An Open Letter the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene

My friends and coworkers in the kingdom,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

        I am a pastor and ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. I will say now what I have said many times to my congregation: I LOVE the Church of the Nazarene and I love its doctrine. I preach and teach according to our doctrine without exception, reservation, or apology. I always have done so, and I will continue as long as our Lord gives me the strength. With that being said, I am very troubled by your latest ruling.

        Our church as well as our country is walking through very confusing times. Hatred, bad news, one tragedy after another comes over the newscasts on a daily basis. Even the news agencies themselves, once trusted sources of objective reporting, now give much more in the way of biased commentary than true facts. Add to that the division in the church over gun control, LGBTQ+ rights, abortion, etc. and you have a time when fear seems to rule the day.

        This great sense of uncertainty sows in so many believers the seeds of doubt, apprehension, and suspicion. Many believers understandably wish to “go back to the old days” in an effort to make things appear solid and more peaceful. A time when we supposedly knew what to think and how things were, rather than the chaos of these current times.

        It seems you have attempted to do just that in your latest ruling. You elevated the Covenant of Christian Character and the Covenant of Christian Conduct to the status of doctrine equal to our Articles of Faith. I think you have made a grave error.

        The Articles of Faith, even though the wordings have been changed and “tweaked” over the years, have always remained consistent. They are our foundation in the COTN because they are based in the Word of God and easily defended therein.

        However, the Covenants of Christian Conduct/Character are fluid statements, designed to be changed as the culture around the church changes. These are to be helpful guidelines to a life of holiness while keeping, at least somewhat, in step with the language of the culture in which we minister. If this were not true, then attending a movie theater, going ballroom dancing with one’s spouse, and smoking a cigar in celebration would still be considered mortal sins. Yet, they are not.

        My friends, now is not the time to go back to the old days, to the basics, or any other comforting idiom. It is not a time to tighten our views on conduct and character to the point of brutal legalism. It is a time to encourage those in our denomination to walk in faith and the Spirit in the midst of uncertainty. It is a time to trust the Word of God on which we base our beliefs and our very souls. We must encourage our people to offer grace in the midst of our disagreements, not throttle the slightest sign of dissent. Now more than ever we must walk in faith, not by sight.

        I have met many godly, humble, loving, grace-filled people in the COTN, the greatest examples of which have been pastors and district superintendents. However, I have also met those whose sense of holiness is attached to their egos. They are people whose desire to control others dwarfs their love for Christ; whose compassion and leadership skills are not fit for the role of dog catcher, much less a position of leadership in the Body of Christ. I fear it is to the latter that you have given a great club with which to bludgeon those whom, for any reason, they label as a heretic. You have given great power to the bullies in the COTN.

        It is this kind of decision that has led other denominations to division. Please don’t allow the same thing to happen to the Church of the Nazarene that we all love so dearly.

        In all godly love and respect, I ask you, the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene, to repeal this ruling. Give only our cherished Articles of Faith the status of doctrine and lead our church into the future with faith and trust in our Holy God.

        Even though I vehemently disagree with this ruling, I will submit to your leadership and continue to preach the gospel of Jesus.

         You are all in my prayers.

Respectfully submitted,

Pastor Chris Gravesen

Lead Pastor, Clearlake Church of the Nazarene

Church of the Nazarene Covenant of Christian Conduct

Manual 2017-2021


The church joyfully proclaims the good news that we may be delivered from all sin to a new life in Christ. By the grace of God we Christians are “to put off the old self ”—the old patterns of conduct as well as the old carnal mind—and are “to put on the new self ”—a new and holy way of life as well as the mind of Christ.  (Ephesians 4:17–24)


The Church of the Nazarene purposes to relate timeless biblical principles to contemporary society in such a way that the doctrines and covenants of the church may be known and understood in many lands and within a variety of cultures. We hold that the Ten Commandments, as reaffirmed in the New Testament teachings of Jesus Christ, demonstrated most fully and concisely in the Great Commandment and the Sermon on the Mount constitute the basic Christian ethic.


It is further recognized that there is validity in the concept of the collective Christian conscience as illuminated and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Church of the Nazarene, as an international expression of the Body of Christ, acknowledges its responsibility to seek ways to particularize the Christian life so as to lead to a holiness ethic. The historic ethical standards of the church are expressed in part in the following items. They should be followed carefully and conscientiously as guides and helps to holy living. Those who violate the conscience of the church do so at their own peril and to the hurt of the witness of the church. Culturally conditioned adaptations shall be referred to and approved by the Board of General Superintendents.


The Church of the Nazarene believes this new and holy way of life involves practices to be avoided and redemptive acts of love to be accomplished for the souls, minds, and bodies of our neighbors. One redemptive arena of love involves the special relationship Jesus had, and commanded His disciples to have, with the poor of this world; that His Church ought, first, to keep itself simple and free from an emphasis on wealth and extravagance and, second, to give itself to the care, feeding, clothing, and shelter of the poor and marginalized. Throughout the Bible and in the life and example of Jesus, God identifies with and assists the poor, the oppressed, and those in society who cannot speak for themselves. In the same way, we, too, are called to identify with and to enter into solidarity with the poor. We hold that compassionate ministry to the poor includes acts of charity as well as a struggle to provide opportunity, equality, and justice for the poor. We further believe the Christian’s responsibility to the poor is an essential aspect of the life of every believer who seeks a faith that works through love. We believe Christian holiness to be inseparable from ministry to the poor in that it drives the Christian beyond their own individual perfection and toward the creation of a more just and equitable society and world. Holiness, far from distancing believers from the desperate economic needs of people in this world, motivates us to place our means in the service of alleviating such need and to adjust our wants in accordance with the needs of others.

