The Sin Of Compromise In the Rock And Roll Church

“And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thes. 2:11-12

We have long reported to you that one of the trends in the Church of the Nazarene is the effort to be “relevant.”  Emergent church proponents love the concept that we have to become more relevant to the “unchurched” so that we can get them into church, and then we can preach the gospel to them- somewhere down the road.  The problem is there is nothing scriptural about this idea, and in fact, many pastors today think that the church is really for the unsaved- when clearly according to the Bible the church is for the saved first and foremost!  It is nonsense to think otherwise.

There is no interest in spiritual growth now in many of these churches.  They are only interested in church growth, and they will attract the unbeliever into the church, with any kind of trick they can use.  We hear more sermons than ever avoiding any mention of condemnation of the sinner, and the wrath of God.  It’s all fluff now, “tickle my ears” kind of preaching.  And we have all sort of gimmicks and programs and of course the Roman Catholic stuff that perhaps will draw in the Catholics.  When we read the book of Acts, we see nothing approaching this foolishness that was done by the apostles.  They simply preached the gospel, and many were saved.  Their “gimmick” was to preach the truth- and nothing else.

So here comes a prime example of the selling out of biblical principles, in order to be like the world, in a church in Ohio.  By the way, Ohio is a hotbed of emergent ideology and all sorts of apostate behavior that is destroying the church spiritually.  They may be having a good time, but they are preaching another gospel.  And so we find another example at the Marion First Church of the Nazarene.  Would you have walked out, based on the witness’s description?  Would you do this in your church?

The following account is from a trusted source who was there and described what was seen and heard:

I went to Ohio this year to visit some family, who attend Marion First Church of the Nazarene,  (where I attended quite a few years ago). I have visited many times since, when I see my family. However, they just completed a building project with a new sanctuary escalator, foyer, etc. This was my first time in the new sanctuary. As I entered, the platform was setup as a rock concert.  There were dark curtains behind, lights; there were the plastic enclosed areas for the drummers, etc.  I saw no pulpit.   There were no hymn books or Bibles on the seats as there used to be.  The praise team was in tee shirts, blue jeans and shorts except one girl in a modest skirt.

Then the service opened with the leader asking all who had iPhones to download an App. Then the lights were turned off and in the middle of the dark, utter silence, the leader yelled “yeah” and the drums crashed and the music began. All those on stage turned their iPhones and tablets around toward the audience. All those in the pews who had IPhones watched as they all blinked to the beat of the drums. The purpose?????

I felt very concerned and became tearful. As the service proceeded, other things concerned me. Then the leader said, “If you are new here, we’re glad you are here. When we sing, we raise our hand or some will swing” (I think that was the word he used).  He then said “We want you to act like you’re are at a ball game!!!”

Well, with that statement, I could take no more and quietly walked out. I broke out crying in the vestibule. My heart was so broken …there is no respect for God or His house. I felt almost like I was in an evil place??? I just kept saying, “this is not my Nazarene Church”. A lady saw me crying and asked if I were alright. I just said “I used to attend here and this is not my Nazarene Church. She said, “I know. I talked to the pastor about some things, but nothing has changed”.

I felt so bad to leave, especially with my son and other family there. I am so concerned my family will be lost due to this socialization/seeker sensitive approach of the church.

FYI….the phone App they used was from Wham City Lights.

So what do we have here?

A worship team that dresses up like the world

A platform and flashy lights fit more for the Rolling Stones than for the Lord

Dark curtains to set a mood for …. what?

No hymn books for singing to the Lord

No Bibles for the people to read the word of God

No pulpit

A pastor exhorting the crowd to “act like they are at a ballgame!”

A light show complete with crowd pleasing sensations.

​Remember the Nazarene church that played secular jazz music on Sunday evening services?  And the Beavercreek Nazarene church that had a sensual performance by a female dancer-on Easter service?  Or how about the Easter play that featured a Harlem Shake dance at the end?  ​ There is no respect for God anymore in so many churches. ​

These are all symptoms of the SIN of COMPROMISE.  This is idolatry.  This is apostasy in the making, a sign of the “great falling away.”.  And yes, this is EVIL.  These people are more concerned with their worldly desires than in worshipping a holy God and living in obedience, separate from the world.  But its bringing in the people, right?  But even if this church doubles or triples in membership, so what?  Tell me, is that a true indicator of spiritual health?  Do you remember that the only two blameless churches that Jesus addressed in Revelation were small and “insignificant” churches that had barely any material comforts?   They would be looked on as a failure today, and the Church of the Nazarene would probably close them up and open up a coffeehouse instead.

