False Prophet Tony Campolo Promotes Doctrines of Demons To ENC Students

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

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

Bear with me, this one’s a little long again, but this has gotten to the point of absolute outrage, and I need to tell you why.  Perhaps this is the last time some of you will want to hear from me, but what you will hear is the truth.  There needs to be another Reformation in the Church of the Nazarene, instead of a return to Rome as it appears to be heading, destroying everything that the reformers did so many years ago- destroying the very reasons why we call ourselves Protestants.  Are there any Martin Luthers out there who are willing to do what he did so long ago?  How long will the people of God sleep while the wolves keep devouring the sheep in the pen?  It is clear to me that the sheep pen doors are broken, the watchmen and the people of God have fallen asleep, and the ravening wolves have come inside the church.  And it is no surprise, because the greatest threat to the church has always been from within, not from without.  The shepherds of the church of God are abdicating their responsibility. (Acts 20:28-31)

First, a challenge:  If any ordained elder in the Nazarene church, and especially those who were at the chapel service on Friday, can show me through scripture that the practices promoted by Tony Campolo are biblical, I will recant my position on Tony Campolo and accept these practices myself.  Anyone responding to this challenge would need to send me a copy and allow their work to be posted publicly for all to read.  (I will not accept explanations using Psalm 46:10.  See the following for an explanation: Does Psalm 46:10 teaches Contemplative?).

Anger

This is the angriest I have been since I stepped into this mess called the emergent church movement.  I have been researching books and articles by and about emergent church leaders and mystics for the past two years; I have watched some of their videos and gotten upset at the false teachings and the disrespect of scripture.  But there is something about hearing this stuff firsthand, something about being there in person.  And that is probably why my blood is boiling even more now.  To hear a tool of satan trying to peddle his demonic doctrines to students at a holiness based Protestant school was just too much for me.  And to know that the leaders of that school are complicit in giving this man a platform is doubly maddening.  Yes, a tool and servant of satan was given a warm welcome at Eastern Nazarene College Friday morning.

As I pondered on Reformation weekend, which is a time to celebrate and think on what Martin Luther and others sacrificed for the sake of preserving the sole authority of scripture and true biblical doctrine, I thought of the perverse way that Tony Campolo used the reference to the Reformation to introduce his mystical practices whose source is not of God, but from satan.  What an insult to the memory of those who died for the sake of printing the Bible in defiance of Rome and its unbiblical papal authority that tried to deny the people the word of God in their own hands.  And now, it seems as if we are in need of yet another reformation, as apparently ENC and other Nazarene universities are returning to Rome and everything that the reformers fought against so many years ago.

So a pretending evangelical “Christian” pastor comes to a Christian chapel service for students, again, with the blessing of the leadership- which I had met with and warned!  They excused him as someone who has a lot of good things to offer, and perhaps if he had stuck with his beginning script, my outrage would be at a lower level.  And they had reassured me that they typically allow the opportunity later in some kind of session or other, for questions and debate.  If so, not this time!  I was told that Dr. Campolo was going to be too busy for questions.  So my question is this: when will there be an opportunity to correct the lies that he promulgated last Friday, and set the record straight with the students at ENC? Will the leadership extend an invitation to me or someone else, if we promise to only preach on the word of God alone, and nothing else?  Sola scriptura is one of the five great statements that came out of the Reformation, and that I can guarantee the President of ENC is what I will speak on, the word of God.  I offer to them now, the only chance for them to correct the big mistake that happened on Friday, to set the record straight on the mysticism that Campolo promoted that day.  If not me, then someone else.  If not someone else, then they are just as guilty in spreading his falsehoods as if they did it themselves!  And any discerning Christian who was there and recognized his falsehoods, and decide to stay silent, will have blood on their hands for not saying a word.  (Ezekiel 33) As I have written before, I’ll take that millstone and hang it around my neck, than be silent and let one of these young kids be deceived by satan and his servants.

Here are my final thoughts before I give you the details of what happened:

  1. Tony Campolo is still a false prophet, and the most dangerous kind: a very good and effective false prophet who is apparently fooling ordained elders in the church.
  2. Tony Campolo was allowed, unchallenged, to promote his doctrines of demons to several hundred students in a chapel service at a Christian school.
  3. The leadership at ENC, and perhaps the board of trustees, needs to answer and explain as to why he and others like him should be allowed to speak there, or to explain why he should never appear there again.
  4. To any Christian parents considering sending your child to ENC in the near future: please do not do it at this time, because you might be risking your child’s eternal destiny by doing so.  (The same goes for Northwest Nazarene, Trevecca, Point Loma, Nazarene Theological Seminary, and Nazarene Bible College.  These are just the ones I personally have documented as being in crisis).
  5. If you are a strong Bible believer opposed to unbiblical doctrines, do not send a dime to any of these schools until there is a return to biblically sound leadership that uses discernment in selecting its teachers and speakers.
  6. Are there any “Martin Luthers”  out there, who are willing to go to the leadership of each of these schools, and “nail another 95 Theses” to their door?
  7. If it becomes clear that the leadership of any of these schools persists in allowing unbiblical teachings to continue, I will urge all Bible believing Christians to begin daily prayer for that school to be shut down, for the safety of our students.

That is my opinion.  Campolo gave his Friday morning, and so did the leaders at my alma mater.  Will anyone else stand for truth, speak out, and challenge the leadership?

My Report on Friday’s Chapel Service

I attended the student chapel, along with my brother John, to hear Campolo speak. He was there promoting his Compassion Ministry and encouraged everyone to sponsor a child in need.  His main scriptural theme was based on Matthew 13 and the parable of the seeds.  He spoke eloquently about the tragedy of what happened in Haiti, and how so many children need our help. He challenged the students to do more than be a believer, but also be a believer who can respond to needs such as this.  He was impressive, and obviously is a passionate and accomplished speaker.

David Cloud (Way of Life) says of Campolo:

“Campolo is a master entertainer. No doubt about it. Of course, that is the kind of speaker who is popular in this confused, carnal hour. Campolo is dynamic, interesting, and personable. He appeals to the young and to the old. He can make you laugh, and he can make you cry. He is full of zeal. He can move people. But Campolo is a dangerous man because of his aberrant theology.”

So here’s the problem, in spite of the good words said, and the random quoting of scripture.  Tony Campolo is still a false prophet. A false prophet who managed to get our ire up about five times greater than it was before we heard him speak. Ironically, there we were, a few days before Reformation Sunday, and I thought that right there, in a Protestant Bible believing church building, it was going to be a very safe message.  And he sure sprinkled enough scripture in there that day!  But I remind you that satan  used scripture as he tried to offer an easy life to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Do you know that the mark of a good false teacher is the leaven he inserts in the middle of all that good sounding message he seems to be bringing?  Are you one of those who can only recognize the Benny Hinns of the world, because they are so obvious, yet cannot recognize the real professional spiritual shysters and PHd’s in con artistry such as Tony Campolo?

And so Tony Campolo could not help himself on Friday, and managed to sow some seeds of his own.  Funny, I said to myself- at least he does not hide what he believes!  Not so those who I have confronted for the last two years and did not have the courage to admit what they truly believe, but instead couched their words in mystery so you never know what they profess for sure.  Unfortunately, some of the seeds he sowed are not the kind of seed that Jesus Christ and His apostles ever sowed.

Let’s get to what he said that disturbed me, and ought to disturb every Bible believing Christian reading this. What is most upsetting is not Campolo speaking at ENC, but the leadership allowing him to speak, and letting the students and even some adults there walk away singing his praises, oblivious to the heresy he just spewed out.  Was there any discernment amongst those who were “mature” Christians?  I saw a good number of pastors there, and I am amazed how some of them did not think that anything wrong was said that morning!  I know, because some of them have told me they don’t agree with me on the same issues that Campolo brought up.