(Exodus 23:11; Deuteronomy 15:7; Psalms 41:1; 82:3; Proverbs 19:17; 21:13; 22:9; Jeremiah 22:16; Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:33; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6; Galatians 2:10)


In listing practices to be avoided we recognize that no catalog, however inclusive, can hope to encompass all forms of evil throughout the world. Therefore it is imperative that our people earnestly seek the aid of the Spirit in cultivating a sensitivity to evil that transcends the mere letter of the law; remembering the admonition: “Test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.”

(1 Thessalonians 5:21–22)


Our leaders and pastors are expected to give strong emphasis in our periodicals and from our pulpits to such fundamental biblical truths as will develop the faculty of discrimination between the evil and the good.


Education is of the utmost importance for the social and spiritual well-being of society. Nazarene educational organizations and institutions, such as Sunday Schools, schools (birth through secondary), child care centers, adult care centers, colleges, and seminaries, are expected to teach children, youth, and adults biblical principles and ethical standards in such a way that our doctrines may be known. This practice may be instead of or in addition to public schools. The education from public sources should be complemented by holiness teaching in the home. Christians should also be encouraged to work in and with public institutions to witness to and influence these institutions for God’s kingdom.

(Matthew 5:13–14)


We hold specifically that the following practices should be avoided:


Entertainments that are subversive of the Christian ethic. Our people, both as Christian individuals and in Christian family units, should govern themselves by three principles. One is the Christian stewardship of leisure time. A second principle is the recognition of the Christian obligation to apply the highest moral standards of Christian living. Because we are living in a day of great moral confusion in which we face the potential encroachment of the evils of the day into the sacred precincts of our homes through various avenues such as current literature, radio, television, personal computers, and the Internet, it is essential that the most rigid safeguards be observed to keep our homes from becoming secularized and worldly. However, we hold that entertainment that endorses and encourages holy living, that affirms scriptural values, and that supports the sacredness of the marriage vow and the exclusivity of the marriage covenant, should be affirmed and encouraged. We especially encourage our young people to use their gifts in media and the arts to influence positively this pervasive part of culture. The third principle is the obligation to witness against whatever trivializes or blasphemes God, as well as such social evils as violence, sensuality, pornography, profanity, and the occult, as portrayed by and through the commercial entertainment industry in its many forms and to endeavor to bring about the demise of enterprises known to be the purveyors of this kind of entertainment. This would include the avoidance of all types of entertainment ventures and media productions that produce, promote, or feature the violent, the sensual, the pornographic, the profane, or the occultic, or which feature or glamorize the world’s philosophy of secularism, sensualism, and materialism and undermine God’s standard of holiness of heart and life.

This necessitates the teaching and preaching of these moral standards of Christian living, and that our people be taught to use prayerful discernment in continually choosing the “high road” of holy living. We therefore call upon our leaders and pastors to give strong emphasis in our periodicals and from our pulpits to such fundamental truths as will develop the principle of discrimination between the evil and good to be found in these media.

We suggest that the standard given to John Wesley by his mother, namely, “whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off the relish of spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of your body over mind, that thing for you is sin,” form the basis for this teaching of discrimination. (28.2–28.4926–931)

(Romans 14:7–13; 1 Corinthians 10:31–33; Ephesians 5:1–18; Philippians 4:8–9; 1 Peter 1:13–17; 2 Peter 1:3–11)


Lotteries and other forms of gambling, whether legal or illegal. The church holds that the final result of these practices is detrimental both to the individual and society.

(Matthew 6:24–34; 2 Thessalonians 3:6–13; 1 Timothy 6:6–11; Hebrews 13:5–6; 1 John 2:15–17)


Membership in oath-bound secret orders or societies including but not limited to those such as Freemasonry. The quasi-religious nature of such organizations dilutes the Christian’s commitment, and their secrecy contravenes the Christian’s open witness. This issue will be considered in conjunction with paragraph 112.1 regarding church membership.

(1 Corinthians 1:26–31; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1; Ephesians 5:11–16; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15–17)


All forms of dancing that detract from spiritual growth and break down proper moral inhibitions and reserve.

(Matthew 22:36–39; Romans 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 10:31–33; Philippians 1:9–11; Colossians 3:1–17)


The use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage, or trafficking therein; giving influence to, or voting for, the licensing of places for the sale of the same; using illicit drugs or trafficking therein; using of tobacco in any of its forms, or trafficking therein.

In light of the Holy Scriptures and human experience concerning the ruinous consequences of the use of alcohol as a beverage, and in light of the findings of medical science regarding the detrimental effect of both alcohol and tobacco to the body and mind, as a community of faith committed to the pursuit of a holy life, our position and practice is abstinence rather than moderation. Holy Scripture teaches that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. With loving regard for ourselves and others, we call our people to total abstinence from all intoxicants.

Furthermore, our Christian social responsibility calls us to use any legitimate and legal means to minimize the availability of both beverage alcohol and tobacco to others. The widespread incidence of alcohol abuse in our world demands that we embody a position that stands as a witness to others. (929–931)

(Proverbs 20:1; 23:29–24:2; Hosea 4:10–11; Habakkuk 2:5; Romans 13:8; 14:15–21; 15:1–2; 1 Corinthians 3:16–17; 6:9–12, 19–20; 10:31–33; Galatians 5:13–14, 21; Ephesians 5:18)

(Only unfermented wine should be used in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.) (515.4532.7533.2534.1700)


The use of stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and other intoxicants outside proper medical care and guidance.

