1. In the latter end of the year 1739 there came to Mr. Wesley,
in London, eight or ten persons who appeared to be deeply convinced
of sin and earnestly groaning for redemption. They desired (as did
two or three more the next day) that he would spend some time with
them in prayer, and advise them how to flee from the wrath to come,
which they saw continually hanging over their heads. That he might
have more time for this great work he appointed a day when they
might all come together-which from thence forward they did every
week; namely, on Thursday, in the evening. To these, and as many
more as desired to join them (for their number increased daily), he
gave those advices from time to time which he judged most needful
for them; and they always concluded their meeting with prayer,
suited to their several necessities.
2. This was the rise of the Wesleyan Societies in Europe, then
of The Wesleyan Methodist Church of America. Such churches are no
other than companies of persons having the form and seeking the
power of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the
word of exhortation, and to watch over one another in love, that
they may help each other to work out their salvation.
3. The Wesleyan Methodist Church of America grew out of a
separation from the Methodist Episcopal Church, the result of the
connection of that body with slavery, and the arbitrary character of
4. O. Scott, J. Horton, and L. R. Sunderland withdrew in
November, 1842. At the same time the first number of a weekly paper
was issued called the True Wesleyan, in which they announced their
withdrawal, setting forth their reasons. In December following,
Luther Lee withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church, as did L.
C. Matlack. These withdrawals are to be regarded as the commencement
of the movement which led to the Wesleyan organization. There were
previous separations, but the organization of the community, whose
system of doctrine and polity is presented in the following pages,
must date its commencement as above.
5. The most extensive prior separation took place in Michigan,
which resulted in the organization of a conference, but they united
in the general organization at Utica, hereafter mentioned, and
formed the basis of what became the Michigan Annual Conference. The
first Wesleyan Church, which was organized as a part of the present
Denomination, was in Providence, Rhode Island.
6. Soon after the withdrawal of Scott, Horton, Sunderland, Lee,
and Matlack, measures were taken to hold a convention, which
transpired at Andover, Massachusetts, February, 1843. This resulted
in a call for a General Convention, which was held at Utica, New
York, commencing May 31, I843, at which a general organization was
effected and a Discipline adopted. The first General Conference was
held in October, 1844, at which the Discipline underwent some
7. In October, 1848, the second General Conference was held; and
in the light of the four years' additional experience, the
Discipline underwent a thorough revision, principally to improve it
in simplicity and in the arrangement of its parts; since then it has
been further revised, and, with confidence that it will be approved,
it is presented to the Church, whose system of doctrine and rules of
practice it contains, and to the Christian public, whose inspection
8. It will be seen by the candid reader that the system of
government is essentially republican, and is conformed to the
Scriptures and primitive usages in all fundamental matters-under
such modifications in what is merely prudential, as are demanded by
circumstances of the times in which we live. For amplitude of
provision to meet all the exigencies of an ecclesiastical
organization-and for simplicity, rendering it easy to be
comprehended, it is believed this little book stands unrivaled.
9. It is not presented as a substitute for the Holy Scriptures,
but as an epitome of the doctrines, morals, and ecclesiastical
polity contained in the Sacred Volume. All who read this volume, and
especially those who adopt it as the rule of their faith and
practice, should never forget for one moment, that, to secure the
end of religion, they must add to their creed, however truthful it
may be, sincerity of heart and purity of life. "Not every one that
saith unto me, Lord! Lord! shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
10. Connecting Sketch: In the General Conference of I943 a
movement was advanced for union with other holiness bodies, notably
the Free Methodist Church. Allegheny Conference, one of the original
organizing conferences, opposed this merger. With the agitation for
merger, there also became evident within the General Conference a
steady trend toward a more centralized government and a noticeable
departure from the original polity and standards set by the founding
fathers of the Wesleyan Methodist Church. This trend the Allegheny
Conference deeply deplored. The proposed merger with the Free
Methodist Church was defeated at the General Conference of 1955,
with the Allegheny Conference unanimously opposing. A merger with
the Pilgrim Holiness Church was proposed at the 1963 General
Conference. Again the Allegheny Conference opposed, having gone on
record to accept no further departure from Disciplinary polity and
standards beyond the I959 Discipline. The General Conference of
I966, called one year early to facilitate the proposed merger,
refused to seat the Allegheny delegation, and the merger was passed
by a large vote. Allegheny refused to join the merged group. Final
settlement between the Conference and the General Church came in
I968 when the Conference accepted the name of The Allegheny Wesleyan
Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny Conference).