Campolo quoted St. Francis of Assisi early on.  He stated also that the best Christian songs often come from Broadway shows, such as Les Misérables! An example he said was “The Impossible Dream.”  (We thought that was a bit silly, but he did get a couple of approving chuckes from the listeners).  He talked about being a ‘red letter’ Christian.   However, these supposed red letter Christians end up picking and choosing which words of Jesus they wish to obey, and which to ignore- particularly the hard words about sin, repentance, Jesus being the only way, future judgment, and hell.  They overlook certain red letters, because they are hypocrites fashioning their own man made gospel and picking only the scriptures that make them feel good about themselves.

He called himself a “follower of Jesus.” That’s code for “I hate the word ‘Christian’, and saying that I’m a ‘follower of Jesus’ shows that I am part of the hip, post-modern culture that whispers to everyone… “you can follow Jesus, but not necessarily be a Christian”.  That’s exactly what some of these people believe when they use that phrase.  A Buddhist or a Hindu can be a follower of Jesus, and stay in their religion, as Brian McLaren has said.

The Reformation was Good… And Bad

So now he’s got them where he wants them, soon after tugging at their hearts about the kids who lost their limbs in Haiti.  So now he mentions the Reformation, how we can thank the Reformation for weeding out many horrible doctrines that were taught in that day.  But…. here comes the but….. he also says that we also “lost a lot of good things from the Reformation.” Like the following, which he shamelessly promoted and encouraged everyone to practice:

  1. Centering Prayer (or contemplative prayer)
  2. Lectio Divina
  3. The Jesus Prayer  (a mantra, a repetitive use of a word, usually Jesus, over and over).
  4. The Prayer of Examen (St. Ignatius)  “I’m into St. Ignatius these days”

(This excerpt from the Emerging Church DVD, by Ray Yungen, explains centering prayer, mantras, and more)

He said “I say the name of Jesus over and over again”, and suggested that we try it, that we should do it for 15 minutes, until this ritual “drives away the dark forces around us.” Magical formula?  A “Christian” incantation to drive away the demons?  Pastors, do you practice this, or would you allow Tony Campolo to teach this to your congregation?  Any pastors out there who can testify to the effectiveness and biblical soundness of this kind of prayer?  Is this one of those “non-essentials” that we can disagree on?

In describing Centering Prayer, he said “it takes only 15 minutes to be inwardly still.” He asked, “when was the last time you were still for 20 minutes- so that you can come alive in Christ?” Which chapters and verses, Tony, are you referring to, that teach us this mindless way of “coming alive in Christ?”  Perhaps some of the pastors who attended can explain this one to me, since no question and answer session was on the schedule for the day.

Where is the biblical justification for any of this?  And if there is none at all, why do so many tolerate this?  Campolo also said, “be still, and let the spirit of God teach you.” This man is promoting mindless, Christianized transcendental meditation- and nobody cares??  It is NOT Christian!  And the only thing I may have done wrong, was perhaps I should have stood up and challenged this messenger of satan’s lies, right in front of all those students and pastors in that chapel.

Finally, he talked about doing these practices so that we can find ourselves in that “thin place” that the Celtic Christians used to talk about”. This alone, if nothing else was said, made me want to jump up and interrupt him- and perhaps I should have.  What’s a thin place, you ask?  You won’t find it in scripture, because its roots are from the occult, and its described as: “In simple terms a ‘thin place’ is a place where the veil between this world and the Other world is thin, the Other world is more near.  This meaning assumes the perceiver senses the existence of a world beyond  what we know through our five senses.

Here is what he says from one of his books:

“The constant repetition of his name clears my head of everything but the awareness of his presence. By driving back all other concerns, I am able to create what the ancient Celtic Christians called ‘THE THIN PLACE.’ The thin place is that spiritual condition wherein the separation between the self and God becomes so thin that God is able to break through and envelop the soul. … Like most Catholic mystics, [Loyola] developed an intense desire to experience A ‘ONENESS’ WITH GOD” (Letters to a Young Evangelical, pp. 26, 30).

Roger Oakland explains in his book about this terminology:

“This term ‘thin place’ originated with Celtic spirituality (i.e., contemplative) and is in line with panentheism. … Thin places imply that God is in all things, and the gap between God, evil, man, everything thins out and ultimately disappears in mediation” (Faith Undone, pp. 114, 115).

So Tony Campolo is recommending to students at a holiness based college, with Nazarene pastors sitting right there listening to him, to practice occultic, mantra-like rituals and pagan contemplative prayer, which has nothing- nothing to do with the Bible.  As I looked around at the pastors who were there, I wondered to myself: do they have any idea that this man is spouting heresies to hundreds of students?  Do they care?  Or worst still, do they agree with him?  Would there be one pastor who was there that day, who will now speak to the leadership at ENC and ask, what are you exposing our students to?

Several times, as I listened to this man speak, I prayed as I looked around at these young people, all young enough to be my children.  I prayed to God that not one would remember what he suggested for them to try and do; that not one would fall under the spell of this deceiver; that not one would soon start sitting in a circle with his friends, and practice mind-emptying silence in an expectation of “coming alive in Christ.”  If I could weep tears on the outside, they would have flowed nonstop that morning.  I wanted to stand up and yell, “this is wrong!”  I even pictured myself running down the aisle to confront this man in front of everyone.  I wept inside, as I asked myself, what is the Nazarene denomination doing to itself?  Where has the obedience to God’s word gone, that leaders will put up with anyone and anything now?  Why are the people of God sitting idly by, while our leaders are throwing our students to the wolves?

As my brother and I stood outside sometime after it was all over, a friend we knew came up to us and said: “wasn’t that a powerful message?”  I hesitated for a second, and then I had to tell this person the truth.  I told her the truth about Tony Campolo, and I spoke the truth about our denomination, and what happened to me as I counted the cost of standing for truth.  Clearly when this friend left us, she was a bit uncomfortable, not having expected to hear the kind of response I gave her.  I pray that she will start looking into these things herself.  A young man also asked us how we liked the service, and I had to tell him the truth, giving him a card and asking him to go my blog to read what I am writing now.  It was not a comfortable time for him as he heard my opinion about Tony Campolo, but I had to tell the truth.  I pray that he will keep an open mind to what I have to say.

Maybe for some of you, it’s not a confortable time right now as you read this.  Did I make you uncomfortable?  Did I make you dislike me, or think of me as a hater, a divider, a troublemaker?  Do you think Jesus or the apostles would tolerate for one minute what Tony Campolo promoted Friday?  If not, then why should you or I tolerate it?  And why would you be angry at me, if I spoke the truth?  Or maybe I am I telling lies.  How do you discern who is telling the truth, and who is telling lies?  You look to the word of God, not your feelings, not not personal loyalties, nothing but the word of God.

The truth must be told, whether anyone likes to hear it or not, and the light must be shone on these false teachers so they can be exposed to the whole world.  And let the truth be clearly understood: the real dividers in the church are those who are allowing false doctrines to creep in through false prophets like Campolo and the others.  Not Manny Silva.  Not Concerned Nazarenes.  Not any discernment ministry out there today.  And if there is to be any division, let it be a division of those who obey the word of God, from those who do not.  Tony Campolo used the parable of the seeds for his message.  Ironically, here is the parable that follows:

Mat. 13:24-30 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”

The enemy used Tony Campolo to sow the seeds of apostasy on Friday morning, Oct. 29, at Eastern Nazarene College.  It is time to separate the tares from the wheat, just as Jesus commanded.  It is time for repentance.  It is time for the sleeping Christians to wake up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FK2W2ljZHU

Nazarene Schools Drifting Away From Biblical Soundness

Nazarene Theological Seminary and Nazarene Bible College are two schools responsible for preparing future pastors in the Nazarene church.  What are they teaching or promoting which is different from many years ago?  More importantly, is there anything they are teaching that is reflecting a compromise with the emergent church, contemplative spirituality movements, and other man-centered ideologies?

