The Church of the Nazarene Is Christian

Christians represent over 2.5 billion people worldwide, or almost one-third of all humanity.

While there are disagreements between Christians, our one universally shared belief is in the unique deity of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible. Along with 2.5 billion others, we believe:

  • Jesus of Nazareth was born 2,000 years ago as a human being but also the Son of God.
  • He taught us to turn away from sin because it leads to spiritual and eternal death.
  • As the Messiah (or Christ, or “Savior”), he died in our place to save us from our sins.
  • He rose from the dead and lives today, offering eternal life to all who believe.

The Church of the Nazarene Is Protestant

For about the last 500 years, Christianity has been represented by two fairly distinct groups: the worldwide Catholic Church, and numerous Protestant groups – or “denominations” – also found throughout the world. This division began with the Protestant Reformation, a period in which reformers like Martin Luther and John Calvin argued for independence from the authority of the pope, the leader of the Catholic Church. 

Many of Martin Luther’s ideas still resonate in Protestant churches today. ​​One is the biblically-based idea that we are saved by faith (what we believe) and not by works (what we do). Doing good is important, but we can’t work (or buy) our way into Heaven; all we can do is accept Jesus’ invitation.

Another is the concept of a “general priesthood” of Christians. That was a powerful shift away from seeing priests as bearing the full responsibility of ministry; instead, Luther insisted we all have direct access to God through prayer and responsibility to care for one another as “priests.”

These ideas eventually came across the Atlantic to serve as the foundation for the modern church in America today.

The Church of the Nazarene Is Wesleyan-Holiness

The ideas that shaped the Church of the Nazarene came from an 18th-century Anglican minister named John Wesley. After Luther helped us see that faith is what saves us, Wesley helped us understand the role of good works once we’ve already been saved. The purpose of our work in this world is to help others grow more mature in their faith.

 

DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN,

  BY ALL THE MEANS YOU CAN,

IN ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN,

IN ALL THE PLACES YOU CAN,

AT ALL THE TIMES YOU CAN,

TO ALL THE PEOPLE YOU CAN,

AS LONG AS EVER YOU CAN.”

                             – JOHN WESLEY

 

When we engage in this work, the work of Jesus Christ, God helps us grow more Christlike ourselves. In theology, this process is called sanctification. But this way of life was simply called striving toward “holiness.”

Our Unifying Belief: Entire Sanctification

Several denominations embraced the Wesleyan Holiness Movement in the 19th century; the Church of the Nazarene was founded around the turn of the 20th to bring them all together.

The belief that unifies us is what John Wesley called entire sanctification – the potential for all of us to become completely free from sin, free to love God and people.

Holiness isn’t reserved for miracle workers, God and the angels. It’s the state in which we become all we’re called to be. Between God’s work in our lives and our active participation, we believe it’s attainable.

The journey to get there is deeply personal. It looks different for every unique individual.