11. The Discipline here presented is offered as true to the
original doctrines, standards, and polity of Wesleyan Methodism.
I. Faith in the Holy Trinity.
14. There is but one living and true God, everlasting, of infinite
power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker and Preserver of all things,
visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three
persons of one substance, power, and eternity-the Father, the Son
(the Word), and the Holy Ghost.
Gen. 1:1; 17:1; Exod. 3:13-15; 33:20; Dent. 6:4; Ps. 90:2; 104:24;
Isa. 9:6; Jer. 10:10; John 1:1-2; 4:24-5:18; 10:30; 16:13; 17:3;
Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 16:27; 1 Cor. 8:4, 6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18;
Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:16; 1 Tim. 1:17;1 John 5:7, 20; Rev. 19:13.
II. The Son of God.
15. The only begotten Son of God was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was
crucified, dead and buried-to be a sacrifice, not only for original
guilt, but also for the actual sins of men, and to reconcile us to
Mark 15; Luke 1:27, 31, 35; John 1:14, 18; 3:16-17; Acts 4:12; Rom.
5:10, 18; 1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Gal. 1:4; 2:20; 4:4-5; Eph.
5:2; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 2:17; 7:27; 9:28; 10:12;1 Pet. 2:24;1 John
III. The Resurrection of Christ.
16. Christ did truly rise again from the dead, taking His body with
all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature, wherewith
He ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until He returns to judge
all men at the last day.
Ps. 16:8-10; Matt. 27:62-66; 28:5-9, 16-17; Mark 16:6-7,12; Luke
24:4-8,23; John 20:26-29; 21:1-25; Acts 12; 2:24-31;10:40; Rom.
8:34; 14:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:6, 14; Heb. 13:20.
IV. The Holy Ghost.
17. The Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son is of one
substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and
Job 33:4; Matt. 28:19; John 4:24-26; Acts 5:3-4, Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor.
3:17; Gal. 4:6.
V. The Sufficiency and Full Authority of the Holy Scriptures for
18. The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation;
so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby,
is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an
article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.
In the name of the Holy Scriptures, we so understand the books of
the Old and New Testaments. These Scriptures we do hold to be the
inspired and infallibly written Word of God, fully inerrant in their
original manuscript and superior to all human authority:
The canonical books of the Old Testament are:
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges,
Ruth, l Samuel, 2 Samuel, I Kings, 2 Kings, I 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, Zephaniah, and Malachi.
The canonical books of the New Testament are:
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, The Acts, The Epistle to the Romans, I
Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians,
Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, l Timothy, 2 Timothy,
Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3
John, Jude, and Revelation.
Ps. 19:7; Luke 24:27; John 17:17; Acts 17:2, 11; Rom. 1:2; 15:4;
16:26; Gal. 1:8; 1 Thes. 2;13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12; Jas.
1:21;1 Pet. 1:23; 2 Pet. 1:19-21; Rev. 22:14, 19.
VI. The Old Testament.
19. The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the
Old and New Testaments everlasting life is offered to mankind
through Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man.
Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers
did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from
God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, doth not bind
Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity be
received in any commonwealth, yet notwithstanding no Christian
whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are
Matt. 5:17-19; 22:37-40; Luke 24:27-44; John 1:45; 5:46; Rom. 15:8;
2 Con 1:20; Eph. 2:15-16; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 10:1; 11:39; 1 John
VII. Relative Duties.
20. Those two great commandments which require us to love the Lord
our God with all the heart, and our neighbors as ourselves, contain
the sum of the divine law as it is revealed in the Scriptures: they
are the measure and perfect rule of human duty, as well as the
ordering and directing of families and nations, and all other social
bodies, as for individual acts, by which we are required to
acknowledge God as our only Supreme Ruler, and all men as created by
Him, equal in all natural rights. Wherefore all men are bound so to
order all their individual, social, and political acts as to render
to God entire and absolute obedience, and to secure to all men the
enjoyment of every natural right, as well as to promote the greatest
happiness of each in the possession and exercise of such rights.
Lev. 19:18, 34; Dent. 1:15,17; 2 Sam. 23:3; Job 29:16; 31:13-14; Jer.
21:12; 22:3; Matt. 5:44-47; 7:12; Luke 6:27-29,35; John 13:34-35;
Acts 10:34-35; 17:26; Rom. 12:9; 13:1, 7-8,10; Gal. 5:14; 6:10; Tit.
3:1; Jas. 2:8; 1 Pet. 2:17; 1 John 2:5; 4:12-13; 2 John 6.
VIII. Original or Birth Sin.
21. Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the
Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of
every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam,
whereby man is wholly gone from original righteousness, and of his
own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.
Gen. 8:21, Ps. 51:5; Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23; Rom. 3:10-12;
5:12,18-19; Eph. 2:1-3.
IX. Free Will.
22. The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he
cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and
work, in 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 working in us, that we may have a good will, working
with us when we have that good will.
Prov. 16:1; 20:24; Jer. 10:23; Matt. 16:17; John 6:44, 65; 15:5;
Rom. 5:6-8; Eph. 2:5-9; Phil. 2:13; 4:13.
X. Justification of Man.
23. We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by faith, and not our own works or
deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most
wholesome doctrine and very full of comfort.
Acts 13:38-39;15:11;16:31; Rom. 3:28; 4:2-5; 5:1-2,9; Eph. 2:8-9;
XI. Good Works.
24. Although good works, which are the fruit of faith and follow
after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the
severity of God's judgment, yet they are pleasing and acceptable to
God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch
that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is
discerned by its fruit.
Matt. 5:16; 7:16-20; John 15:8; Rom. 3:20; 4:2,4,6; Gal. 2:160;
Phil. 1:11; Tit. 3:5; Jas. 2:18,22; 1 Pet. 2:9,10.
XII. Sin After Justification.
25. Not every sin willingly committed after justification is the sin
against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore repentance is
not denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we
have received the Holy Ghost we may depart from grace given and fall
into sin, and by the grace of God rise again to amend our lives. And
therefore, they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as
long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as
Ps. 32:5; 95:7,11; Ecd. 7:20; Jer. 3:13-15; Matt. 24:12; John 5:14;
Gal. 5:4,7; Eph. 5:14; Heb. 3:7-13,15; Jas. 3:2,8; 1 John 1:8-9;
2:12; Rev. 2:5.
26. Regeneration is that work of the Holy Spirit by which the
pardoned sinner becomes a child of God; this work is received
through faith in Jesus Christ, whereby the regenerate are delivered
from the power of sin which reigns over all the unregenerate, so
that they love God and through grace serve Him with the will and
affections of the heart receiving the Spirit of adoption whereby we
cry; Abba, Father.
John 1:12-13; 3:3,5; Rom. 8:15,17; Gal. 3:26; 4:5,7; Eph. 1:5;
2:5,19; 4:24; Col. 3:10; Tit. 3:5; Jas. 1:18;1 Pet. 1:3-4; 2 Pet
1:4; 1 John 3:1.
XIV. Entire Sanctification.
27. Entire sanctification is that work of the Holy Spirit by which
the child of God is cleansed from all inbred sin through faith in
Jesus Christ. It is subsequent to regeneration, and is wrought when
the believer presents himself a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable unto God, and is thus enabled through grace to love God
with all the heart and to walk in His holy commandments blameless.