Nazarene Bible College is teaching the practice of lectio divina and embracing Roman Catholic resources. This alone is a serious problem, if there were no other!  This seems par for the course now, as you will also note the same trend at NTS.  It is disturbing to me that our Nazarene universities and Bible schools show signs of ecumenism, specifically in the  Roman Catholic resources and books.  In the Spiritual Formation course at NBC, Practicing Wesleyan-Holiness Spiritual Formation, one of the books used is  Accepting the Embrace of God: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina“.  The book is described as “an introduction to the discipline of praying the scriptures (spiritual reading) written by a Benedictine priest. He explains the four steps in the process and discusses how it can be used by a group.”  Since when have Benedictine monks become a standard source of guidance for a school that carries the banner of a Wesleyan holiness denomination?  Has the leadership at NBC shrugged their shoulders to the biblical admonitions to avoid those who preach another gospel? Is it not inevitable that when Christians start compromising with practically any denomination regardless of serious doctrinal differences, that eventually they will themselves be compromised, and be weakened in their faith and practice?  Romans 12 commands us (does not suggest) to “not be conformed to the world.”  Galatians 1:8 warns that if anyone brings to you another gospel, that they should be accursed!  Are not the major teachings of the Roman Catholic church another gospel?  Or has the Nazarene leadership given its blessings for the acceptance of  Roman Catholicism as being as sound doctrinally as traditional Protestantism?  What do our General Superintendents think about this trend?

Nazarene Bible College, whether through ignorance, or through deliberate planning, is embracing contemplative spirituality practices.  It would seem to me that the natural steps will be a further addition of contemplative prayer techniques as lectio divina becomes accepted by default as something  biblically sound.  Perhaps lectio divina has been perceived as the safest practice that can be accepted by Christians as something good and seemingly in line with biblical doctrine.  So once we can safely move from there, others are sure to follow, for why stop with that?  If the “ancient Christian practices” are sound, it’s a matter of time that they will be introduced also, and they are.  Prayer labyrinths will most likely soon be introduced at our seminaries.  They are at least in one university (Trevecca) and are being used without any sort of embarrassment or guilt, approved by its own President, Dr. Dan Boone.  I wonder how pastors reading this would react to a prayer labyrinth at our seminaries and Bible college?  Would some write a letter expressing concern?  Would others accept it as something within the bounds of Christian orthodoxy?

At Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS), you can see the same trend in their course offerings and required books.  Spiritual Formation classes are par for the course.  In one class taught by Dr. Doug Hardy, called  Christian Spiritual Practices:  Sacraments and Asceticism, what you see is practically a Roman Catholic flavor.  One book is The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks.  Wait a minute, we are now interested in the sayings of the heretical Desert Fathers as required reading at a Nazarene seminary?  For what purpose, and to what end?  If its to point out the fact that these people were unbiblical in their ascetic approach to Christian living, that’s one thing.  But I doubt that is what this book is being used for.  Then the seemingly obligatory use of a Richard Foster book in practically every Nazarene university.  This one is called Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World.  Don’t know what he has to offer with this, but I am again reminded how the some of the Bible doubters at NazNet complain that we concerned Nazarenes use resources that are not part of the Wesleyan tradition, yet they have no problem citing and use false teachers such as Foster.  At least my non-Nazarene resources actually believe in the truth and complete reliability of the entire Bible!

Another course, Seminar in Spiritual Formation, taught again by Doug Hardy, gives instruction on how to do pilgrimages.  One book is A Pilgrim’s Journey: The Autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola. Does Dr. Hardy have any idea of the history of Ignatius?  If he does, then I am even more concerned.  Here are just a few facts about Ignatius, excerpted from David Cloud’s book, Contemplative Mysticism: “Loyola’s asceticism was very extreme. He lived for a year in a cave, wearing rags, never bathing, and begging for his food. All of this was an effort to do penance for his sins. He scourged and starved himself and slept very little. He taught that “penance” for sin requires “chastising the body by inflicting sensible pain on it” through “wearing hairshirts, cords, or iron chains on the body, or by scourging or wounding oneself, and by other kinds of austerities” (The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, First Week, Vintage Spiritual Classics, p. 31).”  And this book is a good resource… how?  Loyola also dedicated himself to Mary, taught visualization prayer, promoted breath prayers, the use of spiritual directors, and his aforementioned book is growing in popularity amongst evangelicals. You can read the entire excerpt from Cloud’s book at his Way of Life website.

So again, this is yet another Roman Catholic resource.  And I have written previously about the dozens of Roman Catholic and mystical books recommended by Dr. Hardy for the Windsor Hills Camp library, and his involvement with the Spiritual Directors International, an interspiritual group that is ecumenical and promotes contemplative spirituality amongst all religions.

Finally, in Christian Spiritual Practices:  Connection and Service, taught by Dr. Hardy also, you find books such as: The Way of Friendship: Selected Spiritual Writings, by Basil Pennington.  Pennington is a heavy promoter of contemplative spirituality practices such as centering prayer (the focusing on a word and silently repeating it over and over again), which are unbiblical.  Why use him as a resource?  To show an example of what is not good?  I think not.  And then there is Flirting with Monasticism: Finding God on Ancient Paths, by Karen Sloan.  Sloan is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, which is no longer a sound Christian institution.  In the description at Amazon books, part of it says The book, which reads like a blog, explores areas where evangelicals may feel at home with monasticism (community life) as well as with practices that feel foreign (praying to the saints and the Virgin Mary).”  Okay, let’s explore that area, shall we?  Praying to the virgin Mary!
I never thought I would see the day this would be happening across practically all of our Bible schools.  It’s amazing and disheartening to see, yet, does anyone care?

This is just a taste of it all.  There will be more posts on this, highlighting more of the things that are pointing ever consistently towards a move of our Christian universities and seminaries to becoming Roman Catholic; if not in name, certainly in practice.

Update And Prayer Request: Bob Dewaay

Dear friends,

The following is an update put out by Pastor Ken Silva a few days ago, and I wanted to share the same concern and a prayer request.  I first met Bob Dewaay personally a few months ago when my brother John and I went to Maine to a conference hosted by the AIIA Institute, where Bob was the keynote speaker.  He is the pastor at Twin City Fellowship in Minneapolis, MN.  He also has an apologetics ministry called Critical Issues Commentary (http://cicministry.org/).  I have learned much from Bob’s excellent writing, including a solid book exposing the emergent church: The Emergent Church: Undefining Christianity.  He has been one of my top resources in researching false teachings, mysticism in the church, and other false doctrines.  For those of you who particularly are in this battle, and who count so much on folks like Bob to expose the heresies invading the church today, please be in prayer for this warrior for biblical truth.

UPDATE ON HEALTH CONCERNS FOR PASTOR BOB DEWAAY

By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Oct 22, 2010

This online apologetics and discernment work Apprising Ministries has been greatly blessed by the work in the Lord of  Bob DeWaay, pastor of Twin City Fellowship, who also heads their fine online apologetics ministry Critical Issues Commentary.

