesley’s Basics of Christianity. His points can help us all understand more about God, Jesus, and Salvation. Reading these tenets lets us feel closer to God and each other. We invite you to read them and share your thoughts with us when you come visit us. Everyone has different ideas and you can feel free to share yours at Wesley Fellowship.
Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth. Referred to as Jesus (the) Christ/Savior. Founded ci. 30-33 A.D. in the Judean province of Palestine under the oppression of the Roman Empire. Jesus didn’t likely intend to start a new religion but to introduce certain reforms and emphases within Judaism. Jesus was a prophet, a healer, a holy man, a miracle worker, a counter-cultural radical, a reformer, a teacher, as much of God that can fit into human flesh, and O so much more! The Apostle Paul (formerly Saul) helped present the faith to the Gentile (non-Jewish) peoples and can be said to be a co-founder of the faith.
The Holy Bible, written over many years, originally in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. 66 Books in the Protestant Bible, 18 more (the Apocrypha) in the Catholic version. Some Christians read it literally and some read it with more nuance (discerning allegories, metaphors, symbolism), but all view it as containing Truth and as inspired by God. Wesley Fellowship takes the Bible seriously, but not always literally.
Understood by Trinitarian Christians as a relational Trinity (one God in three Persons – not three different Gods). Typically referred to as “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/Spirit” – or alternatively as “Creator, Savior, and Sustainer”. God is a spiritual being without a physical body. In contrast to Deism, Christianity views God as being personally involved with all of God’s creation including all persons. God isn’t officially understood as being either male or female but is like a perfectly loving, just, and merciful Parent (Jesus called God “Abba” an intimate word which means Papa). Jesus’ life indicates God’s nature, ways, and characteristics. God is traditionally understood (via assimilation of certain Greek philosophical concepts) as being eternal, changeless, omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipresent. Some contemporary Christian views (e.g. Process and Openness theologies) deny or redefine some of those categories, but the belief that God is superbly compassionate, caring, and present in our lives is maintained. God is understood as fully transcendent from the world/creation and also as being fully immanent within it (similar to the Process theology view of panentheism). The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. The Spirit fills, comforts, convicts, guides, teaches, interceeds and advocates for God’s creatures.
A Conservative view
Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity. As God the Son, Jesus has existed always and wasn’t created. He is fully God and fully Man (the two natures joined in union – not mixed). As the 2nd person of the Trinity, Jesus is co-equal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In becoming a human, Jesus was begotten through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus is the only way to God, salvation and eternal life. Jesus died on a cross according to God’s plan, as a perfect sacrifice and payment for our sins. He rose from the dead on the third day, and is now spiritually and physically immortal. For the next 40 days, He was seen by more than 500 witnesses. His wounds were visible and He ate meals. He physically ascended to Heaven. Jesus will come again visibly and physically at the end of the world to judge the world and establish God’s kingdom. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah promised to Israel in the Old Testament.
A Progressive view
Jesus’ relationship with God was such that God and Jesus shared the same mind, character, values, passions, and priorities. Hence, we can say that God and Jesus were so tight that they were one and the same. Jesus taught, modeled and invited us to live abundantly in relation to God and each other instead of being in bondage to the ways of the world/empire. Christians are called to follow and imitate these abundantly life-giving ways of Christ (to claim Jesus as Lord of their lives instead of other worldly forces & powers) and invite others to do the same. Good works accompany faith. If one’s faith is real & authentic, then one can’t help but respond by engaging in service to persons and a world in need. Jesus modeled, lived-out, and manifested a truly liberating way of life – the way of loving, humble, self-giving, nonviolent direct action (the “Way of the Cross”). By living such a life, Jesus proved that it’s possible for others to live this way as well. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah promised to Israel in the Hebrew Scriptures – but not the militant “Rambo/knight in shining armor” type that many expected.
A Conservative view
Is by God’s grace, not by an individual’s or community’s good works. Salvation must be received as a gift by faith. People must believe in their heart that Jesus died for their sins and physically rose again, which is the assurance of forgiveness and resurrection of our own bodies. This is God’s loving plan to forgive and be reconciled with sinful people.
A Progressive view
Is by God’s grace and can be received by us with or without our awareness. People who are aware of this make the decision to accept the free gift of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and all that He meant in their lives. Even before Jesus was executed, He provided atonement (at-one-ment – reconnection with God and social acceptance) to hurting souls via His gracious interaction in their lives. People are saved from the ways of the world and for the ways of God’s Kingdom when they accept and live-out this truth. Salvation is both personal and societal (it involves social justice and personal transformation), and it is intended to be experienced here and now and also later in Heaven.
A Conservative view
Believers go to be with Jesus. After death, all people await the final Judgment. Both saved and unsaved persons will be resurrected. Those who are saved live with Jesus in Heaven, those who aren’t suffer the torment of eternal separation from God (Hell). Jesus’ bodily resurrection ensures believers that they too will share in resurrection. A Progressive view: We don’t really know who will be in Heaven and who won’t be, only God determines this, and God’s mercy and grace far exceed our under-standings. It could be that God intends all persons to be with God in heaven, but that some hardened hearts may still reject God’s love and grace even after they die.
Worship, Rites, & Practices
Communal/group/corporate worship, usually in church facilities. No secret rites. Baptism and Lord’s Supper (Communion) are the two sacraments held in common by all Christians (Mormons and Catholics have seven). Active voluntary missionary efforts (evangelism and relief efforts). Assistance to, and advocacy for, persons in need – “the least of these” – especially the poor, widows, orphans, prisoners, and others who are downtrodden or oppressed. Jesus said His followers would be “known by their love.” Christians often engage in disciplines/practices including: Bible study, prayer, fasting, community service, witnessing, sharing testimonies, and shared meals.
Christianity is a unique relationship and way of life. It involves setting aside one’s ego and selflessly serving others. It involves following Jesus which means forgiving those who’ve wronged you, forgiving yourself, accepting God’s grace, acting out of compassion, eschewing the competitive, domineering and aggressive ways of the world, – it may even mean sacrifice. It’s not an easy path, but it is a rewarding one and it leads to abundant/eternal life!