The LukeWarm Church

(By Lige Jeter)

Revelation 3:14 – 19 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot, So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot. I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”

These are strong words from of our Lord, they are thought provoking and to the point. I came across an end-time article published by the Prophecy News Watch titled “Where is The US in Bible Prophecy.” The portion below was in point # 5 referring to “Apostate Christianity.” The article sums up what is happening in churches across America. The Nazarene church is not exempt from carelessly endorsing liberal ideology or growing lukewarm in its worship.

Posted with permission: “We are told in Revelation 3 of the 7 Churches, the last church or church age is symbolized by the Church of Laodicea. Laodicea means “the rights of the people.” Thus, this was a church governed by the will of the people, rather than the will of God. This is the church age, from which the Antichrist and the False Prophet will emerge. It is the church age Paul talked about that would not endure sound doctrine, but would gather around them teachers that would say what their itching ears wanted and desired to hear (2 Tim 4:3). This church described as lukewarm, indifferent, not concerned with right and wrong, or with good and evil. They take a neutral position: one of “live and let live; don’t rock the boat; and don’t cause waves.” They are trying to serve two masters—God and self (or the world).”

The above summation describes the emergent church to a tee. Their ideology and false practices designed to take the place of true worship has crept into the traditional churches where it is becoming difficult to tell them apart. The world has become so tolerant to abortion, homosexual behavior, same sex marriages, infidelity, and sensual material including sensual activity that it now endorses and passes laws protecting the same and calling it good. Many churches are adopting this same insane mentality. What at one time was taboo, the church stood firm against; now they find they are endorsing some of the same practices as the world.

When we carefully examine the meaning of Laodicea, “the rights of the people,” we see how the church is departing from sound biblical teaching and now governed by those who no longer accept God’s word as infallible and persists that the church change to accommodate their one-sided liberal views. To refresh myself on the issues facing the Nazarene church I went back and re-read Manny’s “Correspondences with the General Superintendents’ open letter #1 dated 10/05/2010 and open letter #2 dated April 11, 2011” concerning the direction our Universities and churches were heading. Manny pointed out the danger involved in courting these false teaching. On 05/18/2011, Dr. Eugenio Duarte wrote back acknowledging Manny’s concerns labeling them as challenges; however, ignoring to do anything about them.

The Bible is clear in that what applies to the church also applies to the nation. Many readily agree and have no problem when God judges the wicked. However, they have a problem believing that God holds the church to a higher standard. What is interesting is that Peter teaches that God judges the church first, then others. 1 Peter 4:17 “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? “ Adam Clarke believes; “God never punishes the world because of the wicked, but he always begins with the righteous first. The destroyer makes no difference between the just and the unjust, only he begins first with the righteous.” That being true, the church needs to re-evaluate its practices of worship against scripture to avoid any appearance of wrong and escape judgment.

Just recently, the Board of General Superintendents issued a statement regarding the closing of Nazarene Publishing House, and the layoff of all employees as of Dec. 1, 2014. Although there appears to be some type of acceptance of responsibility in that letter, there seems to also be a lack of full and complete disclosure of the truth that is much needed from our leaders. Bad things have apparently happened, yet we wait on the leadership to come to the people and be fully transparent about what led to events that have eroded even more the trust in our leaders. What does the closing of NPH truly indicate to us?

Has what is happening in our denomination today shed any light that God is trying to get our attention to get back on the track of holiness to avoid the further falling away and avoid greater judgment?

Lige

Related Links:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/open-letter-to-the-board-of-general-superintendents/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/open-letter-2-to-the-general-superintendents/

http://www.ncnnews.com/nphweb/html/ncn/article.jsp?id=10014012&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ncnnews+%28Nazarene+Communications+Network+News%29

Are You Testing “Heaven Is For Real” According To Scripture?

It seems that we are living in times where many Christians today are just simply taking in everything that looks inspirational, without question, as long as it makes them feel good.  I believe that it is getting worse and worse, and nothing has been better illustrative than the excitement to go see something that has come out of Hollywood, and without question, believe that it is going to be a good thing for everyone!  Nothing was more illustrative of an incredible lack of discernment and good judgment than the latest Hollywood disaster (in biblical terms) than Noah.  It was not even close to being a good rendition of the Bible account of Noah and the flood- yet undiscerning Christians flocked to it, and most likely walked away disappointed.

When will some Christians start understanding that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is NOT necessarily a duck- unless you know what is in the product!

I understand that many non-believers and even naïve young Christians (young in the faith) might be excited about such movies, and go to them, enjoy them, and come away excited and even encouraged about the afterlife.  That is quite understandable.  What bothers me is how supposedly mature, Bible-believing Christians, especially pastors and other leaders, are encouraging people to go to the movie, without checking out the claims of the young man and seeing whether they clash with Scripture in any way.  What would be more disturbing I suppose is if a Christian leader knows that this movie is very dubious, and recommends it anyway.  The emotional value of a movie it seems might be a very influential factor that perhaps clouds an otherwise mature Christian’s judgment, and makes them set aside God’s word, in exchange for the emotional benefits from the story.

