The Seductive Poison of Apostasy

The following from Eric Barger is more disturbing news about one of our publishing arms of Nazarene Publishing House:

April 7, 2010

A look at 180, a new book from the Nazarene Publishing House


What if your church or your denomination’s official publishing house used denominational funds to print, publish and promote a book that extols the joys of rejecting biblical authority. That’s right, rejecting the Word of God. This is exactly what many biblically sound Nazarenes are now experiencing.
The latest and perhaps one of the most visible signs of distress for Nazarenes is the release of a troubling new book through an arm of the Nazarene Publishing House. 180: The Stories of People Who Changed Their Lives By Changing Their Minds is a product of a Nazarene-funded entity called “The House Studio,” which is listed under the covering of the Nazarene Publishing House in the 2010 General Board Reports of the Church of the Nazarene for the year 2009. (See: http://www.ncnnews.com/nphweb/html/ncn/article.jsp?id=10009016)

180 is a compilation of several authors, including Emergent leader and author, Leonard Sweet, Frederica Mathewes-Green (who, along with Sweet and Emergent godfather, Brian McLaren, contributed to the book The Church in the Emerging Culture: Five Perspectives), G.P (Graham) Taylor (author of Shadowmancer), and Baptist-bred biographer-turned-fiction-writer, Ace Collins. A few of the other contributing authors include Emergent youth speaker, Mark Oestreicher, Karen Spears Zacharias, Patricia Raybon (who has endorsed contemplative spirituality and favors Catholic mystics), Cameron Conant and Bob Buford, the founder of Leadership Network, (the suspected genesis point which spawned today’s Emergent movement and its original leaders). Buford also served as the initial chairman of the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, now known as “Leader to Leader Institute.”

The promotion for the 180 book states: How does a fundamentalist become less conservative? What makes a person intent on marrying choose to remain celibate and enter the priesthood? How can a scientist give up believing in certainty? What makes an organ-playing pastor’s wife hit the road with a band and her bass guitar?
These are all intriguing questions, sure to bring people into a fuller, more holy walk with Jesus, right?
Conant’s chapter explains how he began his adult life as a conservative but when his wife left him he saw the “error” of his Republican ways. Mathewes-Green tells the story of how she migrated from the pro-choice position to become pro-life, which, of course, is actually a good thing. Taylor’s part in the book was about how a dope smoking kid got straight – but like the majority of what 180 offers, there is no hint that God, His Son, His Spirit, or His Word had anything to do with the transformation.
Another contributor to 180 is self-described “professional adventurer” Melissa Jenks.

As a promotional sample of the book, Jenks’ chapter was apparently sent to every Nazarene pastor in March, 2010, as a part of the quarterly “Nazarene Communicator.” It was because of this mailing that a distressed Nazarene pastor called, making me aware of the book.
Jenks begins, “I used to believe that the Bible was true. Completely true-every single word. (In the words of theologians, inerrant.)
“I now believe that the Bible is true. Completely true-every single word.
“So what’s changed? I no longer believe that in order to be absolutely true, the Bible has to be literally true. It doesn’t have to mean that earth and life in it were created in seven days. It doesn’t have to mean that Methuseleh lived 969 years. It doesn’t have to mean that Joshua stopped the sun in the sky or that the streets of heaven are paved with actual gold.”

Along with promoting feminism and the view that American Christians are a rather hopeless and self-centered lot, Jenks follows with the concept that one can be an evolutionist (like her) and a Christian, too; that beliefs are inconsequential to one’s being identified as a “Christian”; and the conclusion that there are many people who reject the historic teaching of the Church but should be unquestionably accepted as real Christians.
Whether its called liberalism or Emergent, heretical or just plain goofy, these ideas are surely not within the bounds of authentic Christianity. In fact, as I stated in my March 19th e-update (“Where is the Leadership?”), notions like these more closely relate to the very lie that got us humans into this mess in the first place i.e., “Hath God Said?” (Genesis 3:1).

Then comes the book’s most regrettable chapter, authored by Nazarene university professor, Karl Giberson. It’s called “Giving Up on Certainty,” which is exactly what the author tells 180 readers he has done concerning the Scriptures. Giberson is one of the world’s most noted proponents of the theory of “Open Theism,”* an evolutionist, and a professor at his alma mater, Eastern Nazarene College. (*Note that Open Theism hypothosizes that God does not know what the future holds.)
Giberson’s chapter in 180 recounts a sad story simliar to that of liberal theologian, Marcus J. Borg. He retells how his experience in Bible college led him away from his previously held position of certainty that the Bible was true and gave him in return a profound intellectual uncertainty for the Word of God. Portraying textbook-like postmodernity, Giberson’s contribution to 180 amounts to little more than a clear cut, egregious denial of the Bible. He claims to have made this change based on a series of events and teachings he received in college, including an old and baseless charge that assorted prophecies found in Scripture were actually fraudulent. I don’t care how intellectual he may be or how many degrees he has, or how many doting peers he may have showering him with awards and prestige.
The question needs to be asked: What is this guy doing teaching in an allegedly evangelical school? How many more students will enter once-trusted Bible colleges only to have their minds twisted and their belief in God’s Word shredded because someone who does not believe the Bible has been allowed to stand unquestioned before them as an authority?

