New Year’s Resolutions In The Emergent Battles

These are just some of my resolutions as the new year approaches.  I am just one person, one insignificant Nazarene among many.  I pray that you will join me in these resolutions to carry on the fight against what is coming into our denomination.  We are nothing of our own strength, but with God, all things are possible.

Resolved: That I will continue to trust in the Bible, as the inerrant and infallible revelation of God to man, and as the sole and only reliable authoritative word for our Christian faith and practice.  I will continue to encourage all Christians to trust in God’s word only, and reject completely the emergent disrespect for God’s inspired word.

2 Tim. 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Having affirmed the above resolution, I will also fight with all my strength, those in the Nazarene church and universities who are trying to undermine the biblical doctrine of scriptural inerrancy; those who teach that Adam and Eve, and the flood, and many other accounts in the Bible, are just allegory; I will fight and expose those who are trying to cast doubt on God’s word in the minds of thousands of college students; and those who are trying to elevate man’s reasoning to equality with the revealed word of God.

Ephesians 5:6-11 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Resolved: To pass on to unbelievers the clear and true gospel given to us by Jesus and the apostles, without any embellishment or any watering down of what God has revealed to us in His word, and without any “purpose-driven” or other gimmicks to get them into church.  I resolve to tell the hard truths that Jesus Himself spoke, at the cost of any popularity that I may lose.  And I realize I will be doing it at a cost, because that is exactly what we are told will happen if we stand for the truth of God’s word.

2 Timothy 3:12-14 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,

Resolved: In fighting the emergent church, the G12 movement, and other unbiblical movements, I resolve not to let personal attacks get me off track in this mission.  I will ignore the attacks of the false teachers in our midst and continue warning all others about their heretical teachings.  I understand these personal attacks against those who defend the truth are nothing more than Satan’s distractions and attempts to discourage us and cast doubt in our minds.  I will also patiently witness to those who have been deceived, and use the scriptures to show them the truth, and expose the falsehoods of these dangerous movements and of these dangerous false prophets.

Romans 16:17-18 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

Resolved: To spend no more time in arguing with emergent false teachers within our denomination, and instead focus on bringing their teachings into the light of scripture, until they are forced to explain their ideologies to everyone openly and honestly- if they can use the scriptures to justify themselves, not their personal arguments.  I will ask God to give me the gentleness and patience I need when necessary, and to give me the backbone to rebuke them when that is called for.

2 Tim 2:23-26 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Resolved: To work hard at exposing one of the biggest misuses of scripture: “Judge not, that ye be not judged”, knowing that this is a ploy by false teachers to make Christians feel guilty about being discerning and becoming aware of false prophets.  We ARE called to judge, but to judge righteously.  We ARE called to expose false teachers, and name names if needed, and I will do my best to encourage every Christian to be a Berean in this coming year, and call out those who are deliberately spreading the false gospel of the emergent church, G12, and other destructive movements.  We have an absolute responsibility to warn others; it is not an option.

Ezekiel 33:1-6 1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, 3 when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, 4 then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. 5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’

Resolved: To continue to ask our leaders for answers to the questions that have been raised in so many churches worldwide.  To ask our Holiness Today editor for clear statements in explaining what is so good about the emergent church movement.  I will ask our leaders why is it that Concerned Nazarenes were promised a statement right after the General Assembly regarding the emergent church, yet we are still waiting for one.  To ask why are we going down this path, yet at the same time, why so many are being kept in the dark about this movement that is supposedly good for all.  We need to know.

Hosea 4:6  my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

Resolved: To try in my own small way to help those who are fighting these false movements worldwide.  I will do my part this coming year, to encourage as many Nazarenes as possible, and other Christians, to band together like never before and join in fighting the heresies that have taken hold of so many churches and universities.  I resolve to do my part in making this a worldwide movement of Christians to warn as many brothers and sisters as possible.

Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

These are just a few resolutions that I have committed myself to for next year.  It is not an oath I am taking; it is simply an affirmation of just a few of our biblically commanded responsibilities as Christians.  I am just one little Christian in a sea of Christians asking questions, and this coming year, we want answers to those questions.  We want to know why so many faithful Christian families’s lives have been severely disrupted by such a “wonderful” movement called the emergent church.  And why so many Nazarenes have been poisoned in their minds with the new Bible of the emergent church that is filled with blasphemies and heresies, “The Shack”.  And why so many Nazarenes have been deceived by phony mystical practices used to “experience” God, when all that is sufficient is the scriptures to guide us.

For those on our Concerned Nazarene Facebook group, I would like to issue the following challenge: to tell as many concerned Nazarenes about our group, and if they are as concerned as you are, please encourage them to join.  Not because we can have a bigger group for the sake of size; but as we grow, that means more people are sharing their concerns; more of us are encouraged by seeing new members; and more of these new members will learn about new resources, and information, that will help them fight the battle.  Their testimony will also serve as an encouragement to many others.  We have seen that time and again here.  We truly need to go global in this endeavor, because it is a global problem, and we ought to be concerned about our fellow Christians worldwide. Let’s welcome concerned Nazarenes and other Christians from all over the world in the coming year!  We will be heard, my friends!  If you want to join the group, here is the link:  Concerned Nazarenes.

We know that God has already won; we just don’t know the exact details of how He will carry out His victory.  We do believe, unlike many emergents do, that He is sovereign, He knows the future, and certainly, He DOES NOT make mistakes!  But knowing He is the victor over Satan, however, does not take away our responsibility to be alert, to be watchmen, and to warn our fellow brothers and sisters.  I encourage you to keep doing this every day, and keep trusting in Jesus.

He is Lord.

Christmas Wishes & Old Testament Prophesy

I started my reformednazarene blog nearly a year ago, just this past January.  Ironically, it was a result of a suggestion by someone who actually asked me to drop them off my email list.  I have to thank that person for the suggestion, because I may not have thought of doing something like that for a while.  Little did I know what would come my way after my first posting on January 27, which was not without controversy, as I immediately took to task Nancy Pelosi and then-new President Obama for their constant support of abortion- what many call a Culture of Death. But amidst all the controversy that came my way, even more good things came along, which I believe always comes when you trust in God completely.

So during this Christmas season I look back and it’s been an interesting year.  But it’s been a blessed year as we stayed in God’s word and looked to Him for guidance more and more.  I am especially thankful for all the new friends that I met from all across the country, who have blessed my life with their encouragement, Bible knowledge, advice, and their examples of steadfast trust in God and His word.  I pray for each one of them often.  Some are Nazarene, some are not, but we all share the same common desire, to serve God, to trust in His word fully, and to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  You know who you are, and I truly appreciate you.  I’ll have more on this past year’s experience sometime in January. I have even recently become friends with some Nazarenes across the world, including from Argentina, who have a great burden for the Nazarene church there and in other neighboring countries.  More on that situation next month.

This is my last posting until after Christmas.  May you all be blessed with the true spirit of Christmas- the great news that was announced over 2,000 years ago to ordinary shepherds- that a Child was born- a special Child who was God Himself, come down to earth to live among us.  And the reason He came is the true and only reason we ought to celebrate Christmas.  He came to save us from our sins.  John 3:16 says it best- that He came to give salvation and everlasting life to all who repented and believed in Him.  I am most grateful for this gift that can never be repaid by me.

I hope you enjoy this short summary of some of the Old Testament prophecies of Christ’s coming.  God is a sovereign God.  He is a God who knows the past, the present, and the future.  Every hair of our heads is numbered; there is nothing that escapes His notice.  He knew each one of us while we were in our mother’s womb.  He created everything with His spoken word.  He never makes a mistake, because He is God!  And he loved us so much that He sent His Son as a sacrifice i our place, for our sins.  Thank you Jesus.  Merry Christmas to all.  May He truly touch your heart and bring you to a true relationship with Him, if you do not have that yet.

