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

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56 responses to “Nazarene Denomination Is Losing its Way?

  1. …whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. – James 4:4 (KJV)

    A true warning from the Scriptures of what happens when you follow the social gospel of the emergent church taught by Brian McLaren and Rick Warren.

    This is an impressive article Manny.

  2. Manny,

    The following quotes are from a Book that I have in my possession written without copyright in 1984 published in Aldahieh Kuwait. The book can be purchased at the following website. http://www.islamicbookstore.com/b9468.html
    Although I highly do not advise any Nazarene to read it; they will come out Muslim.

    This book has been instrumental in converting thousands from a Christian Background to Muslim.

    It is a dialogue the “M” stands for Muslim talking the “C” stands for Christian talking. Please read just a sample of how a professional Muslim pulls the magic carpet out from under an unsuspecting Christian.

    The first sample is how the Muslim establishes the fact that the Bible is not “HOLY.”

    THE HOLY BIBLE

    M. History has shown that the Bible suffered changes throughout the ages. The Revised Standard Version 1952 and 1971, the New American Standard Bible and the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures have expunged certain verses compared with the King James Version. Reader’s Digest has reduced the Old Testament by fifty percent and the New Testament condensed by about twenty-five percent. Some years ago Christian theologians wanted to “desex” the Bible. Does “holy” mean that the Bible is free from error?

    THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY

    M. Do you still believe in the Trinity?

    C. Sure; it is written in the First Epistle of John (5:7 and8): “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

    M. Oh, that is in the King James Version, authorized in 1611, and formed the strongest evidence for the Doctrine of the Trinity. But now this part, “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one,” has been expunged in the Revised Standard Version of 1952 and 1971 and in many other Bibles, as it was a gloss that had encroached on the Greek text. . . .

    I can understand if you don’t know that this important part has been removed, but I wonder why many ministers and preachers are not aware of this.

    THE DOCTRINE OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST

    C. But Jesus was resurrected three days after he died.

    M. . . .The gospel of resurrection in Mark 16:9-20 has also been removed in many Bibles. If not removed it is printed in small print or between two brackets and with commentary. See Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible and New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Manny, why does this Muslim know what Christian Theologians are up to and the Christians themselves do not. How can someone like you not know that you are defending innerancy and use verses translated by emergent, liberal minded theologians. You need to either get right or change your speech to say what you mean. What you mean to say by your liberal use of Scripture is that the MESSAGE of the Bible is innerant and not the Bible itself. (Nobody knows what Bible you are talking about.) To “marvel” as Paul did in Galations is not the same thing as being “astonished.” The latter is a lie, and not the word of God.

    See Gal 3:16 for an example of the importance of a singular word aposed to a plural word. JW’s change the meaning of verses by simply moving punctuation.

    Your Article was very good. I was correlating my e-mail list as I read it, to pass it on to many of my Nazarene friends. Until I came to that corrupt Bible Verse. Again, you quoted an emergent spirited translation that desexed the Bible and changed the perfectly understandable, properly translated word “him” to “the one.” It completely quenched the spirit of the thing and removed the Power of God.

    Muslims are using this wickedness to destroy the faith of thousands. The Nazarene Church has used it to establish scholarship as the final authority.

    The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; you are going to accomplish nothing with a drawer full of butter knifes. They are the very foundation of the Emergent Church Movement.

    Please read 1Kings 13 and see a man of God who does right and would not eat with someone he knew was dangerous. But then is deceived by an “old Prophet” someone he wouldn’t have suspected would lie.

    I am not trying to be a thorn in your side. I am for you not against you. God will show you if you ask! The version of the Bible you quoted is not inerrant, (that would be easy to prove) and I would question the inspiration of it.

    Even the Muslims know what’s going on and that the preachers are clueless. All the modern versions have produced rotten Fruit, apostasy, and a shallowness unmatched in church history. People in China without a Bible know more than modern American Preachers.

    The Emergent Church movement is springing up everywhere, except the King James Bible Believing Churches that will not compromise on the Word. Check it out for yourself. By their fruits ye shall know them.

    I was in the Nazarene Bible College, class after class, listening to Professors correct and change the Bible. The only Bible they didn’t like was the King James. I have heard every argument; I have wrestled with every doubt. I didn’t want to believe it myself. But facts are stubborn things. There was no internet; I had no source of encouragement. At the height of my struggle between everything I’d been taught, every friend I had, every Pastor, and the very costly education that I was paying for, God showed me the Truth.

    It’s only going to get worse! There is no Holiness left in that church. Half the people in the First Church around here are all shacking up, nobody cares, the preaching is all feel good, clothes are disrespectful, the music is wicked, women shouldn’t be preaching, and the list goes on and on. No Bible, No Holiness. God will be harder on you if you will not judge correctly than on a bunch of reprobates that probably aren’t saved to begin with.

    Your Brother in Christ,
    Steve Sumner

  3. if nazarene denominational leaders come out in favor of the emergent church will you stay a part of the denomination

  4. Good question, anon.

    I have wrestled with that for a while now. The answer is: maybe. But only if I have exhausted every reasonable effort that I can do to help others be informed in the denomination.
    One question I would have to answer is: if I leave, should I also give up the efforts I am making now to warn other Nazarenes? Of course, I want to warn ALL Christians.
    I believe in the doctrine of separation, as opposed to the ecumenical view of most emergents. So I would want to separate from fellowship with those who are preaching another Jesus.

    But another thing to think about: Not all Nazarenes are emergent. In fact, I still think that the majority of them are in solid Bible based churches, and do I want to find a strong, anti-emergent church to stay with? Or do I eventually decide that the denomination is too much polluted with emergent ideology, and I must walk away.

    There are so many strong Nazarene pastors in my area who have voiced their support to me. Do I leave them behind?

    Whatever I decide in the future, I will do it with much prayer.

  5. Nazarene denominational leaders have already come out in favor of the emergent church. Actions speak louder than Words!

  6. You may be right about that. I sure prefer to have some clarity and declarative statements from them so I can know for sure- as well as the rest of the Nazarene people who are wondering!

  7. Sickens me to think there could be a sign somewhere that says Welcome to First Emergent Church of the Nazarene.

    What has this world come to?

  8. To Steve Sumner:

    Inerrancy is reserved for the original autographs of scripture of which there are none. We rely on translations of copies of those writings (Even Jesus quoted from the Greek / Septuagint translation of the Law and Prophets.). All translations have some issues including the King James Bible or do you really believe that they celebrated Easter?

    Acts Chapter 4:

    1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.

    2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

    3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)

    4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

    There are also some words in the King James Bible that do not mean today what they meant when the translation was first written.

    Do I think you should abandon the King James Version of the Bible and take up a version written in today’s English (as the King James Version was certainly written in the English of its day)? No. It has served you well and will continue to do so because it is a reasonably accurate translation of the written word of God, but not because it, in and of itself, is infallible.

    I received a phone call from a woman awhile back who was all upset that women in the church were wearing make-up. She remembered the “old ways” and considered me shallow (her word) because I attempted to side step instead of directly engaging her in a discourse on the evils of lipstick. This began with her seeing a sign in front of our church about wearing masks (wearing make-up being like wearing a mask according to her) she was also unhappy with the fact that the sign was out during October so it could be construed to be a reference to Halloween as well. I’m listening to her going on and on about all this at a time when I had first come to the realization that people like Brian McLaren were being welcomed with open arms and undiscerning hearts into the denomination. That the soteriology was changing from Jesus being our savior to Jesus being our example.

    The gospel message is being perverted, people are dying thinking they are Christian, and I’m being called shallow because I don’t think God cares if there’s color in a woman’s lip balm; that he’s more concerned with her heart.

    The Emergent Movement may not be something those cloistered in the King James only churches need to contend with but I’m sure that the Prince of the Power of the Air has you in his sights as well.

  9. Clumsy,

    First of all inerrancy is not reserved (exclusively) for the original autographs, that is a cultic teaching and not a Bible doctrine. Who have you been reading to give you such a silly idea?

    Jesus did not quote from the Septuagint. There is absolutely no prove of it at all and if he did, it throws your first theory out of the water because it would have been a copy and a translation but Jesus said of the scriptures that he had “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Showing plainly, were inerrancy was to be found.

    If all translations have issues than Jesus Christ was a Liar. You cannot find one, I said ONE, reference of scripture that is pointing the “the original autographs” God did not need them and made sure of their destruction. So if the “Originals” are as you say, having past away, Jesus would be a Liar. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

    Act 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

    One more time, “the word of the Lord” was published throughout all the region.

    The “issue” then, and now is one of unbelief!

    If you say that all translations have issue and you really mean mistakes then say what you mean and please give me a mistake in the King James Bible. I would be honored to demonstrate your clumsiness when it comes to God’s Word!

    Let me start with “easter” If you would read the context and see that “Then were the days of unleavened bread.” You might know, if you ever read your Bible, that Passover was “in the past.” Lev 23:6 , Lev 23:5.

    Besides, the hypocrites pretend they want it updated. Easter is up to date!

    Yes, they were celebrating the pagan holiday of Easter, ever since God commanded the Jews to Keep the Jewish feasts. Do you study to shew thyself approved?

    The King James is written in our language today despite every exception you try to find. The AV1611 is not behind, it is ahead of you.

    And it would settle the issue on the Lipstick, if you would read it!

    The devil has the Nazarene Church in a snare, and the more you tug the tighter the destruction. Only surrender will help you now so, Repent! The Public Schools threw the Bible out because the Church did.

    Please read your own letter back to yourself, it is not even Christian. None of it comes from the Bible but the Devil.

    Steve Sumner

  10. For those who might like to know:

    I got the silly idea from a book called: “Searching for the Original Bible” by Randall Price.

    “For this reason the term Original Bible or original manuscripts is a convenient term to help convey the concepts of verbal plenary inspiration (plenary meaning “complete in every respect; unqualified”) and biblical inerrancy (meaning that the Bible is without error in whatever it teaches). These characteristics are said to apply only to the creation of the original manuscripts, and they define the basis of biblical authority . For example, an evangelical declaration of the inerrancy of the autographs can be found in the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy:

    We affirm that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration (ArticleVI)

    We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original (Article X).” page 35

    On page 16 you will find the author stating under the heading “We Can Believe the Bible” his purpose for writing the book.

    “What should the response of spiritual leaders be to the present confusion concerning the origin of the Bible and the integrity of its text? They should inform people of the actual state of the text, and how conservative textual critics are laboring to align it to the original, a task that is not only possible, but has admirably succeeded in its goal. If people of faith are presented with such facts and are willing to think through them, they will be equipped to understand and respond to the critical attacks on the Bible that are assaulting the church in increasing quantity and persuasiveness.

    This book seeks to help you, the reader, better understand how the text of sacred Scripture has been transmitted from the ancient world to ours and to answer the claims of modern critics against its integrity. As a text that has been handed down to our generation by martyrs’ hands, it is worthy of such a pursuit. It is my hope that our search for the Original Bible will result in your having a greater confidence in the biblical text and a renewed trust in its Divine Author.”

    In my research I came across the name Sam Gipp and some of what he taught regarding the translation of the word pascha in this verse. It shed a great deal of light on Mr. Sumners response. However, if the original text had pascha (passover) why change it to Easter (refering to a pagan goddess)?

    I also learned that KJVOnly people believe their Bible (the AV1611 version to be specific since there are others that follow that bear the name King James Version written in an attempt to correct errors in the original.) IS the inerrent word of God. So without realizing it I have probably deeply offended Mr. Sumner.

    Here is an interesting web page (I’m sure there are others) that explains some of this controversy. I’m not recommending the entire site since I know nothing about it but the information on KJO was very helpful.

    http://www.faithspeak.net/profiles/blog/show?id=647506%3ABlogPost%3A38989

    I appreciate this chance to really defend what I believe…I learn so much in the process.

  11. Manny,

    Clumsy has proven my point for me and here are two comments in your article on “Biblical Inerrancy” by Dr. Daryl McCarthy. That shows why there is not a doctrine on total innerancy within the Church of the Nazarene and never will be.

    The first shows the one side that some could see within the Bible itself that verses on inspiration, or references to itself, were not pointing to something “extant.” Secondly, that some saw within the Bible itself the variations in the Scriptures as to “discrepancies, and disagreements, and errors, and minor inaccuracies.”

    Just as they looked at Jesus; Some saw His divinity and others saw his flaws and humanity.

    __________________________________________
    Wesleyanism and Inerrancy Incompatible: The 1970’s
    “Among evangelical and holiness scholars, opinion has always been divided on the meaning and extent of inerrancy.” He observed that such affirmation of Scripture’s authority as 2 Timothy 3:14-15 and John 10:35 relate only to extant manuscripts and not to the “original, indefectible manuscripts not longer extant.”

    The two major proofs against “universal verbal inspiration” were the “inaccurate quotations” by New Testament writers of the Old Testament and the varying records of the Lord’s words. That seems to point to the fact that “not always the very words, but the man himself is inspired.” “In the human element there is always room for inaccuracy.”

    Hills concluded that “in spite of all discrepancies, and disagreements, and errors, and minor inaccuracies, the Bible still remains God’s inspired and infallible book.
    __________________________________________

    The website that Clumsy has pointed to is mixed with truth and error. And shrouded like a pharisee in false piety about the KJV so it can mis-try the truth once again. There is nothing new under the sun.

    This should demonstrate to you that the Church today does not, and is not going to claim innerancy (if their educated) because in their corrupt minds all Bibles are improvable by “conservative critics, honest, well thought of scholars” in an evolutionary process.

    “KJV only” is a lable again given to misrepresent the truth.

    Someone who believes that the KJV is without error makes the claim (largely) based on 400 years of unprovable debate, and unmatched fruit. But primarily by the Holy Spirit, the Word asks of man “who do ye say that I am?”

    However, one cannot be “KJV ONLY” because Bible Believers know that Jesus Himself read the Scriptures and they were not; 1) The Originals, 2) A King James Bible. A Bible Believer also knows scripturally that translations are demonstrated to be biblically inspired. Therefore, people in other languages also can enjoy the inspired word of God.

    The reason for this nonsense is because they are what is called “original only” and have no way to verify their theory because it doesn’t exist. And being unwilling to see it any other way they accuse others of their sin.

    The Web site again that Clumsy pointed to is a disgrace, and like the false witnesses against Jesus can only lie about the truth.

    The Bible no longer corrects people; people take PRIDE in correcting it.

    There are trouble makers on both sides.

    My argument with your position is simple and boils down to this:

    You cannot fight for innerancy doctrine using various versions because they exist because of so-called errors, and they are in revision or extinction as you quote them.

    Take a look at Acts 8:37 in a modern version and see that verse 36 ends with a question mark. Then see the answer given in verse 37. Then see that verse 38 is not an answer.

    The “uneducated” folks in the pews were sold this false corruption under the guise that the “thees and thous” were not part of good English. Despite every Biblical warning Christians like Peter are now warming themselves at the worlds fire, denying the Lord. It’s time for the Cock to Crow!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Standing for the truth,
    Steve Sumner

  12. I think too many people are splitting hairs over something that is only dividing the Body of Christ even more. I use the KJV (by choice), but also reference the NASB and NIV at times. I have listed two websites below. One refutes the KJV only and the other defends the KJV only. I think only the Holy Spirit can lead an individual to an answer here and not the intellect of man only.

    http://www.raptureready.com/rr-kjvo.html

    http://www.biblebelievers.com/jmelton/knowkjv.html

  13. Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: -Jesus

    Truth does not divide hairs it divides even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    Slice it thin brother and choose sides carefully. The Lord is coming soon!

    Steve

  14. Steve Sumner, shame on you. I would be careful to judge people Steve, your Bible speaks against that.

    I just wanted to comment on the conversation between Steve and Clumsy Sword. I think you have some truth in your words Clumsy. More important then that, I wanted to thank you for keeping your cool through Steve’s insults. I tried to check your site out, but it didn’t let me on :(.

  15. Striker,

    I think the Bible tells us to judge as noted:

    John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

    I think Steve is exercising moral and theological discernment which Jesus is demanding us to do.

    Just my observation from this view point.

    Brad

  16. To Striker:

    Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

    For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

    James 1:19-20

    Words to live by that jumped out at me awhile back while on my way to looking at something else. I couldn’t tell you now what it was I was looking for but this has stayed with me.

    There is no site. I don’t have time for such things nor the interest. I do enjoy reading the opinions of others and occasionally commenting.

  17. Hi Manny,

    You said:

    [I]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.[/I]

    If you want to see where the poor and downtrodden are being cared for by Nazarenes today in North America, you need to look no further than 1) our colleges and seminary, all of which are engaged in reaching out to the least of these in their communities, and 2) NYI. Also, many of our churches that you would label “emergent”, such as University Church in Kansas or Oklahoma City First basically center their care for the poor as their main value or one of their main core values.

    I recall during General Assembly when youth groups from across the nation came together to offer a cup of cold water in His name to the poor and downtrodden of Orlando. You called it pointless.

    I just think it’s ironic that this is how you start off your article on how our denomination has lost its way, yet it’s the organizations within our denomination that you label as heretical that are actually getting their hands dirty.

    At the end of your article, you said this –
    [I]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. [/I]

    You probably have reason to be hopeful. The 2009 GA was far from the last word on this, I’m certain, and there may be enough votes in 2013 to see our statement changed. Now, for all your concern that the denomination is changing, no piece of legislation had any steam behind it at all that would alter the fabric of who we are in the liberal direction. But if this change were to be adopted, it would radically change us in the fundamental direction. So, who should be more “concerned”? Your side or ours? Hate to put it in those terms, but that’s the reality.

    Let me ask you this question. At what point do you say “I’m leaving the denomination.”? For me, I’m here till they kick me out, no matter what happens at General Assembly. But is there an action by the governing body or statement from the general leadership that would cause you to write Ichabod over the door, kick the dust off of your feet, and walk away? Not trying to argue; just curious.

    Blessings during this season of peace!

  18. Hi David,
    Thanks for contributing.
    Let me see if I can respond to some of your points:

    1. You said: “our colleges and seminary, all of which are engaged in reaching out to the least of these in their communities”, and you also referenced emergent churches as helping with a core value of caring for the poor.”
    Those are good things to do. However, if these values are followed, but at the expense of compromising biblical doctrine, which is more important than caring for the poor- then that is not good. Following and teaching the doctrines as taught by Christ and the apostles is of paramount importance- and those good deeds all go to waste if that does not happen. Even unbelievers can do good works. The emergent church is ignoring much of biblical doctrine. The worst being that most don’t believe that the entire Bible is the infallible word of God.

    2. The youth groups at Assembly- let me clarify. If all they did was do good deeds, without presenting the gospel- and I don’t know if that was their plan- would be pointless, from a Christian perspective of following Christ’s command to make disciples. We cannot have a chance to do that unless we present the gospel to people. We cannot do good deeds, and hope that they start asking questions. That is not how the gospel should be preached. Otherwise, it is just another social group helping the downtrodden, and nothing more.

    3. You asked, “At what point do you say “I’m leaving the denomination.” I think I answered someone else about this. There could be a time when I “kick the dust off my feet” and leave. I am not here until they kick me out- because if at some point, it seems the denomination is going down this road- especially at the urging of our leadership- then that might be when I leave. But right now- there are many brothers and sisters in Christ who I want to warn- and to encourage who are fighting this thing- and at this point in time, I will not abandon them and stop helping in whatever way I can.

    Blessings to you as well.

  19. Thanks for your thoughtful reply, and I do understand your perspective, though I think this speaks to the heart of the disagreement.

    I hate to use the “p” word, but I can’t help but picture Jesus and the pharisees, who valued following the law above (and often at the expense of) compassion for the poor. For instance, in Matthew 23:23-24, Jesus calls them hypocrites for following the letter of the law (tithing) while neglecting justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

    Jesus also said the greatest commandments were loving God and loving your neighbor. Like Jesus, the post modern Nazarenes I know value love more than mental assent to the most correct set of facts about Jesus.

    To me, that seems to be what you’re looking for. You want all Nazarenes to give mental assent to the same set of facts about Jesus and the Bible as you. Is that really what faith is? Believing the “right” things about Jesus? Or is it truly knowing Jesus in the fulness of His love? You know what I’ve found in the many friendships I’ve made with Baptists, Pentecostals, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics, and Orthodox believers? You can love Jesus with all your heart and still believe things about Him that are wrong.

  20. I understand what you are saying. We can do both, can’t we?

    Follow right doctrine- all the time- and have compassion for the poor.
    It’s not an either-or. I’m afraid the emergents are focusing too much on the compassionate acts of kindness and love, and forgetting to follow right doctrines as given to us by Jesus and the apostles.

    You see, to love God is first to be obedient to God. That is what biblical love is- would you agree? Biblical love is not defined by emotion, by tolerating error, by a “wide ecumenical” stance towards everyone who claims to be Christian. And I hate to say this because many do not like me to say it- but fellowshipping with those who have changed the gospel of Jesus Christ is not true fellowship.

    We should never separate our love for others from applying God’s word strictly. Non-judgmentalism is not part of the definition of love.

    If we first direct our love towards God- we obey Him completely- or at least we try. Then we can direct our love of God towards others- who might especially be in spiritual danger. Jesus said to “feed my sheep”.

    I am doing my best in that regard by including warnings of false teachings. That is one expression of love we can show- because we do not want any of Christ’s sheep to be led astray.
    That is why I do what I do, and many others as well who I have connected with.

    If we don’t believe the right things about Jesus, what purpose is His word in the scriptures to us? Why bother having a Bible to learn and understand “the right things” about Jesus. Understanding His word is part of how we can get to know the fullness of His love, along prayer, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  21. We certainly can be both. But which is more important to Jesus, really? To be correct in our beliefs about Him, or to do what He said to do.

    Let’s say that my belief about baptism is that you must be baptized in Jesus name only in order for it to be a biblical baptism. (I don’t believe this, but just as an example.)

    Now, let’s say that you believe the biblical prescription for baptism is in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

    Now, let’s say I live in a community where hunger is a big problem, and I do nothing to help feed the hungry in my community. However, I do pray for them.

    Let’s say you live in the same community, and you also pray for the hungry, but you put those prayers into action by feeding them.

    Now, we all get to the Judgment, where we find out that, low and behold, my view of baptism was actually the correct one; yours was completely false!

    Which one of us do you think will have more closely followed Jesus’ commandment?

    Do you think either one of us will miss Heaven?

  22. The following is by Richard Bennett. These are true words of wisdom about the Emergent Church and its ways.

    Having reduced his idea of salvation from personal to universal, having reduced God from an All Holy God to his own notion of a mere loving god, and having redefined theology from the study of God to the study of man, McLaren has also invented a “salvation” that signifies “get out of trouble.” In all of his writing, his tactic for success is the Roman Catholic methodology of ecumenism. Behind the poetry and rhetoric of McLaren’s movement is heresy. McLaren’s paradigm is in the domain of apostasy, showing by its duplicity and falseness a withdrawal and defection from the Gospel of grace. Satan’s trick is always to promote leaders who think that they are truly Christian, while at the same time they proffer new unbiblical techniques for the glorious work of Christ Jesus. Ecumenical strategy, re-defining God, a fictitious contrast replacing the Word of truth, redefining theology, rewriting history, the utter denial of basic biblical principles, and the rejection of the Gospel are just a part of what McLaren proposes. This is the deed and work of antichrist. It is the sin of a so-called “spiritual” man. Unless present day Christians take the biblical warnings with radical seriousness and examine their own hearts and households, they can be deceived by this lethal scheme. Unless this generation of the Evangelical church takes seriously the Gospel, as the Lord and His Apostles spoke it, it will become more and more part of Papal Rome. The Church of Rome has already attempted to usurp Christ’s place and His prerogatives, and far from truly representing Him, she represents His greatest enemy. If peoples succumb to the Emerging Church movement, they will be surrendering to “…the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”40 Nothing could possibly be more descriptive of the Papacy than this. It has been kept up by deception, delusion, and its pretended growth and success. Thus, we now see the growth and success of a movement that embodies much of the strategy and teaching of Papal Rome. Many of the subtle artifices of man and various pretences of the world are evident in the Emergent Church movement, yet like the Papacy it is remarkable in its propagation. What we see is patent apostasy making shipwreck of the faith. For us, however, it is to fear the All Holy God and obey His commandment and, “hold fast the form of sound words…in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. “41 Steadfastness to the Gospel is of utmost necessity. It is dangerous when those who profess to be true Christians remain unaware of the attacks that are presently confronting the Gospel. Those who would strive for the faith of the Gospel must stand firm in it, aware of present dangers, and carry on unwavering in the hour of crisis. In the words of the Apostle, “…stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”42

  23. We should obey Jesus, of course. And obeying Him is following His commandments, and what He has reveled to us in scripture, and to do that, we read scripture to understand all that He teaches us.

    The Holy Spirit guides us and leads us to truth as we submit to the authority of God’s word. Granted, there are some things that can be very difficult to understand, but that’s the exception.

    I believe if a Christian sets aside any pride, or any idea of what he might think is the truth, and just trusts God’s word, he is in good shape. When we start explaining away the plain teachings of scripture, like the existence of Adam and Eve, spreading doubt that the fllod actually occurred- (as examples), that is where we get off course, and reject what God has said to us in the Bible.

  24. The choice between Doxology and Praxology is a false dichotomy. One does not exist without the other.

    or (for fun)

    Which is more important to being alive? That my brain produce brain waves or my heart beats?

    I would say that Doxology comes first. You must believe Jesus is who he is before your Praxology will be anything but an imitation of the real thing no matter how good it is.

    And as far as which is more important to Jesus? How about taking a look at this verse:

    “Therefore they said to Him, ‘What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?’

    Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'”

    John 6:28-29 (NASB)

    So does that mean that the Praxology of God is Doxology? Hmmm…something to ponder on.

  25. Hi Clumsy,

    I’ve been focusing on Isaiah for the last six weeks. God continually expresses His anger with Judah because they fail to do two things:

    1) worship Him alone
    2) take care of the poor

    Yes, we must have faith and works to please God. But none of us can ever have perfect faith and works as long as we live in these houses of clay. We can only have perfect intent. That’s holiness.

    I stand by my statement – you can love Jesus perfectly and still not have perfect beliefs about Him.

    If you believe that Jesus is Lord and is raised from the dead, that’s enough (Romans 10:9). Jon Middendorf, Scott Daniels, and Dan Boone believe this. That should be enough to call them brothers and move on.

  26. For they being IGNORANT of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

    For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

    (with perfect “zealous” intentions)

    And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly ZEALOUS of the traditions of my fathers.

    BUT if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

    Perfect intent is not Holiness. That Doctrine is from Hell.

    Paul says-

    “But thou hast fully known my
    -doctrine,
    -manner of life,
    -purpose,
    -faith,
    -longsuffering,
    -charity,
    -patience,”

    A breach in any aspect of a complete Christian even ignorantly is not “WHOLE”

    The Bible says-

    STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED!

    They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

    THESE BAD WORKS INCLUDE:

    all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
    Neither filthiness, NOR FOOLISH TALKING, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

    The Nazarenes have lost their way on Inerrancy, and are blind as bats when it comes to Holiness. They can only sit around and talk about it.

    PS. If you loose your ability to rebuke, (David) and reproof the truth you are not “Holy as He is Holy!”

    And anyone reading Isaiah would know this.\

    His watchmen are blind: they are all IGNORANT, they are all DUMB dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Isa 56:10

    In charity,
    Steve

  27. David,

    You said: “I stand by my statement – you can love Jesus perfectly and still not have perfect beliefs about Him.”

    Okay…. not when, if you believe something about Jesus or the gospel, and it contradicts the scriptures, and it is clearly pointed out to you that it is wrong, then you ought not to continue in that erroneous belief.

    You also said: “If you believe that Jesus is Lord and is raised from the dead, that’s enough (Romans 10:9). Jon Middendorf, Scott Daniels, and Dan Boone believe this. That should be enough to call them brothers and move on.”

    That cannot be enough. That statement is basically saying, believe that, and you can do anything else you want!
    If we do not obey Christ in everything He teaches, we are disobedient to Him. It is not enough to say “I believe He was raised from the dead”, or ” believe in the Trinity”. If we disobey in one point, we are as if we are disobedient in all things He taught us. That is taught in the Bible.

    We ought to obey in all things- not just a few things.
    Following right doctrine is clearly important and necessary- the apostles and Christ taught it explicitly.

    I cannot call anyone a brother in Christ who is deliberately ignoring scripture and teaching what pleases them. Many emergents are doing just that, hence my strong disagreement with this ideology.

  28. “I cannot call anyone a brother in Christ who is deliberately ignoring scripture and teaching what pleases them. Many emergents are doing just that, hence my strong disagreement with this ideology.”

    I know of no current Nazarenes doing this, though. I’ve known two, they both lost their credentials and are now out of th church.

    Someone having a different understanding than you about scripture is not the same as ignoring scripture. We have hundreds of denominations that have different interpretations of scripture. Is only one group really saved? If so, which group?

  29. Steve, I pretty much disagree with your entire interpretation, and I’m quite certain nothing I say will change your mind, so I won’t try.

    I would like to say that my father-in-law also pastors in Anderson, Indiana! I understand you got some of that white stuff we Texans know nothing about. We enjoy visiting my in-laws in Indiana when we get the chance.

    Have a blessed Christmas!

  30. Holiness is a relationship in Jesus Christ in which the individual is being transformed into an ever-expanding likeness of Christ Himself. This relationship has no point of action except in the sanctifying blood of the exalted Son of God. A holiness person is not seeking after holiness, but after Jesus Christ, because there is no other source of Holiness. Holiness is the nature of Jesus Christ manifest by the work of the Holy Ghost applying the Word of God made alive by His blood. People that seek Holiness as its own object will often add one legalistic addition after another. Every great Holiness movement has always destroyed its own self by transferring the hunger for “HIM” to a hunger for perceived Holiness. (This includes the Nazarene denomination)

    There are many good people who have become slaves to the hardness of modern Pharisees. The true standards of godliness suffer when the self-proclaimed police of hardness are allowed to operate among the saints. These men and women are out to make disciples for themselves and to gather around their feet clones of their own self-righteousness. Apostle Paul warned us of this kind of deception. “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:30-32).

    Merry Christmas to you Manny.

  31. David,

    I, unlike most Christians I know, have allowed the scriptures to complete realign my thinking and only would invite you to give me 2 or 3 scriptural references in context and I would change my mind quicker than you could speak it. (No, I will not change for anyone’s opinion or blatant misuse of scripture.)

    The Bible says not to privately interpret the Scriptures and I do not. I allow them to speak and bear witness to one another. There are many Biblical things that I plainly do not understand when I do not have an interpret ting verse or explanation. At this point I do not 1. Guess. 2. Go to someone else’s guess-like commentaries. 3. Change the words, or go to some Greek to develop my own interpretation.

    Scripture explains itself and also gives stories and pictures of the truth it teaches. It is not biblical interpretation of itself that starts denominations. The Nazarenes being one that was concerned about practice or praxology as Clumsy would say, dealing with the poor. This was the main reason for the Fundamentals of the faith which helped align Christian Churches doctrinally. Interpretation is not even the fundamental issue between Armenians and Calvinists. That is what the Catholic Church zealously promotes, always afraid that someone is going to read the Bible and discover their lies. Patiently waiting for the day when the Bible is simply declared “Dangerous to read.”

    Even dynamically opposed positions like loosing your salvation, or not, is due to plain scriptures that teach both doctrines, and is not always the product of miss-interpretation. What Christians fail to see to their detriment is the differences in the word of God. They perfectly understand it when it comes to eating Pork Sausage but that’s about it. Have you ever considered that if there is a rapture that the verses in the Bible talking about it would not help someone reading it?

    I was really hoping that you would have ask me for a verse or two but is never the case when dealing with someone who has their mind made up. But I will give them anyway.

    By the way, I did not interpret any of the verses in my post, I just quoted them. My two assumptions were that if someone is “zealous” that is probably a good sign of intent. Maybe I’m wrong about that and will try not do it again. I did say that the doctrine was from hell and I said that because hell is a good dynamic equivalent of the Catholic Church, and your position is not found in the Bible. Please reprove me otherwise, if possible; I love to learn.

    Scripture illustrations on intent.

    1. Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this.
    And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know. . .

    So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
    For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham’s wife.

    2. And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.
    And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.

    Many more upon request.

    PS.
    IF you believe that a person can fall from grace, interpreting Gal 5:4 to mean “lose your salvation” or any other verse for that matter, then a brother today may not be a brother tomorrow (I said IF), then every thing you have said up to this point is hypocrisy!

    Manny, on the other hand if he believes the same thing is trying to stop folks from falling. Judge within yourself which is more noble.

    The word of God is able to bring a change in either of our lives and therefore I do pray that we walk in the Light!

    My writing tone is always harsher than my personal demeanor; pray for me.

    In Charity
    Steve Sumner

  32. Hi David,

    You said: “I know of no current Nazarenes doing this, though. I’ve known two, they both lost their credentials and are now out of the church.”

    I have made the point many times that when clear scriptural teaching is ignored, that is wrong. There is much in scripture that has no leeway for multiple interpretations amongst various people or groups. That makes some of them wrong in “their” interpretation.

    One example:
    Many denominations (including the Nazarenes) seem to be accepting unholy alliances between themselves and the Roman Catholic church- IGNORING scriptural commands to be separate from those who preach another gospel.

    There are some RC’s who are truly born again and do not believe in the works based gospel of the RCC- but if someone truly believes in all that the RC teaches as doctrine, then I cannot recognize them as true brothers and sisters in Christ, because they are believing another gospel. I cannot therefore fellowship with them on that basis.

    You cannot tell me with good scriptural support, that the many false teachings of the RCC are sound doctrine. I can give examples if needed, and you can respond to them, but I have done that many times here.

  33. Hi Steve,

    You called my definition a doctrine of hell when I said holiness was perfect intent, rather than perfect action or belief. You want me to give you two or three scriptures that support my statement, but let me first better define it.

    By “intent”, I don’t mean “Well, I intended to go to church last Sunday, but I never did get around to it” (a statement I’m sure you, like me, here quite often!) I certainly don’t mean that when I stand before God in Judgment, and my heart’s not right with Him, I’ll enter Heaven even if I intended to make it right.

    What I mean is that a sanctified heart is one that in every waking moment strives to please God. Sometimes, in an effort to please God, I end up doing something that hurts Him. For instance, in typing these words, I’m attempting to please God by expressing my fervent hope in His grace, but perhaps my words will end up hurting you or someone else He loves. While my intent may be “perfect”, my words and actions may not be.

    My daughter loves to draw me pictures. She does it because she loves me. Her pictures would never be considered perfect, since she’s four (I do not, in fact, have three ears.) But her intent to give me a gift is perfect.

    Here are some scriptural examples:
    Isaiah 29:13 – “These people worship me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”

    Luke 7:36-50, the story of the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet.

    I Samuel 16:7 – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

    Romans 8:27 – And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

  34. Hi Manny,

    Please cite the references where Dr. Jesse Middendorf, Dr. T. Scott Daniels, Dr. Dan Boone, or any other Nazarene elder, pastor, or professor have made an unholy alliance, or any kind of alliance, with the Roman Catholic church. I’m sure the Roman Catholic church would be very surprised to hear of this alliance!

    I agree that practices normally not found in the Nazarene tradition have in recent years been “rediscovered” by a new generation of evangelicals. For example, following the liturgical year, or using a lectionary as a scripture reading guide. Is this what you mean by an unholy alliance?

