Monday, July 12, 2010

They Call Themselves Nazarenes

They Call Themselves Nazarenes

No person could study the history of the Church of the Nazarene without realizing that the identity of the church, the distinguishing factor, is their strong belief in entire sanctification. It would also be observed that there was a time (in my grandmother's day) that the perception of the COTN was that of a church group who refused to go to movies, drink, smoke, wear makeup or wedding rings and whose female members wore long dresses and long sleeves. Few people are attracted to or give credence to a list of "thou shalt nots".

What I love most about the Nazarene Church is its commitment to the doctrine of holiness but finding the middle of the road where common sense prevails is sometimes the hardest thing to do. If you fail to understand the gravity of the holiness of God and his expectations for men to be holy then you've done God and injustice and you've sold yourself short. If you overemphasize or exaggerate the doctrine of holiness then you create a pharisaical cult that would be despised by true Christians and by Christ himself.

I am pleased that there is much discussion about the doctrine of sanctification in the COTN. I feel like the general superintendents did well when they explained the life of holiness simply as a Christian’s calling to be Christ-like by the grace of God. I think sometimes we are mistaken to trace our roots to John Wesley and then close the book. Our roots should be traced back to Pentecost and we should build our history and theology around that of Jesus Christ rather than any one man. I love John Wesley and believe nearly all that he stood for but I am instructed first and foremost to call myself a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.

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