I listened to a portion of Sean Hannity’s radio show a few days ago, where he interviewed Colton Burpo, who is now 14 years old, and his father Todd Burpo.  Colton is the young man who claims that at four years old, while undergoing surgery, he went to heaven and experienced some incredible things, including meeting Jesus, his grandfather who he never knew, and his sister who he never met, because she had died while in her mothers womb.  The movie is opening nationwide this Wednesday, April 16, and I am sure it will make millions of dollars this week.

Do We Have Physical Bodies in Heaven Right After We Die?

In the interview, Colton was asked about the people he saw in heaven, and whether they have physical bodies or not, or whether it was just a spiritual thing.  He answered Sean Hannity and said that definitely everyone in heaven has their own physical body, and he was able to hug some people physically.  So he had no doubt that people that he met in heaven possess physical bodies.

Now, the important question: what does Scripture say about death, and about what happens after a Christian dies?

As a believer who is saved, Scripture says that after death we are taken into the presence of Christ.  To the thief on the cross, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).  And on two separate occasions, Paul said the following regarding death and bringing us into Christ’s presence:

“But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” (Philippians 1:23-24)


“Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord–for we walk by faith, not by sight–we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-9)

Here’s where it gets “tricky”, in relation to Colton Burpo’s testimony.  I believe that when a Christian dies, his spirit/soul goes to be with the Lord- but not his physical body.

How do I know that?  Let’s see what Scripture says about this.

Paul says, in Romans 8:23, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”

Then we have 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:  “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

And then 1 Thessalonians 14: 13-17, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,4 that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

These two passages are describing believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies.

The question then follows here:

If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth. (source, www.gotquestions.org)

And according to Revelation 20:11-15, those who died as unbelievers will also be resurrected just as the believer will be, but they will be eternally condemned to hell.  They will be resurrected to be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. The Scriptures say that those judged are judged according “…to what they had done as recorded in the books” (Rev 20: 12). And v 13 says, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” This answers the question: “What about the poor heathen who never heard?” They will be in this judgment.

Frankly, I don’t think a movie called “Hell is For Real” would have much appeal to people today, although if it followed Scripture, it could present the Gospel and show unbelievers where their destiny would be without Christ.

So it seems to me that Colton Burpo got it wrong.  The only other conclusion is that Scripture has it wrong, and what is described in the Bible is a mistake.  So you must choose: either believe Colton Burpo, or believe Scripture.

If Scripture is correct, what does that say of Colton’s testimony?  We already know of the other contradictions from his account that do not line up with Scripture.  What does a Bible-believing Christian do with the fact that much of Colton’s story is in opposition to the Bible?  What does one do with the fact that his claim to have gone to heaven is contradicted by God’s word?  Jesus told Nicodemus:

“No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man.” John 3:13

I don’t often reference the NLT, but I believe it translates it most clearly: “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.”

Dear brothers and sisters, pastors, and youth leaders, you may think I am obsessed with yet another nitpicky thing.  Why should I ruin such a wonderful, inspiring and emotionally reassuring story? Why spoil people’s chances at getting a good feeling about life after death?  Why not let them have a modicum of comfort in their lives?  The answer is simple.  We must not accept anything just because it has the label of “Christian”, or because it feels good, or looks good, for the sake of temporary good feelings and comfort- if it goes against God’s Holy word.  Don’t you think that there are many more people in this world who could sit down and write an even more incredible story than Colton has written?  Would you believe them too?

Either Colton Burpo’s story must be rejected, or you must reject the veracity of Scripture.  You cannot have both.

Reference: http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/how-do-i-know-heaven-is-for-real/

A Church in Crisis

by Lige Jeter, 4/9/2014

It has been awhile since I visited the NazNet web site. A recent article there caught my attention, especially since its topic [seems to] always be in the news. It is just a matter of time before churches are forced to accept its agenda or no doubt will be punished for taking a stand against such immoral behavior. After reading the post, I wonder what the Nazarene Church will do regarding homosexuality.

I read a recent post on www.naznet.comtitled Homosexuality — where I stand and why” , by Marsha Lynn, March 31, 2014. Without being judgmental, based upon many of the responses, it raises the question, “Where will the church stand when mandated by the law to perform same sex marriages,” which has prompted me to write this article. Although the site has no official connection to the denomination, it expresses the assessments of the subject, provided by its members and friends expressing their views on the topic. Many of their interpretations of Biblical truths are alarming and are an insight to their lack of spiritual understanding.

Marsha begins her thread with the following introduction.

I have been asked several times to provide biblical support for my position on homosexuality and gay marriage. This post is intended to address that issue.”

After the introduction, she states

“First, I need to clearly state my position on the matter: I believe that the question of sexual ethics for Christians experiencing exclusively same-sex attraction can be answered only from within the community of those experiencing such attraction. Second, having exposed myself to the words of those living in this tension, I am seeing a rising number of Christian gays concluding that God can and does bless committed, monogamous, loving, same-gender relationships – marriage.”

And here is her most alarming statement:

But, people ask, what about the Bible? Are we to set aside clear biblical teaching that homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord simply because some people who obviously are unable to take an objective viewpoint are willing to do so? Yes. We already set aside clear biblical teaching.”

