Am I therefore become your enemy for telling you the truth?”

The Apostle Paul   Galatians 4:16

 The Church of the Nazarene

Entire Sanctification = Entire Nonsense

Mark Smith  1978, 1993, 2002  JCNot4me.com  


There is a little group that calls itself The Church of The Nazarene. They were started in 1908 by Phineas Bresee as a split off of the Holiness Movement, which itself was a split off of the Methodist movement, which was a split off of the Protestant movement, which was a split off of the Catholic movement, which was a split off the Christian movement, which was a split off the "John the Baptist" movement, which was a split off the Essene movement, which was a split off the Judaism movement… you get the picture. Anyway, they have a doctrine all to themselves, having looked around and seen a niche in the marketplace of religion.  They call this doctrine...


Entire Sanctification


It’s like the “Instant Karma” that John Lennon sang about, in that it supposedly comes to you in an instant, but has less credibility than Karma. They claim that by its power one can be made into an instant “saint”, perfect in every way, thought and deed; sin-proof, so to speak. Sort of coats your soul with magic spiritual Teflon whereby evil thoughts and sinful desires just can't stick.


I recall a story from the pulpit of a (non-Nazarene) traveling evangelist having been invited to speak at a Nazarene Church. Whether this actually happened or not, you never know with stories from the pulpit- ministers do like to make things up. Anyway this is how the story went: 


During the “testimony” period of the church service an old woman stood up and praised God that she had lived the past umpteen years sin-free, thanks to Entire Sanctification. The visiting minister (who never did like this doctrine in the first place) hatched an evil plan to deflate this gross spiritual arrogance. He strode back to the pulpit while her words were yet echoing off the walls. Speaking softly into the microphone, he first complemented her on such a feat. Then he sprung the trap on her: “You must be quite proud of such an accomplishment as this- living all those years without sin!” Of course she fell for the bait, and especially liked having been singled out for all that attention. She stood up, looked the Reverend in the eyes and said that yes, she was indeed quite proud of her sinless life. At that, the minister slammed down his twenty-pound Bible upon the pulpit as he raised his voice to boom out across the auditorium “Pride’s a sin!!! Now sit down, and learn what 1st John 1:8-10 means.”


Most non-Nazarene’s like that story, because few of us really enjoy the company of arrogant, self-righteous people, and the Nazarenes, with their special doctrine, are just that. And spiritual arrogance has to be about the worst kind of arrogance, for all the while the self-righteous twit also thinks they're more humble than you as well.  Deep down inside, most of us enjoy it when arrogant, proud conceited religionists screw up. It helps to remind all of us that we all are human. The problem with the Nazarene’s is that everybody in the world EXCEPT them know they are far from being perfect. As for the Nazarene’s, to grow up around such a doctrine and believe that you yourself are indeed perfect, and then to live with the contrary reality, well, reality soon goes out the window and the Nazarene slowly encases himself in an air-tight cocoon of self-inflicted blindness- blind to all their own faults. They become brainwashed into thinking they are perfect, facts be damned.


John Wesley was the man who started all this nonsense about Entire Sanctification along time ago. On page 248 of his Plain Account of Christian Perfection he wrote that:

God usually gives considerable time for one to receive light, to grow in grace, to do and suffer the will of God, before he is either justified or sanctified; but He does not invariably adhere to this.  Sometimes He "cuts short His work"; He does the work of many years in a few weeks; perhaps a week, a day, an hour.  He justifies or sanctifies those who have not had time for a gradual growth in light or grace.  
http://gbgm-umc.org/umhistory/wesley/perfect.html )


George Orwell could not have thought of a better example of “Double-Speak” than the Nazarenes did when we listen to them describe their doctrine of how they can become perfect and “sinless” via Entire Sanctification. One of their own Nazarene scholars , Dr. William Greathouse#1, tried to make sense out of the theory -vs- reality of it.

First of all, who is Dr. Greathouse? Is he a recognized authority within the Nazarene denomination? Yes he is. According to a quick web search on Google: Dr. Greathouse is a graduate of Lambuth University, Trevecca Nazarene University, Vanderbilt Divinity School, and holds a D.D. from Trevecca Nazarene University. He has spent a lifetime serving in the Church of the Nazarene as pastor, professor, Dean, President and General Superintendent (which is like being the Pope of the Catholics).  He was president of TWO Nazarene institutions of higher learning: Trevecca Nazarene University, and Nazarene Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous books. His two most recent books are Love Made Perfect: Foundations for the Holy Life (1997) and Wholeness in Christ: Toward a Biblical Theology of Holiness (1998). He was also voted "Preacher of The Year" in 2000. He is currently a professor at Trevecca Nazarene University, and his homepage is:



Obviously, with such a list of credentials, even having been in charge of the entire denomination at one time ("General Superintendent"), Dr. Greathouse certainly qualifies as an authority, if not THE authority, on official Nazarene doctrine. Some may be asking at this point why am I going to such lengths to establish the credentials of Dr. Greathouse. This is the reason: I have received numerous emails from Nazarenes around the country, ignorant of their own religion, who have never even heard of him, and thus question my using him as an authority. Such ignorance in Christians even about their own denominations is not encouraging, but is commonplace. Americans in general, as Steve Allen pointed out, are just plain dumb. So to all the Nazarenes out there who know their own religions less than us non-Nazarenes, yes, Dr. Greathouse is a big friggin’ deal in your cult- a VERY big deal- and qualifies as a spokesman for your group just as much as the Pope qualifies as a spokesman for the Catholics.


Dr. Greathouse, while giving the inaugural address at Nazarene Theological Seminary in 1969, described “Entire Sanctification” as being:


“…imperfect perfection”


That's a phrase that would have made Bill Clinton (Mr. "is-is") proud. Dr. Greathouse elsewhere describes the Nazarene concept of personal perfection by saying


“Christian perfection is not absolute”


And for another example of Double Speak, he says,


“Hence the fully sanctified man*  feels deeply his imperfection


*[NOTE: remember, this means the man who is perfect]


To fully appreciate the humor of this Double Speak going on here, you must realize that Entire Sanctification teaches Christian Perfection, which means a sinless life; the total removal of not only sin, but even the ability to sin. In other words, a good Nazarene could not make a mistake, a sin, even if he tried! In fact, he couldn't even THINK a sinful thought. Or as another Nazarene theologian#2 W.T. Purkiser wrote,


“…true justification in Christ does away with a life of sin.”



W. T. Purkiser (1910-92) was a prolific writer, respected scholar, and well-loved preacher within the Church of the Nazarene who also had a significant voice in the larger evangelical Christian community. He authored and contributed to some of the most widely disseminated and enduring works in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. He was also the editor of "Herald of Holiness", the official magazine of The Church of The Nazarene.



The Free Methodist Church (NOTE: this is a close cousin to the Nazarene church) believes and teaches the doctrine of ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION, or SINLESS PERFECTION.  Free Methodists believe that a person who has been saved and born-again can achieve SINLESS PERFECTION in this lifetime. 



Of course, regardless of what Greathouse or Purkiser or any other Nazarene may write,  we know this is all horse-shit in that Nazarenes screw up like the best of us, but it’s still funny seeing their theologians trying to back-track out of the intellectual corner they’ve painted themselves into. From what I’ve heard, this doctrine is not taught much in their universities much past the undergraduate level- the more educated among the group are embarrassed by it. It is more for the sheep, than the shepherds of this group, and most of the youth of the church really don't have a clue as to what it is.


For any who wish to argue with the Nazarenes regarding this gem of a doctrine, they might want to use this Bible verse as their trump card. And by the way, this verse was written to Christians, not to non-Christians.


If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, 

and the truth is not in us.  ...If we say that we have not sinned, 

we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

1st John 1:8-10  NASB




#1) Nazarene Theology in Perspective, Wm. Greathouse, Nazarene Publishing House, 1970,  pp. 23, 20, 21.
        Also in: NAZARENE THEOLOGY IN PERSPECTIVE Inaugural Address/Naz Theol Sem/January 6, 1969


#2) Exploring Our Christian Faith, W.T. Purkiser, Beacon Hill, 1969, p. 318






Additional Information & Documentation}



What We Believe  (from the official Nazarene website)

13. We believe that entire sanctification is that act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.

It is wrought by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and comprehends in one experience the cleansing of the heart from sin and the abiding, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service.

Entire sanctification is provided by the blood of Jesus, is wrought instantaneously by faith, preceded by entire consecration; and to this work and state of grace the Holy Spirit bears witness.

This experience is also known by various terms representing its different phases, such as "Christian perfection," "perfect love," "heart purity," "the baptism with the Holy Spirit," "the fullness of the blessing," and "Christian holiness."  ( http://www.nazarene.org/gensec/we_believe.html )




November 28, 2005}  I just did a Google online search for the phrase "entire sanctification". Guess which website was second out of 42,600 hits? You guessed it- this one right here! I thank all of you readers and researchers for putting this site so far up the list. I am glad to be doing a service to mankind by exposing the weakness of the Nazarene position. Maybe someday they'll be honest to themselves so they can be honest to the rest of the world, and admit they're just as imperfect as the rest of us.

October 27, 2011}  Another Google search for "entire sanctification", and this site is now #5 out of 179,000 hits.

February 5, 2016}  Google search for “entire sanctification” results in this here page of mine showing up on the 6th Google page of hits.