Gen. 17:1; Dent. 30:6; Ps. 130:8; Ezek. 36:25-29; Matt. 5:48; Luke
1:74-75; John 17:2-23; Rom. 8:3-4;11:26; 1 Cor. 6:11;14:20; Eph.
4:13, 24; 5:25-27; Phil. 2:5,7; Col. 4:12; Thes. 3:10; 5:23; 2 Thes.
2:13; 2 Tim. 3:17; Tit. 2:12; Heb. 9:13-14; 10:14,18-22; Jas. 1:27;
4:8;1 Pet. 1:10; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 1:7, 9; 3:8-9; 4:17-18; Jude 24.
XV. The Sacraments.
28. Sacraments ordained of Christ are not only tokens of Christian
profession, but they are certain signs of grace and God's good will
toward us, by which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only
quicken but also strengthen and confirm our faith in Him. There are
two sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel: that is to
say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord.
Matt. 26:26-28; 28:19; Mark 14:22-24; Rom. 2:28-29; 4:11; 1 Cor.
10:16; 11:23-26; Gal. 3:27.
29. Baptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference
whereby Christians are distinguished from others who are not
baptized, but it is also a sign of regeneration or new birth. The
baptism of young children is to be retained in the church.
Num. 8:7; Isa. 52:15; Ezek. 36:25; Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:10; 16:16;
John 3:22, 26; 4:12; Acts 2:38,41; 8:12-17; 9:18;16:35;18:8;19:5;
22:16; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27-29; Col. 2:11-12; Tit. 3:5.
XVII. The Lord's Supper.
30. The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of love that
Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather
it is a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death; insomuch that
to such as rightly, worthily and with faith receive the same, it is
made a medium through which God Both communicate grace to the heart.
Luke 22:19-20; John 6:53, 56; 1 Cor. 5:7-8; 10:3-16; 11:28.
XVIII. The One Oblation of Christ Finished Upon the Cross.
31. The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption
and propitiation for all the sins of the whole world, both original
and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that
alone. Wherefore, to expect salvation on the ground of our own
works, or by suffering the pains our sins deserve, either in the
present or future state, is derogatory to Christ's offering for us
and a dangerous deceit. :
Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:8; 8:34; Gal. 2:16; 3:2-3,11; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; Heb.
7:23-27; 9:11-15,2428; 10:14.
XIX. The Rites and Ceremonies of Churches.
32. It is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all
places be the same or exactly alike, for they have always been
different and may be changed according to the diversities of
countries, times, and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained
against God's Word. Every particular church may ordain, change, or
abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to
Acts 15:10, 28-29; Rom. 14:2-6, 15, 17, 21; 1 Cor. 1:10; 12:25;
14:26; 2 Cor. 13:11; Gal. 5:1,13; Col. 2:16-17; 2 Thes. 3:6,14; 1
Tim. 1:4,6; 1 Pet. 2:16.
XX. The Second Coming of Christ.
33. The doctrine of the second coming of Christ is a very precious
truth, and this good hope is a powerful inspiration to holy living
and godly effort for the evangelization of the world. We believe the
Scriptures teach the coming of Christ to be a bodily return to the
earth and that He will cause the fulfillment of all prophecies made
concerning His final and complete triumph over all evil. Faith in
the imminence of Christ's return is a rational and inspiring hope to
the people of God.
Job 19:25-27; Dan. 12:1-4; Ps. 17:15; Isa. 11:1-12; Zech. 14:1-11;
Matt. 24:1-51; 26:64; Mark 13:27-37; Luke 17:26-37; 21:24-36; John
14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11;1 Cor. 1:7, 8; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; Tit. 2:11-14;
Heb. 9:27-28; Jas. 5:7-8; 2 Pet. 3:1-14;1 John 3:2-3; Jude 14; Rev.
