The Church of the Nazarene sees itself as one branch of the Christian family tree, we therefore embrace all Christians of whatever denomination as brothers and sisters following Jesus and confess the five ecumenical creeds of the early Christianity shared by (nearly all) Christians.
In official documents Nazarenes identify 16 biblical concepts we agree upon in Membership. We understand these to be historic understandings of the Christian faith which have been held by Jesus’ followers for two millennia. Other than these, Nazarenes believe in “freedom in nonessentials and love in all things”, that is freedom of conscience and humility and respect toward one another in our various opinions.
(The full text of the Articles of Faith and scripture references can be found online here: http://www.nazarene.org/ministries/administration/visitorcenter/articles/display.aspx
We also have hard copies at the church office if you desire.
Our 16 “Articles of Faith” can be summarized in everyday language as follows:
(This summary is the product of ShipNazarene’s senior pastor Rev. Todd A. Risser)
- We believe in One True and Living God, Trinitarian in nature, revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was and is truly God in human flesh, the Messiah and Savior of the world. That he died for our sins and was raised again to life by God the Father and now sits at the right hand of God.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity; is both the Spirit of Jesus, and the Spirit of God, and continues God’s work in the world and in our lives.
- We believe the Bible (Old and New Testaments) are divinely inspired by God and tell us what we need to know to unite our lives to God, experience salvation, and live doing His will.
- We believe sin is a purposeful transgression against the known will of God, and that people are born with a propensity to be rebellious – unless aided by God, they will not seek Him. We believe we need to turn away from our sins and be forgiven for them and walk in a new way: God’s ways.
- We believe that in his suffering on the cross, Jesus provided forgiveness for our sins and that this forgiveness is experienced in our lives when we believe and trust in Him and turn away from our sins. We believe the sacrifice Jesus made was for every person ever born, (there is no one who God does not love), and is efficacious (works effectively) for both children too young and those too mentally handicapped to understand.
- We believe people are created by God with a free will, and are morally responsible for their decisions. With God’s prevenient (coming-before-we-ask) grace people are able to choose to respond to God’s offer of new life, or reject it. We believe our free will remains in effect after we become followers of Jesus, and people are still able to walk away from relationship with God – God does not force them to love Him against their will.
- We believe that repentance, which is a sincere and thorough change of mind in regard to sin, involves a personal sense of regret and a voluntary rejection of continuing in a sinful life. We understand ‘belief” in Jesus in the New Testament sense of the word (Greek: pistuo) to include turning away from sin, and that God helps those who call on Him.
- We believe that in coming to trust Jesus for forgiveness and new life, God
a) fully pardons us of our sins
b) pours out newness of life on us spiritually (Jesus called this being ‘born again’), and
c) adopts us into His family, where we no longer need fear God, as we are His dearly loved children and our days of rebellion are over
- We believe that God not only wants to forgive our sins, but transform the kind of people we are from the inside out - into the character we were always meant to have. Our model in this process of being restored more and more into our true selves is Jesus; He is our model in terms of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control, and in all things pertaining to our character.
- We believe Jesus invented the ‘church’ as a community of His followers to live life the way God intends it, to worship God, love one another and bless the world with the kind of love we know God is. So our mission is to continue to redemptive, restorative work of Jesus. We understand the church to take on cultural and historic forms that reflect the time and place in history of its members.
- We believe baptism is the outward sign of God’s inward grace in our lives. We practice any of the historic forms (sprinkling, pouring, immersion) and include infant baptism (a similar sign of grace as Hebrew circumcision) for those believers who request it for their children. We also dedicate children (without the use of water) for parents who request this in place of infant baptism.
- We believe the Eucharist, Communion, the Lord’s Supper to be another outward sign of inward grace Jesus left for us – a word from God to us and a word from us to God – reminding us of His acceptance and declaring our faith and trust in Him.
- We believe God heals people miraculously, and that God also blesses us through medical science and doctors. So we encourage our people to both pray for the sick and seek medical help.
- We believe Jesus will return to earth, just as He said He will. All humankind will be resurrected from the dead and (see 16, below)
- We believe one day all humankind will stand responsible before God and receive punishment or reward according to their deeds in this life. We believe those who have accepted God’s offer of His Kingdom will have everlasting life and those who stubbornly and finally reject God’s offer will experience hell.