A holiness church in Scotland: The origins and development of the Church of the Nazarene 1906 to 1950

Whiteford, Jean Cameron (1996) A holiness church in Scotland: The origins and development of the Church of the Nazarene 1906 to 1950. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b1588529


The Church of the Nazarene, the world's largest Holiness Church, came to Scotland from the United States. This study aims to demonstrate that from inauspicious beginnings the movement which began in 1906 as the Pentecostal Church of Scotland overcame initial setbacks to emerge as an independent denomination. Its doctrinal foundation is John Wesley's teaching that 'Christian perfection' is a state attainable in this life. Nazarene leaders always emphasised that this is not 'sinless perfection', which is Christ's alone. Conversion is expected to lead to 'the second blessing' or 'entire sanctification'. A second marked characteristic of the denomination is its emphasis upon church form and order. Its survival and development were the more surprising when viewed against the Scottish background of lack of enthusiasm for the teachings of Methodism and a strong tradition of Calvinist teaching which countered the more Arminian holiness message. But offsetting these was a history of revivalism in Scotland, indigenous and through the preaching of American evangelists. Development in Scotland owed much to the determination of the founder, George Sharpe. Born in Lanarkshire, he spent fifteen years as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York State. He became familiar with the doctrines of P.F.Bresee, founder of the Church of the Nazarene, and returned to Scotland to 'preach holiness'. This proved unacceptable in his two Congregational Church pastorates, and, after eviction, he established the first Pentecostal Church of Scotland in the Parkhead district of Glasgow. In 1915, the denomination united with the American Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene under that name, the designation 'Pentecostal' being dropped in 1919. The denomination inaugurated in 1906 consisted of about eighty members, and developed under Sharpe's leadership, although membership and number of congregations never became high. Its survival was often in doubt, and its situation was made more precarious in that the socio-economic group which it represented precluded the possibility of substantial endowments or bequests. Our object is to show that the denomination's life was based upon the two firmly-rooted principles of 'Christian perfection' and 'a churchly way of life', adherence to which enabled it to surmount the practical problems confronting it in finance, property, and the training of pastors. By 1950, the date at which this study concludes, it had seventeen congregations in Scotland, a small number in England and Ireland, a theological college, and plans for expansion. In the early 1950s, the denomination united with two other holiness movements, which entered into the name and structure of Church of the Nazarene.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Religious history
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: White, Dr. Gavin and Murray, Dr. Douglas M.
Date of Award: 1996
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1996-71894
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 09:31
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2022 14:57
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.71894
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71894

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