1:7; 19:11-16; 22:6-7, 12, 20.
XXI. The Resurrection of the Dead.
34. We hold the Scriptural statements concerning the resurrection of
the dead to be true and worthy of universal acceptance. We believe
the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fact of history and a
miracle of supreme importance. We understand the manner of the
resurrection of mankind to be the resurrection of the righteous
dead, at Christ's second coming, and the resurrection of the wicked
at a later time, as stated in Revelation 20:4-6. Resurrection will
be the reuniting of soul and body preparatory to final reward or
Job 19:25-27; Ps. 17:15; Dan. 12:2; Matt. 22:30-32; 28:1-20; Luke
14:14; John 5:28-29; Acts 23:6-8; Rom. 8:11;1 Cor. 15:1-58; 2 Con
4:14; 5:1-11;1 Thes. 4:14-17; Rev. 20:4-6.
XXII. The Judgment of Mankind.
35. The Scriptures reveal God as the Judge of all mankind and the
acts of His judgment to be based on His omniscience and eternal
justice. His administration of judgment will culminate in the final
meeting of mankind before His throne of great majesty and power,
where records will be examined and final rewards and punishments
will be administered.
Eccl. 12:14; Matt 10:15; 25:31-46; Luke 11:31-32; Acts 10:42;17:31;
Rom. 2:16;14:1011; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 9:27; 2 Pet. 3:7;
36. The Scriptures reveal hell, the final doom of ungodly
unbelievers, as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth,
unquenchable fire, outer darkness, everlasting fire, everlasting
punishment, and torments in the lake of fire.
Matt. 3:12; 8:12; 25:41,46; Luke 16:23; Rev. 20:15.
37. The Scriptures reveal heaven, the final home of every righteous
believer. Jesus said it was His Father's house where He went to
prepare a place for us with no more death, neither sorrow, nor
crying, neither any more pain, with no more curse and no night
there; the Lamb is the light thereof and His servants shall serve
John 14:2; Rev. 21:4,23; 22:3,5.
Note: It is not to be understood that a dissenting understanding on
the subject of the millennium shall be held to break or hinder
either church fellowship or membership.
Article III. General Rules.
38. It is expected of those who are admitted to our churches that
they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation:
First, by doing no harm-by avoiding evil of every kind, especially
that which is most generally practiced, such as
The taking of the name of God in vain.
The profaning the day of the Lord, either by doing ordinary work
therein or by buying or selling.
Drunkenness or the manufacturing, buying, selling, or using
intoxicating liquors, unless for mechanical, chemical, or medicinal
purposes, or in any way intentionally and knowingly aiding others so
The buying or selling of men, women, or children, with an intention
to enslave them, or holding them as slaves, or claiming that it is
right so to do.
The giving or taking things on usury, i.e., unlawful interest.
Fighting, quarreling, brawling, brother going to law with brother,
returning evil for evil, or railing for railing.
The buying or selling goods that have not paid the duty.
Uncharitable or unprofitable conversation.
Doing to others as we would not they should do unto us. Doing what
we know is not for the glory of God, as The putting on of gold and
The wearing of apparel which does not modestly and properly clothe
The taking such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord
The singing those songs or reading those books which do not tend to
the knowledge or love of God.
Softness and needless self-indulgence. Laying up treasure upon
earth. Borrowing without a probability of paying, or taking up goods
without a probability of paying for them.
39. It is expected of all who continue in these churches that they
should continue to evidence their desire of salvation:
Second, by doing good; by being, in every kind, merciful after their
power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort,
and, as far as possible, to all men.
To their bodies, of the ability which God giveth, by giving food to
the hungry, by clothing the naked, by visiting or helping them that
are sick or in prison.
To their souls, by instructing, reproving, or exhorting all we have
any intercourse with; trampling under foot that enthusiastic
doctrine that "we are not to do good unless our hearts be free to
By doing good, especially to them that are of the household of faith
or groaning so to be; employing them preferably to others, buying
one of another, helping each other in business; and so much the more
because the world will love its own and them only.
