They Just Won’t Believe God’s Word

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Col. 2:8


The following are quotes from a NazNet thread called “The Search For Adam and Eve.”  Some of these comments are from ordained pastors.  After being on that site for a few years now, my jaw still drops when I occasionally visit and read what they are writing.  If I am the only one disturbed by their discussion, perhaps I’m in serious need of re-visiting what I trust from Scripture.

If on the other hand, there is something terribly wrong there, we need to pray for these folks.

When I read Genesis, God tells us how He created the first man and woman.  He tells us it was two people named Adam and Eve.  Paul referenced Eve and how she was deceived by the serpent, and Jesus  quoted Genesis in regards to divorce, in Luke 10, when He said, “and God made them.”  Paul plainly wrote that sin and death came into the world through one man: Adam.  I have no reason to doubt what God said in His word.  If I did, why would that not lead me eventually to doubt other things He has said in Scripture as being true and historical?  If I need empirical proof of a literal Adam and Eve, then perhaps I should demand empirical proof of Christ’s resurrection!  Yet, these people at NazNet write as if they are members of the heretical Jesus Seminar, who got together and voted one at a time as to what words Jesus said were really His words, or not.

Having read much of what these folks have written in the past, they seem to have the mindset of those from the modernist movement, whose proponents claimed that we can know the truth, but that we would find the truth via man’s intellectual endeavors and reasoning, not by simply believing the truth of the Bible as plainly written.  They have a hard time believing in the supernatural power of God to do what He wants, in the way He says He did, if it does not fit their pet theories.  They reject Jesus Himself when he made a clear statement of Adam’s actual existence.  Yet they have no problem accepting the absurd, poorly devised explanation of our origins, the theory (really a hypothesis at best) called evolution.  They will readily embrace the big-bang, but will also quickly and selectively reject the Bible.  They readily accept the elitist musings of evolutionary high priest Karl Giberson, who rejects Holy Scripture’s teaching, including the fact that it plainly tells us that homosexuality is a sin (see recent post).  And they then proceed to call him a man of strong faith!  Yes, strong faith in his science and his intellect, but not in the Bible.

So here are some highlighted quotes, including from a couple of prominent professors from Nazarene universities who have been causing much damage in our Christian institutions, but few seem to care.  But those who do care will continue to warn others, and expose them, as Scripture requires us to do.  I’ve said in the past that NazNet is a breeding ground for emergent heresy and false teaching, and this proves it again.


Quotes from NazNet Discussion:

“I welcome what Karl Giberson and others in the Church of the Nazarene are doing in the area of life science.”

 “Giberson is a person of strong faith, and I am grateful for his involvement in the discussion. He is not “the enemy.”

“I still think its important we focus people on what scripture intends to teach us with these stories (which has little, if anything, to do with historical details).”

“Archaeology tells us there’s no evidence for anything in the biblical timeline before the Sinai wanderings.”

“I am still comfortable with the idea that God’s word isn’t resistant to truth.”

 “Yea… as far as I know, all signs point to no Sinai wondering, no Exodus..

“somehow it would strengthen my faith in the creator were we to learn that when he made man in His Own image, He did it many places, times and cases, rather than what I have understood as a one time, one case, one pile of dust only.”

“As for ‘Adam’ being one man or representative of all humankind or even both, my hope is that people who desire to grow spiritually will leave room for these interpretations.”

“I can live with Adam and Eve being idealised representations of something that really happened beyond the reach of human awareness…”

“I fully believe there was a first sin – I just don’t think we can believe the writers of Genesis knew exactly how it came about any more than we do. Maybe they did, I just haven’t seen any evidence yet to support it.

“Thankfully, I do believe that God inspired the Bible, so although it’s a cultural mythology, it is the cultural mythology which God selected to tell humans about the relationship between them and God.”

“I didn’t say they don’t exist. [Adam and Eve]  I don’t know….  I just said there’s no evidence to support the claim.”

“I don’t think there were two people named Adam and Eve, but there were people who first understood their relationship to God and those people sinned in a way that has real consequences for the world hereafter. There’s a real difference between the theological position of “first people” and the biological/historical consequences of Adam and Eve.”

“I have come to the place where I find it spiritual strengthening to allow God to have created man however He wanted, and to have described it to man also however He felt it was best for man to hear/discover it. It’s miraculous, however one looks at it.”

