We are a Christian People
The Church of the Nazarene is united with all believers in proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord. We believe that God offers forgiveness of sins and restored relationship to all people. We believe that we are also to be reconciled to one another loving each other as we have been loved by God, forgiving each other as we have been forgiven by God. We believe that our life together is to exemplify the character of Christ.
With all the people of God we confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Church, which, as the Apostles’ Creed tells us, is one, holy, universal, and apostolic.
When we say that the Church is one, we mean that any divisions within the one Body of Christ are sinful. We, as Nazarenes, must strive to keep unity and the bond of peace within our churches and between our Church and other Churches.
When we say that the Church is holy, we mean that our life together as a church should embody the holy character of Christ, who emptied himself and took on the form of a slave. We, as Nazarenes, must exhibit holiness both individually in our personal lives, and corporately in the life of our churches.
When we say that the Church is universal, we affirm that God is at work in other Churches as well, and that we have much to learn from them. Thus, Nazarene should not have any “church superiority complex”, but rather rejoice with all of God’s people for what God is doing through His Spirit.
When we say that the Church is apostolic we mean that the Church should be established on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, having Christ as the cornerstone (Eph 2:20). Together with all of God’s children, Nazarenes are called to continue the ministry of Christ and the Apostles in the power of the Spirit.
We are a holiness people
We are called by Scripture and drawn by grace to worship God and to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. We believe that this is what God calls all people to do, and that it is our responsibility to live it and proclaim it.
We believe that we as humans were created to reflect the character of God, but because of our sinfulness we have fallen short of our call. Yet, God has not given up on us. Rather, he has taken human flesh and has given His very life, so that we may have it. The life of Christ, who is the reflection of the living God, is ours as we live in Him, and He in us. Christ offers us His life, so that we can be what we were created to be, the living reflections of the Creator.
How can we, imperfect and sinful people, live the life of Christ? All those who believe in Christ, are adopted into the family of God and receive the sign of adoption, the Holy Spirit. God gives us the mark that we belong to Him. Just like children show the nature, the character traits of their parents, so we show that we are the children of God by the divine nature given to us, the Holy Spirit. This is the seed of God that is planted in our hearts and grows daily, until it delivers us from all sin and makes us just like Jesus.
Unapologetically, Nazarenes believe that humans are called to reflect the life of Jesus, and cannot settle for anything less. We believe that God draws us gradually to the place where we give Him all control over our lives and live in total obedience to Him. We do believe we can live a life free of sin because God has given us His divine nature and is working in us daily to make us like Jesus. We do not say it is easy, but we do say that it is real. This is what Nazarenes believe, and this is our message to the world.
We are a People with a mission
We believe we are not called to just enjoy the great message we have. We believe we are called to share this great news with our neighbor, wherever he or she may be, whatever their age, their gender, their nationality, or their race. We exist to proclaim that God has in store for each one of us a life that we cannot even ask for, or imagine. We exist to proclaim to humankind that God calls us to live the divine life, that there is no place for despair, hurt, enmity, or war.
What we are living is not the life we are supposed to live. There is more; there is better.
We are supposed to live the life of Christ, and we can live the life of Christ as we live in Him, as He lives in us. This is wonderful news, and we as a Church exist to spread it. Thus, our goal as Nazarenes is to create communities, spiritual families of believers who proclaim and live the hope of holiness, and invite others to do the same. Our mission is to go out and invite people to join the family. We exist to live holiness, proclaim holiness, and multiply the number of communities that live and proclaim holiness.
So this is what the Church of the Nazarene is – a church that is willing to learn from other churches, but also convinced we have a message worth hearing, the message that the life of God is made available for us in Christ, through the Spirit; we are a church that thinks this message is to be proclaimed to all creation, until Christ returns.