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.

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38 responses to “Response #3 To Holiness Today’s Editor-In-Chief

  1. Manny, is there a reason you didn’t send this to his email address? I’m confused about why you would write it to him but not send it to him.

  2. This is truly disturbing. At one point, due to some of Rev. Felter’s personal posts, I was willing to believe he was being deliberately ambiguous in his editorials, walking the fence so as not to openly endorse false teaching, but neither openly oppose it, in order to stay employed long enough to hit retirement.

    He appears to has gotten off on the wrong side of the fence with this last piece. It is simply an attack on the defenders of the faith, utilizing all of the methods Felter accuses his detractors of using, as you point out. I noted multiple quoted “concerned” references. There is the name-calling with the astroturfing as well. As you note, Naz-Net has the official blessing of the church. If you want to point to an organization posing as grassroots folk, I’d sooner look their direction.

    As far as vetting material, I’ve seen how that works. I’ve sent inquiries to Word Action only to be told in effect, “Trust us, we’re all seminary trained.” My specific question dealt with the news Jirair Tashjian was going to be doing the commentary for the advent Sunday School lessons in Illustrated Bible Life last year. I doubted the wisdom of that. I know you have provided a link to his paper from 2000 that argued penal substitution for sin was the least viable explanation for Christ’s death on the cross.

    The Herald of Holiness later printed a shortened version of that. The firestorm that ensued ushered out defense articles telling the unwashed masses we didn’t appreciate the subtle nuances. Then the Herald went into USA Today mode for a couple of years; pie-charts and the such, with nothing of any real consequence.

    Is this what is meant by vetting? More like your dog’s doctor said the material was suitable for paper training.

    The total misquoting of John Donne was unbelievable.

    The tired old Reformed argument looks like it may have come from:
    Is There Room at the Table?
    Emerging Christians in the Church of the Nazarene
    A ―White Paper‖ Submitted to the Board of General Superintendents
    in the hope of beginning a dialogue regarding the Emerging Church
    and its place in the Church of the Nazarene
    Respectfully submitted by:
    Dr. James K. Hampton
    Rev. Brian Hull
    Rev. Jon Middendorf
    Rev. Jim Wicks
    Rev. Tevis Austin
    Rev. Dave Charlton
    May 20, 2009

    The authors use this very argument in footnote 9.
    The vast majority of these writers come from a Reformed theological tradition and hold a deep conviction re. the inerrancy of Scripture, rather than adopting the Nazarene doctrine of plenary inspiration. A representative sample of Reformed writers includes: Erickson, 1998, 2001; Carson, 2005; Dockery, 1995; and Mohler, 2005, 2008.

    What is this supposed to mean anyway? That Scripture is completely inspired, but fictional? Also note that this white paper did not include a single citation from Scripture. It too, appealed to Wesley, and made him emergent.

    I’m not a mind reader, but quote 15 implies we discredit New Age thought because we don’t understand how appropriate it is.

    Quote 17. Pay no attention to the seminary trained man behind the curtain. We know everything, you know nothing, or Go away, boy, you bother me.

    Quote 18: Accuses (without proof) of emotionalism, bypassing dealing with troublesome facts; just claims there are none.

    Is that hand basket beginning to smoke?

  3. Well said, Jim.

    By the way, the NazNetters are at it again on the penal substitution issue:
    http://www.naznet.com/community/showthread.php?2331-penal-substitutionary-atonement

    If anyone reads it, particularly check out the comments by Dennis Bratcher, a Nazarene professor who I consider one of the elitists over there. It is amazing that he is allowed to teach from all the things I have seen him write.

    I did not know NazNet had the church’s official blessing, but it makjes sense. They had their own booth at GA last year. (Wonder if CNs could get one at the next GA?). I believe it is Dave McLung, one of the managers of this site, who has been appointed to some type of commission to study the future for the Nazarene church. I question the wisdom of that, since he lets any kind of heretical posts go unchallenged on his own site.

    The only thing I failed to write in this post was to ask Dr. Felter to either apologize to all those he has effectively trashed, or resign as editor of Holiness Today.

  4. I did not mean to state an “official” blessing, but a de-facto blessing as evidenced by the booth at GA, the failure of any censure, and as I understand, Dr. Porter having a personal space on Naz-Net.

