The Church of the Nazarene Beliefs

Learn what the Nazarene Church teaches

Nazarene church on a partly cloudy day.

Farragutful / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons 

The Church of the Nazarene beliefs are spelled out in the church's Articles of Faith and the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene. Two Nazarene beliefs set this Christian denomination apart from other evangelicals: the belief that a person can experience entire sanctification, or personal holiness, in this life, and the belief that a saved person can lose their salvation through sin.

Church of the Nazarene

  • Full Name: Church of the Nazarene
  • Known For: The Church of the Nazarene is the largest Wesleyan-Holiness denomination in America. The organization traces its roots to the late nineteenth-century holiness revival movement.
  • Key Founders: Phineas F. Bresee; Hiram F. Reynolds; Charles B. Jernigan; Mary Lee Cagle
  • Founding: Established in 1908 when the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America and the Holiness Church of Christ joined with the Church of the Nazarene.
  • Headquarters: Lenexa, Kansas, USA
  • Worldwide Membership: 2.5 million members in more than 30,000 congregations in 164 regions of the world.
  • Leadership: Stanley W. Reeder, USA/Canada Regional Director of the Board of General Superintendents as of March 1, 2021.
  • Mission: To make Christlike disciples in the nations.

Nazarene Beliefs

Baptism: Both infants and adults are baptized in the Nazarene church. As a sacrament, baptism signifies acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and willingness to obey him in righteousness and holiness.

Bible: The Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God. The Old and New Testaments contain all the truth needed for faithful Christian living.

The Church: The Church's mission is to share in Jesus' redemptive and reconciling ministries through evangelism, education, engaging in compassion and acts of justice, as well as bearing witness to the Kingdom of God.

Communion: The Lord's Supper is for his disciples. Those who have repented of their sins and accepted Christ as Savior are invited to participate. Nazarenes believe the Christ is present during the sacrament through his Holy Spirit and that the Lord's Supper is a means of grace.

Divine Healing: God heals, so Nazarenes are encouraged to pray for his divine healing. The church believes that God also heals through medical treatment and never discourages members from seeking healing through trained professionals.

Entire Sanctification: Nazarenes are a Holiness people, open to complete regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. This is a gift of God and is not earned through works. Jesus Christ modeled a holy, sinless life, and his Spirit enables believers to become more Christlike day by day.

Entire sanctification comes about through baptism or infilling of the Holy Spirit, Nazarenes say, by grace through faith, in an instant. Nazarenes also believe in mature character, which is a gradual growth in grace. This compares to other denominations' belief in the nature of sanctification as a lifelong process that is perfected only when the believer dies and goes to heaven.

Heaven, Hell: Heaven and hell are real places. Those who believe in Christ shall be judged by their acceptance of him and their deeds and will receive glorious eternal life with God. The "finally impenitent" will suffer eternally in hell.

Holy Spirit: The Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is present in the church and is continually regenerating believers, leading them to the truth which is in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ: The Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, was both God and man, died for humanity's sins, and bodily arose from the dead. He lives now in heaven as the intercessor for humankind.

Salvation: Christ's atoning death was for the entire human race. Everyone who repents and believes in Christ is "justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin." However, Nazarenes hold that anyone may fall from grace and be "hopelessly and eternally lost" unless they repent of their sins.

Second Coming of Christ: Unlike some other denominations, the Church of the Nazarene is somewhat vague in its article on Christ's second coming. No specific mention is made of a Rapture or tribulation, but the wording that abiding members will be "caught up with the risen saints to meet the Lord in the air" has led some individual congregations to teach a Rapture event.

Sin: Since the Fall, human beings have a depraved nature, inclined toward sin. However, the grace of God helps people make right choices. Nazarenes do not believe in eternal security. Those who are regenerate and have received entire sanctification may sin and fall from grace, and unless they repent, they will go to hell.

Trinity: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Church of the Nazarene Practices

Sacraments: Nazarenes baptize both infants and adults. If parents choose to delay baptism, a dedication ceremony is available. The applicant, parent, or guardian may choose sprinkling, pouring, or immersion.

Local churches vary on how often they administer the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, some only four times a year and others as often as weekly. All believers present, regardless of whether they are members of the local church, are invited to partake. The minister says a prayer of consecration, then distributes the two emblems of communion (bread and wine) to the people, with the help of other ministers or stewards. Only unfermented wine is used in this sacrament.

Worship Service: Nazarene worship services include hymns, prayer, special music, Scripture reading, a sermon, and an offering. Some churches feature contemporary music; others favor traditional hymns and songs. Church members are expected to tithe and to give freewill offerings to support the missionary work of the global church. Some churches have revised their Sunday and Wednesday evening meetings from worship services to evangelism training or small group studies.


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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "The Church of the Nazarene Beliefs." Learn Religions, Mar. 4, 2022, Zavada, Jack. (2022, March 4). The Church of the Nazarene Beliefs. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "The Church of the Nazarene Beliefs." Learn Religions. (accessed June 2, 2023).