Forrest D. Moyer
S.T. Ludwig, General Church Secretary, set forth some of the tenets of the Nazarene church in his article, “What The Church Believes,” on page 7 in the Sept. 12, 1949, issue of the Herald of Holiness. He began his article in this way:
The Church of the Nazarene is a product of the twentieth century. Nineteen hundred and eight is the birth year of the denomination. It was born to meet today’s spiritual needs. Compounded in the crucible of our day, it sprang from the prayers and aspirations of ministers and laity who wanted a warmhearted church home where the Bible was believed and taught and where its precepts would be proclaimed as the guide for daily living.
Since it is vitally important to believe and teach the Bible, let us examine this teaching in the spirit of love and in the light of the gospel Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The Apostle Paul stated that “there is one body” (Eph. 4:4), and that the body is the church (Eph. 1:22-23). It is this, one body, the one Christ built, that he is going to save (Eph. 5:23). If the Church of the Nazarene is the one church that the Lord built, then we should all desire to be a member of it. By their own admission “the Church of the Nazarene is a product of the twentieth century.”
Well, when did the church of Christ begin? Jesus told His apostles to “tarry in Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:19). This they did and on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ, the Holy Spirit came upon them. The first Gospel sermon that we have recorded was preached by Peter on that day in which he told them to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). Then they that received his word were baptized (vs. 41) and the Lord added them to the church (Acts 22:47). Hence, the birthday of the Lord’s church was on the day of Pentecost, A.D. 33. “Nineteen hundred and eight is the birth year” of the Church of the Nazarene. According to their own teaching the Nazarene Church is not the church of the Lord. It is 1,875 years too young to be the church of Christ!
All will recognize the fact that unless any organization has the right foundation it cannot stand. The church of our Lord was founded upon the solid rock (Matt. 16:18). Peter told the people, “And this is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is be, come the head of the corner” (Acts 4:11). Paul climaxed this statement by saying, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). The Nazarene Church is not built upon the right foundation, therefore it shall fall. The “holiness” movement was started by a group of men “interested in promoting the Weslyan doctrine” (Manual, Church of the Nazarene, issued 1919, page 15). The Nazarene Church is founded upon the doctrines of men and not upon Christ. It cannot stand!
Mr. Ludwig continues, “Recognizing that the right and privilege of persons to church membership rests upon the fact of their being converted, we require only such avowals of belief as are essential to Christian experience.” Nowhere in the New Testament do we read of a person’s being saved, giving his “Christian experience” and then having the “right and privilege to church membership.” On the contrary, the same thing that saved people in the New Testament also made them members of the church. We read that the Lord added to the church “day by day those that were saved” (Acts2:47). By obedience to the gospel we are saved and added to the church. The Nazarene Church teaches that a person must be saved, then he can join the church.
In his article Mr. Ludwig quotes the following from the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene: “We believe that man is born with a fallen nature, and is, therefore, inclined to evil, and that continually.”
Like other Calvinist groups, the Nazarenes teach that through Adam sin was transmitted to the whole human race. In their manual they admit that Adam was in a pure state when first created, The word of God teaches that all people become sinners in the same way that Adam did—by transgressing the law of God. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Adam sinned by transgressing God’s law that was given to him; we become sinners by transgressing God’s law to us. We are not sinners because of Adam’s sin but because of our own sins. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The prophet Ezekiel stated, “Thou wast perfect in thy days from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezek. 28:15). Hear him again: “The soul that sinneth it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father…” (Ezek. 18:20). No, man is not born in sin. He becomes a sinner by transgression of the law.
My fight is not against the people of the Nazarene Church. I stand opposed to the doctrines which they teach that are contrary to the doctrines of Christ. Realizing that unless we abide in the teaching of Christ we will perish, I beg you in heaven’s name to consider the teaching of God’s word without bias or prejudice. Lay aside the commandments and doctrines of men; take your stand for the truth and right. If you are engulfed by Nazarenism, a “plant that our heavenly Father hath not planted,” we plead with you to “come ye out from among them and be ye separate.” Obey the simple terms of the gospel of our Savior, become a member of the church of our Lord which was established on Pentecost, A.D. 33, upon Christ, the solid rock, and live as directed by “the perfect law of liberty,” remembering that “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).