Apparently, the social values pressed upon society as socially acceptable are forcing its way into the church with the goal to accept its practice as morally acceptable. We are not the first to fall under the spell of this kind of false accepted wisdom regardless how presented.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Church warned against those who passed themselves off as the enlightened ones with special wisdom, knowledge or consciousness. It has been said that in Corinth you could meet self-taught sagacious men who mimicked their favorite philosopher by echoing philosophic discussions on any number of topics. They often portrayed themselves as learned or leading authorities in their field of study. I believe we are seeing a resurrection of such in these days spreading their false ideology, both in the church and society. Many today still seek recognition at any cost! Do not be fooled by their clever way of twisting the truth.

This newfound recognition has no doubt immersed itself into today’s beliefs, and touted by many as “experts” in their field of academics. I do not wish to imply that people with a higher education are not godly or wise; however, there is a tendency to trust one’s own judgment and learning rather than to trust in God’s wisdom. I am often reminded that the Bible teaches that the “foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

For me this separates reality from deception, keeping a proper perspective relating to things that are valid. In greater detail this is found in I Corinthians [1: 18-25] “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this Age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Have we reached a point in our society where man’s teaching has now become superior to God’s and is being touted as the truth, while God’s truth has now become suspect or inferior to man’s? It has become easier for many to accept the myth that God’s word is no longer indisputable and open to challenge or useful regarding one’s moral behavior. When will humankind recognize that God is supreme and that our existence depends upon Him, and not in the reverse.

Could it be that many church leaders are in the pastorate today as a vocation, and do not qualify as the spiritual leader chosen by God? Are they serving by “election” {God selected them} or by “self will” {they chose themselves}. This may account for their apathy concerning their beliefs about morality. Jesus warns His disciples about false teachers. Our Lord describes those in His day as serving God only to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. They loved to be highly thought of by men enjoying recognition as men of God. Jesus charged them with blocking the truth from others, thus keeping them from entering in. Matthew [23: 5 – 7, 13 – 15].

In lock step with Christ’s condemnation of false teachers, I say this in writing this warning. There are no easy ways to say this without being falsely misunderstood. That said, I hope my remarks in the spirit of a loving warning will be received. There is no “clergyman or church” that can truthfully boast as being more compassionate, loving, more forgiving, or merciful than God. I repeat there is none, and yet this is happening in churches all across our land today.

For any religious church leader either to condone or defend any abominable sin such as; {abortion, homosexual behavior ‘either sex’, or take part in performing same sex marriages, etc.}, they are hypocrites. In reality, they are saying they are more loving and merciful than God is even though the Creator condemns these sinful acts. I caution those who knowingly follow their example, avoid them at all cost.

Jesus describes them as setting out to “win one proselyte,” and when he is won, “you make him twice as much a son of hell.” As illustrated in the above scripture they circumvent the word of God pretending to be religious and accept only the parts that pleases them. The rest they ignore or discount as a myth or fable especially the truth pertaining to God’s judgments upon such behavior. It is dangerous to play god no matter who you are. Buyers beware of those who would offer you the easy way out that requires nothing on your part. There is the price of repentance to be paid. The non-repentant will go to hell in the end.

 

Related Articles:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/no-resurrection-false-doctrines-no-big-deal-to-emergent-nazarenes/

​Ash Wednes​day For Nazarenes: The Catholic Way​

Ashes to forehead
(NPH Endorsement of the Catholic way)

In 2009, Ashes to Fire was published and distributed by Nazarene Publishing House.  Now Ash Wednesday is ever increasing in popularity in the Church of the Nazarene. While General Superintendents ignore Bible-believing Nazarenes and their concerns, they are clearly on board with the Roman “Catholization” of the church.  Just a few readings over at Sacramental Nazarenes Facebook group shows how serious they are in going full steam ahead, including the use of ashes to the forehead Catholic style.  To what end?  This was not my father’s denomination when he was alive; he was rescued from Roman Catholicism, and now the leadership has no problem becoming more like the RCC.  Is it financial motivation?  Is it to get more members and show how diverse or welcoming the church is?  That would be ironic, since there seems to be very little room for Bible-believers now, unless the remain silent and mind their own business.  I wonder how many Nazarene churches across North America, and also around the world, practiced the Catholic rituals last night?  Did you, and if so, why?  The following by John Henderson is some food for thought.

By John Henderson:​
I have seen and heard of some responses to what is called Ash Wednesday. It appears that some Nazarenes now practice the Catholic version of it. There are at least three varieties of Nazarenes these days: Emergent Nazarenes, Sacramental Nazarenes, and Fundamental Nazarenes. I identify with the Fundamental Nazarenes. I respect the Catholics’ right to be Catholic and believe that Nazarenes historically have no practical or spiritual need to identify with Catholicism in fundamental doctrines and practices in a Nazarene setting and context. The practices associated with Ash Wednesday are among them.  I am aware of the many, many “reason” given by some Nazarenes to justify the practice, but none are supported by the Scriptures or evangelical tradition.  I share the following, written by a Catholic I assume, without further comment:

Ash Wednesday: of pagan origin?

