Open Theism and “Christian” Evolution At Eastern Nazarene College?

I am not a theologian.  I am simply a Christian whose highest degree is an MS in physical education, hardly a qualification that will get me into the theology department in any school.  I have a hard time dealing with lofty theological constructs, and really need to focus when I listen to lectures that are very heady.  But I can muddle through them if I really try.  And so I did last Thursday night, April 30.  The occasion was a lecture at Eastern Nazarene College by one of the major proponents of Open Theism, Dr. Thomas Oord of Northwest Nazarene University.  I had the pleasure of meeting him that night, and we chatted for  a few minutes.  No debate, just a few pleasantries, and he already knows my position on some of his views.  I drove up to hear him, because most of the time I am reading up on someone’s views, but I rarely get the chance to hear them live, on meet them in person.

Dr. Oord’s lecture was concerning “Creation and Providence in A World of Good and Evil”.  At the beginning of the lecture, he stated that he believed that evolution was compatible with Christianity.  Red flag already. That is a troubling statement, and yet it is something being taught by some Nazarene university professors.  Evolution contradicts the Biblical, historical account of the creation, and either one is false, or the other.  I choose to believe the Bible.  Dr. Oord also admits he is not a biblical inerrantist (that the Bible is without error), and that is a non-starter with me that I have had with emergent thinkers.  I cannot have a “conversation” with people who support the emergent church movement when they cannot start from the premise that the Bible is without error.  (We are talking about the original manuscripts).  Unless I am mistaken, Dr. Oord is a pretty strong supporter of the emergent church movement.
During question and answers, I made sure everyone knew that I  was clearly a Biblical inerrantist.  Then I pointed out to Dr. Oord how Romans 5:12 helps to answer the question of why there is evil and death in the world.  The scripture says:

  • Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.  Romans 5:12-14

I cannot remember the exact answer Dr. Oord gave, but at the end of it, he said something that  essentially pointed out that we disagreed on this.  He said also, “I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”   I failed to followup with another question for clarification, but it was later I realized that Dr. Oord probably does not even believe Adam and Eve existed, since he believes that evolution is compatible with Christianity.  If so, there was no Adam and Eve!  Believing in evolution destroys the biblical account, as well as many others.  So the two cannot be compatible.  You can believe evolution, or believe the Bible account of creation, and believe what Romans 5 says, that sin and death came through Adam, NOT evolution.
So let me make this clear as to where I  stand on the theology of open theism.  It is a denial, however subtle, of the total sovereignty of God. Nothing more, nothing less.

To think that God may not only know the whole future, as they believe, but that He is susceptible to making mistakes and learning from them, is at best a grossly mistaken error, and at worst, a heretical teaching.  So my concern is this: why is Dr. Oord, who seems to be a very nice guy, being asked to speak at Eastern Nazarene College?

To answer the question of why is he speaking at ENC, you need not look any further than ENC for the answer. In 2007, an Open Theology and Science Conference was held at Eastern Nazarene College in June 2007.
As a followup, last April of 2008, ENC had a registration page for an Open Theism and Science Conference at Azuza Pacific University.  On their “What Is?” page, this is how they defined Open Theology:

Open Theology Affirms That

  • 1) God and creatures enjoy mutually-influencing relations,
    2) the future is open and God does not fully know or settle it
    , and
    3) love is uniquely exemplified by God and is the human ethical imperative

I am particularly troubled by #2.  “God does not fully know the future?” The others will need further explanation as to what they may mean fully.
Keynote speakers at that conference included Dr. Gregory Boyd, a leading proponent of Open Theism.  Also scheduled to speak were Dr. Oord himself, Dean Blevins of Nazarene Theological Seminary, Michael Lodahl, whose writings I had to refute in a “conversation” with a pastor who might himself be an Open Theist; and Clark Pinnock, another highly acclaimed Open Theist.  Finally, one of the directors of the conference is Dr. Karl Giberson, professor of science and religion at ENC, whose books include Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.

So the question above seems to have been answered.  It seems that at least some administrators at ENC have no problem inviting Open Theists to speak at their campus, and have no problem advertising conferences which openly promote Open Theism.  It would probably be logical to assume that Northwest Nazarene University also has no problem with having a full time professor who teaches this theology.  One of the answers I could not get from attending on Thursday night was, why do the powers that be at ENC invite these speakers to their campus, unless they believe the same theology?  If so, that is again very troubling. My oldest son is only seven, but if he was close to college age, I would be asking questions as to what theological beliefs are being taught at any university he might attend.  I would want my child to attend a Christian school that is firmly planted on solid Biblical ground.  I would certainly never send him to any school which promotes emergent theology, contemplative spirituality practices, or which challenges the authority of the scriptures.

If you have a child soon to be considering going to ENC, or a child who is there now, you may want to give a call or a visit to the theology department at ENC and ask some questions.  Perhaps even write a letter to the President of the College, Dr. Corlis McGee, to see where she stands on this issue.  It is an important enough issue to ask questions and get answers.

If you are comfortable with the idea that God may not know everything, and that God also is susceptible to making mistakes, then there is nothing to worry about.  But if you are concerned, then one question is this: how many “young skulls full of mush”, as a talk show host affectionately describes young, impressionable youth, will be deceived into believing this very erroneous belief, and I believe, a heretical view of God.

For one of the many refutations of this heretical view, see the article Does The Bible Affirm Open Theism by John M. Frame

For extensive resources on this topic, go to the monergism.com website for a list of links to various articles.

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66 responses to “Open Theism and “Christian” Evolution At Eastern Nazarene College?

  1. Yes, those are some very good questions to ask an institution before forking over $22K plus some.

    Sometimes we research the quality and reliability of cars MORE than we reasearch the quality and realiability of teaching at Christian universities.

    Yet, we research the quality of cars to make sure our family will be safe and will be in a vehicle that can be TRUSTED to perform according to certain standards….afterall, when investing THOUSANDS of dollars in a car, you want your money’s worth!!

    Well, before you invest in a Christian college, make sure the professors hold to the same values and beliefs that you have instilled in your children.
    Make sure you get clear cut responses.

    Perhaps it’s time for a simple rating system or published questionnaire on Biblical beliefs from each professor, similar to what we see as voters before a major election?

  2. I’m coming across this more and more, regarding the Bible. There’s some aspect of it that people don’t want to accept or the old standby “Bible was written by men!”.

    What sounds crazier? That there was nothing, then an explosion happened which blasted matter throughout the universe. Following this explosion, simple organisms continually improved until they formed different animals and other items in the world, eventually finishing with mankind?

    OR

    There is a being greater than us, who created us and everything else in the world.

    Which sounds crazier? Evolution is like trying to multiply by zero. Nothing cannot turn into something. And if we did evolve from primates (as alleged), then why aren’t there in betweens? You know, a race of not quite gorilla/not quite humans? On its face, evolution is asinine. The world is too perfectly put together to have happened by chance. The human body is so intricate and detailed that any intelligent, rational person would HAVE to conclude that there is a Creator.

  3. ENC is not the only one pushing this demonic doctrine
    of emergent thinkers. MVNU is hosting J.P. Moreland who wrote The Kingdom Triangle. He too is a proponent of the idea that the bible has become an idol to those who hold it to be their final authority.
    I have three kids that I want to send to districtly holiness colleges when the time comes. As a Pastor I am strongly encouraged to make sure our church pays its regional educational budget. It’s tough. I think that God’s Bible School and Kentucky Mountain Bible College are still holding the line.