So here is what is most likely a true model of the future Church of the Nazarene.  It is a church that compromises in order to get the bodies into it, and then certainly to get the growth in membership and money.  Sadly, the growth that is needed- spiritual growth, along with actual sinners being born again- will be sorely lacking.  And in Revelation, there is a church that aptly describes this and many other Nazarene churches.  Read Revelation 3:1-6.  The church at Sardis had the reputation of being alive, but the Lord told them they were dead.

​These people fooled themselves into thinking they were alive, perhaps because the received praise from many.  But repentance is what is ​needed at this church, as well as countless Nazarene churches that are guilty of the sin of compromise.

And the faithful ​believers- what are you still doing at that church?  I wonder if this is what Nina Gunter meant at General Assembly, when she said the “church is not in crisis, the church is in Christ.”​

Mysticism In The Nazarene Church: A Response to Elaine Heath

Yesterday, I started reading an article by Elaine Heath that is in the current online issue of Grace And Peace Magazine, a Nazarene publication that describes itself as a resource for Nazarene clergy.  That being said, after reading it, I was appalled at what she wrote.  The boldness of our Nazarene leadership, including our General Superintendents, that continues to recklessly allow the promotion of contemplative spirituality, paganism and methods of Eastern religions is disgraceful.  Unless you are spiritually blind as a professing Christian, you should also be appalled after reading John Henderson’s assessment below.  The question for you is, if you are silent now after these last four years, will you continue being silent in the face of all this apostasy?  I will follow up in a few days with a detailed summary of the “spiritual giants” Dr. Heath has studied and admired.

A Response to Elaine Heath

By John Henderson

Spiritual discernment is a special gift for some (1 Cor. 12:19) but is also necessary for all believers in Christ in a more general sense.  We must allow ourselves to be influenced only upon the will or heart and not on the fantasies of imagination or speculation.[1]  It involves a right relationship with Christ, familiarity with the Word of God, and a commitment to taking notice.  Proverbs 17:24 says:  “Wisdom is directly in front of[2] the discerning person, but the eyes of a fool run to the ends of the earth” (NET).[3]

I am confident that the majority of heresy issues we encounter these days are when speculation is presented and seen as on par with biblical revelation, especially when an ill-informed group fails to see the difference.  To an alarming degree, this is the case among the entire spectrum of what is called the church on earth.

One of the things that makes current error so deadly as compared to the former falling away is that today’s heretics have learned to not be so obvious, but are rather much more devious by their slick use of well-known evangelical terminology and concepts that they skillfully weave together with the deceptions of the emergent church movement.  This satanic cobra charms the victims into a spiritual and mental lethargy until they are ready to punch the fatal poison of deception into the life-system.

“Grace and Peace” Issue 7, Fall, 2012 has an article that caught my immediate attention just by the title:  “The Mystic Way of Evangelism: An Interview With Elaine A. Heath.”  I read it through and immediately recognized the blending of postmodern emergent error with concepts of truth.  Maybe I was alerted because of the title, but it dripped with new age postmodernism.  I knew it needed a public response.

You may read the article on the magazine’s website, http://www.graceandpeacemagazine.org/magazine/current-issue/303-the-mystic-way-of-evangelism-an-interview-with-elaine-a-heath. If it becomes removed, I have it saved on my computer.

Who is Elaine Heath?[4]

Dr. Elaine Heath is an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, New Mexico Annual Conference.  She is Director of the Center for Missional Wisdom (formerly the Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Evangelism) at Perkins School of Theology.  She has published several books mostly in the emergent doctrine genre, if the titles are any indication.  Her research interests are evangelism and spirituality, evangelism and gender, the church in emerging culture, and the new monasticism.  Dr. Heath’s work, writings, and philosophy are clearly tied to emergent leaders and emergent mystic forerunners from the medieval to modern times.  They notably include Henri Nouwen, a late 20th century Dutch-born Catholic priest who is considered one of the godfathers of the modern emergent movement.  He is reported by his biographers to have struggled with homosexual tendencies.  Another is John Woolman, an eighteenth century “North American itinerant Quaker preacher who traveled throughout much of British North America and in England, advocating against cruelty to animals, economic injustices and oppression, conscription, military taxation, and particularly slavery and the slave trade.”[5]  One of his dominant themes was “economic injustice and oppression” (a precursor to modern Marxist “social justice”).

