.....just the FAQs
What is the Church of the Nazarene?
Church of the Nazarene
Membership: 627,054 in 5,101 congregations (1998)
The Church of the Nazarene is one of the largest and most influential of
the Holiness bodies, and it is one that has self-consciously held to its
Wesleyan roots. The church resulted from the merger of three independent
Holiness groups already in existence in the U.S. In 1907, an eastern
Holiness body, the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America, located
principally in New York and New England, joined with a California body,
the Church of the Nazarene. The two churches agreed on the name
"Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene." Then in 1908, this body
merged with a Southern group known as the Holiness Church of Christ. By
1919, the word Pentecostal had acquired a different connotation, and the
church removed it from the name. While many were involved in the founding
of the church, perhaps the principal figure was Phineas F. Bresee
(1838-1916), who became its first general superintendent.
The church's theological background is Wesleyan. Four of the first five
general superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene, including Bresee,
were former Methodist ministers, and the church's Manual is similar to the
Methodist Book of Discipline.
The doctrine of the church is built around the justification and the
sanctification of the believers by faith. This includes a believer's
entire sanctification as a second work of grace, subsequent to
regeneration. All clergy, both men and women, and local church officials
must profess this experience of entire sanctification. Other doctrines
include belief in the plenary inspiration of the scriptures as containing
all truths necessary to Christian faith and living; the atonement of
Christ for the whole human race (i.e., Arminianism); the justification,
regeneration, and adoption of all penitent believers in Christ; the Second
Coming of Christ; the resurrection of the dead; and the final judgment.
Members believe in divine healing but never to the exclusion of medical
agencies. The use of tobacco and alcoholic beverages is denounced. Two
sacraments, baptism by sprinkling, pouring, or (most often) immersion and
Communion are accepted as "instituted by Christ." Baptism of
young children is allowed, but believer's baptism predominates.
Pastors are called by local churches; each district is supervised by a
district superintendent, who may be elected for a four-year term by the
members of the District Assembly. The General Assembly, the highest body
of the church, elects six general superintendents whose terms last until
the next General Assembly, and the General Board, consisting of an equal
number of lay and clergy members. The General Board meets annually and
oversees the five administrative divisions of the church: World Mission,
Church Growth, Sunday School Ministries, Communications, and Finance. The
church is organized in 109 world areas and supports some 600 missionaries.
There is strong emphasis on evangelism. The church's International Center
is located in Kansas City, Missouri.
Worldwide, the church supports ten liberal arts colleges, two graduate
theological seminaries, and forty-three Bible colleges. Outside North
America, the church operates two hospitals, thirty-eight medical clinics,
three nurse training colleges, one teacher training college, one junior
college, and 430 primary and secondary schools that serve over 51,000
children. The books, periodicals, and curriculum of the church are
produced at the Nazarene Publishing House in Kansas City.
For history, background and other
information on the Church of the Nazarene, click here to go to the official Church of the
Nazarene web site.
What are the beliefs of the Church of
Click here to go to the Church
of the Nazarene "Articles of Faith"