Feel free to navigate the sections below to discover more about our beliefs and history.
I. The Holy Trinity
A/101. There is but one living and true God, the maker and preserver of all things. And in the unity of this Godhead there are three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one in eternity, deity, and purpose; everlasting, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness.
II. The Son
A/103. God was himself in Jesus Christ to reconcile people to God. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, He joined together the deity of God and the humanity of humankind. Jesus of Nazareth was God in flesh, truly God and truly human. He came to save us. For us the Son of God suffered, was crucified, dead and buried. He poured out His life as a blameless sacrifice for our sin and transgressions. We gratefully acknowledge that He is our Savior, the one perfect mediator between God and us.
His Resurrection and Exaltation
A/104. Jesus Christ is risen victorious from the dead. His resurrected body became more glorious, not hindered by ordinary human limitations. Thus He ascended into heaven. There He sits as our exalted Lord at the right hand of God the Father, where He intercedes for us until all His enemies shall be brought into complete subjection. He will return to judge all people. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
III. The Holy Spirit
A/105. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. Proceeding from the Father and the Son, He is one with them, the eternal Godhead; equal in deity, majesty, and power. He is God effective in Creation, in life, and in the church. The Incarnation and ministry of Jesus Christ were accomplished by the Holy Spirit. He continues to reveal, interpret, and glorify the Son.
His Work in Salvation
A/106. The Holy Spirit is the administrator of the salvation planned by the Father and provided by the Son’s death, Resurrection, and Ascension. He is the effective agent in our conviction, regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. He is our Lord’s ever-present self, indwelling, assuring, and enabling the believer.
His Relation to the Church
A/107. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the church by the Father and the Son. He is the church’s life and witnessing power. He bestows the love of God and makes real the lordship of Jesus Christ in the believer so that both His gifts of words and service may achieve the common good, and build and increase the church. In relation to the world He is the Spirit of truth, and His instrument is the Word of God.
I. Holy Trinity
John 1:1-3; 5:19-23; 8:58; 14:9-11; 15:26; 16:13-15
2 Corinthians 13:14
Matthew 1:21; 20:28; 26:27-28
Luke 1:35; 19:10
John 1:1, 10, 14; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Hebrews 2:17; 9:14-15
His Resurrection and Exaltation
Luke 24:1-7; 24:39
Acts 1:9-11; 2:24
2 Corinthians 5:10
III. Holy Spirit
John 4:24; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:13-15
His Work in Salvation
Romans 8:9, 14-16
1 Corinthians 3:16
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
His Relation to the Church
1 Corinthians 12:4-7
2 Peter 1:21
A/108. The Bible is God’s written Word, uniquely inspired by the Holy Spirit. It bears unerring witness to Jesus Christ, the living Word. As attested by the early church and subsequent councils, it is the trustworthy record of God’s revelation, completely truthful in all it affirms. It has been faithfully preserved and proves itself true in human experience.
The Scriptures have come to us through human authors who wrote, as God moved them, in the languages and literary forms of their times. God continues, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, to speak through this Word to each generation and culture.
The Bible has authority over all human life. It teaches the truth about God, His creation, His people, His one and only Son, and the destiny of humankind. It also teaches the way of salvation and the life of faith. Whatever is not found in the Bible nor can be proved by it is not to be required as an article of belief or as necessary to salvation.
V. Authority of the Old Testament
A/109. The Old Testament is not contrary to the New. Both Testaments bear witness to God’s salvation in Christ; both speak of God’s will for His people. The ancient laws for ceremonies and rites, and the civil precepts for the nation Israel are not necessarily binding on Christians today. But, on the example of Jesus we are obligated to obey the moral commandments of the Old Testament.
The books of the Old Testament are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
VI. New Testament
A/110. The New Testament fulfills and interprets the Old Testament. It is the record of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is God’s final word regarding humankind, sin, and salvation, the world and its destiny.