“Ash Wednesday” is a day when Catholics receive a mark of ashes on their forehead, supposedly as a token of penitence.
Ash Wednesday was taken from Roman paganism, which took it from Vedic India. Ashes were called the seed of the fire god Agni, with power to forgive sins. Ashes were said to be a symbol for the purifying blood of Shiva, in which, one could bathe away sins. During Rome’s New Year Feast of Atonement in March, people wore sackcloth and bathed in ashes to atone for their sins. As the dying god of March, Mars took his worshippers sins with him into death. The carnival fell on dies martis, the Day of Mars. In English, this was Tuesday, because Mars was identified with the Saxon god Tiw. In French the carnival day was Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” the day of merrymaking before Ash Wednesday.(illuminati-news.com)

What do Catholics say about Ash Wednesday? According to americancatholic.org

Although Ash Wednesday is not a Catholic holy day of obligation, it is an important part of the season of Lent. The first clear evidence of Ash Wednesday is around 960, and in the 12th century people began using palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday for ashes.
the use of ashes in the Church left only a few records in the first millennium of Church history. Thomas Talley, an expert on the history of the liturgical year, says that the first clearly datable liturgy for Ash Wednesday that provides for sprinkling ashes is in the Romano-Germanic pontifical of 960. Before that time, ashes had been used as a sign of admission to the Order of Penitents. As early as the sixth century, the Spanish Mozarabic rite calls for signing the forehead with ashes when admitting a gravely ill person to the Order of Penitents. At the beginning of the 11th century, Abbot Aelfric notes that it was customary for all the faithful to take part in a ceremony on the Wednesday before Lent that included the imposition of ashes. Near the end of that century, Pope Urban II called for the general use of ashes on that day. Only later did this day come to be called Ash Wednesday.

At first, clerics and men had ashes sprinkled on their heads, while women had the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads. Eventually, of course, the ritual used with women came to be used for men as well.

In the 12th century the rule developed that the ashes were to be created by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. Many parishes today invite parishioners to bring such palms to church before Lent begins and have a ritual burning of the palms after Mass. ( source:americancatholic.org)​
There is no mention of Ash Wednesday, the practice of it or even a semblance of it in the Bible. This is also true with Lent of which Ash Wednesday is supposed to be a preparation for.

So ask yourself this: if you’re a Christian, a true Christian, would you practice something not taught by Jesus Christ or his Apostles?  If so, why?

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:​

​The practice of ashes to the forehead:​ http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/nph-endorses-catholic-practice-of-ashes-on-forehead/
​Ashes To Fire Book:​ http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/ashes-to-fire-baby-step-to-apostasy-and-spiritual-damage/

The Nazarene Road To Rome Part 2

“The Church of the Nazarene is fast becoming an apostate denomination.  It has for quite a while now been embracing Rome, notwithstanding anything that the leaders might tell you.  And don’t think you can look to the General Superintendents for help- because they are part of the problem.  They are either going fully along with these false teachings and ideologies, or they have abdicated their responsibility to protect the flock.  For many of us, it has been an absolute nightmare reading their “non-responsive” responses to our concerns.  They will have much to answer for their negligence.”

Many Christians today have a hard time dealing with reality regarding what’s happening in their “beloved denomination.” We may not know all the details, but there are some things that are for certain regarding the end times.  There will be no great revival, but there will be a great apostasy, of which we may well be in the midst of it now.  Those who preach about a great revival as the precursor before Christ’s return do not know their scripture, or perhaps they do know and are simply ignoring the truth of what Revelation teaches us.

In this video excerpt we see two events: in 1988, John Paul II led a worldwide service for peace that included spiritists, Buddhists, and other religions; and the other event depicted shows Pope Benedict leading an ecumenical prayer service, it seems almost unreal, but this “ecumenical spirit” continues today, as evangelicals are falling over each other in a race to be seen as full of love and unity with all “Christians”, regardless of doctrinal differences.

You will notice various evangelical denominations represented in the prayer service, with some going so far as to kiss the pope’s hand.  If this is not idolatry, what would you call it?  This procession of misguided “Christian” leaders did not include anyone from the Nazarene denomination-yet; but give it time.  After all, there are already many prominent leaders in the Nazarene denomination who are calling Roman Catholics our “brothers and sisters”, and who are introducing RCC traditions and rituals to Nazarenes in many churches and districts.

January was the occasion of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  From the website atonementfriars.org, it states that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).  It is an ecumenical venture that has been around for a long time, and is proud of making connections and joining hands with any group that simply proclaims the name of Jesus, even if they are all over the place in doctrine.  The goal is unity- no matter what the differences.  Their theme this year is Has Christ Been Divided? And so they state that: “We continue to be divided by doctrine, polity, and practice, and to maintain our own religious identity, yet our pilgrimage towards unity continues under God’s guidance.”

Does God really guide such kinds of ventures? And is God guiding the Church of the Nazarene into joining with those who are marching slowly and steadily to join hands with Rome and the one world religion?  Are there really no serious differences between the evangelical church and the Roman Catholic Church that would hinder fellowship between them?  Apparently not to many of the Nazarene leadership, and it seems Nazarenes are joining the bandwagon happily, and ignoring the serious differences between the two.

