What Is a Nazarene?
Every church has its distinctive characteristics, practices, or beliefs that set it apart from other groups.
Often this is confusing to people. They say, "If the Bible is true and Jesus was who he claimed to be, why are there so many different churches with so many different beliefs?"
We optimistically believe that despite the differences in beliefs and practices, most Christian congregations agree on 90-95% of Christian teaching. The parts about which we may disagree fall into an area that may be called "distinctive characteristics."
While we get our name from Jesus of Nazareth, you might be asking, "What in the world is a modern-day Nazarene?" Well...
- We are not Catholics, but like Catholics, we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was born of a virgin, as the Savior of the world.
- We are not Lutherans, but like Lutherans, we believe in salvation through Jesus Christ alone, on the authority of Scripture alone, in salvation by faith alone, and in salvation as a gift of God's grace alone.
- We are not Presbyterians, but like Presbyterians, we believe in the power of preaching God's Word to bring about change in the lives of people.
- We are not Baptists, but like Baptists, we believe in calling people to repentance and involvement in service.
- We are not charismatic (we do not "speak in tongues" in our services), but like charismatics, we believe in the gifts of the Spirit, and the Spirit's power to enable believers to live a Christ-like life and to make a real difference in their world.
- We are not Episcopalians, although John Wesley was a lifelong Anglican, but like the Episcopalians, we take worship seriously. We simply have chosen to be less "formal" in our worship services.
- Finally, we are not United Methodists, although we have our roots in the Methodist traditions that grew out of John Wesley's revival movement in the 1700's. We have a good fellowship with our United Methodist "cousins," but we are organizationally separate for historical reasons.