Church of the Nazarene

The Manual


The General Assembly is the supreme doctrine-formulating and lawmaking body of the Church of the Nazarene. This Manual contains the decisions and judgments of ministerial and lay delegates of the Twenty-first General Assembly, which met in Anaheim, Calif, June 23-38, 1985, and is therefore authoritative as a guide for action, Because it is the official statement of the faith and practice of the church and is consistent with the teachings of the Scriptures, we expect our people every where to accept the tenets of doctrine and the guides and helps to holy living contained in it. To fail to do so, after formally taking the membership vows of the Church of the Nazarene injures the witness of the church, violates her conscience, and dissipates the fellowship of the people called Nazarenes.

With the Bible as our supreme Guide, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and the Manual as our official agreed-upon statement of faith, practice, and polity, we look forward to the new quadrennium with joy and unswerving faith in Jesus Christ.

The Board of General Superintendents

Theological Tradition

The Church of the Nazarene is the largest denomination in the Wesleyan-Arminian (Holiness) theological tradition.



We believe in one eternally existent, infinite God, Sovereign of the universe; that He only is God, creative and administrative, holy in nature, attributes, and purpose; that He, as God, is Triune in essential being, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Ge 1:1-2:1; Lev 19:2; De 6:4-5; Isa 5:16; 6:1-7; 40:18-31; Mt 3:16,17; 28:19,20; Joh 14:6-27; 1Co 8:6; 2Co 13:14; Gal 4:4-6; Eph 2:13-18


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 and was born of the Virgin Mary, so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say the Godhood and manhood, are thus united in one Person very God and very man, the God-man. 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 fo man's nature, wherewith He ascended into heaven and is there engaged in intercession for us. Mt 1:20-25; Lu 1:26-35; Joh 1:1-18; Ac 2:22-36; Ro 8:3; 8:32-34; Gal 4:4-5; Php 2:5-11; Col 1:12-22; 1Ti 6:14-16; Heb 1:1-5; 7:22-28; 1Jo 1:1-3; 4:2,3,15


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. Joh 7:39; 14:15-18,26; 16:7-15; Ac 2:33; 15:8,9; Ro 8:1-27; Gal 3:1-14; 4:6; Eph 3:14-21; 1Th 4:7,8; 2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2; 1Jo 3:24; 4:13


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. Lu 24:44-47; Joh 10:35; 1Co 15:3,4; 2Ti 3:15-17; 1Pe 1:10-12; 2Pe 1:20,21


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 Jesus Christ, by His sufferings by the shedding of His own blood, and by His meritorious 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 the irresponsible and for the children in innocency, but is efficacious for the salvation of those who reach the age of responsibility only when they repent and believe. Isa 53:5,6,11; Mr 10:45; Lu 24:46-48; Joh 1:29; 3:14-17; Ac 4:10-12; Ro 3:21-26; 4:17-25; 5:6-21; 1Co 6:20; 2Co 5:14-21; Gal 1:3,4; 3:13,14; Col 1:19-23; 1Ti 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 2:9; 9:11-14; 13:12; 1Pe 1:18-21; 2:19-25; 1Jo 2:1,2


We believe that man's creation in Godlikeness included ability to choose between right and wrong, and that thus he was made morally responsible; that through the fall of Adam he became depraved so that he cannot now turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God. But we also believe that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all men, enabling all who will to turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight. We believe that man, though in the possession of the experience of regeneration and entire sanctification, may fall from grace and apostatize and, unless he repent of his sin, be hopelessly and eternally lost. Godlikeness and moral responsibility: Ge 1:26,27; 2:16,17; De 28:1,2; 30:19; Jos 24:15; Ps 8:3-5; Isa 1:8-10; Jer 31:29,30; Eze 18:1-4; Mic 6:8; Ro 1:19,20; 2:1-16; 14:7-12; Gal 6:7,8 Natural inability: Job 14:4; 15:14; Ps 14:1-4; 51:5; Joh 3:6 Ro 3:10-12; 5:12-14,20; 7:14-25 Free grace and works of faith: Eze 18:25,26; Joh 1:12,13; 3:6; Ac 5:31; Ro 5:6-8,18; 6:15-16,23; 10:6-8; 11:22; 1Co 2:9-14; 10:1-12; 2Co 5:18,19; Gal 5:6; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12,13; Col 1:21-23; 2Ti 4:10; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 2:1-3; 3:12-15; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; Jas 2:18-22; 2Pe 1:10,11; 2:20-22


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. 2Ch 7:14; Ps 32:5,6; 51:1-17; Isa 55:6,7; Jer 3:12-14; Eze 18:30-32; 33:14-16; Mr 1:14,15; Lu 3:1-14; Lu 13:1-5; 18:9-14; Ac 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 17:30,31; 26:16-18; Ro 2:4; 2Co 7:8-11; 1Th 1:9; 2Pe 3:9


