9/10/2006

I Like Nazarenes! Don't you?

(Read like-Nazarenes Column)

69 comments:

G.R. ''Scott'' Cundiff said...

Oh, my leg hurts. I think someone has been pulling it! --yes, I are one!

James Petticrew said...

I nearly fainted when I read the title of this.
Can you be impeached by the Wesleyans for this?
You also seem to be talking about AMERICAN Nazarenes, I could have died laughing when you wrote, "When their leaders say jump their people jump." ... not in Europe they don't!
Any way I am glad you like 'Nazarenes' now and have got over that dreadful inferority complex, heck I am going to work on llking Nazarenes myself, but that will be harder for me because I actually go to church with some of them. (maybe I could be impeached for that one) In fact you have inspired me to write a piece about how I like the English. Now before I do that, you were being serious, weren't you?

David Drury said...

Watch out, Pope... Jesus was a Nazarene!

JohnLDrury said...

Question: Nazarenes have very few (if any) megachurches. Is this indicative of anything in the denominational culture? And is this something you like?

Anonymous said...

I'm rather puzzled at the idea that we Nazarenes are more conservative now and used to be more liberal. I would love to hear some second thoughts on that one.

Hans Deventer, a Nazarene from Europe.

nate richardson said...

my uncle is a nazarene pastor. so i definately agree with this synopsis. now a couple of questions. what 3 schools are better? and what do the nazarenes do to make the educational system that good? i would also like to see you answer john question about nazarene minichurches

Keith.Drury said...

To: ''Scott'' Cundiff… only one was a leg-puller on the rest I am stone-sober-serious.

To: James Petticrew…yeah I know, the Scots don’t jump when the GSs say so, they actually turn around and… well, we saw Braveheart.

To: David Drury… HA! you checked the Wikipedia Link! Just like you! Please note that Jesus comes second in preference after the [real] Nazarenes there!

TO: JohnLDrury... I personally like small churches and attend one running less than 40 people on an average Sunday(howbeit connected as a "venue” of a much larger church) so yes I like small churches myself. However someone still ought to study the reasons why Nazarenes can’t seem to grow many mega-churches while Wesleyans have a greater percentage of so-called "Super-churches" than any other USA denomination. This is no accident in both cases. I have my hunches why this is so, but they are only un-researched hunches. Anybody out there looking for a thesis or dissertation topic?

To: Hans Deventer… Nazarenes were the most “liberal” holiness group in the 1950’s when I was a kid but they have "liberalized" more slowly than the Free Methodists and Wesleyans so got passed in the process and are now more conservative than either sister. Why? Perhaps this is partially due to #s 1,2 & 4 in the article combined with the response to the previous question? I'm not sure why.

TO: nate richardson... Three of these four: Houghton, Seattle Pacific & Azusa and Indiana Wesleyan.

Good starting day's comments... I still like Nazarenes... don't you?

Dennis M. Scott said...

I think I'm glad you're a Wesleyan. But it looks like too many Nazarenes read your comments. As to the shoes of the generals, it's no wonder they're in good shape - they never touch the ground!

John Mark said...

Another thing to like if you are a Nazarene, when I graduated from college (no small miracle) and got my local preachers license a friend of mine told me I had all the qualifications I needed to be a candidate for an honorary doctorate in the church. Doesn't seem likely to happen, of course, but......

Anonymous said...

Amazing...no shortage of leaders...no shortage of honorary drs...

Anonymous said...

I like Nazarenes too! Here are a few more reasons:

8. NAZARENES HAVE A WOMAN GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT. They don’t just talk about women in ministry; they model it at the top.

9. NAZARENES USE THEIR OWN CONFERENCE SPEAKERS. They don’t need Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, or Jack Hayford to tell them how to be Nazarene. They just use their own motivational speakers. By the way, is John Maxwell really a Wesleyan?

10. NAZARENES OFFER GREATER OPPORTUNITY. With over 14,000 churches they have a constant demand for youth pastors, ministers of music, CE directors, etc. What’s more, they pay them too!