You may be aware that pastor DeWaay is suffering some serious issues with his health. Below is an update from the TFC website. We encourage you to pray for Bob DeWaay, his family, and the flock in his care:


Here is a link to Pastor Bob’s common sense explanation of the Emergent Church:  Emerging Church Exposed and Defined

Profiles In Apostasy: Tony Campolo

What would be the wisdom in bringing in a false teacher to your church, to speak to your congregation as if he was a sound Bible believer who preaches from the word of God?  Maybe he has something nice to say, but would a true under shepherd of the flock give the pulpit to someone just because he has something nice to say?  I’ve heard Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen say lots of nice things, but would you invite them to speak at your church?

What about the responsibility of our Christian college leaders?  Is it a misguided idea for us to expect them to protect our students from the wolves in sheep’s clothing that are multiplying today?  Are our Christian college leaders and chaplains using biblical discernment in deciding who should speak to our students in chapel?

Next week on Friday, Oct. 29,  Tony Campolo is scheduled to speak at chapel services at Eastern Nazarene College.  A few months ago, I met with President Corlis McGee, as well as the school provost and school chaplain, and voiced my objection to Tony Campolo on the grounds that he could easily mislead many students into thinking that he is a Christian who teaches sound doctrine.  We had a very cordial meeting, but there was no agreement on Campolo, as well as other troubling issues that I raised regarding the school.  There is much more to be written about Campolo, and will be, but let me give you a sampling of some of his thoughts on Christianity, Islam, and other related topics.  Did Eastern Nazarene College use proper discernment, or not, in scheduling Tony Campolo to speak at a chapel service?  Remember, he is not the first questionable speaker.  I was there last year when Thomas Oord, who teaches the heresy of open theism, was a guest lecturer.  This is a trend happening in many Nazarene universities today, and the response I get usually is that the school is just providing students with a perspective on a wide range of ideologies and opinions, and letting them mature on their own and decide what they want to believe.  Okay.

Here are some of Tony Campolo’s thoughts on a range of topics in Christianity.  What do you think?

“Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.”

(Page 149, Speaking My Mind)

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“I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus; that’s my evangelical mindset. However, I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians”

(National Liberty Journal, 8/99)

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“…what can I say to an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry, and clothed the naked? You say, “But he hasn’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I would argue with that. And I would say from a Christian perspective, in as much as you did it to the least of these you did it unto Christ. You did have a personal relationship with Christ, you just didn’t know it.”

EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

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“We cannot allow our theologies to separate us” (speaking on the relations between Muslims and Christians)

EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

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“It seems to me that when we listen to the Muslim mystics as they talk about Jesus and their love for Jesus, I must say, it’s a lot closer to New Testament Christianity than a lot of the Christians that I hear. In other words if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, Can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?”

EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

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“”Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God … I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experiences? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?”

“Speaking My Mind”, pages 149-150

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“Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving”

EP News Service, Oct. 4, 1985

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“…during times of reflection I sensed that believing in Jesus and living out His teachings just wasn’t enough. There was a yearning for something more, and I found that I was increasingly spiritually gratified as I adopted older ways of praying–ways that have largely been ignored by those of us in the Protestant tradition. Counter-Reformation saints like Ignatius of Loyola have become important sources of help as I have begun to learn from them modes of contemplative prayer. I practice what is known as “centering prayer,” in which a sacred word is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.”

“Mystical Encounters for Christians”

www.beliefnet.com

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“I’ve got to push everything out of mind save the name of Jesus. I say His name over and over again, for as long as fifteen minutes, until I find my soul suspended in what the ancient Celtic Christians called a “thin place”–a state where the boundary between heaven and earth, divine and human, dissolves. You could say that I use the name of Jesus as my koan.”

“Mystical Encounters for Christians”

www.beliefnet.com

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“He saved us in order that He might begin to transform His world into the kind of world that He willed for it to be when He created it. … When Jesus saved us, He saved us to be agents of a great revolution, the end of which will come when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our God”

“It’s Friday but Sundays Coming”, page 106

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“What I am trying to say is that Jesus who incarnated God 2,000 years ago is mystically present and waiting to be discovered in EVERY person you and I encounter”

“A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 171

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“I do not mean that others represent Jesus for us. I mean that Jesus actually is present in each other person.”

“A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 192

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“That a new humanity will be brought forth from this Christ consciousness in each person.”

“A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 65

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“There is a feminine side of God. I always knew this … It is this feminine side of God I find in Jesus that makes me want to sing duets with Him … Not only do I love the feminine is Jesus, but the more I know Jesus, the more I realize that Jesus loves the feminine in me. Until I accept the feminine in my humanness, there will be a part of me that cannot receive the Lord’s love. … There is that feminine side of me that must be recovered and strengthened if I am to be like Christ … And until I feel the feminine in Jesus, there is a part of Him which I cannot identify.”

“Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88

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“going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia….There are many ways….It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up in the same place.”

“Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88

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“On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians, as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.”

“20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch”, page 117

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“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.”

Charlie Rose show on January 24, 1997

Thanks to thinkerup for posting a list of all these quotes.

Emergent Church, Welcome Your Wiccan Brothers and Sisters

It’s getting crazier, and scarier every day. I used to think that only the really slick, smooth talking false teachers like Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet, and Richard Foster, would be able to fool so many Christians, so many of my fellow Nazarenes.  But it seems now that Satan is getting bolder and bolder.  He is casting aside the subtlety, and guiding his minions into new declarations of unity with just about anyone.  The formula of 99% truth mixed with 1% deception is changing to a deeper mix of error, and apparently it can work quite well. Now it’s an emergent church leader, Samir Selmanovic, who is doing kumbayah with Wiccans, as told in the following report by Ingrid Schlueter.  (*Note regarding my alma mater, Eastern Nazarene College.  Tony Campolo will be speaking on Oct. 29 in chapel service on the campus.  What does he have to do with this?  Well, just that Campolo sings the praises of this pretend Christian: “Samir Selmanovic is just what we have needed to bring the spirit of Christ to bear in a fractured society.” I’ll have a report on Campolo after the ENC speaking engagement, although I have personally suggested to ENC leadership that they rethink this invitation for Campolo.)


If anyone thinks that they are immune from deception, think again.  If you have not bought the lies of these emergent false teachers, I suggest you remain on your guard with the full armor on, 24/7.  Put the Joel Osteen feel good books down and pick up your Bible instead!  If you have bought the lie, or are burying your head in the sand, I am praying for you.  Look at all the lies that have snuck into so many of our Nazarene and other Christian universities, and even our seminaries, and it makes me wonder whether the deception even has to be subtle anymore, from reading this latest story.  Will we go a step further and get a little closer to embracing Wiccans also?  Farfetched you say?  Look at our embrace of nothing less than Christianized transcendental meditation, as well as Roman Catholic practices and the promotion of unity with this church institution that teaches a false gospel.  (You don’t disagree that the RCC teaches a false gospel, do you?)

