Doctrine matters to Methodists! It serves three primary purposes. First, doctrine provides the basic framework for our view of life and of the world, what we call a "worldview." Through the lens of the historic affirmations of faith, we interpret and reflect on our own lives, the world around us, the past, and the future. Secondly, doctrine serves formational purposes. Doctrines are far more than abstract ideas and principles; they provide the foundation, motivation, and direction for our living; and the validity of a doctrine is judged by the character it produces in individuals and communities. Thirdly, doctrine serves an evangelical and apologetic purpose. Doctrine provides the content and core substance of our proclamation and defense of the Christian faith. In 1786 John Wesley warned that Methodists would become "as dead sect" with the form of religion but lacking its power if its members failed to hold fast to doctrine, as well as the spirit and discipline with which the movement began.
Ken Carder, Living Our Beliefs: The United Methodist Way, p. 24.