  4. I would like to express our gratitude for the hard work at putting this article together. Your first hand knowledge assures me of what I have read about some of the persons you spoke of, and the information is needed by all who believe the Bible and care about our youth. May I say thank you again from a mother who has a son in need of the Saviour.May God receive Glory.
    For that, I thank you .
    Best wishes, IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST sue b.

  5. Article 4 Church of the Nazarene Manual says….

    “We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures by which 66 books of the Old and New Testament, given by divine inspiration inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith.”

    What part of the word inerrantly am I missing?

  6. Sadly, Rev Rick,
    I have gotten an argument from more than one emergent type, who trys to explain that this reference to inerrancy ONLY reveals for “all things necessary to our SALVATION, giving them a loophole to argue that in other areas, supposedly not necessary to our salvation, there could be error. Probably includes those who believe that evolution is compatible with Christianity, (which is not) and so on. (Where does that idea come from in the scriptures?)

    I have been a Nazarene all my life, and never once doubted the inerrancy of scripture from reading this, but if that is ambiguous to many Nazarenes (emergents I guess), then let’s close that loophole once and for all, so the emergents can finally realize that we really do believe in the Bible’s full inerrancy in ALL THINGS.

  7. I wholeheartedly agree Brother. My church Board adopted a motion this week that a letter stating our local church’s position on the total inerrancy of scripture, our stand against the emergent thinking theologies, our request for those in leadership on our district, regional (MVNU), and general (NPH, general) to exercise due diligence in dealing with these issues.
    At what point does malfeasance of duty apply to those who are paid by our local church apportionments?
    Maybe others will follow suit. I thank you for you efforts to lead in the revival of truth!

  8. BTW I have been listening to some downloads of the M7 conference speakers…I can’t believe the depths this cancer has reached.

  9. I’ve downloaded some of those M7 seminars, and I get the same reaction… I think I’ll give some of these to the board members to listen to.
    Thanks. there are so many speaking out on this, including you, Rev Rick, and I believe that the surprises are still to come from the efforts of all those who are fighting this movement. God will demonstrate His sovereignty and His victory which is already assured as we stay faithful to Him. To Him goes all the glory!

  10. I honestly understand how you feel in regards to how you feel evolution and Christianity are incompatible. However, how can we say what God is and is not capable of?
    I believe that God created the world, I believe he is all knowing and omnipotent. In that case, how can we say that we know exactly how He created the world, and the universe? Scripture is very simplistic in its explanation of Creation, therefore how can we determine that everything is exactly as it happened. We also need to remember that the first several books of the Bible were written by Moses. How many years has it been that the story of creation has been handed down. I believe that scripture is inspired by God, but the fact is that a lot of it was written for the people at that time and in order to properly follow scripture we need to interpret it for life today.
    In all honesty, I am still not sure what I believe in regards to both sides of this issue, although I have a tough time believing that the universe was created in exactly 6 days, but with God, anything is possible… so why not creation through evolutionary means over say… 6 billion years?

    I guess my biggest beef with this whole debate isn’t whether Theistic Evolution or Creationism is correct, but rather why can’t people focus on what is really important, and that is that God sent His son to die for us to save us. I believe people get caught up way too much in these debates where in the long run they won’t really matter. What matters is you believe in Jesus, that He came to save our sins, and that salvation is only through Him.

  11. What should I also not believe that is written in the scriptures as fact? Let’s look at the following passage:
    Romans 5:12-14
    12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

    Should I now disregard this, and other references, and just believe in evolution, because I doubt the Biblical account?
    How can we reconcile with Paul’s claim that sin and death came through Adam, and a belief in evolution? Is Adam a fictional character? And Eve also? Who decides which parts of the Bible should be discounted as true historical events that happened? Is the story of Jonah not true also? Did Moses part the Red Sea, or is that just “poetry?” Did the great flood really occur? And if so, was it a mistake by God, as some learned professors teach?

    You see, there is no biblical basis for believing that God did not mean six days, or that God did not really create Adam and Eve as is related to us in the Bible. All this is, is man’s attempt to dilute the authority of the scriptures in all things. I do not accept the argument that the Bible is inerrant ONLY in matters of salvation, whatever that really means. Tell me where the Bible teaches that concept?
    It is a man made statement that needs to be updated for the Nazarene church, to finally affirm that the Bible is the fully inerrant Word of God, and that it is the only inerrant authority for matters of salvation and all Christian living. I could easily say to you that Jesus did not really die on the cross, it was just symbolism. How far can we go with this kind of argument?

    This process of picking and choosing for ourselves and deciding what is relevant or not relevant in the Bible, is dangerous. To answer your question, we should focus on the entire scriptures as inerrant and as it affirms itself, as the inspired Word of God. What matters is believing the entire Bible and its revelation from God, including that Jesus died for our sins, not just parts that we don’t prefer to accept. Otherwise, it all breaks down, and none of the Bible can be trusted.
    Therefore, I affirm here to all reading this, that I believe in the Bible completely as the inspired, fully inerrant Word of God, and the only fully reliable authority for salvation and Christian living.

  12. One more thought that I meant to say.. we really need to read scripture as it is. It is plainly written, and as you said, simplistic. We don’t need scholars to interpret it for us and tell us what it means.

    God’s Word is everlasting, and just like God, is unchanging. The idea that every so often we need to re-interpret scripture based on the culture is really shaky. His Word is the same for us now, as it was 200 years ago, and as it was 1000 years ago.

  13. If we can’t simply trust the creation detail how can we simply trust the way of salvation details?

  14. It’s interesting to me that you start this post with the statement, “I am not a theologian.” While it’s true that it’s not your full-time profession, the reality is that we’re all theologians. We all think and speak about God. The difference is that some have the privilege and calling to spend the vast majority of their time on it, while others have to focus on other things for the majority of their time and are able to spend much less time thinking, studying, and praying about God and the Bible.

    My brother-in-law got a PhD in Bible and Ancient Near East studies. He spent thousands of hours studying Hebrew and the Old Testament scriptures while earning that degree. Right now, as a professor, he spends more time in two weeks studying the parts of the Bible written in Hebrew than most of us will spend in a year — and he’s studying them more closely than most of us ever will, since most of us will only ever read the English translations. And, yes, he’s a Christian (and may be ordained in the Church of the Nazarene at some point).

    Now if I, a Nazarene pastor, find myself disagreeing with my brother-in-law about something in the Old Testament… which one of us would you be more likely to believe? Which one of us do you think would have a better grasp of all the different aspects of the situation?

    If I can’t see how something fits, but he tells me, “Oh, yes, it fits,” should I conclude that he’s deceived? mistaken? lying? Or should I trust him and trust that, if I were to keep digging, I would see the connection that he sees?

    To me, that’s what this whole situation looks like. When I see that your conclusions differ from those of our Nazarene professors, who get to spend the majority of their time each week studying and thinking about and praying about these things… Well, I think it’s obvious who I’m more likely to believe…

  15. You know, that argument is getting old. I’m sorry to be so blunt. So I have to spend thousands of hours studying the Old Testament just to keep up with “the learned ones”? That is complete arrogance. The simplest person who reads and meditates (properly) on the scriptures, often has more insight than the most studious person in any university. Why is that?

