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Thread: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

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    Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    I almost posted this on the "Methodists Getting Wet" thread, but thought it may create too many rabbit trails there.

    I've always been amazed at how we actually have people on this forum that have any interest in Baptism as a sacrament. Or that they actually emphasize it as something Nazarenes think is important.

    I grew up in Nazarene Churches (I've lost count more than a dozen, on almost as many districts) and attended them most of my life, my grandfather was a Nazarene pastor, my parents are alumni of NNC, and yet I never saw a baptism until I was about ten when my family attended a Baptist mission church while dad was stationed overseas. After we returned to the U.S. I don't recall seeing baptisms again until I was 16 or 17 and we were at a Nazarene Church in the midwest, and then the invitation was, "we are having a baptism service in X weeks, if you are interested let the pastor know, no emphasis from the pulpit or in person that it was important or why.

    I've often wondered, why, if baptism is such an important sacrament we never had one shortly after penitents "prayed through" at the alter, or why they weren't a significant part of revival services, after all we always had a big get saved service at least one night of the revival in which the alters always seemed to be packed. And despite seeing hundreds of respondents in chapel services at two Nazarene colleges, I didn't see a single baptism at either school in my four years in college.

    I recall testifying in church to a salvation experience while a teen yet was never approached by clergy advising me I should be baptized, and even after I expressed a sense of calling to the ministry, no one ever suggested that baptism was important. I didn't go into the ministry and I was in my mid 30s, attending a Nazarene Church in the South that was lead by a pastor educated at a Baptist seminary before anyone ever suggested that Baptism was important. My mom attended Nazarene churches her entire life, was taken in as a member when she was 12, attended NNC for two years, married in a Nazarene church, dedicated both of her children in a Nazarene church, participated in multiple ministry roles in the local church and served as delegate to district assemblies yet wasn't baptized until after she was in her 50s when she went to the UMC.

    I only attended one Nazarene church where the pastor wouldn't take in members who had not been baptized, but I think that was more due to his background with the Church of Christ. He told me that the Nazarene Church required baptism as a condition to membership, I told him it didn't and proceeded to show him requirements for membership listed in the manual. He got mad and I told him it didn't matter, I had been baptized in my previous church after I had already been a member of the denomination for 21 years. After that he changed his line to "this local church" requires baptism for membership even though the denomination doesn't.

    At any rate, I guess I'm wondering if the CotN has always had a strong emphasis on baptism and my family just wound up in a bunch of unusual churches, or if there is now greater emphasis on baptism, or if it is something of a regional thing (most of the churches I attended were on the West Coast and in the MidAtlantic region). Baptism were much more common when I was in the MidWest and South, even though they didn't seem to have a correlation to anything else happening at the church.

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    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hal Paul View Post
    I almost posted this on the "Methodists Getting Wet" thread, but thought it may create too many rabbit trails there.

    I've always been amazed at how we actually have people on this forum that have any interest in Baptism as a sacrament. Or that they actually emphasize it as something Nazarenes think is important.

    I grew up in Nazarene Churches (I've lost count more than a dozen, on almost as many districts) and attended them most of my life, my grandfather was a Nazarene pastor, my parents are alumni of NNC, and yet I never saw a baptism until I was about ten when my family attended a Baptist mission church while dad was stationed overseas. After we returned to the U.S. I don't recall seeing baptisms again until I was 16 or 17 and we were at a Nazarene Church in the midwest, and then the invitation was, "we are having a baptism service in X weeks, if you are interested let the pastor know, no emphasis from the pulpit or in person that it was important or why.

    I've often wondered, why, if baptism is such an important sacrament we never had one shortly after penitents "prayed through" at the alter, or why they weren't a significant part of revival services, after all we always had a big get saved service at least one night of the revival in which the alters always seemed to be packed. And despite seeing hundreds of respondents in chapel services at two Nazarene colleges, I didn't see a single baptism at either school in my four years in college.

    I recall testifying in church to a salvation experience while a teen yet was never approached by clergy advising me I should be baptized, and even after I expressed a sense of calling to the ministry, no one ever suggested that baptism was important. I didn't go into the ministry and I was in my mid 30s, attending a Nazarene Church in the South that was lead by a pastor educated at a Baptist seminary before anyone ever suggested that Baptism was important. My mom attended Nazarene churches her entire life, was taken in as a member when she was 12, attended NNC for two years, married in a Nazarene church, dedicated both of her children in a Nazarene church, participated in multiple ministry roles in the local church and served as delegate to district assemblies yet wasn't baptized until after she was in her 50s when she went to the UMC.

    I only attended one Nazarene church where the pastor wouldn't take in members who had not been baptized, but I think that was more due to his background with the Church of Christ. He told me that the Nazarene Church required baptism as a condition to membership, I told him it didn't and proceeded to show him requirements for membership listed in the manual. He got mad and I told him it didn't matter, I had been baptized in my previous church after I had already been a member of the denomination for 21 years. After that he changed his line to "this local church" requires baptism for membership even though the denomination doesn't.

    At any rate, I guess I'm wondering if the CotN has always had a strong emphasis on baptism and my family just wound up in a bunch of unusual churches, or if there is now greater emphasis on baptism, or if it is something of a regional thing (most of the churches I attended were on the West Coast and in the MidAtlantic region). Baptism were much more common when I was in the MidWest and South, even though they didn't seem to have a correlation to anything else happening at the church.
    IMO, your experience is normative for the CotN. The CotN has fit, in this way, very well into the Evangelical world of Christianity which I have said before is thoroughly non-Sacerdotal and non-Sacramental. Whenever the emphasis came about recovering our Wesleyan roots, the Sacraments had no choice but to follow as, IMO, Wesley was a high-church Anglican. He believed the Sacraments to be means of grace and believed the Eucharist should be observed as often as is possible. Not weekly; daily, if possible.

    This emphasis came with the new wave of theologians and scholars at the Naz schools who were both committed to Wesleyan thought on the one hand and received their higher education in different denominations on the other hand (Usually Methodist or Catholic).

    Then, as the universities went, so did the churches, because the universities were training the ministers.

    That's my reading of the history. I could be way wrong.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    IMO, your experience is normative for the CotN. The CotN has fit, in this way, very well into the Evangelical world of Christianity which I have said before is thoroughly non-Sacerdotal and non-Sacramental. Whenever the emphasis came about recovering our Wesleyan roots, the Sacraments had no choice but to follow as, IMO, Wesley was a high-church Anglican. He believed the Sacraments to be means of grace and believed the Eucharist should be observed as often as is possible. Not weekly; daily, if possible.

    This emphasis came with the new wave of theologians and scholars at the Naz schools who were both committed to Wesleyan thought on the one hand and received their higher education in different denominations on the other hand (Usually Methodist or Catholic).

    Then, as the universities went, so did the churches, because the universities were training the ministers.

    That's my reading of the history. I could be way wrong.
    I think that you are reading this correctly Ben. This is one of the places where the neo Wesleyans run counter to the AHM folks. As you are aware, our focus was on personal holiness and our way of life. We place the six days away from corporate worship ahead of the one day that we come together, thus liturgy and sacrament naturally fade.

    Personally, my experience here is that we encourage believers baptism by immersion, as it most closely reflects the practice shown in Scripture. While I have witnessed many baptisms by pouring, they have been called "dedications" and we performed upon non believing children. Those so "dedicated" have been encouraged toward baptism by immersion as believers. I'm pretty happy with our practice. As I've said before, I have no need for Wesley's ecclesiastical views, thats why we still have the Episcopal, Anglican and Methodist churches, they are a good place for those who wish to embrace his views in this regard.
    -Jim

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    I think that you are reading this correctly Ben. This is one of the places where the neo Wesleyans run counter to the AHM folks. As you are aware, our focus was on personal holiness and our way of life. We place the six days away from corporate worship ahead of the one day that we come together, thus liturgy and sacrament naturally fade.
    This really is a false dichotomy. There is no tension between "personal holiness and our way of life" on the one hand, and "liturgy and sacrament" on the other. The Wesleyan position is that neither is possible without the other. There is no personal holiness without careful and consistent practice of the means of grace. But of course, if we have no use for Wesley, then we can just make up our own theology and do whatever we will. But as long as we are "Wesleyan" we cannot deny the crucial link between sanctification and sacrament.
    “Martyrs rather than the pastors of megachurches might now become our evangelistic exemplars, and the ‘excellence’ of evangelistic practice’ will be measurable not by numbers but rather by obedience to a crucified God”

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    Thanks Hans Deventer, Lucas Finch, Jon Bemis, Greg Farra - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    This really is a false dichotomy.
    True. But if the AHM indeed proposes it, it seems to me we have no need of the AHM. Thanks for preserving the message of ES, but no thanks for the added distortions.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    There are a few of us in the Naz world who want it to be much more important in the life of the church.

    This is from Todd Stepp's blog, Wesleyan Anglican.

    I hope that it makes it to GA and passes.

    MEMBERSHIP/BAPTISM 29, 107, 801

    Article II. Local Churches


    29. The membership of a local church shall consist of all who have been organized as a church by those authorized so to do and who have been publicly received by those having proper authority, after having experienced Christian baptism, and having declared their experience of salvation, their belief in our doctrines, and their willingness to submit to our government. (100-107)


    B. Membership


    107. Full Membership. All persons who have been organized into a local church by those authorized so to do, and all who have been publicly received by the pastor, the district superintendent, or the general superintendent, after having experienced Christian baptism, and having declared their experience of salvation, and their belief in the doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene, and their willingness to submit to its government, shall compose the full membership of the local church. The local church leadership shall seek to place every member into a ministry of service and a circle of care and support. (29, 35.4, 107.2, 111, 113.1, 414.1, 418, 429.8, 435.8-35.9)



    801. THE RECEPTION OF CHURCH MEMBERS


    The prospective members having come forward to stand before the altar of the church, the pastor shall address them as follows:


    DEARLY BELOVED: The privileges and blessings that we have in association together in the Church of Jesus Christ are very sacred and precious. There is in it such hallowed fellowship as cannot otherwise be known.


    There is such helpfulness with brotherly watch are and counsel as can be found only in the Church.


    There is the godly care of pastors, with the teachings of the Word; and the helpful inspiration of social worship. And there is cooperation in service, accomplishing that which cannot otherwise be done. The doctrines upon which the church rests as essential to Christian experience are brief.


    NOTE: The minister may choose one of the following creedal options.


    OPTION 1:


    We believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We especially emphasize the deity of Jesus Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit.


    We believe that human beings are born in sin; that they need the work of forgiveness through Christ and the new birth by the Holy Spirit; that subsequent to this there is the deeper work of heart cleansing or entire sanctification through the infilling of the Holy Spirit, and that to each of these works of grace the Holy Spirit gives witness.


    We believe that our Lord will return, the dead shall be raised, and that all shall come to final judgment with its rewards and punishments.


    Do you heartily believe these truths? If so, answer, “I do.”


    Having experienced Christian baptism do [Do] you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and do you realize that He saves you now?


    Response: I do.