Look at the normalization of pagan practices forbidden by scripture, like the prayer labyrinth, right in the Nazarene church and some of the schools.  Is anyone okay with that, and if so, what justifies sit?  If you re okay with all that and more, then it is not farfetched anymore to think that soon, in the Nazarene denomination, more of what was considered abnormal and un-Christian, will be embraced.  It’s just a matter of time, isn’t it?  Look at the open theism being taught, the acceptance of evolution, the practical denial that all of th Bible is God’s infallible inspired word!  Call me crazy, but just as as the United Methodists, the ELCA, and others have accepted and embraced homosexuality as normal and started ordaining openly gay priests, what’s to stop the Nazarene denomination?   Perhaps we have already taken baby steps towards that in our official writings, but no one is aware of it yet.  We’ve gone off the deep end in so many ways, why should we stop now?  Besides, is that not the goal- as much unity as possible with as many as possible?  Is that not what the scriptures teach us?  “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Makes me wonder more and more, how will the Anti-christ show himself someday?  Who will it be?  And how many of the “elect” will be swept away by his deception?  I don’t know, but Satan surely is working his “mojo” overtime now to prepare the way for that “man of perdition”.  As you ponder the following story, don’t think for a minute that this is as bad as it will get.  If you are among those who have bought into the emergent church lie, or are looking away from this bad traffic accident in front of you, wait until later, because it will get even worse.  This is simply Satan “masquerading as an angel of light” again (2 Corinthians 11:12-15). I sure don’t want to be one of those who will be deluded in the last days.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Emergent Church Leader Worships with Wiccans

Posted by Ingrid Schlueter in Emergent Church, Religion on October 14th, 2010 |

Just in time for Halloween, cutting-edge emergent leader Samir Selmanovic breaks new ground by drawing the Wiccans close to his breast. He runs a place called Faith House Manhattan where the world religions meet together in microcosm and draw from each others spirituality. Here’s his tweet from October 12 where he announces his wonderful guests, the Wiccans. He goes further by reporting on the theological witch’s brew that he stirs in this news report from Faith House. He says that this fall at Faith House they’re exploring how to cross boundaries into “new spaces.” Well, that’s certainly one way to put it. Apprising Ministries shares more on Selmanovic’s attempt at blending darkness and light, the table of Christ and demons, and shows Selmanovic’s gushing tweets about celebrating the occult holiday of Samhain with the witches.

You have to hand it to Samir. At least he’s not shucking and jiving like some of his emergent colleagues. His interspiritual agenda is right there out front. He’s helping to bring world religions together, including occult religions, to drink from a common well, and he’s proud of it. Increasingly, there are fewer emergent wolves bothering with the sheep costume. With pastors  today doing things like sex campaigns and life-enhancement sermons, there are no wolf warnings going out. The wolves are now openly stalking their prey.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYgSmMfENGs&feature=player_embedded

Response #3 To Holiness Today’s Editor-In-Chief

“Those of you who are leaders in the Church are going to pay a high penalty when you stand before God… because you did not have enough courage to stand up and confront the wicked.” (Paul Washer)

Preface:

I’m sorry if this has become my longest post ever (about 4,500 words).  I know you are all busy with your lives, but I ask you to please read it carefully, I believe it is that important.  This issue I am responding to goes to matters of integrity, honesty, forthrightness, false accusation, and most importantly, the questions on what is or is not biblical Christian doctrine and practice.

The emergent church debate is alive and well in the Nazarene denomination.  I believe much of it is due to a bunch of “loud mouth Nazarenes” who some say have nothing better to do than complain.  But if not for those who refused to shut up, perhaps the emergent church train would not only have left the station long ago, but it would not even be in sight today.  To you emergents out there, sorry if some of us have derailed those plans for a quick and thorough indoctrination, but such is the arena of ideas and debate.  Now you have to deal with “the malcontents”- thus my response to Rev. David Felter, editor-in-chief of Holiness Today.

It seems to me there are three types of approaches going on in this emergent church “conversation.”

The first is the straight talk, “no beating around the bush” approach.   That would be the approach taken by folks like me and other concerned Nazarenes.  We are very straightforward in our writing as we seek to expose the false wolves in our midst.  We believe, for instance, that open theism is outright heresy, because its very premise negates biblical prophesy, as well as God’s sovereignty. But whether you agree or disagree with our conclusions, we make accusations that are backed up with documented evidence and specific biblical refutation, of which the bulk of the evidence is the very words and teachings of those we accuse of contradicting scripture.  We also are following the scriptural mandates to “rightly divide the word of truth” and to “expose”, “rebuke”, and “avoid” false teachers who cause divisions in the Body of Christ.

Secondly, there is the middle of the road approach.  This has manifested itself in commentaries and position statements that have come from leadership, including the Board of General Superintendents.  In these statements, it is difficult to pin down exactly what they think of the emergent church movement.  Most of the statements involve generalized comments, such as condemnation of false teachers, but without saying just who are the false teachers.  This has satisfied some, and frustrated others, including myself.  But this approach generally does not tend to get a lot of people extremely upset, although some do want more answers in detail, as expressed in my open letter last week.

Thirdly, there is the character assassination approach.  This method will use a lot of general statements of opinion but lacks specific details.  But then it goes further and gets into the realm of accusation without substantiation or evidence.  And thus the most recent character assassination piece, sadly, written by Rev. Felter.  It is very disappointing to see this again, since I have tried several times to dialogue with him and get specific answers, but apparently, he prefers to write hit pieces about people like me or any other Nazarene who dares to buck the status quo.  On three occasions I have written a commentary, then an open letter, followed by a second open letter, inviting a genuine dialogue about all the facts.  Rev. Felter has chosen a different path.

So last week, I came across a new post by Rev. Felter.  Frankly, he should not have bothered with it, because he continues on with cryptic writing full of words, but with very little substance.  And more seriously, Rev. Felter throws out accusations without one bit of substantiation or proof. Now some will say that’s what we do, but the difference is quite simple: those of us who are calling on the carpet these emergent church promoters and their heresies, are actually providing substantiation and evidence, straight from their own testimony!  Not so Dr. Felter in his latest post, which again leaves me wondering as to how much spin is there left to write.

I have written him several times in the past year, inquiring as to what is his position on the emergent church movement, and asking for specifics.  He has never responded to me other than one unrelated email.  Perhaps he just does not have the time to respond directly to me, but he certainly is responding (on his own website) to those of us who call ourselves concerned Nazarenes.  And he is certainly attacking (again with no substantiation at all) many faithful Nazarenes who are simply expressing their dismay and concern about where our denomination is heading.  I don’t believe that they deserve the dismissive ridicule and unsupported accusations coming from such an intelligent and well informed leader in the church.  I for one seek to defend their integrity, as well as mine, in this response.

Rev. Felter’s entire post can be read at his site:  I’m Concerned And It’s Time To Tame The Unruly Memes.  I believe the issues I am addressing here are critical to the “conversation”, or lack thereof, that is going on in the Nazarene denomination.  His quotes are in red italics.


To Rev. Felter, From an “Unruly Meme”:

Dr. Felter, I really think that you are either (a) not doing your homework and not analyzing the facts, or (b) you are doing your best to defend the indefensible, by attacking those who are concerned, rather than addressing directly the practices and teachings that we are condemning.  And you need to realize that you are also going after much more than what you seem to perceive as a small, disgruntled band of unhappy Nazarenes who have nothing better to do than sit around thinking up the next person we can target for no good reason.  It seems you still don’t take us seriously, even as many faithful Nazarene’s lives are in turmoil because of this so-called “emergent conversation.”  Have you ever considered that?  Following are some thoughts on what you wrote:
Quote #1

“Frequently I receive inquiries concerning the legitimacy of content developed by those who are harshly critical of the Church of the Nazarene. Their assumption is that the denomination is headed to hell in a handbasket. Numerous sites on the Internet have reflected the “concerns” of those who are “standing firm.” The allegations and charges are severe.”

It’s funny, but frequently I receive inquiries from Nazarenes all over the world now, asking me, “what is happening to our beloved denomination?”  Rev. Felter, those you speak of who are harshly critical of the COTN, are Nazarenes themselves! Some have been members for over 50 years.  These are folks who were brought up in, and were saved, because of the biblical holiness preaching in our church. I cannot speak for other concerned Nazarenes, but as for me, please feel free to mention my name in any of your critiques, because I have no problem with that and have nothing to hide in my attempts to get a dialogue going with leadership.  In fact, we’ve been trying to have a “conversation” since at least the General Assembly last year, but unfortunately, no one seems willing to talk at this point.  Is the denomination “headed to hell in a handbasket”, as you suggest is what we believe?  I can’t answer that for sure, and I’m not a prophet, but I do know we are in big trouble, and if the ship’s course is not corrected, it will become another Titanic.  You can quote me directly here: “The Nazarene denomination is heading for disaster if we do not tackle this problem head on, honestly, and biblically.”

