Three birds and a cross are backlit by a sunset

Our Wesleyan Tradition

PLNU exists to provide higher education in a vital Christian community where minds are engaged and challenged, character is modeled and formed, and service is an expression of faith. Being of Wesleyan heritage, we strive to be a learning community where grace is foundational, truth is pursued, and holiness is a way of life.

To learn more of our heritage and PLNU’s mission, explore the texts below. 

The Wesleyan Tradition

Wesleyans seek to find a theological via media that draws upon, holds together, and affirms the true depth and breadth of the Scriptures and the orthodox Christian tradition as they give witness to the Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Wesleyans believe theology should be practical. Our primary concern is the transformation of the lives of sincere seekers into the likeness of Christ through repentance, spiritual disciplines, and practices that cultivate hearts and lives of holiness.

The Triune God of Love

Wesleyans affirm all that is stated in the classic creeds of the church (the Apostles, Nicene and Chalcedonian).

We especially emphasize that God is love. We generally understand God's sovereignty in terms of God's love.

We are Trinitarian, affirming that God is three persons with a common essence and the love of the Father is revealed fully in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ by the power and witness of the Holy Spirit.

Revelation and Authority: God's Word Revealed in Scripture and Nature

We affirm that Scripture is the primary witness to the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and Scripture is authoritative in all that matters of Christian faith and practice.

We also affirm that the primary purpose of Scripture is to lead us to faith and holiness in Christ.

We affirm that nature gives witness to the wonder, majesty, and glory of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, through whom all things were created and in whom all things hold together.

We affirm that the Holy Spirit reveals God's Word to us in Scripture and nature by enlivening our spiritual sensibilities and rational capacities so we may discern things otherwise invisible to us.

We affirm that believers may most fully understand God's Word in Scripture and nature when confirmed by the witness of the Holy Spirit, aided by Spirit-enlivened reason, and guided by the historic wisdom of the church.

Sin, Salvation, and Christian Holiness: The Ruin and Restoration of Love

We affirm that humans were created in the image and likeness of God, intended for loving relationship with God and to reflect God's love in and for all creation.

We affirm that, because of the universal effects of sin, we have lost our capacity to love God, others, and all of creation as God intends.

We affirm that, even in the greatest depths of our sins, we live in the continual presence of God's "prevenient grace" — the grace given to us by God before we have to come to faith in Christ.

We affirm that God's prevenient grace frees us to confess and repent of our lives of sin and offer ourselves in obedience to God.

We affirm that we participate responsibly with God in our salvation through repentance and obedience, but always and only by the grace of God.

We affirm that God's saving grace justifies us and reconciles us to God. God forgives the guilt of our sins and we are no longer estranged from God.

We affirm the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification of believers. Subsequent to justification, the Holy Spirit entirely renews the image of God in us so we are no longer enslaved to sin, but instead freed for complete devotion to God and love for others. This is commonly referred to as "entire sanctification."

We affirm that God's purposes for salvation are not limited to individuals, but have implications for all relationships, all communities and societies, and even the world we inhabit.

The Church: The People of God Made Holy in Love

We affirm the nature and mission of the church as "only, holy, catholic, and apostolic."

We affirm an evangelical catholicity and thereby claim as sisters and brothers in Christ all who trust fully in Christ, affirm the faith passed to use by the saints in the creeds of the church, and earnestly seek complete devotion to God and love for neighbor.

We affirm the priesthood of all believers through which all believers have access to God’s grace and are both called to and empowered for Christian ministry.

We affirm that the Wesleyan movement is a reform movement in pursuit of holiness within and for the entire Church of Jesus Christ.

We affirm a special calling and commitment to minister to and among the poor. We draw this especially from the heritage of the early Methodists, who reached out to common people, many of whom were poor, cared for their physical, material and spiritual needs, and incorporated them into the life of the church.

We affirm that the mission of the church includes preaching the Gospel to all people, even to the ends of the Earth.

The Means of Grace: Practices God Uses to Make us Holy

We emphasize Christian discipleship through the practices of Christian formation. We understand the sacraments and acts of piety and mercy to be mean of grace through which God forms us in Christlikeness.

We affirm and prescribe participation in two sacraments — baptism and Holy Communion — as means of grace ordained by Christ for all believers. In receiving the sacraments, we believe we partake of the grace of God and participate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

We prescribe Works of Mercy (caring for those in physical, emotional, and spiritual need) as both a means of conveying the love of God for people in need and as means through which we are formed in the character of holiness.

We prescribe Works of Piety (reading Scripture, prayer and fasting, etc.) as means through which we not only discern the Word of God, but also through which we are formed in the character of holiness.

We prescribe participation in groups in which we hold each other accountable for acts of mercy and piety as we respond to God's call of holiness of heart and life.

Wesleyan Resources

For an introduction to the Wesleyan tradition and to Point Loma Nazarene University's place in that tradition, see the following articles.

The full text of Our Wesleyan Tradition is available in PDF format.

PLNU as a Means of Grace is also available in PDF format. 

Collins, Kenneth. "A Wesley Bibliography"

This updated bibliography of books and articles related to the Wesleyan tradition can be read online or downloaded in various formats.

Illustration of Christ Healing Poor

John Wesley on Homelessness and Poverty

Dr. Mark Mann, PLNU theology professor, provides some historical and theological perspective on the issue of homelessness.

Read More in the Viewpoint Online Magazine