Faith Foundation

Hiwassee College was founded in 1849 by Methodists and continues to be a mission of The United Methodist Church. Entwined in this relationship is a commitment to the Biblical and theological tradition of the Wesleyan movement. As a United Methodist institution, Hiwassee College ascribes to and upholds the beliefs and tenets of the Christian faith as practiced by The United Methodist Church. Methodism has its roots as an evangelical renewal movement and a deep commitment to personal and social holiness.

These beliefs are enumerated by the “Articles” of Religion, the Standard Sermons of John Wesley, and two historic creeds of the Christian Church: “Apostles’ Creed,” and the “Nicene Creed.” The Restrictive Rules of the Constitution of The United Methodist Church prohibit the revocation, altering, or changing of the Articles of Religion, or establishing any new standards or rules of doctrine contrary to the existing and established doctrines.

We affirm the biblical and theological foundations of The United Methodist Church and commit ourselves to fulfilling the mission and philosophy of education that reflects our foundations.

The Bible

The Bible is the Word of God and contains “all things necessary to salvation.” The Bible is primary, authoritative, and informative in all matters of faith and practice. All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God. “Whatever is not read therein… is not to be required” of anyone to believe as an article of faith, or be a requisite necessary to salvation. (Article V)

Creation

God is creator of all. (Genesis 1:1-2:3 ) “All things where made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) We affirm “When God created the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, at the conclusion of each day’s work it is said, “And God saw that it was good.” Whatever was created was good in its kind; suited to the end for which it was designed; adapted to promote the good of the whole and the glory of the great Creator.” (Sermons 56: “God’s Approbation of His Works”)

The Trinity

God is a triune, one Being, “ever-lasting, without body or parts, with infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the [Creator] and preserver of all things, visible and invisible.” (Article I).

Each part of the trinity is co-equal and co-eternal. The Trinity is one in essence, nature, power, action, and will. While the traditional names for this threefold nature of God are Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, other titles also are used, such as Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.

Father (Creator)

God is the Creator and Nurturer of all, the maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. God the Father’s relationship is as a loving Parent with children: wise, just, and merciful. (Article I)

Son (Jesus, Christ, Redeemer, Word)

Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Word made flesh, “who lived as a man and died when he was crucified. God raised Jesus from the dead and that the risen Christ lives today. Through Christ, God’s children receive abundant life and forgiveness of sins. Jesus the Christ calls God’s children to pattern our lives after his.” (Article II)

Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit, Sustainer)

The Holy Spirit is God with us. The Holy Spirit comforts us when we are in need and convicts us when we stray from God. The Holy Spirit awakens us to God’s will and empowers us to live obediently. The Holy Spirit is “of one substance, majesty and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.” (Article IV)

Original Sin

Sin is the “corruption of the nature of every [person] that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby [humanity] is very far gone from original righteousness, and of [their] own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.” (Article VII)

Satan

“The devices whereby the subtle god of this world (Satan) labors to destroy the children of God – or at least to torment whom he cannot destroy, to perplex and hinder them in running the race which is set before them – are numberless as the stars of heaven or the sand upon the seashore.” (Sermons 42 “Satan’s Devices”)

Heaven and Hell

“All persons stand under the righteous judgment of Jesus Christ, both now and in the last day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead; the righteous to life eternal and the wicked to endless condemnation.” (Article XII)

Free Will

“The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore we have no power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.” (Article VIII)

Redemption

“The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone.” (Article XX)

Salvation

Men and women “are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deserving. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort.” (Article IX)

Sanctification

“Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our hearts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless.”

Eschatology

We believe Jesus Christ died and was buried and “rose on the third day, from whence He shall come again to judge the quick and the dead.” (Apostle’s Creed)

Ecclesiology and Ecumenism

We believe the church is the visible expression of the body of Christ in this world and is a universal collection of believers serving and worshiping under the banners of different denominations.

Unity amid Diversity

While recognizing differences in the Christian family, we seek a unity of spirit and acceptance within the fellowship of Christ’s Church. This attitude reflects the spirit of John Wesley who, despite his very pronounced opinions, was able to say to someone who differed from him, “If your heart is as mine, give me your hand.”

We believe in the Whole Gospel, in the connection between the inner life of prayer and the outward life of service. We worship and serve God most authentically when prayer and work, devotion and action, go together.

The Mark of a Methodist

We believe Wesley’s understanding of who is a Methodist:

“A Methodist is one who has “the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him;” one who “loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart, and the desire of his soul.”

 John Wesley, “The Character of a Methodist” (1739)