Quote #2

“In some instances, perhaps some inquiry as to the legitimacy of their allegations should be made, although in a calm, Scripturally-mandated way, so that truth can indeed prevail without being blindly dragged through the court of Internet opinion.”

If any one of us is not doing this in a scripturally mandated way, please cite the specific scriptural support for that criticism, because we are willing to be corrected if we are not following proper biblical guidelines.  However, I am very certain that we are. As far as doing it calmly, I myself am usually calm, but unfortunately, seeing pagan practices in a Nazarene church or school tend to upset me, and I also get a bit bothered at the thought of students walking away from the Lord because of false teachings- right in our own Nazarene universities!  So please forgive me if I and others sometimes don’t appear to be as calm as we should.  One can get nervous about the thought of losing a child from a terrible accident; so you can imagine getting all unraveled at the thought of just one child losing his soul for eternity.

And as far as you decrying the court of Internet opinion- well then, are you proposing a forum where we can gather with our leaders to discuss these issues?  I’m all for it!  I am reminded how at the emergent church session last year, run by Jon Middendorf and Scott Daniels, after we had asked GS Middendorf whether we could have a forum to present our side of the issues and he replied “that’s not likely”, you told us that “we need to go through proper channels.”  Perhaps you can finally tell us the exact steps as to how to go through proper channels to air our grievances?

Quote #3

“Remember, you don’t have to have proof, nor do you have to submit to the scrutiny of vetting or fact verification in order to unleash a web-based attack on an individual or entity. All you need is a keyboard connected to the Internet.”

Are you implying that we are not basing anything on facts and proof? If so, please do some fact verification, and correct me and all the others in those instances where we have “twisted” the facts.  And don’t forget, that you yourself are “using a keyboard connected to the internet”, therefore you have an opinion also.  Perhaps you could back it up with proof next time.

Quote #4

“1. All Christians are concerned, or should be, not just an elite group populating the Internet.”

I will accept that you are a concerned Christian also.  But I certainly do not consider myself elite.  Do you consider yourself elite?  Is NazNet an elite group, since many NazNetters have such a superior, elitist attitude, that perhaps you are talking about them, and not concerned Nazarenes?  Have you read some of their posts recently?  If you do, you will see a living, breathing definition of elitism right there; never mind that you will also read some very, very un-Nazarene and un-Christian theology (read this)!  Yet I have not heard you criticize any of their work yet.  Is NazNet more in line with your thinking, since they never seem to criticize anything at all, except concerned Nazarenes?

Quote #5:

“It’s in our DNA to be concerned…  We have the right to wear the colors of the concerned as much as anyone.

Who is “we?”  And is anyone taking away the right for you to be concerned? I’ve been asking all Christians to be concerned, Rev. Felter.  And we are particularly concerned about doctrinal matters.  And we are voicing those concerns, not just keeping silent and wringing our hands in distress, hoping it all goes away.  That’s not how it should work in the Body of Christ.  As many would say, “God is in control”; yet, that does not absolve us from standing for truth, and standing against error, loud and clear, without fear of being villified by our own.

Quote #6:

“One of the cultural ideas that is being transmitted by the astroturfers in the Church of the Nazarene is that its impermissible to investigate any idea that has not been approved by, and comes from the Articles of Faith.”

You’ve got it wrong here in yet another assumption about us.  What we disagree with is not the investigation of ideas; it is the dissemination of ideas to young, impressionable students as if those ideas were based on sound Christian doctrine! However, I confess, we are against any idea that contradicts the infallible word of God!  In fact, we believe that the Scriptures are wholly and completely inspired by God, not by men, and in their entirety.  Of course, I am sure you don’t think that prayer labyrinths is a good cultural idea for the Nazarene church.

Quote #7:

“The lambasting of Trevecca Nazarene University’s incorporation of a prayer labyrinth as a sure and certain indication of the institution’s de facto surrender to New Age religion is laughable”

I am shocked, absolutely shocked!  Yet I applaud you for at least not saying “guided prayer walk” (as now re-defined by Trevecca) instead of the correct name that it is, prayer labyrinth.  Rev. Felter, If I am to understand that you are now defending prayer labyrinths- a pagan practice - then frankly, I am disappointed, because you are the editor-in-chief of Holiness Today, and you seem to now be giving your approval of this clearly ungodly pagan practice which is forbidden in Scripture, and which serves to only demean God’s work and the Holy Spirit’s work.  Please correct me if I’m wrong, but what else can I conclude from this statement?  So can we clarify this: do you or do you not believe that prayer labyrinths are unbiblical?  Or are you still investigating this?

Quote #8:

“Why is it that the cultural idea that it is impermissible to review, study, or evaluate different thoughts and forms, is being sanctified by the astroturfers as though such sanctions are indigenous to the Church of the Nazarene? Nothing could be further from the truth!”

Here is the problem, Rev. Felter.  Nazarenes are not just “reviewing”,  “studying”, or “evaluating” such things as prayer labyrinths.  They are using them as worship tools, in violation of biblical commands, and replacing the sufficiency of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, with inward turning rituals that focus on themselves and what they do, rather than what Christ has done!

Quote #9:

“The Nazarene academy has granted academic freedom to explore even those ideas inconsistent with our foundational theological understanding, with the knowledge that in the pursuit of truth, the Holy Spirit who is the author of all truth can enable us to grasp the rich treasures of that truth, enabling us to make the compelling, Scriptural case for our beliefs.”

And if a few students (many trust their professors without question) walk away from the faith as a result of this great, unbridled academic freedom? What then shall we say about that?  Yes, the Holy Spirit is the author of all truth.  But I am reminded of the scripture in Matthew 18, when Jesus says it would be better to “have a millstone hung around his neck than to cause one of His little ones to stumble or sin”.  I prefer a millstone.  I prefer to see that any future student is instructed in the way he should go, and to be told the difference between sound doctrine and heresy, rather than letting him figure it out without any guidance whatsoever.

Quote #10:

“Am I saying we should unquestionably acquiesce to every wind of doctrine, practice or belief that contradicts the essence of our beliefs? Absolutely not!”

Then, is it possible that you and others could start openly condemning specifically that which is unholy, unbiblical, untrue, and in error? What do you think we have been trying to tell so many people, Dr. Felter?  We are warning them about every wind of doctrine, practice and belief that contradicts Holy Scripture (not the Nazarene Manual).  Yet even though you just said something significant here, you have not specified which winds of doctrine that you disagree with.  Do you believe in the heretical teaching of open theism?  If not, then reject it loud and clear, and speak out against those who are teaching it to our students! Write an article on it in Holiness Today!  Look, if leaders have made mistakes by embracing some of this emergent stuff, let them admit it, repent, correct it, and move on to full obedience to Jesus Christ!

Quote #11:

“I am not a big McLaren fan…I think he’s got some things all wrong. I am not a huge fan of Ken Blanchard, Erwin McManus or Len Sweet. But does this mean that I can’t learn something from them”

In two sentences, you just mentioned four false teachers! Yet, all that you can say is, “I’m not a McLaren fan?”  What about his thorough disrespect and low view of scripture?  What about his concept that John 3:16 means Jesus came to save the planet- the earth?  Or that end-time believers need to be robustly confronted?  Or his utter disdain for the Cross as perhaps being false advertising for God?  What about Len Sweet’s bizarre quantum New Age thinking?  Or Ken Blanchard for that matter?  And Erwin McManus?  Do you really know these guys?  Have you ever given specific reasons for not being a fan of these people, and did you give scriptural support to refute them?  If they are tainted with false teaching, yes, by all means, let’s throw out the baby with the bath water!  That’s what we can learn from them.

Quote #12:

“St. Paul said, “No man is an island.” I can learn from others, even from some of their half-baked ideas.”

Actually, the apostle Paul did not say that quote, it is not in the Bible.  It was said by John Donne, (1572-1631). It appears in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII, 1624.  (Ironic that it has the word emergent in the title).  The idea of learning from others is fine, but it gets pretty dicey when we think we can risk learning good from those who are purveyors of untruth, who mix lots of truth with a bit of error. (I’m sure we can learn some good from the Satanic Bible).  But this is a working definition of false prophets, Dr. Felter, and you know that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”  The lesson we can learn from those with “half-baked ideas”… is to reject them completely!

Quote #13:

“1. The basic premise of many of their objections is rooted in Reformed theology, not the Wesleyan-holiness perspective.”

This is a recurring strawman argument.  No one I know who is a concerned Nazarene is a Calvinist, and our objections are based on Holy Scripture, nothing else.  Theological labels are useful sometimes, but irrelevant here.  And if anything, those who oppose us are clearly trying to re-write Wesleyan history, some even claiming that John Wesley was emergent, which is laughable.  He would roll over in his grave to see some of the error coming into our denomination that is trying to pass for Wesleyan theology.  John Wesley would have roundly criticized Brian McLaren much the same way that he called out the Roman Catholic Church as apostate.  John Wesley was not emergent, but perhaps he would be a Concerned Christian now!

Quote #14:

“2. The theological process by which these individual(s) extract their positions does not follow John Wesley’s wonderful procedure known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Reason, Tradition, and Experience.”

You may be preaching to the emergent choir, but not to me.  And I am seeing a pattern here.  There is more emphasis on John Wesley as the basis to refute us, and so far, no emphasis on scripture.  Wesley also believed in the inerrancy of scripture, yet the emergents ignore that tidbit of information.  But, how much more will you cite John Wesley, instead of refuting us with biblically sound arguments?  No matter what John Wesley or anyone says, Scripture trumps everything as far as authority over our lives, because man’s reason, tradition, and experience is prone to error.  Jesus Christ is THE WORD, but His written word ought to be held up to the highest respect and final authority, because it IS the word of God.  And those are the only words I trust completely.

Quote #15:

“4. They have created straw men against which to mount massive attacks in the name of purifying the church of New Age thought. In truth, they really do not understand New Age thought.”

Who are these straw men, Rev. Felter?  Can you please give specifics again?  This is another accusation, without substantiation.  And I think I have a pretty good understanding of what is New Age, but can you explain New Age thought to us?

Quote #16:

“5. They have labeled precious individuals with scurrilous comments and false accusations, raising unnecessary questions about motives they cannot possibly read from afar, and often creating unnecessary suspicions and the cloud of doubt.”

This statement was the final straw for me.  It painfully reminded me of accusations thrown at me publicly last year, without any basis in truth, without any substantiation or proof.  Since then, I’ve heard more of the same, but the same pattern remains.  If you were a lawyer in court, the judge would have roundly scolded you if you brought up charges like this without evidence.  Therefore you owe all these people that you are accusing a sincere apology, or if not, then show the evidence that demonstrates that your allegations are true.

We name names and provide documented evidence, and let the readers decide for themselves!  On the other hand, you plainly accuse us of “scurrilous comments and false accusations”, and then you don’t follow it up with any proof whatsoever.  Which precious individuals have we falsely accused, and for what reason?  Can you name one false thing that I have fabricated on my blog?  Or perhaps from the other concerned Nazarenes such as the Nazarenes-Standing Firm folks, or Concerned Nazarenes, or sadnazarene, or Nazarene Psalm 11:3, or ex-nazarene, or maybe Help For Nazarenes? Or NazNet Distorts? Or maybe Nazarenes for Biblical Creationism?  I’ll personally retract any mistakes you can point out.  If not, please stop accusing us of something without substantiating it?

Quote #17:

“6. They have created distractions that have absorbed the energies of the church needlessly and without blessing or benefit either to the Body of Christ, or to the accomplishment of our mission.”

If “distractions” means that we have awakened some in the church to the heresies invading our beloved denomination- then I am very glad that has happened.  And I disagree- it is always a blessing to the Body of Christ when false teachers are exposed to the light of truth. And I assure you, Dr. Felter, we will not stop doing this, until every false teacher and false doctrine is revealed to our brothers and sisters in Christ, Nazarene or not, who can then make their own decisions as to their future in any denomination.

Quote #18:

“7. They have created a smokescreen of innuendo by mislabeling everything that is different either New Age, Contemplative Spirituality, Spiritual Formation, or Emergent. Every variant and manifestation has its dangers. Emotionalism can breed a sentimentalism devoid of true holiness.”

Again, I believe you say much here by way of accusation and over-generalization, but you show little substantiation for it.  We are not labeling everything that we see as New Age; we are only labeling New Age for what it is, and the predominant bulk of teaching of Spiritual Formation in our universities is based on mystical practices that have no basis in scripture.  But no one seems to want to have a real “conversation” about it.  And what would you label books and teachings by such authors as Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, and Richard Foster?  Do these people write in the tradition of great holiness writers?  It seems that those kind of speakers and writers are fading fast from our Nazarene landscape, to be replaced by such as these I mentioned.  I believe the following scripture is an accurate description of all these false teachers circulating in our denomination today:

“They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;   raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” Jude 12b, 13

Quote #19:

“For the sake of our Lord, His Church, and the mission to which He calls us, I urge us to be alert and recognize that God is building His Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it!”

This is about the only part of your article that I agree with!  I do trust that God is building His church, and it has nothing to do with membership numbers, and I know for certain that the gates of hell will not prevail against it!  But Rev. Felter, I’m not so sure about the future of the organization called Nazarene.  I’ve been a Nazarene all my life, yet I am certainly aware that “The Church” is not simply comprised of Nazarenes.  No sir, the real Church is the invisible church, that which is living in obedience to Christ and is not being tossed around, as you said, “by every wind of doctrine.”

The Church of God, the true Church, will not be destroyed.  On the other hand, I cannot say that for certain about the Nazarene organization.  My question to you is, will you be a part of facilitating it’s destruction, or will you stand up for the truth, even if it costs you your job.  I know several pastors who have taken that stand, Rev. Felter, and they counted the cost.  One was fired unjustly, and another “divorced” from our denomination along with his entire congregation.  Oh, but to have a few more men with backbone who will put the Lord first above their position and standing.  God builds His church not with numbers, but through faithful servants, no matter how few.  Remember the 7,000 that did not bow the knee to Baal?

Rev. Felter, as I close, for the sake of our Lord, I exhort every Nazarene and Christian who is reading this, to fight those who are spreading false doctrines in our churches.  Do not be silent.  You suggested that “it’s time to tame the unruly memes”.  Sorry, it’s not going to happen. Speaking out against heresy is our responsibility and duty as Christians, and it is not an option.  I suggest you go back to the beginning of this post, and read the quote from Paul Washer.

And if you can put in a good word for me, I am willing to come to Lenexa or Kansas City at my expense to speak with any or all of the General Superintendents about our concerns.

Sincerely in Christ,

Manny Silva

P.S.  Rev. Felter, I have not sent this to your email address.  If you wish to be placed on my email list, please let me know.

