As General Superintendent Emeritus Don Owens suggests, every movement of God has a binding address. We believe that the Church of the Nazarene was birthed in the heart of God and that she continues as an expression of the movement of God in our world.
The church revealed a level of genius a century ago when it expressed the nonnegotiable elements—a binding address—of biblical faith in eight simple yet profound stated beliefs in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene:
Agreed Statement of Belief
26. Recognizing that the right and privilege of persons to church membership rest upon the fact of their being regenerate, we would require only such avowals of belief as are essential to Christian experience. We, therefore, deem belief in the following brief statements to be sufficient. We believe:
26.1. In one God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
26.2. That the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living.
26.3. That man is born with a fallen nature, and is, therefore, inclined to evil, and that continually.
26.4. That the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost.
26.5. That the atonement through Jesus Christ is for the whole human race; and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin.
26.6. That believers are to be sanctified wholly, subsequent to regeneration, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
26.7. That the Holy Spirit bears witness to the new birth, and also to the entire sanctification of believers.
26.8. That our Lord will return, the dead will be raised, and the final judgment will take place.
In these days of theological experimentation and inquiry, it seems prudent to the Board of General Superintendents to lay special emphasis on some of these agreed beliefs.
We believe in God. Revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, He is holy love and light; eternally existent and infinite; Sovereign of the universe; holy in nature, attributes, and purpose; all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present.
We believe in the inspiration and authority of Scripture. We hold that the Word of God is the primary source of revelation for knowing God. Dr. H. Orton Wiley, who helped shape our theology in our formative years, wrote: “We conclude that the Scriptures were given by plenary inspiration . . . in the manner that and to the degree that the Bible becomes the infallible word of God, the authoritative Rule of Faith and Practice in the Church” (Christian Theology, Vol. 1, p. 170).
We believe in the uniqueness of Jesus Christ. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). We believe that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
We believe that, subsequent to regeneration, believers are to be entirely sanctified through the work of the Holy Spirit. We further believe that in the work of entire sanctification the believer’s heart is cleansed from all sin and that the believer filled with the Holy Spirit is enabled to love God with the whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love others as oneself. We believe that growth in grace and the disciplines of holy living are a lifelong necessity for a life wholly sanctified to the will and purposes of God.
We believe in the Church, “the covenant people of God made new in Christ” (Manual, paragraph 15), as the visible expression of God’s presence and mission in our world.
This is our binding address!
Ephesians 4:12-13 makes it clear that every effort should be made for believers to be “built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” This, the Bible declares, will prevent us from being unsettled by every wind of doctrinal experimentation that blows across the religious landscape.
We call upon our churches, our institutions of higher learning, and our people at large to hold fast to these agreed beliefs. Let us set aside anything and everything that distracts from our mission to make Christlike disciples in the nations.
--The Board of General Superintendents