In light of medical evidence outlining the dangers of such substances, along with scriptural admonitions to remain in responsible control of mind and body, we choose to abstain from intoxicants, stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens outside proper medical care and guidance, regardless of the legality and availability of such substances.

(Matthew 22:37–39; 27:34; Romans 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 6:19–20; 9:24–27)


The Church of the Nazarene believes in the sanctity of human life and strives to protect against abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, and the withholding of reasonable medical care to handicapped or elderly.


Induced Abortion. The Church of the Nazarene affirms the sanctity of human life as established by God the Creator and believes that such sanctity extends to the child not yet born. Life is a gift from God. All human life, including life developing in the womb, is created by God in His image and is, therefore, to be nurtured, supported, and protected. From the moment of conception, a child is a human being with all of the developing characteristics of human life, and this life is dependent on the mother for its continued development. Therefore, we believe that human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception. We oppose induced abortion by any means, when used for either personal convenience or population control. We oppose laws that allow abortion. Realizing that there are rare, but real medical conditions wherein the mother or the unborn child, or both, could not survive the pregnancy, termination of the pregnancy should only be made after sound medical and Christian counseling.

Responsible opposition to abortion requires our commitment to the initiation and support of programs designed to provide care for mothers and children. The crisis of an unwanted pregnancy calls for the community of believers (represented only by those for whom knowledge of the crisis is appropriate) to provide a context of love, prayer, and counsel. In such instances, support can take the form of counseling centers, homes for expectant mothers, and the creation or utilization of Christian adoption services.

The Church of the Nazarene recognizes that consideration of abortion as a means of ending an unwanted pregnancy often occurs because Christian standards of sexual responsibility have been ignored. Therefore the church calls for persons to practice the ethic of the New Testament as it bears upon human sexuality and to deal with the issue of abortion by placing it within the larger framework of biblical principles that provide guidance for moral decision making.

(Genesis 2:7, 9:6; Exodus 20:13; 21:12–16, 22-25; Leviticus 18:21; Job 31:15; Psalms 22:9; 139:3–16; Isaiah 44:2, 24; 49:5; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15, 23–25, 36–45; Acts 17:25; Romans 12:1–2; 1 Corinthians 6:16; 7:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–6)

The Church of the Nazarene also recognizes that many have been affected by the tragedy of abortion. Each local congregation and individual believer is urged to offer the message of forgiveness by God for each person who has experienced abortion. Our local congregations are to be communities of redemption and hope to all who suffer physical, emotional, and spiritual pain as a result of the willful termination of a pregnancy.

(Romans 3:22–24; Galatians 6:1)


Genetic Engineering and Gene Therapy. The Church of the Nazarene supports the use of genetic engineering to achieve gene therapy. We recognize that gene therapy can lead to preventing and curing disease, and preventing and curing anatomical and mental disorders. We oppose any use of genetic engineering that promotes social injustice, disregards the dignity of persons, or that attempts to achieve racial, intellectual, or social superiority over others (eugenics). We oppose initiation of DNA studies whose results might encourage or support human abortion as an alternative to term live birth. In all cases, humility, a respect for the inviolable dignity of human life, human equality before God, and a commitment to mercy and justice should govern genetic engineering and gene therapy.


Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Other Medical/Scientific Endeavors that Destroy Human Life after Conception. The Church of the Nazarene strongly encourages the scientific community to aggressively pursue advances in stem cell technology obtained from sources such as adult human tissues, placenta, umbilical cord blood, animal sources, and other non-human embryonic sources. This has the righteous end of attempting to bring healing to many, without violating the sanctity of human life. Our stand on human embryonic stem cell research flows from our affirmation that the human embryo is a person made in the image of God. Therefore, we oppose the use of stem cells produced from human embryos for research, therapeutic interventions, or any other purpose.

As future scientific advances make new technologies available, we strongly support this research when it does not violate the sanctity of human life or other moral, biblical laws. However, we oppose the destruction of human embryos for any purpose and any type of research that takes the life of a human after conception. Consistent with this view, we oppose the use, for any purpose, of tissue derived from aborted human fetuses.


Human Cloning. We oppose the cloning of an individual human being. Humankind is valued by God, who created us in His image, and the cloning of an individual human being treats that being as an object, thus denying the personal dignity and worth bestowed on us by our Creator.


Euthanasia (Including Physician Assisted Suicide). We believe that euthanasia (intentionally ending the life of a terminally ill person, or one who has a debilitating and incurable disease that is not immediately life-threatening, for the purpose of ending suffering) is incompatible with the Christian faith. This applies when euthanasia is requested or consented to by the terminally ill person (voluntary euthanasia) and when the terminally ill person is not mentally competent to give consent (involuntary euthanasia). We believe that the historic rejection of euthanasia by the Christian church is confirmed by Christian convictions that derive from the Bible and that are central to the Church’s confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. Euthanasia violates Christian confidence in God as the sovereign Lord of life by claiming sovereignty for oneself; it violates our role as stewards before God; it contributes to an erosion of the value the Bible places on human life and community; it attaches too much importance to the cessation of suffering; and it reflects a human arrogance before a graciously sovereign God. We urge our people to oppose all efforts to legalize euthanasia.


