Wesleyan Church Beliefs and Practices

The Beliefs of the Wesleyan Church Include the Ordination of Women

Wesleyan Beliefs
John Wesley. Print Collector / Contributor / Getty Images

The Wesleyan Church is an evangelical Protestant denomination, based on the Methodist theology of John Wesley. The American Wesleyan Church was formed in 1843 to take a firm stand against slavery. In 1968, the Wesleyan Methodist Church merged with the Pilgrim Holiness Church to form the Wesleyan Church.

Wesleyan Beliefs

Just as Wesleyans went against the majority in opposing slavery before the United States Civil War, they also stand firm in their position that women are qualified for the ministry.

Wesleyans believe in the Trinity, biblical authority, salvation through the atoning death of Jesus Christ, good works as the fruit of faith and regeneration, the second coming of Christ, bodily resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment.

Baptism - Wesleyans hold that water baptism "is a symbol of the new covenant of grace and signifies acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ. By means of this sacrament, believers declare their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior."

Bible - Wesleyans see the Bible as the inspired Word of God, inerrant and superior to all human authority. Scripture contains all instruction necessary to salvation.

Communion - The Lord's Supper, when received in faith, is God's means of communicating grace to the believer's heart.

God the Father - The Father is "the source of all that exists." In love, he seeks and receives all penitent sinners.

Holy Spirit - Of the same nature as the Father and Son, the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, acts to regenerate, sanctify and glorify. He guides and enables the believer.

Jesus Christ - Christ is the Son of God, who died on the cross for the sins of humanity. Christ rose bodily from the dead and today sits at the right hand of the Father where he intercedes for believers.

Marriage - Human sexuality should be expressed only within the bounds of marriage, which is a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman. Further, marriage is the God-designed framework for the birth and rearing of children.

Salvation - Christ's atoning death on the cross provided the only salvation from sin. Those who have reached the age of accountability must repent of their sins and express faith in Christ as their Savior.

Second Coming - Jesus Christ's return is certain and imminent. It should inspire holy living and evangelization. On his return, Jesus will fulfill all prophecies made about him in Scripture.

Trinity - Wesleyan beliefs say the Trinity is one living and true God, in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is omnipotent, wise, good, and eternal.

Women - Unlike many Christian denominations, Wesleyans ordain women as clergy. In its Position Statement on women in the ministry, the Wesleyan Church cites numerous Scripture verses supporting its position and clarifies verses which oppose it. The Statement adds that despite pressure, "we refuse to budge on this issue."

Wesleyan Church Practices

Sacraments - Wesleyan beliefs hold that baptism and the Lord's Supper "...are tokens of our profession of Christian faith and signs of God's gracious ministry toward us. By them, He works within us to quicken, strengthen and confirm our faith."

Baptism is a symbol of God's grace, showing that the person accepts the benefits of Jesus' atoning sacrifice.

The Lord's Supper is also a sacrament commanded by Christ. It signifies redemption through Christ's death and shows hope in his return. Communion serves as a sign of Christians' love for each other.

Worship Service - Worship services at some Wesleyan churches may be held on Saturday evening in addition to Sunday morning. Many have some type of Wednesday night service as well. A typical service includes contemporary or traditional music, prayer, testimony, and a Bible-based sermon. Most churches stress a "come as you are" casual atmosphere. Local ministries depend on the size of the church but can include groups geared toward married people, seniors, high school students, and young children.

The Wesleyan Church is strongly missions-oriented, reaching out to 90 countries. It also supports orphanages, hospitals, schools and free clinics. It provides disaster and poverty relief and has targeted HIV/AIDS and human trafficking as two of its major outreach programs. Some churches offer short-term missions trips.


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Zavada, Jack. "Wesleyan Church Beliefs and Practices." Learn Religions, Sep. 22, 2021, learnreligions.com/wesleyan-church-beliefs-and-practices-700126. Zavada, Jack. (2021, September 22). Wesleyan Church Beliefs and Practices. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/wesleyan-church-beliefs-and-practices-700126 Zavada, Jack. "Wesleyan Church Beliefs and Practices." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/wesleyan-church-beliefs-and-practices-700126 (accessed June 3, 2023).