Small Group: The Church & Denominations-06/20/18
Church of the Nazarene
- This denomination has its beginning from John Wesley and is founded in the holiness movement of the 1700’s in England.
- In the US this church began in 1907 as a joining took place of three holiness churches and the original name was Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.
- In 1919 there was another joining with a holiness church from the South and the name was once again changed to Church of the Nazarene.
- It’s background is with the Methodist and John Wesley. And most of its early ministers were former Methodist clergy.
- Since its beginning, education has been a central part of their commitment to disciple making. Today, Nazarenes are blessed with the resources and responsibility of a network of 53 colleges, universities, and seminaries, which provide education to 53,000 students in more than 120 world areas.
PP Origin of the name
- The Hebrew name for “Jesus,” derived from “Joshua,” was common in first-century Palestinian Judaism, so “Jesus of Nazareth” specified which Jesus, and Acts references the early Palestinian Christians as followers “of the Nazarene” and “the sect of the Nazarenes.”
- The term “Christian” developed outside Palestine, in Syria according to Acts, in conjunction with the mission to the Gentiles. As Gentile Christianity spread through the Mediterranean basin, Jesus became known as Christ and references to “the Nazarene” diminished.
- Nineteenth and early 20th century European writers produced numerous biographies of Jesus, re-popularizing the term “Nazarene” and setting the stage for how the Church of the Nazarene received its name
PP # People:
- 30,574 Churches, 2,471,553 Members
- Combination of congregational and Presbyterian forms of government.
- Further, we hold that Scripture reveals no specific design of church government, and that our polity can be shaped by common consent, provided that nothing we agree upon violates the Scriptures.
- We have three levels of government: 1. Congregations elect delegates to represent them at the annual district assembly. 2. The district assemblies elect delegates to the general assembly, which meets every four years. 3. General assembly decisions are binding on the whole church and all of its parts.
- Churches call their own pastors (men/women) in consultation and with the approval of the district superintendent and manage their own financial and operational affairs.
- A trust clause makes church buildings and parsonages the district’s property.
- We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith.
- We believe in one eternally existent, infinite God, Sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe; that He only is God, holy in nature, attributes, and purpose. The God who is holy love and light is Triune in essential being, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead; that He was eternally one with the Father; that He became incarnate by the Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins, and that He truly arose from the dead and took again His body, together with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven and is there engaged in intercession for us.
PP Holy Spirit:
- We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune Godhead, that He is ever present and efficiently active in and with the Church of Christ, convincing the world of sin, regenerating those who repent and believe, sanctifying believers, and guiding into all truth as it is in Jesus.
PP How Saved:
- We believe that sin came into the world through the disobedience of our first parents, and death by sin. We believe that sin is of two kinds: original sin or depravity, and actual or personal sin.
- We believe that original sin, or depravity, is that corruption of the nature of all the offspring of Adam by reason of which everyone is very far gone from original righteousness or the pure state of our first parents at the time of their creation, is averse to God, is without spiritual life, and inclined to evil, and that continually. We further believe that original sin continues to exist with the new life of the regenerate, until the heart is fully cleansed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. We believe that original sin differs from actual sin in that it constitutes an inherited propensity to actual sin for which no one is accountable until its divinely provided remedy is neglected or rejected.
- We believe that Jesus Christ, by His sufferings, by the shedding of His own blood, and by His death on the Cross, made a full atonement for all human sin, and that this Atonement is the only ground of salvation, and that it is sufficient for every individual of Adam’s race.
- The Atonement is graciously efficacious for the salvation of those incapable of moral responsibility and for the children in innocence but is efficacious for the salvation of those who reach the age of responsibility only when they repent and believe.
- We believe that repentance, which is a sincere and thorough change of the mind in regard to sin, involving a sense of personal guilt and a voluntary turning away from sin, is demanded of all who have by act or purpose become sinners against God. The Spirit of God gives to all who will repent the gracious help of penitence of heart and hope of mercy, that they may believe unto pardon and spiritual life.
