Do Nazarenes drink alcohol? Church of the Nazarene beliefs on drinking no alcohol

See also: Bible says be sober again and again.

Phineas F. Bresee, founder of the Church of the Nazarene, promoted Christian holiness and rejected alcohol. Phineas F. Bresee’s first Manual (1898) for Nazarenes in Western USA says: “Holy Scriptures and human experience alike condemn the use, as a beverage, of alcoholic drinks.”
A.M. Hills was an early holiness preacher in the Church of the Nazarene. A.M. Hills wrote: We can not consecrate our alcohol… to God.

The Covenant of Christian Conduct

Church of the Nazarene logo

29. We hold specifically that the following practices should be avoided:

29.5. The use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage, or trafficking therein; giving influence to, or voting for, the licensing of places for the sale of the same; using illicit drugs or trafficking therein; using of tobacco in any of its forms, or trafficking therein.

In light of the Holy Scriptures and human experience concerning the ruinous consequences of the use of alcohol as a beverage, and in light of the findings of medical science regarding the detrimental effect of both alcohol and tobacco to the body and mind, as a community of faith committed to the pursuit of a holy life, our position and practice is abstinence rather than moderation. Holy Scripture teaches that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. With loving regard for ourselves and others, we call our people to total abstinence from all intoxicants.

Furthermore, our Christian social responsibility calls us to use any legitimate and legal means to minimize the availability of both beverage alcohol and tobacco to others. The widespread incidence of alcohol abuse in our world demands that we embody a position that stands as a witness to others. (929-931)

(Proverbs 20:1; 23:29-24:2; Hosea 4:10-11; Habakkuk 2:5; Romans 13:8; 14:15-21; 15:1-2; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:9-12, 19-20; 10:31-33; Galatians 5:13-14, 21; Ephesians 5:18)

(Only unfermented wine should be used in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.) (515.4, 532.7, 533.2, 534.1, 700)

29.6. The use of stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and other intoxicants outside proper medical care and guidance.
In light of medical evidence outlining the dangers of such substances, along with scriptural admonitions to remain in responsible control of mind and body, we choose to abstain from intoxicants, stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens outside proper medical care and guidance, regardless of the legality and availability of such substances.

(Matthew 22:37-39; 27:34; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 9:24-27)


929. Substance Abuse.

The Church of the Nazarene continues to strongly object to substance abuse as a social malignancy. We encourage church members to take an active and highly visible role and to participate in education and rehabilitation relative to substance abuse and the incompatibility of such use with a Christian experience and a holy life. (2013)

930. Alcohol Desocialization.

The Church of the Nazarene publicly supports the desocialization of alcohol consumption. We encourage civic, labor, business, professional, social, voluntary, and private agencies and organizations to assist in such desocialization to counteract the advertising and media promotion of the social acceptability of the “alcohol culture.” (2013)

931. Tobacco Use and Advertising.

The Church of the Nazarene urges its people to continue to speak out against the use of tobacco, both as a health hazard and a social evil. Our historic stand is based on God’s Word, where we are admonished to maintain our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20).

Our stand opposing the use of tobacco in all its forms is strongly supported by medical evidence, documented by numerous social, governmental, and health agencies around the world. They have demonstrated that it is a major health hazard, and have shown conclusively that its use may produce changes in normal bodily physiology, both serious and permanent.

We recognize that our young people are greatly influenced by the millions of dollars that are spent on tobacco advertising, and its twin evil, beverage alcohol. We endorse a ban on all advertising of tobacco and beverage alcohol in magazines, on billboards, and on radio, television, and other media. (2013)

Church of the Nazarene, ‘Manual’, 2017-2021.

1. Temperance (The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, 1898)

“The Holy Scriptures and human experience alike condemn the use, as a beverage, of alcoholic drinks. The manufacture and sale of such liquors for such purposes is warfare against the human race. Total abstinence from all intoxicants is the Christian rule for the individual, and the total prohibition of the traffic is the duty of civil government. It cannot be licensed without sin, and voters in a Republic are responsible for the acts of the government. No voter can vote for license or for a party favoring it without becoming a partaker of this crime against humanity. To rent or lease property to be used for such traffic, or to sign a petition for granting license, or to be a bondsman for persons engaged in the traffic of intoxicating drinks, can but be considered a misdemeanor.