    Desiring to unite with the Church of the Nazarene, do you covenant to give yourself to the fellowship and work of God in connection with it, as set forth in the General Rules and the Covenant of Christian Conduct of the Church of the Nazarene? Will you endeavor in every way to glorify God, by a humble walk, godly conversation, and holy service; by devotedly giving of your means of grace; and, abstaining from all evil, will you seek earnestly to perfect holiness of heart and life in the fear of the Lord?


    Response: I will.


    The minister shall then say to the person or persons:


    I welcome you into this church, to its sacred fellowship, responsibilities, and privileges. May the great Head of the Church bless and keep you, and enable you to be faithful in all good works, that your life and witness may be effective in leading others to Christ.


    The minister shall then take each one by the hand, and with appropriate words of personal greeting welcome each into the church.


    (Alternate form for members joining by letter of transfer


    _____________, formerly a member (members) of the Church of the Nazarene at __________, comes (come) to join the fellowship of this local congregation.


    Taking each by the hand, or speaking to the group, the minister shall say:


    It gives me pleasure on behalf of this church to welcome you into our membership. We trust that we will be a sourced of encouragement and strength to you and that you, in turn, will be a source of blessing and help to us. May the Lord richly bless you in the salvation of souls and in the advancement of His kingdom.


    OPTION2:


    We believe:


    In one God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


    That the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living . . .


    . . . Do you heartily believe these truths? If so, answer, “I do.”


    Having experienced Christian baptism do [Do] you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and do you realize that He saves you now?


    Response: I do.


    . . .





    FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:


    1. It is generally accepted that, as General Superintendent Emeritus, the Rev’d. Dr. William Greathouse, has said, “In the New Testament church there simply were no unbaptized Christians . . .” (Staples 11) Staples, Rob L. Outward Sign and Inward Grace: The Place of Sacraments in Wesleyan Spirituality. Kansas City: Beacon Hill P 1991.


    2. The Church, generally, for over 2000 years has understood baptism as the sign of initiation into the new covenant.


    3. Jesus and the apostles command baptism (e.g., Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; 10:48).


    4. The Scriptures consistently declare the importance of baptism (e.g., Jesus declares that “no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit,” John 3:5; We are “baptized into Christ Jesus,” Rom. 6:3; “. . . we were all baptized into one body,” the Church, 1 Cor. 12:13; and Peter even declares that “baptism . . . now saves you,” 1 Pet. 3:21).


    5. Article of Faith XII. Baptism, paragraph 16, states the following: “. . . 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 “Baptism being a symbol of the new covenant . . .” (italics mine) Thus, those who refuse baptism are acting inconsistently with the membership requirements in paragraph 29, which states that they must declare “. . . their beliefs in our doctrines . . .”


    6. The FIRST of our General Rules (par. 27) call us to do “. . . that which is enjoined in the Word of God, which is our rule of both faith and practice . . .”


    7. Most denominations, including the two denominations most like the Church of the Nazarene (viz., The Wesleyan Church and the Free Methodist Church of North America) require baptism prior to membership. In fact, allowing members who are not baptized places us at odds with orthodox Christianity.


    8. It is surely more important for people to be fully “Christian” than “Nazarenes.”


    9. Not only has it been the case that we have had church board members serving who have never been baptized, but it has even been the case that elders have been ordained in the Church of the Nazarene, having been charged to “administer the sacraments,” who had not yet been baptized.


    10. Our acceptance of any of the three modes of baptism as being valid should make baptism as readily available as membership, itself, even in areas where water is not abundant (i.e., one need only to sprinkle, in such cases).


    11. The action of the 2005 General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene placed our denomination outside of orthodox Christianity by officially voting to not require Christian baptism for membership, making the Church of the Nazarene, as a denomination, something less than a Christian church by orthodox Christian standards.


    12. The action of the 2005 General Assembly (cf., 11, above) invalidated the “Historical Statement” on page 16 of the Manual that says, “While the Church of the Nazarene has responded to its special calling to proclaim the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification, it has taken care to retain and nurture identification with the historic church in its preaching of the Word, its administration of the sacraments, its concern to raise up and maintain a ministry that is truly apostolic in faith and practice, and its inculcating of disciplines for Christlike living and service to others” (italics mine)
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    There are a few of us in the Naz world who want it to be much more important in the life of the church.

    This is from Todd Stepp's blog, Wesleyan Anglican.

    I hope that it makes it to GA and passes.
    Benjamin, the resolution has already been amended and referred to the BoGS. The phrase "experienced Christian baptism, and having" has been replaced by "having received the sacrament of Christian baptism".

    See resolutions of the 2009 General Assembly, JUD-803.

    I myself would vote against it because of the Church Constitution:

    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.......
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Benjamin, the resolution has already been amended and referred to the BoGS. The phrase "experienced Christian baptism, and having" has been replaced by "having received the sacrament of Christian baptism".

    See resolutions of the 2009 General Assembly, JUD-803.

    I myself would vote against it because of the Church Constitution:

    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.......
    Thanks for the update! I just got wind of this a week or so ago and haven't heard much.

    And I would agree with you that it does violate section 26, but I would also want to change that section as well. I think it's important to note that we're not talking about the Church, but the Church of the Nazarene. So while accepting ones "inclusion" or "membership" in the Church could be made on a verbal statement of belief I think membership in the CotN should be qualified by baptism.
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley
    Thanks Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    And I would agree with you that it does violate section 26, but I would also want to change that section as well. I think it's important to note that we're not talking about the Church, but the Church of the Nazarene. So while accepting ones "inclusion" or "membership" in the Church could be made on a verbal statement of belief I think membership in the CotN should be qualified by baptism.
    Benjamin, the way article 26 is phrased is one of the main reasons I'm in the CotN today. I hate adding any requirement beyond what is needed. The first one who will prove from Scripture that all Salvation Army members will go to hell for not being baptised, will change my mind on the issue.