 “How does the genealogies given to us in the Bible give us a real connection. They are not exactly verified by empirical data. They have to be taken on some measure of faith.”… I think it is safer to say that Luke is writing that Jesus is in fact a human being, rather than making any statement about Adam.”

“Why does it have to be factually consistent? It was written in a time frame that facts are not really considered the same as facts are today. They would mix in political as well as mythological aspects into their historical writings so to look at something that traces a genealogy of a historic person in this time period you might run into some very complicated problems…”

Response to ‘so Adam was not the first man?’

“I do not know, I was not there. My position in regards to this question is that I simply hold no stock in it. If God reveals to me that there was some guy named Adam who was the very first person I doubt it would change my understanding of Christian Theology.”

This is from a prominent ordained pastor/professor from NNU, Dr. Tom Oord:

“… I think some of you will be interested in Michael Ruse’s June 10 Huffington Post essay, “Adam and Eve Didn’t Exist. Get Over It!” He wrote it in light of the Christianity Today article.  Although his rhetoric can be a bit harsh, I agree with the main point Michael is making…
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michae…_b_874982.htm

“I’m not buying the theory that in order for Jesus to fulfill the role of the Second Adam, we’d need an historical first one.”

“So my point was that though the story is about individuals, we might very well interpret it more broadly since it doesn’t appear to be historical.”

From another prominent Nazarene professor at PLNU, Dennis Bratcher:

“…this narrative [Adam and Eve]  is not an historical account about ultimate origins (in spite of the Greek name of the book, Genesis). Rather it focuses on a representative couple as a way to talk about humanity in general, and the story of God and humanity…. to try to read this story as a historical account leaves us with questions for which the only answers are speculation and guesses, some of which drift into the ludicrous.”

“According to the scientific evidence, the genre of the story, and the worldview of the Ancient Near East, Adam doesn’t appear to be the first man.”

End Quotes

For further reference:  The Gospel- Evidence For Creation

Arrogance, Intellectual Elitism, Rejection of Scripture, Karl Giberson

For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 1 Cor. 1:19

The four items above go together.  Dr. Karl Giberson is no longer a professor at my old school, Eastern Nazarene College, but he now has a colleague there who is apparently carrying on the Giberson tradition.  What would that tradition be?  The Giberson tradition is to disparage, insult, and otherwise look down on anyone- anyone at all- who…

- Dares to believe in the Christian fundamentals (especially biblical inerrancy)

- Dares to challenge the myth of evolution and the global warming religion

- Dares to accept the biblical account of a historical Adam and Eve

- Dares to believe homosexuality is sin, or opposes homosexual “marriage”

- Dares to disagree with him in any way in regards to science and the Bible

I am not criticizing his right to have an opinion, or in making an honest argument to support his opinion.  But frankly, I am sick and tired of Dr. Giberson’s continually belittling attitude towards those who believe that God created Adam and Eve as He said he did; that God did create the world as He said he did; and that the sin of homosexuality is clearly condemned by God’s word.  He looks down on evangelicals that do not match his brand of “evangelicalism”, which is the type that insists that we verify the Bible with our intellectual reasoning and scientific theories, instead of believing the Bible for what it actually says is true.  He “professes to be wise”, but…

So last week, he and Dr. Randall J. Stephens, a professor at ENC, wrote a piece that rips apart anyone who apparently does not have the level of elitist understanding that they have.  Dr. Giberson clearly is one of the most arrogant people on this planet, and I am thankful he is no longer associated with ENC.  Only God knows how many students have had their faith shaken or shipwrecked because of his unbiblical teachings.  Sadly, it seems Dr. Stephens has taken up his mantle at the school and will continue to propagate false notions of the Bible to our students there.  Since they co-wrote this attack on fundamental Bible believers, it goes without saying that they share the same basic contempt for us.  It is a piece brimming with intellectual snobbery, in my opinion.

You can read the entire article and come to your own conclusions here: The Evangelical Rejection of Reason.  Just reading the title got things off on the wrong foot.  When man cannot to his own satisfaction explain facts that are stated plainly in Scripture, he then often resorts to his own reason and intellect to fit his preferred worldview.

Following are a few of the comments they made, and my reaction:

 “The two candidates who espouse the greatest support for science, Mitt Romney and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., happen to be Mormons, a faith regarded with mistrust by many Christians.”