The books of the New Testament are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
VII. Free Moral Persons
A/111. God created human beings in His own image, innocent, morally free and responsible to choose between good and evil, right and wrong. By the sin of Adam, humans as the offspring of Adam are corrupted in their very nature so that from birth they are inclined to sin. They are unable by their own strength and work to restore themselves in right relationship with God and to merit eternal salvation. God, the Omnipotent, provides all the resources of the Trinity to make it possible for humans to respond to His grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. By God’s grace and help people are enabled to do good works with a free will.
VIII. Law of Life and Love
A/112. God’s law for all human life, personal and social, is expressed in two divine commands: Love the Lord God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. These commands reveal what is best for persons in their relationship with God, others, and society. They set forth the principles of human duty in both individual and social action. They recognize God as the only Sovereign. All people as created by Him and in His image have the same inherent rights regardless of sex, race, or color. All should therefore give God absolute obedience in their individual, social, and political acts. They should strive to secure to everyone respect for their person, their rights, and their greatest happiness in the possession and exercise of the right within the moral law.
IX. Good Works
A/113. Good works are the fruit of faith in Jesus Christ, but works cannot save us from our sins nor from God’s judgment. As expressions of Christian faith and love, our good works performed with reverence and humility are both acceptable and pleasing to God. However, good works do not earn God’s grace.
X. Christ’s Sacrifice
A/114. Christ offered once and for all the one perfect sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. No other satisfaction for sin is necessary; none other can atone.
XI. The New Life in Christ
A/115. A new life and a right relationship with God are made possible through the redemptive acts of God in Jesus Christ. God, by His Spirit, acts to impart new life and put people into a relationship with Himself as they repent and their faith responds to His grace. Justification, regeneration, and adoption speak significantly to entrance into and continuance in the new life.
A/116. Justification is a legal term that emphasizes that by a new relationship in Jesus Christ people are in fact accounted righteous, being freed from both the guilt and the penalty of their sins.
A/117. Regeneration is a biological term which illustrates that by a new relationship in Christ, one does in fact have a new life and a new spiritual nature capable of faith, love, and obedience to Christ Jesus as Lord. The believer is born again and is a new creation. The old life is past; a new life is begun.
A/118. Adoption is a filial term full of warmth, love, and acceptance. It denotes that by a new relationship in Christ believers have become His wanted children freed from the mastery of both sin and Satan. Believers have the witness of the Spirit that they are children of God.
XII. Entire Sanctification
A/119. Entire sanctification is that work of the Holy Spirit, subsequent to regeneration, by which the fully consecrated believers, upon exercise of faith in the atoning blood of Christ, are cleansed in that moment from all inward sin and empowered for service. The resulting relationship is attested by the witness of the Holy Spirit and is maintained by faith and obedience. Entire sanctification enables believers to love God with all their hearts, souls, strength, and minds, and their neighbor as themselves, and it prepares them for greater growth in grace.
A/120. Christians may be sustained in a growing relationship with Jesus as Savior and Lord. However, they may grieve the Holy Spirit in the relationships of life without returning to the dominion of sin. When they do, they must humbly accept the correction of the Holy Spirit, trust in the advocacy of Jesus, and mend their relationships. Christians can sin willfully and sever their relationship with Christ. Even so by repentance before God, forgiveness is granted and the relationship with Christ restored, for not every sin is the sin against the Holy Spirit and unpardonable. God’s grace is sufficient for those who truly repent and, by His enabling, amend their lives. However, forgiveness does not give believers liberty to sin and escape the consequences of sinning.
God has given responsibility and power to the church to restore penitent believers through loving reproof, counsel, and acceptance.