    There are numerous churches that add rules to what is needed for membership. Let us please be the one of those who do NOT.

    You may presume correctly I'm quite convinced of my opinion, and more than willing to address the GA on it if needed.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)
    Thanks Larry Parsons - "thanks" for this post

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    Multi-Forum Host Kevin Rector's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    I think the Hal's observation about the history of the Church of the Nazarene with the sacrament of baptism is pretty on board with what I saw as well. Baptism is certainly not something that was emphasized in my childhood. In the church I grew up in I only remember two baptism services, I wasn't baptized until I was well into my 20s. But I do think we are seeing a substantial shift in the way we think about baptism. I know that when I bring people in the membership in my church, I asked them if they've been baptized. If they haven't been baptized I would strongly encourage them to do so. I think that going forward, we're going to see more and more emphasis on baptism as being an important part of the Christian life.

    By the way, completely unrelated but, I entered this entire post by speaking into my computer rather than typing.
    Last edited by Kevin Rector; October 17th, 2012 at 01:27 PM.
    Thanks Hans Deventer, Hal Paul, Susan Unger - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Benjamin, the way article 26 is phrased is one of the main reasons I'm in the CotN today. I hate adding any requirement beyond what is needed. The first one who will prove from Scripture that all Salvation Army members will go to hell for not being baptised, will change my mind on the issue.

    There are numerous churches that add rules to what is needed for membership. Let us please be the one of those who do NOT.

    You may presume correctly I'm quite convinced of my opinion, and more than willing to address the GA on it if needed.
    Hans, in no way am I ever going to support the claim that non-baptism will "send" anyone to Hell.

    But if you are a member of the CotN are you expected to give up alcohol? Why can't the same type of restriction be made on baptism before membership?

    I would completely agree with Greathouse that in the early church there were no non-baptized Christians. Why should it be seen as some type of terrible rule or restriction? Baptism is a corporate event, therefore if you want to join a church I see no reason why baptism shouldn't be a significant step indicating the desire to join the church community in an offical way (membership).

    Beyond that, what does it say about someone who refuses, not just hasn't taken the time (which I would say is a certain type of refusal) to be baptized? I completely emphathize with what you are saying, but why do you want people who refuse baptism to be counted as members in our denomination? I would say the refusal or push back on the issue of baptism would be a more important issue than discussing whether someone is otherwise "qualified" to be a member of the church.

    I could be wrong on this but I don't believe the resolution would requiring anything more than an acknowledgement of a baptism at some point, even infant baptism is acceptable (as it should be). I would be against any requirement to verify mode, age, authority, location, etc of baptism prior to giving membership.
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    Hans, in no way am I ever going to support the claim that non-baptism will "send" anyone to Hell.

    But if you are a member of the CotN are you expected to give up alcohol?
    Benjamin, that is one of the endless discussions within the CotN. The answer is both yes and no. No according to par 26, yes according to other places. Over here, we generally ask people if they agree with the "Agreed Statement of Belief" and intend to consciously pursue a holy life within the community of this local church. In which case, the answer is no.

    But here, as in theology, we need to distinguish two things. There is very little required to come to Jesus. That's the amazing part of amazing grace. At the same time, as Bonhoeffer said "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die". You don't need to be baptised to come and die, but when you come, this is required of you. Now if you want a church where you have to be holy before you can join, yes, by all means, require of them to baptised, to abstain from alcohol, smoking, gambling, dancing, homosexuality and all sexuality before marriage and whatever you can come up with. However, if you want a church where people are welcomed who have little else but the desire to learn from Jesus and follow Him, you might have to lower your bar.
    To me, becoming a member is a pretty simple thing: you agree with the basic tenets of the Christian faith and are willing to follow Jesus within this specific community of fellow followers, giving up on the idea that you are your own king. Embarking on that journey, I'd definitely ask you to be baptised. To join us in the Lord's supper. And a few things more. But I'm not going to put any of these up as a requirement before you can join.

    So really, I'd love to baptise people! Done it only once, but that was my pastor, perhaps that counts as double

    Do you see where I draw the line? And how it is a rather fundamental issue for me?

    So I have one question: why do you want me to change? I don't require of you to change.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)
    Thanks Lucas Finch - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    There are a few of us in the Naz world who want it to be much more important in the life of the church.

    This is from Todd Stepp's blog, Wesleyan Anglican.

    I hope that it makes it to GA and passes.
    Interesting, I wonder, if it passes will the church grandfather in all those who were accepted in as members before baptism was a requirement, or will we see a wave of catch up baptisms to ensure all members have participated in that sacrament.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Benjamin, that is one of the endless discussions within the CotN. The answer is both yes and no. No according to par 26, yes according to other places. Over here, we generally ask people if they agree with the "Agreed Statement of Belief" and intend to consciously pursue a holy life within the community of this local church. In which case, the answer is no.

    But here, as in theology, we need to distinguish two things. There is very little required to come to Jesus. That's the amazing part of amazing grace. At the same time, as Bonhoeffer said "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die". You don't need to be baptised to come and die, but when you come, this is required of you. Now if you want a church where you have to be holy before you can join, yes, by all means, require of them to baptised, to abstain from alcohol, smoking, gambling, dancing, homosexuality and all sexuality before marriage and whatever you can come up with. However, if you want a church where people are welcomed who have little else but the desire to learn from Jesus and follow Him, you might have to lower your bar.
    To me, becoming a member is a pretty simple thing: you agree with the basic tenets of the Christian faith and are willing to follow Jesus within this specific community of fellow followers, giving up on the idea that you are your own king. Embarking on that journey, I'd definitely ask you to be baptised. To join us in the Lord's supper. And a few things more. But I'm not going to put any of these up as a requirement before you can join.

