Note: Bracketed text [ ] are words to be deleted from the current Manual. Underlined text ___ are words to be added to the current Manual.
Article II. Local Churches
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 are very sacred and precious. . .
. . . Do you heartily believe these truths? If so, answer, "I do."
FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
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).