Dr Giberson, you don’t believe that the Mormon faith is actually part of true Christianity, do you?  I would think ANY discerning, Bible believing Christian would not only distrust Mormonism altogether, but would not consider a professing Mormon to be a brother in Christ!  Do you feel the same way about those who “mistrust” the Jehovah’s Witness religion?  Or perhaps the Buddhist or Muslim religions?

And then there are the examples of the amazingly condescending, arrogant, elitist attitude towards Christian fundamentalists who dare to trust what Holy Scripture says:

“unyielding ignorance on the part of the religious”

evangelical Christianity need not be defined by the simplistic theology, cultural isolationism and stubborn anti-intellectualism

“fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident and reactionary.”

“Fundamentalism appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy; denial is the simplest and most attractive response to change.

 “They have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism.”

Again, no substantive argument, nothing legitimate to say, just false assumptions.

Here are a few more quotes:

“Mr. Ham built his organization, Answers in Genesis, on the premise that biblical truth trumps all other knowledge.”

I believe the difference with your statement is that Dr. Ham would say, as I would, that it is a fact that biblical truth trumps all other knowledge- not a premise.  Since God is the only source of truth, then my conclusion is that all of God’s truth trumps man’s knowledge, including yours.

In an NPR interview on Oct. 20 related to the same article, Giberson said:  “I mean, there’s just a handful of proof text scattered throughout the Bible about homosexuality. Jesus said absolutely nothing about it.”

Dr. Giberson apparently disagrees with the orthodox Christian and current Nazarene stance on homosexuality, and rejects or chooses to ignore what the Bible teaches.  It’s quite interesting that with this kind of view, he taught at a Nazarene university for years, yet Bible believing ministers in the denomination are denied ordination.  I guess if you are an academic,you’re allowed to teach heresy with impunity and indoctrinate impressionable students with it.   How the Christian world is turned upside down!

Dr. Giberson is a member of Evolutionary Christianity, a group filled with heretics such as Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Spencer Burke, Richard Rohr, Matthew Fox, and John Shelby Spong, who believes that our Lord was buried in a shallow grave and was eaten by wild dogs!  He is also a big promoter of Open Theism, the teaching that God does not know the future.  To me, this is in indication of his ignorance, not mine or anyone else who can read the Bible for what it plainly teaches, in spite of not having the many degrees he has.  This is intellectual snobbery.  I guess if he does not like it, it can’t be true, or it can’t really mean what it says, can it?

Finally, Dr. Giberson points this out about Ken Ham:  (In a recent blog post, Mr. Ham called us “wolves” in sheep’s clothing, masquerading as Christians while secretly trying to destroy faith in the Bible.)”

 Yes, Dr. Giberson, I completely agree with Ken Ham, who has also commented on your article (Shot Taken at Aig by Nazarene Professor in New York Times Op-ed).  You sir, are truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I join with Dr. Ham, Dr. Al Mohler, and any other Bible believing Christian who is willing to stand up against those who dare to say that human intellect can trump the Bible, which we know to be God’s word- all of it.  Sadly you do not.  You may be a nice guy in person, but I pray that you never teach in another Christian school again, spreading the kind of Bible doubting evolutionary faith that you call Christian faith.  However, I will continue to pray for you and that you will come to truly trust all of God’s word.

The following email response to Dr. Stephens is from Dr. David A. Reagan of Lamb & Lion Ministries:

Oct. 21, 2011

Dr. Stephens:

Your recent opinion article in the New York Times about the Evangelical rejection of reason is a perfect example of why the term, Evangelical, has completely lost its meaning. How can it have any meaning when you claim to be an Evangelical and yet reject what the Bible teaches about Creation, the origin of Man, and homosexuality?

I was also turned off by your arrogance in dismissing those who disagree with you as being persons who have rejected reason. I happen to have a doctorate in International Law and Politics from a Harvard graduate school. The vice chairman of the board of trustees of the ministry I represent is a research scientist who is a graduate of Cal Tech and holds a doctorate in nuclear physics from Stanford. Yet, he believes in a 6,000 year earth and totally rejects the concept of evolution. In fact, he was an atheist when he entered Stanford University and became a Christian because he concluded that the best explanation of what he could observe in the natural universe was special creation.

I do not understand how anyone who claims to operate from reason could conclude that life evolved. It’s like standing in front of Mount Rushmore and exclaiming, “Wow! Isn’t it amazing what can be created accidentally from erosion!”