    I believe the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. I don’t try to fit my concept of how God created us, to explain away the Biblical account.

    “Professing to be wise, they became fools”. That is what I think is going on with many people who instead of learning from the scriptures, are trying to bring their wisdom into the scriptures, and are fooling themselves to believe that these man made praying practices, and their wise sayings regarding God’s foreknowledge and how God created the world, is what we should believe. Nonsense!

    Psalm 119: 99 says: “I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    For Your testimonies are my meditation.”

    It’s funny that I read that Psalm this morning, perhaps in preparation for answering your commentary.

    Psalm 119:
    97 Oh, how I love Your law!
    It is my meditation all the day.
    98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
    For they are ever with me.
    99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    For Your testimonies are my meditation.
    100 I understand more than the ancients,
    Because I keep Your precepts.
    101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
    That I may keep Your word.
    102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
    For You Yourself have taught me.
    103 How sweet are Your words to my taste,
    Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
    104 Through Your precepts I get understanding;
    Therefore I hate every false way.

  16. I guess I should probably go ahead clean my library out and throw out of the books that were written by authors such as Uncle Bud Robinson and John and Bona Fleming, Phoebe Palmer. Those poor uneducated fools probably didn’t know what they were talking about. LOL
    1 Corinthians 1:27
    “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”

  17. One more thing…How ironic is it that Mr. Schmidt voices this viewpoint on a website titled “Reformed Nazarene”. Correct me if I’m wrong (I’m sure someone will jump at the chance) but didn’t the Protestant Reformation start because the Catholic Church stressed the idea of leaving scriptural interpretation to the “learned”? I wonder how many of the “learned” in our seminaries and our universities are even saved let alone sanctified wholly? What can an unsaved unsanctified professor teach a student that would be of spiritual significance?

  18. Thanks, Manny, for allowing my comment through. I sincerely appreciate it.

    And I apologize for any arrogance. That was the furthest thing from my mind. Instead, I have in mind a humility that recognizes a richness to Scripture that continues to unfold the more we do what Psalm 119 describes.

    Your quoting of that psalm makes me think again of my bro-in-law, since what it describes is pretty much what he gets to do with almost all of his time: study Scripture. If I found myself in a disagreement with him about some portion of the Old Testament, it wouldn’t be because one of us is more committed to the Bible or to God. I would like to think that my iron can still sharpen his, and that I might occasionally bring to light some connection he hadn’t previously considered. :) And he can still be wrong, of course. As can I. But common sense requires that I give a lot of weight to what he says, because he simply understands it at a level of detail that I don’t. He has spent considerably more time doing what Psalm 119 describes than I have.

    Similarly, I’m willing to wager that the Nazarene religion professors you disagree with also get to meditate upon and study Scripture quite a bit more than you and I do.

    This disagreement is not between Christians who believe and study the Bible and non-Christians who don’t. This disagreement is between Bible-believing Christians and Bible-believing Christians. Every Nazarene religion professor, including Dr. Oord and the professors at ENC and NNU, is committed to understanding and following the teachings of the Bible because they love our Lord Jesus Christ. They share this passion of yours! They have simply arrived at different conclusions in some areas.

    If you or I can’t see how they can hold a particular view — like Open Theism, or some sort of theistic evolution — and square it with the Bible, I think it’s perfectly fine for us to say, “I don’t see it.” When they write books and give lectures trying to explain it to us, and we still don’t see it, I think it’s OK for us to say, “I still don’t see it.” And I think it’s good for us to ask them our questions. But for us to conclude, “Well, because I still don’t see how it fits, it must not actually fit, and they must not really believe the Bible”…. well, that just doesn’t seem quite fair, especially when they’ve put 10 or 100 or 1,000 times as much time and effort into it as I have.

  19. It’s not because I don’t se how it fits… it’s because it clearly goes against what scripture teaches! Open Theism defies God’s foreknowledge. So how then can we rely on the prophesies in the Bible, having no confidence that God is right.

    And as far as evolution, that is totally contradictory to the biblical account of creation; you cannot accept evolution, without saying that Genesis is incorrect in its account of creation! I have stated this before, so I don’t need to reference the verses that show that Adam and Eve were real, and that God created them directly, as the Bible teaches. I choose to believe the Bible, not the musings or theoretical writings of any PhD!

  20. If a bullet begins off course it doesn’t matter how well it is constructed or how aerodynamic it is, it will never hit the mark! If a person starts with a viewpoint that is contrary to known scripture it doesn’t matter how much they study they will never come out with the right conclusion.

  21. Manny, if I may… I see your last comment as an excellent example of saying, “I don’t see any possible way to reasonably and responsibly fit together evolution and the biblical account of creation.”

    Some of our Nazarene professors have written books saying, “Here’s how I see evolution and the biblical account of creation fitting together.” They say that they are remaining true to the intent of Scripture and testify that their faith in God and their confidence in Scripture is strengthened, not harmed. You disagree with them. I’m OK with that. I used to, too. Passionately. And then, as I studied it further, the pieces came together for me.

    As for Open Theism, your statement about biblical prophecies reminded me of Greg Boyd’s website (http://www.gregboyd.org). His Q&A section addresses this issue along with many others and includes discussions of quite a few specific Bible passages. I’ve personally found it to be very helpful, so I wanted to pass it along, in case you haven’t explored it yet. (You probably have.)

    In my view, the open theism or open future view takes the Bible more seriously than other views, not less seriously. That’s the main reason I like it.

    As for PhD’s, etc… I’m sorry if my perspective is coming across as elitist or something. RevRick, especially, seems to have taken it this way. Again, that’s not my intent.

    On the one hand, this website (and other “concerned” websites) encourages people to study Scripture, to “study to show thyself approved,” to meditate on Scripture as Psalm 119 above describes, etc. But then, on the other hand, there’s this disparagement of our brothers and sisters who have made this studying of Scripture their life’s work. I have to admit, using the language I used earlier, that I don’t see how these two things fit together.

    It’s been my experience that the more I study Scripture, the more I learn. Part of that learning process includes realizing that ideas I’d held previously were incorrect and had to be replaced by new ideas and perspectives. So it seems reasonable to me that those who have studied Scripture for 10,000 hours will understand some things differently from those who have studied it for 1,000 hours or 100 hours. If that weren’t the case, I might wonder what they’d been doing for those 10,000 hours. :)

  22. I simply believe the Bible and what it PLAINLY teaches us, Rich.

    How does someone come to the conclusion that the biblical account of creation is just a myth or an allegory? Does the Bible tell us that it is? Or is just man and his super intellect that has figured this out, and then tells us that it’s just a story.

    What other parts of the Bible have been determined by the “smarter ones” as being allegory or myth? Jonah and the whale? The parting of the sea? Perhaps the story of Job, was that a myth? Did the great flood really happen? Or Jesus’s miracle with the loaves and fishes, did that really happen? Why should I believe that incredible story? Goodness, I have no idea then what to believe, whether it was simply a “story” for effect, or whether it happened?

    What do I tell a non-believer I am witnessing to? If he asks, how did God create the world, and I say it came through evolution, then he responds, “then the Bible is a book of fiction! Because it says God created Adam and Eve, and you don’t believe it!”

    So much confusion. So many questions. How do I figure out what’s true in the Bible? How? Who do I turn to for the answers to these questions? Why do you have to put so much doubt in my mind? (Not really, just hypothetically).