I share with you some notes about the prophesies regarding Christ’s coming:

Where does the Old Testament predict the coming of Christ?”
(www.gotquestions.org)

There are many Old Testament prophecies about Jesus Christ. Some interpreters place the number of Messianic prophecies in the hundreds. The following are those that are considered the clearest and most important.

Regarding Jesus’ birth—Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Micah 5:2: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Concerning Jesus’ ministry and death—Zechariah 9:9: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Psalm 22:16-18: “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”

Likely the clearest prophecy about Jesus is the entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah 53:3-7 is especially unmistakable: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

The “seventy sevens” prophecy in Daniel chapter 9 predicted the precise date that Jesus, the Messiah, would be “cut off.” Isaiah 50:6 accurately describes the beating that Jesus endured. Zechariah 12:10 predicts the “piercing” of the Messiah, which occurred after Jesus died on the cross. Many more examples could be provided, but these will suffice. The Old Testament most definitely prophesies the coming of Jesus as the Messiah.

Dealing With False Teachers

What is our responsibility as Christians, in dealing with false teachers, according to the Bible?

False teachers are just one of the many threats in a Christian’s life.  There are of course many other things that Satan uses to deviate us from living a life that is obedient to God.  There is plain old temptation that comes from a variety of areas in our lives without the direct influence of a false teacher.   False teachers are and will always be around us.  False teachers are very destructive.  False teachers can turn a mature Christian’s life upside down for years until they come to a realization that they have been duped.  False teachers can even bring unbelievers into a false belief that they are a true Christian.  They might never end up being truly transformed by the Holy Spirit into someone who has recognized their unworthiness in front of a holy God, repented of their sins, and turned around and placed their faith and trust in Jesus.  Yet, unfortunately this happens a lot, especially as a result of such flawed and unscriptural movements like Bill Hybel’s admittedly failed seeker sensitive movement.  But that’s another topic.  Yet we do know that Christ and the apostles were very serious about warning us of false teachers, as in these examples out of many others:

Matthew 7:15-20 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.
Matthew 24:24-27 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.
Acts 20:28-31 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

There seems to be a struggle from within going on in many evangelical denominations now, and I am encouraged by the thought that this is a good thing.  Those of us who oppose what seems to be an unashamed embrace of this phony emergent church movement and its mystical practices by many church leaders today, perhaps have been positioned in this manner in order to stir up a healthy struggle and “conversation”.  Perhaps if nothing else, some will be called out from this apostasy and be rescued from the fire, even if just a few.

So first, let’s remember that Jesus did not always speak in the same manner to everyone and for every situation.  It is a fact that He was as harsh as He could be when it was necessary, and so were the apostles.  It was not always gentleness and meekness that was preached by the Lord and by the apostles.  They reserved the “not so nice” talk especially for false teachers.  Love can be dished out in many forms, can’t it?  Think of the times loving parents have scolded their children rather harshly, in order for them to learn and be corrected.  This is also called tough love.

Many who are fighting this battle have been criticized time and time again for not doing what they do “in love.”  They are scolded for “not doing it the right way”, but are not told what “the right way” is. There never is any condemnation of the apostles, and Christ Himself, for the way they often spoke to those who would pervert the gospel of Christ.  Yet any rational Christian would agree that Christ and the apostles are our role models on how to behave as Christians in various circumstances.  They particularly reserved this kind of tough love for the people who were either preaching in error, or who were deliberately preaching another Jesus, another gospel.  They spared no quarter.  In Galatians 2:11-16, Paul confronted Peter in public, and scolded him in front of others for what he was teaching erroneously.  Note also that Peter was one of the original apostles, whereas Paul had quite a tainted past before his conversion!  Yet Paul did not decide to ignore Peter’s flawed teaching, and also note that Peter took that scolding to heart, and learned from it, rather then stubbornly continuing on with his erroneous teaching.  I doubt that Peter used a line such as “do you know who I am?”, in response to Paul’s scolding.  He instead submitted to corrective teaching by Paul, in spite of his own  “pedigree” as an original apostle who learned straight from The Master Himself.