11. NAZARENES SOLD THEIR CAMP-MEETINGS. They still preach holiness without the cost of running dilapidated campground facilities.

Anonymous said...

I'll add one too:

12. Nazarenes aren't hung up with one "official" style of worship: I understand they have more than a hundred churches that follow an Anglican "Book of common Prayer" liturgy.

This sort of encouragement to worship in a variety of ways will pay off in the future as worship styles specialize. In some cities you can now choose an Anglican mass, or a Camp Meeting Gospel service, or an emergent candles/video show or a boomer-praise worship service and stay Nazarene in any of those churches.
-Phil Count

Anonymous said...

And one more:

13. Nazarenes have an awesome missionary program--they are bogger overseas (where the future growth is) than they are in the USA.
-Phil again

Anonymous said...

The column and comments actually touch on some of my thinking of late. I attend a Naz church and see what we're talking about. There is more loyalty (maybe strong armed at times), more emphasis on holiness and more denominational identity than The Wesleyan Church. Too often, TWC has wet a finger and raised it in the air to see which way the evangelical wind is blowing and then pronouncing it God's design for us! We're more Warren-ites than Wesley-ans!
Nazarenes were more liberal years ago...My dad remembers folks looking down on the Naz because those folk got to go out to eat on Sunday! He's 84, and awfully glad TWC has loosened up so he can enjoy the Chinese buffet!

Anonymous said...

I've only heard one Nazarene evangelist and I must say, he taught a holiness that was theological and practical.

But then again, I think the Nazarenes kicked him out!

Parade of Roses said...

Reading the comments on mega-churches and lack of them--the Nazarenes in Pasadena have been pretty effective at "ungrowing" one of their few mega church.

Ironically, they askded a Free Methodist to come in and help plug the holes as an interim. They now have a new homegrown Nazarene pastor.

ViaMediaHaze said...

I think this is the most anonymous postings I have ever seen! I never have really thought if I liked or disliked the Nazarenes, or the Wesleyans for that matter. But I do consider both a partner in the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition and when people ask me what it is to be a member of the Evangelical Methodist Church I say "Theolgically I am the same as The Wesleyan Church, Nazarene Church and CCCU Churches. We all beleive in holiness but our church structures our different." So instead of thinking about all the things I like I just like to keep you all as my brothers and sisters in Christ and leave it at that.

FM said...

I'll add something I also like about Nazarenes:

--Their leaders (including General Superintendents) must retire at age 70.

a holiness tradition student said...

I'll add one:

The five Naz pastors and one church dignitary that I have ever conversed with did not expect me to flatter their egos; they were easy to talk to and did not have High Church Elitist demeanors. In fact they were rather encouraging to those of less significant social status--sorta like Jesus!

Gotta love those Nazarenes.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody furnish the address and contact nos of a nazarene church in Singapore, please.
Thank you!!!

NOT-NAMED-NAZARENE said...

I hate to spoil this Nazarene love fest, but you non-Nazarenes might not like our 20%+ tax rate on local churches (maybe one reason we have fewer large churchs?)

And my mother in law believes that our famed self-esteem looks a mite like denomiantional arrogance to her.

And, also don't forget that our DSs are essentially regional sales managers with CEO power and you can't even survive if you don't stay on their good side.

And, check out our pension plan before you consider switching your credentials--you won't be impressed.

So, while we are a nice little denomination, we are not a great as you Wesleyans (and whoever else is posting) seem to think we are.

Mike Cline said...

What do I know...not much...I'm too young to hold any real opinion on the matter.

But being that I am young and foolish, I'll throw something out there anyway.

Their denominational loyalty borders on idolatry at times. The "Jesus was a Nazarene" talk gets a little old. I have also heard stories (like that journalism?) of higher ups claiming to be a "Nazarene before I was a Christian." Yikes.

wvpv said...