- We believe that justification is the gracious and judicial act of God by which He grants full pardon of all guilt and complete release from the penalty of sins committed, and acceptance as righteous, to all who believe on Jesus Christ and receive Him as Lord and Savior.
- We believe that regeneration, or the new birth, is that gracious work of God whereby the moral nature of the repentant believer is spiritually quickened and given a distinctively spiritual life, capable of faith, love, and obedience.
- We believe that adoption is that gracious act of God by which the justified and regenerated believer is constituted a son of God.
- We believe that justification, regeneration, and adoption are simultaneous in the experience of seekers after God and are obtained upon the condition of faith, preceded by repentance; and that to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.
PP After Life:
- We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again; that we who are alive at His coming shall not precede them that are asleep in Christ Jesus; but that, if we are abiding in Him, we shall be caught up with the risen saints to meet the Lord in the air, so that we shall ever be with the Lord.
- We believe in the resurrection of the dead, that the bodies both of the just and of the unjust shall be raised to life and united with their spirits—“they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
- We believe in future judgment in which every person shall appear before God to be judged according to his or her deeds in this life.
- We believe that glorious and everlasting life is assured to all who savingly believe in, and obediently follow, Jesus Christ our Lord; and that the finally impenitent shall suffer eternally in hell.
- We believe that Christian baptism, commanded by our Lord, is a sacrament signifying acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ, to be administered to believers and declarative of their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and full purpose of obedience in holiness and righteousness.
- Baptism being a symbol of the new covenant, young children may be baptized, upon request of parents or guardians who shall give assurance for them of necessary Christian training.
- Baptism may be administered by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, according to the choice of the applicant. The Lord’s Supper
- We believe that the Memorial and Communion Supper instituted by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is essentially a New Testament sacrament, declarative of His sacrificial death, through the merits of which believers have life and salvation and promise of all spiritual blessings in Christ.
- It is distinctively for those who are prepared for reverent appreciation of its significance, and by it they show forth the Lord’s death till He come again. It being the Communion feast, only those who have faith in Christ and love for the saints should be called to participate therein.
Hand out Sample Bulletin
PP Other Beliefs:
- Entire Sanctification
- Nazarene Church teaches that sin should be the rare exception in the life of a-It is the idea that a person can have a relationship of entire devotion to God in through the power of the Holy Spirit, people can be changed so as to be able to-The concept of entire sanctification stems from John Wesley‘s concept of spiritual-It is usually interpreted in less rigid fashion by most church members, viewing forgiven for their sins under the sacrifice of Christ.
- spiritual perfection as something to strive toward, being already sanctified and
- live a holy life for the glory of God.
- which they are no longer under the influence of original sin. This means that,
- sanctified Christian.
- -God’s Holy Spirit empowers Christians to be constantly obedient to Him. The
- PP Most hold to the cessation of the ‘sign’ gifts on the NT.
- Armenian position of free will
- -Do not hold to eternal security
- Conservative in lifestyle. No smoking/drinking /gambling/drugs/dancing etc.
- Human Sexuality with dignity, grace, and holy love, whatever their sexual orientation. However, we contrary to the Scriptures.
- continue to firmly hold the position that the homosexual lifestyle is sinful and is
- -The Church of the Nazarene believes that every man or woman should be treated
-We stand firmly on the belief that the biblical concept of marriage, always
between one man and one woman in a committed, lifelong relationship, is the only
relationship within which the gift of sexual intimacy is properly expressed.
-However, individual churches and whole regions have been open to the
‘inclusiveness’ and ‘Welcoming’ pattern of many mainline churches.
PP Major Divisions:
Throughout its history, there have been several groups that separated from the Church of the Nazarene to form new denominations. None of them are very big or worth noting.
Evangelical Free Church
- Founded in the Mid-West in 1884 as the Norwegian Danish Church then in 1950 joined with the Swedish Evangelical Free Church and changed its name to Evangelical Free Church of America. EFCA
- Evangelical in name refers to its beliefs about the proclamation of the Gospel and the inerrancy of scripture.