Here is another example of a “loving” intervention.  In Acts 13:8-12, it is ironic that just before Paul confronts the false teacher, Elymas, the scriptures say that he was filled with the Holy Spirit.  And what did he say to Elymas right after being filled with the Holy Spirit?  The following “loving” words: “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” It is amazing, isn’t it, that Paul was filled with the Spirit, and immediately went on what was essentially a tirade- a harsh rebuke- an unkind word, against this false teacher!  Some folks have pointed out that, if Paul had written Galatians today, he would not have been very popular amongst many Christians.  He would have been labeled as politically incorrect, and unloving, and unkind!

Could not Paul have used kinder, gentler words here?  Perhaps, but apparently, he knew the appropriate words for this situation were different than confronting someone who needed a gentle and patient nudge towards the truth.  And so it goes, the manner in which the apostles instruct us to confront false teachers is just like thess examples, time and time again.  I do believe we ought to confront misguided Christians and gently persuade them as much as possible, to bring them to correct doctrinal understanding (and I’m talking here only of clear teachings, not things that are debatable).  But false teachers?  That’s a different matter altogether.  Here are some examples of what the apostles and Christ had to say about false teachers, and the attitude they had towards them. This was serious business to them.  Pay attention especially to the “kind” and “loving” words in each passage:

1 Tim 4: 1-2 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Eph. 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

2 Peter 1:20-2:3 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

Titus 1:9-2:1 Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith

John 8:44-45 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.

2 Peter 2:13-14 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!


There are many more clear examples.  The point is this: it is a myth, and it is unscriptural, that we should always gently hold the hands of those who would pervert the gospel and speak soft words to them.  Of particular seriousness are emergent church leaders such as Rob Bell and Brian McLaren who have truly twisted the scriptures over and over, and merit the severest rebukes and warning to everyone about them. Many of us really need to stop denying the reality of how we should deal with them.  There is only one way to deal with false teachers who are set in their destructive ways: we are to confront them in love, and then if they continue in their ways, we rebuke them in love, and sometimes, very harshly.  Further continuance of their perversion of the true gospel requires separation from them.  We ought to have nothing to do with them, as commanded in scripture, if they continue their ways after being warned.  Many of these teachers are the cause of Christians either walking away from the Lord, or turning to “another Jesus”.

Do not fall for the trap of political correctness or the belief that “love” always means saying a soft and gentle word.  Not so.  Don’t ignore false teaching when you see it.  If you do, you are disobeying the Lord by lack of action.  And that is not from me, but from the scriptures.

The deadly fact of false teachers should not be ignored by any Christian who wants to obey the Lord in all things.

Walter Martin on The Cult of Liberal Theology

Nazarene Denomination Is Losing its Way?

I am writing this because I love the Nazarene church, yet I am deeply saddened at what is happening to it.  My roots in the Nazarene denomination go deep. My father was a Nazarene pastor for over 50 years. I grew up Nazarene, became a Christian at 18, and I still am a Nazarene.

The denomination was founded 100 years ago with the help of Phineas Bresee, who left the Methodist church when they disagreed with his vision of reaching out to the poor and downtrodden. The emphasis by the denomination on holiness and sanctification are probably its most visible identifying markers. “Holiness unto the Lord” is one of the most common phrases you will see inside the walls of a Nazarene church. Yet recently, the denomination seems to be accepting much of what is called the emergent church movement and its ideology, and many are asking why?

Those at the forefront of the emergent church movement will tell you that they are simply questioning whether our “old” ways of reaching out and evangelizing can be used to reach the young generation anymore. But in reality, what this movement is trying to do is to change or re-define almost everything that has been taught as orthodox Christianity for 2,000 years, and a common phrase they use is that they are in a “conversation”.  Unfortunately, that conversation will go on forever without ever getting to the truth. It is a deadly, dangerous movement that has practically infiltrated every single evangelical denomination, and is drawing away countless people from the true gospel and into mystical practices that have no scriptural basis, and denies the sole authority, inerrancy and infallibility of the word of God. Much of the emergent church is re-packaged liberalism, with an emphasis on tolerance of almost anything, non-judgmentalism and ecumenism, as well as an embrace of Roman Catholic rituals and pagan practices.

