Who are the Nazarenes?

The Church of the Nazarene was founded in 1908 at Pilot Point, Texas, by a former Methodist pastor, Phineas Bresee (1838-1915), as a result of the Holiness Movement in America after the U.S. Civil War. This movement was in response to the decline of the Wesleyan doctrine of Christian perfection within the Methodist Church and many of its early members were former Methodists. Although there were Pentecostal denominations which resulted from the Holiness Movement, the Nazarenes were more moderate in their charismatic zeal and repudiated speaking in tongues (the church was originally named the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, but dropped the term "Pentecostal" in 1919). Bresee's initial aim was to answer various questions about God and find a more personal relationship with him. In the process, he began to reach out to those with whom the Methodist Church did not traditionally condone integration -- the poor and other denominations. Doctrine for the Nazarenes consists of a mixture of Wesleyan Methodism, Arminianism, and Perfectionism. The sixteen articles of their faith include belief in the Triune God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Scriptures, original and personal sin, atonement, prevenient grace (free agency), repentance, justification/regeneration/adoption, entire sanctification, the Church, baptism, the Lord's Supper, divine healing, resurrection/judgment/destiny, and the Second Coming of Christ, with an emphasis on the process of personal salvation in which the believer experiences spiritual regeneration and justification, known as the "second blessing." To date, there are about 12,000 Nazarene churches with nearly 1,300,000 members. The name, Nazarene, refers to Jesus of Nazareth -- "Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: 'He will be called a Nazarene.' " (Matthew 2:22-23)

        "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:9-11)

Church of the Nazarene Australia and New Zealand

"We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect. It is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness. This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as "Christian perfection," "perfect love," "heart purity," "the baptism with the Holy Spirit," "the fullness of the blessing," and "Christian holiness." We believe that there is a marked distinction between a pure heart and a mature character. The former is obtained in an instant, the result of entire sanctification; the latter is the result of growth in grace. We believe that the grace of entire sanctification includes the impulse to grow in grace. However, this impulse must be consciously nurtured, and careful attention given to the requisites and processes of spiritual development and improvement in Christlikeness of character and personality. Without such purposeful endeavor one�s witness may be impaired and the grace itself frustrated and ultimately lost."

Church of the Nazarene Canada

"The Church of the Nazarene is composed of those persons who have voluntarily associated themselves together according to the doctrines and policy of said church, and who seek holy Christian fellowship, the conversion of sinners, the entire sanctification of believers, their upbuilding in the primitive New Testament Church, together with the preaching of the gospel to every creature."

Church of the Nazarene International

"These are the beliefs Nazarenes hold to be true. They are common to Christians world�wide: We believe in one God-the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living. We believe that man is born with a fallen nature, and is, therefore, inclined to evil, and that continually. We believe that the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost. We believe that the atonement through Jesus Christ is for the whole human race; and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin. We believe that believers are to be sanctified wholly, subsequent to regeneration, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the new birth, and also to the entire sanctification of believers. We believe that our Lord will return, the dead will be raised, and the final judgment will take place."

Wesley Center for Applied Theology

"In the year 1725, being in the twenty-third year of my age, I met with Bishop Taylor's "Rule and Exercises of Holy Living and Dying." In reading several parts of this book, I was exceedingly affected; that part in particular which relates to purity of intention. Instantly I resolved to dedicate all my life to God, all my thoughts, and words, and actions; being thoroughly convinced, there was no medium; but that every part of my life (not some only) must either be a sacrifice to God, or myself, that is, in effect, to the devil... A year or two after, Mr. Law's "Christian Perfection" and "Serious Call" were put into my hands. These convinced me, more than ever, of the absolute impossibility of being half a Christian; and I determined, through his grace, (the absolute necessity of which I was deeply sensible of;) to be all-devoted to God, to give him all my soul, my body, and my substance. Will any considerate man say, that this is carrying matter too far? or that anything less is due to Him who has given himself for us, than to give him ourselves, all we have, and all we are? In the year 1729, I began not only to read, but to study, the Bible, as the one, the only standard of truth, and the only model of pure religion. Hence I saw, in a clearer and clearer light, the indispensable necessity of having "the mind which was in Christ," and of "walking as Christ also walked;" even of having, not some part only, but all the mind which was in him; and of walking as he walked, not only in many or in most respects, but in all things. And this was the light, wherein at this time I generally considered religion, as an uniform following of Christ, an entire inward and outward conformity to our Master. Nor was I afraid of anything more, than of bending this rule to the experience of myself; or of other men; of allowing myself in any the least disconformity to our grand Exemplar." (excerpt from "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection," by the Reverend Mr. John Wesley)

        "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:18-19)

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