She also saw Phoebe Palmer, a 19th Century Methodist holiness leader, as a mystic in the same sense as the others mentioned—something Palmer’s biographical history does not support.  Although Heath wrote a book supposedly defining Palmer’s mysticism, Palmer’s actual history, although deeply spiritual in quality, demonstrated nothing like the modern ideas of mysticism.

Palmer was neither a medieval mystic nor involved in Catholic mysticism.  She was very Wesleyan in her approach, although she did enhance some of Wesley’s doctrinal concepts that were picked up by the 19th and 20th Century Wesleyan holiness movement.  None of Palmer’s reported spiritual experiences were anywhere near Eastern, medieval, or Catholic mysticism.  Dr. Heath appears to be the only Palmer “historian” who mentions anything about mysticism in connection with Phoebe Palmer.  It makes one wonder where she found her “information”.

The nearest thing to “heavenly experiences” about Palmer was her early tendency to rely on feelings for assurance of sanctifying grace.  She conquered that error when “Finally she learned to trust to faith, which she defined in terms of her understanding of biblical promises. Once she stopped cross-examining her feelings and accepted the possibility that Holiness would come as the Lord dictated and not as she hypothesized, the dam burst.”[6]  Of course that is dynamic, but it is not mysticism.  There is nothing mystical about perfect love poured out on a soul, even when it is thrilling.

The Emergent Heresies Demonstrated in the Article.

The complete absence of references to the Scriptures or any biblical authority is the principal clue to Heath’s emergent ideology in the article.  Heath never went farther back than medieval personalities in historical references as her presumed sources of authority.  She never mentioned the Early Church at all.  Those references included at least two histrionics that were given to unbiblical visions.  She compared them to Old Testament prophets without offering any sort of evidence for the associations.

She referenced so many Roman Catholic clergy and theologians that one was left wondering why she was still a Methodist.  There are many godly theologians from the Methodist movement that would have put her on a different track.  Admittedly, she did reference Phoebe Palmer but did so in a way that misrepresented Mrs. Palmer by dragging her over into a scenario that was never true of Palmer or the holiness movement which she helped to lead.

Heath’s spiritually fatal mistake in referencing medieval “saints and mystics” as she called them is her apparent reliance on the assumption of their having innate authority alongside of or instead of the Scriptures.

The only authority for the Christian is the Word of God and all else must be judged by that.  Nothing outside of the inspired Scriptures has its own internal authority as was supposed by Heath’s comments.  There were saints (Christians) through the medieval period to be sure but they were still human beings and always subject to the authority of the Scriptures.

Heath used a telling phrase that clearly defines her perspective of “evangelism”.  She referred to “the matrix of the contemplative path, the three-fold contemplative path of purgation, illumination, and union.”  The term contemplation does not need defining here.  It is the emergent variety.  “Purgation, illumination, and union” are taken from Catholic practices and carry those meanings.  The phrase itself defines one of the approaches to the labyrinth.  They are three stages in one form of a labyrinth walk:

“1. Releasing (Purgation). From the entrance to the goal is the path of shedding or ‘letting go.’ There is a release and an emptying of worries and concerns.

“2. Receiving (Illumination). At the center there is illumination, insight, clarity, and focus. It is here that you are in a receptive, prayerful, meditative state.

“3. Integrating (Union). Empowerment and taking ownership. The path out is that of becoming grounded and integrating the insight. It is being energized and making what was received manifest in the world.”[7]

 

The three stages are considered as one path but one that is presumably different for everyone.  They don’t say how that is.

“Purgation” refers to purging or purification in a sense similar to a laxative or induced vomiting.  In the Catholic sense it is a self-effort of clearing oneself of a chargeable offense after which priestly absolution (pardon) is granted.  This, of course, is dissimilar and antithetical to the Protestant understanding and the evangelical’s biblical doctrine of grace by faith, the very thing that motivated Martin Luther.