    Is the Bible true? Can it be trusted completely? What?? Only parts of it? Only the parts that are “sufficient for salvation?” Who came up with that? And what is sufficient for salvation? I have so many more questions! Is that enough for now? Me and my father always believed that the Bible was completely trustworthy in everything! Was he wrong, a Nazarene minister for 50 years? Oh my.

    Look, there is a point to this sarcasm. I’ll stop now, but I repeat what I said at the beginning:
    “I simply believe the Bible and what it PLAINLY teaches us.”

  23. The problem, Manny, is that what the Bible “plainly” teaches us has a tendency to vary depending on what we think we already know.

    In the days of Galileo, the Bible “plainly” taught in 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, and Psalm 96:10 that “The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” So they could not accept Galileo’s assertion that the Sun is at the center of the solar system with the Earth and other planets revolving around it. In your words, his theory “clearly goes against what scripture teaches.” It was “totally contradictory to the biblical account.”

    And what if they could talk to us today… we who accept that the Earth is rotating and revolving through space? Would they ask us why we don’t believe the Bible is completely trustworthy in everything? What if they asked us all the questions you asked in that last post?

  24. I believe God created Adam and Eve as Genesis states it plainly.

    I believe he created Eve from Adam’s rib.

    I believe Jonah was swallowed by a whale or big fish.

    I believe…

    Do you?

  25. Yes, I believe the Bible, Manny. I’ll answer you more specifically if you’ll answer me, too:

    Do you believe that the world cannot be moved, as 1 Chronicles and Psalms state plainly?

    What did the women find at Jesus’ tomb when they went there early on the first day of the week after he was crucified? The gospels describe the story plainly and directly.

    Since you mentioned Jonah, and Jesus mentioned Jonah: How many nights did Jesus spend in the tomb? Was Jesus correct in Matthew 12:40?

  26. Rich, you have not agreed with me about Adam and Eve and the other things I just mentioned, so unless you also state that you believe in the Genesis account of creation, and the other facts I mentioned, should I assume that you DON’T believe these accounts are true, or that you just don’t know for sure? Nevertheless, I will answer your question.

    I can’t explain everything. I understand that there are difficult passages in the Bible. I understand that there are seeming contradictions. But look at all the supposed historical or geographical errors that in the past were apparent contradictions, but later were found out to be correct.

    For every thing that seems to be a contradiction and error in the Bible, I believe that there are perfectly legitimate and plausible answers to these. Are you really interested in an answer to every single one of these “contradictions, and to know why? Do you need to reach that point that everything is perfectly explained to you by God himself before you believe the Bible is true? You’ll never get there.

    I suggest to people who have these “questions”, to prayerfully study the Bible, maybe they will find a simple solution. Do some research, use biblical research sites, read Bible commentaries. If you still have no answer to those “contradictions” pointed out, I suggest this: trust God that His Holy Word is the truth, and perhaps sometime down the road, the solution or answer to these seeming contradictions will come. In the meantime, trust in God’s Word!

    2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

    2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NIV)
    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  27. Forgive me, Manny. I should have stopped after the first question. That’s the one most relevant to the discussion.

    Do you believe science (which says our planet rotates around its axis and revolves around the sun) or the Bible (which plainly says that the world is firmly established and cannot be moved)?

  28. How about if you give me the exact Bible reference for that, so that I can read it in context?

    And also, do you believe that Adam and Eve were real?

  29. Well, I guess I should have opened my Bible to the entire chapters, which is what I meant to say. :-)

    Let’s look at the entire chapter to see what it means, looking at all that is written there. In all these references, I don’t see where you get the meaning to be a scientific meaning that the world literally will not move! Sorry.

    These verses are talking about God’s control and sovereignty over all the earth. Nothing here says anything about making the earth stand still literally.

    So are Adam and Eve real?

  30. Hmmm… so in the cases of 1 Chron. 16:30, Psalm 93:1, and Psalm 96:10, it’s OK for you to say that these verses aren’t trying to express a scientific meaning but are “talking about” something else (God’s control and sovereignty). But it’s not OK for us to do the same with the creation stories in Genesis?

    I think (I’m not sure about this) that maybe I believe that Adam and Eve are real the same way that you believe that “the world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.”

  31. If your beginning suppositions are wrong and you spend 10,000 hours trying to find support for those suppositions….Does that make the individual closer to the truth or a bigger fool for not simply believing the truth as it is to begin with?

  32. And, RevRick, what makes you think these Nazarene professors started with incorrect suppositions? How many of them have you talked to about this, to find out what their starting point was? Or is this just an assumption on your part, because they have reached conclusions different from your own?

    I’m reading Karl Giberson’s “Saving Darwin” book right now. He started out as a young-earth creationist, hoping to work with Ken Ham one day. Does that sound to you like he started with incorrect suppositions?

  33. Manny,

    It seems as if you’re in the wrong denomination my friend.

    NONE of your views come from the Nazarene Church or the Manual.

    Not one.

    The Bible doesn’t teach “PLAINLY” anything except that which is in the NICENE and APOSTLE’S creed. That is not much.

    this idea of “PLAIN” meaning… comes from MARTIN LUTHER… not the Bible. Not the Naz manual.

    You quote Piper, MacArthur, Sproul, and Mohler.

    Those are NOT Nazarenes. I think you belong in a Reformed Church where your inerrant craziness can have it’s way.

    These Nazarene Professors ARE DEFINITELY SAVED. (I am a recent Graduate from Olivet and now Master’s Student at Point Loma)… DON’T YOU DARE question their salvation.

    And like Rich said… THEY STUDIED THE BIBLE FOR 11 YEARS IN SCHOOL…

    How much have you?

    This whole post is sad.

    Your comments are sad.

    This is very scary, and NOT Nazarene.

  34. I also let this comment in, to again illustrate the nonsense that emergents (if you are one) spout all the time.

    Ultimately, I do not live by the Nazarene Manual, my friend, but the Bible. The only inerrant source of truth, the truth of Jesus Christ.

    If you think this kind of talk bothers me… not in the least. Use scripture if you want to argue that I am wrong on these issues.

    I am, again, a Christian first, not a Nazarene. MacArthur, Sproul, Mohler… all of them are against the heresies of the emergent movement… which is why I respect them. Our leadership needs to step up and also condemn the things that have come in.

    That is what is sad! Not my post! So don’t throw the “Nazarene” thing on me… I hear it enough already. I am Christian first, Nazarene second. If the Nazarene church is broken, it must be fixed.

    And one more thing…. I have not questioned anyone’s salvation… you emergents put words in people’s mouths that were never said! But I do believe many of these professors are misled and deceived. That I can say, because they are pushing ideas that are not biblical.

    Have a good day.

  35. let me clear some things up.

    I am NOT an Emergent. I am a serious student of the Bible, working on a Master’s of Arts in Biblical Studies.

    After having studied the Bible hard for 4 years, with Professors who have done it their whole lives, I can say for sure that you are misguided, not them.

    Also, Mohler and MacArthur are two of the MOST SERIOUSLY misguided people out there right now.

    You may not know this, but the idea of “I go to the Bible… the Bible is clear.”

    Does not come from scripture. It comes from an INTERPRETATION of passages, as you’ve shown, from Jesus, 1 Peter, and 2 Timothy.

    NONE of which claim there are no Errors in the Bible.