Now the questions are coming from many troubled Nazarenes across the country. Is the Nazarene denomination abandoning its solid biblically grounded theological roots based on the infallible word of God, and instead turning to the emergent church movement with all its errors as the solution that it needs going into the next century?  I believe I can make a case that the church is already well on its way to abandoning its holiness roots and sound Christian doctrine, and has been for some time.

One of the problems with writing about the emergent church movement is that even though this movement has come into practically all denominations, there are still many people and church leaders who never heard of this movement. In a way, that is good, because most likely, those churches that have not been affected are still grounded in solid Bible based theology and teaching. The bad news is that many congregations are slowly being fed this error filled ideology by their pastors or leadership in small doses, much like slowly heating up a frog in a pan of water. Combine that with a lack of discernment among many, a shallow knowledge of scripture, a reluctance to “judge”, a fear of controversy or “division”, and an unhealthy loyalty to the church or pastor, instead of first to Jesus Christ, and the resulting combination is deadly. So I urge every Christian, Nazarene or otherwise, to look into this movement if you don’t know anything about it. Eventually, you or someone you know will encounter it, and you need to be prepared for the onslaught of this deceptive “new reformation.”

Some of the Nazarene Problems

So the problems are real, and many. Contemplative spirituality practices, which are nothing more than “Christianized” transcendental meditation, are being taught in Nazarene universities, seminaries, and churches.  Professors such as Thomas Oord of Northwest Nazarene University are teaching Open Theism, the heresy that God does not know the future, among other heresies.  Professors such as Karl Giberson at Eastern Nazarene College are teaching that evolution is fully compatible with the Bible.  Trevecca Nazarene University has a prayer labyrinth on campus, and some Nazarene churches now use prayer labyrinths, which is a practice from pagan cultures that was invented and used thousands of years before Christ. There is nothing Christian about it, but now it is becoming more commonplace in the Nazarene church. Leaders at Point Loma Nazarene University and others are promoting contemplative spirituality practices.  Even Nazarene Theological Seminary is going “contemplative”, promoting a “spiritual formation” retreat at a Catholic retreat center a few days before General Assembly. These practices promote an unhealthy and unbiblical emphasis on experiences and teach methods that supposedly will help you get closer to God and hear His voice, rather than a reliance on what God has revealed in the scriptures to find His will and “hear His voice.” This is also called monastic mysticism, and it is not from the Bible.

Another area of concern has been Barefoot Ministries, the youth arm of the Nazarene Publishing House.  I recently wrote articles (Part 1, Part 2) criticizing two of their books, which promote the use of prayer ropes, prayer labyrinths, lectio divina and other contemplative prayer practices.  They also promote going on pilgrimages (which are not necessarily bad), but one of the recommended pilgrimages is to a prayer community in France called Taize, which is a hotbed of contemplative mysticism and interspirituality.  I was shocked to find out that Nazarene Theological Seminary recently promoted a preteen retreat, complete with teaching young kids how to use prayer stations, prayer beads, and other contemplative practices, custom designed and tailor made according to what “were meaningful for his or her own personality.”  Degrees are now available in spiritual formation (another phrase for contemplative spirituality), and you can now study to be a spiritual director, which is perhaps the evangelical equivalent now of a priest who does confessions in the Roman Catholic system.

The official publication of the denomination, Holiness Today, recently published an article titled “Are The Emerging Church Folks Stealing The Church?”  It was written by the Editor in Chief, Rev. David Felter.  I posted an opinion piece on his article, and my conclusion is that Holiness Today is all but putting its stamp of approval on this movement and its false teachings.  Rev. Felter’s comments were very approving towards those Nazarenes who are “emergent”, but at the same time, he never gave specifics on what he likes about the movement.  And he also criticized those who oppose the emergents with unexplained phrases such as “caricatures of exaggeration and “use of disingenuous rhetoric”.  I concluded that his criticisms were directed at folks like me and others who have been trying to raise awareness amongst Nazarenes for the past 12 months.  I have written a letter to Rev. Felter and I hope that he can clarify some of his statements so that we know exactly what he means.

