The Holiness Today magazine has a good article by by Kevin Ulmet who expresses some misgivings about the “Concerned Nazarene” movement. For those outside the Nazarene church, this is a movement inside the denomination to make the church more reformed and baptist in doctrine. The article can be found here: I Am a Concerned Nazarene.
From the article:
I am concerned that our precious Articles of Faith, those 16 grand biblical statements of doctrine based directly on Scripture, and our Wesleyan-Arminian and Holiness Movement history that have guided us well for over a century are under attack. Not from those outside our Christian faith, but from those inside.
These are people who believe we have been and desire us to be again who we never have been—a church in the Fundamentalist/Reformed tradition or at least the spirit and tactics thereof. John Wesley, Phoebe Palmer, H. Orton Wiley, and William Greathouse would blanch in concern today if they knew the insidious theological and ecclesiastical battle going on through the Internet, driven by categorization, guilt-by-association, and “gotcha” tactics that more represent radical politics than anything remotely biblical, Christian, or certainly holiness.
Here is an informative post from David Feltar, General Editor of the Nazarene church. It will be of interest to those from a Wesleyan background. There are some who are unaware of Nazarene history, and ask us to be something that we are not.
Link here: What About Those Nazarenes?
There are three main topics discussed.
- Is the Nazarene church turning from it’s roots and becoming more liberal?
- What about the Emergent church movement?
- Evolution, Legalism and the Word of God
Happy 100th birthday Nazarenes!
(I come from a Nazarene background)
- The denomination was founded in 1908, in Pilot Point Texas.
- The denomination started through the merger of 15 small Holiness denominations.
- Nazarenes are Wesleyan Arminian in orientation
- The church has always permitted the ordination of women. In 1925, 12% of the ordained ministers were women. Currently the number is about 2%. source
- The church has always been racially integrated (whites and blacks).
- The church currently has 1.7 million members, 640,000 in the USA.
- The founder was Phineas F. Bresee. Bresee came from a Methodist background, and was active in the Los Angeles community.
- Some of the better known theogians include: H Orton Wiley, Mildred Bangs Wynkoop, and J Kenneth Grider
Challanges for Nazarenes (my opinions)
- Liberal trends: The belief in the infallibility of the Bible is under attack
- Slowed growth in the USA
- closing of churches in the USA (the small ones are being closed, while the big ones are getting bigger)
- Ministering to postmodern society
- Ministering to minorities, adjusting to changing racial demographics in our communities
- The encroach of Calvinistic concepts
- Decreased emphasis on Holiness
- There seems to less focus on world missions.
- “Silo” of the denomination, Nazarenes need to work more with other groups who have closely related theology (like Assembly of God, Wesleyan, Methodist, Free Methodist, Church of God, etc)