    NONE of which claim the Bible is “clear.”

    So, your claim to go back to the Bible because it is “clear” is actually an appeal to Martin Luther….

    NOT to the Bible.

    You have defined what is “correct” by what certain people claim the Bible says, because they want the Bible (something written thousands of years ago) to be “clear” to people with a “modern philosophy.”

    Couple of problems with this:

    The Bible is NOT clear, it is very intricate and beautiful

    The Bible is NOT a product of Modern Philosophy which worships the idol of Absolute Truth…

    It is the product of ANCIENT people with an ANCIENT worldview and ANCIENT philosophy that takes DILIGENT study to understand.

    It is NOT clear to the 21st century person.

    For you to suggest these men are misguided is EXTREMELY arrogant (coming from someone with no formal training) and EXTREMELY misguided.

    These men take the Bible VERY seriously and have found it’s difficult.

    Open Theism is clearly wrong… IS IT?

    There are prophecies in the Bible which God changes… which get altered

    What to do with those?

    There are verses which show God changing his mind, even being sorrowful…

    What to do with those?

    If you suggest they are “anthropomorphic” or that we should “read them in light of other passages”…

    Then you’re appealing to a TRADITION to understand them… not to Scirpture alone.

    Scripture is unclear, and an Open Theist and Classical Theist BOTH give more weight to one or the other…. NEITHER simply let the text talk… or they wouldn’t have a position.

  36. Your words are very empty…

    “I live by the Bible, the words of Jesus Christ.”

    You live by a certain interpretation and understanding of those…

    Then you claim a different understanding of them is wrong…

    So, two people can go TO THE TEXT ALONE…

    but you claim to be right because you do so.

    Do you not see that you are a product of reformation and modernity? TRADITIONS…

    those TRADITIONS have shaped how you read the text. Don’t try to claim the high-ground of “sola Scriptura.” You’re heavily indebted to traditions.

  37. Ben, I don’t know what else to tell you. My words are empty? Mohler and MacArthur are seriously misguided? Two men who trust COMPLETELY the Word of God, are misguided???
    Yet they oppose a movement that is laced with heresy, and they are the misguided ones?
    We have professors teaching that God does not know the future, yet Mohler, MacArthur, and I are misguided?
    Again, that and more is proof, that having all the education in the world, and continually studying, does not inoculate you from deception! Only by staying true to the Word of God can that help.

    You can listen to 100 professors in graduate school or seminary for years, but if you are not grounded in the Word, my friend, some of those professors might fool you with their own ideas from their own mind, not the mind of God as revealed in scripture.

    Don’t you get it? It’s not higher education that does it for us. Most Nazarenes do not have the opportunity to continue and study in school for years. But many can study the Word faithfully every day, and the Holy Spirit reveals to them God’s will, and shows them the PLAIN truth from God’s inerrant Word.

  38. These most recent posts are reminding me of Peter’s words in 2 Peter 3:16, when speaking of the apostle Paul: “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

    I think we all agree that there are some parts of the Bible that are hard to understand. There are riches to be mined in Scripture. The gold isn’t all just sitting on the surface.

    At the same time, I imagine that each one of us thinks it’s the other guy who is described in the last part of the verse. None of us think that we are the ignorant, unstable person who is distorting Scripture. It’s got to be the other guy! :)

  39. Yeah, I agree, Rich. Many times, two people think the other one is wrong. And if they have opposing views, one of them is usually wrong, the other right! (Of course, there are the areas of non-essentials where two people can be different in their belief- I’m not talking about non-essentials).

    As an example, the use of prayer labyrinths is either biblically grounded or not. If I oppose it, and you support it, one of us is wrong. To find out who is wrong in their thinking, we look to the Word of God, and see if a prayer labyrinth is biblical. It is not, since that is something that has its roots in pagan religion, and that is expressly forbidden in the Bible, as is divination, which much of the contemplative prayer practices are.

  40. Manny,

    That’s the issue here. It is when people who study it every day, don’t look to learned people who have studied it in depth in order to understand things better. Such as the possibility of open theism.

    This idea that it is easily, and clearly discernable by the 21st century man just makes no sense.

    I’ve already told you, you’re indebted to Luther for that idea, not the Bible.

    Yes, Mohler and MacArthur are men COMPLETELY grounded in the Bible.

    So is Dr. Lodahl.

    They disagree.

    And I’m not talking about “Emerging Church” and their opposition to it. I’m talking about the general way in which they interpret Scripture.

    Yes, when it comes to THIS issue (interpretation), and between them and Dr. Lodahl… THEY are the ones who are seriously misguided.

    They teach a doctrine that tells 21st century people they can understand ancient documents in a translation just as easily as someone who studies them in their original language for a living…

    That makes no sense.

    I’m not trying to be elitist… I’m really not. It’s just the way things are. To call ancient literature, which GOD used for His word and authority… easy to understand… clear… is just silly.

    It just seems like professors and scholars work rigorously every day to get our understanding of these books of God’s Word…. BACK to the original meaning….

    and people like you stick in the Modern World… read it as such… and claim everyone else doing anything different is spewing “poison.”

    It’s a shame.

    If the Bible itself DOES promote Open Theism… then all your protesting is simply keeping the Bible from speaking.

    both you and the Open Theist are very serious about their Bible, and ground everything in the Bible.

    both of you choose to read certain scriptures in light of others.

    But then YOU claim that all you’ve done is read the Scriptures and that the Open theist has failed to do so… and they are a heretic.

    It’s an empty attempt to claim high-ground which you don’t have. I don’t understand why you can’t see that.

  41. Hi Ben,
    I don’t think I need to respond much here. I’ll let your comments be judged on their merits by everyone who reads this.

    Just one comment; the Bible is unchanging; it has always been good for everyone, no matter what the culture. The Lord is not a God of confusion, His Word endures forever for all generations; it does not need re-interpretation every several centuries or whatever.

    Thanks,
    Manny

  42. “…it does not need re-interpretation every several centuries or whatever.”

    Tell that to Galileo, Manny.

    The church of his day was convinced that what the Bible plainly taught was incompatible with any scientific theory that said the Earth was moving through space.

    For me, that helps put our current situation in a little bit of perspective.

  43. Manny,

    You just said a bunch of fluff with no substance.

    What does it mean for the Bible to be unchanging?

    Does that mean our interpretation at some point in time was magically right (which has NEVER been uniform) is unchanging?

    What does it mean for God to not be one of confusion?

    Does that mean that somehow what was written to ANCIENT people in an ANCIENT worldview… magically makes sense to those who know nothing about that worldview?

    What does it mean for the Bible to be good for everyone?

    Does that mean that somehow everyone can udnerstanding everything it says perfectly if they just pray hard enough?

    None of what you said means any of these things neccessarily. You just strung a bunch of nice sounding things together and ASSUMED a meaning for them.

    These types of posts and “conversations” are meaningless and misguided. Silly, and muddle-headed.

  44. This is from the opening summary of the Wikipedia entry for Galileo Galilei, found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei


    Although he was cleared of any offence at that time, the Catholic Church nevertheless condemned heliocentrism as “false and contrary to Scripture” in February 1616,[8] and Galileo was warned to abandon his support for it—which he promised to do. When he later defended his views in his most famous work, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632, he was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

    The quotes from the church especially interest me, as the current accusations against open theists and Christian evolutionists sound remarkably similar.