This is all very alarming to those of us who are familiar with the emergent ideology, and I believe this article he wrote could be signaling an acceptance of this movement by more leaders in our denomination.  Our General Superintendents will eventually need to make a statement and clarify to the body of the church where they stand.  It is certainly much more than what I have given you here, but what I have said already, ought to cause any discerning Christian to take heed.

Brothers and sisters, Paul said in Galatians:

  • “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-10

We need to be loyal to God above all else.  If practices and teachings that are coming into the Christian church are clearly unbiblical, it is our duty as Christians to oppose them, even if we have to oppose our leadership. We must not be silent on these matters, because it goes against scripture.  Leadership, pastors, church manuals are all imperfect; the word of God is not, and that should be always our guide and sole, final authority in all matters for our Christian living and practice.  Mystical experiences and the undermining of the authority of scripture have no place in the Christian church.

How did I and Others Get So Concerned?

Just about a year ago, I began doing some serious research into the movement, and quickly knew that this was not something of God, and if something is not of God, it can only be from Satan. I began sending out regular email reports to friends, including members of my local church and also non-Nazarenes, to educate them about the emergent church.  A few months later, I stumbled onto the main Nazarene website, in a section for missions, and got my first clues that this movement was possibly being welcomed into the church.  However I spent several more months researching, before realizing that this movement had all but overrun the denomination, it’s universities, and even it’s main seminary.

All the problems I have mentioned are very real and they are already in the denomination, like a cancer would be inside a body, but not completely noticed yet.  And like a slow growing cancer, unless it is eradicated quickly and treated properly, this movement threatens the very existence of the Nazarene denomination, and more seriously, the eternal souls of many.  Contemplative spirituality practices are running rampant throughout many of the universities.  The first university that caught my attention was Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, when I read about a three day seminar led by Brian McLaren, who is considered by most emergents to be the “godfather” and leader of the movement.

Eric Barger of Take A Stand! Ministries attended that seminar, and documented three days of stunningly unbiblical teaching from McLaren, and frankly made me wonder where was the discernment in some of the leaders there who invited McLaren to speak, unchallenged. As an example of some of the goings on, at the last night of the seminar, Mr. McLaren invited people to come down and be re-baptized into the “new Christianity”, and stick their hands into a tub of dirt to feel what needs to be saved in the world!  This YouTube video shows what Eric said:

After starting my blog in January, others from around the country starting contacting me, sharing the same serious concerns about what was happening in the Nazarene denomination.  I started getting stories from Nazarenes, of either being ostracized and forced to leave their church, or telling of others who suffered the same fate.  Folks, it is heart breaking to think of all the emails I have gotten over the last year, from faithful Nazarenes who have been forced to leave their church of many years, all because they were not allowed to speak up and share their concerns of what was happening. The pattern seemed to be the same: either be quiet and get with the program, or leave.  It did not matter whether they were 40 year members, or members of only a few years.  The strategy was clear: follow the model of Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church, “some people are going to have to die, or leave”.  Many have left the denomination disgusted and heartbroken, and have found a church home outside of their former Nazarene church, where the Bible is taught as the inerrant, infallible word of God.  It is amazing that this teaching is not the case anymore in so many Nazarene churches and universities!

The Concerned Nazarenes group became more formalized and started organizing a plan.  The original website was founded by a former rock and roll drummer for Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Tim Wirth.  At a Ray Yungen seminar at his church in 2008, Tim met Sue and Don Butler, which resulted in a collaboration to produce a DVD that exposed the Emergent Church movement.  As other pastors and laypeople joined us, we formulated a plan to distribute up to 10,000 DVDs at the General Assembly in Orlando in late June.  The General Assembly is where, every four years, about 25,000 Nazarenes from all around the world come to worship together, to learn, to elect new leadership, and to formulate plans for the future of the church.