Allowing to Die. When human death is imminent, we believe that either withdrawing or not originating artificial life-support systems is permissible within the range of Christian faith and practice. This position applies to persons who are in a persistent vegetative state and to those for whom the application of extraordinary means for prolonging life provide no reasonable hope for a return to health. We believe that when death is imminent, nothing in the Christian faith requires that the process of dying be artificially postponed. As Christians we trust in God’s faithfulness and have the hope of eternal life. This makes it possible for Christians to accept death as an expression of faith in Christ who overcame death on our behalf and robbed it of its victory.


The Church of the Nazarene views human sexuality as one expression of the holiness and beauty that God the Creator intended. Because all humans are beings created in the image of God, they are of inestimable value and worth. As a result we believe that human sexuality is meant to include more than the sensual experience, and is a gift of God designed to reflect the whole of our physical and relational createdness.

As a holiness people, the Church of the Nazarene affirms that the human body matters to God. Christians are both called and enabled by the transforming and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to glorify God in and with our bodies. Our senses, our sexual appetites, our ability to experience pleasure, and our desire for connection to another are shaped out of the very character of God. Our bodies are good, very good.

We affirm belief in a God whose creation is an act of love. Having experienced God as holy love, we understand the Trinity to be a unity of love among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are made with a yearning for connection with others at the core of our being. That yearning is ultimately fulfilled as we live in covenanted relationship with God, the creation, and loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. Our creation as social beings is both good and beautiful. We reflect the image of God in our capacity to relate and our desire to do so. The people of God are formed as one in Christ, a rich community of love and grace.

Within this community, believers are called to live as faithful members of the body of Christ. Singleness among the people of God is to be valued and sustained by the rich fellowship of the church and the communion of the saints. To live as a single person is to engage, as Jesus did, in the intimacy of community, surrounded by friends, welcoming and being welcomed to tables, and expressing faithful witness.

Also within this community, we affirm that some believers are called to be married. As defined in Genesis, “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) The marriage covenant, a reflection of the covenant between God and the people of God, is one of exclusive sexual fidelity, unselfish service, and social witness. A woman and a man publicly devote themselves to one another as a witness to the way God loves. Marital intimacy is intended to reflect the union of Christ and the Church, a mystery of grace. It is also God’s intention that in this sacramental union the man and woman may experience the joy and pleasure of sexual intimacy and from this act of intimate love new life may enter the world and into a covenantal community of care. The Christ-centered home ought to serve as a primary location for spiritual formation. The church is to take great care in the formation of marriage through premarital counseling and teaching that denotes the sacredness of marriage.

The Scriptural story, however, also includes the sad chapter of the fracturing of human desire in the Fall, resulting in behaviors that elevate self-sovereignty, damage and objectify the other, and darken the path of human desire. As fallen beings, we have experienced this evil on every level—personal and corporate. The principalities and powers of a fallen world have saturated us with lies about our sexuality. Our desires have been twisted by sin and we are turned inward on ourselves. We have also contributed to the fracturing of the creation by our willful choice to violate the love of God and live on our own terms apart from God.

Our brokenness in the areas of sexuality takes many forms, some due to our own choosing and some brought into our lives via a broken world. However, God’s grace is sufficient in our weaknesses, enough to bring conviction, transformation, and sanctification in our lives. Therefore, in order to resist adding to the brokenness of sin and to be able to witness to the beauty and uniqueness of God’s holy purposes for our bodies, we believe members of the body of Christ, enabled by the Spirit, can and should refrain from:

  • Unmarried sexual intercourse and other forms of inappropriate sexual bonding. Because we believe that it is God’s intention for our sexuality to be lived out in the covenantal union between one woman and one man, we believe that these practices often lead to the objectification of the other in a relationship. In all its forms, it also potentially harms our ability to enter into the beauty and holiness of Christian marriage with our whole selves.
  • Sexual activity between people of the same sex. Because we believe that it is God’s intention for our sexuality to be lived out in the covenantal union between one woman and one man, we believe the practice of same-sex sexual intimacy is contrary to God’s will for human sexuality. While a person’s homosexual or bi-sexual attraction may have complex and differing origins, and the implication of this call to sexual purity is costly, we believe the grace of God is sufficient for such a calling. We recognize the shared responsibility of the body of Christ to be a welcoming, forgiving, and loving community where hospitality, encouragement, transformation, and accountability are available to all.
  • Extra-marital sexual relations. Because we believe this behavior is a violation of the vows that we made before God and within the body of Christ, adultery is a selfish act, a family-destroying choice, and an offense to the God who has loved us purely and devotedly.
  • Divorce. Because marriage is intended to be a life-long commitment, the fracturing of the covenant of marriage, whether initiated personally, or by the choice of a spouse, falls short of God’s best intentions. The church must take care in preserving the marriage bond where wise and possible, and offering counsel and grace to those wounded by divorce.
  • Practices such as polygamy or polyandry. Because we believe that the covenantal faithfulness of God is reflected in the monogamous commitment of husband and wife, these practices take away from the unique and exclusive fidelity intended in marriage.

Sexual sin and brokenness is not only personal but pervades the systems and structures of the world. Therefore, as the church bears witness to the reality of the beauty and uniqueness of God’s holy purposes we also believe the church should refrain from and advocate against:

  • Pornography in all its forms, which is desire gone awry. It is the objectification of people for selfish sexual gratification. This habit destroys our capacity to love unselfishly.
  • Sexual violence in any form, including rape, sexual assault, sexual bullying, hateful speech, marital abuse, incest, sex trafficking, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, beastiality, sexual harassment, and the abuse of minors and other vulnerable populations. All people and systems that perpetrate sexual violence transgress the command to love and to protect our neighbor. The body of Christ should always be a place of justice, protection, and healing for those who are, who have been, and who continue to be affected by sexual violence. A minor is defined as any human being under the age of 18, unless the age of majority is attained later under a state’s or country’s own domestic legislation.