    I too have personally heard concerned Nazarenes dismissed by pastors locally and some visitors to Global Ministries Center. Obviously you are not so blessed.

    Considering what is passing approval, I wouldn’t want that blessing.

    Thanks for standing true.

  5. What we just need to understand is that Felter does not have a very basic understanding of scripture.
    Funny how popular cultural phrases have been misused as scripture these days because people to know scripture.
    Its mindblowing that Felter, an editor of a Nazarene denomination magazine does not know scripture.
    And yes its obvious that the heretical Naz Net does have the approval of the GS’s.
    Well Jesse Middendorf has put his stamp of approval on the Emergent Church so why are we surprised.
    As for Bratcher that guy is an enemy to the very cross of Christ because he teaches another gospel, another Jesus that won’t save anyone.
    Besides his distorted view of scripture Dennis has (numerous times) shown he does not know very basic church history.
    Dennis constantly promotes Rome and its gospel (the Catholic Church) by stating that was the only church until the reformation.
    That’s simply not true.
    Still from the noise coming out of Naz net you can see they are very comfortable with the Roman Catholic Church.
    Instead of following one pope they choose to follow six.
    I want to say that most likely not all of the six GS’s would consider themselves a pope or infallible.
    But the mindset is still the same as you see many comments by misguided folk such as Hans.
    They would disguise this as submission to leadership.
    We should submit to godly leadership that is following Jesus.
    Jesus was subject to Scripture as God’s Word.
    Paul stated in 1 Cor 1: 11
    “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”I think the key point of this phrase is “as I follow Christ”. But we must each know Christ in order to discern who is following Christ, and this is confirmed and taught by the Holy Spirit. Christ was a servant to everyone so anyone following Him would also be a servant to everyone and not the other way around.

    With this in mind just look at much of what goes on within the Nazarene denomination (and others) with so many serving their “spiritual leaders”. Very contrary to God’s kingdom.
    As well as to look at the road the Nazarene denomination is being taken down.
    Better watch out for that ditch
    Tim

  6. Thanks for your comments Tim. I really appreciate how you “rightly divide the word of truth”. Dennis Bratcher and others at NazNet who despise the Scriptures ought to be embarrassed when they read what you and other non-elites write. They “twist” the scriptures, instead of reading it and believing what it says.

    Jim, thanks for clarifying the “official” blessing. For all intents and purposes, they may as well have put out an official notice on the Nazarene website and pronounce NazNet as good for all of us. It’s all the same- they do apparently approve of NazNet. Either that, or they just don’t want to criticize them for whatever reason.

    If David Felter can go out of his way to paint so many good folks out there as bad, perhaps he can spend time on another post, and give us his take on all the heretical things coming out of NazNet.

  7. And I would add to that my brother perhaps David Felter would go a little out of his way to why he misquoted Paul?
    Perhaps fess up and edit his quote.
    Maybe he should read your blog before posting his editorials.
    Or at least read this blog after posting so he can correct all his misinformation.
    Not holding my breath on that one though.
    Tim

  8. 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.”

    I would say in response to this statement from Dr. Felter that because of websites like concerned nazarenes and reformed nazarenes, This simple layman has been driven to my knees and to the scriptures for discernment and answers. I would say that is a definite benefit of your work. And in turn I have now become a watchman at my local Nazarene church and youth group. Thank you Manny and Tim and others that continue to point to the Word of God for the final authority. My prayers are with you.

    Blessings, Terry

  9. Wow – what a post. I read every single word, and every comment.

    Interestingly enough, it was our Pastor that sent us the link to Felter’s article giving it his praises. (??) I read Felter’s post in its entirety as well last week and was feeling disheartened, once again. But then, I thought, “I wonder what else David Felter has written?” So, I checked and found posting after posting discrediting and challenging some of the ‘emergent-minded’ teachers – namely, Tom Oord. This left me even more confused because based on Felter’s prior postings (ChurchAlerts), one would have thought he was just as concerned as the rest of us. Is he talking out of both sides of his mouth? Or did the actual naming of names (with contextual proof of their quotes) get a bit too close for comfort?

    Anyway, it is my prayer everyday that I will continue to uphold Truth with God’s love as well as His holiness. It is a struggle for me and only through Christ am I able to draw strength from to do this, because my flesh wants to get angry. There are so many things I don’t understand – how can some of my close friends who I have held and enjoyed Bible Studies with not take the entirety of Scripture as Divinely-Inspired, Infallible Truth? How can they endorse liberal and progressive individuals and ideologies that are obviously in direct opposition to what God’s Word stands for? Do they think the same of me – and that I am in opposition to His Word? How can our Pastor not see the importance of his role as gate-keeper and by his actions make allegiances to college professors over his own people in his own church?

    And, yet, I am continually reminded to go to His Word, go to His Word, go to His Word – seek and ye shall find, he who lacks wisdom need only ask and it will be given to him full measure… never before have I had such a fervor and love for God’s Holy Word. I LOVE it because I love Him. How precious it is to me and my heart, my soul and my inmost being. Is it idolatry of the Bible to worship the Word because JESUS IS THE WORD?! I want to understand passages and because of my intense seeking I feel like His wisdom flows from it. Insights to scripture I had not thought of or seen before are like a yellow highlighter to my mind and comprehension. I see His workings in all areas of my life and I consider it pure joy the trials I am facing because it has developed perseverance and I long to be mature and have long-suffering, lacking nothing of Jesus.

    ALL of this has transpired as a result of the Holy Spirit fanning the flame of Truth, my persuing it and proclaiming it to others.

    May others feel the ignition of the Truth as was on the day of Pentecost – that people would see Jesus, know Him and make Him known – that they would boldly stand for the Truth of Christ Jesus with HIS love, grace and holiness – simultaneously!

  10. I checked as much of the NazNet thread on penal substitution as my stomach could stand. I saw Hans quote from the Articles of Faith out of the manual, article 6 on the atonement as proof Nazarenes have no position on penal substitution.

    He conveniently omits quoting article 9 which states justification releases from the penalty of sin.

    So the manual teaches that sin has a penalty, and that Christ’s death provides the way of atonement. Ergo a substitute for the penalty. Guess the Bible isn’t the only thing from which NazNetters lift pieces out of context.

    I have a friend who is like Betty, she had followed Felter and thought we had a possible ally, but not after this last bit. Her comment was follow the money. I think she has a point. It looks like the path is whatever will bring in the most people (cash). Not surprising sin gets downplayed.

    And of course this falseness is across all denominations. I know we can’t know the exact timetable of God, but the falling away mentioned in Matt 24 sure seems to be playing out before our eyes.

  11. Yes, I have kept my decision that I made almost a month ago to avoid engaging them at NazNet, but i still monitor their threads. It can be pretty tough to stomach as you say Jim. The moderator of the theology forum is very confused. It amazes me what the managers of this site allow to stand, which is anything really, without any comment on it. They apparently are okay with it all. It is very sad to read.
    I’m afraid the money and numbers issue is the key thing right now. No one in higher leadership seems to care. I pray that i am wrong, but what do you think otherwise when there is a deafening silence towards those who are asking questions, but yet they seem to give their blessing to NazNet and its leaders as a good resource for the Church of the Nazarene.
    I was amazed how a few of them were staunchly defending the false gospel of Roman Catholicism. Pastors who defend the institution that actually led to the Reformation and Protestantism have been deceived and perhaps should give up their credentials and move on.

  12. Bless you, Sondra, and thanks for the encouraging words. I am doing the same as well for so many of you who are fighting this fight faithfully and at much cost.
    Blessings,
    Manny

  13. Betty,
    It’s amazing how so many of us seem to continually ask ourselves over and over, those same questions that you just asked.
    How can this be happening? I know long time “warriors” in the Nazarene church, including from my local church, who don’t seem to care a bit about this, and instead, they look at us as the dividers- not those who are spitting on God’s word!

  14. Thanks for keeping me up to date with my former denomination. I have been saddened by the tone of the backlash to the questions of concerned naz. It is as if I awoke to the change from Bedford Falls to Potterville in It’s a Wonderful Life. I got out several years ago when Nina Gunter was elected GA. I had enough of the pressure of COTN to place women pastors in charge. I predicted that gays would pastor under the same sentimental disregard for scripture. Sounds like it is not far away. 20 years behind the UMC? The gap is closing. It is so sad.

  15. As more and more Nazarene pastors turn from scriptural authority and listen more to the teachings of such professors as Tom Oord and Dennis Bratcher, the more compromise will continue. The homosexuality thing could be next to be compromised, and perhaps in the next five years or less- who knows?

    I see that already in some of the writings of the elites at NazNet.

  16. Well here is what Brian McLaren stated on this topic

    “Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. In the meantime, we’ll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they’ll be admittedly provisional. We’ll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years for ongoing reflection. After all, many important issues in church history took centuries to figure out. Maybe this moratorium would help us resist the “winds of doctrine” blowing furiously from the left and right, so we can patiently wait for the wind of the Spirit to set our course”

    My comments-The spirit Brian mentions is of course not the Holy Spirit who inspired scripture but another spirit not of God.
    And what Brian means by his statement is we should wait until the culture (not scripture dictates what is right or wrong).
    Because Brian does not believe what scripture teaches we need to ignore what Brian states because it comes through a corrupt,perverse, heretical lens.
    Because scripture is very clear on this subject Brian is not offering Christian dialog because he is not in a position yet where he can propose Christian dialog.
    As for the Nazarene denomination- who knew they would so readily accept the heretical teaching of the Emergent Church and not be upfront on how they really feel about this subject.
    It would not surprise me (and it should’nt surprise you) if they eventually allow and accept this.
    Many Naz Netters certainly have.
    And Naz Net certainly speaks for the denomination-sad to say.
    Tim

  17. Manny and Tim,

    I get the impression that homosexual orientation is OK as long as one is celibate, but homosexual behavior is wrong, according to this:

    http://www.nazarene.org/files/docs/Perspectives_Homosexuality-new.pdf

    I vaguely remember Jesus teaching that sin comes from the inside (one’s heart/soul), and that hatred was the same as murder, for example. So, is it now OK for me to hate (hate orientation), as long as I don’t murder (hate behavior) the person in question? Or now are we denying the power of God to cleanse, change, and transform a person (sanctification)? Has the gate already been cracked open slightly???

  18. My humble opinion, Mike, is yes- I believe the door or gate has been cracked open slightly. Time will tell.

  19. I dont hate anyone just a fyi.
    Plus its not my call on who goes to heaven.
    Plus I do not believe that my sins are any worse than anyone else’s.
    You cant really rate sin into mortal or venial sins like the Catholics teach.
    All sin is wrong.
    Jesus died for everyones sins.
    The Bible is very plain on what sin is and homsexuality is listed as sin.
    Its what God put in scripture.
    Tim

  20. I found it refreshing that the GS’s are still calling homosexuality a sin and even referred to the ‘Fall of Man’… and that they have not lowered themselves to agree with some of those on Naznet. However, on age 9 of thePastoral Perspective, I find it biased towards the ‘social justice’ agenda by equating “American” consumerism with original sin – greed is greed. It doesn’t matter what country one is from. Why does the Nazarene church CONTINUE to degrade over and over and over and over and over and over again – the very country that allowed them freedom to even found their denomination and freely express their belief? So, what do they favor? I wish they would name me one country that has done it better.

  21. Page 13, 1st column, last paragraph: “The reoriented or celibate single homosexual will be invited to full participation in the life and ministry of the church, leading ministries, serving on boards and singing in choirs.” Would children’s ministries of the church be considered? According to the GS perspective, how are we to know whether a homosexual is ‘born that way’ or ‘made the choice’, because I argue that it makes a rather big difference! If they ‘made the choice’ but remain celibate, does that make their influence in ministry okay?

  22. The fact that we are even talking about the possiblity of homosexuals allowed to minister and NOT calling it sin as the Holy Writ mandates is a barometer of how far the COTN has left its spiritual moorings. If the Holy Bible is not our standard, then what is? It is not a secret that the COTN is having an identity crisis.

    The COTN needs to get back to the basics of what they were originally found to do and let the emergents go form their own group, but unfortunately the ones in power are not totally willing to do that because they undoubtedly have consumed some of the coolaid.

  23. Quote #1> Felter said, “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.”

    So…. inconsistent theological ideas are pursued so the Holy Spirit can help us grasp rich treasures of truth to make a compelling Scriptural case for beliefs.

    The Bible says this about the searching for truth:
    Psalm 25:4-5 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

    Quote #2> Felter said, “Absolutely not! Let’s face it, anything that diminishes the centrality of Christ, the Cross, and His shed blood as the atonement for our sins must be contested.”