For me, I have been made strongly aware of it in the past five years or so, but for others, they have seen this coming for a long time.  On the above mentioned website, you will read that a Nazarene pastor, Rev. Ken Ardry from New York, participated in this endeavor.  He has also written a document that is available from the site that reflects his views about this ecumenical event and what it means to him.  Rev. Ardry is in good company in the Nazarene church, and therefore should not even fear any serious criticism for this. He will most certainly be applauded by the leadership.  Here is an excerpt from that paper/talk he penned (see attached for complete text):

“To my Wesleyan, Reformed, Calvinistic, Pentecostal brothers and sisters… God really does use our Catholic brothers and sisters to bring people who have no faith into reconciliation with their creator God. To my Catholic brothers and sisters, and I know I preach to the choir this evening because you wouldn’t be here praying for Christian unity if you didn’t believe this, but to my Catholic brothers and sisters God really does use us Protestant types to bring people who are lost without their God into reconciliation with him.

As we seek to build Christian unity Paul sets an example for us in his attitude toward the Corinthian church.”

To those who have bought into the idea that for Roman Catholics and Nazarenes (or any evangelical Protestant) there is nothing that should cause them to break fellowship, I can see them nodding their heads and saying “amen.  Perhaps they believe that the Reformation was a waste of time and should never have happened.  And now leaders in the church are working hard to bring the Nazarene denomination a step closer to Rome.  I recall at this year’s General Assembly, when at Mark Maddix’s seminar promoting contemplative spirituality practices, I was rebuked by him and several others who approached me later.  Why?  Because I spoke the truth and said that Roman Catholicism is a false religion.

The evidence is everywhere.  We have seen it with programs in every university and the seminaries promoting Eastern style mysticism (contemplative spirituality) under the guise of a better sounding phrase, “spiritual formation.”  We have seen pagan prayer labyrinths at Trevecca Nazarene University and various churches, as well as trips to a monastery to “practice the silence” and mingle with the nuns and monks in their rituals.  We saw this continuing promotion of contemplative prayer sponsored by the seminary itself, at the General Assembly in Orlando in 2009.  Two years before that the seminary sponsored the same thing just before the M-7 Conference.  Then there was also the Roman Catholic style prayer rooms at General Assembly, with books by mystic Richard Foster prominently displayed next to a Bible.

We have seen books sold at Nazarene Publishing House that promote to the youth such practices as prayer beads, creating their own labyrinths, lectio divina, and recommending going on pilgrimages to the Taize interspiritual center in France.  And at least one university, Point Loma Nazarene, has organized its own trip for youth to Taize.  Then along came Ashes to Fire, a devotional book that continues the trend towards Roman Catholic practice.  Remember  the Nazarene video promotion showing someone receiving ashes to the forehead, Roman Catholic style?  And then, the Nazarene pastor taking confessional at St. Peter’s in Rome, reminding his friends that he did not want to forget “his roots.”  Or what about the heavy promotion of books by Catholic mystics recommended for a Nazarene camp in New Hampshire?

You believe in biblical inerrancy?  Big problem!  Confessional in Rome?  No problem.

We now see a Facebook group, Sacramental Nazarenes, heavily promoting and talking about all the latest fads in rituals and ceremonies that they can all share and perform in their churches.  The new president of Nazarene Theological Seminary proudly has displayed an icon of an Eastern Orthodox “saint” on her Facebook page.  It’s all about ritual, and tradition, now for these people, and less about scripture and doctrine.  And if you see the list of members of Sacramental Nazarenes, you will see leaders in the church, such as former General Superintendent Jesse Middendorf, and GS David Busic; Carla Sunberg, new president of the seminary; district superintendents, pastors, college professors and president – because they have bought into these ideas!

There are so many more signs that the Church of the Nazarene is no longer the church that was used by God to bring the Gospel to my father and rescue him from Roman Catholicism and its false religion.  Have you noticed pastors quoting Mother Teresa and other Catholic mystics in their sermons?  The jesus of Catholicism is not the Jesus I know.  So if that is true, how can there be unity?  In fact, can there be unity when the official position of the Roman Catholic Church is that all of us are lost, unless we repent and return to Rome?  Don’t these Nazarene leaders even know that much?  Don’t they know what the RCC teaches?

There is much more that is destroying the Nazarene denomination.  There is the emergent church culture, that doubts most of Scripture.  There is the godless evolution movement, being promoted aggressively by leaders in the church.  There is now the signs and wonders movement, with many Nazarenes under the influence of such as Bill Johnson and Dan Bohi.  There is the contemplative spirituality movement, which is bringing Eastern mysticism into the church.  And finally, there is the fundamental denial that God’s word is inerrant, and if you dare to preach otherwise, or preach against the emergent church- you will lose your ordination unless you recant.  And that has already happened.

“The Church of the Nazarene is fast becoming an apostate denomination.  It has for quite a while now been embracing Rome, notwithstanding anything that the leaders might tell you.  And don’t think you can look to the General Superintendents for help- because they are part of the problem.  They are either going fully along with these false teachings and ideologies, or they have abdicated their responsibility to protect the flock.  For many of us, it has been an absolute nightmare reading their “non-responsive” responses to our concerns.  They will have much to answer for their negligence.”