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. 10. 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. 11. We believe that adoption is that gracious act of God by which the justified and regenerated believer is constituted a son of God. 12. 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 to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness. Lu 18:14; Joh 1:12,13; 3:3-8; 5:24; Ac 13:39; Ro 1:17; 3:21-26,28; Ro 4:5-9; 4:17-25; 5:1; 5:16-19; 6:4; 7:6; 8:1; 8:15-17; 1Co 1:30; 6:11; 2Co 5:17-21; Gal 2:16-21; 3:1-14; 3:26; 4:4-7; Eph 1:6,7; 2:1; 2:4,5; Php 3:3-9; Col 2:13; Tit 3:4-7; 1Pe 1:23; 1Jo 1:9; 3:1,2,9; 4:7; 5:1; 5:9-5:13; 5:18


We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect. It is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service. Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness. This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as "Christian perfection," "perfect love," "heart purity," "the baptism with the Holy Spirit," "the fullness of the blessing," and Christian holiness." 14. We believe that there is a marked distinction between a pure heart and a mature character. The former is obtained in an instant, the result of entire sanctification; the latter is the result of growth in grace. We believe that the grace of entire sanctification includes the impulse to grow in grace. However, this impulse must be consciously nurtured, and careful attention given to the requisites and processes of spiritual development and improvement in Christlikeness of character and personality. Without such purposeful endeavor one's witness may be impaired and the grace itself frustrated and ultimately lost. Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:25-27; Mal 3:2,3; Mt 3:11,12; Lu 3:16,17; Joh 7:37-39; 14:15-23; 17:6-20; Ac 1:5; 2:1-4; 15:8,9; Ro 6:11-13; 6:19; 8:1-4; 8:8-14; 12:1,2; 2Co 6:14-7:1; Gal 2:20; 5:16-25; Eph 3:14-21; 5:17,18; 5:25-27; Php 3:10-15; Col 3:1-17; 1Th 5:23,24; Heb 4:9-11; 10:10-17; 12:1,2; 13:12; 1Jo 1:7,9 "Christian perfection," "perfect love" De 30:6; Mt 5:43-48; 22:37-40; Ro 12:9-21; 13:8-10; 1Co 13:1-13; Php 3:10-15; Heb 6:1; 1Jo 4:17,18 "Heart purity" Mt 5:8; Ac 15:8,9; 1Pe 1:22; 1Jo 3:3 "Baptism with the Holy Spirit" Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:25-27; Mal 3:2,3; Mt 3:11,12; Lu 3:16,17; Ac 1:5; 2:1-4; 15:8,9 "Fullness of the blessing" Ro 15:29 "Christian holiness" Mt 5:1-7:29; Joh 15:1-11; Ro 12:1-15:3; 2Co 7:1; Eph 4:17-5:20; Php 1:9-11; 3:12-15; Col 2:20-3:17; 1Th 3:13; 4:7,8; 5:23; 2Ti 2:19-22; Heb 10:19-25; 12:14; 13:20,21; 1Pe 1:15,16; 2Pe 1:1-11; 3:18; Jude 1:20,21


We believe in the Church, the community that confesses Jesus Christ as Lord, the covenant people of God made new in Christ, the Body of Christ called together by the Holy Spirit through the Word. God calls the Church to express its life in the unity and fellowship of the Spirit; in worship through the preaching of the Word, observance of the sacraments, and ministry in His name; by obedience to Christ and mutual accountability. The mission of the Church in the world is to continue the redemptive work of Christ in the power of the Spirit through holy living, evangelism, discipleship, and service. The Church is a historical reality, which organizes itself in culturally conditioned forms, exists both as local congregations and as a universal body; sets apart persons called of God for specific ministries. God calls the Church to live under His rule in anticipation of the consummation at the comming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ex 19:3; Jer 31:33; Mt 8:11; 10:7; 16:13-19,24; 18:15-20; 28:19,20; Joh 17:14-26; 20:21-23; Ac 1:7,8; 2:32-47; 6:1,2; 13:1; 14:23; Ro 2:28,29; 4:16; 10:9-15; 11:13-32; 12:1-8; 15:1-3; 1Co 5:11-6:1; Gal 5:6; 5:13,14; 6:1-5; 6:15; Eph 4:1-17; 5:25-27; Php 2:1-16; 1Th 4:1-12; 1Ti 4:13; Heb 10:19-25; 1Pe 1:1,2,13; 2:4-12,21; 4:1,2; 4:10,11; 1Jo 4:17; Jude 1:24; Re 5:9,10


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. Mt 3:1-7; 28:16-20; Ac 2:37-41; 8:35-39; 10:44-48; 16:29-34; Ac 19:1-6; Ro 6:3,4; Gal 3:26-28; Col 2:12; 1Pe 3:18-22


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. Ex 12:1-14; Mt 26:26-29; Mr 14:22-25; Lu 22:17-20; Joh 6:28-58; 1Co 10:14-21; 11:23-32