Therefore we affirm that:

  • Where sin abounds grace abounds all the more. Although the effects of sin are universal and holistic, the efficacy of grace is also universal and holistic. In Christ, through the Holy Spirit, we are renewed in the image of God. The old is gone and the new comes. Although the forming of our lives as a new creation may be a gradual process, God’s healing is effective in dealing with the brokenness of humanity in the areas of sexuality.
  • The human body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We affirm the need for our sexuality to be conformed to God’s will. Our bodies are not our own but have been bought with a price. Therefore, we are called to glorify God in our bodies through a life of yielded obedience.
  • The people of God are marked by holy love. We affirm that, above all the virtues, the people of God are to clothe themselves with love. The people of God have always welcomed broken people into our gathering. Such Christian hospitality is neither an excusing of individual disobedience nor a refusal to participate redemptively in discerning the roots of brokenness. Restoring humans to the likeness of Jesus requires confession, forgiveness, formative practices, sanctification, and godly counsel—but most of all, it includes the welcome of love which invites the broken person into the circle of grace known as the church. If we fail to honestly confront sin and brokenness, we have not loved. If we fail to love, we cannot participate in God’s healing of brokenness.

As the global church receives and ministers to the people of our world, the faithful outworking of these statements as congregations is complex and must be navigated with care, humility, courage, and discernment.

Genesis 1:27; 19:1-25; Leviticus 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 15-20; 1 Timothy 1:8-10


Meaning of Stewardship. The Scriptures teach that God is the Owner of all persons and all things. We, therefore, are His stewards of both life and possessions. God’s ownership and our stewardship ought to be acknowledged, for we shall be held personally accountable to God for the exercise of our stewardship. God, as a God of system and order in all of His ways, has established a system of giving that acknowledges His ownership over all human resources and relationships. To this end all His children should faithfully tithe and present offerings for the support of the gospel. (140)

(Malachi 3:8–12; Matthew 6:24–34; 25:31–46; Mark 10:17–31; Luke 12:13–24; 19:11–27; John 15:1–17; Romans 12:1–13; 1 Corinthians 9:7–14; 2 Corinthians 8:1–15; 9:6–15; 1 Timothy 6:6–19; Hebrews 7:8; James 1:27; 1 John 3:16–18)


Storehouse Tithing. Storehouse tithing is a scriptural and practical performance of faithfully and regularly placing the tithe into that church to which the member belongs. Therefore, the financing of the church shall be based on the plan of storehouse tithing, and the local Church of the Nazarene shall be regarded by all of its people as the storehouse. All who are a part of the Church of the Nazarene are urged to contribute faithfully one-tenth of all their increase as a minimum financial obligation to the Lord and freewill offerings in addition as God has prospered them for the support of the whole church, local, district, educational, and general. The tithe, provided to the local Church of the Nazarene, shall be considered a priority over all other giving opportunities which God may lay upon the hearts of His faithful stewards, in support of the whole church.


Fundraising and Distribution. In the light of the scriptural teaching concerning the giving of tithes and offerings for the support of the gospel, and for the erection of church buildings, no Nazarene church should engage in any method of fundraising that would detract from these principles, hinder the gospel message, sully the name of the church, discriminate against the poor, or misdirect the people’s energies from promoting the gospel.

In disbursing to meet the requirements of the local, district, educational, and general programs of the Church of the Nazarene, local churches are urged to adopt and practice a financial apportionment plan, and to pay general, educational, and district apportionments monthly. (130153154–154.2516.13)


Support of the Ministry. “In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). The church is obligated to support its ministers, who have been called of God, and who, under the direction of the church, have given themselves wholly to the work of the ministry. We urge therefore that the members of the church voluntarily commit themselves to the task of supporting the ministry by gathering money weekly for this holy business and that the pastor’s salary be paid regularly every week. (115.4115.6129.8)


Life Income Gifts, Planned and Deferred Giving. It is essential in the exercise of Christian stewardship that careful thought be given as to what shall be done with one’s income and possessions over which the Lord makes the Christian a steward during this life. The Church of the Nazarene, recognizing the need for faithful stewardship in this life and the God-given vision to leave a legacy for the future, has established the Church of the Nazarene Foundation to enhance Christian stewardship through planned and deferred giving. Civil laws often do not provide for the distribution of an estate in such a way as to glorify God. Each Christian should give attention to the preparation of a last will and testament in a careful and legal manner, and the Church of the Nazarene through its various ministries of missions, evangelism, education, and benevolences—local, district, educational, and general—is recommended for consideration.


Shared Responsibility for the Denominational Mission. The government of the Church of the Nazarene is representative. Each local congregation supports the overall mission of the church as defined by the General Assembly and implemented through the leadership of the Board of General Superintendents in world evangelism, education, ministerial support, and district ministries.

The Board of General Superintendents and the General Board are authorized and empowered to develop, revise, and maintain a system for raising the World Evangelism Fund and to establish funding goals and responsibilities for local churches through the assembly districts.

Subject to paragraph 337.1national boards and/or regional advisory councils are authorized and empowered to establish ministerial retirement savings plans on their region. Reporting of such plans shall be as provided in paragraph 337.2. The provisions of paragraph 32.5 shall not apply to the Board of Pensions and Benefits USA.

National boards and/or regional advisory councils are also authorized and empowered to establish support for the higher education institutions on their region.

