The American Methodist Episcopal Church was the first denomination in Christendom to adopt an official Social Creed. Influenced by the Social Gospel movement and the Progressive politics of early 20th century America, the church wrote and adopted the creed in 1908. It has been altered through the years, and still appears in The United Methodist Book of Discipline. While it is not a part of official United Methodist doctrine, congregations are encouraged to reflect upon the creed and utilize it in worship.
The Social Creed
The creed as it appears in paragraph 166 of the 2000 edition of the Book of Discipline:
We believe in God, Creator of the world; and in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of creation. We believe in the Holy Spirit, through whom we acknowledge God’s gifts, and we repent of our sin in misusing these gifts to idolatrous ends.
We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.
We joyfully receive for ourselves and others the blessings of community, sexuality, marriage, and the family.
We commit ourselves to the rights of men, women, children, youth, young adults, the aging, and people with disabilities; to improvement of the quality of life; and to the rights and dignity of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.
We believe in the right and duty of persons to work for the glory of God and the good of themselves and others and in the protection of their welfare in so doing; in the rights to property as a trust from God, collective bargaining, and responsible consumption; and in the elimination of economic and social distress.
We dedicate ourselves to peace throughout the world, to the rule of justice and law among nations, and to individual freedom for all people of the world.
We believe in the present and final triumph of God’s Word in human affairs and gladly accept our commission to manifest the life of the gospel in the world. Amen.