We believe in the Bible doctrine of divine healing and urge our people to seek to offer the prayer of faith for the healing of the sick. Providential means and agencies when deemed necessary should not be refused. 2Ki 5:1-19; Ps 103:1-5; Mt 4:23,24; 9:18-35; Joh 4:46-54; Ac 5:12-16; 9:32-42; 14:8-15; 1Co 12:4-11; 2Co 12:7-10; Jas 5:13-16


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. Mt 25:31-46; Joh 14:1,2,3; Ac 1:9-11; Php 3:20,21; 1Th 4:13-18; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 9:26-28; 2Pe 3:3-15; Re 1:7,8; 22:7-20


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." 21. We believe in future judgment in which every man shall appear before God to be judged according to his deeds in this life. 22. 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. Ge 18:25; 1Sa 2:10; Ps 50:6; Isa 26:19; Da 12:2,3; Mt 25:31-46; Mr 9:43-48; Lu 16:19-31; 20:27-38; Joh 3:16-18; 5:25-29; Joh 11:21-27; Ac 17:30,31; Ro 2:1-16; 14:7-12; 1Co 15:12-58; 2Co 5:10; 2Th 1:5-10; Re 20:11-15; 22:1-15


To be identified with the visible Church is the blessed privilege and sacred duty of all who are saved from their sins and are seeking completeness in Christ Jesus. It is required of all who desire to unite with the Church of the Nazarene, and thus to walk in fellowship with us, that they shall show evidence of salvation from their sins by a godly walk and vital piety; and that they shall be, or earnestly desire to be, cleansed from all indwelling sin. They shall evidence their commitment to God--

  1. FIRST. By doing that which is enjoined in the Word of God, which is our rule of both faith and practice, including . . . (1) Loving God with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and one's neighbor as oneself Ex 20:3-6; Le 19:17,18; De 5:7-10; 6:4,5; Mr 12:28-31; Ro 13:8-10 (2) Pressing upon the attention of the unsaved the claims of the gospel, inviting them to the house of the Lord, and trying to compass their salvation Mt 28:19,20; Ac 1:8; Ro 1:14-16; 2Co 5:18-20 (3) Being courteous to all men. Eph 4:32; Tit 3:2; 1Pe 2:17; 1Jo 3:18 (4) Being helpful to those who are also of the faith, in love forbearing one another Ro 12:13; Ga 6:2,10; Col 3:12-14 (5) Seeking to do good to the bodies and souls of men; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and ministering to the needy, as opportunity and ability are given Mt 25:35,36; 2Co 9:8-10; Ga 2:10; Jas 2:15,16; 1Jo 3:17,18 (6) Contributing to the support of the ministry and the church and its work in tithes and offerings Mal 3:10; Lu 6:38; 1Co 9:14; 16:2; 2Co 9:6-10; Php 4:15-19 (7) Attending faithfully all the ordinances of God, and the means of grace, including the public worship of God, Heb 10:25 the ministry of the Word, Ac 2:42 the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; 1Co 11:23-30 searching the Scriptures and meditating thereon; Ac 17:11; 2Ti 2:15; 3:14-16 family and private devotions. De 6:6,7; Mt 6:6
  2. SECOND. By avoiding evil of every kind, including: (1) Taking the name of God in vain Ex 20:7; Lev 19:12; Jas 5:12 (2) Profaning of the Lord's Day by participation in unnecessary secular activities, thereby indulging in practices that deny its sanctity. Ex 20:8-11; Isa 58:13,14; Mr 2:27,28; Ac 20:7; Re 1:10 (3) Sexual immorality, such as premarital or extramarital relations, perversion in any form, or looseness and impropriety of conduct. Ex 20:14; Mt 5:27-32; 1Co 6:9-11; Ga 5:19; 1Th 4:3-7 (4) Habits or practices known to be destructive of physical and mental well-being. Christians are to regard themselves as temples of the Holy Spirit. Pr 20:1; 23:1,2,3; 1Co 6:17-20; 2Co 7:1; Eph 5:18 (5) Quarreling, returning evil for evil, gossiping, slandering, spreading surmises injurious to the good names of others 2Co 12:20; Ga 5:15; Eph 4:30-32; Jas 3:5-18; 1Pe 3:9,10 (6) Dishonesty, taking advantage in buying and selling, bearing false witness, and like works of darkness Lev 19:10,11; Ro 12:17; 1Co 6:7-10 (7) The indulging of pride in dress or behavior. Our people are to dress with the Christian simplicity and modesty that become holiness. Pr 29:23; 1Ti 2:8-10; Jas 4:6; 1Pe 3:3,4; 1Jo 2:15-17 (8) Music, literature, and entertainments that dishonor God 1Co 10:31; 2Co 6:14-17; Jas 4:4
  3. THIRD. By abiding in hearty fellowship with the church, not inveighing against but wholly committed to its doctrines and usages and actively involved in its continuing witness and outreach. Eph 2:18-22; 4:1-3; 4:11-16; Php 2:1-8; 1Pe 2:9,10

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