There is enough empirical evidence to show that any form of the labyrinth leads into an exposure to the influences of demonic mysticism and it is the very thing Heath is advocating here, whether or not she realizes it.  Most importantly, none of the elements of this walk are based in the Scriptures by precept or implication.

Heath made the assumption that the “decline of the Church” could be corrected by this process.  If she meant the Church (capital “C”) as compared with the organizational church, she was very far afield from the Word of God, even in opposition to it, as she advocated mystical passivity versus conscious purposeful response to the Scriptural guidelines of spiritual prayer and growth.

Her definition of evangelism is dubious as well as her approach to evangelism through the labyrinth.  She defined evangelism is terms that, on the surface, could be accepted in any evangelical circle:  “…a holistic process of initiating a person into the reign of God, revealed in Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and anchored in the Church for the transformation of the world.”  The term holistic is the operative word and that word defines all she talks about in the remainder of the article in terms of a Marxist social justice, caring for the earth, and humanitarian services through the prism of a socialist agenda.

Holistic is a word that means all-inclusive.  For the emergent postmodern/new ager, that means a social agenda that essentially sets aside the mission of the gospel in order to be carried out in its intended context.  The gospel really isn’t all that included except as a come-along.  Whatever gospel there may be is secondary to the socialistic agenda of earthy objectives.

She does use the popular term, missional, and its meaning is as it is defined by the emergent postmodern mindset of socialism despite all of the cloaking definitions that have been offered so they sound more Christian.  Biblical mission is not present in this discussion by any term.

Heath says that God is a mystery because we cannot know all there is about God.  If she had stopped at that, there would be no disagreement, but she goes further and uses that statement as support to denigrate the traditional approaches to evangelism by implying they have been inadequate since medieval times.  Therefore, God has more of Himself to reveal in our times.  What does she offer instead?  Mysticism (a form of mystery of which God has nothing to do with) is the new answer.  It will do what centuries of the scriptural methods have failed to accomplish—so she assumes.  It is as if she had said that God has been hidden in part all these centuries and now reveals more of Himself through mysticism.  Never mind that the Bible clearly says:

Hebrews 1:1-3 – “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high….”

Her social and community involvements are substitutes for traditional evangelism instead of natural outcomes of evangelism.  Planting community gardens and caring for the earth is the new approach to witnessing. Whereas traditional evangelism has always preached repentance through the Word of God first and spiritual conversion is followed by social services and benevolences, she joins the emergent concept of reversing the approach.  Even if it should work at all, the gospel is still diminished and most conversions in a postmodern context are absent of repentance and the forsaking of sin along with faith in Christ for salvation.   She thinks that if you are growing food together in a community that you would form relationships with people you would never form otherwise.  She says this gives a unique opportunity “to connect your lives in ways that allows the gospel to be spoken.”  In other words, she describes it as a prop that makes possible the sharing of the gospel not otherwise likely.  Christian benevolence is never a prop.  It is a vehicle in service.

That may sound like a great idea, but it doesn’t work all that well for bringing people to Christ when done first in order.  Those are good things to do and the opportunities for witnessing will be present, but that should not be the key to approaching others with the gospel—as if you could not do it by any other means.  It is more likely to promote selfish dependency in others just as those who followed Christ for the food He fed them unless we make “preaching Jesus” the essential thing in what we do.  Even then many will care only for the freebees.  They will take what you give them then walk away back into whatever life they had before you came along.

Heath seems to not understand that the Holy Spirit needs our obedience, not our methods.  If people’s hearts are not challenged for Christ, if they are not pricked in their consciences, our efforts will be futile.

I have heard Christians say that they will give to a bum on the street knowing he may drink it up but that they are not responsible for anything but their own benevolence in good faith.  I strongly disagree.  Such giving that predictably perpetuates a sinful lifestyle is highly irresponsible. If you do not have time to share Christ in some way, you are not giving or serving as a Christian.  It may still be squandered, and you may be unable to control that, but you can share Jesus in some significant way.  That makes all the difference.