2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Open Letter To The Board of General Superintendents

Dear Board of General Superintendents,

As many more Nazarenes are aware of by now, there have been things happening in the Nazarene denomination in the last ten, perhaps even 20 and 30 years, that have gradually changed the fabric of our denomination, both in the churches, and in the universities.  In this post-modern era, apparently many of our churches and universities have clearly jumped on the emergent church bandwagon.  Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?  Or perhaps it is both.  I am not trying to make trouble for its own sake, but I am raising questions that many believe are vital and need to be answered.  One of my biggest concerns is this: our college kids walking away from the real Jesus, into the arms of a fake Christ and a phony gospel.  It hurts just to think that even one might walk away from the Lord, because of what our schools are allowing.

One of the problems that have arisen is the bleeding that is occurring in our churches and universities.  Nazarenes, both young and old, have been deciding to leave their church, and sometimes the denomination.  Students and parents are opting out of the usual automatic decision to go to a Nazarene school, and instead are searching for alternatives.  Surely, that is a common thing that happens all the time in all denominations, as people shift and move around, or make personal decisions based on their own circumstances.  However, the reasons of departure that I am aware of are much different than the random comings and goings that occur.  It is much more serious, and there is a pattern that is most disturbing.  I don’t have statistics nailed down, but the many reports I have received, as well as others, shows that there is a commonly shared reason.  That reason can be summarized as “an erosion of solid biblical principles, in exchange for a humanistic, mystical, ecumenical, and relativistic approach to our Christian faith and practice.” In other words: many Nazarenes are absolutely fed up with what is going on in our churches and universities, and have decided they are not going to stand for it anymore.  I don’t even have time here to go into the extreme social gospel and environmental gospel that is being pushed to the detriment of preaching the true gospel message.

I believe that is one of the reasons we are seeing some churches dropping precipitously in membership, sometimes within just a year’s time, as emergent ideology creeps into their congregation.  Former members have sat in utter amazement and dismay in their pews, as a pastor introduces new rituals that were never part of the Nazarene tradition, but were more reflective of the Roman Catholic Church.  That same pastor, who perhaps when he was interviewed for the job spoke clearly of his respect for God’s word,  now preaches sermons that are more out of his personal opinion and philosophy, with an occasional scripture passage thrown in as an after thought.  Less is mentioned of true repentance and sin, and instead, sermons are filled with social justice themes and an over-emphasis on “fellowship”, to the detriment of studying God’s word.  And more and more, these post-modern pastors, (some who are fresh out of seminary, but others have been around a long time), are frequently heard quoting heretics and false teachers from the pulpit, such as Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren.  So much for the Wesleyan holiness heritage of our fathers!  Now we are looking more and more to Desert Fathers instead, and mystics who promote emptying the mind in order to “listen to the voice of God.”

These Nazarenes were also hearing new phrases like “missional”, or “spiritual formation”, and gradually realized that they don’t necessarily mean what they thought it meant.  We now have people leaving in groups, forming their own fellowship because they can no longer stand sitting in a church that is looking more and more like the Roman Catholic church with its rituals and traditions.  No wonder people are walking away.  I am sure you are also aware of at least one church whose membership voted to completely separate themselves from the denomination, rather than compromise their biblical principles.  Sure, perhaps that is only one church out of thousands, but were they all mad (as in crazy?), or were they justified biblically to “divorce” themselves from the denomination?  Perhaps the Nazarene church is not just bleeding, but close to hemorrhaging.  It is heartbreaking to me, the many emails I have received from former Nazarenes who have been pushed out of their churches, many of them being called hateful and troublemakers and dividers, all because of asking questions of their leadership as to what is happening to their church.

And then there are the universities.  Spiritual formation programs throughout the schools are pushing what is essentially contemplative spirituality.  It’s just another word for it.  This is not Nazarene, this is not Christian.  This is simply a Christianized version of transcendental meditation, and false teachers such as Richard Foster, Leonard Sweet, and Tony Campolo are being embraced, and even being given a platform for mentoring pastors or future pastors!  Even a universalist like Jay McDaniel was allowed to speak at NNU, as summarized in this video.  Can you tell me what is going on, when a university allows this kind of foolishness to be given a platform at our “Christian” schools?

One college chaplain enjoys reading The Shack (a heresy filled book), and praises Brennan Manning, a mystic and false teacher.  Another chaplain recently told the students in a chapel service on Sept. 22 that “I consider myself a mystic”, and quotes Brian McLaren, a false teacher.  This same chaplain  is an unabashed promoter of lectio divina, and claims one of his heroes to be Brother Roger, the late founder of a contemplative, interspiritual community called Taize in France.  Why Nazarene chaplains promote this kind of stuff, and name this kind of “hero”, is beyond me as a Nazarene, and as just a Christian.  But this is probably becoming the norm amongst college chaplains, and that’s my fear.

Many of our universities are sold out to this contemplative movement.  Prayer labyrinths perhaps will soon become the norm in  more of them. Prayer labyrinths are a practice borrowed from pagan religions, and these are okay now in the Nazarene schools and churches?  Many are also coming together and embracing Roman Catholic practices, or are recommending RCC churches to our students, or selling Roman Catholic Bibles in the bookstores.  Evolution is supplanting the Genesis account, and it’s okay now if students are taught that Adam and Eve were not real, or that the worldwide flood did not occur.  Instead, they were most likely just allegorical stories or myths.  Thus they are teaching our students to doubt the veracity of the word of God.  It’s no wonder that at this point, I would not even consider sending my son to a Nazarene university, or recommending anyone to send their own child.  It’s too dangerous!

You see, right now, I am still a Nazarene.  Perhaps the main reason that I remain is that I am still able to attend and worship at a Nazarene church whose pastor does not believe in this nonsense that is being promoted and passed off as something good for us.  Many of us refuse to be under the leadership of any pastor who does not believe in the inerrancy and authority of scripture, and so I am thankful I can still attend a church whose leadership is committed to the word of God, not committed to silly programs,  mystical rituals and even secular music played in worship services.  Another reason I have stayed is that I have taken on a responsibility I never really thought I would have or even am the best qualified for, but I welcome, out of love for my new friends, who often call me or email me with requests for advice on what to do.  Because of what I have gone through myself, I am able to help others (in some small way) deal with the serious disruption and broken fellowship that this movement has brought into their lives.

I don’t believe that the Nazarene denomination’s health should be measured by numbers of people, or how healthy the budget is, or even how many churches have been built in the last year.  Rather, it is measured in the steadfast, faithful obedience to Christ in ALL that He commands, and thus is also measured by the rejection of anything that contradicts the gospel “once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 3)  If any one preaches another gospel, Paul said that person should be accursed.  Is the Nazarene church starting to preach another gospel?

I could go on, but I have written to you before with my concerns in the past year.  Ever since General Assembly, when a group of us passed out 6,000 DVDs, yet were rebuffed by some of the leadership there, we have continued to ask questions and make others aware of the problem.  Many others have written to you with their concerns.  I cannot speak for them, but I am still waiting for answers.  I am asking you to please give a clear and unambiguous answer to the many questions that have been raised in the past several years.  Is lectio divina really a biblical practice?  Are prayer labyrinths okay?  Should pastors and teachers promote books by heretical mystics and pastor such as Rob Bell, who deny the infallibility of scripture?  Should Nazarene congregations worship inside a Roman Catholic Church, which teaches a false doctrine?  We know that you have denounced false teachers as unacceptable, but many are preying on our youth right now.  I think Nazarenes deserve to know which ones are they specifically that you think are false teachers, so we can “mark them” and  “avoid them” as scripture commands.

“Where do you stand on these issues?” It is a fair question that I believe deserves a fair answer.

Blessings and peace,

Manny Silva