  35. David,

    Thank you for the clarification and scriptures. As you have stated and scripturally proved that only God can see the heart and it is His sole prerogative to accept or deny any persons offering or sacrifice. And more importantly they don’t always match ones walk.

    In regards to Manny, I will agree that on one hand God said of the tares “Nay…let them both grow together” and yet another verse says “rebuke them sharply” Rebuke is a Biblical way to flush the wicked and the way to water the perfect heart. The verses are too numerous to list.

    rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.
    A wise son heareth his father’s instruction:
    but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

    You talk about knowing Jesus perfectly in love rather than mental assent of all the facts, this falls right in line with Matt 7:22,23

    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
    And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    In the two verses in the Bible where it is instructed for God’s people to “Be ye holy”
    Both contexts are in living apart from evil and doing right. Intent has nothing to do with it either way. It is a command where, in both testaments, the list of wrongs and right are given.

    1. And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.

    Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy:

    for I am the LORD your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.
    For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

    2. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

    Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

    And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

    Your illustration is found biblically in 1 peter 1:14 “As obedient ‘children,’ not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:” In both Leviticus and 1 Peter Children are mentioned first, look and see. “Cursing Father or Mother” in Leviticus precedes “as children” with “all manner of conversation” You cannot have holiness without adhering to the instructions. And “ignorance” of the facts is plainly an issue, not an interpretation. That’s why God wrote Bible!

    I have used your picture illustration many times and well know the truth it can teach. However, it has become a justification for a bunch of Nazarenes (and others) to color messy pictures for God, ignorantly forgetting his requirements for Holiness, even children! I have been criticized many times for telling my kids after they give me a picture with “perfect love” “that’s nice, but why did you color out of the lines?” They have never confused that with my unconditional love for them! My children don’t love me perfectly until they love my correcting hand. And what kind of God accepts less than ones best. Not the God of the Bible. James 4:17

    I fully understand that I, myself, color out of the lines on occasion, but I do not desire it. I fully know that it is God’s Grace that makes my efforts acceptable in Christ.

    But the Bible says that we are to be of “one mind” seven times. Therefore, I do not believe that you have proved your point about “mental assent” as it relates to Manny and his intentions to warn others of “obvious” not menial issues.

    You seemed to ignore the fact that Manny said that wicked people can do good works, and that he is striving for balance not imbalance.

    Before I give you the last word, I must say that the last time I had a discussion with a highly respectable Naz. Pastor (speaking as you) his conclusion to me was this “a person will be judged by the light they had” I replied, “does that include Jehovah witnesses, Mormons, and Muslims?” His response was “YES” Sometimes the thickness that separates truth from error is “Paper thin.”

    In Charity,
    Steve Sumner

  36. David,

    You said: “Please cite the references where Dr. Jesse Middendorf, Dr. T. Scott Daniels, Dr. Dan Boone, or any other Nazarene elder, pastor, or professor have made an unholy alliance, or any kind of alliance, with the Roman Catholic church.”

    They endorse a whole slew of RCC practices that are unbiblical. That is what I mean- not that they have signed an official pact with Rome.
    I would have thought you knew what I meant.

    Do you also approve of prayer labyrinths and other contemplative practices as scripturally sound and in the Nazarene holiness tradition?

  37. Manny, I will answer your question if you answer mine – do you endorse the celebration of Christmas and Easter?

    Now, since you asked first, I will go ahead and answer yours, knowing I can expect your answer soon.

    Prayers in a labyrinth are just as “scripturally unsound” as prayers at what we in the Nazarene church refer to as an altar (which bears no resemblance to the altars of the Bible), since neither one can be found in the biblical record.

    So, if God is unhappy in hearing the cries of the heart of His children while they happen to be standing on a patterned floor, then He is equally unhappy with hearing the cries of the heart of His children who happen to be kneeling at a wooden bench.

    I’ve already stated that just because something is not in the Nazarene holiness tradition doesn’t make it wrong. Otherwise the entire church was in error until 1908. Thirty years ago singing “My Tribute” or “Learning to Lean” wouldn’t have been part of the Nazarene holiness tradition. Traditions change.

    Manny, now really. Don’t you think it’s silly to say one form of prayer is superior to another? in fact, I think it probably displeases God for one of His children to get in the way of another one of His children who is just trying to talk to Him.

    So, yes, I approve of prayer, no matter the form, for God sees the heart. I’ve prayed in a labyrinth. I’ve prayed at the camp meeting altars. I’ve prayed in my car and in the woods. God’s word says when two or three are in His name, there He is.

  38. Steve, you referred to Matthew 7:22-23 to prove that it is mental assent to correct facts about Jesus that saves us.

    This passage actually speaks to my point.

    The biblical concept of the word “know” was far from our western concept. As a north American, I use the word “know” in the mental assent way, as in “I know the capitals of all the states.”

    When Jesus used the word “know”, He used it in the eastern sense, which was relational. It was the same word used in Genesis when it says “Adam knew his wife”. It speaks to intimacy.

    So, what Jesus is saying is when people stand at the Judgment and say “But Lord, I knew all the right things about You! I followed the ABC formula for asking you into my heart. I knew the four spiritual laws. I was baptized by immersion, I took communion four times a year, I believed in the Trinity, antitransubstantiation, and a premillenial Rapture!” And Jesus will say, “but you never KNEW (Hebrew yada) me. You weren’t in relationship with me.

    My whole point continues to be that Jesus didn’t die for a doctrine! He cares whether we’re Catholic or Protestant or Wesleyan or Calvanist or conservative or liberal about as much as He cared whether His listeners were Pharisees, Saducees, scribes or zealots. All were equally in need of relationship with God.

    Do you know Him? Do you love Him? That’s all that matters in the end.

  39. DAVID, I won’t go there again MYSELF, because I feel like I’m repeating myself. I’ve dealt with that question several times. However, I will post an answer from a friend that is similar- regarding use of Christmas trees, etc., and also addressed the question of using labyrinths as if they were okay if we think Christmas trees are okay:

    “Well, I don’t worship, or use my Christmas tree to come to
    God through a subjective experience, or use it to deepen my
    relationship with Him……

    Though, some people (and the world) will make a god out of
    material things and put their love of those things OVER their
    love of God.