The only hope right now are the faithful churches that are standing against the emergent movement, regardless of criticism- and they do get it.  They get it from district superintendents who are pushing the agenda.  And the casualties along the way are the many faithful, Bible believing Nazarenes who have no choice but to leave their churches, and find another church.  I urge those who have not any good options left, to shake the dust off their shoes, and leave the Church of the Nazarene.  Don’t become part of Rome.

For further reference:

Roman Catholic Heresies: http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/roman-catholicism-and-its-heresies/

Message about A Nazarene Heresy: http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/message-about-a-nazarene-heresy/

 

 

What Must A Christian Do To Protect Their Family In The Midst Of Apostasy

The following question was recently asked, and I thought I would contribute in hopes of helping this person, as well as other Christians- Nazarene or otherwise. I hope this helps.  I don’t have all the answers.  No one does, except One.  God has the answers.  God does know the future.  God does not make mistakes and learns from them.  He is perfect, He is without error.  On that fact we can depend on.  He holds us in His hand.  We can trust Him even in the midst of our own uncertainty.  Thank God for that!

Question: My husband and I were both 4th generation Nazarenes. We both attended Nazarene schools and graduated in 1997/1998. When we started having children we really started noticing the emergent direction of the Nazarene Church and decided to leave (7 years ago). We really struggled to find a church and still after 3 years with our “home church” are a little unsettled. What is your advice for those with young children who want to raise their children the way we were raised? Both of our families were very conservative and believed in the conservative Nazarene doctrines. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Answer:

From my five years of involvement in this battle, here are some observations and conclusions I and others have come to.  The problem in the church begins with the fact that many of our leaders and pastors no longer believe that the entire Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God.  If this foundation is destroyed, what else is left but for everything else to crumble?  The world is full of evil, and it seems the most dangerous kind is being found within the church today.

1. The leadership of the Nazaren church is pretty much invested with emergent ideology and other false doctrines and practices, the embracing of Roman Catholic practices, contemplative mysticism, open theism, a relaxation of the biblical teaching on the sin of homosexuality, and even promoting evolution openly.  When I say leadership, it includes some on the General Board (Middendorf and Porter) who have been shown to be promoters of some of these false movements. 

Dr. Porter for instance is a big advocate of the G-12 (Master’s Plan) movement, which particularly has caused great harm to Spanish-speaking Nazarene churches, but the movement is also influential in parts of Brazil and other countries, as well as here in North America.  He is also involved with radical political social justice organizations.  It has also been documented that Dr. Middendorf promotes the emergent church movement, along with his son Jon.

The other Generals from the past eight years at the very least have shown no leadership at all on these matters, and mainly are indifferent or blind to what is going on.  In my opinion, I believe they are mostly interesting in pursuing the financial bottom line and keeping the numbers growing in order to help the church get out of serious financial debt. Several years ago, there was a sexual abuse scandal that involved the Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Missouri as well as Southern Nazarene University, which cost the denomination an unspecified amount of money to settle the case.  I believe this and other problems have brought the denomination into serious financial crisis, to the point that even some church properties are being sold, growing congregations disbanded, and then coffee houses are being setup to replace these churches, without regard to the members.

Others in leadership are also either buying into this stuff, or ignoring it completely, including many district superintendents, the college presidents (based on not voicing anything at all at best, or promoting these things at worst, such as Dan Boone of Trevecca), and many, many pastors and others in leadership positions.  A few leaders have boldly spoken out, such as Dr. Orville Jenkins, Jr., in opposition to emergent ideology and the social justice emphasis, but that is a rare exception.  Thus, where the leadership goes, so goes the denomination in general.  In short, I believe the denomination is damaged beyond repair, barring a complete and radical repentance of the General Superintendents and others in power. 

The Church of the Nazarene, with some exceptions, is not the church of Philadelphia, it is not the church of Smyrna.  It is more like the other five churches: a church that has forsaken its first love; a church that needs to repent; a church that has false prophets; a church that has fallen asleep; and a church that has a lukewarm faith.  Jesus did not take kindly to any of these churches, so what can we conclude as to what He thinks of the Church of the Nazarene now?  Does anyone really think that our Lord has no issue with professors teaching our students that Adam and Eve did not really exist, even though Christ Himself attested to his existen

Is There Anything Good?

  Holding the line inside our generally apostate denomination are the following: local churches that have decided to stand firm and stick a thumb in the eye to the leadership, by simply and respectfully rejecting the false, and preaching the word of God.  I am sure that many in leadership position go apoplectic whenever they hear that a local pastor proclaims that the Bible is completely and totally God’s inerrant word!  Did you know that a licensed minister in my New England district, was told by the licensing board a few years ago, that most likely he would not be approved for ordination.  Why?  Because he was guilty of attesting to the fact that he believed that the Bible was the inspired and inerrant word of God.  Imagine being rejected for believing in the word of God, yet many others being ordained who believe open theism, the teaching that God cannot possibly know all of the future.  This is our Church of the Nazarene today, and not one of these leaders can refute these facts.