  45. I’ll just post your comments here again, and let everyone else evaluate them in the light of scripture.

  46. Hey, Manny, I wanted to thank you again for allowing these dissenting opinions here on your blog. I understand that it’s fully within your rights to delete or reject comments at your choosing, so I appreciate your willingness to host this conversation here.

    Ben, I think you can tell that my perspective on these things is very similar to yours. But I don’t think you’re going to convince Manny by calling his posts “meaningless and misguided. Silly, and muddle-headed.” We’re guests here, so let’s be sure we act like it.

  47. No problem, Rich. This is different than the Facebook group. I only delete, or rather, don’t even allow comments, when they are either: extremely rude, bad language, or get to be too repetitive from previous posts.

  48. Manny and Rich,

    Maybe I shouldn’t go so far as to say some of the things in the tone which I did… however, this is why I have.

    Manny has assumed a high-ground by using lofty statements which are empty of any real meaning unless they are discussed and thought through. However, he just assumes a meaning for them and then uses them, as if that does something.

    Also, he has claimed some high-ground of using the Bible-only when he’s clearly indebted to Tradition.

    All of that is fine, as long as one is willing to admit it and talk those things out. If not, if one is intent on using empty notions to back one’s self up… it becomes silly by nature.

    Lastly,

    There were many harsh comments made by Manny towards those Godly men leading our Universities and Seminaries in a very Biblical direction.

    As one who has studied very closely to these professors very recently, and will be doing more of over the next 3 years, I just simply cannot accept that.

    These men should be respected and looked to for guidance, not questioned at every turn and assumed to have “faulty presuppositions.”

    Also, I’ve ran into enough people who are convinced of this sort of thing that Manny is.

    That is fine, but it has no place in the Nazarene Church, or in trying to change the Nazarene Church.

    The best thing for the “Concerned Nazarenes” to do, if they are not going to be willing to seriously and scholarly think through these issues… if they are going to insist on posts such as this one, and insist in their correctness…

    As a licensed minister in the church, the son of an ordained Elder, I believe that the best thing for them to do is to leave the Nazarene Church, if these types of views are so important to them.

    They can go to the local Reformed Baptist, Independent Baptist, or Southern Baptist Church and get these views and ideas. They can go to Fundamentalist churches.

    That’s fine. I’d be happy for them. They can even influence those denominations into teaching and proclaiming Holiness and the work of God’s Spirit.

    However, such Fundamentalist views are not needed, not home, and not welcome, in the Church of the Nazarene. Nor is the strife being caused by a lot of those in this party…

    especially this DVD which is incredibly uncalled for.

    Manny,

    If I have said anything that offends you, I apologize. I hope I have made more clear why I was so frustrated, and possibly too vitriolic. However, I do want to remain firm and clear.

    You’re a brother in Christ, and I thank you for allowing discussion on your blog.

    But I must say, some brothers in Christ are better outside of the Church of the Nazarene. It’s better for them, and better for the CotN.

  49. Ben,
    Apology accepted.
    I’m puzzled by some of your suggestions and comments however.
    “Lofty statements empty of real meaning?” Not sure about what you mean there, you did not give me a specific example.
    I do use the Bible as my sole authority, not a problem with that for me.
    You imply I use “empty notions”… which would those be?

    Regarding “harsh comments”, sometimes those are necessary, although you did not point them out specifically. Read Galatians and see some of the harsh comments Paul made. He would not be too popular with many Christians today, because he was not shy about harshly reprimanding those who were teaching false doctrine.

    Regarding the professors, you said “These men should be respected and looked to for guidance, not questioned…”
    Really? Not when they are promoting teachings that undermine the Word of God!

    And you say that “this sort of thing”, (I assume what I and others are doing), has no place in the Nazarene Church? Tell that to my late father, a Nazarene minister for 50 years, who believed in the inerrancy of scripture, and came out of Roman Catholicism as a young man. Imagine him seeing these things unfolding now, as we are welcoming mystical practices right out of Romanism! I believe he would be speaking out on this. So “this sort of thing”, which I assume you mean to be my criticism, does have a place here, because I love the Nazarene church, and will not give up so easily as it slips into welcoming unbiblical and occult practices.

    Your suggestion for us to leave is probably the hope and desire of many emergents. It would would made life easier for them. No opposition in sight, no one to challenge their aberrant theology! It’s not going to be that easy, sorry to tell you.

    This is a fight that is going to be taken to the General Assembly and there will be a lot of noise made. More concerned Nazarenes will rise up and say no to allowing false teachers into our universities, such as Brian McLaren and Tony Jones.

    And finally, speaking of strife, or perhaps division… that is all being caused by those bringing in false doctrine, not by concerned Nazarenes. Perhaps it is the false teachers such as McLaren who should be shown the door from the universities, since they are not even Nazarenes who teach sound doctrine. Have you ever paid attention to the things that he and Tony Jones and others teach? Is that sound doctrine? Do you believe the idea of original sin, as Jones has said, is not true? Or that unrepentent homosexuals can still life as true Christians?
    Or what about McLaren, and his belief that the we can realize the kingdom of God here on earth through our own efforts? Or his the notion of the Cross as being false advertising? Do you ever read the garbage these people put out, and if so, do you believe that junk? It is not the true gospel.

    And you suggest that people like me, who love the Nazarene church, should so quickly leave? Not when there is hope that many others will start seeing what is going on, and demand clarity and accountability from the leadership. It is better for me to stay as long as there is hope that this apostasy can be stopped.

    You are still a young man. I have many years on you, and I have made some stupid decisions in the past. But God has always led me back to His Word, and I suggest that you get into the Word more deeply than getting into the writings and words of McLaren and such, or even the words of your professors. God’s Word never fails to enlighten us to the truth of the gospel.

    In keeping with Paul’s admonition in Galatians, this is why I do what I do here. My purpose is to expose false teaching to my brothers and sisters in the Nazarene church, as well as those in the Baptist churches and other denominations.

    Galatians 1:6-10
    “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
    10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”

  50. I will be very interested to see what happens at General Assembly… partly because I’m unaware of anything that you (Manny), Tim, or any of the other “concerned Nazarenes” have done through official channels to bring about change. Have you submitted resolutions for consideration by the Assembly? Have you brought formal charges of misconduct against any of these professors? If so, I haven’t seen any mention of it.

    However, there are at least two resolutions being considered that seem to be “concerned Nazarene”-friendly: one on the inerrancy of Scripture (JUD-805) and one on a more literal reading of the Genesis account of creation (CA-708). All the resolutions submitted before the Dec. 1 deadline can be viewed at http://www.gacorlando.com and are being discussed over at NazNet. It will be interesting to see what direction the discussion and voting take on these two resolutions.

  51. I don’t know why this didn’t pop into my head earlier…

    On the topic of open theism and biblical inerrancy… Manny, did you know that Greg Boyd argued persuasively at the Evangelical Theological Society meeting in 2002 that open theism and biblical inerrancy are compatible with one another? I say “persuasively,” because the ETS did NOT vote to exclude the open theists from their midst, even though their agreed statement of belief contains an affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture. You can read his reasoning at his website. I suggest using this search link to see where the term “inerrancy” appears on his website.

    http://www.gregboyd.org/?s=inerrancy

    The article I’m referring to is the 2nd one down, but it’ll let you see some of the other things he’s said about inerrancy as well. Some of them are very helpful, I think.