The message matters the most.  All that we do for others hangs on that.  I had to learn that the hard way in my years of social services.  It is true that Christians should provide for those in need as best they can, especially in emergencies.  That is not the problem.  The problem is when that becomes all we do or the most of what we do.

Dr. Heath is not uncommon as a postmodern emergent advocate.  She covered just about every major aspect of the emergent agenda that is being espoused. That, however, is not the tragedy of it.  I expect an emergent to talk as an emergent.  The very fact that it was supportably published in a Nazarene periodical is the heartbreaking tragedy since most Nazarenes are not emergent in their thinking—so far.

           

 


[1]From a Jonathan Edwards sermon: sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=21262&forum=34&0

[2] NIV “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view.”

[3] He has no power to concentrate and cannot focus his attention on anything.

[4]This information may be found at http://www.smu.edu/Perkins/FacultyAcademics/DirectoryList/Heath

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Woolman

[6] http://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/approaches/phoebe-palmer-1807-1874-holiness-theology

[7] http://www.lessons4living.com/three_fold_path.htm

 

Truth Is The Emergent’s Biggest Problem

By John Henderson

I have said often that I have no intentions of “debating” emergents—neither for the purpose of convincing them nor of getting the best of them.  I still have to debate them after a fashion because they still impact on the unsuspecting and ill-informed and thus mislead dear folks who are desperately in need of truth.  I see them as more than some recent movement suggesting the church needs to take a modernized approach to winning people to the church.  Even in that, they start off on the wrong proposition.  Our job is never to win people to the church.  It is to win people to Christ.  When they are won to Christ, they are automatically part of the Church.

It has also become apparent that they are not merely focused on changing the structure and mission of the church.  They are clearly part of the larger package of the socio-political movement known as the progressive liberal movement that involves Marxist principles, secular & religious humanism, modified-atheism, liberation theology, and Saul Alinsky methodology.  They are part of a clearly-defined evil trinity of social non-principles, political dictatorship, and religious counterfeiting.  They present the evidence of their nature regularly and consistently.

Their arguments have no absolutes and no authority.  They rely completely on philosophical approaches of opinion and interpretation.  They have no clue of truth in the arena of rational ideas.  When faced with truth that they are unable to deny or avoid, they always implode and fall back on vacuous assertions without substance.  They cannot deal in substance.  They can only make explanations in their own context of irrationality and bias and cannot comprehend the conspicuousness of hard facts and revelation.

They know they are lying and eventually come to a place of believing their own lies. They are incapable of being honest about their own ideas because they do not take truth seriously and build only on emotion and experience.  They are closed off from reality because they live in an alternate universe of their own making.

The job of the Christian is rather simple.  Just be biblical.  That is what wins.  Rob Bell may try to convince people that “love wins” as he defines some unbiblical idea of “love” but Christian love is founded in biblical truth, not universalism’s deceptions.  Being biblical will so infuriate them (and they do become intensely infuriated when faced with truth) they resort to the methods of a playground fight among fifth-grade boys:  They impugn Christians’ character; they attack Christians with clichés; and all of their answers completely lack substance.  Once the Christian is able to speak for himself or herself, the “ads” against them where they had not been able to respond become obvious as the deceptions they are.

The rule of thumb is simple:  Stick with truth.  Don’t waver from truth.  You do not even have to explain truth all that much.  Truth explains itself and emergents cannot deal with it.

The Time Has Already Come: They Are Not Enduring Sound Doctrine

In 2 Timothy 4, after Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the word, and to reprove, rebuke and exhort”, he explains to Timothy the reason for that instruction.  It is because there would be coming a time when “they will not endure sound doctrine.”  “They” refers to professing Christians, and Paul is saying that soon they will succumb to their own desires and wishful thinking, and will “after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”  That time has long come and gone, and is continuing.  The teachers themselves are also now looking after their own desires and looking to soothe their restlessness with all sorts of bad teaching, therefore dragging some of their undiscerning flock down the road of apostasy.

Recently, Rob Bell revealed his approval of homosexuality when he answered a question at a seminar, as seen in this video at Apprising Ministries. Brian McLaren gave his thumbs up to Rob Bell’s pronouncement as well.  And now, Brian McLaren has officiated at a wedding ceremony for his homosexual son and his partner. (see Apprising Ministries)  Is it possible that a high number of pastors in today’s evangelical world have no problem with these two men and the way they are contributing to the eternal damnation of many souls?

