Church of the Nazarene

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Birthed from the Holiness Movement as a merger of 7 Holiness and/or Pentecostal denominations in 1907-08: the Central Evangelical Holiness Association (New England), the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America (Middle Atlantic States), New Testament Church of Christ (South), Independent Holiness Church (Southwest), the Church of the Nazarene (West Coast), the Pentecostal Church of Scotland, and the Pentecostal Mission (Southeast).

It was founded primarily by a Methodist minister named Phineas F. Bresee, who pastored a “Nazarene” church in 1895 and Pentecostal Missions leader Hirum F. Reynolds. The theology of this Nazarene offshoot from The Holiness Movement greatly resembled, and still resembles, Wesleyan Methodist theology in that it is Arminian in regards to man’s free will and salvation and that Sanctification is a separate event from justification. The Church of the Nazarene position on sanctification is a bit peculiar compared to many Christian denominations in that sanctification is believed it to be, although separate, a one-time event and not necessarily a process.

The Pentecostal influence still remains with the liturgy of this denomination in the form of anointing with oil, laying on of hands for healing, and other practices of the gifts, However, the gift of tongues is not necessarily practiced in the vast majority of Nazarene churches. In fact, they are most often said to resemble a Methodist liturgy more than anything else.

One of the most famous members of the Church of the Nazarene is a radio minister named Dr James Dobson who conducts a conservative Christian radio program called “Focus on The Family”. Dr Dobson has been regarded by some as a sound leader of the church regarding matters of a Biblical view of family while possessing inter-denominational influence and respect within the Christian Community. Conversely, he is also criticised for a self-centred view of the individual Christian life which is consistent with Freudian psychology and of pentecostal theology on the whole.