What about MidAmerica Nazarene in Olathe, KS? It's missing from your list of higher education schools...

Keith.Drury said...

TO wvpv,
Woah--sorry about the snub to MANU... I repaired the original article.

Anonymous said...

Good thing God didn't have that 70-year retirement rule. We would have been in trouble!

Anonymous said...

But then again, man tends to be a man of law/rules.

Mike said...

I have been following your links to compare the Nazarenes and the Wesleyans in the USA. This is no easy task: the Nazarenes share their information openly but we Wesleyans seem to hide our figures—unless I just can’t find it. Comparing the openness of the two sites should embarrass Wesleyans:

http://www.wesleyan.org/ME2/Audiences/Default.asp

http://www.nazarene.org/gensec/currentstatistics.html

Anyway, if I read the Nazarene figures right and compare them with the older figures they used to make available to Wesleyans it appears that Nazarenes in the USA are only about 3 times larger than Wesleyans in actual attendance figures. I always thought they were bigger than that.

John Mark said...

Sure, the pension plan stinks, but Nazarenes want to make sure their people are not just in it for the money :). But there is some hope, my parents were both Methodists growing up, and Mother especially remembers how poorly paid many of the pastors were. Today Methodists are considered pretty liberal, at least in the direction the denominational leaders seem to be headed, but they take better care of pastors, comparatively speaking. So increased worldliness may be the answer :).

Anonymous said...

Here are 2 more reasons why I like Nazarenes:

14. THE NAZARENES ARE AGGRESSIVE. Possibly, they may even be defined as a “movement”. Their fervor for personal piety and global evangelization is admirable.

15. NAZARENE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY has profoundly unified their world-wide mission and sense of denominational loyalty.

James Petticrew said...

"Their fervor for personal piety and global evangelization is admirable." ... I am sorry I am not recognising my own denomination, at least not in the UK!

Scott Drury said...

Hey Mike. I think you just couldn't find it

Wesleyan Growth Since Merger

The Canfield Family said...

In our area, unfortunately, the Nazarenes and Wesleyans are BOTH very liberal.

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous, I found a most interesting related verse during my recent reading of Colossians. It is Colossians 2:16, Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect to an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days....

Maybe if we had read our Bibles sooner we could have enjoyed the chinese buffet sooner!

Tim the Tarheel said...

Keith, is this "penance" for all those years of saying, "How many Nazarenes does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
FriendTim

Keith.Drury said...

Tim--no, not penance exactly...just "the other side of the story." Actually this is only half of the article...the other half is what bugs me about the Nazarenes...

I wonder when I'll post that half? (Probably after I post "What I like about Wesleyans" (and what bugs me about them/us) ;-)

Anonymous said...

I used to be a Nazarene, until a new pastor came into the church. he and his wife, said that we were not to sing songs like "More of You" because once you got God you didn't need any more of Him. Also, he didn't want songs sung about the blood because they were gorry and he didn't want to preach on hell, because people didn't want to hear about it? Hymnals and pews were taken out of the church, replaced with coffee and donuts in the so called sanctuary! I am still looking for a Nazarene church that has not gone this route! Please respond to this if you know of one. Meanwhile, I won't hold my breath!

Jo Anne Lyon said...

I plan to check Nina Gunter's shoes the next time I see her to see if she measures up to expectations! eh ! eh!

Mike said...

Scott Drury: Thank you for the link but those who followed it got not very much information... I need to know what real growth occurred in North America, not worlwide general figures. I appreciated the Nazarenes being so open in their sharing of information.

TX PReacher said...

I am a Nazarene and proud. The church of the Nazarene not only preaches Holiness they live it out! The practical side of the holiness message is not only emphasised but lived out. Matthew 25 is real in this church. Now i can make this assessment from having pastored in another denomination that said they believed in Holiness but that was only a creed not an experience. They did not practice what they preached.

Anonymous said...