    So really, I'd love to baptise people! Done it only once, but that was my pastor, perhaps that counts as double

    Do you see where I draw the line? And how it is a rather fundamental issue for me?

    So I have one question: why do you want me to change? I don't require of you to change.
    I think we're agreeing on a great many things, except on what membership means. I'm not saying at all that membership is something that every congregant needs to or wants to have. You could be a congregant for 50 years without becoming a member of the CotN.

    Since our main service is on Thursday nights, my wife, son and I often attend a local Evangelical Free congregation. We attend often, go to classes and attend some of the non-Sunday services. But we would never intend on becoming members of that church. Likewise, I attend Mormon ward meetings on Sundays, eat with members, meet with them outside events and attend ward events, but would NEVER become a member of the church (for obvious but different reasons).

    Membership in the CotN means something more than "I intend on living a holy life within this community", it is also a voice in the decision-making body of the church. I completely agree with what you're saying except that I think you would be speaking of "congregants" instead of "members". If someone is going to want to join the CotN there are going to be things they might disagree with, there are things they might have to accept to become a member of the church. Giving up alcohol completely was an issue I had personally (and still have). I don't agree with the rule, I find it unbiblical. I respect the origins and cause, but while I feels it's no longer appropriate in our current age I submit myself to the church which I call myself a member.

    In the same way I think that a certain type of submission should be required to call yourself a member. This brings me back to those who would refuse or delay baptism. What does that say about someone's belief or spiritual maturity?
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    There was a time when sacraments in general were mostly ignored. I have attended churches that offered communion once or twice a year at best and baptism was less frequent. Interesting that something that was treated as insignificant was important enough to be reserved for clergy.

    There certainly has been a lack of experience and training in both sacraments. I am myself beginning to discover the benefits of the sacraments. As stated nothing is required for salvation other than permission to be saved. Yet, there are things that are required for a healthy relationship. That would be the approach I would take. We do these things because they help us to know God and to live with God.

    I would support and encourage more frequent baptisms soon after someone decides to follow Jesus.
    Thanks Lucas Finch - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hal Paul View Post
    Interesting, I wonder, if it passes will the church grandfather in all those who were accepted in as members before baptism was a requirement, or will we see a wave of catch up baptisms to ensure all members have participated in that sacrament.
    I think it would be inane to suddenly nullify memberships because of a lack fo baptism. However, I'd imagine that a misunderstanding of the issue (if it was passed) would cause dozens of "catch up" baptisms to occur even if it were't required to do such.

    ...which in a way, wouldn't be such a bad thing.
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Borger View Post
    There was a time when sacraments in general were mostly ignored. I have attended churches that offered communion once or twice a year at best and baptism was less frequent. Interesting that something that was treated as insignificant was important enough to be reserved for clergy.

    There certainly has been a lack of experience and training in both sacraments. I am myself beginning to discover the benefits of the sacraments. As stated nothing is required for salvation other than permission to be saved. Yet, there are things that are required for a healthy relationship. That would be the approach I would take. We do these things because they help us to know God and to live with God.

    I would support and encourage more frequent baptisms soon after someone decides to follow Jesus.
    Multiple baptisms?

    jk
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    In the same way I think that a certain type of submission should be required to call yourself a member. This brings me back to those who would refuse or delay baptism. What does that say about someone's belief or spiritual maturity?
    Ah, but that list is endless. I can give you 20 other issues that should be followed, and when not, put someone's belief or spiritual maturity in question. And you may have missed something that I purposely stated: "you agree with the basic tenets of the Christian faith and are willing to follow Jesus within this specific community of fellow followers, giving up on the idea that you are your own king." If you want to follow Christ, you have to be willing to die. I'm not just asking for baptism, that's easy. Get wet and it is done. I'm asking for the very willingness to take up your cross, deny yourself, and stop pursuing the idolatrous idea that you can be your own (wo)man.

    I think I'm asking MORE of one who is wants to become a member, not less. But I am trying to focus on what really matters, and and outward sign is still an outward sign. It's not the real thing.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)
    Thanks Kyle Borger - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Ah, but that list is endless. I can give you 20 other issues that should be followed, and when not, put someone's belief or spiritual maturity in question. And you may have missed something that I purposely stated: "you agree with the basic tenets of the Christian faith and are willing to follow Jesus within this specific community of fellow followers, giving up on the idea that you are your own king." If you want to follow Christ, you have to be willing to die. I'm not just asking for baptism, that's easy. Get wet and it is done. I'm asking for the very willingness to take up your cross, deny yourself, and stop pursuing the idolatrous idea that you can be your own (wo)man.

    I think I'm asking MORE of one who is wants to become a member, not less. But I am trying to focus on what really matters, and and outward sign is still an outward sign. It's not the real thing.
    Oh I didn't miss it. But I think after repeating your case I believe I understand where you're coming from.

    However, without in any way demoting or negating the importance of abandoning one's own "kingship" in the Christian life, I think baptism is of more importance when considering membership. Baptism is not a lone sacrament, membership is not a title to be held by only a single individual. If not baptised as an infant (which I personally am not a fan of) or as a child, baptism prior to membership can act as part of the celebration of becoming a member of the church. The other issues of self ownership and various vices are more personal issues which must be conquered (not saying that they are solely personal issues).

    And if it hasn't said before, this is not a case of believer's baptism be required for church membership.
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Benjamin, I think we've come to a point where the explaining is done and the conclusion is simply that we disagree. If proposed, I will vote against it.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)

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    Senior Member Kyle Borger's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Not per person! More conversions followed by baptism would be good.