Both of these false teachers have been heavyweight leaders in the emergent church movement for a long time now.  They are just simply adding on to their false credentials as post-modern “evangelical” leaders.  They are now bringing it up another level, and I wonder now: how will the leaders in the church respond now?  With silence again?  Where are the Al Mohlers within the Church of the Nazarene?  After all, those two men have been a major influence, both in the colleges, the seminaries, and in the churches.

What Brian McLaren Thinks

When asked about homosexuality a few years ago, Brian McLaren (who is no longer a pastor) said this:

“You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.”

Brian McLaren also said the following:

“Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.” That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think. Even if we are convinced that all homosexual behavior is always sinful, we still want to treat gay and lesbian people with more dignity, gentleness, and respect than our colleagues do. If we think that there may actually be a legitimate context for some homosexual relationships, we know that the biblical arguments are nuanced and multilayered, and the pastoral ramifications are staggeringly complex. We aren’t sure if or where lines are to be drawn, nor do we know how to enforce with fairness whatever lines are drawn.”

And he said this in 2006 regarding homosexuality:

Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. In the meantime, we’ll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they’ll be admittedly provisional. We’ll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years for ongoing reflection. After all, many important issues in church history took centuries to figure out. Maybe this moratorium would help us resist the “winds of doctrine” blowing furiously from the left and right, so we can patiently wait for the wind of the Spirit to set our course.”  (http://www.outofur.com/archives/2006/01/brian_mclaren_o.html)

Both men have certainly had a big influence on many within the church.  In 2011, Rob Bell spoke at a pastor’s seminar at Point Loma Nazarene University, where you will find emergent ideology being promoted, mysticism, and a softening of the biblical view on homosexuality.  His books and videos are used in churches for weekly Sunday School studies instead of Bible study.

Brian McLaren conducted a three day seminar at NorthWest Nazarene University several years ago that was outrageous, as described here by Eric Barger, who attended the seminar.  His books are used widely as resources at many Nazarene universities, and can be found in the college bookstores.  His books are also popular with many Nazarene pastors, who have gone on to pass them down to undiscerning members.

 

NazNet Pastors Weigh In On McLaren’s Actions

We have often called NazNet a breeding ground for emergent heresy, and with good reason, and unlike those who accuse us of being unloving, we have documented what they said, compared with Scripture, and have clearly pointed out their error.  They continued that trend in a new thread on NazNet, although there were others who strongly disagreed with many of these pastors.

What some of these pastors have said reflects the kind of compromise, lack of Scriptural understanding, and lack of strong conviction that has allowed a lot of the damage that has come into the Church.  Would these pastors say the same words to their congregations?  Would they say these words at a district assembly in front of other churches?  Since they said these words publicly, let’s put out what they have stated in their own words so that others may see and decide whether their words are based on sound doctrine:

I am not able to be as black and white on this issue as some of my friends – on either side. And I hope we will have grace to understand that this is, for some, a more complex issue than others see it…. I don’t have a problem at all with Brian McLaren doing this, any more and perhaps even less than I have a problem with a member of the clergy praying a blessing over various activities of our secular culture. He is not a member of my theological tribe, and thus has absolutely no accountability to me, or to us.”
“Okay, now I will say this – and I know that many will disagree. I am still not sure how I personally believe about this issue.”
(Mike Schutz, Nazarene pastor)

 “McLaren still has a bit of capital with me, and I offer hopefully a diminishing amount of public criticism for those who clearly strive to sense the Lord’s direction. Selfishly perhaps, I’m focusing increasingly on what the Lord wants me to do, and less on telling others what they should do.” (Dennis Scott, Nazarene pastor)

“Brian McLaren drinks beer, too. I’m not sure what the big deal is. I don’t know why anyone would need to defend the man for anything. Some things he’s said have helped people think about God in new and refreshing ways (some have helped us think of God in old, powerful ways). Disagreeing with one thing (this is hardly the first thing he’s said that gives one pause to think) does not negate the positives.
There’s a ton of our brother and sisters who have spent lots of time, effort, and prayer seeking how to deal with this issue and have decided differently than us. We have to get along with each other.
I don’t consider one’s views on homosexual marriage as a litmus test for faith (I’m more inclined to do so on things like purity, chastity, faithfulness, and relationship).”
(Ryan Scott, ordained Nazarene elder)

