P.F. Bresee is considered to be the founder of the Church of the Nazarene. He was one of the people instrumental in helping the various groups who came together to form the denomination to find common ground. They didn’t agree at every point, but they agreed to allow people to arrive at their own understanding on a broad range of doctrinal issues while holding fast to certain core beliefs. To find out what those core beliefs are, check out the “Agreed Statement of Belief” section around page 37 in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene.
Concerning all the other stuff, Bresee urged tolerance governed by love. I recently read something written by Fletcher Tink in which he quotes Brezee on this topic:
“On the great fundamentals we are all agreed. Pertaining to things not essential to salvation, we have liberty. To attempt to emphasize that which is not essential to salvation and thus to divide forces, would be a crime. An unwillingness for others to enjoy the liberty that we enjoy in reference to doctrines not vital to salvation is bigotry, from which the spirit of holiness withdraws itself.” (Bold by me)
I’ve heard various versions of the first part of this quote several times, but the second is new to me. Apparently, Bresee isn’t just all warm and fuzzy on this topic. Rather, he’s rather stern about it, saying those who insist on loading other stuff into the equation are practicing a sort of doctrinal “bigotry” and, because of that are operating somewhere outside the “spirit of holiness.”
I can’t help but wonder what he would think of some of the debates and finger pointing we see within our number today.