As General Assembly approached, we prayed, fasted, and prayed some more.  We had a prayer line in place across the country, and sent out prayer requests as needed for the most urgent issues that came up.  Opposition from some emergent Nazarenes was fierce, including pastors.  The emergent Nazarenes were not about to lie down and allow us to spread the information about their movement unimpeded.  Their blogs began to show comment after comment depicting Concerned Nazarenes as radicals, hateful, judgmental, unloving, and extreme fundamentalists!  We were called out of touch and non-Wesleyan in our thinking.  Oddly enough, it is the emergents who are trying to re-write John Wesley’s history, in an attempt to paint him as someone who never believed that the Bible was inerrant, even though his writings prove otherwise.

General Assembly And Beyond

When we first arrived at General Assembly in Orlando, several of us took DVDs and brochures and ventured into the convention center, and passed out a few hundred in a matter of hours.  We were able to pass out over 6,000 DVDs that week and we very effectively communicated with many people. Eric Barger held twice a day workshops for three days. Many were alarmed and upset at the information we gave them.  Many asked for further information, or where they could go for information on this movement.  I spoke in my best Portuguese to Spanish speaking pastors, who wanted resources in their language.  Most people were receptive to the information, although we got into some interesting conversations with others who obviously supported the emergent agenda.

We were disappointed that the resolution to clarify the inerrancy of scripture was sent to the leadership for review over the next four years, rather than coming up for a vote, but we are hopeful that there will be good results at the next Assembly.  We are still awaiting a statement by the General Superintendents, which we were promised by one of the leaders would come out soon after the Assembly, which would address the emergent church problem. This could be the most critical statement by our leadership in decades, but they must speak on the subject.  How their statement comes out, will affect the future of many Nazarenes.  We await their answer with anticipation and prayerfulness, and that God will guide their decisions.

Conclusion

This is not just a Nazarene problem.  It is a cancer that is spreading everywhere. This could very well be a major turning point in the history of many denominations.  I believe we are seeing, in this emergent church movement, some of the influences that are misleading so many Christians around the world.  It is so pervasive that we are probably seeing the beginnings of the great apostasy which was predicted in the scriptures.  Christ will not return when there is great revival; the Bible prophesies that His return will come after there is a great falling away from the faith by countless millions.  We will be shocked at the well known leaders who will be fooled by the great deceiver, as is happening now.  Even now we see famous pastors like Rick Warren, who are defying scriptural commands to “not be unequally yoked with unbelievers”, who are foolishly working towards eradicating poverty and bringing “peace” to the world, not understanding or ignoring biblical prophesy and what it says about the end times, that only Christ can bring peace.

It is my prayer that faithful Christians be watchmen at this time, to guard themselves with the Word of God, so that they too will not be deceived by the one who comes often disguised as an angel of light.  Deception is on the rise, and we need to stay awake, watch, warn, and as needed, we should expose, rebuke and shun false teachers.

I am first of all a Christian.  Christians should not casually create serious problems in their churches because they did not agree with a certain policy, or they did not agree with the selected color for the walls in the fellowship hall.  However, when there is a serious problem in doctrinal matters, loyalty to any one person, persons, or denomination, should be secondary to loyalty to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.

For those Nazarenes and other Christians who are reading this, may God bless you as you search for the truth.  I ask you not to stay silent if God opens your eyes to this.  I ask you to speak out and question those in authority and challenge them to justify these practices with scripture, not with their own human reasoning.  I ask you not to allow anything to get in the way of the truth. Don’t try to win the approval of men, but of God.  Rely only on the word of God, and not the intellectual reasoning and wisdom of men, which can lead you down a broad road which is only paved with destruction. Seek to defend the one true gospel with all that you have.  Eternity is at stake for many.

Galatians 1:6-10 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

For a free copy of the Emerging Church DVD, send an email to: reformednazarene@hotmail.com
Please also visit our main website, www.concernednazarenes.org