I see McLaren the way I see a MLB slugger. I’m a fan because he hits a lot of homeruns. I am a fan in spite of the fact that he also strikes out.
While my own evaluation is that this was a swing and a miss, I’m still a fan.
(Wilson Deaton, Nazarene pastor)

“It sounds like Brian McLaren was in a tough spot, given that it’s his son we’re talking about here. … McLaren didn’t officiate at the actual wedding but “led a commitment ceremony” for family and friends later in the day…. which sounds like the pattern I’ve heard advocated here on NazNet in the past (couple gets married by the state, then blessed by the church).
Of course, as a Nazarene minister, such an action is out of bounds for me, but if I were in Brian’s shoes… who knows what choice I would’ve made?
 (Rich Schmidt, Nazarene pastor)

“I guess I’m confused as to what is being blessed here?
I would be happy to pray for or at just about any event. I’d love to pray for any couple, gay or otherwise, that they would experience all the love and grace and peace and joy that God has for all God’s children – that they would have the wisdom and grace to seek to love and serve others in all situations – that every person’s life would radiate the love and grace of the one who created them.
I’d be happy to pray at any wedding, even if I thought it was a bad idea – the thing ill-conceived marriages need most is prayer.” (Ryan Scott, Nazarene ordained elder)

These men would do Brian McLaren proud with their words.  These are indicative of many other pastors who show a weak sense of conviction regarding homosexual sin.  To be unwilling to clearly rebuke Mr. McLaren and avoid him as Scripture demands, is just as wrong as approving it.  This same kind of wavering or refusal to make a clear statement on homosexuality, was reflected at Bruce Barnard’s FaceBook discussion.  It does have a lot of eye opening insight in how these pastors are so devoid of discernment.  Maybe they have good intentions, but they are way off the mark biblically.  There is nothing ambiguous when it comes to homosexuality and what the Bible teaches.

So what now?  Irresponsible, undiscerning, or apostate pastors is one of the reasons why the Church of the Nazarene is sliding deeper and deeper into apostasy.  And yet, will the General Superintendents still remain silent and allow these two men to continue spreading poison in the church?  Or, will they ever say, enough is enough, and call for a return to true holiness teaching and doctrine based on God’s word, not McLaren or Bell’s doctrine?  Of course, even if they banned McLaren and Bell completely, that would not come close to helping cure the sickness spreading in our denomination.  And how many more pastors are our seminaries sending out, who cannot stand firm and lovingly on the teaching of Holy Scripture, without trying to send ambiguous messages to people that could be sending them straight to hell.
Additional Resource: From Truth To Fables (John Henderson)

Another Look At How Emergents Defend Their Ideology

Recently I replied to Rev. Bruce Barnard’s attack piece on Nazarenes and other Christians who dare to question the status quo in the church; who dare to bring to light the false teachings that have crept in; and who dare to call out those who are false teachers, or those who are turning a blind eye to the false teaching.  Since his article came out, there has been a continuing conversation at his Facebook page.  They have written enough to bring to light again the devious ways they fight so hard to protect an indefensible ideology.  Their testimony is enough to shine a light on the emptiness of their arguments.

There are some typical strategies the emergents resort to in order to deflect the truth and therefore hide their true ideology and philosophy.  I am convinced that some of these same pastors who respond to us, are very cautious not to completely show their true colors in public, for fear that they will lose some of their congregation.  Many of them have to play a game, and not unveil their full agenda to their flock, but feed them poison ever so slowly.  Eventually, unless those in the church are alert and are being Bereans, they will be slowly indoctrinated like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled in water. So here is a list of just some of the tactics of the emergents:

The Emergent Tactics:

1. Call Us Names Without Any Substantiation.  One of the most common and popular tactics used by the emergents.  The name calling, especially from ordained elders in the church who should know better, is astounding.  They use words such as:  dividers, unChristlike, mean-spirited, Judaizers, legalists, judgmental, hypocrites, bullies, and recently from Rev. Barnard’s page: THUGS.  You can read the examples I gave that came from Karl Giberson and some pastors on Bruce’s page, and you see over and over examples of personal attacks that- and this is important- CANNOT be substantiated in any way.