- Free in the name represents the form of autonomous government where each church is free to decide on issues by themselves, there is no higher controlling body than the local church.# People:
- 1321 Churches in the USA
- 177 church plants
- 370,000 weekly attendancePP:How Governed
- Congregational form of government
- Believers only can be members of the church
- They affirm the right of each local church to govern its own affairs with a spirit of interdependency with other churches.
- Strong pastoral leadership coupled with discerning and well-equipped Christian lay people can produce spiritual growth as well as significant church growth.
- While the EFCA affirms the right of each local church to govern its own affairs, we also believe in the biblical values of interdependence and cooperation.PP:Scripture:
- We believe that God has spoken in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, through the words of human authors. As the verbally inspired Word of God, the Bible is without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for salvation, and the ultimate authority by which every realm of human knowledge and endeavor should be judged. Therefore, it is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it requires, and trusted in all that it promise
- We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory
- We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures. Jesus—Israel’s promised Messiah—was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
- He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.
- He convicts the world of its guilt.
- He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God.
- He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.
- We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan.
- In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath.
- Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
- We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins.
- His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.
- We believe that God commands everyone everywhere to believe the gospel by turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We believe in the personal, bodily and premillennial return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.
- We believe that God will raise the dead bodily and judge the world, assigning the unbeliever to condemnation and eternal conscious punishment and the believer to eternal blessedness and joy with the Lord in the new heaven and the new earth, to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.
- Though the EFCA is premillennial, we embrace the breadth of premillennialism, including the various positions of Dispensationalism, Progressive Dispensationalism, and Historic Premillennialism.-But, we do not take a position regarding the seven year tribulation that precedes the millennium, thus allowing various views: pretribulation, mid-tribulation, pre-wrath and post-tribulation.
- -Regardless of one’s views of the tribulation, we are all to live with “constant expectancy.”
- Christ has given His church two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and the practice of these ordinances is an essential distinguishing mark of a church these ordinances are signs, that is, visible and tangible expressions, of the gospel, and as such they serve to strengthen our faith—“confirming and nourishing the believer”
- Baptism (paedo and credo) and the mode (sprinkling and immersion) we have placed in a-We are primarily believer baptism by immersion in both belief and practice. Some with a small “b” in that what is critical for membership in a local church is true-We deny baptismal regeneration
- churches do practice infant baptism, though not considered for salvation. We are Baptist
- category of silence, i.e. we will not divide over this issue.
- -We affirm the ordinance of baptism as a biblical/theological essential. But the timing
- The Lord’s Supper-We deny the doctrine of transubstantiationPP:Lincroft Bible Church
- -Memorial like us
- Worship Service begins at 10:00 AM and runs until 11:15 AM every Sunday.
- Each service follows a basic pattern which re-tells God’s story: God is holy, we are sinners, Jesus saves us from our sins, and Jesus sends us out to mission.
- Elements of Our Service:The call to worship is an invitation to see God as He really is. Through Scripture and song, we acknowledge God for His holiness, righteousness, goodness, and grace. When we see God for who He really is, we see ourselves as we truly are: weak and needy sinners. So we confess our sins together as God’s people. We also know that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9). Our forgiveness is assured because of Jesus’ death on the cross. God speaks through His word, the Bible, so we hear from His word in a sermon which lasts around 30-40 minutes. We typically work through a book of a Bible section-by-section, seeing how it connects to the person and work of Jesus.-Responding to the Gospel-Music:
- We are committed to the idea that our theology (study of God) should inform and propel our doxology (praise to God) and thus we are dedicated to singing songs which reflect this commitment.
- Consists of both contemporary songs and traditional hymns, both of which enable us to sing the truths of Scripture. The body of Christ is built up as we worship God through song. Each week, we sing to God, to one another, and to the watching world, always ensuring that the Gospel is central in all of our worship.
