Church of the Nazarene (năzˌərēnˈ) [key], U.S. Protestant denomination established in 1908 through the union of the Church of the Nazarene, based in California; the Association of Pentecostal Churches, a New England group; and the Holiness Church of Christ, whose origin was mainly in the Southwest. An evangelical group, the Nazarenes believe in John Wesley's doctrine of entire sanctification. Local churches are autonomous in matters of worship and evangelism, but a representative body maintains Sunday schools, Bible colleges, publishing enterprises, and other activities. The church has about 630,000 members in the United States and Canada (1997).
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