X. Christ’s Sacrifice
Galatians 2:16; 3:2-3
Ephesians 1:7-8; 2:13
Hebrews 9:11-14, 25-26; 10:8-14
XI. The New Life in Christ
John 1:12-13; 3:3-8
Romans 3:21-26, 28; 4:2-5; 5:8-9
1 Corinthians 6:11
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 Peter 1:23
1 John 3:1-3
XII. Entire Sanctification
John 14:16-17; 17:19
Acts 1:8; 2:4; 15:8-9
Romans 5:3-5; 8:12-17; 12:1-2
1 Corinthians 6:11; 12:4-11
1 Thessalonians 4:7; 5:23-24
2 Thessalonians 2:13
Matthew 12:31-32; 18:21-22
1 John 1:9; 2:1-2; 5:16-17
Revelation 2:5; 3:19-20
XIV. The Church
A/121. The church is created by God. It is the people of God. Christ Jesus is its Lord and Head. The Holy Spirit is its life and power. It is both divine and human, heavenly and earthly, ideal and imperfect. It is an organism, not an unchanging institution. It exists to fulfill the purposes of God in Christ. It redemptively ministers to persons. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it that it should be holy and without blemish. The church is a fellowship of the redeemed and the redeeming, preaching the Word of God and administering the sacraments according to Christ’s instruction. The Free Methodist Church purposes to be representative of what the church of Jesus Christ should be on earth. It therefore requires specific commitment regarding the faith and life of its members. In its requirements it seeks to honor Christ and obey the written Word of God.
XV. The Language of Worship
A/122. According to the Word of God and the custom of the early church, public worship and prayer and the administration of the sacraments should be in a language understood by the people. The Reformation applied this principle to provide for the use of the common language of the people. It is likewise clear that the Apostle Paul places the strongest emphasis upon rational and intelligible utterance in worship. We cannot endorse practices which plainly violate these scriptural principles.
XVI. The Holy Sacraments
A/123. Water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the sacraments of the church commanded by Christ. They are means of grace through faith, 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.
A/124. Water baptism is a sacrament of the church, commanded by our Lord, signifying acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ to be administered to believers, as declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.
Baptism is a symbol of the new covenant of grace as circumcision was the symbol of the old covenant; and, since infants are recognized as being included in the atonement, they may be baptized upon the request of parents or guardians who shall give assurance for them of necessary Christian training. They shall be required to affirm the vow for themselves before being accepted into church membership.
The Lord’s Supper
A/125. The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death. To those who rightly, worthily, and with faith receive it, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ. The supper is also a sign of the love and unity that Christians have among themselves.
Christ, according to His promise, is really present in the sacrament. But His body is given, taken, and eaten only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. No change is effected in the element; the bread and wine are not literally the body and blood of Christ. Nor is the body and blood of Christ literally present with the elements. The elements are never to be considered objects of worship. The body of Christ is received and eaten in faith.
XVII. The Kingdom of God
A/126. The kingdom of God is a prominent Bible theme providing Christians with both their tasks and hope. Jesus announced its presence. The kingdom is realized now as God’s reign is established in the hearts and lives of believers.
The church, by its prayers, example, and proclamation of the gospel, is the appointed and appropriate instrument of God in building His kingdom. But the kingdom is also future and is related to the return of Christ when judgment will fall upon the present order. The enemies of Christ will be subdued; the reign of God will be established; a total cosmic renewal which is both material and moral shall occur; and the hope of the redeemed will be fully realized.
XVIII. The Return of Christ
A/127. The return of Christ is certain and may occur at any moment, although it is not given us to know the hour. At His return He will fulfill all prophecies concerning His final triumph over all evil. The believer’s response is joyous expectation, watchfulness, readiness, and diligence.
A/128. There will be a bodily resurrection from the dead of both the just and the unjust, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. The resurrected body will be a spiritual body, but the person will be whole and identifiable. The Resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of resurrection unto life to those who are in Him.
A/129. God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness in accordance with the gospel and our deeds in this life.
XXI. Final Destiny
A/130. Our eternal destiny is determined by God’s grace and our response, not by arbitrary decrees of God. For those who trust Him and obediently follow Jesus as Savior and Lord, there is a heaven of eternal glory and the blessedness of Christ’s presence. But for the finally impenitent there is a hell of eternal suffering and of separation from God.