 There are few of these faithful churches left, but they are there, and we are thankful for those churches that remain true to the word of God.  Also holding the line are most of our evangelists, yet, I believe the problem there is that there are fewer and fewer invites for evangelists to preach at churches, especially emergent churches.  No wonder, since the evangelists actually believe in the word of God!  And finally, there are the individuals and families who are hanging in there inside the walls of some of these churches, fighting hard to warn the brothers and sisters.  I cannot count the many letters I have received over the last five years, including from across the ocean, detailing the sorrow at what is happening in their church or district.  They speak of the disappointment as they realize their pastor is simply getting annoyed at them for asking questions.  They speak of how if they persist in getting answers, they end up getting ostracized, they end up being spoken of as the “troublemakers’ and “dividers”, and they eventually have no choice to leave.  And I can’t begin to tell you how this has affected more Nazarenes than I can imagine, some who left a church they were a member of for over 50 years.

My Advice Based On The Current Condition Of the Church

Your own decisions in this matter is ultimately up to you after seeking God’s direction through much prayer and reading of His word.  As we always tell everyone, don’t take our word for it.  Use biblical discernment, investigate the facts, and reject anything that does not line up with the word of God.

For those with young children, especially, you MUST protect them even more!  You cannot bring young children into a toxic environment where you wonder whether the Sunday School teacher is indoctrinating them with all sorts of foolishness.  That is one reason that I was also glad to leave my church, because of lack of solid biblical instruction from “teachers” who lacked discernment and knowledge of God’s word.

Option 1: Some may have to leave their church, even if they have been a member for many years.  Ultimately, a Christian must be true to God first and always, above allegiance to any pastor, church board, church members; above any kind of need for fellowship, or the need to keep their friends, or even the need to keep their children from getting hurt by losing their friends.  I know, because my family has been there, and done that.  We have experienced what it is like to be betrayed by a pastor who we trusted, and we have experienced the ostracizing that comes from simply speaking the truth.  We have experienced the loneliness from waiting for even one church member to call us.  Yet, we had no choice but to make the right decision regardless of the consequences.  Should a Christian decide to stay and “fight”, that may be what they should do.  But they also may need to shake the dust off their feet if they reach the conclusion that it is pointless to continue “fighting” those who persist in remaining in darkness.

Option 2: They may have to leave the church, and also they may have to leave the denomination.  I have letters from these type of Nazarenes.  They had to leave their church, and could not find a single Nazarene church in the area as a good alternative.  How sad that this happens so often, more that we perhaps can know.  But does one try to stay a Nazarene at all costs, or have we forgotten that the true church is comprised not of the Nazarene denomination, but of those faithful Christians from many other denominations who are true believers. It is almost like an idolatrous adoration towards the Nazarene denomination, with an attitude of “I will never leave my Nazarene denomination, no matter what.”  If anyone has that kind of attitude, I truly feel sorry for them.  They have lost sight of the true church of Jesus Christ.

Final Thought

The bottom line is that we ought to be faithful to Christ, not to a denomination, or a pastor, or to what has become a social club in many churches.  We cannot fret about any kind of “loyalty” to the denomination, and must take care of what we need to take care of.  It’s not worth any denomination, and in many ways, denominationalism has led to many of the problems in the church today.  We don’t need denominations, as much as we need strong local churches whose pastors preach unashamedly the whole counsel of God.  If there is to be a walking away by many from the denomination, then God will lead them away.  If there is to be a new holiness movement, God will direct it.  If not, we should not be concerned about it, but just be faithful to God.

Find a good, Bible believing church that preaches the truth, and stick with it.  But even so, always be a Berean.

Links:

Walter Martin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78wRKmmnwhY

 

Church Scandal: http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv=7gQDhjd93L4

You Say Toe-May-Toe, I Say Toe-Mah-Toe

(By James Scullin)

I once had a conversation with a pastor concerning Article IV of the faith:

“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.”

I asked if we believe in plenary inspiration, why the reluctance to state the Bible was inerrant throughout. He replied that he preferred the term infallible, that is the Word of God cannot fail. According to the dictionary, infallible and inerrant, in their primary meanings, are synonymous. It is the secondary use of infallible, incapable of failure, that the pastor preferred.

But is the infallibility also limited to matters of salvation?  It would appear so.  Consider these statements:

 

“The “science” in the Bible poses especially difficult problems that call out for editing, or at least supplementary reflection.”

 

“The creation story in Genesis, to take the most important example, is embedded within an ancient worldview that contains primitive scientific ideas that we have rejected.”

 

“The first verse of the Bible – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” — claims that the earth was created at the same time as the “heavens.” We know, however, that the universe is billions of years older than the earth. Humans were created within a few days of all other life-forms according to Genesis, but we know, for example, that life existed for billions of years before we arrived on this planet.”

(Karl Giberson from a Huffington Post article:  If Only We Could Edit the Bible)

 

Dr. Giberson teaches writing, and science-and-religion in the Cornerstone Program at Stonehill College, formerly a professor at Eastern Nazarene University.

