Affirmation of Convictions

[The beliefs of those who are Friends of the Nazarene]

Christian "Doctrine"

The "doctrine of Christ" (John 7:16, 17; Hebrews 6:1, 2 KJV)

Paul defines what is the "elementary doctrine of the Christ" when he lists:

1. Repentance from dead works
2. Faith in God
3. Teachings on baptisms
4. The laying on of the hands
5. Resurrection of the dead
6. Everlasting judgment

Doctrines which identify Friends of the Nazarene

1. God the Father

(Romans 8:15-17)

 The Absolute God without equal in age, power, knowledge, and substance

a. His Holy Pneuma

(1 Corinthians 2:11-13, 16; Isaiah 40:13)

The Holy Spirit or sacred Pneuma is the mental power of God projected to accomplish His will. Thus Paul compares it to the "mind of God." It is an invisible force, or intellectual pressure.

b. Prayer

Prayers, supplications, and petitions are directed to God the Father alone by the name of Jesus Christ.

2. Jesus Christ (Romans 1:2-6, 16)

a. Created as the Logos, Godís messenger

(John 1:1, 2; Proverbs 8:22-30; Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:14)

There was a time the Father was alone. He procreated or brought into existence his only-begotten Son whom he "created" as a singular creative event.

b. Son of Man

(Daniel 7:13; John 6:62)

The human being seen ascending to God in Daniel upon which he receives his kingship.

c. Son of God

(Romans 1:4; Acts 13:32, 33)

He became Son in several ways:

a. At his creation
b. At his human birth
c. At his baptism and anointing
d. At his resurrection
e. Upon enthronement

d. Messiah

(Luke 4:16; Daniel 9:26, 27)

The Anointed or Christened One of Psalm 2:1 and Isaiah 61:1.

e. King and Judge

(Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 1:19-23)

Jesus becomes fully King upon his ascension to heaven. He becomes judge upon his own Household when he Returns to gather his Church. God has committed all the judging to His Son. The Son will judge all humanity upon its resurrection from the dead.

f. Savior

Godís appointed Savior for the redemption of his Church and mankind by his sacrificial ransom.

3. The Scriptures

(2 Timothy 3:14-17)

The traditional canon from Genesis to Revelation though some ancient books are recognized as of historical and educational benefit.

4. Ransom & Restoration

(Matthew 20:28; Acts 3:20, 21; Ephesians 1:9, 10)

The release from sin and death is by the redemptive sacrifice of Christ. By the ransom the "restitution" and the reconciliation of everything heavenly and earthly. (Colossians 1:20)

5. Kingdom & Church

(Matthew 16:18; Matthew 13:41, 43)

There are two "kingdoms" in the Christian Bible:

a. The Sonís, the "kingdom of the heavens"

The domain or realm over which he rules upon his ascension to heaven. (Matthew 13:41; Ephesians 1:19-21; Colossians 1:13) This "kingdom" is the Church or Body of Christ.

b. The Fatherís celestial Kingdom

as the seat of all sovereignty. (Matthew 13:43; 1 Corinthians 15:27, 28)

c. The Apostasy

(2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

Jesus and his inspired disciples foretold an apostasy or falling away from the true doctrine and order of the early church. (Matthew 13:38, 39; Acts 20:29; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:3; 2 Peter 2:1)

d. History of the Church

The history of the Christian church reveals this desertion of early teachings and methods. The doctrines of the Trinity, Hell-fire, and Human Soul Immortality are examples of apostate teachings.

6. The Disciple and Friend

(Matthew 16:24; John 15:14; Revelation 14:4)

A Friend of the Nazarene is one who is committed to observing the commandments of the Lord Jesus.

a. What makes a "Christian"?

A disciple of Jesus Christ who has publicly confessed Jesus as Lord, Messiah, and Son of God.

b. Preparation

(Matthew 28:18, 19)

It seems reasonable that a disciple (or, learner) of Jesus Christ would have read and prayerfully meditated on the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels.

c. Baptism

(1 Peter 3:21)

Complete water immersion in the name of Jesus Christ is among the ways to fulfill all that is righteous as a symbol of dedication and consecration to follow the Lamb no matter where he goes. It is a step in the process of salvation and sanctification.

d. Endurance

(Luke 21:19; Revelation 13:10)

Baptism is a beginning. The Christian must endure completely, working out salvation by works of charity and love. (Matthew 24:13)

8. The Great Oppression

(Daniel 7:21-25; Revelation 7:14)

A period of three and a half years of persecution upon the end-time Saints just before the Return of Christ in glory. These are the "large crowd" who are delivered from such an oppression. (Daniel 7:21-25; 12:1; Revelation 7:9-14; 11:2, 3; 12:17; 13:5-7)

9. The Parousia and Prophetic Horizon

a. Visible

(Matthew 24:29-31)

The Return or Parousia of Christ is visible following the great oppression and celestial darkness. (John 14:1, 2; Matthew 24:29-31)

b. Resurrection of the Church

(1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

The entire Church (Body or Bride of Christ) is resurrected at the same time upon the Parousia of Jesus. (1 John 2:28; 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52)

c. Rapture of the end-time saints

(1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17)

Right at the end of the great oppression the living end-time Saints are rescued or delivered by being snatched (or, raptured) out of harmís way. (Revelation 11:2, 3, 12; Daniel 7:22; 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 15:23, 50-52; Matthew 24:29-31)

d. Where are we in Prophecy?

No one is authorized to proclaim, "the time is at hand," (Luke 21:8) for no Christians knows the time of the Parousia and the Day of Wrath. (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7) However, some sincere Bible students see historical evidence which harmonizes with Daniel chapter 7 and Revelation chapter 13.