Each district is authorized and empowered to establish funding goals and responsibilities for local churches for district ministry support through the District Assembly Finance Committee. (238.1317.10345346.3)


We direct our local churches to elect as church officers active members of the local church who profess the experience of entire sanctification and whose lives bear public witness to the grace of God that calls us to a holy life; who are in harmony with the doctrines, polity, and practices of the Church of the Nazarene; and who support the local church faithfully in attendance, active service, and with tithes and offerings. Church officers should be fully engaged in “making Christlike disciples in the nations.” (113.11127145–147)


Subject to the applicable law, the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws of government in the Manual, the meetings and proceedings of the members of the Church of the Nazarene, local, district, and general, and the committees of the corporation shall be regulated and controlled according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (latest edition) for parliamentary procedure. (113205300.3)


The provisions of the Covenant of Christian Conduct may be repealed or amended when concurred in by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting of a given General Assembly.

Revelation: Apocalyptic or Prophetic?

Apocalyptic Traits:

  1. Dualism – yes
  2. beast vs. Lamb
  • Pessimism – nope
  • The death, resurrection, and glorification of Christ destroys pessimism.
  • Determinism – absolutely no
  • No prearranged history
  • We have free will
  • What we do matters
  • Imagery – are you kidding?
  • Numerology – tons of it
  • Recapitulation – yes, yes, at least 5 times yes!
  • Suffering – sadly, yes – for many
  • Pseudonymous – No. John writes as himself
  • He does reposition himself in an earlier time to talk about the past as if it is the future.

Prophetic Traits

  1. God as Creator – completely
  2. Creation is affected by evil and God’s judgement, but never totally destroyed
  • God as Covenant-Maker – Dang skippy!
  • God renews His covenant – Rev 21:3-4
  • “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’”
  • A new Israel/people – Yes.
  • The church is the bride of the Lamb
  • An ideal King/Messiah – 100% YES!
  • The Lamb who was slain, the King of kings, the Lord of lords.
  • A rebuilt temple – nope.
  • The end of evil – definitely!
  • That is the great hope of Revelation

Taken from Answers For Chicken Little: A No-Nonsense Look at the Book of Revelation by Dan Boone

Apocalyptic vs. Prophetic Characteristics in Revelation

Eight Characteristics of Apocalyptic Writing


A line drawn in the sand between two opposing forces. – God vs, Satan, Light vs. Darkness, the Lamb vs. the Beast

Also includes an element of time: Present evil age vs. the coming reign of God

  • Pessimism
  • Doom & gloom – all is lost – we have been forsaken and left for dead
  • Determinism
  • The idea that God has already made up His mind about how history will unfold.
    • End is known before the beginning
    • Just get in line and let everything play out
  • Imagery
  • Apocalyptic literature is loaded with imagery
  • Revelation loaded with imagery
    • Glorified Christ
    • Beasts rising from pits
    • Blood flowing from horses’ reins
    • Angels dumping bowls of fire onto the earth
  • Images have great meaning – but are not to be taken literally.
  • Numerology
  • Numbers, numbers and more numbers
  • Numbers have meaning beyond their numerical value
    • 7= wholeness, completeness
    • = incompleteness
    • 666 = the name of the beast
    • 12, 24, 144,000 = the people of God
  • Recapitulation
  • Going over the same subject repeatedly with variation
  • Revelation revisits the same theme at least five times
  • Suffering
  • Apocalyptic literature is always written when things are going bad
    • It’s a cry from the bottom of the pile
    • A speech of pain
  • Suffering of the seven churches birthed Revelation
  • Pseudonymous
  • Writer uses someone else’s name
    • Someone who lived in the past
    • Someone with a lot of credibility

Six Characteristics of Prophetic Literature

  1. God as Creator
  2. The prophets connected the God of the beginning with the God of the ending.
    1. The God we see in Revelation makes all things new.
    1. He finishes what He started.
  • God as Covenant Maker
  • Prophets knew that God works in and through His people
    • Through a lineage of failed kings, God will bring His Messiah.
  • Prophets are optimistic
    • They always have hope because salvation comes from God
  • A New Israel/People of God
  • The prophets – and John too – celebrate God’s intent to create for Himself a people who worship Him in spirit and in truth.
  • An Ideal King/Messiah
  • God would establish a ruler to lead His people
    • Righteous and holy
    • The Spirit of the Lord would rest on Him
    • He would rule in wisdom and power
  • A Rebuilt Temple
  • The prophets always looked forward to a rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
    • Because that is all they knew.
  • Acts 7:48
  • “…the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands.”
  • Revelation 21:22 – John describes a new Jerusalem with no temple
  • The End of Evil
  • The prophets imagined a day when evil would no longer exist.
    • Evil destroyed
      • Lambs lie down with lions
      • Cows graze with bears
  • Apocalyptic writers looked for the end of history
  • Prophetic writers looked for the end of evil within history.

Finally – we can’t ignore that John wrote his revelation in the form of a letter to the seven churches.

  • He opens (1:4-7) and concludes (22:21) as he would a letter.

This is a further reminder to read it in context first.

Taken from Answers for Chicken Little: A No-Nonsense Look at the Book of Revelation by Dan Boone

I Went to a Peaceful Protest


Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

        I went to a peaceful protest Sunday evening. I went with my 16-year-old daughter. In my mind I was thinking it would be a rally for peace and against racism. So, we went. Upon our arrival we saw the chief of our local police department had shown up to keep the peace. We also shook hands with one of our city councilmen – not sure if he was there to support or just observe.