In thinking of the Gibersons and Borgs and other assorted heretics that infest seminary classrooms all around us, I can’t help but remember the compelling phrase Jesus used as He addressed the educated but empty hypocrites of His day. Just before calling them snakes, he said the converts of these false teachers become twice the child of Hell than their mentors (Matthew 23:15)! I think I know something of how Jesus was feeling about this topic but before I allow myself to go there and tell you what I really think, let me introduce a mother named Ann. She has experienced one of the worst nightmares imaginable for any Christian parent. Year after year, Ann trained her son up in the ways of God. When the time came she sent him off to Bible college only to find that some so-called “intellectuals,” within the confines of what she thought was a solid theological institution, injected him with the seductive poison of apostasy, obliterating both her own life’s work and her son’s relationship with God.
Ann wrote me at www.ericbarger.com. She stated:

Thank you for your stand for truth and the defense of the Word of God which is now under attack through the emergent movement.  This is being taught as the new post-modern “truth” at many so called “Christian” universities. I have a son who has been captured by this vain philosophy being taught at a Nazarene university.  I am praying for his return to the truth of God’s Word as he was trained up for 12 years at home and in school to affirm God’s Word as absolute truth.  The university taught from a New Testament book written by Bart Erhman, a self-proclaimed agnostic and academic expert in textual criticism.  That class has derailed my son’s faith.

I wrote back:

Thanks for writing Ann. I grieve when I hear reports like this. It is heart-wrenching. Hang in there and please let me know how it’s going. Remember, you are not alone. There is a godly remnant inside the Nazarene Church who are fighting for your son and for other sons and daughters. Let me know if there is anything we can provide for you or do.
By the way, which Nazarene University did your son attend?
God bless you!
Eric

Ann responded:
Thank you for your response.  My son graduated 2008 from Point Loma Nazarene University and I have also have a daughter enrolled at PLNU finishing her junior year.  The university has invited emergent authors/speakers to mandatory chapels and is offering contemplative prayer retreats. I have written the General S/P of the Nazarene organization (Jerry Porter) and also the University president in this regard.  The S/P sent me three documents put out by the Nazarenes concerning the emergent church which all clearly emphasized a strong biblical foundation and God’s Word as truth.  However, the reality of these speakers in chapel and contemplative retreats are contrary to those documents. The University president has not responded.

Ann
The introduction to the 180 book states, “Even though we’re not out to change your mind on anything, we hope to stretch it a little.” Stretch it a little? But how? By relying on human stories to emotionally appeal to us that drugs and abortion are evil – but never relating what the Word of God states on the topics? Then worse, by casting doubt on the Word of God with the kind of conflicting, faith-breaking doubletalk found in 180? Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the mission of the Church was to produce materials and teaching that uphold the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine Peter, Paul or any of the other Apostles writing a chapter in 180? I think not. God is indeed in the mind-changing business – make that the renewing of the mind through His mighty Word (Romans 12:1-2, Psalm 119:11)! If we need anything today it is voices that refute false beliefs instead of endorsing them. Rather than question marks, we must add exclamation points to the emphatic teachings of the Bible!

Call me narrow-minded but I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with the progressive, supposedly intellectual tripe some so-called Christian educators are foisting on young minds while consistantly downplaying and discouraging systematic theology, expository preaching and sound doctrine. It has become a vogue part of allegedly “higher” Christian education today to constantly question and doubt biblical truths rather than uphold them – all in the name of “critical thinking.” This isn’t some sort of postmodern apologetics. Instead, it is nothing short of subversion and is the very veil with which those who are guided by the spirit of rebellion cloak themselves.

Rebellion is indeed the spirit of the age we live in and it is at work inside the Church. The apostle John exclaimed, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). I am more convinced with each passing day that what we are battling is nothing short of the attempted complete destruction of the historic Church by some within the borders of our theological institutions and denominations. Just look to those formerly sound theological giants of the recent past, Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Have we forgotten that they were once home to the greatest defenders of biblical truth in the world? It is surely no stretch that one would have to spend considerable time and effort to find many authentic Bible believers within their walls today. We must wake up before their fate becomes ours.

Considering the fact that evolution and open theism are being accepted and heralded in Nazarene universities, and books like 180 are being printed and promoted by the official publishing arm of the Church of the Nazarene, make one wonder what is next. However, as most of you know, Emergent heresy is certainly not confirned to any one denomination. Concerned Christians should be watching, examining, challenging, and demanding accountability from those in leadership. Lest there be more heartbreak such as Ann’s, and for the sake of the next generation, we can do no less. Ladies and gentlemen, TRUTH comes with a price and this is what contending for it looks like.
For an extensive menu of information on this and related issues visit “The Church of the Nazarene and the Emergent Church” at our website, www.ericbarger.com.

(For a review of this book by Nazarene pastor Peter Migner: The book “180″ By The House Studio Just Went The Wrong Way)

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59 responses to “The Seductive Poison of Apostasy

  1. I don’t have much experience with PLNU, but I have two cousins who have graduated from there in the past 10 years or so… and they are both still committed followers of Jesus Christ. They loved their time there, including chapel and the speakers who visited. One earned his PhD and is now teaching in the math department at another Nazarene university. He and his wife are actively involved in their local Nazarene church. The other is preparing for mission work and will graduate from NTS this summer.

    I feel sorry for Ann and her heartbreak…. I wonder if her son’s faith is really derailed and his relationship with God obliterated… or if that’s just what it looks like to his mother. I wonder what his own testimony would be. Perhaps he is still committed to Christ and the truth of Scripture but has moved away from the inerrancy position that his mother holds. I hope, for his mom’s sake and his sake, that his faith is still intact.

  2. Oh, sure. I’m not doubting her description. It’s just that her description is very brief. I don’t know Ann or her family to have any context beyond what’s written above.

