Nazarene Pastor Charged on LGBTQ Advocacy

Jeffrey Walton on May 31, 2024

A Church of the Nazarene minister advocating for “full queer inclusion” has been brought up on charges and faces an upcoming trial that could result in removal of his credentials as an ordained minister.

Thomas Jay Oord has been charged with teaching doctrines contrary to the Church of the Nazarene and with conduct unbecoming of a minister for his efforts to move the denomination to affirm same-sex behavior.

The charges are the latest indication that human sexuality disputes that have divided mainline Protestant denominations are also surfacing in Wesleyan-Holiness churches.

Oord currently serves as Professor of Theology at Northwind Theological Seminary, an ecumenical, online interdenominational seminary with roots in the Wesleyan tradition. He is co-editor of Why the Church of the Nazarene should be Fully LGBTQ+ Affirming, a volume published in 2023.

“In early August of 2023, Nazarene [Intermountain] District Superintendent Scott Shaw gave me a document with two charges,” Oord recounted in a video made available on his YouTube channel. “Both of these charges pertain to the fact that I’m a straight, cisgender male who fully affirms and supports queer people and who wants the Church of the Nazarene to do the same. For my views on queer inclusion I have been charged first with teaching doctrines contrary to the Church of Nazarene statement on human sexuality and, secondly, I’m charged with Conduct Unbecoming of a Minister for advocating for queer people and their allies.”

Oord alleges in the video that unnamed denominational leaders have tried to silence him and threatened to make additional charges if he speaks publicly about the trial.

“The fundamental issue at stake here is whether the Church of the Nazarene will love queer people by affirming their identities, their orientations, and their healthy sexual behaviors,” Oord insists. “The Church of the Nazarene statement on human sexuality does not reflect love well.”

The Church of the Nazarene Manual prohibits sexual activity between people of the same sex, alongside polygamy, unmarried sexual intercourse, and adultery. The denomination’s Board of General Superintendents ruled in 2023 that the church’s Statement on Human Sexuality and Marriage is among “essential statements of the doctrine.”

The statement reads, in part:

“Because we believe that it is God’s intention for our sexuality to be lived out in the covenantal union between one woman and one man, we believe the practice of same-sex sexual intimacy is contrary to God’s will for human sexuality. While a person’s homosexual or bi-sexual attraction may have complex and differing origins, and the implication of this call to sexual purity is costly, we believe the grace of God is sufficient for such a calling. We recognize the shared responsibility of the body of Christ to be a welcoming, forgiving, and loving community where hospitality, encouragement, transformation, and accountability are available to all.”

The statement in the Manual was overwhelmingly passed at the General Assembly, the denomination’s governing convention.

Dissent by theological revisionists is not being tolerated among leaders and academics within the Church. Recent examples include the dismissal of Selden “Dee” Kelley from San Diego First Church of the Nazarene (including revocation of his ministerial credentials) and Dean of Theology and Christian Ministry Mark Maddix from Point Loma Nazarene University, who lost his Nazarene credentials after aligning with an “affirming” United Methodist church in California.

This begs the question of why it has taken the denomination so long to deal with Oord given his outspoken opposition to Nazarene doctrine and practice.

Oord could be regarded as an outlier within an otherwise overwhelmingly conservative denomination. He has been a controversial figure for at least a decade, including for his embrace of open theism, the view that God does not know the future. He departed Northwest Nazarene University, where he was a tenured professor, in 2018 following the elimination of his position.

The seminary professor is active within an LGBTQ-affirming Facebook group, Loving Nazarenes, and is soliciting donations for a crowd-sourced publicity campaign calling upon the Church of the Nazarene to replace the Statement on Human Sexuality with an LGBTQ-affirming one.

The Church of the Nazarene is within the Wesleyan–Holiness tradition. It reports 2,724,006 members and 30,747 congregations globally. Within the United States and Canada, the denomination lists 600,000 members in 5,100 congregations.

