Affirmation and Declaration of Human Freedom. Whereas, as Nazarenes, we embrace the divine call to a life of holiness, wholeness, and restorative living where all things and all peoples are reconciled to God. In response, the Holy Spirit brings freedom to the marginalized, oppressed, broken, and hurting, and justice to right injustices and cease selfish influence caused by sin, until all things are restored in God’s reign.
Consistent with our Wesleyan-holiness heritage and character, we confront the contemporary scourge of modern slavery, illegal or forced labor, and the trafficking of human beings and bodies.
And, in keeping with these affirmations,
We resolve that members and congregations of the International Church of the Nazarene will:
- As a holiness people, in our pursuit of justice, recognize that we are called to repent of any injustices in our past, amend our present, and create a just future;
- Call to account those who oppress others;
- Engage in compassionate care for those caught up in illegal or forced labor, organ harvesting, and sex slavery (along with any other emerging oppression as yet unknown to us);
- Listen actively for and amplify the cries of the oppressed;
- Denounce injustices and work humbly against the causes of injustice;
- Act in solidarity with our sister and brother against whatever binds in order to move together toward freedom; and
- Come alongside those who are vulnerable through godly practices that bring redemption, restoration, healing, and freedom (1 John 3:8).
Built upon our Wesleyan-holiness Christian heritage and call to holiness, we make the following affirmations:
- We affirm that the pursuit of justice, reconciliation, and freedom is at the heart of God’s holiness being reflected in people. We commit ourselves and our ecclesial resources to working for the abolition of all forms of slavery, trafficking, and oppression, and to participate in intentional networks, conversations, and actions that provide hopeful alternatives.
- We affirm that churches should faithfully respond to the impulse of God’s holy love by working for God’s reign to be ever more visible. We are called to be faithful witnesses in thought, word, and deed, to the holy God who hears the cries of those who are oppressed, imprisoned, trafficked, and abused by economic, political, selfish, and evil systems and persons. God calls us to respond in humility with compassion and justice.
- We affirm that acting justly involves the compassionate care for those in our immediate surroundings and also being able to name injustice, and denounce the powers that cause it. Acting justly and loving mercy have often brought the people of God in conflict with the ruling powers and principalities of the day. God’s justice calls us beyond equal treatment, tolerance of one another’s differences, or simply reversing the role of oppressed and oppressor. By Jesus’ example, we are called to a justice whereby we are willing to give ourselves up for the sake of another.
- We affirm that Christian justice requires a deep commitment to both personal and corporate confession, repentance, and forgiveness as necessary steps.
- We affirm that we must advocate for just and hopeful practices in all areas of life. Reflecting the compassionate hope of Christ and love for all people, we identify with the conditions that bring dehumanizing circumstances. We will speak for those who are not heard, and come alongside the vulnerable by offering practices that bring redemption, restoration, healing, and freedom.
- We affirm that we are called to become a people who embody a hopeful alternative to oppression and injustice. We are called to reflect the holy God in holy lives, bringing justice in motive and practice to people, circumstances, systems, and nations. While we may not end all suffering, as the body of Christ we are compelled to bring the holiness of God in healing fashion to the redemptive enterprise of restoring all things.
- We affirm that as a collaborative network we must think deeply, work holistically, and engage locally and globally. Complex issues drive modern slavery; therefore, multiple solutions must be undertaken.
These will proceed from the fabric of who we are in Christian community naturally flowing into what we do.
We therefore pledge:
- To work separately and together, as individuals and institutions, consistent with our Wesleyan-holiness identity to serve with compassion and to prophetically challenge oppressive systems;
- To support, encourage, resource, plan, and engage together in effective, wise, sustainable action;
- To labor as a worshipping community, with Christ at the center, infused with the power of the Spirit as a movement of hope;
- To think deeply, pray with expectation, and act with courage.
For this we live and labor until God’s reign comes “on earth as it is in heaven.” (2017)