    Agreed. So why are the discussions here a problem?

    Quote #3> Felter said, “St. Paul said, “No man is an island.” I can learn from others, even from some of their half-baked ideas. Would I spend a lot of time in such pursuits?”

    Sir, St. Paul did not use the phrase “No man is an island.” Your quote implies that the Apostle Paul coined this term. It was first used in 1624 by John Donne in Meditation 17 in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions who became the Dean of St Paul’s in London in 1621. It doesn’t seem like a new idea to me.

    No man is an island, entire of itself
    every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
    if a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
    as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
    any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee. — John Donne

    Ernest Hemingway used the last line of the poem as the title of his book “For Whom the Bell Tolls” published in 1940. Thomas Merton also published a book called “No Man is an Island”.

    Why use half baked ideas when you can use the Bible?

    Psalm 25:10-15
    10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
    for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
    11 For the sake of your name, O LORD,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
    12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ?
    He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
    13 He will spend his days in prosperity,
    and his descendants will inherit the land.
    14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
    15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

  24. Thank you Pam. It’s so simple, isn’t it? Yet the “smart ones” do not get it somehow.

    Psalm 119:99

  25. I remember when Nazarenes trusted the Bible, the Lord, and waited before Him for Him to act.

    Then we embraced the church growth movement’s worst components, became all about nickels and noses, and just look where we are now.

    When we fail to wait for the Holy Spirit to act, drumming up false emotions with techniques, we get false conversions.

    Get enough of those and you have a church of the unsaved and unsanctified.

    And what an unholy mess you have.

    But it sells. Following the fad of the day makes money.

    When will learn we cannot serve both God and Mammon?

  26. The enemy is alive and well, as we know. He distracts followers of Christ with consumerism and the chasing after ‘things’… but now we discern that he is trying to be the SOLUTION as well with yet another distraction for Christians by attacking consumerism with a social gospel (i.e. social justice, eco-justice, immigration justice, redistribution of wealth and hating wealth). All of it is to distract from the TRUTH of God’s Word, salvation and sanctifying grace in Jesus Christ alone!

    We must be aware of BOTH of these distractions. If you recognize the traps, it will be easier to discern.

    Proverbs 4:27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

  27. http://reedings.com/archive/154October2004.htm

    A book review by Gerard Reed on Mark R. Quanstrom’s A Century of Holiness Theology: The Doctrine of Entire Sanctification in the Church of the Nazarene, 1905 to 2004.

    At the bottom of the review it explains the sift in theology. It explains how we get to “radical optimism of grace”.

    If someone can find a direct link of “optimism of grace” in John Wesley’s sermons or writings please post a link.

  28. To date David Felter has still not changed his misquoting Paul and made any statement of error on his part.
    So I guess it must be ok in his mind to purposly mislead people by misquoting Paul.
    At least in my opinion thats what it seems like since he has not repented and changed the misquote.
    Paul did not say “No man in an island” anywhere in scripture.
    Not even in “The Message version as I can see.
    Can you trust a guy who cant get his quotes straight?
    Its up to you

  29. I am a Nazarene pastor and, after many years of ministry, I must ask just why I am a member of ANY top-heavy ecclesiastical monstrosity called a denomination? Forget ‘emergent’, as wicked as it is.
    Why are we taxed thousands of $$ in General/District budgets? For what? What do we get in return? NOTHING, except the ‘privilege’ to use the name Nazarene on the building. O yes, and the shame and disgrace that accompanies that name today. Many local congregations have been financially ruined because they ‘paid their budgets’, and neglected local needs. Cash strapped, they are obligated to maintain physical facilities that they don’t even own! What is wrong with us that we can’t even see straight enough to realize that we have created a religious idol that must now be ‘fed and clothed’. I won’t waste my time trying to right the ship of Nazarene. If only we could see the invisible, we might be shocked to realize that God has already written ‘Ichabod’ over the door. We should defy the budget god and all the nonsensical, worldly ‘dog and pony’ shows that pass for worship today. Focus on the local church. Re-institute a prayer meeting that is actually a prayer meeting. Weep between the porch and the altar until souls are born into the Kingdom. When Zion travailed, she brought forth children. The world is going to hell in a handbasket and the church is carrying the basket. It is truly high time that judgment must begin at the house of God.

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