        I quickly realized that it was not what I had thought. There was a very small group of people at a busy intersection holding up signs with the names of black men and women who have been killed by the police in the last several years. I wanted to leave, but it was exactly what my daughter had thought it would be. I support my daughter, so I stepped to the background and stood next to the police chief and let her peacefully stand up for what she believed. She spent forty-five minutes holding a George Floyd sign. There was no trouble. Of course, there had to be one guy with an anti-police sign standing next to my daughter. So I suggested she stand down at the other end of the line.

        A few drivers voiced their disagreement, but many showed their support with their horns. It turned out to be a group of people peacefully standing up and speaking out for what they believe. It is one of the most sacred rights we have in this country. I think that is what is at the heart of the protests going on today. There is racism in this country and people are rallying against it. Unfortunately, like our one guy, there will always be opportunistic troublemakers who show up – that’s where the violence comes from.

        Later that same evening, in my position as chaplain for the local fire department, I responded to an accident involving three young people; one of them had been killed, the others had very minor injuries. I stood with the two survivors for over an hour as the scene was processed. I spoke with them about the accident, making small talk with long gaps of silence in between. I hoped to help them process their trauma, but I couldn’t help but feel effectively useless. The only difference I seemed to make was when I told them I would be praying for them.

        I think the church should be a much bigger part of the movement against racial injustice. I think we should organize our own rallies of prayer for peace. Though, like standing in silence with two trauma victims, it can seem as if we are doing almost nothing – it’s just too little, too late.

Our feelings can deceive us, and Satan encourages that deception. Prayer is the most influential action the church can take.  I’ve seen the slogan, “Silence is violence”; that doesn’t apply to prayer. It may be quiet – but it is heard by a mighty God who has the power to change the hearts of people bringing peace and revival to our nation.

        If there is going to be any lasting change in our country, it will have to start with the church, and it will have to come from joining together in prayer and fasting.

However, it cannot stop there. We must speak out against injustice. We must speak out with the voice of our Savior, Jesus. We must speak with His love and His grace.

The truest statement I have heard in the midst of this tragic time of civil unrest has come from one of my heroes, Tony Dungy. He said it better than I ever could, “We have to be willing to speak the truth in love, but we have to recognize that we are not fighting against other people. We are fighting against Satan and his kingdom of spiritual darkness.”

We must know our enemy and we must battle him with Spirit-led prayer. We cannot be yet another voice feeding the chaos. We have to stand on our knees.

James 5:16 …The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Sermon: Praying in the Spirit: Aggressive Warfare Praying

Ephesians 6:18

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

We do not pray in the Spirit in any one way

  1. Praying with passion and speaking in a prayer language are ways of praying in the Spirit
  2. They are not the only way

Praying in the Spirit is taking advantage of the power we have at our disposal thru the Holy Spirit.

  1. It is fervent, aggressive warfare praying

Our authority over the enemy is not open to debate – it is fact.

  1. Few believers truly take full advantage of the powerful resources of praying in agreement with the Holy Spirit

Things To Remember:

  1. Praying God’s Word is a powerful tool in aggressive warfare praying
  2. Scripture memorization puts the Sword of the Spirit at your fingertips
  3. Warfare praying is also useful in praying for yourself
    • It’s not selfish, it’s sensible.
  4. Mark Brubeck: “Satan will go to almost any length to distract and divert a believer from warfare praying.”

Keys to Warfare Praying

        There are many different kinds of warfare prayers. However, in the Christian’s life, intercessory prayer – praying for another person’s salvation, healing, deliverance, welfare, etc. – is the most common. The precepts discussed here can be applied to many other warfare prayers.

Warfare Intercessory Prayer

The more specific the prayer the better. Specific words and scriptures are important in warfare praying.

Open your prayer by asking for the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you pray.

  1. Ask if, “I may pray in the Spirit”
    • Seek the authority of the Holy Spirit

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – as a priest of God…”

  1. Ask for forgiveness, healing, deliverance, or protection of the person you are praying for.

(In using the title “Lord Jesus Christ” you are invoking the authority of His full name and title.)

        Plead the sufficiency of Jesus’ blood to meet the full penalty that the person’s sin deserves.

  1. Particularly important if praying for salvation or deliverance

Reclaim any ground the person has given up to the enemy through their sin.

        In the name of the Lord Jesus Christresist (James 4:7) all of Satan’s activity to hold the person in spiritual blindness, darkness, pain, illness, fear, etc.

        Claim the authority that you have through your union with Jesus Christ – through your adoption by the Heavenly Father with full rights and privileges.

  1. Pull down the strongholds of the enemy
  2. Destroy/smash/break all plans of Satan against the person
  3. Destroy any spiritual blindness or deafness, darkness, illness, pain, etc. caused by Satan

Invite the Holy Spirit upon the person for clarity and peace

  1. Ask Him to convict and bring about repentance for any sin
  2. Ask that the person be led to faith

Cover the person with the blood of Jesus Christ to break Satan’s power over them.

A major tool of Satan is to inject evil thoughts into the minds of believers and unbelievers.

  1. Thoughts of murder, perverse sexuality, hatred, and others – thoughts that are not part of the person’s normal psyche.
  2. These thoughts can cause a great deal of distress and guilt in the afflicted person – particularly when coupled with the enemy’s onslaught of accusation and condemnation.

Warfare Praying for Evil Thoughts

        In the name of the Lord Jesus Christreject the thoughts.

        Apply your union with the Lord Jesus Christ over the power of Satan who is causing these thoughts.

  1. Command him to leave your presence

Submit your mind, will and emotions only to the Holy Spirit.