    I don’t worship, or use my wedding ring to come to God through
    a subjective experience or use it to deepen my relationship with Him.

    Though, some people (and the world) will make a god out of
    their own material wealth and pride.

    When it comes to the means of how we come to God in worship
    and prayer, do WE ordain the methods, or does God?

    There is liberty when it comes to eating the meat sacrificed to pagans,
    and partaking in that, as long as your brother is not offended, and by
    doing so, you do not jeopardize your brother coming to God.

    However, if you were to use that meat as a means of worship or prayer to God…..that is wrong.

    We don’t deepen our relationship with God, through Christmas trees, wedding rings, meat sacrificed to pagans, ad nauseum.
    We deepen our relationship with Him through the means that He established through His Word not through methods from our own vain imaginations.

    The children of Israel strayed when Moses delayed in coming
    back down from the mountain. They longed to experience God.
    Apparently, all the miracles and power of God which they witnessed
    by being delivered from the Egyptians wasn’t enough.

    Therefore, Aaron had them cast all their gold into a melting pot and
    he formed for them a golden calf….which THEY said THIS is our
    symbol of God who delivered us.
    They took the influence of the Egyptians (who did have a calf as one
    of many gods) and re-made the image of God into their own imagination based on the culture they came from. They said here is God who delivered us.
    God is holy. He is not to be approached or worshipped via pagan methods.
    He judged them. He will not be cast into an image of an Egyptian god.

    Aaron’s sons usurped the ordained protocol that God had ordained regarding the sacrifices, and Aaron’s sons brought strange fire before the Lord and were struck dead. God is holy. He was not to be approached or worshipped via Aaron’s son’s own methods or pragmatic ways.

    Jesus was sacrificed as the perfect sacrifice once for all on the cross.
    He is now our High Priest and has provided the way in which we are now to worship and approach God. He fulfilled scripture and will fulfill scripture in the future. We come to Him through the clear study and focus on His Word, but not along with artificial methods or means.

    He gave us a method and model of prayer through the structure of the Lord’s
    Prayer. The very FIRST element we are taught to recognize is…..God’s HOLINESS…. Hallowed be thy name.

    God is not to be mixed with, added to, re-formed into another image, or confused with anything from the world. He is holy.”

    Brenda

  40. I think you missed the point of my question. It had nothing to do with Christmas trees or paganism.

    Do you endorse the celebration of Christmas and Easter?

    I’ll go ahead and assume your answer is “yes”, or else you would have said “no”.

    Christmas and Easter are two seasons of the liturgical year, which comes to us from the Catholic tradition. We Nazarenes like the fun parts of the liturgical year, but want to label the seasons that involved any discomfort on our part as “Catholic”. You can’t really have the celebration of Christmas with out the preparation of Advent and the proclamation of Epiphany.

    If you observe Christmas and Easter, you are endorsing Catholic practices not found in scripture.

  41. Okay, David. Which part of Christmas are you questioning? I assume you would agree that’s it’s okay for us to celebrate the birth of Christ- so what part of Christmas do you object to?

    I don’t object to anything that Catholics celebrate necessarily, by the way.

  42. I don’t object to Christmas at all. I’m sitting next to my tree right now.

    You are the one that has a problem with endorsing extra-biblical Catholic practices. Are you going to argue that Christmas is 1)not Catholic and 2) found in the Bible?

    I’m not trying to be ugly. I’m trying to get you to see the double standard you are holding Middendorf(s), Daniels, Boone, etc. to, which you are not willing to hold yourself to.

  43. David, I think you missed my point. I really don’t care if Catholics started the Christmas tradition or not. Is it biblical, that is the question. I never said the RCC does not do ANYTHING right. The point is this:

    I don’t begrudge another Christian if in his conscience he believes he should NOT celebrate Christmas. The Bible does not either expressly forbid it, or encourage it- there is nothing in scripture that speaks to it directly.
    However, ringing bells to celebrate Christ’s birth- nothing wrong with that- like singing songs, right? We light candles to remind people that Christ is the light of the world. If the RCC started that tradition, fine with me.

    On the other hand, contemplative prayer practices, which are so popular with emergents now, are unscriptural and go against all scriptural descriptions and commands by Jesus, on how we should pray. Just a few examples of a lot of scripture that teaches us how to pray:

    “Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

    “John 16:23–24 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

    Prayer is a conscious interaction with God as Jesus directed us, without the use of special rituals and objects like labyrinths. Praying at the altar? That is in no way like using a prayer labyrinth. Not at all.

    Celebrate Christmas? You decide.

    Labyrinths, other contemplative prayer practices? Unscriptural. We are clearly instructed how we should pray in the Bible, and CP is a violation of that instruction.

    I wish you a Merry Christmas.

  44. I wish you a wonderful Christmas as well!

    I think I’m getting hung up on the word “unscriptural”, since Christmas is also “unscriptural”, by which I mean not found in scripture. Maybe extrascriptural is a better term.

    There altar is an object. The way we pray at it is a ritual.

    I’ve only walked a prayer path a few times, but what I liked about it was that it combined extemporaneous prayer with praying the scriptures, such as the Lord’s Prayer, or the sayings of Jesus from the cross. To me, calling this evil borders on blasphemy. Put it this way – I’d hate to put myself in the camp of damning anyone who draws close to God by praying the very words of our Lord, even if it is a “ritual”.

    I suppose we’ve gone back and forth on this enough. I’ll give you the last word. I appreciate the thoughtful dialogue, and just ask you give my posts some prayerful consideration. What if you are, in fact, kicking against the pricks?

    Blessings!

  45. Okay, I could write a lot more in response, but let’s leave it at that also. We could go on forever I imagine. No minds are going to change at the moment, yours or mine. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    Have a Merry Christmas.

  46. Agreed. I think the conversation is beneficial though. And I will readily admit that many post modern Nazarene pastors have not done themselves any favors by trying to force traditional churches to change. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past, but I’ve learned to just love my people where they are and focus on leading us all to be more like Jesus.

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