Foreword

“The mission of the Church of the Nazarene is to make Christlike disciples in the nations.”

“The primary objective of the Church of the Nazarene is to advance God’s kingdom by the preservation and propagation of Christian holiness as set forth in the Scriptures.”

“The critical objectives of the Church of the Nazarene are ‘holy Christian fellowship, the conversion of sinners, the entire sanctification of believers, their upbuilding in holiness, and the simplicity and spiritual power manifest in the primitive New Testament Church, together with the preaching of the gospel to every creature.’” (19)

The Church of the Nazarene exists to serve as an instrument for advancing the kingdom of God through the preaching and teaching of the gospel throughout the world. Our well-defined commission is to preserve and propagate Christian holiness as set forth in the Scriptures, through the conversion of sinners, the reclamation of backsliders, and the entire sanctification of believers.

Our objective is a spiritual one, namely, to evangelize as a response to the Great Commission of our Lord to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19; cf. John 20:21; Mark 16:15). We believe that this aim can be realized through agreed-upon policies and procedures, including doctrinal tenets of faith and time-tested standards of morality and lifestyle.

This 2013–2017 edition of the Manual includes a brief historical statement of the church; the church Constitution, which defines our Articles of Faith, our understanding of the church, the Covenant of Christian Character for holy living, and principles of organization and government; the Covenant of Christian Conduct, which address key issues of contemporary society; and policies of church government dealing with the local, district, and general church organization.

The General Assembly is the supreme doctrine-formulating and lawmaking body of the Church of the Nazarene. This Manual contains the decisions and judgments of ministerial and lay delegates of the Twenty-eighth General Assembly, which met in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A., June 23–27, 2013, and is therefore authoritative as a guide for action. Because it is the official statement of the faith and practice of the church and is consistent with the teachings of the Scriptures, we expect our people everywhere to accept the tenets of doctrine and the guides and helps to holy living contained in it. To fail to do so, after formally taking the membership vows of the Church of the Nazarene, injures the witness of the church, violates her conscience, and dissipates the fellowship of the people called Nazarenes.

The government of the Church of the Nazarene is distinctive. In polity it is representative—neither purely episcopal nor wholly congregational. Because the laity and the ministry have equal authority in the deliberative and lawmaking units of the church, there is a desirable and effective balance of power. We see this not only as an opportunity for participation and service in the church but also as an obligation on the part of both laity and ministry.

Commitment and clear purpose are important. But an intelligent and informed people following commonly agreed-upon practices and procedures advance the Kingdom faster and enhance their witness for Christ. Therefore, it is incumbent upon our members to acquaint themselves with this Manual—the history of the church and the doctrines and ethical practices of the ideal Nazarene. Adherence to the injunctions of these pages will nurture loyalty and faithfulness both to God and the church and will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our spiritual efforts.

With the Bible as our supreme Guide, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and the Manual as our official agreed-upon statement of faith, practice, and polity, we look forward to the new quadrennium with joy and unswerving faith in Jesus Christ.

The Board of General Superintendents

Jerry D. Porter
J. K. Warrick
Eugénio R. Duarte
David W. Graves
David A. Busic
Gustavo A. Crocker

Historical Statement

Historic Christianity and the Wesleyan-Holiness Heritage





Preamble

In order that we may preserve our God-given heritage, the faith once delivered to the saints, especially the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification as a second work of grace, and also that we may cooperate effectually with other branches of the Church of Jesus Christ in advancing God’s kingdom, we, the ministers and lay members of the Church of the Nazarene, in accordance with the principles of constitutional legislation established among us, do hereby ordain, adopt, and set forth as the fundamental law or Constitution of the Church of the Nazarene the Articles of Faith, the Covenant of Christian Character, and the Articles of Organization and Government here following, to wit:

1

We believe in one eternally existent, infinite God, Sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe; that He only is God, holy in nature, attributes, and purpose. The God who is holy love and light is Triune in essential being, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

(Genesis 1; Leviticus 19:2; Deuteronomy 6:4–5; Isaiah 5:16; 6:1–7; 40:18–31; Matthew 3:16–17; 28:19–20; John 14:6–27; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:4–6; Ephesians 2:13–18; 1 John 1:5; 4:8)

2

We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead; that He was eternally one with the Father; that He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say the Godhead and manhood, are thus united in one Person very God and very man, the God-man.

We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and that He took again His body, together with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven and is there engaged in intercession for us.

(Matthew 1:20–25; 16:15–16; Luke 1:26–35; John 1:1–18; Acts 2:22–36; Romans 8:3, 32–34; Galatians 4:4–5; Philippians 2:5–11; Colossians 1:12–22; 1 Timothy 6:14–16; Hebrews 1:1–5; 7:22–28; 9:24–28; 1 John 1:1–3; 4:2–3, 15)

3

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune Godhead, that He is ever present and efficiently active in and with the Church of Christ, convincing the world of sin, regenerating those who repent and believe, sanctifying believers, and guiding into all truth as it is in Jesus.

(John 7:39; 14:15–18, 26; 16:7–15; Acts 2:33; 15:8–9; Romans 8:1–27; Galatians 3:1–14; 4:6; Ephesians 3:14–21; 1 Thessalonians 4:7–8; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 3:24; 4:13)

4

We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith.

(Luke 24:44–47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3–4; 2 Timothy 3:15–17; 1 Peter 1:10–12; 2 Peter 1:20–21)

5

We believe that sin came into the world through the disobedience of our first parents, and death by sin. We believe that sin is of two kinds: original sin or depravity, and actual or personal sin.

5.1

We believe that original sin, or depravity, is that corruption of the nature of all the offspring of Adam by reason of which everyone is very far gone from original righteousness or the pure state of our first parents at the time of their creation, is averse to God, is without spiritual life, and inclined to evil, and that continually. We further believe that original sin continues to exist with the new life of the regenerate, until the heart is fully cleansed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

5.2

We believe that original sin differs from actual sin in that it constitutes an inherited propensity to actual sin for which no one is accountable until its divinely provided remedy is neglected or rejected.