TX Preacher: I am impressed to hear that your church in Texas is still preaching holiness. May God richly bless you and your congregation! But sadly, that is not the norm for Nazarene churches. The church of the Nazarene that we once attended does not believe in preaching doctrine anymore, and holiness is a word you never hear. But sadly, pagan practices such as naval piercing and tatoos are the norm for the Nazarene preachers and their wives! Please pray for the Nazarene church in Virginia!

Brent in Michigan said...

Ahem... mister Anon... can you explain exactly how you know about your preacher's wife's navel?

Troy Snyder said...

We have our own "Pope" too! (PGC)

In all seriousness, I don't think I have ever read an article quite like this one. I am a third generation Nazarene and very much embrace our doctrine of holiness. However, even the "cusp" of pride is a dangerous place to live. I hope that our pride and our humility rests in the Sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.

I certainly don't mean to dump cold water on the lightness of this wonderful article - and it is a wonderful article! But I have experienced this "pride to a fault" in certain circles. Some would exercise an "elitist" mentality and I don't know that there is any room for the compassion of Christ in that line of thought.

But, oh the wonderous Cross! Who can climb the hill of Holiness? Not I, perfection is out of our reach - but to strive! To strive for His excellence to be manifested in our lives!! Not of our own will or way, but with the surrender of entirely giving ourselves over to Him! That's the beauty - our utter need for Him each and every day.

I pray that we will not stray from His teachings. I pray that we will not "water down" the Gospel that divides in order to be viewed as politically correct or tolerant of a universal approach to Heaven that bypasses the Cross. And not just His intial touch in our lives! He loves us too much to allow us to stay where He finds us!! He brings us deeper and invites us to begin a much different journey - that will give us more opportunities to surrender each area of our lives, as He reveals them to us. Not to shame us, but to continue His transformation in His likeness, His grace, and His mercy through the Sanctifying power of His Holy Spirit!

Yet, I pray too, that we do not "judge out" of the Kingdom those who do not have relationship with our Savior yet. I pray that we would be open to the "conversation" and compassionately embrace those who have not yet fully experienced Christ - loving each individual where they are "at." Being careful not to legalize the Gospel and reduce it to more rules and seemingly impossible standards that are not fathomable for them to grasp. Just as our loving Christ does not shine His light upon every single area of our lives that need to be changed at once! Otherwise, we would all give up!! No, loving them, with an intentionality that would be constructing the bridge that would point them to the One who reaches for us. Allowing the Spirit of Jesus to guide us and model for them that we do not have to settle - but we can experience, in measure, John 10:10 while we are still in our earthly dwelling! Oh, that we may live that and leave that for others!

That is why holiness without Love equates to a dead doctrine. To advance His Kingdom, we must speak His truth - tempered with our own brokenness revealing our own daily need for Him... it will only be through our humility that we are able to build that bridge, not pride. Yet, with confidence in knowing that we are more than overcomers through Him! Praise and glory be unto Him!

While our polity is not perfect, the individual church "tithe" (notice I did not say "tax") is a wonderful venue for us to advance, globally, the Gospel. The educational system that we are all so very proud of has come to fruition, in part, through our sacrificial giving. We assist sister churchs on our Districts, we assist our universities and bible colleges, we assist our headquarters, we assist other Pastors in their retirement, and we assist in critical missional opportunities. And while I do understand the challenge that is born out of our connectional budgets, it warms my heart that we can be a small piece of the sacrifice that comes with advancing His Truth in so many unique ways!

I know that it is hard to meet the local need (Faith Promise, salaries, utilities, insurances, ministries, building payments, building maintenance, and the like) and invest in areas where the return has seemingly very little impact upon the local congregation. Yet, at least for our application, after decades of not moving - it was when the senior Pastor followed the Lord's leading and invited the congregation to an amazing sacrificial gift of $1,000 many years ago to missions that marked and changed - forever - the life and future of our church. So please, be encouraged! We are involved in something so much bigger than ourselves and we are much richer for the experience! Isn't it curious that He chooses to use us, in spite of our short comings? I praise Him for allowing me to follow after Him and for allowing us to call Him "Lord!" And one day, it will be face to face!!

Jeanine Long said...

I find it interesting that you thought the Nazarenes were more liberal in the past. I’m a Nazarene from the 50’s and the “L” word was one I never heard associated with the Church of the Nazarene, so excuse me if I LOL. I grew up thinking we were the Naza-don’ts! I think as a denomination we are more liberal now than ever. However, what I have seen change have been the rules written by men, not the Biblical principles of Holiness. The Church has held close to her roots on that.

And Keith, when you are looking at the General’s shoes, don’t be surprised when you notice that Nina Gunter is wearing high heels. I am so thankful that God pays no attention gender and FINALLY the Church of the Nazarene is getting there too! Listen to her preach sometime. You will never hear a better Holiness message from anyone (male or female).

Anonymous said...

To the person who asked about the pastor's wife navel piercing! She bragged about it!

'liberal' wesleyan ? said...

Having just read through the entire list of responses to this article I think your point about Nazarenes being mroe conservative today than Wesleyans is confirmed by many Nazarenes who posted here. It is amazing to me--it is like entering a time tunnel!

Rev. Brian C. Farmer said...

Thanks for the Kind words, Keith. Being a young Nazarene minister who was raised in a Nazarene parsonage, I appreciate seeing the view of our denomination from an outside perspective.

To the poster asking if there are Nazarene churches around who haven't gone completely the way of throwing out the old for the sake of the new exclusively, take a visit down here in South Georgia. You'll find plenty, my friend. :-)Personally, I believe that there are elements of "old" and "new" that are beneficial to the worship experience. Ultimately, the worship leader must seek the guidance of the Lord in leading worship, and in seeking that guidance, make worship as accessible as possible to the congregation.

I think that much of the opinion of the Nazarene church from other denominations is formed by those in our denomination who are in the position of being a bit more in the spotlight. When you get to know the regular, grass-roots Nazarenes, you'll often find that there's a much more down-to-earth element. Then again, there are those in every denomination who only give lip-service to the Kingdom, instead of life-service. We're no exception, unfortunately.

I can honestly say I never really knew there was this kind of thought process towards the Church of the Nazarene from the Wesleyan Church. For my part, I've never really known or pastored anyone who had an "elitist" attitude when it came to the denomination. I certainly don't want to imply that this attitude doesn't exist in some circles--which is unfortunate. I can only speak for what I've come across, though.

In fact, here in the south, I believe that the Nazarenes often tend to fall prey to an inferiority complex of sorts in this Southern Baptist-dominated area of the nation.

Personally speaking, I'm very proud and thankful to be associated with the Church of the Nazarene, as evidenced by answering the Lord's calling to devote my life to His service in said denomination.

However, I've also always been thankful and grateful to the Lord for our sister denominations in the holiness movement. My thought process has always been that the Church of the Nazarene was one piece in a greater puzzle of holiness denominations in Northa America and around the world with a common message, aim, and purpose. I've always especially thought highly of the Wesleyan church, as those I've come into contact with and worked with from the Wesleyan church have been wonderful people and shining Christian examples.

So, I'll answer your statement of "I Like Nazarenes!" with a humble thank-you, for my own part, and a resounding, "I Love Wesleyans!"

Ryan Schmitz said...

I kind of feel like I've been Jane Goodall for the past five years. I've work along side many Nazarenes and count so many of them as very good friends. I like the Nazarenes, but I am still more of a Wesleyan.

Here are a few of my thoughts:

1. Its nice that there is a female Nazarene college president as well http://www.enc.edu/main/aboutenc/welcome.html

2. Maybe it is more conservative theologically or within churches, but I think that it is more politically liberal than the Wesleyan Church.

3. Higher Education is great. (My only concern is there may be a little too much dependance on recruiting zones-something the Wesleyans moved away from a few years back; also a high dependance on finacial support from district churches).

