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More fundamental for all Methodists than these standards are the inspired Scriptures, which are declared by them to be the sole and sufficient rule of belief and practice.
The dogmas of the Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus Christ are upheld.
The "General Rules", issued by John and Charles Wesley on 1 May, 1743, stated the conditions of admission into the societies organized by them and known as the "United Societies".
They bear an almost exclusively practical character, and require no doctrinal test of the candidates.
While the existence of purgatory is denied in the Twenty-five Articles (Article XIV), an intermediate state of purification, for persons who never heard of Christ, is admitted today by some Methodists.
In its work of conversion Methodism is aggressive and largely appeals to religious sentiment; camp-meetings and revivals are important forms of evangelization, at least in America.
They are an abridgment and adaptation of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, and form the only doctrinal standard strictly binding on American Methodists.
The name of bishop used in the episcopal bodies is a title of office, not of order; it expresses superiority to elders not in ordination, but in the exercise of administrative functions.
The article which recognizes the political independence of the United States (Article XXIII) was added in 1804.
The second standard is the first fifty-three of Wesley's published sermons and his "Notes on the New Testament".
It is therefore a state of perfectibility rather than of stationary perfection.
The invocation of saints and the veneration of relics and images are rejected.Transgressions of an involuntary character are also compatible with another characteristic doctrine of Methodism, that of perfection or complete sanctification.