General Assembly Update: June 24

Sorry for no update on the 23rd.  Here is what I have for today, given what I can do with the time I have.

Elections

Voting for General Superintendent went like this: All four non-retiring Generals were re-elected.  At the end of today’s voting, no one received the minimum 645 votes.  Gustavo Crocker got as high as 599 on one of the ballots.  Carla Sunberg was running mostly first position for a while, then second at the end with around 200 votes.  Voting to resume tomorrow.  I will not comment on these folks until the election is over, as far as what we know of their theology and where they may stand on issues, what they like or dislike.  I am happy to see that certain candidates are not in the running, because if elected, they would be a real disaster for the church.

Resolution on Homosexuality

This resolution was supposed to strengthen the statement on Christian Conduct regarding sexuality.  It was voted to hold it for another four year study.  I ask the question: why is such a simple biblical issue that can really make things clear about the sin of homosexuality, allowed to go another four years of “study.”  And some people wonder why I am making such a big to do about the state of the Nazarene denomination?  People really need to wake up and smell the coffee on these issues.  I fear that these actions are simply another indication that: the church does not really want to deal with this strongly; and, this just helps open the door a bit more towards the eventual affirmation of homosexuality in the church next time.

 

Dan Boone’s Defense of Process Theology

At the vote of one of the resolutions submitted for consideration today, there was a resolution about Process Theology.  It was submitted for the purpose of the church declaring that Process Theology is an ungodly teaching that does not belong in the Church of the Nazarene.  I was hoping it would pass, because process theology is an evil teaching that denies God’s power.  What is process theology?  Let me give you a brief explanation, given by Matt Slick of carm.org, then I will tell you what happened with that resolution.

Process theology is the philosophical and theological position that God is changing, as is the universe.  Therefore, our knowledge of God must be progressing as we learn more about him and it can never rest in any absolutes, which is why process theologians deny the absolutes of God’s immutability and truth.  Furthermore, this would mean that absolute knowledge of God would not be achievable, and a self-revelation of God (in the person of Jesus Christ and the Bible) would also not be possible.  This would open the door for humanistic philosophy and/or false theological systems to be “rationalized” by process theologians.

Logically speaking, if process theology maintains that God is progressing and changing, then given an infinite amount of time in the past, God may not have actually been God.  Also, it could be argued from this perspective that there is something outside of God that works upon him, bringing him into a greater knowledge and increased greatness.  This would be problematic because it would need to study what that “something” is.

In process theology, God does not know the future exhaustively.  He can guess at what may or may not happen, but absolute knowledge is not attainable until events actually occur.

Process theologians deny that Jesus Christ is God in flesh and therefore mankind has no need for salvation.  

Process theology denies the Scriptures which teach that God has always been God (Psalm 90:2) and that God is unchanging (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).  Of course, it denies and contradicts God’s word regarding the necessity of the Savior and the deity of Christ (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9).
(Original Source: http://carm.org/questions-process-theology)

And so, as the resolution was proposed, it was asked whether there were any comments for or against it. Dan Boone, president of Trevecca Nazarene University, stepped to the mic, and argued that first of all, there are so many other ideologies that we could debate and put up for resolutions, that perhaps this is not the right place to do it.  Then he made an incredible second statement.  He said that Process Theology is dying or is a dead teaching, and is going away, so there is no need to waste time on this.  This was either a blatant lie, or Dan Boone, a university president and theologian, is ignorant of what is going on in the church.  When the vote was called, almost every single delegate voted down this resolution.

I would like to thank Dan Boone for helping to preserve the ability of professors to continue to teach this ungodly ideology.

Did Phineas Bresee Encourage And Promote ‘Strange Fire?”

At the General Assembly in Indianapolis there is a booth promoting a conference called Fire School: Living In The Supernatural.  Speakers at this school will include Rob McCorkle and Dan Bohi.

In their advertisement of the conference, they include this quote from Phineas Bresee, founder of the Church of the Nazarene:

“My last message to all my people, ministry and laity, is that they seek the conscious, abiding, manifesting experience that Jesus insists upon in word and deed (Spirit).”

Reading this quote, and not knowing anything else about Phineas Bresee, would lead most unsuspecting persons to believe that Bresee was a supporter of Pentecostalism and the signs and wonders that came with that movement.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and I believe those promoting Fire School really need to re-visit and understand what Bresee thought about these phenomena.

Let us now see what Bresee actually thought of the Azuza Street revival and the Pentecostalism at that time.  Quote, in an article he wrote concerning the Azuza Street revival and Pentecostalism:

“These are more or less people whose experience is unsatisfactory, who have never been sanctified wholly, or have lost the precious work out of their hearts, who will run after the hope of exceptional or marvelous things, to their own further undoing. People who have the precious, satisfactory experience of Christ revealed in the heart by the Holy Spirit, do not hanker after strange fire, nor run after every suppositional gift, nor are they blown about by every wind of doctrine. There is rest only in the old paths where the Holy Spirit Himself imparts to the soul directly the witness of His cleansing and indwelling.”

Phineas Bresee clearly rejected the Azuza Street movement and Pentecostalism.  That is why we removed the word from the church name.  Yet, even if Phineas Bresee supported this phenomenon, would that make it right?  He was a man, just like any other man.  The only reliable source for our Christian life is the Holy Scriptures, and to rely on unpredictable emotions and physical manifestations that may not be of the Holy Spirit, is treading on shaky and dangerous ground.

Miscellaneous: A Conversation I Had Today

I ran into two gentlemen today, and had an interesting conversation.  When one of them (I will call him John) asked what my main concerns have been, I talked about the emergent church, and the mysticism disguised as spiritual formation.  He was very incredulous at much of what I told him, and kept saying things like “you must have misunderstood”, or “you probably have not done all the homework”.  I just simply tried to encourage him to go the website and read for himself, and I also gave him a DVD.
Sadly, the conversation ended rather abruptly.  First, an emergent pastor stopped by, and we continued talking about evolution.  I felt that they were trying to confuse or distract me from my main point that evolution and the Bible cannot agree with each other, and so after I persisted on getting an answer to a simple question:

“If a person disagrees with something the Bible clearly teaches, is that person wrong?”

John got really flustered and looked upset, and he stormed away, never answering the question.  His pastor friend also went with him immediately.

This illustrates again: when they cannot debate with you using Scripture as the foundation of their debate, they refuse to answer simple questions, and they take off.  Those who support and believe in evolution are truly deceived by satan, and we need to pray for them.  There is no compatibility with evolution and the Scriptures, and either one is true, or the other.  Not both.

Final Thoughts

There are still Bible believing Nazarenes around who have conviction.  Two men standing with me during the Process Theology vote, stated their disdain for that ideology, as well as the ungodly evolution being pushed into the denomination.  I continued talking with one of them, who clearly made the point that he will do his best to protect his flock from these heresies.

Another pastor sat with me later, and we talked about Mark Maddix, who I had confronted with a question at his spiritual formation seminar.  He described how Maddix was the keynote speaker at his district assembly, and how after his speech, t least 50 people went up and voiced their strong disapproval of his ideas.  There is hope for some!  He also stated his strong opposition to the emergent church, and how NNU is clearly the worst school by far in the Nazarene denomination.  I agreed, although I felt that Point Loma is a close second.

So there are pastors who will stand up against the ideas that are destroying people’s lives and particularly their faith.  Are you a pastor who will stand strong, and speak out, or will you keep quiet in order to keep your job secure?

The Assembly will end soon.  The future of the Church of the Nazarene is very dubious to me right now.

Manny

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3 responses to “General Assembly Update: June 24

  1. Thanks for the updates, Manny. It’s sad and alarming how some people deviate from the truth by compromising with strange and untruthful doctrines. Unfortunately, I believe the consciences of many of these false teachers and theologians are seared – they truly believe they are doing good and they are enamored by their own futile thinking.

    “…guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:20-21

  2. WOW! My brother and I joked that we cut our teeth on Nazarene pews because we were adopted and dedicated the Sunday after we were taken home. I have left the Nazarene church because of a pastor who has no fire in his belly when he preaches and I wanted solid teaching and preaching.
    On the issue of homosexuality, I don’t have a problem with them in the church that is where they need to be. My issue is not calling it a sin and lets dance around the issue.
    As for evolution why is this even a conversation unless you are talking about the way animals and humans “adapt” to their surroundings.

  3. Thank You! I am still praising God that Dan Boone withdrew. Like any coward our denominational leaders refuse to make a plain statement on clear cut issues like Homosexuality and Evolution. The closest I have seen to condemnation of emergent church teaching within the denomination was a youtube video of Nina Gunter at the last general assembly. But by then she was on her way out.
    But then I knew we were in trouble when the church spent almost a billion dollars of Gods money on new headquarters.

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