By all possible diligence and frugality, that the gospel be not
blamed. By running with patience the race which is set before them,
denying themselves, and taking up their cross daily; submitting to
bear the reproach of Christ, to be as the filth and offscouring of
the world, and looking that men should say all manner of evil of
them falsely for the Lord's sake.
40. It is expected of all who desire to continue in these churches
that they should continue to evidence their desire of salvation:
Thirdly, by attending upon all the ordinances of God; such as: The
public worship of God.
The ministry of the Word either read or expounded. The Supper of the
Family and private prayer. Searching the Scriptures. Fasting or
41. Further, by abstaining from membership in secret societies. We
will on no account tolerate our ministers and members joining or
holding fellowship with secret societies, as, in the judgment of the
Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny
Conference), it is inconsistent with our duties to God to hold such
"Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in
the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort;
and in secret have I said nothing" (John 18:20).
"Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert;
go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not"
"But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven,
neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be
yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation" (James
Also see Lev. 5:4-5; Isa. 29:15; Matt. 5:34-36; John 3:19-20; 2 Cor.
4:1-2; 6:14-18; Eph. 5:11-12; 1 John 4:2-3.
Note: This rule on secret societies does not prevent our members
from affiliating with unions organized for the purpose of protecting
their industrial interests where Christian principles are not
violated; and where such principles are violated, members shall be
dealt with because of such violation and not because of membership
in the union.
42. Further, by abstaining from the use of tobacco. In the judgment
of The Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny
Conference), the use of tobacco is a great evil, unbecoming a
Christian, a waste of the Lord's money, and a defilement of the
body, which should be the temple of the Holy Ghost. We do,
therefore, most earnestly require our members to refrain from its
cultivation, manufacture, and sale, and to abstain from its use in
all forms, for Jesus' sake.
We will not receive as members into our churches nor will we ordain
or license to preach or to exhort, persons who use, cultivate,
manufacture, or sell tobacco. Using tobacco by a member of a church
or of the conference after being received from this date (June 28,
1927) is a violation of the law of the Church, and the offending
party should be dealt with according to the Judiciary Rules.
43. Further, by observing the teachings of Scripture regarding
marriage and divorce. We regard adultery as the only justifiable
cause for divorce. In the case of a divorce for such cause the
innocent party may marry again; but the guilty party has by his or
her act forfeited membership in the church. In the case of divorce
for other cause, neither party shall be permitted to marry again
during the lifetime of the other; and violation of this law shall be
punished by expulsion from the church (Matt. 5:32; Mark 10:11-12).
In the carrying out of these principles, guilt shall be established
in accordance with judicial procedures set forth in the Discipline.
44. These are the General Rules of our churches, all of which we are
taught of God to observe, even in His written Word, which is the
only rule and the sufficient rule both of our faith and practice,
And all these we know His Spirit writes on truly awakened hearts. If
there be any among us who observe them not, who habitually break any
of them, let it be known unto them who watch over that soul, as they
who must give account. We will admonish him of the error of his
ways. We will bear with him for a season. But if then he repent not,
he hath no more place among us; we have delivered our own souls.
Article IV. Elementary Principles.
45. A Christian church is a society of believers in Jesus Christ
assembling in any one place for religious worship, and is of divine
46. Christ is the only Head of the church, and the Word of God the
only rule of faith and conduct.
47. No person who loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and obeys the gospel
of God our Saviour, ought to be deprived of church membership.
48. Every man has an inalienable right to private judgment 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
49. All church trials should be conducted on gospel principles only;
and no minister or member should be excommunicated except for
immorality, for propagation of unchristian doctrines, or for neglect
of duties enjoined by the Word of God.
50. 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.
51. 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.
52. 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.