    As for the 180 book, I know I’ve seen an ad for it (probably in the NPH Communicator mailing mentioned above), but I haven’t read it.

  3. Ann wrote:

    “academic expert in textual criticism. That class has derailed my son’s faith.”

    It is the “textual criticism” that is fueling the Emergent movement but nobody will listen!

  4. Steve,

    Textual criticism is a normal part of the work of those who study the ancient biblical texts and give us the Bibles we use every day. As scholars look at the tens of thousands of copies and fragments of the Greek and Hebrew scriptures, with their thousands of variant readings that slipped in over the centuries (copyist errors, etc), they do their best to get us as close to the original documents as possible. Because none of the original documents remain. All we have are copies and fragments of copies. But we have LOTS of them. The OT and NT are very well supported, textually.

    I think you might be confusing textual criticism with something else….?

  5. Rich,

    Textual criticism is a science falsely so-called. It calls a student to hold the word of God in contempt for the very reasons you mentioned and were severely exaggerated. There is no where near “tens of thousands.” This is the one common thread that has linked all apostasy though higher learning in every denomination. You believe that garbage if you want. I know of a better way.

    Textual criticism is a science falsely so-called.

    1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, (like, thousands of variant readings) and oppositions of science (like, textual criticism) falsely so called:

    1Ti 6:21 Which some professing (professors) have erred concerning the faith.

    The Holy Spirit does not teach the following statement, it is scholarly bunk, to rid the world of Biblical authority!

    “Because none of the original documents remain. All we have are copies and fragments of copies.”

    Like that means anything. Jesus Christ did not have an original copy, nor are they needed.

    I happen to have the word of God.

    It is perfect, inerrant, living and will judge the scholars one day.

    No guess what it is.

    Rich, you have been duped!

  6. “Christians” Who Defend the Occult
    Taken from your emails at

    http://www.ericbarger.com.

    Before my husband and I graduated from a Baptist College,. . . ALSO we were told by our professors to give our King Jame’s Bibles away…as to many of King Jame’s interpretations and his own thoughts were written into the Bible incorrectly. History states that King Jame’s later “took back” his mis-interpretations 30 years later about witches but it was never removed from the original transcripts.

    We DO know what we are talking about on this matter. AND there are numerous other Preachers who feel the same. My husband was in the seminary

    Another one bites the dust!

    Common thread to apostasy; throw out your (King James) Bible!

  7. There is as much scholarship behind textual criticism as there is behind the theory of evolution. How can true scholarship be found in that which attacks the things that God has established?

    Professing themselves to be wise they became fools. Romans 1:22

  8. Um, guys… where do you think your Bibles come from? Including the KJV? Any English translation is a translation of SOME original set of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts. All textual criticism does is look at all the manuscripts we’ve found and try to figure out how they fit together into a coherent whole. That’s a good thing!

    Steve, you can assert that there aren’t tens of thousands of copies and fragments of copies of ancient Bible manuscripts… but according to Wikipedia’s entry on the matter, “The New Testament has been preserved in more than 5,800 Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Ethiopic and Armenian.” That’s just the New Testament. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textual_criticism

    These aren’t made up. They’re actual documents that people read and catalog and study. And as they read them, the texts don’t all agree. (Sometimes a scribe skipped a letter or a word when making a new copy. Sometimes they added explanatory notes in the margins that the next scribe incorporated into the main text. Etc.) Which is why the work of textual criticism is so important.

    I don’t understand why you’re disrespecting the hard work of devoted Christian brothers and sisters who give their careers to making sure you have the best Bible possible in your hands…

  9. I should add that this has nothing to do with disagreements over inerrancy or biblical literalism. Even staunch biblical inerrantists practice textual criticism…. because it’s unavoidable if you’re working with the Hebrew and Greek texts.

  10. Rich you said:

    “As scholars look at the tens of thousands of copies and fragments of the Greek and Hebrew scriptures”

    1. Latin has nothing to do with the original languages, you said “Greek and Hebrew.”
    2. Scholars flippantly know that the fragments are very tiny and the majority all agree.
    3. The “modern science so-called” exists only to introduce the catholic readings back into a pure work of God. This world is headed for a dark age never known to man.
    4. All critics use a different set of guide lines for their theories.
    5. You have been fooled to think that the preservation of scripture was left to sloppy works by the copyist, only because this is the case of Siniaticus, and Vaticanus, which are the sole reason that the NIV is missing 64,000 words, with all the publishers and scholars stating that it is because of the “best MSS” ect. Without the facts.
    6. Now the bibles are being made gender neutral, I wonder what criticism brought this about?
    7. The little lie started out that the “thees” and “thous” were out dated.
    8. I do engage in textual criticism with common sense. I criticize the catholic texts for the poison they are, and I criticize the works of scholars for the deception that they promote.
    9. I have a Bible that has been tried by a furnace of earth seven times.
    10. The King James Bible has passed the test of time, is the most fruitful bible known to mankind, and has no proven errors in it.
    11. The criticism and prayer that went into the King James Bible cannot be compared to the rotten works of modern bibles that have undermined (subverted) the faith.
    12. Based on what you have told me, you are now unqualified to quote any authority to me or anyone else. Because it is always subjective to bad copies, mistakes or a 100 other bogus lies.
    13. This problem is universal in all universities teaching the same damnable heresy. The product of this junk is the Church has lost its head.
    14. Pray, study, pray, and for God’s sake get your head screwed on right!

  11. I’ve seen the same things Ann has.

    It starts as “Did God really say” and then it morphs and evolves to bizarre un-Biblical statements.

    Sin evolves.
    Truth is unchangeable.
    Evolution describes sin not creation.
    Evolution leads to the death of the unborn and our souls.
    Truth leads to life.

    1 Samuel 15:29
    He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”

    John 18:37
    “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

    Joshua 24:15
    But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

  12. Rich,

    I’d like to ask your forgiveness for point #14.
    I appreciate you and any stand you take for the truth. I always enjoy reading your comments.

    In an attempt to justify myself, and if it is any consolation, the comment was really not aimed at you at all. It took me fifteen years to pay off a student loan that almost stole my faith in the bible. Fifteen years to learn what I know the hard way, and fifteen years to reestablish my life since I left the Nazarene mess. I will never get over being lied to!

    I guess, in the flesh, sometimes you just want to shake people and wake them up.

    Hearing the same scholarly garbage come from you makes one wonder just how far this thing has gone.

    It is not easy to see the deception it is deep and it took me quite a long time to work through it all.

    You don’t have to agree with my position to be a brother in Christ. I don’t agree to disagree (that’s gay) the bible says that we should be in unity and to agree to disagree settles for an unbiblical solution and leave God as the author of confusion. I pray that He will help us here.

    I am just a little guy in the pond therefore, I shoot like david straight between the eyes. However, I do not consider you the enemy and I should not spar without more grace.

    And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

    In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

    And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

    2 Tim 2:24-26

    I appreciate you in the Lord, and hope that you will forgive my rude comment.

    Steve Sumner

  13. One thing I have always appreciated about this site is even if one may disagree with Reformed Nazarenes posts, they are always written very respectfully and not simply as childish attacks. It is nice to see Christian blogs out there that get there point across without sounding petty. Thank you, sir, for your thoughts and insight.

    Blessings,
    Martin C.

  14. Steve,

    I’ve learned more from you and Manny in the last 14 months then I was taught in the 30+ years I spent in the Nazarene denomination. Like Pam said, I care what happens to the denomination.

    Brad

  15. Brad and Pam,

    Thanks for the encouragement, truth is sweeter when it is wrapped in compassion and I also care!

    Many thanks to Manny who endures the brunt of the ridicule. It is hard telling the strain that it can cause to his family to be in such a frontline fight.

    Manny, it will be worth it all . . .

    Thanks for your graciousness,

    Steve

  16. Hi Steve, yes it will be worth it all for staying in obedience to God.

    I’ve developed a bit of a thick skin from all this- and someone told me recently, a very hard head, because I have taken a lot of direct hits- it’s especially painful when it’s from “those closest to you.” (Not looking for sympathy, however, just describing the past year or so). My wife has learned a lot and has grown from it as well. My older son is being guided by us to understand as best as possible the separations that have occurred, so far as an eight year old can handle. He is doing well, however.

    But as I have told many, the incredible blessings from just simply obeying God to please Him first (again, ALL glory goes to God for this) is far worth more than any bit of compromise I could have done, in order to keep some false sense of unity. (Galatians 1:10)

    And one of those types of blessings have been getting to know and learn, get encouragement from, and give encouragement and pray for, folks like:
    Brad, you, Tim, Beverly, Pastor Joe, Claudia, Pastor Ken, Sue, Don, Brenda, Eric, Lorraine, Duke, Angie,Scott, Jeff, Robert, Rick, Michael, Peter, Helena, Aaron, Becky, Bud, Carlton, Anibal, Dawn, James, John, June, Kim, Larry, Susan, Lisja, Linda, Pam, Tom, Lynne, Martin, Mavis, Melinda, Melodye, Randy, Rebecca, Anthony, Ryan, Richard, Stephen, Steve, Susan, Terry, Darlene, Virginia. These are many but certainly not all- and I try my best to pray for each of them regularly.

    One of the things I sometimes feel embarrassed about is that so many who contact me to tell their story or their encouragement, help me so much- that I feel I have more support than other folks do! I thank God for all of you, because I have gained many more brothers and sisters who have taken the place of those who I feel I have been “divorced” from, as Eric Barger wrote recently.

    And I just thank God for helping me to be faithful to Him, in spite of my weaknesses, or shortcomings, or inability to still not memorize scripture as well as I want, etc, etc.

    Well this turned out longer than I planned to comment on. Sorry.

    Blessings,

    Manny

  17. Barger said:

    “Considering the fact that evolution and open theism are being accepted and heralded in Nazarene universities, . . . make one wonder what is next.”

    Here is what is next:

    1. Some Isolated pastors and men of God will destroy the works of baal.

    2. A spirit of “I only” will sweep accross the fighters that are last standing.

    3. Men of God will take up hideing.

    4. Those last standing will run head long into the spirit of Jezebel.

    5. They themselves will run for the caves.

    6. Nobody will be able to here from God because of all the comotion.

    7. The still small voice of God will raise the church out having made room for another.

    8. The Jew will take over the Gospel with a double portion of power.

    I kings 18,19

  18. Please remain upright for take off!

    You may experience a little cabin decompression but this will pass.

    Remain standing until the ride comes to a complete stop.

    Watch your step you are 49,000 ft above sea level and please bow at his presence.

  19. The “falling away” is upon us. These people in this book and elsewhere actually believe that they have been enlightened. The board of Generals are either:

    1. Out to lunch.
    2. Not saved.
    3. Undercover Jesuits
    4. Emergents themselves

    What’s wrong with people! The name of the book is wicked.

    Isa 3:9 The shew of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

    Watch the countenance on a lot of this emergent stuff the haughty proud looks.

    All this from a church doctrine that states it is possible to fall from grace. Hey, Nazarenes can somebody tell me when one has fallen?

  20. Steve, I’m happy to offer forgiveness for your #14 earlier. I’m not sure if you’ll see my acceptance of your apology, though, as I’ve been having trouble getting my comments through moderation on this thread, for some reason.

    In your most recent comment, you’ve said a couple things that I don’t understand. I’m hoping you can help.

    1. How is the name of the book wicked? The title is “180.” The subtitle is “Stories of People Who Changed Their Lives by Changing Their Minds.” That’s wicked?

    2. What “haughty proud looks” are you referring to? I haven’t seen them on any of the “emergent Nazarenes” I know.

  21. Hi Rich,

    One of the haughty attitudes I was confronted with was from a young Nazarene pastor in my home town. That was the deciding factor for me to stay away from the denomination and find a house of worship that stayed within the boundaries of the Word of God. It was hard to make that type of decision since I was a 3rd generation Nazarene. This young pastor is also the son in law of a Nazarene university president if I remember my facts correctly.

    Respectfully,
    Brad

  22. Rich,

    Thanks. First the title is a brazen proclamation that they have not just changed their mind a little but have done an about face. People do judge a book by it’s cover and it was named to be rebellious and loud. It’s purpose is to embolden and empower a wicked direction and a rebelliousness for the “Norm” out in the open.

    Rich, consider the mission statement of the Nazarene Church and ask yourself if that book fulfills that mission.

    Secondly, I receive, as a pastor, mass amounts of mail from emergents and their promotions. The stuff is worse than the secular. It makes great visuals for teaching the wickedness of this movement.

    Rich, if I were you, I would start praying for discernment. I have read other post of yours and you believe this to be one of your strong points. I don’t see it that way, else you’ve put it on the shelf. The emergents are in the process of “mixing” everything. I would start by throwing out your drum set from your church. Start a revival, I dare you!

  23. Apostasy, this is what Paul was talking about when he warned the church at Thessalonica not to go to sleep. “So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober” (1 Thess. 5:6). In my opinion it is too late. The church is already snoring!

  24. Ash,

    1. It has something to do with the basics of discernment.

    2. It has something to do with the bible.

    3. It has something to do with the conversation with another pastor.

    4. I’m a fisherman by trade and I often try different baits to catch carp like you.

    Steve

  25. Even though I figured there would be some kind of insult in the answer I appreciate the response Steve

  26. Steve,

    I haven’t read the book, so I can’t comment on the contents. Thanks for explaining why you find the title offensive.

    As for discernment, I’m happy to pray that God makes me more discerning, gives me wisdom, etc. We could all use more of that. Obviously, I believe that I am discerning correctly on the issues that tend to get discussed on this blog. But I’m happy to pray for clearer vision.

  27. Rich,

    If you don’t mind me asking. I won’t belittle your answer.

    Is there anything in the church at-large that you oppose or actively preach against?

  28. I don’t mind you asking one bit, Steve…. though I find it sad that you had to reassure me that you won’t belittle my answer.

    For the most part, I don’t think of myself as “actively preach[ing] against” anything… except in the context of those things God is calling us toward. So, for example, when I preach on finances, I preach against greed & worry because they keep us from being generous, trusting God, and obeying him when he leads us to give sacrificially to meet some specific need. While preaching through several of Jesus’ encounters with various people leading up to Easter, I preached on his confronting the Pharisees and his cleansing of the Temple… so I preached against self-righteousness, taking advantage of people in need, etc. Just this past Sunday, I preached on the topic of “What’s your next step?” and traced the spiritual journey from those just beginning to investigate Christianity all the way to those who need to expand their outreach and evangelistic efforts… and in the context of that message, I preached “against” being spiritually stagnant and refusing to grow.

    I believe that all of these are present in the church at large today, and I’m opposed to all of them.

    I’m sure there’s more. Let’s see… so far this year I’ve also preached against giving in to temptation; against self-sufficiency and independence, as if we don’t need the support and help of our Christian brothers and sisters; against all sorts of specific activities and attitudes mentioned in Ephesians (since I read Ephesians one Sunday as my message). I spent 2 Sundays in January preaching on studying the Bible and praying, so I guess I was preaching against ignoring the Bible and prayerlessness. I spent 5 months last year preaching through the Sermon on the Mount, so I’m sure I preached against all sorts of things in that series.

    I hope this answers your question….?

  29. Gentlemen,
    Is this how entirely sanctified men behave? I think not. Loving truthful answers are what required here. We are to fight for the faith. Not be demeaning. We are to be truthful factual and honest .
    The Lord’s people have been assailed by Satan from the Garden and this is not new. However, even sanctified people apparently can’t control themselves?
    As sanctified people, which I understand the Nazarene church to believe in, the fruit of the Spirit (all of it not to pick the ones we like) is what is required. We all need pray for the Fruit and Wisdom and Discernment always.
    Prayerfully
    Beth

  30. Rich,

    How is it sad to reasure someone that your not asking a question for a particular motive? Especially under the circumstances where I just apologized for a rude comment and with someone like Ash who never has anything to say except to stir up trouble.

    Well anyway, I was asking because the emergent churches that I am aware of think it is quite unbiblical to judge or preach against sin. It seems like sins of money are never going to go away seeing how churches need that.

    Rich do you think that (if) someone promotes changing the minds of young people about the bible not being the word of God would you stand beside me and say that is wrong?

  31. Steve,

    I didn’t find it sad that you offered the reassurance. I found it sad that you needed to.

    The emergent churces I’m aware of preach against sin all the time. They call people to turn their backs on sin and follow Jesus, finding forgiveness and new life in him.

    Yes, I would say it’s wrong for anyone to promote the idea that the Bible is not God’s word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and useful…” The issue is that you and I likely have different ideas about what that means. From the excerpts given above (which is all I have to go on, not having read the book myself), I’m not convinced that 180 is saying the Bible is not God’s word. It may be promoting an approach to Scripture that’s different from yours, but that’s different from saying the Bible is not true or that it’s not God’s word. The fact that it’s published by fellow Nazarenes makes me think it’s highly unlikely that it promotes a view of Scripture that doesn’t fit with our Articles of Faith.

  32. Beth Lockwood,

    Old Testament rebuke of false teachers:

    Duet 13:6-8
    6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him.

    New Testament rebuke of false teachers

    Rev 2:14-16

    14Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    Rev 2:20-22

    20Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.

    2 Peter 2:1-3

    1But 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. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3In 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.

    Any idea that “You can or should tolerate false teachers who deny or cause doubt in Jesus while in Christian pulpits or church leadership.” is a lie from the pit of hell.

    John 18:37

    37″You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

    John 17:17
    17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

  33. Re: Pam’s latest comment to Beth:

    Beth didn’t say anything about tolerating false teachers. She said that we should give “loving truthful answers” to each other and “not be demeaning.” I took her comment to be about how we are treating each other here in these comments as brothers and sisters in Christ.

    BTW, I hope everyone knows that I’m in total agreement that we should not “tolerate false teachers who deny or cause doubt in Jesus.” Is someone here saying we _should_ tolerate them?

    Of course, I don’t know a single Nazarene pastor or professor, “emergent” or otherwise, who denies Jesus or causes doubt in Jesus. If they didn’t believe in Jesus, trust Jesus, and follow Jesus, I don’t know why they would be members or elders in the Church of the Nazarene…

  34. Rich

    I stumbled into a New Age bookstore once and it was a pretty wicked place with all the crystals and witchcraft paraphernalia. Located by the register was a book about Jesus. It really caught me off guard, as I had only been saved about a year. I asked the retailer what Jesus had to do with all the rest of the stuff in the store. She happily exclaimed that “Jesus was the greatest mysticist of all times.” She felt as if Jesus was involved in transcendental meditation and did not die on the cross but was in a trance, the same thing that other cults teach.

    My point here is that just because people look up to Jesus etc. in their perverted, (not biblical) ways this does not make one a Christian in the biblical sense. Acts 11:26

    Rich, Jesus is God, He is (the) not (a) Lord. New Ager’s and some Emergent’s carefully reword these things to make one think that they are saying the same thing. Just like me asking you a question about (the) word of God. You carefully inserted that our words may not mean the same thing, and that they do not. There is not a textual critic alive that believes that they have “the” word of God. They, like you, think they have variant copies of it therefore they teach and promote the very play on words. There isn’t a Nazarene Pastor that I know of including yourself that can put their finger on __the__ word of God.

    So for clarification when most people say, “the word of God” what they really mean is “the message of God” at best. I have dozens of text books to cite as proof. When a New Age heretic refers to Jesus as God they know good and well that they believe in many Gods (plural).

    For clarification when I say “the word of God” I am referring to the KJV the edition that I own! The word of God is also present in many languages and dialogs. The fact that one language may be inferior to another bears no significance to the truth, in ancient history or today. In that case it is easier to teach English than a dead form of biblical Greek.

    However, this position is my own, and I state it only for verification of future communication. So in one vein I am glad that this book “180” was correctly named. If people are going to try to redefine Christianity they ought to find their own way of saying something. I think that is the wicked nature of the Emergents; to be “real.”

    Steve

  35. I assume that denying that Jesus is Lord is not the only false teaching there is. Is that correct, Rich?

    As I understand it, a false teacher is defined by Paul in Galatians chapter 1, and that is what I go with as a definition of what a false teacher does- preach another gospel. That can be many things, including something so “insignificant” as the use of prayer labyrinths to get closer to God, because that would be preaching another gospel.

    6I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
    7Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
    8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
    9As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (KJV)

  36. Of course that’s not the only false teaching there is, Manny. I was simply responding to Pam’s comment. I would hate for someone to stumble across this conversation and think that there are Nazarene pastors out there denying that Jesus is Lord.

    And, yes, Steve…. we Nazarenes (even the “emergent” ones) believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is fully God and fully man, etc.

  37. BTW, Steve… since you keep referring to the KJV as _the_ Word of God… What is your opinion of the Septuagint (LXX)? When the New Testament authors quoted Scripture, it was usually the LXX that they were quoting. Was the LXX the Word of God? If so, why isn’t the KJV based on it? Why does it differ from the LXX in so many places?

    It seems that the translators of the KJV didn’t hold to the same view of Scripture as you do. If they did, they would have used the LXX, the Bible frequently quoted by Jesus and the apostles.

  38. Rich,
    Here is a statement of belief from your website.

    “We believe in who Jesus Christ is and was and that He became like us, yet sinless, to bring about our salvation.” (Matthew 1:20, 16:15; John 1:1-18)

    Matthew 16:15 is a question.

    He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

    John 1:18

    This verse says two different things depending on if you are reading the Authorized Version or the NASV.

    Just a suggestion, Jesus Christ deserves to be testified about without the grey areas.

    PS. The book 180 promotes the change that, the idea of the bible being literal is not necessarily true. (By the Bible I mean any version anywhere on the face of the earth.)

    This does not just apply to creation or the sun standing still it includes other scientific impossibilities all of which makes even Jesus walking on water impractical. Now, how do you hang you salvation on that kind of nonsense when the whole story of salvation contradicts science?

    Rich, the conclusion of those folks you defend is to completely reject all forms of sound doctrine. Marcus Borg mentioned in the book “180” concluded about Jesus:

    “He did not speak of or think of himself as “the Son of God,” or as “one with the Father,” or as “the light of the world,” or as “the way, the truth, and the life,” or as “the savior of the world.”

    “Finally, we cannot know much about Jesus. Any very specific claim about him is highly problematic.”

    Me & Jesus—The Journey Home
    An Odyssey
    Marcus J. Borg
    The Fourth R, Volume 6,4, July/August 1993

    Rich if I wanted to be mean I wouldn’t have to call you names or insult you. I could just demonstrate that you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Please use your discernment about these matters.

    Steve

  39. Rich said,
    “BTW, I hope everyone knows that I’m in total agreement that we should not “tolerate false teachers who deny or cause doubt in Jesus.” Is someone here saying we _should_ tolerate them?

    Of course, I don’t know a single Nazarene pastor or professor, “emergent” or otherwise, who denies Jesus or causes doubt in Jesus. If they didn’t believe in Jesus, trust Jesus, and follow Jesus, I don’t know why they would be members or elders in the Church of the Nazarene…”

    This is the issue.

  40. Rich,

    The LXX is a myth, google “legend LXX” and see.

    The reason for the LXX con is because throughout the ages all these Greek scholars cannot speak Hebrew. Therefore, they have created a Greek translation of the Old Testament and pretend that Jesus read from it. (That’s how they make it authoritative without it being Hebrew. Then they get amnesia when anyone alludes to the fact that any other translation can be inspired.) There is not one shred of evidence that this story is true even though it is thoroughly accepted as truth. In reality this enables Greek scholars to tamper with the Old Testament in these New Versions.

    The King James uses the correct Masoretic text for the Old Testament.

    The LXX is a straw dummy.

    The legend of the LXX breaks every scribal law given to the Levites only. Jesus would not have touched such a thing with a ten foot pole. It is better believed to be of Origen’s Hexapla. Not to mention all the tribes were scattered and lost at the supposed time of its writing. So its myth is impossible to be the (whole) truth.

    Rich, I’ve been at this for almost 20 years; there is nothing that I haven’t thoroughly studied on the Bible version issue. I am not a “know it all” but some subjects I know very well. You, along with 99.9% of christians will take something like the LXX story and just swallow it without ever looking into it and just because every text book lies about it, that will never change the truth. That’s why the KJ translators left it alone. Yes, your professors know these facts. Anything based on the LXX is tainted with corruption.

    Steve

  41. OK, Steve. If I have to choose between you and Bible scholars who have read and handled the actual manuscripts and who have been at this for much more than your almost 20 years…. I’m going to have to side with the Bible scholars. I don’t see any reason why I should believe you over them.

    Besides, the Bible scholars I’m referring to don’t come to the same conclusion that Marcus Borg does. Not every textual critic concludes that we can’t really know much about Jesus for sure, etc. There are conservative evangelical textual critics. There are biblical inerrantists and biblical literalists who practice textual criticism. Please don’t paint every textual critic with the Borg brush.

    Re: the LXX – Whether the legend of 72 translators working over 72 days is true or false (and I imagine it’s false), Jesus and the apostles quoted from Scripture that differs from the MT, and often their quotations line up with the LXX. Besides, fragments of the LXX exist that are dated BC, and portions of the Dead Sea Scrolls agree with the LXX, and they are also dated BC. So some version of the LXX was around before Jesus and the apostles, and it appears to be what they were quoting.

    My point in bringing up the LXX is that if the MT is the only correct text of the OT… then why did Jesus use and quote Scripture that differs from it? Did Jesus use the “wrong” Bible?

    As for our church website, the list of beliefs there is a very brief paraphrase of the Nazarene Articles of Faith. (That’s why I link to the full Articles of Faith at the bottom of the page.) I was trying to summarize two paragraphs about Jesus in one sentence. I’m sure I could’ve done better. I hope you noticed that right before the one you quoted it says that we believe God “reveals himself as Father, Son, and Spirit.” As I said earlier, we Nazarenes (even the “emergent” ones) certainly believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is fully God and fully human, etc. My preaching reflects that each and every Sunday.

    To change gears here at the end: Pam, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say with that last comment. Could you elaborate?

  42. Rich,

    I quoted you and said this is the issue for me. It is about Jesus being Lord in our churches and schools.

    Please re-read Ann’s statements.

    Ann said, “The university taught from a New Testament book written by Bart Erhman, a self-proclaimed agnostic and academic expert in textual criticism. That class has derailed my son’s faith.”

  43. Rich,

    I have some ocean front property to sell you.

    You probably do not even know the names of the scholars that you are referring to. The evidence is the same, I won’t give the manuscript evidence here but it is available. I am not by any stretch of the imagination the only one that has knowledge of these fragments, their where abouts, and the language and stories concocted to decieve the hearts and minds of Christians. There are hundreds of modern scholars as well as the Scholars of 400-2000 years ago that have already spoken.

    You need to stop seeing the bible through the lens of a man made book. It is not. The Holy Spirit is the Author and can quote His own work however He wants. It is true of bible characters themselves, examples upon request, and you yourself who is no god can quote your own writings however you wish. That only demonstrates ownership!