You are welcome to your unbiblical viewpoints, but don’t have the audacity to call yourself an “Evangelical.” And don’t be so arrogant as to write-off those who disagree with you as being Neanderthals who have rejected reason.

Yours in Jesus,

Dave Reagan

Dr. David R. Reagan
Lamb & Lion Ministries


Additional Resources:  “Evangelicals” Despising Evangelicals (Denny Burk)

Blind Guides

“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Mat. 15:14

Our Christian college students are being introduced to contemplative or centering prayer practices, which are all part of the new spirituality.  Instead of the word of God, experience and mysticism is the new way.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

“Well, just 90 more to go and I’ll reach the minimum required repetitive prayers as prescribed by Sister Frederica.  I am so happy to have found this new way of getting closer to God.  Boy, did my parents miss out on this, and they were Nazarenes for over 50 years!  I’d better do it right, and not make a mistake, or it could interfere with my getting closer to God.  I’m glad Frederica suggests to always use my prayer rope, so I can go to the next notch on the rope each time I repeat the prayer, and I won’t lose count.  Maybe as I advance I can repeat the prayer 200 or 300 times!  Double the blessing!  But hey, I’m only a novice.
But you know, I’ll make it work even better when I build my little corner altar at home with all the icons as Sr. Frederica also suggests.  I’ll pray to them, I’ll kiss them too, and I’ll pray to the dead saints and ask them to intervene for me before God.  After all, I can’t keep track of all my prayer needs anyway, so who better to send them to God but the old dead saints!
Wow, this is awesome.  Why didn’t the Nazarene church think of this years ago?  I could not even find this in the manual!”

Before you think I’m making light of anything, let me reassure you, this is serious.  It made my blood boil, as many other stories have lately from our “Christian” universities.  I ask again, to what extent will Nazarene universities go?  It is clear again to to me that those in leadership at our universities, and some in national, district, and local leadership, are either aiding and abetting a concerted effort to bring us “back to Rome”, or they are just as complicit in this effort by turning the other way and doing nothing.  So, what is it that made my blood boil?

Teaching Students To Pray A Mantra (A Hindu/Buddhist Manner of Prayer)

What made me upset again is a speaker that Point Loma Nazarene University invited to come on Oct. 28-29 to conduct a two day retreat, and speak in chapel as well.   That guest is Frederica Matthews-Greene of the Orthodox Church.  The name of the retreat?  Jesus Prayer Retreat.  Registrations are already closed, so it must be very popular.

In my fictional conversation at the beginning, it basically describes what the Jesus Prayer is.  It’s a short prayer, a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church and other similar groups, that is repeated over and over again.  In other words, it is a mantra.  It most likely originated amongst the Desert Fathers in the 5th century.  It is the use of an Eastern mystical practice, except you insert Christian phrases in it.  For what purpose?  According to Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, the late patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church:

the Jesus Prayer “more than any other,” helps us to be able to “stand in God’s presence.” This means that the Jesus Prayer helps us to focus our mind exclusively on God with “no other thought” occupying our mind but the thought of God. At this moment when our mind is totally concentrated on God, we discover a very personal and direct relationship with Him.”

But do we really need to, or should we, repeat a prayer over and over in order to attain a better relationship with God?  The Jesus Prayer, as opposed to a simple prayer, helps us to “stand in God’s presence?”  Friends, this is all derived from pagan practices. The original goal of a mantra is to get your mind in an altered state of consciousness.  Besides Hindus and Buddhists, it is even practiced by those who are part of Islamic Sufism.  Yet we see this foolishness more and more introduced to our youth by undiscerning leaders who should resign or repent from doing these things.  However, the most important thing is that prayers such as this violate Holy Scripture’s command not to pray with vain repetitions. (Mat. 6:7)

What else does Frederica Teach?

I have listened to over three hours of some of her podcasts.  Frederica also writes regularly for the multifaith web magazine Beliefnet.com.  Her husband is the founding pastor of Holy Cross Orthodox Church.  Feel free to go and listen to the podcasts at Ancient Faith Radio.  Here are some of the things she believes and teaches, and therefore, potentially will be taught to vulnerable students at PLNU.

The Jesus Prayer – vain repetitions that are forbidden by the Lord
Praying to icons
Praying to or for the dead
Veneration of Mary

The Orthodox Church practically believes all the same heresies of the Roman Catholic Church, with some exceptions, so I’m sure I can find more problems, but is this not enough?  Frederica is probably a very nice lady, and she herself is not the main issue.  In fact, I greatly respect her stance to protect the unborn.  The issue and question is, why is a Nazarene school such as PLNU allowing her to speak and thus expose the students to the heretical beliefs that she brings with  her?  What happened to the doctrine of separation, that we ought not to hold hands and fellowship with those who teach another gospel?  What is going on with the leaders at this school?  What is their justification for this?  Are vain repetitions of a prayer now considered within the norm of evangelical Christianity, and Nazarene doctrine?  But this is not a one time mistake.  PLNU has a history of dubious and heretical speakers at their chapel services, which I will be posting on soon.

For instance, the school last year had the heretic Brennan Manning speak in chapel twice (Jan. 13 and 15, 2010), as well as way back in 2002.  And remember Rob Bell as the main speaker at the Pastor’s retreat?  He also spoke at chapel on Feb. 18, 2011.  Radical Michael Eric Dyson spoke in chapel, as did Gabriel Salguerro, who was a speaker at the heretical and blasphemous Wildgoose Festival.  And there was Jim Ball, who spoke on Creation Care madness on Sept. 12.  There was Shane Claiborne, who was also at the Wildgoose Festival, and creation denier Karl Giberson.  Emergent Philip Yancey has spoken there, as well as mystic/emergent Tony Campolo, and also emergent author Donald Miller.  Another speaker was Doug Hardy of NTS, who promotes interspirituality and Celtic mysticism at our very own seminary.  Emergent pastor Scott Daniels (who denies he is emergent and who thinks emergent is dead) has been a speaker in chapel.  I had to go back to around 1968 to see some solid Nazarene voices who spoke at chapel, including the late Dr. William McCumber, who spoke out against the emergent church movement.  And let’s not forget the debacle over the homosexual affirming group that was being allowed to conduct meetings on campus, albeit at the Point Loma Nazarene Church.
I could go on and on.  These people either have no shame, or have no ounce of discernment, which should disqualify them from leading this university!  They need to repent of what they are doing to this “Christian” school, including putting the souls of many students in danger.

What Happened To Separation?

We are commanded over and over in scripture to stay away from, avoid, have no fellowship with those who teach another gospel.

Romans 16:17   Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Ephesians 5:11   And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

1 Timothy 6:3-5   If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

2 Timothy 3:5   Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Revelation 18:4   And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

So why is Frederica Matthews-Greene coming to Point Loma?  Would anyone concerned like to ask the leaders at the school this question?

What Happened To Depending On Jesus Alone?

Now we need to pray the Jesus prayer and use prayer beads?  I choose to rely solely on Jesus Christ and place my faith and trust in Him alone!  According to Scripture, this practice is clearly unbiblical, and thus straight from the pit of hell.  I would certainly like to get the opinion of our General Board leaders, since they are charged with interpreting the doctrines of the church.  Am I wrong in objecting to this?

What Happened To Our Leaders?

Mary Paul is vice president for Spiritual Development.  I don’t have her email, but the school number is (619) 849-2200
Bob Brower is President, and his email is: president@pointloma.edu
Mark Carter is the school chaplain and I have already documented some of his mystical leanings in an article here: Point Loma Welcomes Brian McLaren and Embraces Contemplative Spirituality.

The email address for our General Superintendents is: bgs@nazarene.org
The General with current jurisdiction over PLNU is J.K. Warrick.

(Friends, in spite of all that is happening, let’s not forget that there are students and faculty at Point Loma Nazarene University who are standing up against this stuff.  They need our prayers and support).

Addendum: You will be able to listen to Frederica speak at the PLNU chapel service Friday morning, Oct. 28, at 9:45 am Pacific Time (12:45 pm Eastern Time)

 

What Should A Christian Do About False Teaching?

I’m seriously seeking advice from anyone on my email list, and readers of my blog, to the following question:

“What should a Bible believing born again Christian do when faced with apostasy and false teaching in their church?”

I am particularly interested in responses from those who have been telling me for over two years that what I and others like me are doing is the wrong way to do it.  And so, I ask those same persons to provide me with a biblical answer to the question, including scriptural references that support their answer.  All responses will be kept confidential unless you specifically ask to use your name.  I will publish them in the next few weeks if there are any answers.  I appreciate the input from anyone who can help me with this issue, as I do not wish to continue in error if I am.