How Dr. Giberson “knows” what happened billions of years ago is beyond me. Knowledge requires a firsthand account by an eye witness; clearly an impossibility for Dr. Giberson. The Holy Spirit, who inspired the writing of the Genesis account, is an eye witness, but His testimony is being rejected. That rejection carries a judgment that the Bible fails to get the facts correct concerning creation. This is admitted by Trevecca University President Dan Boone, at exploringevolution.com, Nazarenes Exploring Evolution. He states, “Sadly, we have determined that Gen. 1 is the factual story of the creation of the world.” He also says, “So while we believe God to be the Creator of all things, Gen. 1 is not necessarily the story of material creation.”

If not, then why should we believe any of the rest of the Bible, including what it has to say about salvation? This is of special significance, since the Bible tells us it was due to the actions of the first created man and woman that we need a savior.

 

Brent Strawn, Chandler School of Theology, Emory University, has this to say on Nazarenes Exploring Evolution:  “Evolution-the-scientific-theory is a well-established fact in scientific literature for how biological life grows and develops; evolutionism-the-religion is a non-scientific but heavily philosophical and theological deduction from science to argue that, given evolutionary processes, natural selection, random mutations, and so on and so forth, there is no God, no Creator, no purpose in life, etc.”

In other words, evolution is fact, denying evolution is an opinion-based religion that seeks to deny the facts. My first question is how can a theory be a well-established fact? Secondly, there are scientists who disagree with evolution, isn’t Strawn ignoring their facts?

And there is theological fallout from denying the creation account.  Romans 5:12 declares, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”: (KJV) This is undeniably a verse pertaining to salvation, and it informs us that death entered the world because of the sin of one man. It was the sin of man, not a lesser being. It was death, both physical and, for man, spiritual, and not just the death of man. This is the first death for animals recorded as well; God killed an animal to provide covering for Adam and Eve. If man was the result of billions of years of evolution, death was in the world long before the sin of man. If evolution is true, then this verse, which pertains to salvation, is a lie. You simply cannot pick and choose what is reliable and true from the Bible.

I will gladly accept Scripture by faith as opposed to accepting “scientific facts” that are actually faith-based as well. Man cannot replicate the evolutionary process to prove his “facts.” Man was not present at the onset of humanity on the planet.  The only fact man can point to is that man exists. Enough of the flaunting of degrees telling me I must believe what I am told because I do not have a degree in physics, or biology.

The pastor I spoke with went on to say that only the original manuscripts were inerrant throughout. I believe he more correctly believed that we do not know if we have any perfect copies of the original manuscripts. For instance, examination of early manuscripts shows some text in the New Testament appeared as marginal notes in some copies of a document, and were incorporated into the body of the document in other copies. I have heard of an example from one of Paul’s letters, where a copyist saw Paul refer to Jesus in one part, Christ in other, and Christ Jesus in yet another. The copyist made all references the same. Do we have a perfect copy? No. Do we still have an inerrant copy? Certainly.

Playing the infallible card declares the Bible less than perfect, but perfectly effective, nonetheless. But how can that be, when throwing away the Genesis creation account undermines the need for salvation?

Jesus did not throw away man being created. Matthew 19:4 “And he answered and said unto them, Have you not read, that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female” Nor does the Genesis account reflect evolution. The formation of Eve from one of Adam’s ribs is explicitly stated. Why would we not be given the facts if man evolved from a lesser life form? Instead man and animal are shown as distinct formations. Genesis 2:19 refers to animals being formed. Genesis 2:7 refers to man being formed. Our English translations simply use “formed” in both cases. The Hebrew way-yi-ser is spelled with an extra yodh when speaking of man. It has been posited that this implied the ability to experientially comprehend morality; a trait the animals lacked, a moral awareness that reflected the image of God. Morality was instilled by God, not survival training.

Where does rejecting a Bible that is inerrant throughout, that says what it means, and means what it says, take us? In The Death of Jesus Historically Contingent or Divinely Ordained? A Paper Presented to the Thirty-Sixth Annual Meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society by Jirair Tashjian, Tashjian says, “Again, it is not that God demands the death of Jesus as a penalty for sin. It is rather that Jesus comes to the realization that his faithfulness to the kingdom of God will likely mean his own death. Rather than mandated by God, the death of Jesus is the result of the conflict that the kingdom of God creates in the  world. Jesus will drink the bitter cup if that is the only way he can remain faithful to the kingdom of God. In this way, then, Jesus understands his own death to be not only for himself but also for others. It is “a ransom for many because the power of the kingdom of God is unleashed in the world and will transform history.” Tashjian is a professor of New Testament at Southern Nazarene University.

How can we get to a point where the blood of Jesus is not because of His substitutionary death on the cross? How do we get to a point where it is only the lifestyle of Jesus we need follow? Has it not been because of an erosion of respect of God’s Word? Has it not been because of a decrease in faith in God’s Word? Has it not been because of buying into what man “proves”, whereas the Bible asks for that faith? In some cases, has it not been because some prefer the ways of man?

How long before all of the Bible is rejected and the cry becomes, “You say infallible, I say inerrant; let’s call the whole thing off.”

 

​Jim Scullin​