“The doctrine that distinguishes the Church of the Nazarene and other Wesleyan denominations from most other Christian denominations is that of entire sanctification,” reads a statement on the denomination’s website. “Nazarenes believe that God calls Christians to a life of holy living that is marked by an act of God, cleansing the heart from original sin and filling the individual with love for God and humankind.”

  1. Comment by JoeR on May 31, 2024 at 6:07 pm

    The answer is “No!”
    Unlike the UMC, Enforce your rules.

  2. Comment by Tim on May 31, 2024 at 9:40 pm

    Quote: ‘The answer is “No!”
    Unlike the UMC, Enforce your rules.’


  3. Comment by Pastor Buddy Whatley on May 31, 2024 at 9:48 pm

    As Barney Fife often said, “Nip it in the bud! Nip it! Nip it! Nip it!”

    Because if you don’t nip it in the bud; it will eat away your faith over 40+ years as it did with the UMC and other denominations.

  4. Comment by Terry Goodwin on June 1, 2024 at 8:02 am

    A lifelong (I’m 77) Methodist, the Lord led me from my old church home to a new leg of my faith journey as a Nazarene. There is a fresh break-out of the Holy Spirit each time we gather to worship. You can imagine that this article caught my full attention. With so many denominations already going all-in for radical progressivism, I’m never going to understand why there is such a movement to destroy all the other churches also. And then I remember who is behind the forces of evil. We are Kingdom workers, enabled and empowered by Jesus. He is the living head of the church. A church body without a Living Head, is a dead body. Stay the course, beloved.

  5. Comment by Gary Bebop on June 1, 2024 at 12:06 pm

    As painful as these dynamics are, they are a sanctifying fire.

  6. Comment by John on June 3, 2024 at 12:56 pm

    It seems like these individuals are being charged solely with advocating changes in policy rather than actually violating policy.

  7. Comment by MikeB on June 4, 2024 at 8:19 pm

    If you believe that the word of God is just policy that can be set by the votes of a few people, then maybe Christianity is not your religion.

  8. Comment by Gordon Hackman on June 7, 2024 at 9:36 am

    Do a little research on Oord, and you’ll find he has been problematic for a long time, even before this. He’s an advocate of open theism. Frequently, those who embrace one error go on to embrace others.

  9. Comment by John on June 7, 2024 at 5:48 pm


    Honey, I’m just trying get a lay of land here.

    “A visible reflection of this unity is represented by the General Assembly, which is the “supreme doctrine-formulating, lawmaking, and elective authority of the Church of the Nazarene.”
    “The government of the Church of the Nazarene is representative, and thus avoids the extremes of episcopacy on the one hand and unlimited congregationalism on the other.”
    These were pulled straight from Nazarene own Manual. Also it’s apparently easier to amend the Articles of Religion in the Church of the Nazarene than in The UMC. Perhaps it’s not me you think is unsuited for Christianity, but the Church of the Nazarene itself.

  10. Comment by MikeB on June 13, 2024 at 10:09 pm

    This is very much as if you entered a Shakespeare literature forum and started claiming that Shakespeare was not a genius because people aren’t like a summers day.
    Your lack of interest in the subject leads to statements that are nonsensical and your ignorance robs you of any realization of the shortcoming of your views.

    Doctrinal issues occur as time passes, the internet, online dating, mutual funds etc… may require a doctrinal formulation. It does not nor has ever meant the ability of a General Assembly to throw out the word of God.

    Christians have to accept that we are sinful, if you do not recognize that then you reject Christ’s sacrifice. None of us have the ability to change one jot ot tittle of God’s word.

    Indeed we love those who reject Christ, we love you, hating you would be encouraging you to persist in your self righteousness and rob you of salvation. Indeed those who praise your pride in sin do indeed not love you.

    Instead we tell you that Christ died for all of your sins, and that he is calling you to repentance to follow him, and that he is promising eternal life that he paid for.

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