    I mention this because your argument against open theism seems to be that it undermines Scripture… while Boyd shows (and the ETS agreed) that it does not.

  52. Rich, if writing letters to leaders, including General Superintendents, is official channels, then many have done that already. I personally have tried to address upper leadership as well. I am awaiting a response from my own D.S. from a letter I wrote about six weeks ago, and also from a message I left at the District office.
    As far as formal charges against professors, I don’t even know if that’s possible. I think if so, then it would be more up to the folks who are ost affected at those universities, to do that. If they can do that, I hope that shedding the light on some of their teachings will prompt people to do something, if they believe that these teachings are not in the best interests of their children at these schools.

  53. In the spirit of having a rational discussion, I will take a look at that, even though I cannot believe that God is not totally sovereign and does not now all the future.
    It may take a day or so, it’s going to be a busy weekend, but I’ll check it out sometime this week. I am prepping for some important stuff coming up soon.

  54. Manny,

    I’ve already told you that I’m NOT an emergent. Would you please stop aligning me with emergents? Thank you, that would be highly appreciated.

    “Empty notions.”

    By this I mean your statement that, “I only use the Bible.”

    You don’t only use the Bible. You’re indebted to Martin Luther (tradition) for an understanding of how clear the scripture SHOULD be and on what sorts of issues.

    Saying that God is “not a god of confusion” is also an empty notion. Because it is not a qualified statement. It sounds really nice, but what does that mean? It can be true, without meaning what you WANT it to mean. If you were to qualify it… we could talk about it and debate what you MEAN when you say it. However, you don’t qualify it, you simply say it and expect that someone has to agree with you. Instead… I could 100% disagree with you on the matter and STILL believe that God is not a god of confusion.

    “The Bible doesn’t need re-interpreting”

    That’s another empty notion. What does that mean? Does that mean that it didn’t need re-interpreting from Martin Luther? I’m sure you’d disagree with that, you seem to like Luther and the Reformation a lot. Well then who says what Luther’s thoughts don’t need re-interpreting? Who made that rule? You? Scripture didn’t. If Re-interpreting brings us closer to what Paul meant when he said it… or what Genesis 1 meant when it was written….

    doesn’t that mean it needs re-interpreting? Interpreting is what WE do. Not what the Bible says. The task of the interpreter is always to discover what Paul said. So… if we have it wrong… THEN IT NEEDS RE-INTERPRETING.

    So, again, an empty notion.

    You see how these all sound nice, but really don’t mean anything of value?

    As far as McLaren or Jones go. Again, I’m NOT an emergent. I’m a serious student of the Bible who intends on being a professor at a Nazarene University. I do not find everything they say to be sound. I find some things they say puzzling. Other things troubling.

    However, they are not necessarily heretics, and they have a lot of critisizms for the church and other things to say which are of great value, and we should be listening to THOSE things. To write them off point-blank is to completely miss what truth itself is.

    “Regarding the professors, you said “These men should be respected and looked to for guidance, not questioned…”
    Really? Not when they are promoting teachings that undermine the Word of God!”….

    WHO SAYS THEY ARE UNDERMINING THE WORD OF GOD!?

    You? I’m sorry but you’re certainly not an authority on this issue, and neither am I. MacArthur? Sproul? Mohler?

    Please… give me a break.

    If you’re referring to inerrancy… to believe it is NOT inerrant, is not to undermine it. It is to say WHAT IT IS…

    Let me qualify that last statement (btw Manny, I only use capital letters for emphasis, not yelling. I am not good with html so i don’t know how to bold and italicize things. I apologize if it has come off as yelling).

    Now, again, to the qualification of the statement on inerrancy:

    You can claim the Bible is inerrant. You can fight for it. You can lobby for it. You can scream till you’re blue in the face about it.

    But if it is NOT inerrant… you haven’t helped it. In fact, you are the one who has undermined it… not the one calling it NOT inerrant. They are the one who has actually spoken truthfully about it.

    So again, to claim the high-ground of believing in inerrancy is a lofty concept which doesn’t do you – or anyone else – much good. You might be right, but you might not.

    Sola Scriptura says you’re wrong.
    Tradition says you’re right.

    I’ll stick to the Bible on the issue. There are contradictions in the Bible (who killed goliath?). Therefore, the Bible tells me it is not inerrant… that’s ok bc the Bible is my final authority.

    As far as “Open Theism” undermining the Bible. As Boyd has shown, it is compatible with inerrancy. Also, Bible Scholars who believe in open theism TAKE THE BIBLE VERY SERIOUSLY! THEY WOULD NEVER UNDERMINE IT’S AUTHORITY.

    So for you to make that claim about our professors is to say that you know better than them.

    That’s a shame.

    As far as your Dad goes, and your/his being in the Church of the Nazarene. I’m sure your father was a great minister, and I’m sure he loved his church, his savior, and his children.

    However, if he’d be upset about Roman Catholic practices… it’s because he’d be wrong on that issue. That is not a swipe at your father, who again, I’m sure was a great Godly man. Instead, it is to say we can all be wrong on something.

    What about my father… who has been a Nazarene Minister for 22 years? He doesn’t practice mysticism, doesn’t practice contemplative prayer… but he doesn’t see a Roman Catholic practice as a problem…

    bc Roman Catholics are our brothers in Christ. Does that make your father right, and mine wrong?

    What about my father, who doesn’t believe the Bible is inerrant… but takes the Bible VERY seriously and uses it as his ONLY authority on matters of faith and Christian living? Is he wrong/misguided?

    I use those illustrations to say that people of good faith and good will can disagree. And using your father as an emotional appeal won’t work, bc my father is ALSO an educated Naz minister. You can say my father is wrong… just understand appealing to your father doesn’t mean i won’t say he was wrong.

    I just wanted to get that out of the way because you appeal to your father’s credentials a lot as grounds for your correctness. I just wanted to throw it out there that opinions within the Naz church differ, and one or the other can be wrong.

    That being said, I do believe that any idea of the Scripture as being inerrant, or Genesis 1 being literal… are SCARY and are BAD for the church. People who want to champion those beliefs should therefore go to a DIFFERENT denomination…

    Not so that something bad can happen. But because THE CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE HAS NEVER BELIEVED THOSE TWO THINGS. So what were people doing believing those things in the first place doing in the CotN?

    I don’t want to go unopposed, I just don’t want very misguided ideologies which were never part of the church to define what the Church becomes.

  55. Ben, where do I start?

    I can’t cover everything, but let me go over some major points you mentioned.
    But first, my father was not an “emotional appeal”. It was what I know of his history and his core beliefs, that I am confident about what he would say. If your father’s opinion is different, that’s fine. However, I will say, that some many times, when two differ in an opinion about something, one has to be wrong! In the essentials of the gospel, there can only be one right position.

    As far as McLaren and Jones? They may have a lot of good stuff to say, but I stand by the fact that they promote heretical teachings, and therefore you should be throwing them out completely! I can’t believe that you propose listening to people who promote false doctrine, because they have something good to say? Well, I’m sure Satan has suggested some very good things to some people, but would you invite the devil to speak at your school? Don’t get me wrong, now! I don’t equate McLaren and Jones with the devil, no way. But they are deceived teachers at best, and need to repent and believe in the true gospel as taught in the Bible. It is clear that they are preaching another gospel. Just read what they say! Or are you ignoring their teachings? Or is it that you don’t care that the teach false doctrine? Do you want more evidence of their false teachings? WE MUST WRITE THEM OFF COMPLETELY, THAT’S MY POINT! (Not shouting, just emphasizing also).

