The most concise overview of Nazarene origins and development is the “Historical Statement” published in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene. More helpful information is found in “Turning Points in Nazarene History,” an outline of Nazarene development that is designed for pastors and Christian educators to use in 60 or 90 minute presentations to new church members or in similar contexts. A brief handout is also provided that can be printed and distributed in classes
Two links will take you to charts that are useful in understanding the Church of the Nazarene. The first is a chart titled “Rise of the Church of the Nazarene.” It identifies different parent bodies and the dates when they merged into the present–day denomination. The other chart is the “Family Tree of Religious Groups.” This chart shows the Church of the Nazarene’s relationship to a number of other Christian traditions and denominations.
Have you wondered what early Nazarene periodicals looked like? Then click The Nazarene Messenger to view the issue of The Nazarene Messenger published in Los Angeles for the week of November 19, 1908. This issue was published just one month after the Second General Assembly was held at Pilot Point, Texas, uniting the three regional parent bodies of the Church of the Nazarene into a single Wesleyan-holiness denomination. You will need the Adobe Acrobat reader to view The Nazarene Messenger. If your computer does not have Adobe Acrobat, you can download it free from Adobe. Photographs are best viewed at 100 percent. Text is best viewed at 175 percent.
In 1995 Dr. Carl Bangs published a long-awaited biography of Phineas Bresee, the Church of the Nazarene’s best–known and best–loved founder. Bangs is a former president of the American Society of Church History, and his family’s own history was influenced directly by Bresee. For a brief summary of what this recent biography adds to our understanding of Bresee, click on the biography tab. You can also read about Mallalieu Wilson’s recent biography of his father, W. C. Wilson, the fifth general superintendent. And you can read about Timothy L. Smith, the “dean of Nazarene church history” and a leading evangelical scholar of the twentieth century.