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    Senior Member Benjamin Hobbs's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Benjamin, I think we've come to a point where the explaining is done and the conclusion is simply that we disagree. If proposed, I will vote against it.
    Agreed.
    UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED ALL DIMENSIONS ARE BASIC.

    Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context." - John Wesley

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Hobbs View Post
    I think it would be inane to suddenly nullify memberships because of a lack fo baptism. However, I'd imagine that a misunderstanding of the issue (if it was passed) would cause dozens of "catch up" baptisms to occur even if it were't required to do such.

    ...which in a way, wouldn't be such a bad thing.
    I agree it would be a problem to nullify membership because of a lack of baptism, besides possible misunderstandings leading to a baptism rush there would probably be a lot of sacramentally minded pastors who would take the opportunity that the change presented to encourage members who had not been baptized to do so, not because of a misunderstanding, but as a teaching opportunity.

    I do think there would be some issues with transfer memberships though. I always had a hard time with the fact that every time I moved, I had to go through a membership class. I understand the church's polity is somewhat congregational, but I have always identified myself with as being part of the denomination first and local church second and never liked the fact that pastors wanted to evaluate me for membership even though they could call, or write my last pastor, and get the endorsement necessary for recognizing me as a member of the local congregation. I've always thought if because I move I have to go through a membership class with the new pastor, every new pastor should evaluate his entire congregation when he comes into a church. It's never made much sense to me that some guy who as been in the same church for 70 years doesn't have to answer every three years or so why he should be part of the Church of the Nazarene, and I did simply because of I had to move out of the area of my last church. At any rate, if I had not been baptized I would expect that my transfer membership would be accepted just as readily as some other 40 something in the same congregation who hadn't been baptized and had never changed congregations due to a reloctation.
    Thanks Hans Deventer - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    This really is a false dichotomy. There is no tension between "personal holiness and our way of life" on the one hand, and "liturgy and sacrament" on the other. The Wesleyan position is that neither is possible without the other. There is no personal holiness without careful and consistent practice of the means of grace. But of course, if we have no use for Wesley, then we can just make up our own theology and do whatever we will. But as long as we are "Wesleyan" we cannot deny the crucial link between sanctification and sacrament.
    But that's just it Eric, we are not Wesleyan, not at all. We spring from the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition, our tradition includes Charles Finney, Rev. Inskip and many others, we are specifically not Methodists. Our reliance upon Wesley is in his contribution to the holiness revival, it does not extend beyond, otherwise why bother, there is surely no need to continue with a separate organization if we are just Methodists is there? So yes, of course we can deny the link between sanctification and sacrament. Not to say that we should eschew the sacraments, but lets be honest here, a life of holy living is what is important to us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manual
    “The mission of the Church of the Nazarene is to make Christlike disciples in the nations.”
    “The primary objective of the Church of the Nazarene is to advance God’s kingdom by the preservation and propagation of Christian holiness as set forth in the Scriptures.

    “The critical objectives of the Church of the Nazarene are ‘holy Christian fellowship, the conversion of sinners, the en- tire sanctification of believers, their upbuilding in holiness, and the simplicity and spiritual power manifest in the prim- itive New Testament Church, together with the preaching of the gospel to every creature.’

    The Church of the Nazarene exists to serve as an instru- ment for advancing the kingdom of God through the preach- ing and teaching of the gospel throughout the world. Our well-defined commission is to preserve and propagate Chris- tian holiness as set forth in the Scriptures, through the con- version of sinners, the reclamation of backsliders, and the entire sanctification of believers.
    Yes of course we have made up our own theology as we moved beyond Methodism and assembled as a Holiness people. I think that it's important to note that Wesley made up his own theology, what then should have prevented us from doing the same?
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hal Paul View Post
    I do think there would be some issues with transfer memberships though. I always had a hard time with the fact that every time I moved, I had to go through a membership class. I understand the church's polity is somewhat congregational, but I have always identified myself with as being part of the denomination first and local church second and never liked the fact that pastors wanted to evaluate me for membership even though they could call, or write my last pastor, and get the endorsement necessary for recognizing me as a member of the local congregation. I've always thought if because I move I have to go through a membership class with the new pastor, every new pastor should evaluate his entire congregation when he comes into a church. It's never made much sense to me that some guy who as been in the same church for 70 years doesn't have to answer every three years or so why he should be part of the Church of the Nazarene, and I did simply because of I had to move out of the area of my last church. At any rate, if I had not been baptized I would expect that my transfer membership would be accepted just as readily as some other 40 something in the same congregation who hadn't been baptized and had never changed congregations due to a reloctation.
    This would bother me as well. In fact it bothers me that there are pastors out there who have subjected you to this. If there is to be a membership class at every stop in the road, then there is no need to have membership by transfer. Yes absolutely, you should have been accepted into membership without delay, scrutiny or class.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor
    Thanks Hal Paul, Lucas Finch - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Jon Bemis's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    This is always an interesting discussion for me since I am a pastor in the COTN. I can't speak to my early experiences in the COTN, because I have only been a Nazarene for the last 17 years, for 21 years prior to that I was Free Methodist. However, I have seen evidence that its not been held in high regard in our denomination. For example, I baptized an 87 year old woman in my congregation who is third generation Nazarene and never really considered it until I preached on its importance.

    That said, I am always surprised when someone argues against the importance of baptism since it is one of the two sacraments recognized by our denomination and I hold the sacraments in high regard. A couple of key points for me:

    Baptism is commanded by Christ, and to refuse to be baptized seems to me would be disobedience to Christ.
    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

    Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16 (although this verse is not in earliest manuscripts, its inclusion indicates its importance to the early Church)
    I would be really concerned taking someone in as a member should they refuse baptism (I've never had anyone refuse, and so its not been an issue) every bit as much as I would be concerned should someone refuse to partake of the Eucharist.