Only unfermented wine is to be used in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.”

The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, 1898, p. 19.

Tobacco (The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, 1898)

We regard the use of tobacco as injurious to both body and mind; an unclean and filthy habit, which is an offense to many, not only an unnecessary indulgence of the flesh, but a habit which becomes a master. We regard its expense, uncleanness, its pampering and indulgence of appetite as unbecoming in a Christian, and a thing to be put away. Christian men should not use it nor countenance its use, either by buying or selling it.

The Manual of the Church of the Nazarene, 1898, p. 20.

Church founder Phineas F. Bresee: a Christian with the courage to defend the victims of evil alcohol

Just before church time, Mr. Bresee would hold street meetings on a main corner in town. His people would sing and testify and crowds would gather to listen. He would invite them to church, then lead a march to the church building. A large number would follow. A great revival began with many new converts being won.

About this time a great drive was started in the city to do away with the sale of alcoholic drinks. The battle was a hot one. Mr. Bresee became the leader. Boldly he blasted the evil forces with his preaching.

The liquor leaders became intensely angry. They made a dummy to look like Mr. Bresee and burned it in a public street. Instead of hindering the temperance work, this made good publicity for Mr. Bresee. Many more came to hear him preach and got behind the movement.

After one fiery sermon against strong drink, he received a threatening letter. It warned Mr. Bresee that if he did not stop preaching against the liquor business he “would get that.” Underneath was a drawing of a pistol.

Mr. Bresee was a humble, modest man. Yet he feared no one but God. He ignored threats and ridicule about him or his work. It was mainly through the efforts of this brave preacher that Pasadena remained a “dry” city.

When the dry forces won, the liquor dealers were furious. A mob stormed the Methodist parsonage, threatening the pastor’s life. But God protected the Bresees.

(‘Phineas F. Bresse, Mr. Nazarene’, Emily Bushey Moore, Nazarene Publishing House, 1973, p. 34-35)

4 thoughts on “Do Nazarenes drink alcohol? Church of the Nazarene beliefs on drinking no alcohol”

  1. This looks good in writing. However, in the Nazarene church I attend, board members and other members in the church drink socially. I am completely baffled by the change in attitude regarding this issue. I thought we were a holiness church. It is everywhere and our young people as a majority find social drinking acceptable. I find this very unsettling. What is next?

  2. I agree. Holiness what does that look like? I fear we no longer know what Holiness is. We have compromised the truth the forefathers of the church of the Nazarene knew to be truth. Perhaps that is why our churches in North America are mostly small and without power

  3. Charles mukome

    The church teaches us to abstain from from wine and tobacco. Its up to that church with its members and board members to follow the manual concept. Remember you can be a nazarene by choice. If one is a member must abide by the rules and regulations of the given organisation. Holiness unto the Lord. We need to be holly because our father is holly

  4. Melodie Norine Brock

    Melodie Brock

    Recently I became interested in going to a church that believes in holiness in abstinence from alcohol because I had moved to a small community in B.C. and wanted to attend the Pentecostal church where I had always attended since I was a young girl and was very disappointed to find out the pastor is a “social” drinker, whatever that is supposed to mean. Very disappointed I left the church after telling the pastor how I and my mother felt and then I ended up looking for work in Whitehorse, Yukon. I then noticed a Nazarene church and got curious about what their belief is on alcohol so I looked it up on the internet and discovered they hold to a strict NO alcohol policy and I have recently started attending the church and I continue reading up on the Nazarenes. As I just finished reading the belief statement and then now reading the comments about the beliefs, I am again dismayed to read that some people would think of going to the Nazarene church and not uphold the values. My question if one does not agree with the church of the Nazarene beliefs of NO alcohol, then why do you go there? Why don’t you find another “church” that agrees to having alcohol? There are a lot of lukewarm churches out there to choose from!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *