The Nazarene Denomination

The Church of the Nazarene is one of the fastest growing churches in America, and one that many people have heard of but do not know much about. The denomination emerged primarily from the Wesleyan-Methodist tradition and 19th Century Holiness Movement in North America, and is a result of various mergers and associations of similar denominations in the 20th century. The Church of the Nazarene is the largest Wesleyan-holiness denomination in the United States, and has an international presence in over 150 world areas.

 

The official Manual of the church of the Nazarene explains the established 16 "Articles of Faith" as a guiding principle for living Christianity. The articles include the following: One eternal self-existent God manifest in a three-fold nature; the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit; the authority of the Bible; Original and Personal Sin; the work of atonement; prevenient grace; the need for repentance; justification, regeneration, and adoption; entire sanctification; the church; baptism; the Lord's Supper for all believers; divine healing; the return of Jesus Christ; and the resurrection of the dead.

 

As you can see, the denomination holds all of the core beliefs people generally associate with Protestant Christianity in general- belief in the virgin birth and Deity of Christ, the Trinity, the infallibility of scripture, the death, resurrection and assertion of Christ, His future return, and the power of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and so on. The main doctrine deemed a "distinctive" (meaning it makes the denomination distinct, or unique) is the doctrine of Sanctification- also known as Entire Sanctification, Holiness, or Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

 

The Church of the Nazarene is unique in the way we understand the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The primary concept of Sanctification, or the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, is centered around complete dedication of a believer to God and the subsequent ability of the Holy Spirit to fill, or baptize, a believer because of this yielded-ness to Him. This infilling provides the believer with boldness to be a witness, wisdom in daily life and ability to resist temptation-because they have a heart for godly things. This is sanctification (setting apart, dedicating). This is Holiness unto The Lord. The emphasis is not on outward manifestations or showy displays, but rather on the profound change of heart and purpose the individual experiences.

 
 ~Martha Thompson, Site Creator


See also Who We Are and Our Sister Churches
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A Short Description From The Church of the Nazarene Official Site

The Church of the Nazarene is a Protestant Christian church in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, tracing its roots to an anniversary date of 1908. It was founded to spread the message of scriptural holiness (Christlike living) across the lands. Today the Church of the Nazarene is located in 156 world areas.

The Church of the Nazarene is a Great Commission church. Our mission is to make Christlike disciples in the nations. We believe that God offers to everyone forgiveness, peace, joy, purpose, love, meaning in life, and the promise of heaven when life is over by entering and experiencing a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are called to take this message to people everywhere.

The Church of the Nazarene is also a holiness church. We believe that Christians can experience a deeper level of life in which there is victory over sin, power to witness and serve, and a richer fellowship with God, all through the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
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A Short History of the Church of the Nazarene

Also taken from the official site

The Church of the Nazarene traces its anniversary date to 1908. Its organization was a marriage that, like every marriage, linked existing families and created a new one. As an expression of the holiness movement and its emphasis on the sanctified life, our founders came together to form one people. Utilizing evangelism, compassionate ministries, and education, their church went forth to become a people of many cultures and tongues.

Two central themes illuminate the Nazarene story.

The first is "unity in holiness."

The spiritual vision of early Nazarenes was derived from the doctrinal core of John Wesley's preaching. These affirmations include justification by grace through faith, sanctification likewise by grace through faith, entire sanctification as an inheritance available to every Christian, and the witness of the Spirit to God's work in human lives. The holiness movement arose in the 1830s to promote these doctrines, especially entire sanctification. By 1900, however, the movement had splintered.

P. F. Bresee, C. B. Jernigan, C. W. Ruth, and other committed leaders strove to unite holiness factions. The First and Second General Assemblies were like two bookends:

In October 1907, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America and the Church of the Nazarene merged in Chicago, Illinois, at the First General Assembly.
In April 1908, a congregation organized in Peniel, Texas, drew into the Nazarene movement the key officers of the Holiness Association of Texas.
The Pennsylvania Conference of the Holiness Christian Church united in September 1908.
In October 1908, the Second General Assembly was held at Pilot Point, Texas, the headquarters of the Holiness Church of Christ. The "year of uniting" ended with the merger of this southern denomination with its northern counterpart.
With the Pentecostal Church of Scotland and Pentecostal Mission unions in 1915, the Church of the Nazarene embraced seven previous denominations and parts of two other groups.1 The Nazarenes and the Wesleyan Church emerged as the two denominations that eventually drew together a majority of the holiness movement's independent strands.

"A mission to the world" is the second primary theme in the Nazarene story.

In 1908 there were churches in Canada and organized work in India, Cape Verde, and Japan, soon followed by work in Africa, Mexico, and China. The 1915 mergers added congregations in the British Isles and work in Cuba, Central America, and South America. There were congregations in Syria and Palestine by 1922. As General Superintendent H. F. Reynolds advocated "a mission to the world," support for world evangelization became a distinguishing characteristic of Nazarene life. New technologies were utilized. The church began producing the " Showers of Blessing " radio program in the 1940s, followed by the Spanish broadcast " La Hora Nazarena " and later by broadcasts in other languages. Indigenous holiness churches in Australia and Italy united in the 1940s, others in Canada and Great Britain in the 1950s, and one in Nigeria in 1988.

As the church grew culturally and linguistically diverse, it committed itself in 1980 to internationalization-a deliberate policy of being one church of congregations and districts worldwide, rather than splitting into national churches like earlier Protestant denominations. By the 2001 General Assembly, 42 percent of delegates spoke English as their second language or did not speak it at all. Today 65 percent of Nazarenes and over 80 percent of the church's 438 districts are outside the United States. An early system of colleges in North America and the  British Isles has become a global network of  institutions. Nazarenes support 13 liberal arts institutions in Africa, Brazil,  Canada, Caribbean, Korea, and the United States, as well as 5 graduate  seminaries, 32 undergraduate Bible/theological colleges, 3 nurses training  colleges, and 1 education college worldwide.
 
For more information on the Church of the Nazarene,
 
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