General Assembly 2013: Death Of The Church of the Nazarene, Or Repentance?

A warning to those who are leading the Church of the Nazarene astray: you need not fear those of us who are trying to wake up the church.  You ought to fear a Holy God whose wrath will come down on those who reject Him and who are leading the sheep astray. 

When I think of apostate denominations, I think of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, which just recently elected its first openly homosexual bishop.  It has long been an apostate church.  Another apostate group is the Presbyterian Church (USA), which among other things, continues to accept practicing homosexuals as members in good standing who can also participate in the Lord’s Supper; and also the church is okay with ordaining celibate gays.  The apostate Episcopalian Church appointed Eugene Robinson in 2003 as its first openly gay bishop.  The Metropolitan Community Church is a homosexual denomination.  There are many more, but there is a pattern that one of their failings always involves – the question of homosexuality, which has been clearly answered in Holy Scripture.

As a lifelong Nazarene, I have been watching closely for four years what is going on in the churches and the universities.  What I and other Nazarenes have seen leads us to believe that the Church of the Nazarene is moving down the road of apostasy as hard and as fast these others.  And one of the issues that could be its downfall is the same issue that has helped destroy the aforementioned denominations.  There are many other problems: the emergent church, spiritual formation (contemplative mysticism), open theism, process theology, evolution, the G-12 movement (Master’s Plan), extreme environmentalism, social justice, ecumenicalism, hyper-pentecostalism, dominion theology.  Now, add acceptance of homosexuality to the list of what is creeping in – one church, one pastor, one university at a time.

The Church of the Nazarene will hold its General Assembly from June 19-27, in Indianapolis, IN, with about 35,000 Nazarenes attending from around the world.  Worship services will be held; dozens of workshops conducted; resolutions will be passed and voted down; and new leaders will be appointed, including at least two new General Superintendents.  Many Nazarenes will be hopeful and celebratory; but many others are grieving.  Quite a few have left the denomination, and it is possible many will leave after this Assembly ends.  Much will depend on what happens.

We have documented the many concerns regarding homosexuality in the denomination, including the universities.  Point Loma Nazarene University with its former student chaplain who came out as a homosexual at the school, and its LGBT group; the welcoming of Soulforce, a radical pro-gay group, at Northwest Nazarene, Southern Nazarene University, Mid-America Nazarene, and Trevecca Nazarene University; an LGBT support group, called “Love Of God Bringing Triumph” approved by the administration of Eastern Nazarene College.  I also wrote on how Corey McPherson, the chaplain at ENC, preached a message last year in chapel (Homosexuality: What Does God Think?) that one would think would warrant his removal by the leadership.  Among the things he was proud of was when his church got together with a homosexual pastor and his congregation to worship together and take communion.  That is an abomination.  You can read the entire transcript of this message, along with comments from a Nazarene pastor, here.

Something related to General Assembly that was said by Corey McPherson in his message is the following:

​”​This afternoon, the chaplains from the Nazarene schools will be gathering together for our development sessions and we will be working on a proposal to submit to the General Assembly of the Church of Nazarene next year to change the wording and statement of the wrath of God and other changes in the statement in our manual.  We’re not changing the theological stance but the wording behind it must change.  We will submit it to the church and hopefully it will [bring] it to vote next year.”​

It remains to be seen if this is submitted, but it is troubling that the chaplains of the Nazarene schools could be planning to go against God’s word and water down what Scripture clearly tells us will happen to those who reject God and live in unrepentant sin.  What else are the Nazarene college chaplains teaching the students?

So, the idea of affirming homosexuality as compatible with Christian living is making headway in the Church of the Nazarene.  Thanks to heretics such as Rob Bell, who revealed his approval of gay marriage, as well as others such as Brian McLaren, Nazarene pastors are following suit and defending people who promote such foolish thinking.  There is no biblical conviction in their words, but instead they sound like the secular world of today with its politically charged promotion of and demand for complete acceptance of homosexuality.

Proposed Resolutions At The Assembly

God’s word never changes, but in the fickle lives of humans, there is constant changing of positions and doctrinal statements.  Dozens of resolutions have been submitted for consideration, and the passage or rejection of some of these could be a further indication of the spiritual direction of the church.  Two resolutions (CA-701 and CA-703) by the North Florida District make a powerful statement to clarify the biblical position on homosexuality, which would effectively push back at those who want to water down the biblical view of homosexuality to one of “affirmation” and “acceptance.”  In a section of document CA-703, the authors rightly state that “the Christian church has been invaded, the authority of Scripture has been challenged, and the laws that govern our civilization are being overturned by the world-wide homosexual community that wants nothing less than the complete acceptance and normalcy of homosexual behavior.”

Another resolution from the Tennessee District (CA-712) fights back against the dangerous ideology of process theology, a heresy which teaches that God learns from His mistakes.  Will it pass, or will it be rejected in deference to false teachers such as Tom Oord who also promote open theism and theistic evolution?

Resolution JUD-815 proposes amending the Manual to include new language regarding infant baptism.   It is interesting to note that the Church of the Nazarene has traditionally performed infant dedications, rather than baptism.  This could be a result of the Roman Catholicization that has been happening in the church, from emphases on Lenten season, to Ashes To Fire, to prayer rooms, prayer labyrinths, and retreats to Roman Catholic monasteries.

Resolution SR-752 proposes a theology conference, at a cost of about $14,000, to discuss redefining the meaning of the doctrine of atonement.

Resolution MED-500 proposes the establishment of a new College of Theologians, which would have much influence in deciding theological matters for the church.  If successfully passed, this could spell disaster for the church, depending on who is chosen to be on this select group.

There are other resolutions, some innocuous compared to others, but others will be of great importance in reflecting the “emerging” theological re-birth of a denomination that has always emphasized “holiness unto the Lord.”  The full set of resolutions can be viewed here.

The Forgotten Resolution: The Inerrancy Of Scripture

We have great concerns for a resolution that does not appear to be listed, which is now four years old.

At General Assembly in 2009, the following amendment submitted by the Southwest Indiana District failed to be voted on, and instead was referred to the Board of General Superintendents for further study.  The recommended change is highlighted in bold:

RESOLVED that Manual paragraph 4 be amended as follows:
IV. The Holy Scriptures
4. 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] inerrant throughout, and the supreme authority on everything the Scriptures teach 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)

Where is this now?  Why has this not been re-submitted?  Is there a reluctance to strengthen this statement by acknowledging the inerrancy of God’s Word?   Is the district from Southwest Indiana and other Nazarenes being ignored?  Are the General Superintendents hoping that this all goes away after they committed this to four years of study?  Is this resolution going to be re-presented for consideration and vote, as it should?

The answer could simply be that the leadership of the church does not believe in the whole of Scripture as being infallible, but only partially inerrant.  What a tragedy if that is the case.  But  these leaders, who are responsible for the doctrine of the church, have a duty to respond this year to this question.  If they don’t, it would be total neglect and dereliction of duty on their part.

Final Thoughts

From what many of us have seen, and from the lack of meaningful leadership action to stem the tide, we do not hold out much hope for the denomination as an organization. That does not mean I am saying it is absolutely lost. Yet it looks like that to many Nazarenes, barring a work of God in the hearts of the leaders and the people who know what is going on.  There are Nazarenes sitting around for the last four years who don’t like the false teachings going on, but are sitting in their pews totally asleep – by choice.

We see most likely a continued move down the apostasy road, with “pockets of resistance” in the form of individual churches trying to resist their district’s attempts at indoctrinating them with emergent heresies.  More  pastors will be punished for their opposition, as has already happened.  As in one prospective pastor’s case in the New England District, ordination will be denied because of taking a stand that you believe in biblical inerrancy.  Yet, if you believe in evolution and that Adam did not exist, you may have no problem.  Trouble-making pastors may also see their churches closed and merged with other churches.

Then there are districts such as North Florida, and others, whose leadership is strong – at the moment. What happens when the leadership changes, and an emergent D.S. comes in? What happens when a strong church’s pastor retires, and the replacement is straight out of NTS and is a heretic in sheep’s clothing?  What then?  We have received reports regarding large churches whose attendance has plummeted because of the introduction of emergent heresies.

A warning to those who are leading the Church of the Nazarene astray: you need not fear those of us who are trying to wake up the church.  You ought to fear a Holy God whose wrath will eventually come down on those who reject Him and who are leading the sheep astray.  The Bible has clearly called faithful Christians to not only preach the Gospel but to also bring to the light for all to see the evil deeds and teachings of the false teachers.  The call from us to the leaders is to come to repentance before it is too late.  And if the leaders do not repent and do not unambiguously reject all these false teachings, then separation must occur, and Bible-believing Nazarenes must not stay in the denomination out of a misguided loyalty.

There will most likely be the many individuals and families who will leave the denomination for lack of a decent Bible-believing Nazarene church in the area. However you look at this, it does not look like a bright future for the Nazarene denomination. The leadership may declare a bright future at the end of this General Assembly and may declare that God is blessing the Church of the Nazarene. But apostasy, in God’s eyes, is not the plan He has for us.

We’ll have to wait and see, but time is running out.

 

Related Articles:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/let-god-be-true-and-every-man-a-liar-romans-34/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/final-word-on-concerned-nazarenes-and-orlando-convention-wrap-up/

 

Original link to the resolutions: https://sp.nazarene.org/gar/SitePages/English.aspx?RootFolder=%2Fgar%2FShared+Documents%2FEnglish%2FResolutions&FolderCTID=0x0120009EB9755EE445464ABC31F5D9326A8512&View={7F6D391D-2E21-4E9E-A43A-9F81656844E9}

 

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8 responses to “General Assembly 2013: Death Of The Church of the Nazarene, Or Repentance?

  1. Thanks very much. So hard to find information sometimes. Will take a look at this.

  2. Manny, thanks for the post, a reminder to all of us the importance of this GA. I believe a lot of prayers have been said on behalf of this assembly that God’s will be done. One resolution of concern you pointed out, and there may be others, is Resolution MED-500 which “proposes the establishment of a new College of Theologians, which would have much influence in deciding theological matters for the church.” As you noted, “If successfully passed, this could spell disaster for the church, depending on who is chosen to be on this select group.”

