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Historical Statement



The Church of the Nazarene, from its beginnings, has confessed itself to be a branch of the “one, holy, universal, and apostolic” church.  It embraces the people of God through the ages, those redeemed through Jesus Christ in whatever expression of the one church they may be found.  It receives the ecumenical creeds of the first five Christian centuries as expressions of its own faith.  While the Church of the Nazarene has responded to its special calling to proclaim the experience of entire sanctification, it has continued to nurture identification with the historic church in its preaching of the Word, administration of the sacraments, concern to raise up and maintain a ministry that is truly apostolic in faith and practice, and teaching of disciplines for Christlike living and service to others.



Nazarenes were particularly influenced by the Wesleyan revival of the 18th century.  In the 1730s the broader Evangelical Revival arose in Britain, directed chiefly by John Wesley, his brother Charles, and George Whitefield, clergymen in the Church of England.  Through this movement many men and women turned from sin and were empowered for the service of God.  This spiritual awakening was characterized by lay preaching, testimony, discipline, and circles of earnest disciples known as “societies,” “classes,” and “bands.”  





In October 1895, Phineas F. Bresee, D.D., and Joseph P. Widney, M.D., with about 100 others, organized the Church of the Nazarene at Los Angeles, CA.  At the outset they envisioned the church as the first of a denomination that preached the reality of entire sanctification received through faith in Christ.  They held that Christians should follow Christ's example and preach the gospel to the poor.  They believed that unnecessary elegance did not represent the spirit of Christ but the spirit of the world, and that their expenditures of time and money should be given to Christlike ministries for the salvation of souls and the relief of the needy.  They organized the church accordingly.  The Church of the Nazarene spread chiefly along the West Coast, with scattered congregations east of the Rocky Mountains as far as Illinois.


For a full account of the history of the Church of the Nazarene click the following link:  http://nazarene.org/ministries/administration/archives/history/statement/display.html