History of the Church
In the early 18th century, an Evangelical Revival occured in England, nurtured by the ministry of John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. Their emphasis was upon living a victorious life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Out of this, the Methodist movement was born. As the years passed the preaching and teaching of the doctrine of the Spirit-filled life, sometimes called entire sancitification or Christian holiness, began to wane. This resulted in the organization of such denominations as the Wesleyan Methodist and Free Methodist churches, which sought to revive the emphasis of John Wesley.
In the last half of the 19th century there was a widespread holiness revival not only in Methodist churches, but also among most Protestant denominations. Out of this revival many "holiness associations" were formed. This movement was not popular and opposition to its message arose. This forced these various groups to band together in loose organizations for mutual encouragement and support. It was out of this movement that the Church of the Nazarene was born.
The first "Church of the Nazarene" was a single congregation organized in 1895, in Los Angeles, under the leadership of Dr. Phineas F. Bresee. His background as pastor, educator, evangelist and presiding elder in the Methodist church gave him the needed experience to guide the new group. In 10 years' time, dozens of churches had been organized under the Nazarene banner in the West and Midwest United States. Dr. Bresee's burning passion to "spread scriptural holiness" is the same motivation behind the Church of the Nazarene in the 21st century.
As time went by, many of these independent Wesleyan groups began to talk of a larger and more structured fellowship in which their forces could be united. Thus, in 1907, Bresee's group met in Chicago and united with an association from the East Coast to officially form a new denomination. The following year at a meeting at Pilot Point, Texas, a large group from the South joined them. This latter event marks the official date of the formation of the Church of the Nazarene, October 13, 1908. Since that time other like groups in the United States and other parts of the world have chosen to unite under the Nazarene banner. Beginning with 228 churches and 10,500 members in 1908, the Church of the Nazarene is now represented by more than 13,000 churches in over 150 countries with nearly 2 million members and over 700 missionaries. The church also has schools, Bible Colleges, Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities and Seminaries scattered throughout the world. What a great and awesome God we serve. What a wonderful God we worship.
The Church of the Nazarene requires such beliefs as are essential to Christian experience.
1. In One God-the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2. That the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by the Holy Spirit's
inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living.
3. That man is born with a fallen nature and is inclined to evil continually.
4. That the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost.
5. That Jesus Christ's sacrifice was for the whole human race and that whosoever
repents and believers on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified, regenerated (born
again) and saved from the power of sin.
6. That believers, following regeneration, are to be sanctified wholly through faith
in Jesus Christ.
7. That the Holy Spirit bears witness to the new birth and also to the entire
sanctification of believers.
8. That Jesus will return, the dead will be raised and the final judgment will take
The Church of the Nazarene is considered by the Christian community as an evangelical Church-that is, it believes that each person can and must have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ whereby through repentance and faith his/her sins are forgiven. The distinctive doctrinal positions of the Church of the Nazarene relate to the nature of sin and God's cure for it. Sin must be considered in a twofold aspect: (1) as a committed act, and (2) as a sinful nature with which we are born. Sinful acts must be forgiven whereas the sinful nature must be cleansed.
When we truly repent, confess our sins to God and trust Christ for His forgiveness through His sacrifice on the Cross, we are "born again", regenerated and adopted into the family of God (Galatians 4:4-7; Titus 3:4-7). We, like all evangelical churches, acknow-ledge that after our conversion to Christ, when we are freed from the guilt of committed sins, there still remains the sinful nature within a person called "original sin", "depravity" or as Paul called it "carnal-mindedness" and the "flesh" (I Corinthians 3:1-3; Galatians 5:17).
John Wesley taught, and the Church of the Nazarene believes, that after we are saved from our sins we must go on to a second level of experience that deals with the inner nature of sin. Here we consecrate, surrender or dedicate ourselves (mind, emotions, will) to God (Romans 12:1-2), and through faith, receive the cleansing and purifying of our hearts by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit's presence the believer is empowered to live a victorious life and enabled to serve God effectively
(Acts 1:8). This means there is no longer the inner conflict of a divided heart as described in Romans 7:22-24.