This question is also being asked of the General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene, of which I am a member, since according the church manual, they are responsible for interpreting church doctrine.  I look forward to all responses.

(I reserve the right to NOT approve any answers that are not biblically grounded).

Does the Nazarene Manual “Teach” Limited Inerrancy?

by John Henderson on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 11:12am

I received an email that reminded me that the doctrinal statement of the Church of the Nazarene has always been essentially what it is now.  That is indeed true, all the way back to possibly 1898 but at least to 1903 before the 1908 merger, so far as “in all things necessary to our salvation” is concerned.  The following was my response:

My point is what primary leaders of the day were saying about it compared to what some are saying today that are quite different.  I especially subscribe to the statement:  “If there is any error in the Bible, there is error in God.  If there is no error in God, then there is no error in the Bible,” and similar declarations.  If the Church of the Nazarene, as a body, originally or ever has since stood on the side of limited inerrancy or whatever (which I do not believe it has), it is the Church of the Nazarene that is in error, not the Word of God.  The error has been in those who are willfully distorting H. Orton Wiley’s original statement (that which is in the Manual statement) to mean what Wiley never intended.

Richard Taylor once pointed out that the 1928 revision of the creedal statement was attributed to Wiley and that later generations took the words, “inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation” as limiting inerrancy to matters of faith and practice.  Taylor explained that the objective was not to limit inerrancy but to exclude tradition, as in Catholic theology, from being a determining authority of dogma.  So, even with a statement that has been voted into the Manual, there are still those who have misapplied its originally intended meaning, either ignorantly or by design.

I have been one who has overlooked a lesson my lawyer-grandfather taught me when I, a teenager, was quoting him a string of Scripture verses in order to lead him to Jesus (he did eventually come to Christ through a lot of others’ influences).  He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Young man, if you are going to quote me something, be sure you do it in context.  There is always something that goes before and comes after what you quote.”

I have been so focused on the discussion about the meaning of the Manual statement concerning the inerrancy of Scripture that I overlooked the rest of the statement.  The full statement is this:

“We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith.

“(Luke 24:44-47; John 10:35; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21)”

The final phrase, “so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith,” explains that which came before it.  The Scripture references back it up as the authority for saying so.  Going solely on this doctrinal statement, the meaning of the doctrinal statement excludes anything the Bible does not plainly teach.  That rules out limited inerrancy, theistic evolution, open theism, everything postmodern, mysticism, emergent, etc.  Those who glom onto the first part of the statement shoot themselves in the foot by ignoring the rest of the statement because the doctrinal statement itself points directly back to the authority and complete inerrancy of the Scriptures as its support.  By this, I mean that the argument for limited inerrancy has no basis in the Manual statement at any point in the denomination’s history.  The doctrinal statement clearly limits acceptable doctrine to what the Bible teaches as God’s will.  Of course, it pertains to salvation because that is the purpose of it all in the first place.  The entire Bible has that singular purpose.  It exists for no other reason.

Someone may argue that there are always those who argue around the statement.  That is correct.  It is done on both sides of the debate.  I think it is good that it is, because those of us who come behind them may have a better understanding of original intent versus distortion, especially when it comes from those who were there.  Therefore, it is essential that we keep on doing that, as well we should about the rest of our doctrinal statements.  If one side of the debate abandons the statement, the debate is over because we no longer are talking on the same basis of authority.

From what I see in this context, there is no way one can accurately say that the Manual supports the idea of limited inerrancy.  The notion must be a superimposed meaning that is not supported by what is underneath.  The Church of the Nazarene has never issued an official doctrinal statement that says or implies or supports the notion of limited inerrancy.  That is solely within the “talking points” of those who wish it to be so.  To say that it has is to misrepresent what has been stated.

It then goes to intent. We should be examining motive. I think that is where we will discover the real purpose behind making such a far-fetched allegation about something as clear as this simple doctrinal statement about the Scriptures.

My motive is wide open to scrutiny.  My commitment is clear.  My basis of authority for revealed truth is nothing other than the Scriptures.  Every idea I encounter must pass the muster of Scriptures or be discarded as deception.  Prove me wrong on that foundation and I will change my opinion about anything.