Reclaim any and all ground given in your life by sin or by believing the enemy’s lies.

Close “In the name of Jesus,”

Fighting the Fight Sermon Discussion Q’s

Eph 6:10-18

Principle #1 – God calls us to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

        Eph. 6:10

                How does a life of holiness make us strong in the Lord?

Principle #2 – We must have a biblical understanding of what we are up against.

        Eph. 6:11

What are some of the tactics that Satan and his demons we see in the Bible?

Mark 5:1-20                1 Samuel 28:11-15

Luke 9:40-44              Mark 4:14-15

Principle #3 – We need a Bible-based understanding of the powers of demons that work for Satan.

        Eph. 6:12

                Principalities, Powers, Rulers of Darkness, Wicked Spirits   

Principle #4 – We must actively appropriate and put on the Full Armor of God.

        Eph. 6:13-18

  1. Belt of Truth
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness
  3. Shoes of Peace
  4. Shield of Faith
  5. Helmet of Salvation
  6. Sword of the Word

How do we appropriate the full armor of God?

Fighting the Fight Pt. 1 – Discussion Q’s

Fighting the Fight Pt. 1


  1. The sermon lists two extreme responses to spiritual warfare:
    1. Ignore it and taking it too lightly
    2. A fearful preoccupation with Satan’s kingdom

Which of these extremes have you leaned toward in your walk with Jesus?

What do feel is the proper perspective?

2. Holiness and sanctification are imparted by Jesus – Heb. 13:12

        From reading Gal. 5:13-15, 22-26; Eph. 4:1-6; 5:15-17:

                What is the evidence of holiness in our lives?

3. Satan has many names, among them the Deceiver (Rev. 20:10), the Accuser (Rev. 12:10 NKJV), murderer & liar – John 8:44.

How would remembering these names change our daily battle with him?

4. Satan is a defeated foe and has a set destiny:

                He is under a sentence of doom – Isaiah 14:15

                He is under an unending curse – Gen. 3:14-15

                He will be cast out of heaven in the tribulation – Rev. 12:7-9

                He will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity – Rev. 20:10

Final Thought:

In light of Satan’s ultimate destiny:

                How this affect your daily struggles?

7 Promises – Discussion Q’s

  1. Abundant Life – Matthew 16:24-25

In vs. 24, Jesus explains the cost of following Him. What does He say we must do to be His followers?

How can we do this today?

2. Adoption and Acceptance – John 6:37

Belief in Jesus is essential. How is it possible for a person to believe?

3. Peace through the Holy Spirit – John 14:26-27

4. Joy – John 15:9-11

Peace and joy are also fruits of the Spirit. What does the metaphor of “fruit” in contrast to “acts” tell you about the way these good traits become a part of your life?

5. Reward – Mark 10:29-31

Jesus had just stated that it is nearly impossible for a rich man to be saved. In vs. 28 Peter tells Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!”

Why did Peter respond to Jesus as he did in 10:28?

Why did Jesus answer Peter as He did in 10:29-30?

How does this exchange shape your view of the rewards of following Jesus?

5. Friendship with God – John 15:13-15

James 2:23 says, “And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.”

Can a Christian be close to God without reading the Bible regularly?

Does being a friend of God mean being “good buddies”? Where is the balance with the fear of God?

7. We will have Trials – John 16:33

Why should Christians expect persecution?

Why shouldn’t Christians be fearful or anxious at the prospect of persecution when Jesus is absent?


 What one insight from this lesson would you like to take to heart?

How do you fall short or need to grow in this area? How would you like it to affect what you are and do?

What steps can you take toward this end?

Yoda Is Right

Not long ago, someone very close to me was preparing for a physical test. She hadn’t prepared as much as she would have liked, but she was in the midst of the hour long ride to the test. I texted her a picture similar to the one included here (I’m not posting the same picture here for fear of the copy-write police). But the words, “Do or do not. There is no try.” came through loud and clear.

Her response was equally clear, “WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP SENDING ME THAT?!?”

She survived her test – although she has a long way to go for success. Later, I attempted to explain to her how “I’ll try.” is a defeatist attitude. But she didn’t really want to hear it.

But that is the reality. “I’ll try.” is defeatist, it lacks any commitment, any idea of hope for a positive outcome. This is especially true in our spiritual lives.

Most of us – at some point and in some way – have said, “I try to live for God everyday.” In so thinking, we hamstring ourselves right out of the gate. We consistently quote Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But we show our lack of true faith and anything but true commitment to Christ when we walk around with an attitude of, “I’ll try. I don’t know if anything good will come of it. But I’ll give my best.”

Scripture tells us repeatedly that we have been given everything necessary to live a holy life. Here is just one:

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

We can live a holy life as we rely on the strength and training of the Holy Spirit.

This is not to say that we will simply waltz through life by “naming it and claiming it” or without any shortcomings or failures. I could repeat, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” until I’m blue in the face and believe it with my whole heart. But one pull-up will continue to be impossible for this tubby, middle-aged, former athlete without a lot of long, hard training.

And that is it. It is the training in the Lord that gives us strength. It is exercising our faith through reading His word, communicating through prayer, and fellowship with other believers that changes our attitude from “I’ll try.” to “I’ll do it.”

We have everything we need to live a godly, holy life. He is a loving Father and He gives us the tools we need to succeed. But, like the weight set that lives in the garage, or the exercise bike that is now a coat rack, the tools must be used if we are to gain strength.

As we use the tools that our Father has given us, “I’ll try to live for God.” becomes “I will live for You everyday, Lord. Because you are my strength and my life.”