    That’s all I have to say about it. I hope you realize that you actually have no authority above your own opinion.

    2Co 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

    (Like rewriting what he said) In context:

    For we are not as _many_, which corrupt the word of God: 2Co 2:17

    Rich this verse was written at the time of the originals.
    Corruption of the word of God has been the devils theme since the Apostles, I would say Eve, but I don’t know if she is a literal person or not.

    I will give you the last word.

    Thanks for the conversation,

    Steve

    Steve

  44. I’m not sure what “last word” you want me to give, Steve. We disagree strongly on this issue. If we still care about these types of things when we see Jesus face to face, we can ask him to clear it up for us.

    However, I will say that if your criteria for evaluating a church’s faithfulness is whether or not they use the KJV, you’re going to find yourself in a very small minority among Christians, indeed. The Church of the Nazarene has used the NIV for decades now and clearly values the work of textual criticism for understanding the Bible.

    Wait…. Maybe this will work as a “last word” for you…
    Textual critics are not “rewriting what God said.” They are trying to get us as close as possible to those original texts penned by the apostles and prophets themselves. It’s not like anyone is looking at an original of 2 Corinthians and saying, “No, let’s change it to say this, instead.” Nobody has the originals anymore! But the work of textual criticism has shown us that we can have _very_ high confidence in the copies that remain. The work of textual critics has _increased_ my confidence in the text, not decreased it.

    OK, that was way too long of a last word… :) Grace & Peace to you, Steve.

  45. Just a note from me,

    After years of not knowing any better, i have rejected the NIV as a trustworthy Bible.
    Sorry Rich, I can’t spend time explaining it all again, but just for the record, I don’t use my old copy anymore. I stick with the KJV or NKJV. I do believe now that based on the evidence, the NIV is a corrupted version. It would not make a difference for me if the Nazarene denomination announced that it was our official version or not.

  46. Thanks, Manny.

    Just for clarity’s sake: Does that mean that you also reject all other modern English translations that are not based upon the KJV and its original sources? Do you also reject the NASB, NRSV, HCSB, NLT, CEV, etc, as corrupt?

    I brought up the fact that the Church of the Nazarene has used the NIV for decades to point out that taking a KJV-only stance would (1) show disagreement with the best Nazarene scholarship on the matter and (2) reveal a dissonance with the rest of the denomination that goes far deeper and far beyond the more recent “emergent” issues.

  47. Can I add my two cents about the NIV or some other translation that has been used within the Nazarene denomination? The more I read about the experiences of different individuals within the denomination, I can relate so much as I feel I have walked the same path. Steve has mentioned The Living Bible in his youth and the NIV usage in the seminary. These two translations were probably the worse two things I experienced in my Bible studies as a youth. Once I had the maturity and understanding, I realized how distorted these so called bibles were compared to the KJV. Even my brother in law, a retired minister, calls the NIV corrupt. After reading the study commentary within the NIV Life Application one day, my eyes were opened to the distortion of the truth when comparing what it said to a KJV study Bible. I have not looked back since the truth was laid oprn right there in front of me. My grandmother was a Nazarene for over 60 years. She always had a KJV, but I don’t understand why the denomination allowed things to change in the name of “better translations”.

    I have chosen the way of truth Psalms 119:30

  48. Sorry Rich, I don’t really want to get into it more about translations. Glad Brad was able to comment.

    On the other hand, do you plan to read 180 and review it? I will be ordering a copy soon.

  49. Manny,

    Church history speaks for itself.

    Steve Sumner, on November 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm on Biblical Inerrancy, Said:

    From Dr. McCarthy’s article come these quotes:
    ————————————————————————–In the mid-1920s the first major Nazarene rebuttal to destructive higher criticism and infidelity appeared with Basil Miller’s Cunningly Devised Fables.” Miller asserted that “the Bible itself affirms that it is the inerrant, infallible, inspired, and completed Word of God.”

    During the 1920s there seemed to be an increasing awareness of the threat that modernism posed to the life of the young, growing denomination. Warnings were issued to Nazarenes. Chapman editorialized in the Herald:
    Our own Church of the Nazarene must be always vigilant to keep the Bible destroyers out (for, thank God, they are out until now) of the pulpit, out of our schools, out of our general boards, out of our missions and out of our books and literature; for in this way, and in this way only we will be able to keep them out of our homes and out of our pews.

    Cornell issued a similar alert, “Nazarene ministers, beware! Stick to the Old Book from cover to cover: Let no trace of doubt or unbelief impregnateinpregnate your nature.”
    ————————————————————————

  50. I wasn’t planning to read it. It doesn’t particularly appeal to me, and it doesn’t seem like the kind of book I’d be putting in anyone’s hands at church. (I already preach constantly about God’s ability to change our lives, hearts, attitudes, thinking, etc., by the power of his Spirit as we trust in Christ.) And I already have a stack of books that *do* appeal to me that I haven’t made time to read yet. I wasn’t planning to add this one to the pile.

  51. Steve,
    Thanks for the historical info for all, it’s so helpful in getting a good perspective on the Bible and the position of so many Nazarenes on inerrancy.

    Rich,
    If you never read the book, please at least take heed, and warn others about it, based on the reviews out there already. I don’t want poison like this in the hands of my son in 6 or 7 years. We need to be aware of dangerous books and warn our fellow Christians. Another prime example is The Shack, which was recommended last year at District Assembly as a “great missional book.” What a lack of discernment!

    Someday perhaps soon, some young teen will say “how I love this book! What do you think, pastor?” Then you will need to give an answer, and if it is poison, you need to tell them that it is.

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