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Historical Statement
I. Near the close of the nineteenth century, a movement for the spread and conservation of scriptural holiness in organized church form developed almost simultaneously in various parts of the United States. This movement was similar to the Wesleyan revival of the previous century. The manifestation everywhere of a spontaneous drawing in the unity of the Spirit towards closer affiliation of those of like precious faith culminated finally in the organization of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.

The great impulse of this movement has been the emphasis placed by the Scriptures upon the fact that, in the atonement, Jesus Christ has made provision, not only to save men from their sins, but also to perfect them in love.

II. On May 12, 1886, a number of the brethren in Providence, R.I., interested in promoting the Wesleyan doctrine and experience of entire sanctification, organized and held weekly religious services, first in private homes, but after a few months in a rented store on Oxford Street. On January 16, 1887, a Sunday school was organized with 95 members. On July 21, 1887, the People's Evangelical Church was organized with 51 members, Rev. F.A. Hillary acting as pastor. On November 25, 1888, the Mission Church, Lynn, Mass., was organized with Rev. C. Howard Davis as pastor. On March 13 and 14, 1890, representatives from these churches and other evangelical holiness organizations in southern New England assembled at Rock, Mass., and organized the Central Evangelical Holiness Association. Rev. W. C. Rider, pastor of the Independent Congregational Church of that place,was elected president. Within the following year the Mission Church, Males, Mass., the Emmanuel Mission Church, North Attar, Mass., and the Bethany Mission Church, Keener, N.H., were organized.

In January, 1894, William Howard Hoople, a businessman in New York City, founded a mission in Brooklyn, which, in the following May, was organized as an independent church with a membership of 32, and was called the Utica Avenue Pentecostal Tabernacle. After a church edifice was erected, Mr. Hoople was called to the pastorate. The following February, in an abandoned church building, the Bedford Avenue Pentecostal Church was organized, and a little later the Emmanuel Pentecostal Tabernacle. In December, 1895, delegates from these three churches adopted a constitution, summary of doctrines, and bylaws, and formed the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America. This association was duly incorporated. Associated with Rev. William Howard Hoople in this work were Rev. H.B. Hosley, Rev. John Norberry, Rev. Charles BeVier, and Rev. H. F. Reynolds.

On November 12, 1896, a joint committee from these two associations met in the city of Brooklyn, N.Y., to formulate some plan of union. For the benefit of their counsel and cooperation, several brethren prominent in the work were invited to act with the joint committee. Among this number were Rev. C. Howard Davis, Rev. G. W. Wilson, Rev. John Norberry, Rev. H. F. Reynolds, Rev. H. B. Hosley, and Rev. Charles H. BeVier. This meeting resulted in the union of the two bodies. It was agreed that the work should be continued under the name of the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America.

III. In October, 1895, a number of persons, under the leadership of Rev. Phineas F. Bresee, D. D., and J. P. Widney, M.D., formed the First Church of the Nazarene at Los Angeles, Calif., with 135 charter members. They adopted statements of belief, and agreed to such general rules as seemed proper and needful for their immediate guidance, leaving to the future the making of such provisions as the work and its conditions might necessitate. As a result of this organization a number of churches sprang into existence, reaching as far east as Chicago.

IV. As the group from the East and the group from the West came to know each other better, the feeling grew that they should unite. After delegates from both areas had conferred, the following basis of union was prepared and adopted unanimously by both bodies:

Basis of Union
 

It is agreed that the two churches are one in the doctrines considered essential to salvation, especially the doctrines of justification by faith and entire sanctification subsequent to justification, also by faith, and, as a result, the precious experience of entire sanctification as a normal condition of the churches. Both churches recognize that the right of church membership rests upon experience and that persons who have been born of the Spirit are entitled to its privileges.

We are agreed on the necessity of a superintendency, which shall foster and care for churches already established and whose duty it shall be to organize and encourage the organizing of churches everywhere.

We are agreed that authority given to superintendents shall not interfere with the independent action of a fully organized church, each church enjoying the right of selecting its own pastor,subject to such approval as the General Assembly shall find wise to institute; the election of delegates to the various assemblies; the management of their own finances; and of all other things pertaining to their local life and work.

It is agreed that any church of the Association of Pentecostal Churches of America going into this organization which may feel it imperative with them to continue to hold their property in like manner as at present, shall be at liberty to do so.


The first union assembly was held in Chicago in October, 1907. It was agreed that the name of the united body should be The Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.

V. In 1894 at Milan, Tenn., the New Testament Church of Christ was organized with 14 members by Rev. R. L. Harris to conserve and promote scriptural holiness. The influence of this church soon spread throughout western Texas and Arkansas. Prominent among the leaders was Mrs. Mary Lee Cagle, formerly the wife of Rev. R. L. Harris, who continued the work after her husband's death.

In 1888 the first holiness churches in Texas were organized by Rev. Thomas Rogers and Rev. Dennis Rogers, who came from California.

In 1901 the first Independent Holiness church was organized at Van Alstyne, Tex., by Rev. C. B. Jernigan. This denomination grew and prospered until, in 1903, there were 20 church organizations.