10. The Parousia-Judgment

(1 John 2:28; 4:17; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 24:45-25:46)

When the Master or King returns he first inspects or judges his own Household of Faith, the realm of his domain. The weeds or goats are destroyed. The wheat or sheep inherit the Kingdom of the Father.

11. The Day of Wrath

(Revelation 6:16-7:1; 17:14)

The foretold time when the winds of destruction break forth upon mankind resulting in the death of one-third of humanity. (Revelation 7:1-3; 9:15, 16) It is war between the Lamb with his Church and all the kings of the earth. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 17:14; 19:11-16)

a. Where is the Church?

(Revelation 7:9-17; 15:2; 17:14)

The Church is in heaven during the Day of Wrath and the out-pouring of the final plagues of Godís anger.

b. Babylonís judgment

(Revelation 14:8; 18:21)

Babylon, or counterfeit Christianity -- "religion" itself -- is destroyed by the human political leaders under divine influence. This occurs after the Church is gone (Revelation 18:4) and before "Armageddon."

c. Armageddon

(Revelation 16:14, 16; 19:11-16)

The war between the Lamb with his Church and the political leaders of the world.

d. The binding of the Devil

(Revelation 20:3)

Satan is abyssed or confined to his prison before the Thousand Years.

12. The Thousand Years

(Revelation 20:4-6; Isaiah 65:17-22)

The period of Messiahís reign over the "world" along with his Church. (Revelation 11:15; 20:4; 1 Corinthians 6:2) This period of rule is without the Devilís influence. (Revelation 20:3) Death and sin continue but are subdued at the end of the Thousand Years.

13. The Final Judgment

(Revelation 20:5, 12-15)

Following the end of the Thousand Years and the destruction of the Devil, all mankind is resurrected for their own judgment based on the previous conduct. (Matthew 12:36, 37; John 5:27-29; Acts 17:31; Romans 2:15, 16; Hebrews 9:27) Those approved in the final judgment will be blessed with life on earth.

14. Death and Hades

(Revelation 20:13)

Death is unconscious non-existence in a sleep awaiting the resurrection. Hades (or, hell) is gravedom where all await a resurrection and then their judgment. (Psalm 146:3, 4; Job 14:12-14; Ecclesiastes 3:19-21; 9:5, 10; John 5:28, 29; Hebrews 9:27) The Bible does not teach a place of eternal torment nor the immortality of the human soul. (Ezekiel 18:20)

Church "Order"

The "Church" today (Matthew 13:33, 37, 38)

"Christendom," or the Kingdom of Christ, is the domain, or realm of profession, over which Jesus Christ reigns whether wheat or weeds, sheep or goats. It has become fermented throughout the whole. It contains both the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one "growing together" until the angelic Harvest.

1. Its purpose

(Ephesians 1:12; 3:10; 4:16)

The purpose of the Church is to reveal Christ to the world and build up the entire Body in love.

The Early Church Pattern (1 Timothy 3:15; 4:13, 16)

2. Meetings

(1 Corinthians 11-14)

Meetings of the ecclesia included prayers, hymns, exhortation, teaching, revelation, and prophecy for the upbuilding of all its members.

a. Memorial

(1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

The annual celebratory observance of the Lordís death on the Biblical calendar date of Nisan 14. Unlike the Jewish Passover, the Memorial is not a family observance but a congregational one to demonstrate communion and unity.

b. Assemblies

3. Elders & Deacons

(1 Corinthians 12; 1 Timothy 3)

Men of maturity and Christian experience who meet the Biblical requirements may serve the congregation as elders and deacons. They are not authoritarian but slaves to the fellowship. Elders are appointed by other elders or bodies of elders. Some hold that women may serve the physical needs of the congregation as deaconesses.

4. Women

(1 Corinthians 14; 1 Timothy 2:9-15; 5:2-16; Titus 2:3-5)

The wives of elders and those who are deaconesses must be real Christians with certain characteristics. They submit to the "Lordís commandments" as to all in the Church.

Order and organization in the modern Church

(1 Corinthians 14:26)

1. Meetings

a. Formal Ecclesia

A congregation of any size where there is one elder to take the lead and set the example. Each congregation determines their time of meetings and the program they prefer locally.

b. Devotional Group

Usually the first gathering of Friends of the Nazarene on any date they choose. It is an informal discussion group which may include hymns, prayers, testimonies, readings, exhortations, expressions of faith, Biblical studies, etc. All may share and participate in these though godly women may choose to wear a veil or head-covering if there is a need and no qualified brother.

2. Evangelism & Growth

(Romans 10:9-15; Ephesians 6:15; 1 Peter 2:9)

Paul said, "I believed, therefore, I spoke." (2 Corinthians 4:12, 13) It is natural that persons of faith will witness or speak to others about their beliefs and Bible knowledge.

a. What is the "Gospel"?

There is only one "gospel" or message of good news. Those which do not conform to Paulís "gospel" are considered anathema by Paul himself. (Galatians 1:8, 9)

b. What is the "good news" today?

The Gospel is the good news that anyone may become a prospective member of the Bride of Christ with a celestial inheritance.

3. The Family

(Ephesians 5:22-6:4)

A godly father and motherís first responsibility is to their children. The husband is head and protector of his family. The wifeís role is to raise her children in Christ.

4. Children & Youths

(1 Corinthians 7:14; 2 Corinthians 12:14; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20, 21; 1 Thessalonians 2:11; 1 Timothy 3:4, 12; 5:10, 14; Titus 2:4; 1 John 2:12, 13)

Much of the future of the Church rests in its youth. Every effort must be made to train and set the example for the next generation of the faithful.

5. "Keep the poor in mind"

(Galatians 1:10)

All worship is worthless if it ignores the poor. (James 1:27)

Friends of the Nazarene Publishing

Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

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