What is a Nazarene?
Every church has its distinctives‚ practices or beliefs that set it apart from other groups. Sometimes this is confusing to people. They say, “If the Bible is true and Jesus was who He claimed to be, why are there so many different churches with so many different beliefs?”
With all the differences in beliefs and practices, most Christian congregations still agree on 90-95% of Christian teaching. The other 5-10% we do not agree on falls in this category of “distinctive.” The Nazarene distinctive is our view of the biblical doctrine of entire sanctification. We believe that God can so cleanse us from sin that it is possible to live a holy life that is expressed in love for God and for others here and now.
While we get our name from Jesus of Nazareth, you might be asking what in the world is a modern-day Nazarene? Well… We are not Baptists, but like the Baptists, we believe in calling people to repentance. While our baptismal theology is also a bit different (like Catholics we will baptize infants and believe that sprinkling and pouring, in addition to immersion, are acceptable forms of baptism) we do call new believers to witness to their new life in Christ through public baptism. We are not Presbyterians, but like the Presbyterians, we believe the preached Word of God has the power to bring about change in people’s lives.
We are not Lutherans, but like the Lutherans, we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ on the authority of Scripture alone, in salvation by faith alone, and that salvation is gift of God’s grace alone. We are not Charismatics‚ No, we do not “speak in tongues” in our services‚ but like the Charismatics we believe in the gifts of the Spirit, who gives people the power to live a Christ-like life and to make a real difference in their world. We are not Episcopalians‚ although John Wesley was a lifelong Anglican, but like the Episcopalians we take worship seriously.
At Grace Church of the Nazarene we follow the rhythm of the Christian Year. We have a unique blend of ancient and modern that is woven into a spirited yet serious worship experience. We are not Quakers or Moravians, but like these pietistic groups, we believe in living a careful life that testifies to the watching world that we belong to the Family Of God.
And we are not United Methodists, although we have our roots in the Methodist tradition that grew out of John Wesley’s revival movement in the 1700’s. We have good fellowship with our United Methodist “cousins,” but we are organizationally separate.
We are a warm and friendly group of people who desire, with God’s help, to live holy lives that bring honor and glory to Him. We look to the Bible as our primary source for direction in our worship and our lifestyles. We are life-centered in our teaching and sensitive to the needs and concerns of others. We give people opportunities to put their faith in to action through various avenues of service.
We laugh and cry together, rejoice and grieve together, grow together, and walk in faith together. We are honored to take our place among the many who are called Christians. We aim to be a family for all who love Jesus, the Nazarene and we want you to know there is a place for you at Grace Church of the Nazarene!
(Adapted from website of Harrisonburg, PA 1st Church of the Nazarene)