- After hearing the Word of God, we are invited to respond to it. This will happen through song, giving, and once a month, the Lord’s Supper.
- -Hearing the Gospel
- -Call to Worship
- Missions oriented
- -649 missionaries in 59 countries
- Fundamental and evangelical.
- Not involved in the ecumenical movement.
- Ordination of men only.
- We believe that the true church comprises all who have been justified by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone.
- The EFCA allows Arminian/Wesleyan, Calvinist/Reformed and Lutheran views of soteriology. The fact of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone is essential. Both regeneration (the Spirit’s work) and faith (our response) are essential for salvation, and our Statement of Faith affirms both without giving logical priority to either.
- PP:Homosexuality and Same-sex marriage
-The EFCA affirms the inerrancy and authority of the Bible (cf. Article 2) which
grounds and guides our understanding of and response to homosexuality and same-
-We will not credential one who engages in homosexual conduct or one who does not
believe that homosexual behavior is sinful, even though remaining celibate.
-God created human beings as male and female (Gen. 1:27). The complementary,
relational nature of the human race as “male and female” reflects the created order
given by God when He created human beings “in His image” (Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1, 3;
9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7; Jms. 3:9; cf. Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10). It is
with joy in our finitude that we are to receive the gift of being either male or female.
-Scripture grants two life-enhancing options for sexual behavior: monogamous marital
relations between one man and one woman (Gen. 1:27-28; 2:18, 21-24; Matt. 19:4-6;
Mk. 10:5-8; cf. Heb. 13:4) or sexual celibacy (1 Cor. 7:7; Matt. 19:12). Either is a gift
from God, given as He wills for His glory and the good of those who receive and
rejoice in His gift to them.
-At the same time, all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect
because each of us bears the image of God. An LGBT3 person deserves this dignity
and respect no less than any other, and we, as Christians, should demonstrate this in
our thoughts, speech, and behavior. Speech, including humor, which demeans LGBT
people, has no place in the Christian community. Likewise, this means we oppose
any mistreatment of those who identify as LGBT.
- We mourn with those who struggle with same sex attractions, and with their
families, but as we grieve, we encourage behavior that follows the clear divine
teachings of Scripture.
- We must carefully distinguish between same-sex attraction, sinful lust, self-selected
identification, and sexual behavior. It is not a sin to be tempted in the area of same
gender sex. Jesus himself was tempted, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). He sympathizes
with our weaknesses, and he promises to provide a way of escape in every temptation
(1 Cor. 10:13).
- Some heterosexual acts are sinful, but all homosexual acts are sinful according to
Scripture. One may not equate morally a committed heterosexual relationship within
marriage with a committed homosexual relationship.
-In sum, the EFCA is “welcoming but not affirming.”
- PP:Eternal Security Calvinists, there is no official position mandating or prohibiting either position. It is
- not to be a doctrine that causes division in the EFCA.
- -Because the EFCA is a place for both Arminians (including Lutherans) and
- Pentecostal signs, wonders and miraculous gifts a boundary stated in our Statement of Faith. occur simultaneously when one by grace through faith in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9) becomes-We do not believe that a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by-Other than this theological conviction, the EFCA is on a continuum from -Therefore, we are committed to “be being filled” (Ephesians 5:18)—a present(Galatians 5:25).
- continuous command—and to “live by the Spirit” and to “walk by the Spirit”
- cessationist to continuationist, on this side of classic Pentecostalism.
- speaking in tongues is required to live a full life.
- a Christian.
- -We believe that regeneration/conversion (Tit. 3:5) and Spirit-baptism (1 Cor. 12:13)
- -Although the EFCA does not have an official policy on miraculous gifts, we do have
PP: Major Divisions:
- None that I could findProminent Leaders:
- Walter Kaiser, Jr., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary President Emeritus and Old Testament professor. Chuck Swindoll, Dallas Theological Seminary former president. Tina Wesson, winner of Survivor: The Australian Outback.