    If passed, I would assume that all theological matters will be based upon the word of God and not of man’s imperfect sense of right and wrong. In Deut. [4:2, 12:32] and Proverbs [30:6] God warns that we are not to take from or add to His word. In Revelations [22:18-19] John records these warnings of Jesus. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

    Adam Clarke took these warnings as serious, and warned not to be taken lightly as some do today by adding their flawed theology on it as witnessed in your post. Adam Clarke said of himself concerning Rev. [22:19] “If any man shall take away] If any man shall lessen this meaning, curtail the sense, explain away the spirit and design, of these prophecies, God shall take away his part out of the book of life,. Thus Jesus Christ warns all those who consider this book to beware of indulging their own conjectures concerning it. I confess that this warning has its own powerful influence upon my mind, and has prevented me from indulging my own conjectures concerning its meaning, or of adopting the conjectures of others. These visions and threatening’s are too delicate and awful a subject to trifle with, or even to treat in the most solemn manner, where the meaning is obscure. I must leave these things to time and event, the surest interpreters. No jot or tittle of Christ’s word shall fall to the ground; all shall have its fulfilment in due time.”

    Good advice for any theologian, or layman alike. We owe it to ourselves to be as faithful to Scripture as possible as the Holy Spirit gives witness to His truth.

  3. Manny, I read the resolution JUD-805 posted by anonymous regarding Article IV, The Holy Scriptures. The action requested was to remove the phrase “Inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation” and replace with “Inerrant throughout, and the supreme authority on everything the Scriptures teach.”

    The recommendation by the committee was to reject JUD-805 leaving the Article of Faith as it currently stands. The committee further states their belief of strengths for Article IV, as a declaration of our commitment to the authority of the Bible. They go on and list four strengths: (a) Plenary, divine inspiration, meaning the whole Bible is inspired by God. (b) Inerrantly revealing the will of God meaning the Holy Scriptures reveal the will of God inerrantly. (c) All things necessary to our salvation meaning it reveals the will of God in all things necessary to our salvation. (d) What is not from Holy Scripture cannot be a doctrine of the Church meaning the Holy Scripture is the only source of Christian doctrine. By themselves as insight into what our church believes they convey a plausible description of our faith.

    Here is my dilemma; at face value the phrase in Article IV, as left standing, does not fully support their statement of strengths. The wording in itself limits the scope of belief suggesting it to salvation only. In contrast their beliefs of strengths support more closely with the recommended change, or am I missing something. The words, “Inerrant throughout and the supreme authority” is more supportive with absolute Biblical teaching acknowledging its supreme authoritative place in the Church.

    Throughout the Old Testament recorded 33 times you read the exact phrase “Hear the Word of the Lord,” followed with varying degrees of proclamation expressing the perfect will of God. This command is for all the word of God not just portions of it. For something to be inerrant it is incapable of making a mistake. To be throughout means it exists in all parts. For something to be supreme means greater than any other or superior to any other. And I’ll add absolute means having total power and authority. Of the two phrases, which one in your opinion is more correct describing the Bible, and of the two which should our church position be?

  4. I too am a lifelong Nazarene, in fact a fourth generation Nazarene–my great grandparents were at Pilot Point. I read most of your lengthy post. My father and grandfather were sincere, totally committed Christians and Nazarenes, but they were not “fundamentalists.” AND the Church of Nazarene is not a fundamentalist church, at least as the word is currently understood and applied. The battle over the wording of the statement on the holy scriptures was a battle between a dynamic scripture interpretive church and fundamentalist static scripture interpretive church. It was fought and won by the wisdom of H. Orton Wiley of accommodating the “inerrancy” wording so wanted by the fundamentalists, but also including the wise wording “in all things necessary to our salvation.” Without this wording the Bible would be “static” in that it could not be dynamic and relevant to all generations.

  5. Then please explain the scripture(s) that support the statement “in all things necessary to our salvation.”

  6. The Church of the Nazarene has for too long tried to dodge the fundamental label as if it was a badge of dishonor. The truth is all Bible believing churches are fundamentalist in some fashion based upon its definition. All fundamental means is it is related to or affecting the principle of something. It also means serving as an essential part of something. In addition, it is basic and a necessary component of something. Therefore, if I understand the definition correctly, then any church that believes in any part of the Bible and teaches it according to their belief system is a fundamentalist at least in definition.

  7. With the LGBT community gaining ground in the world I do find disturbing the thought of the Rock of the Church to be crumbling. The Nazarene Church wants to be the nice guy, But groups like soulforce are very smart. They will take our hospitality and use it against us. They will break bread with us and spread the silent message of acceptance though our young people. They will take our resistance and use it against us. They will take their photo ops when they are arrested and say how bad we are. They know that it is just a matter of time no matter what the University does they will slowly poison our youth and as they grow up and replace us the Church will be further weakened. They have targeted the Nazarene universities on their radar and will move on to the next when they have completely transformed our church, making themselves stronger and furthering their agenda.

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