Will you preach and maintain them [the doctrines of The United Methodist Church]?
This question presupposes a positive answer to the previous two. It presupposes that the candidate has studied the doctrines of the UMC and also believes that they are in harmony with Scripture.
This is an important question. One cannot preach and maintain doctrine that they do not fully embrace. There would be no authority or power, not to mention genuineness, behind preaching of doctrine that I do not or cannot affirm. I really see two paths represented in this question.
First, if you cannot affirm our doctrines, do not attempt to preach or maintain them. If it’s something that isn’t protected by the restrictive rules, work to have that doctrine changed. Whether it can be changed or not, do not ignore our doctrine and preach your own. This is unfaithful to the vows made at ordination. I can recall several instances just since I became a United Methodist where there were pastors who refused to baptize infants because they personally only affirmed believer’s baptism by immersion. This stands in opposition to our nuanced belief in Baptism being God’s gracious action. This is just one example.
Second, preach it, preach it, PREACH IT. I can’t tell you how many United Methodist Churches I have been in where very faithful laypeople have no idea what distinguishes their Church from any other Church in the neighborhood. The doctrines of The United Methodist Church highlight the unique contribution that Wesleyan theology has made to the Church Universal…we need to teach them! We need pastors who are proud of the doctrine that they have studied and found to be in harmony with the Holy Scriptures…and they need to share that teaching with the people so that they can see and understand how these doctrines impact their lives as disciples and what these doctrines mean in relationship to Scripture.
Affirm, teach, preach….live by our doctrines!
Will you preach and maintain them? I will!