History of the Free Methodist Denomination
Free Methodist Church History
The Free Methodist church began August 23, 1860 in Pekin, New York, in response to a growing desire for a church denomination that would stay true to the principles of the Wesleyan revival, particularly regarding, the work of the Holy Spirit, the way of holiness and the necessity of ministry to the poor.
The founder, Benjamin Titus Roberts, was an outspoken critic of many current practices of the Methodist Episcopal church, including pew rental and other discriminatory practices that favored rich over the poor, the failure of the Methodist church to stand against slavery, and the increasing “formalism” in worship, including the hiring of professional musicians.
In addition he joined a number of other exponents of the necessity of a “second work” of grace beyond salvation during which a believer was thoroughly sanctified, made holy, and set apart to serve God with a whole heart, mind and strength.
This “radical optimism” concerning just how thoroughly transformed and how victorious over sin a person could be made by the power of God gave Roberts, though reluctant to start a new denomination, the motivation to do whatever was necessary to revive the message of entire sanctification. This message referred to as”scriptural holiness.” When Roberts no longer had a way to influence the Methodist Episcopal church with this message, he gave his energies to the founding of the Free Methodist church with its central mission of spreading scriptural holiness across the land and ministering the gospel to the poor.
History of the Hillsdale FMC
The Hillsdale Free Methodist Church was started about 1891 with Rev. L.H. Mulholland as senior pastor and F.L. Baker as junior pastor. Every Saturday, weather permitting, they drove horse and buggy around the circuit and held street meetings and invited all who attended to their Sunday services held in an upstairs hall on Howell Street. Their circuit included Hillsdale, Quincy, Coldwater, Alagansee, Bethel School House, and Hall’s Corners.
Their ministry grew and they moved into a church building across from the post office in downtown Hillsdale. It was dedicated in 1902. However, by 1920 only two of the charter members remained, Miss Ada Mosher and Mrs. Lottie Calkins. The church was in crisis and the 1924-1925 conference debated on whether they should send a pastor. Miss Mosher, Mrs. Calkins and Mrs. Eva Barber held on to their faith and were vigilant in their prayers for the church to be kept open. God answered their prayers and little by little the church grew. A calling program, Sunday school, and a ladies missionary society was organized.
In 1950 a new building was erected at 150 Union Street, costing $50,000. Much of the work was done by members. In November of that year, eight inches of snow prevented a planned walk from the old building to the new facility. The building was dedicated on December 3rd. A major event was held at the new church in June of 1951, as it was used for the entertainment for the 23rd General Conference. All the facilities of Hillsdale College and the city were used. It was two weeks that members who were involved never forgot.
Within four years of its construction, a Christian education wing was added to the building to house the growing Sunday School. Continued growth resulted in a new memorial center being added in 1978. A gymnasium, fellowship hall, Sunday School rooms, kitchen, and restrooms were dedicated on December 3, 1978.
The church owned a house a 237 N. Hillsdale Street that served as the parsonage for a while until the parsonage was built at 151 Union St. in 1957. The church owns other properties around the church building itself: It owns the lot north of the parsonage, purchased in 1968, the property between the church and Hillsdale St. purchased in 1978, the house sold and the remaining property made into a parking lot, and the house north of the church.
The 1990′s brought two Sunday morning services to accommodate a growing congregation. In 2000 one of the Sunday morning services became a contemporary one, with more modem music including a praise band.
The Hillsdale Free Methodist Church is truly a church that FAITH built!! The faith of three spirit filled women who were prayer warriors for the early church to the faith of ones who envisioned and built the additions. Has the mission of the church changed? No, the words may change as years go by, but this church is still Christ centered and people loving as the mission statement of today says: Our mission is to reach beyond ourselves to God and others, through Christ’s love.
Compiled by Bonnie McCosh, 2005 Using Conference Annuals, News Articles, and Older Histories