The legal representatives of the Independent Holiness church and the New Testament Church of Christ met at Rising Star, Tex., in November, 1904, where a joint committee framed a Manual and statement of doctrine and basis of union. The union was fully consummated at Pilot Point, Tex., in November, 1905, and the united body adopted the name Holiness Church of Christ.

VI. In 1907 several representatives from the Holiness Church of Christ accepted the invitation of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene to attend its General Assembly in Chicago, but were not authorized to take any action with reference to organic union. After the assembly invited them into counsel, provisional arrangements were made to incorporate the two churches into one body, when proper action could be taken. Upon the invitation of the Holiness Church of Christ, the Second General Assembly convened at Pilot Point, Tex., at two o'clock, Thursday afternoon, October 8, 1908. On the following Tuesday morning, R. B. Mitchum moved: "That the union of the two churches be now consummated," and the motion was seconded by Rev. C. W. Ruth. Revs. John N. Short, J. B. Creighton, C. B. Jernigan, H. B. Hosley, P. F. Bresee, and others spoke favorably regarding the motion. On Tuesday, October 13, 1908, at 10:40 a.m., amid great enthusiasm, the motion to unite was adopted by a unanimous rising vote.

VII. In 1898 Rev. J. O. McClurkan and a few others called a meeting of the holiness people of Tennessee and adjacent states to be held in Nashville. At this convention an association known as the Pentecostal Alliance was formed, but its name was later changed to the Pentecostal Mission. From the beginning these people were evangelistic in spirit and had a burning desire to disseminate the doctrine and experience of sanctification. Thus in different sections of the South there came together groups of holiness people, know as bands of the Pentecostal Mission. They were decidedly missionary in spirit, and soon were sending their representatives to "the regions beyond." Throughout their career they have been characterized by this missionary zeal.

At different times the question of the union of the Pentecostal Mission with the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene had been discussed. Finally on February 13, 1915, this union was effected at Nashville, Tenn., thus uniting both the home and the foreign work of the Pentecostal Mission and the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene.

VIII. In November, 1901, the first stage in the present holiness church movement in the British Isles began, when Rev. George Sharpe, who had been for 131/2 years a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal church, accepted a call to the Congregational church at Ardrossan, Scotland. In September, 1905, he became minister of Parkhead Congregational Church, Glasgow; but after a strenuous, successful, and glorious ministry of 13 months, he was evicted for preaching Bible holiness.

On September 30, 1906, the first services of the first distinctively holiness church were held in the Great Eastern Roads Hall, glasgow. The charter members numbered 80. Other churches were organized and became the Pentecostal Church of Scotland. Visits of Dr. E. F. Walker and Dr. H. F. Reynolds to Scotland, and a visit of Rev. George Sharpe and Mrs. Sharpe to the Fourth General Assembly, at Kansas City, Mo., led the way to union with the Church of the Nazarene, which was consummated in November, 1915.

IX. The General Assembly of 1919, in response to memorials from 35 district assemblies, changed the name of the organization to "Church of the Nazarene."

X. For many years a holiness movement had began developing in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Montana. It was originated by a group of Methodist laymen, and was formally organized in 1917 at Jamestown, N.D., as the Laymen's Holiness Association. Rev. J. G. Morrison was immediately elected field evangelist and, in 1919, president of the organization. With him were associated Rev. Ira E. Hammer, Rev. S. C. Taylor, Rev. W. G. Bennett, and over 20 other evangelists and workers engaged in a wide-spread program of holiness evangelism and camp meeting promotion. In 1922, under the leadership of these ministers, more than 1,000 people identified with the Laymen's Holiness Association united with the Church of the Nazarene.

XI. During the quadrennium 1952-56, two holiness groups in Britain merged with the Church of the Nazarene.

The International Holiness Mission, founded in London, England, in 1907 by Mr. David Thomas, businessman and lay preacher, consummated union with the Church of the Nazarene in Leeds, England, October 29, 1952, with General Superintendent Hardy C. Powers officiating. At the time of union, Mr. John Place was president of the International Holiness Mission, and Rev. J. B. Maclagan, who for 22 years had been a minister in the Church of the Nazarene in the British Isles, was superintendent-minister. The union brought 28 churches, over 1,000 constituents, and 36 missionaries in South Africa into the Church of the Nazarene.

For about 25 years the Calvary Holiness church of Britain carried on its ministry of holiness evangelism under the leadership of Rev. Maynard James and Rev. Jack ford. Union of the Calvary Holiness church with the Church of the Nazarene was consummated June 11, 1955, at Manchester, England, with General Superintendent Samuel Young officiating. About 22 churches and over 600 members came into the church as a result of this union.

XII. The Gospel Workers church of Canada united with the Church of the Nazarene on September 7, 1958. Under the leadership of Rev. Albert Mills, president, and Rev. C. J. McNichol, secretary, the union took place with Mr. Samuel Goff, son of the founder, Rev. Frank D. Goff, of the Gospel Workers church, acting as attorney in the negotiations. The union was completed under the supervision of General Superintendent Samuel Young and added five churches and 200 members to the Canada Central District.

From the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene

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