One reason that there may be strong schools could be the large amount of annual networking between Nazarene Schools.

4. Misionaries do not have to raise support. They do have higher educational expectations though. Everyone is encouraged to go to NTS.

5. They have denominational songs that every Nazarene knows. I still don't know the words yet, though.

6. They have a historical mandate to reach the inner city through missions. I don't know enough to know how effective they are, but from a good report on the effectiveness of this mission, but planting of inner city churches could increase: (http://www.valpo.edu/geomet/pics/geo200/religion/nazarene.gif).

Ryan Schmitz said...

Let me clarify, I definitely do not want to imply that Nazarene's are like chimpanzees in my life. I am working at a Nazarene institution and I have learned so much about the Nazarenes through observation. (Like my job and want to keep it).

Bill Barnwell said...

A funny story about a Nazarene church...before I was pastoring and still in college, I went to a Sunday Evening service at a fairly large sized Naz church in the Detroit area around Christmastime in 2000. This particular evening they had testimony time by the congregation. One lady who looked to be in her 50's got up to talk. She said that right after her and her husband got married, they both got saved and started going to this same Nazarene church. For years she tried to get her brother to come to church but he always resisted and never wanted to talk about spiritual things. Then finally after 20 years of prayer he was invited by a friend to another church and eventually opened up his heart and got saved. Very inspiring story.

Now came the clincher statement at the end, "I'm just so overjoyed. And while it's not a Nazarene church he's going to, they do believe in Jesus." She probably didn't mean it the way it came out, but it sounded like every non-Nazarene church had to verify that it did in fact believe in Christ. Then after that, several other people, at some point in their testimonies said something to the effect of, "I really thank God that I'm a Nazarene" or "I'm so thankful to be a Nazarene." It was amusing, cute, and just a bit troubling at the same time.

I really appreciate your website and this blog, Professor Drury. I found it this summer and have enjoyed it very much and all the insights contained (and wisdom that flies in the face of mainstream opinion). Thanks for taking the time to do this and interact with readers.

Barbara Moulton said...

I've been a minister in all three denominations you mentioned (Salvation Army, Nazarene and now Wesleyan).

I still hang around with Nazarenes on the Internet and would have to say that yes, I do like them.

And judging from what they say, there are a large number that like you.

Barbara Moulton
Canadian Wesleyan

Anonymous said...

As a former Nazarene Pastor, let me give you a few pointers:
1. The Nazarene pastoral pay structure is one of the worst of any denomination.
2. The Nazarene pension program is one of the worst of any denomination.
3. District Superintendents are known for stretching the truth to get a pastor to fill a church no one else will take. Dare I say they lie?
4. Women Pastors? Who are you kidding? The only women pastors I know are pastoring small churches where they can't get anyone else to take.

Mark Metcalfe said...

I am a Nazarene, but I am no longer as sure about what it means to be Nazarene as I once did. Nazarenes are quite diverse, ranging from "The Church's One Foundation... [where] nothing changes here" to just about anything you might imagine. However, there is a certain fealty to the doctrine (if not to the special rules)... "Ink beliefs" Keith. At least, that is still some comfort to me.

Mark Metcalfe

Anonymous said...

I'm a formal Catholic that started attending a Nazarene Church called CrossRoads in Chandler, AZ. After a few services my wife and I joined as members. I have to say that being a Nazarene has given me so much more knowledge of the Bible and keeping me accountable of following our Holiness beliefs. My children have prospered because of the youth group and we now know, that the Nazarene doctrine is biblically sound.

RightWingWesleyan said...

To Anonymous Nazarene above complaining about the Nazarenes pension plan: Wesleyans have a better plan now, but a while back we almost lost our shirt in a scheme of insider trading where millions were lost by investing through a pension board member and the pension fund is only recently recovering and that they did by going to a “defined contribution” plan instead of the former centralized Democrat “defined benefit’ plan. Now we get to designate where our money goes. The only thing better would be to let us keep the money and invest it directly as individuals rather than having any kind of central government program at all. But that isn’t going to happen until the future.

Keith Isley said...

To "Anonymous," who points to navel piercings and tattoos as a sign that "doctrine" isn't being preached anymore:
Holiness has never been about appearance - but about the condition of one's heart, and the quality of a life lived for Christ.
Unfortunately, a significant minority of Nazarenes (I've been a Nazarene for more than a decade, and have seen this firsthand many times) tend to substitute rules in place of holiness.
They also tend to complain "anonymously" so that people are hurt within the church without being able to defend themselves.
Perhaps a look at your own heart is in order.

Bruce Oldham said...

Keith, we use your book "The Call of a Lifetime" in one of our intro courses for Christian education majors at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. So Nazarenes are fond of Wesleyans, too, since at the heart of our movement we are Wesley-an. I cut my theological teeth on Wynkoop, Dunning, and Greathouse in my days at Trevecca, those whose holiness writings have helped us return to a greater emphasis on Wesley and relational holiness theology, but fueled quite a discussion across the church on the nature of the second blessing. But that's another topic.

colin_wylie said...

In the U.K it is very difficult to appreciate the size of a denomination when it is so small within our region. My impression of the Church of the Nazarene is that it is too small to make an impact. It would probably have double in size before it could claim to be a realistic other option for those interested in moving denomination. I had the pleasure of entertaining the Arch Deacon of Armagh on a visit to Durban South Africa some years ago. One church we visited had researched the area and size of the Church of Ireland within the county of Armagh. It had close on the same amount of churches as the Nazarenes have in the entire British Isles (90) in just a very small County of Ireland. I know your article was not about size more observations on things you like about Nazarenes. We could say that it punches above its weight when it comes to compassionate ministries and missions. As already stated its Education centres are of a very high standard. But as a part of the Holiness movement is it now time that its major groupings display themselves as all part of a bigger holiness doctrine denomination and punch with more effect. We have more to unite us than divides us, can our leader take up this challenge?

Christian said...

I appreciate any words that "build each other up." Not trying to prove any points. Just sharing info that we should all be able to rejoice in:

Just heard a report that the first, and at the time only, Nazarene church started in Sao Palo, Brazil has grown to 7,200 people (Megachurch?). They have planted (I believe it was) 44 churches. There are now some 360 churches in Brazil. 60,000 members. The growth rate currently doubles every 4.5 years. Praise the Lord.

I'm Nazarene and work for Wesleyans. Focusing on a denomination honestly makes me uncomfortable. I would rather focus on Christ. As was stated before, we are all in this together. Sure there are individual people, leaders, churches, etc. that fall short of the Glory of God. Sometimes God's children act like children. So does everyone reading this. Humility walks hand in hand with holiness.

Hope to see you all in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Colin:

No, the truth is, we have more to divide us than unite us. It is called spiritual ego.

Does anyone today really believe that all these different denominations were created because of a sole belief in piety? Does anyone today looking back at all the church splits really want to say it was over essentials.

What was essential to Jesus was that He ate with harlots, pharisees and his disciples and He was the same person everywhere He went. He was in the world but not of it.

Personally, I've found that holiness is all about ego and not about the false humility it tends to generate. Our leader, God, has been unable to unite us to date and it was not for lack of trying. So, don't expect it to happen on His watch but you and many others could make it happen!

John Mark said...

One final comment. I am a "cradle Nazarene" and have gone through several phases in my own opinions about the church. If we were ever arrogant and prideful, it was probably in comparison to smaller Wesleyan oriented denominations. It is no secret that these days we are in the middle of a huge identity crisis, having to deal with a great influx of people from other backgrounds who care little about Palmerism or even Wynkoopism. Tracy and Ingersoll have pointed out the danger of the "baptistification" of our theolgy, and in the South we don't even register on the radar screen. I don't have current figures, but in Atlanta, for example, where Baptist churches of 500 to 1500 seem to be on every corner, First Naz has never to my knowledge run over 350, and fairly recently was way below that (they are in a new location, and may be doing much better now).
I have made my decision to stay with the church; She has been better to me than I have been to her. She is far from perfect, but, so am I.

Anonymous said...

When EITHER of you, Wesleyan or Nazarene, get real enough to deal with real life, I will be impressed. I'm sold on the idea of holiness, but had to go elsewhere to get the practical help I needed to deal with the addictions and issues in my life.

been both and disappointed

David said...

Enjoyed the article and can definitely relate! My large, extended family of Pilgrim Holiness pastors,(men and women), evangelists, and missionaries, left en masse to join the Nazarenes prior to the merger, thinking the Wesleyan Methodists too "formal," finding greater comfort and acceptance as "Noisy-renes" than they would have in most Wesleyan churches at that time.

I recall hearing that the dorm moms at the Nazarene college I attended admonished girls not to stand too close to boys with shiny shoes!

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha, just think, one of those general superintendents of the Nazarene church with the nice shoes may just have been one of those young bucks you were admonished about!

Rich Schmidt said...

As a young Nazarene pastor in a church plant, it's interesting to read the comments here. It's clear that there's some diversity within the Church of the Nazarene... Some feel it's now too "liberal" or are disappointed by changes in worship or teaching styles. Others are excited by these same things. (Count me among the latter.)

It's funny to hear someone say something about "Nazarene" hymns. I heard them growing up, but the only hymns our church has ever sung are a handful of "classics" that have been jazzed up and funkified by our worship band! (Unless you count the Christmas carols we sing at our Christmas Eve services.) Half of our folks wouldn't know what to do with a hymnal...

Anonymous said...

As an insider (pastor) with much gray beard on my face, I can tell you that the Nazarene success can be attributed largely to the fact that they strictly follow a business model. And to that end, either you toe the 'corporate' line, politically and budget-wise, or you are severely marginalized.

This having been said, the majority of these comments would also confirm that the denominational/congregational frog has reached 212 degrees and still doesn't have a clue. I can tell you from experience, the majority of Nazarene churches more nearly resemble independent charismatics than traditional holiness churches. Many have even removed the name 'Nazarene' from their signage and stationary. Forget about liberal or conservative, there isn't one person in 1000 who could tell you the difference between theology and doctrine; or who cares. A poll taken a few years back sampled those who had been members of the Church of the Nazarene for at least 10 years and over 85% had no conception of either the doctrine or the experience of entire sanctification. I have also traveled extensively in evangelism and, practically speaking, there is not a dime's worth of difference between a Nazarene and a Wesleyan, or a Baptist, for that matter. The shallow points raised in this article remind me of the lament of Jeremiah, "what is the chaff to the wheat?". The church-olatry that is the stock in trade of so many Nazarenes, Wesleyans, et al, is indeed a broken cistern that can hold no water. Like the proverbial Nero, we fiddle while Rome burns. Pardon the metaphors, but the lateness of the hour and the growing wickedness of humanity should compel us to preach holiness or hell to a world that is headed for a Christless eternity and to do so with a passion born of agonizing with God for souls. Not one of these 'taking points' will show up at the Judgment. Those whose lips were full of honor to Christ, may be found, at last, to have had estranged hearts.

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."

Bob Rude said...

Guess Who?

Nazarenes are a lot like Catholics in this way. When they get to Heaven it will be a surprise to them.

Anonymous said...

"To the person who asked about the pastor's wife navel piercing! She bragged about it!"

Anonymous, I would say her sin would be pride, not the naval piercing. Or do they have metal detectors at the pearly gates?

Roy said...

As a former Wesleyan and current Nazarene, I can say that I have heard more about Entire Sanctification in the COTN than I did in the Wesleyan Church. It is more of an emphasis, especially for the ministerial credentials boards.

Isaac said...

Your mom kind of sounded like a bigot.