Shake The Dust Off And Don’t Look Back

Today was a day of decision.  Allow me to share, and it is my hope that this will help someone understand a little bit of what we are dealing with in the fight against emergent church ideology.  I am convinced that the biggest threat to Christians is coming from within the church, not from the world.

After over a year of battling it out with so many pushers of the emergent poison, over issues such as contemplative spirituality, pagan practices, open theism, evolution, and the inerrancy of scripture especially, I have decided to leave.  I have come to the conclusion that enough is enough, and I have done all I can.  When my good friend Tim picked up the phone and called me yesterday, and slapped me on the head to wake me up to reality, I realized again, that I was wasting my time.  I just did not want to admit it, I guess.  So, I decided last night to make the decision to leave NazNet. So what made me decide to leave, and what can those who read this learn from me telling you this mostly personal account?

My relationship with some of those at at NazNet has been rocky at best, to put it mildly.  I have called it in the past “a breeding ground for emergent heresy.”  Not exactly diplomatic, but true, in my opinion, based on what many there believe.

My final “conversation” with them was from a topic that was titled “Praying For Those That Persecute Us.”  If you read the beginning parts of the thread, there is no doubt that this was directed at me, Tim Wirth, Grant Swank, and others who have been very critical of them. After reading through the comments, I responded to one person, who, although he and I are worlds apart on inerrancy of scripture and other things, at least he did his best to keep things civil, and to try to dialogue.  But it did not last long, and it broke down again, because of others coming in to take some personal pot shots.  So this last attempt at dialogue, although for a while looking promising, simply crashed and burned as all the rest have.  And I came back to reality very fast.

You see, there are some non-emergent members of Naznet there who have the patience to deal with this nonsense.  I admire them for it, and don’t know how they can do it.  They are a kind of missionary to NazNet, doing their best to “dialogue.”  But for me, I’m not built that way.  After a while, I end up saying, enough of this nonsense!  Yet after a while, I have at times tried to contribute to some of the discussions, answering questions from as biblical a perspective as I can.

So NazNet, goodbye.  I’m not seeking comfort from anyone because of this “breakup.”  I’m not trying to act self-righteous; just saying what I believe, as you yourselves do as well.  The main purpose of this post is to warn others who believe the way I believe: don’t stay too long in these “conversations” with the emergent pushers.  It can be harmful to you, and it most likely will be unproductive.  There are too many wolves in this sheep pen, and some of them are very good at twisting scripture. That has been my experience, and hopefully, at least one person will understand that the ones who call themselves the tolerant ones, are far from being tolerant. The bottom line, they have much to defend which is indefensible, and they will rip you apart if necessary.  Not all are like that, and those have tried some civil dialogue, but there are far too many that go the other way.

So the Following Was My Final Comment On NazNet, I Pray It Is A Good Warning:

I’m going to wrap this up here, since some suggestions were made that perhaps we may have a good dialogue going on here. Not so, however. It’s only an illusion.

I realize- yet again- that this is all an exercise in futility for me. So to continue trying to talk to some of you is a waste of time. I have used scripture in a very sound and proper way to illustrate some things to you, but it seems there is always an argument for everything with me, so scripture is twisted again for your purpose. Some of you arguing with me here don’t even believe in the full inspiration of scripture by God, only parts of it.

Dennis Bratcher quotes scripture to scold me, and says he passionately believes the Bible, yet he does not believe the entire Bible- only what he wants to believe. The fact of the matter, there are many of you here who have the same position, evidenced by the fact that some of you have excoriated me and others who believe in the inerrant, infallible word of God, the Book that is God-breathed; God’s word, not man’s word. Yet some here, including ordained pastors, accuse me of practicing bibliolatry, because I believe in the authority of scripture. You reject scripture as infallible, and instead give us this baloney of “only in matters of salvation.” How pathetically sad that any ordained pastor can hold to that position. Well, if you really can say that to me on NazNet, then be consistent and make sure your congregation has NO doubt where you stand on the infallibility (or not) of scripture. Don’t keep on fooling them to think otherwise.

You know I have called this site a breeding ground for emergent heresy, and I stand by that. That is what I believe, based on what many of you state, promote, and defend.

We are in a battle for right doctrines of the Church of God- not just the Nazarene church, so the argument of “this is not what the Nazarene manual says”, is a weak one. Some of you here do not have much respect for doctrine- you seem to focus only on certain “articles of faith” as the minimal requirements for “unity.” Well, that does not make sense biblically, and I have given my position based on scripture, that we are to obey Christ in all that he commands us. Yet some of you have argued to the contrary, and have decided to jettison such teachings that are not convenient for your ideology to prosper.  One that certainly comes to mind are the countless exhortations by Christ and the apostles to “beware of false prophets”, or to “test the spirits, to see if they are of God.”

Many Nazarenes are fighting alongside me against the pagan, anti-Christian practices that have come into our churches and universities, of which we are saying is disobedience to the Lord and sinful. We fight a perverted social gospel that is watering down the true gospel. We fight against an environmental gospel that seems to worship the created more than the Creator. We are fighting against compromise in joining hands with apostate groups and even non-Christian groups, which goes against the word of God. Yet many of you reject the separation that is commanded in scripture. You trust in man-made ways to get closer to and “experience” God, diluting the power of God’s word and our trust and faith in Christ alone, and diminishing the power of the Holy Spirit to teach you through God’s word. And yet, all this that we fight, you call non-essentials.

For these beliefs, we are called uneducated, hate-filled, divisive, extreme fundamentalists. Thus the irony of the topic of this latest post, persecution. Many Nazarenes reject the heretical belief in evolution, because it contradicts the word of God- the very word that Dennis Bratcher says he loves! It does not make sense, Dennis. I believe you love only what you want to love- and throw away the rest. You yourself teach that God is capable of making mistakes. That is heresy, Dennis. And so is open theism, which says God does not know the future. And you either decide to believe evolution, or believe Jesus Christ’s very words.

So for those NazNetters who thought and hoped that we were making some progress here, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but there is none of that happening now. And I realized that, when we cannot even agree on the infallibility of scripture, there is no starting point. When many of you here deny that God’s word can be fully trusted, there is no starting point.

When I mentioned Jay McDaniel’s lecture, instead of even one of you condemning his heresy, you can only say something like “he’s not a Nazarene, and its not relevant to the discussion.” That is so sad, that even teachings that are obviously heretical to some of you, cannot be condemned. Is there a fear of calling out those who pervert the gospel, who dare to indoctrinate our youth with heresy? Some of you are pastors, but where is the questioning of the judgment of allowing such a speaker to poison the minds of our youth? Yet all there is, is silence, nothing but silence. If the Dalai Lama came to your seminary, would you welcome him with open arms also, to preach his universalism, with a phony disclaimer that you don’t necessarily agree with his beliefs? Do any of you draw the line at anything at all when it comes to what is allowed in our schools?

So I am sorry to disappoint some of you, but there will no longer be any further attempts for dialogue from me. There is too much of a gap. This is not about “non-essentials”. This is about obedience to Christ, obedience to the word of God. Not obedience to a church manual, or of caving in to political correctness in exchange for “getting along” with everyone else.  That is not a biblical concept, but instead, flies in the face of scriptural admonitions to reject worldly philosophies.

So I will continue to fight for what is right, what is true; to fight for the Nazarene church and what it has traditionally stood for, holiness; in practice as well as in the statements of faith. But this fight is larger than the Nazarene church, and if at some point God tells me its time to leave the denomination, then it happens. Sadly, many of you are aware of the disastrous results so far.  But your agenda seems to blind you to anything else.

I will continue to pray for those of you who need prayer.

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26 responses to “Shake The Dust Off And Don’t Look Back

  1. Manny, this is a wise decision. I’ve been praying for you and the others who chose to stand.

    “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Revelation 7:12

  2. Amen Manny: Unfortunately you really can’t discuss scripture with people who just want to pick and choose what scripture they want to believe as true.
    Even though I have been banned from the NazNet site there was never really any point in having conversations with them.
    People like Shea, Ben, Dennis and many others there through their own comments would put the question in my mind if these folks are really believers or not.
    But only God really knows that.
    Plus the false teachers they all promote and endorse would show me that at the very least they are extremely deceived or mislead, if not self deceived.
    Would not be my choice of folks for ANY feedback or council.
    They you have pastors like Rich who are everywhere discussing everything (even at unbeliever Greg Horton’s site) at once.
    The ones to pray for are these folks congregations.
    The really sad thing (and I’m not sure if its just a who you know thing with the Nazarene denominations GS’s or not).
    But you cannot just wipe away NazNet’s influence on leading the Nazarene denomination on a path that I think is a path toward heresy and ruin.
    I have found out through the years that one of our enemy satan’s biggest ploys is to get us into the countless side battles with unbelievers and people who promote heresy.
    The conversation always goes in a big circle and always leads to the same end.
    You can never win in these situations they just eat up time better spent on spreading the true gospel of Jesus Christ and alerting people to false teaching and teachers.
    Believers have faced this battle since day one and it will continue until the Lord Jesus returns.
    You can never forsake unity for truth ever.
    That does not mean we don’t love these people and pray that they would be saved.
    It just means we have nothing in common with them until they are truly saved.
    There are certain essentials of the faith that cannot be compromised.
    And one of those essentials is the truth of scripture.
    So where can a point of conversation even start?
    Discussions most of the time are fruitless with those who do not believe in scripture and that it is without error.
    If you ever feel tempted to respond watch the Bob Hunter video on his response to Johanna Michaelsen’s part on out DVD.
    That will give you a pretty good idea of the deception going on right now.
    Again pray for them always.
    And pray for those that are not saved to be saved.
    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim

  3. I left NazNet long ago. Bratcher (and more than a few others) was one of the main reasons. It’s a door that swings one way over there. What is scary is that there are people of Nazarene “prominence” that support this guy and his non-biblical ideals, and not surprisingly are also part of the Nazarene higher educational system. I can see this entire influence getting so dug in that it eventually will poison the well. When that happens so be it. I will always preach the gospel and I am first of all ordained by God. I can do this independently if I must.

  4. I will miss your comments on NazNet if I still go there. I didn’t want to hijack the thread you post about, but I think I stepped into a minefield with a new thread.

    There is a serious disconnect when the assumption is made only the select few can properly understand the Bible.

  5. Great comments over there, Linda! That’s why I always appreciate reading other people’s thoughts, and don’t repeatedly review mine.

    I will you well there as you dialogue with NazNet people.

  6. As being raised Roman Catholic I can tell you that this is what is taught there from Linda’s comments.
    “There is a serious disconnect when the assumption is made only the select few can properly understand the Bible.”
    The problem with being a Catholic is when you read the scriptures for yourself you end up being truly saved and then usually you will leave being a Catholic.
    Some would have you believe that the Catholic church is all that there was for many hundreds of years.
    Dennis Bratcher stated and I quote
    “Sometimes in our hostility to Catholicism we seem to forget that for 1550 years what we call “Catholic” was simply the Church, God’s Church.”
    That is simply not a true statement historically or otherwise.
    The Roman Catholic church was not the only group around before the Reformation.
    That’s the one big card they try to play to lump everyone in with the Reformers as well as Calvin.
    Not saying the Reformers were all bad they just did not reform enough in my opinion.
    There were other groups around not just Roman Catholics or Catholics.
    This is Bratcher’s biggest red herring.
    And again its simply not a true statement.
    And the other group tries to paint us and people such as Dave Hunt as hostile toward Catholics.
    That’s simply not a true statement as well.
    When we stand against the teachings of Rome that does not mean we hate the people.
    That’s just another ploy of those who would try to mislead you back to Rome’s teachings
    Tim

  7. Shaking the dust off my feet does not mean I will not go there to observe what they are saying, Tim. So here’s some recent comments from Dennis Bratcher:

    “I recently did a series of “Bible Stories for Adults” examining how we tend to misunderstand “children’s” stories, like Jonah and Gideon.”

    “Salvation is not about believing the right things.”

    I’d love to have him explain it fully, just to know what he really means with these statements, but it seems a bit odd to me.

  8. Agreed, and because of Bratcher’s teaching and interpretation of scripture I would consider him a false teacher that I personally would avoid at all costs.
    Thats my opinion again because of Dennis own words and teaching
    PS
    Dennis comments on “Salvation is not about believing the right things” directly conflicts with scripture here-

    In the Bible, a jailer asked his prisoners, Paul and Silas: “’Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.’” (Acts 16:30-31).
    Also-
    If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

    This verse is often quoted and is a very powerful and true one. Our belief and faith from God in God does indeed lead to our salvation. However that belief manifests itself in our changed lives and renewed minds in Christ. Salvation leads to our worlds being turned upside down because we are no longer the same person. Former behaviors, attitudes, habits and thoughts are replaced by biblical ones based on the writings of scripture and how the Holy Spirit leads us through scripture as we keep growing.

    And when our belief grows that way, we can show it no matter what! Why? Because God will give us the faith to overcome. In the above Bible verse, Paul was writing a church in Rome that was under heavy persecution. These believers were in need of reassurance because they were under potential attacks every day. Much like faith and scripture that are under attack today.
    Tim

  9. Manny:

    Recently I have been led to lift your name in prayer in a special sense and now I know why. I am not a Naznet follower, though I have visited their site, and from what I read I have no desire to be.

    I guess one could say “To each fool his own folly.” By that I mean they are deceiving themself, and will reap what they sow. To my knowledge God has not repealed His law of sowing and reaping. God will not hold him guiltless who tramples the blood of Christ under foot by denying His Word.

    Keep up the good work.
    Lige

  10. Hi Manny,

    Seems you did the same thing I’ve had to do with certain relationships I had with individuals tied to the Trevecca community.

    I’ve felt led to get more involved with international missions and make my first trip to South America in the coming months. At least I will get to introduce the true gospel to people who have never been exposed to it.

    I will continue praying for you my friend and your efforts you put forth to fight this battle.

    Brad

  11. I would like to add separation is not fun or an enjoyable thing.
    I met many Naz Net folks last year at GA.
    Many of them good people with very nice family members.
    Needless to say at points we need to separate from people often that we like or even love.
    Sound doctrine will always divide.
    Let me say that one more time.
    Sound doctrine will always divide!
    Here is what Jesus said in scripture “Matt 10:34-39
    Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.
    I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
    35 For I have come to turn `a man against his father, a daughter
    against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
    36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
    37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me
    is not worthy of me;
    anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me
    is not worthy of me;
    38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me
    is not worthy of me.
    39 Whoever finds his life will lose it,
    and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
    What was the sword Jesus was talking about?
    It was not a sword of violence.
    The first important observation is to recognize that Jesus does not speak about “the sword”, but about “a sword”. Jesus is not a prophet of the sword. The sword of violence, force and war has no place in his message. What kind of sword is he talking about?

    The above passage speaks about the consequence of being obedient to the command of Jesus that we are to preach his message. Some will listen and accept it but many will reject it and react violently.

    We will be hated for the message of repentance that we have to bring. We will be hated because we call people from evil to light and because this message exposes their evil deeds.

    For many it will mean that even our own family will turn against us.

    What kind of sword? It is the sword of division that God’s word brings. It is the division of truth from error, and the reaction of the darkness against the light. The sword that Jesus brings, is the sword that his followers have to suffer, a sword that is applied to them, not a sword that they wield against others.

    And exactly that happens in many countries. The fellowship of believers, while full of peace, incurs the wrath of the nonbelievers. Christians are gathering peacefully, yet are persecuted.
    Tim

  12. Hi Brad,
    Please keep in touch about your trip. I will be praying for you, brother. You have been a great help to us all here with your post, and your comments.
    Blessings,
    Manny

  13. Great thoughts here, Tim. I just pray that at least one NazNetter reads those words and the Lord touches them with it, because you have spoken the unvarnished truth of God’s word here. They just don’t seem to like that message, but it is truth, and they have to hear it.

  14. I just noticed that Tim mentioned me in one of his comments yesterday, so I thought I should respond. He said, “They you have pastors like Rich who are everywhere discussing everything (even at unbeliever Greg Horton’s site) at once.”

    This is the second time, Tim, that you’ve mentioned my having commented on Greg’s blog. So for the record: I’m happy to talk with anyone: Christians, non-Christians, etc. I’m not sure why it would be any more of a problem that I commented on Greg Horton’s site than it is that I’ve commented on our local newspaper’s site or on this site. Commenting on a website does not mean I agree or disagree. It just means we’re talking.

    Tim also said, “The ones to pray for are these folks congregations.”

    Yes! Please do pray for my congregation! Our church turns 10 years old this Sunday, and many of our folks are inviting friends and neighbors to come with them. Pray that we will have many who respond to the gospel message and begin a new relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray that everyone who attends our church, new guests and long-time members, will have the eyes of their hearts enlightened to know God and the power of his Spirit at work in their lives (Eph. 1:17-19). I would love to have you all praying for my church!

  15. Speaking for myself, using Christian standards- if I did visit Greg Horton’s site, it would be to rebuke him for his foul mouth. Where would you draw the line? What kind of things do you tell him on his site? Do you tell him that he needs to repent for his foul behavior? Who would you not spend time with talking to?

  16. I don’t spend any time on Greg’s blog now, Manny, so I don’t tell him anything, present-tense. The last time I looked at it was when Tim mentioned that I’d commented there, so I went to remind myself what I had commented on.

    Using the search bar there now, it looks like I popped in a few times in fall 2006 and winter 2007, and then once again in March 2009. It looks like I agreed with some things he said and disagreed with others, which is to be expected in any conversation.

    Who would I not spend time with talking to? Um… I suppose if someone were a jerk and clearly didn’t want to have a conversation with me, I would stop trying to talk with them. And certainly there are times when a conversation is no longer productive and it’s appropriate to “shake the dust off” and leave, as you’ve referenced in your post. But if Jesus was willing to sit and eat with sinners (which is a much bigger scandal than conversing through blog posts!), then I’m certainly willing to have conversations with people of all different stripes and persuasions.

  17. Just a small addition to your comment- but important one, Rich.

    Christians are commanded in scripture to rebuke and have nothing to do with false teachers. Those are instances where we turn away from them and not have any more to do with them.

    Part of the reason for this post.

  18. Rich there is a big difference between Jesus (or us) sitting down with sinners and or fellowshipping and getting into conversations, and dialog with false teacher and folks that are spreading heresy.
    Sinners don’t know the difference.
    People who proclaim to be Christians should.
    Sorry you don’t know the difference your analogy shows that.
    You state you are a pastor you should know the difference.
    Tim

  19. That’s right, Tim. Jesus spent time with sinners because they had no preconceived notions about Him or His message. They were clay to be molded. He rebuked and argued with the religionist, and commanded that we have nothing to do with them. They were the danger, the leaven in the bread that would spoil the entire batch of dough.

  20. 1 Timothy 1:3-7

    3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.

    5The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

    Manny has tried to reason. Rational discussions should lead to more faith, not disbelief. And yet sometimes Jesus asks us to walk in faith when there is no rational reasons, like Abram when he left Ur of the Chaldeans.

    Then it becomes “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1

    When a pastor(s) question(s) or doubt(s) the validity of large or small part(s) of the Bible, he or she has chosen to break faith with me and a large part of the Christian community. For me it’s about breaking faith, not essentials vs non-essentials or freedom vs law.

    We will all have doubt, but when Pastor(s) and Christian leadership lead others into disbelief and doubt, then they have broken faith with me and a large part of the Christian community.

    Hebrews 11:6
    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

  21. I’m interested in talking with those who are very familiar with the problems developing in the Nazarene movement. I’m here next to NNU and want to tackle the problems arising here (process theology; open theism, post modernism, etc.). I’m looking for documentation. Please contact me at carmstuff@yahoo.com. Thanks.

  22. Hi Michael,
    No, we’re not related, but I do get asked that a lot. He only lives a few hours from me, however, up in New Hampshire. Sometimes when I post some of his articles, I forget to add that disclaimer!

  23. I left the Salvation Army after God moved me out of it through my wife’s urging. I, like you, had hoped to hold the line against the growing wave of apostasy. The fight left my family confused about what was true, and the conflict was driving us apart.

    Thank God He moved me out of there. Now I need your prayers to put my family back together.

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