Church of the Nazarene

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Church of the Nazarene

Church of the Nazarene (năzˌərēnˈ), U.S. Protestant denomination established in 1908 through the union of the Church of the Nazarene, based in California; the Association of Pentecostal Churches, a New England group; and the Holiness Church of Christ, whose origin was mainly in the Southwest. An evangelical group, the Nazarenes believe in John Wesley's doctrine of entire sanctification. Local churches are autonomous in matters of worship and evangelism, but a representative body maintains Sunday schools, Bible colleges, publishing enterprises, and other activities. The church has about 630,000 members in the United States and Canada (1997).
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Church of the Nazarene

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The Church of the Nazarene was organized on October 8, 1908, in Pilot Point, Texas. A union of holiness churches that had gradually pulled away from Methodism, Nazarenes were convinced their former denomination had not remained faithful to its Wesleyan-Arminian theological foundation (see Calvin, John, and Jacob Arminius).

In the words of their theological statement of faith:

Nazarenes believe that God calls Christians to a life of holy living that is marked by an act of God, cleaning the heart from original sin and filling the individual with love for God and humankind. This experience is marked by entire consecration of the believer to do God's will and is followed by a life of seeking to serve God through service to others.

Churches following holiness traditions sometimes respond slowly to social change. They take time to weigh progress, to see if it is in line with God's will. Although most mainstream Nazarene worshipers now embrace cultural changes and conveniences, it took a while for men to decide whether or not they should "adorn" themselves with jewelry such as wedding rings. One preacher, in 1967, finally gave in to social pressure and advised his congregation they could still be good Christians and watch television. He drew sustained applause when he added, "But not in my house!"

There are now some 1.4 million people enrolled as Nazarenes, and some twelve thousand churches around the world.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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