53. It is the duty of all ministers and members of the church to
maintain godliness and oppose all moral evil.
54. 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
their works' sake, and to render them a righteous compensation for
Article V. Membership.
55. The privileges and conditions of full membership in the church
are constitutional, and changes therein may be made only by
constitutional enactment. Nothing shall be included in the
membership ritual that is contrary to the following definitions,
conditions, and privileges of membership.
56. The conditions of full membership are:
1). Confession of a personal experience in regeneration, and a
pledge to seek diligently until sanctified wholly if that experience
has not been attained.
2). Christian baptism.
3). Acceptance of the Articles of Religion, the General Rules, the
Elementary Principles, and the authority of the Discipline in
matters of church government.
4). A covenant to support the church, to live in fellowship with the
members thereof, and to seek God's glory in all things.
5). The approving vote of a majority of the members of the receiving
church who are present and voting, provided that when objections are
urged against the reception of a member, it shall require a vote of
three-fourths of those present and voting to receive.
57. The rights of full membership are:
1). The fellowship of the saints and the encouragement, admonition,
and spiritual guidance of the ministry.
2). The access to the sacraments and ordinances of the church.
3). The right to vote and the eligibility to hold any office for
which a person in full membership is eligible, if not under
4). The right to trial and appeal if charged with failure to
maintain the conditions of membership, with the specific provision
that joining another religious body shall of itself sever membership
in the church.
58. Church membership may be terminated only by one or more of the
1). Voluntary withdrawal.
2). Joining another religious body or a secret order.
3). Expulsion after proper trial and conviction.
4). Persistent neglect of church relationship as defined by the
Article VI. The Ministry.
59. The Connection shall from time to time enact provisions for the
training, qualification, and ordination of the ministry. Every
Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist minister must be a member of some
Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church. An elder is a minister of the
gospel fully invested with all the functions of the Christian
60. The Constitutional rights of ministers in The Allegheny Wesleyan
Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny Conference), if not under
discipline, shall include the following:
1). To preach the gospel and, in the case of ordained elders, to
administer baptism and the Lord's Supper, to perform all parts of
divine worship, and to solemnize the rite of matrimony.
2). To be eligible, in the case of ordained elders, for election to
any office in the church for which elders are eligible.
3). To contract the pastoral relationship with local Allegheny
Wesleyan Methodist Churches subject to the other provisions of this
constitution. (See paragraph 64, subparagraphs 1 and 2 below.)
4). To enjoy the use for religious meetings of the church building
or buildings of the pastoral charge to which he has been appointed
by the annual conference.
5). To serve his assigned pastoral charge without interference by
unauthorized activities of another minister of The Allegheny
Wesleyan Methodist Connection.
6). To have recourse, even if under discipline, to a proper court of
jurisdiction in any matters involving complaint against his
character or ministerial conduct, and to appeal the decision of such
Article VII. Organization and Government.
61. Pastoral Charges. The members of the Connection shall be grouped
into local churches, one or more of which shall constitute a
pastoral charge. The following are the constitutional rights of each
1). To receive and expel or discontinue members subject to the
provisions of the Discipline. This right vests severally in each
2). To call its own pastor, subject to confirmation by the
3). To grant licenses to preach and exhort, and to take away the
4). To recommend local preachers and special workers to the
5). To elect its own officers and to remove the same for cause. No
pastor or other official has any right to appoint an officer or
declare an office vacant. This right belongs to the church alone,
and vests severally in each local church.
6). To elect trustees and through such trustees to supervise,
control, and maintain its property for the use and benefit of the
ministry and members of the churches of The Allegheny Wesleyan
Methodist Connection (Original Allegheny Conference) and subject to
its regulations and appointments as from time to time legislated and
declared. This right vests severally in each local church.
7). To be represented in the voting membership of the Connection, if
not under discipline.
