The Wesleyan Church
Our Elementary Principles
Since it's beginning, The Wesleyan Church has held to a few brief statements which form the foundation for all church beliefs and legislation. These nine statements are called our "Elementary Principles." They define the basis for making church laws. They protect the rights and explain the duties of individual members. They guarantee fairness in church relationships and in resolving conflicts. In essence, they are the "Bill of Rights" in the church's constitution, serving as a means of protecting the integrity of the church as an organization through changing times and social moods. The following are our "Elementary Principles."
Christ is the only Head of the church, and the Word of God the only rule of faith and conduct.
No person who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and obeys the gospel of God our Savior, ought to be deprived of church membership.
Every man has an inalienable right to private judgement in matters of religion, and an equal right to express his opinion in any way which will not violate the laws of God or the rights of his fellowman.
All church trials should be conducted on gospel principles only; and no minister or member should be excommunicated except for immorality, the propagation of unchristian doctrines, or for neglect of duties enjoined by the Word of God.
The pastoral or ministerial office and duties are of divine appointment, and all elders in the church of God are equal; but ministers are forbidden to be lords over God's heritage, or to have dominion over the faith of the saints.
The Church has a right to form and enforce such rules and regulations only as are in accordance with the Holy Scriptures, and may be necessary or have a tendency to carry into effect the great system of practical Christianity.
Whatever power may be necessary to the formation of rules and regulations is inherent in the ministers and members of the Church; but so much of that power may be delegated from time to time, upon a plan of representation, as they may judge necessary and proper.
It is the duty of the ministers and memebers of the Church to maintain godliness and oppose all moral evil.
It is obligatory upon ministers of the gospel to be faithful in the discharge of their pastoral and ministerial duties, and it is also obligatory upon the members to esteem ministers highly for the works' sake, and to render them a righteous compensation for labors. 1
1 The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church, 1988 (Indianapolis, Ind.: Wesleyan Publishing House, 1989), pars. 135-1473, pp. 33-34
Prepared by the General Department of Evangelism & Church Growth