    Baptism has been historically understood by the Church from the very beginning to be an important part of our life in the Body of Christ. We see that again and again when people became believers, Scripture records the normative and immediate response is baptism.
    When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
    Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:37-38, 41
    I encourage parents to have their infant children baptized rather than dedicated. When someone makes a decision to become a follower of Christ I recommend they are baptized immediately if they have never been baptized. (which usually means the next week if they want to be immersed)
    Loving God . . . Loving others.
    Thanks Greg Farra, Susan Unger, Hans Deventer, Lucas Finch - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    But that's just it Eric, we are not Wesleyan, not at all. We spring from the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition
    Ok, Jim. You have to admit. Those two sentences look funny together
    "Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination end in nit-picking and divisiveness."-Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bemis View Post
    That said, I am always surprised when someone argues against the importance of baptism
    Me too. Beats me.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)
    Thanks Susan Unger, Lucas Finch, Jon Bemis, Eric Frey - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    Ok, Jim. You have to admit. Those two sentences look funny together
    Sure do! But still there is a distinction to be made. We are big fans of Wesley's promotion of holiness, rather than big fans of Wesley in his entirety. There is a difference, we are Nazarenes while folks who follow Wesley are Methodists. Those who seek a connection with Wesley including his Anglican roots are regressing from our tradition, they are going backward. We have been there and we left for good reason.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    The Methodist Church of Francis Asbury would never have seen a CotN emerge. It was purely because of the resistance of the late 19th century Methodist bishops towards holiness preaching that the parents of CotN formed. The CotN's sole reason of formation was to bring Wesley's teaching (which we all believe, is Biblical teaching) back to the forefront and save it from a Methodist Church who conveniently adapted more to luxury and middle class standards than to what brought them in existence in the first place. So the CotN very purposely went back to Wesley and Asbury, against the Methodists who pretty much lost them completely. Now in the process, the AHM distorted some of Wesley's teachings and the late 20th century thankfully saw many of those corrected, including the eradication of "eradication" from the Manual. We're getting there.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)

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    Senior Member Susan Unger's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bemis View Post
    I encourage parents to have their infant children baptized rather than dedicated. When someone makes a decision to become a follower of Christ I recommend they are baptized immediately if they have never been baptized. (which usually means the next week if they want to be immersed)
    I grew up where baptism and communion were not emphasized too much. But the more I learn about them and experience them the more I get a sense of being robbed for most of my religious life.

    I was baptized as a baby and am grateful that my parents and childhood pastor did that. I see it as God's grace being introduced into my life at an early stage.
    Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. 1 John 4:18a


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    Thanks Jon Bemis, David Troxler - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Bemis View Post
    This is always an interesting discussion for me since I am a pastor in the COTN. I can't speak to my early experiences in the COTN, because I have only been a Nazarene for the last 17 years, for 21 years prior to that I was Free Methodist. However, I have seen evidence that its not been held in high regard in our denomination. For example, I baptized an 87 year old woman in my congregation who is third generation Nazarene and never really considered it until I preached on its importance.

    That said, I am always surprised when someone argues against the importance of baptism since it is one of the two sacraments recognized by our denomination and I hold the sacraments in high regard.
    I'm not opposed to a reasoned, theologically based explanation of why one should be baptized. I am opposed to being told "you can't become a member of this church without being baptized because the denomination requires it" when it's not true, and no theological explanation is provided, which was my experience.

    I also don't think anything should be added as a requirement for transfer of membership beyond the manual guidelines of the gaining pastor communicating with the loosing pastor that the transferring member is in fact a member of good standing.

    I'm not surprised that there is a sentiment of ambivalence or opposition to participating in the sacraments among some elements in the CotN despite the denomination's official stance. In the early days of the denomination in some regions, there was a migration of Quakers into new Nazarene congregations. In at least one case that I am aware of, an entire congregation voted to disorganize their Quaker community, then, reorganize as a Nazarene congregation. And based on old family photos the Nazarenes were much more closely aligned, with the Salvation Army than we are not. If I understand correctly, both churches are nonsacramental, and even though the Church of the Nazarene says it is a sacramental church, my suspicion is that elements of those nonsacramental persisted for several decades, even after people forgot where the attitudes came from.
    Thanks Jon Bemis - "thanks" for this post

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    Host Book, Movie & CE forums Ryan Scott's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    But that's just it Eric, we are not Wesleyan, not at all.
    We're also not American Holiness people either. We're Nazarenes. Our forbears include many different traditions and people who have united together under the banner of Holiness. Certainly appeals to Wesley have as much bearing as appeals to Finney, et al; neither has any real authority in the Church of the Nazarene, beyond their persuasive ability towards the membership.

    As I've encountered different parts of our denomination it's very clear that Nazarenes from New England are different from those in Southern California and from those in the Pacific Northwest and from those in the Northern Great Plains, from those in the South, and those in the Midwest. Each region has a very different conception of what our Nazarene roots look like - they are all correct and none of them is correct.
    ...just my $.02.