    Regarding the professors: they ARE undermining the Word of God, by their very words. I don’t think I need to repeat the things I have pointed out in this posting and in other places. To claim that evolution is compatible with Christianity, is to deny the references Jesus himself made about Adam, as well as Paul. Was Jesus lying when he spoke about Adam as an actual historical person? Explain that one, please.

    MacArthur and Sproul: again, you are very naïve, and to disparage great Bible preachers such as these two, is evidence of your lack of understanding. You admire and accept teachings from dubious men like McLaren and Jones, and then turn around and slam John MacArthur. Why, because he believes in the inerrant Word of God? Now that is ridiculous!

    Inerrancy: I don’t claim the Bible is inerrant. The Bible is it’s own testimony to that. It says that it is the Word of God. Please read it! Read my posting on the reliability of scripture. And even better, read and listen to one of MacArthur’s sermons on it; you’ll learn something, my young friend.

    Open Theism: I stick to what I have written on it. No sense in repeating it.

    Finally, Roman Catholicism: Do you have any clue what Roman Catholicism teaches, Ben? Are you okay with: prayers to the dead? The veneration of saints? Or the Eucharist being a requirement for salvation? Or that Jesus’s body is actually part of the bread and wine? Or that tradition is declared equal with the Bible for authority? or the infallibility of the pope in matter ff faith and morals? Or the assumption of Mary shortly after her death? Or the use pf rosary beads? Or that purgatory is a step to go through before going to heaven? Shall I go on? And you say that Catholics are our brothers and sisters? I’m sure some are, but all these teachings of the Catholic church are unbiblical, otherwise, why does not the Nazarene church use these practices or believe in these things?

    Finally, yes, people of good faith can disagree, but that does not mean that both can be right all the time, especially in matters of essentials and correct doctrine. Their beliefs must be tested solely by the scriptures, and if they don’t jive with it, it must be thrown out!

    And this one is really final: INERRANCY. You and your emergent friends are DEAD WRONG about inerrancy, especially concerning John Wesley, and even Wiley. Read their writings! They both believed in the inerrancy of scripture. The emergents are sure trying hard to re-write history, but they will fail on that one. There is plenty of documented writings by these two and others, and I won’t need to repeat it here. Young man, just do a little homework, and you will find the truth.

  56. Manny,

    I have asked you Kindly to stop calling me Emergent.

    I’m not. I won’t ask again.

    This should be simple….

    WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WESLEY WOULD SAY TODAY REGARDING INERRANCY! They didn’t know things that we know today. Such as evolution.

    It’s not “emergent” to believe evolution is compatible with Christianity. DIfferent Christians have been saying that since the theory came out. It is a more recent battle waged by a NEW GROUP OF CHRISTIANS…

    Those who believe the Bible must be read literally at every stop. They are the liberal, new kids on the block.

    Do some homework sir. You’ll learn something. They are not undermining what Jesus said, simply understanding it in different terms. Adam doesn’t have to be a literal figure for what Jesus and Paul said about him to apply. Adam, at the very least, is a representative of all of humanity… and if he is NOTHING more than that…. everything Jesus and Paul say still applies.

    You lost that argument a long time ago.

    THey aren’t undermining Scripture.

    Look Manny, I’m going to say this as kindly as I can and, if you can’t agree, you need to seriously reconsider a lot of things in your life. I say that with all the kindness in my heart, i promise…

    Here it goes:

    They aren’t undermining scripture. They are undermining YOUR understanding of Scripture based on YOUR interpretation of certain Scriptures which is informed by TRADITIONAL understandings of Scripture and very TRADITIONALIST people like MacArthur.

    That’s fine. If you want to say THAT, and be upset about THAT…

    I would have no complaints. I’d say we could argue all day long about which view of Scripture is correct, and we could talk on deep theological levels about it.

    But you won’t give anyone that much.

    Again you make an empty claim of ACTUALLY BELIEVING you have the high ground and are soley indebted to scripture alone.

    Your view of Scripture is correct and all others must bow at it’s feet.

    You are upset because YOUR understanding is being challenged. You like YOUR understanding.

    It offends you when people undermine YOUR understanding.

    That’s fine, that’s why your posts offend me, they undermine and diminish… make pathetic, my God’s attempts to speak to ALL men at ALL times. It makes my God out to be a God who somehow enables bronze age people to speak, talk, and understand in Modernist 20th century terms. It makes God speak literally to a people who speak and understand in myth.

    It makes people who have no clue how the world operates or was created… understand things perfectly in a way that undermines research done which has built upon THEIR ORIGINAL QUEST TO UNDERSTAND.

    What a pathetic God that is portrayed by inerrancy. What a failure of a God to be relevant. What an elitist, modern ideal.

    That offends me. Because I believe it is right. However, we could argue about that. Bc it’s MY understanding.

    You don’t allow that voice in the door, it’s not YOUR understanding… it’s THE understanding. You claim a high-ground which you don’t have and it’s terribly sad.

  57. Manny, just FYI, the professors at our universities and seminary have been explaining to students that we Nazarenes are evangelical-but-not-fundamentalist and using our article of faith on Scripture as an example of that since long before the “emergent” folks were around. So trying to link our current non-fundamentalist/non-inerrancy understanding of Scripture with the emergents — as you did in the last paragraph of your last comment — won’t stand up to scrutiny.

  58. Ben,
    First: I said “your emergent friends”. I did not call you emergent, although I admit, it seems that your ideas are based on the same things most emergents believe. That’s my opinion.
    Second, no response was given to my comments on McLaren and some of the things he believes. Tony Jones also.

    Your statements are truly incredible. It is like the liberals saying that the Constitution is a living, breathing document that changes with the times. I have news for you… the Bible does not change for the times, the Bible is the same for all times, all people. It is folks like you who want to make it flexible for each generation, so that you can decide what is relevant today… so you can change it’s meaning for your convenience. The Bible is always relevant in all times, and it’s meaning doe NOT CHANGE!

    There was no response to the Roman Catholic points I made also. Do you agree with their teachings that I mentioned? Are they biblically sound?

    It is equally absurd to ignore John Wesley and what he said, and say that we don’t know what he would say today. Another comment that tries to brush off his and Wiley’s statements of reliance on the ifallible Word of God.

    This is the thing that gets you all so ticked off at me and anyone else who believes in the infallible, totally reliable Word of God. The Bible itself says it is totally trustworthy. You just refuse to believe that, and instead pick and choose out of your own human wisdom that you and all the other professors know better than God’s Word. You elevate your own understanding above what the Bible teaches, such as that Adam and Eve were real people, created directly by God as Genesis relates it. No evolution was possible, unless you will say that the Bible is not telling the truth! As I mentioned, Jesus referenced Adam as a real person. How do you answer that, Ben? Did not get the answer from you.

    I again point out the Wesleyan position on the total reliability of the Bible, and you simply brush it off and say he would have changed his mind today. Rich, my position on inerrancy will stand up to scrutiny… to the scrutiny of the scriptures. Wesley would have said the same thing, based on his position, which agrees with me.

    “Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 2 Tim 3:7

  59. Is this a lie?

    Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:12-14

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