8). To have a recourse to a proper court of jurisdiction in any
matters of controversy between itself and the Connection or any
other agencies of the Connection. This right vests severally in each
62. The Connectional Annual Conference. The voting membership of the
conference shall include the following: all elders on the stationed,
reserve, and superannuated lists; all conference preachers elected
to elders' orders; all conference preachers serving as pastors of
organized Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Churches; lay delegates
elected by organized Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Churches as
provided in the Discipline. In addition, the annual conference shall
include such nonvoting members as the Discipline shall provide. The
principle of equal representation of the ministry and laity in the
annual conference shall be maintained.
63. In transacting the business of the annual conference the
ministers and lay members shall deliberate as one body; but on the
final vote on any question, at the call of one-fourth of the
members, the house shall divide, and the ministers and lay members
shall vote separately; and it shall require a majority vote of each
branch to pass any question upon which the division has been called.
64. The constitutional rights of the Connection shall include the
1). The right to take charge of all the ministers and churches
within its bounds and subject to the right of the ministers and
churches to enter into pastoral engagements for one year from the
next session of the annual conference, or to contract the pastoral
relationship at any time during the interval of the sessions of the
annual conference when this does not interrupt any arrangement which
was sanctioned by the annual conference at its previous session.
2a). To alter the agreement entered into by any pastor and charge
when it deems this to be for the best interest of the charge or
pastor involved or when the general interest of the Connection would
be better served by such a change, provided that any alteration of a
previous arrangement between a pastor and church shall be separately
reported and passed by vote of the annual conference, to be
2b). The Connection's authority, as outlined in 64 (2a), shall be
restricted in the following respect: In the event a contract between
pastor and a church must be interrupted in the interim of annual
sessions, the Conference shall work through the local Pulpit Supply
Committee concerning a successor and that the said church shall have
the right of voting to extend a call to such a successor.
3). To elect and ordain elders, and to receive elders from other
denominations subject to the restrictions of the Discipline.
4). To receive or decline local preachers and special workers
recommended to it by the pastoral charges within its bounds.
5). To organize and receive local churches within the boundaries of
its territory and to fix the boundaries of its circuits and
6). To take such actions and adopt such rules as it shall judge
necessary to promote the interests and prosperity of the church and
to amend or rescind the same, provided it shall not contravene any
provision of the constitution or of the Discipline, and provided
further that if three members of a local church shall take exception
to its action on the ground that it violates this restriction, they
may make an appeal therefrom through the channels prescribed by the
7). To elect its own officers as outlined in the Discipline, and to
dismiss them for cause.
8). To elect in the manner prescribed by the Discipline its own
Board of Trustees and through them to receive, hold, encumber and
dispose of all Connection property within the bounds of the
Connection, according to the provisions of the Discipline and the
laws of the state. All properties held by the Connection shall be
held in trust for the use and benefit of the ministry and members of
its own local churches and subject to its regulations and
appointments as from time to time legislated and declared.
9). To have recourse to a proper court of jurisdiction in any
matters of controversy between itself and local or other units or
Article VIII. Amendments to the Constitution.
65.1). Upon the recommendation of a two-thirds majority of all the
members of the General Connectional Session who shall be present and
vote on a proposed change of any matter involving the constitution,
and upon concurrent recommendation of a two-thirds majority of all
the members of the local churches who shall be present and vote on
the same, it shall become constitutional law.
2). Memorials and Revisals pertaining to Statutory provisions of the
Discipline [exclusive of paragraphs 12-72, which are Constitutional
and amended in accordance with paragraphs 65 (1) and 65 (3)] shall
be presented to the General Connectional Session for vote. Majority
vote is necessary for approval.
3). All amendments or revisals of the constitution or statutory laws
shall be submitted over the signature of three or more individual
members of any Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist Church(es), and directed
to the Chairman of the Connectional Advisory Board sixty days prior
to the coming General Connectional Session. The General Connection
shall have power to establish a committee to be named as Committee
on Memorials and Revisals and shall consider all Memorials and
Revisals as pertaining to both Constitutional and Statutory law.