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    Senior Member Eric Frey's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    But that's just it Eric, we are not Wesleyan, not at all.
    Please see "Our Watchword and Song: the centennial history of the Church of the Nazarene" One of the key of the book is that we are essentially a Methodist church (with some differences of course, but clearly Methodist none the less).
    “Martyrs rather than the pastors of megachurches might now become our evangelistic exemplars, and the ‘excellence’ of evangelistic practice’ will be measurable not by numbers but rather by obedience to a crucified God”

    - Bryan Stone Evangelism After Christendom
    Thanks Hans Deventer - "thanks" for this post

  35. #35
    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Frey View Post
    Please see "Our Watchword and Song: the centennial history of the Church of the Nazarene" One of the key of the book is that we are essentially a Methodist church (with some differences of course, but clearly Methodist none the less).
    I would rather stick with the Manual if you don't mind. There seems always to be a scholar or book that will agree with what we wish were true. Should I go looking for a book about the campmeeting movement from where we come?
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    We're also not American Holiness people either. We're Nazarenes. Our forbears include many different traditions and people who have united together under the banner of Holiness.

    And you do realize that these two sentences seem rather odd when placed together?

    Of course we are all American Holiness, do you think that there were unamerican holiness people around back then. Yes the campmeeting movement sprang predominately from Methodism. And the word "from" is key here, we came "from" Methodism, had our own little reformation we did.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  37. #37
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    I think the problem is we all seek to say the this denomination is what what we really want it to be, but only on our terms. If we resonate more with AHM, then we will stress that more, sometimes to exclusion of all else. If we favor Wesleyanism more, then we will stress that, sometimes to the exclusion of all else. Somehow through this jumble, you get many people who think they have it pegged who we are. The truth is I believe that you have to take into account who we are now as well as who we were in 1908. The truth is people can shout from the rooftops that "we aren't Wesleyan!", yet when you look at the myriad of official publications from our Global Ministry Center, our publishing house, and our leadership embracing a Wesleyan identity towards various ministerial concepts, the facts show that you are dead wrong. On the flip side, we people say "we have no use for the AHM!",however you overlook a huge part of our history and of our evolved identity. You as well are dead wrong. Now here is where the rub is. I believe our identity has evolved over the last century. Now there are several different key events we can point to here, but thats not the point. In the beginning, we were decidedly more influenced by AHM than Wesleyan theology. This has shifted in many sectors of the denomination to bring more balance, or even with more of a focus on Wesleyan theology, while not completely doing away with our AHM roots (thank God) and there are still factions who are die hard on extreme ends of the spectrum which believe they have no use for each other. These are the two saddest factions within our denomination indeed. Jim is right in that we are decidedly not Methodist. However, not being Methodist does not mean we are completely separate or that we have nothing for which to thank Methodism in regards to our inception and identity. We are a hodge podge of theological identities all striving towards this goal of holiness. Personally I am far more Wynkoop than Taylor. Some are not and that is ok. Our problem is we only either look towards who we were in the beginning or who we are now instead of realizing that both have to be present to show us any kind of a real identity. Personally I am glad for varying and balanced theological perspectives as they point us the one thing that should unite us from falling apart: destroying that pride that leads to both extremes. So the truth is we can whine all we want that we are not exactly who we were or that we ever were who we were, but who we are now is our identity, like it or not. It is the product of many faithful men and women all striving towards and sometimes coming to different conclusions on holiness. We thank Wesley for this. We thank the AHM for this. If we seek to shut out either, we are only kidding ourselves.
    "Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination end in nit-picking and divisiveness."-Mildred Bangs Wynkoop
    Thanks Lucas Finch, Jim Chabot - "thanks" for this post

  38. #38
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    Jim is right in that we are decidedly not Methodist.
    That is, we are not 1890 style Methodist. I'm quite convinced no Nazarene-to-be had any problem with an 1800 style Methodism. In that respect, he's dead wrong.

    As to the AHM, they never had much influence here. I think we in the Netherlands are Nazarenes despite the AHM. We never had tent evangelism, we never had evangelists at all. We were never hot on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, eradication, Palmer's Altar theology, the name and claim idea, etc.

    Wynkoop was warmly welcomed here, and with some lack of humbleness I can say that my translation of A Theology of Love helped out. But that was only because the book was already popular here among the pastors.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)
    Thanks Cam Pence - "thanks" for this post

  39. #39
    Senior Member Cam Pence's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    That is, we are not 1890 style Methodist. I'm quite convinced no Nazarene-to-be had any problem with an 1800 style Methodism. In that respect, he's dead wrong.

    As to the AHM, they never had much influence here. I think we in the Netherlands are Nazarenes despite the AHM. We never had tent evangelism, we never had evangelists at all. We were never hot on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, eradication, Palmer's Altar theology, the name and claim idea, etc.

    Wynkoop was warmly welcomed here, and with some lack of humbleness I can say that my translation of A Theology of Love helped out. But that was only because the book was already popular here among the pastors.
    Fair enough, but there are also countries such as Africa where the AHM is still very influential on our denomination. I don't care if one is more influenced by one than the other. I still say we kid ourselves when we say either one is insignificant. No AHM, no CotN. No Wesley. No CotN. Discount one or the other all day long, but we still owe much to both.
    "Love without holiness disintegrates into sentimentality. Personal integrity is lost. But holiness without love is not holiness at all. In spite of its label, it displays harshness, judgmentalism, a critical spirit, and all its capacity for discrimination end in nit-picking and divisiveness."-Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

  40. #40
    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: Baptism in the Church of the Nazarene

    Quote Originally Posted by Cam Pence View Post
    Fair enough, but there are also countries such as Africa where the AHM is still very influential on our denomination. I don't care if one is more influenced by one than the other. I still say we kid ourselves when we say either one is insignificant. No AHM, no CotN. No Wesley. No CotN. Discount one or the other all day long, but we still owe much to both.
    Actually, my main point was the first sentence. The rest was merely comment. Obviously anyone's mileage may vary here, that is no point of contention. But I strongly object to the idea that the CotN rejected Methodism as such. It rejected what had become of it. Without Wesley, there would have been no AHM and to even suggest so is folly.
    “No scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all his works.” (John Wesley)

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