The Church of the Nazarene reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Church of the Nazarene

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The Church of the Nazarene is a denomination of Protestant Christianity, within the broad tradition of Methodism.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Doctrines
3 Activities
4 Origin of the name
5 External links
6 References

History

The church was begun in October of 1895 in Los Angeles, California by a group of people who desired a church that welcomed an American holiness emphasis. They invited a recently unemployed Methodist minister, Phineas F. Bresee (1838-1916), to be their pastor. They named their new church Church of the Nazarene and began to work towards becoming an international denomination for holiness people. Almost immediately they began to plant other churches. In 1907 they invited the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America, a group of churches from the eastern USA, to join them. They agreed upon a new name, the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. In 1908 they invited the Holiness Church of Christ, another similar group from the southern states, to join them. Current Nazarenes count this union in October 8, 1908 at Pilot Point, Texas as their foundation date1. In 1919 the word Pentecostal was dropped from the church name. They have been growing ever since through their own evangelistic efforts and merging holiness groups.

Doctrines

The Church of the Nazarene remains very committed to Christian holiness, although a deeper understanding of John Wesley and their own biblical scholarly research has refined their beliefs without much internal opposition. Nazarene beliefs include one eternal self-existent God manifest in a three-fold nature; the divinity of Jesus Christ; baptism by immersion, sprinkling, or pouring; the Lord's supper for all believers; entire sanctification; and the return of Jesus Christ to raise the dead. The Church of the Nazarene stands in the Arminian tradition of free grace for all and human freedom to choose that grace.

Activities

Their other interests include higher education and missions. As of 2003, they have eight universities in the United States and several more internationally and are ministering in almost 200 world areas. In 2002 the church had 1,466,920 members worldwide in 12,977 churches. Membership of 643,649 in the United States constitutes the largest for one country, although there are more total members outside the U.S. than in it. Headquarters are in Kansas City, Missouri, where the Nazarene Publishing House is also located. This publishing house is the largest world publisher of "holiness" literature. The Church of the Nazarene is a member of the World Methodist Council.

Origin of the name

The name of the denomination comes from the biblical description of the followers of Jesus as "Nazarenes" (Acts 20:5), a term that was perhaps used of Jesus himself. In the subsequent history of early Christianity (up to about the fourth century), the term "Nazarene" may have been applied to Christian sects who retained Jewish practices. The Church of the Nazarene has no connection with such historic groups. However, today there are several Jewish Messianic groups within the denomination. The denomination embodies rather the orthodox Christian notion of Jesus Christ, and particularly the theology of scriptural holiness propagated by John Wesley.

External links

References

[1] see http://www.nazarene.org/gensec/who.html