Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions


Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions: 
What are they and why should we care?


United Methodists frequently joke that pastors are more likely to seek guidance from The Book of Discipline than the Bible. So, who wrote that book and what does it contain?

General Conference, a body of about 1,000 delegates elected from annual conferences in the United States, Africa, Europe and the Philippines, meets once every four years to establish laws and policies to govern the denomination.

Following General Conference, a Committee on Correlation and Editorial Revision revises the Discipline after examining the legislative body’s decisions. The Book of Discipline 2008 [Cokesbury,, (800) 672-1789] is available now, while the Korean and Spanish translations will be available in July 2009.

Pastors and officials frequently use the book because it includes:

– The Constitution.

– Doctrinal heritage and the historic Articles of Religion.

– Guidance about organizing a local church or a general agency.

– Responsibilities of various church officers.

– Chargeable offenses and guidelines for conducting investigations and trials.

The Discipline also includes the Social Principles, a series of statements made by General Conference about social justice issues. Not church law, they are the effort of General Conference to speak to the issues.

General Conference also passes statements addressing specific concerns. Published in The Book of Resolutions, they are the official positions of the denomination. Other units of The United Methodist Church may address these issues, but only General Conference speaks for the worldwide denomination.


Leave a Reply