When they say we should not be judgmental, they catch themselves in the process of being… judgmental!  A classic example is from Bob Hunter.  He says the following:

“We do, however, think your judgments are misguided and your interpretation of scripture is extremely narrow and perplexing. Moreover, you do not give anyone the benefit of the doubt. According to Matthew 7:1-2 We are not to judge. For with that judgment you will be judged.”

Bob renders his judgment on us, and then proceeds to say, we are not to judge.  Nothing could be clearer here as to the hypocrisy from these people, that they are so wrapped up in their own self-defense, that they hang themselves with their very own words.  Even those who are ordained or licensed ministers are horribly mistaken, at best.   As long as a Christian understands what Scripture says about judging, they will not fall for this trick.  Yet, even though I have sent some of these folks lesson after lesson on this subject, they still try it on me.  So for sure they will continue this attack on you.

2. They Use The Defense Of A Misguided Goal Of “Unity”.  They will often appeal for unity in the church, yet there is a biblical unity, and then there is “unity” grounded in disobedience and the avoidance of confronting people who are in error.  That is not Christian unity, it is false unity, and leads to confusion and an “anything goes” philosophy in the church (which lines up with emergent-think nicely).
This is often seen in such examples as the following comments:

“The alarm clock on my cell phone reminds me everyday at 5:10pm to pray for this group and its leader, and for unity in the COTN. I will keep doing so because this is one thing that grieves my heart deeply, the division, hurt, and distraction from kingdom building that is caused by this group.”
“And if you don’t like what they have to say, keep your opinions to yourself, and pray that your heart be changed. The church should be about unity, not about tearing apart.”

“Kingdom building” mixed with serious error and truth results in increasing error.  True unity, as I responded, is not about ignoring willful disobedience and living in sin, nor is it about ignoring unsound doctrine as well.  However, this ecumenical thinking fits in perfectly with the emergent church and its downplaying of doctrine.  They hate doctrine, they don’t want to talk about it, they just want everyone to get along, at the expense of doctrine.  Doctrines divide, and emergents do not believe in division.  And that is an unbiblical approach.  Do not buy the lie that we should never divide.

“Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Luke 12:51
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Matt. 10:34

The false unity in today’s church is chaos and compromise. When a church fails to stand for the truth, in exchange for “unity” at any cost, then it fails to be a faithful church. It fails to truly be in unity.

We are instead clearly commanded to separate from those who preach false doctrine.

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Eph 5:11
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.” 2 John 1:9-11
“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.” 2 Thess. 3:6

3. The Art of Diversion, Or Going Off On “Rabbit Trails”:
They will do this to try deflect from the hard questions. They try to turn a question around to discuss something else, and maybe you’ll forget that they never really answered the question. Often, they will do that when challenged for their assessment of someone we have stated is a false teacher. They WILL NOT ever come to the point of agreeing that any specific person’s teachings is false. If so, their whole ideology would fall down like a deck of cards.  So the only choice they have is to divert away from the original intent of the question.  The following is an example from that discussion, after I asked about Rob Bell, who has been a very major influence on the Nazarene denomination:

I asked: “Is no one interested in defending Rob Bell or any of the other false teachers I mentioned? What are your thoughts, Bruce, on Rob Bell’s video where he becomes yet another “evangelical” to affirm “gay Christianity?”

Answers: “Manny, I’m not a huge Rob Bell fan. We used a few of his Nooma videos awhile back.”…To continue, his videos were good but from what I’ve read and seen, he seems to be more interested in raising questions than answering them.  (Greg Farra, a pastor)

Just doing my best to be like Jesus. I may fall short, but life is too short to constantly point out peoples’ shortcoming and be a critic. I would appeal to you to trust God to correct erring souls.” (Bob Hunter, a licensed minister)

“Rob Bell is not a Nazarene…”   “Manny – you are more worried about a visitor to a Naz campus than someone currently pastoring a church.” (Bruce Barnard, an ordained pastor).

Not one Nazarene pastor or anyone else was able to give a definitive biblical answer as to what they thought of Rob Bell’s affirmation of “gay Christians.”  What does this tell you?

 

4. Pulling Out The “Education Card”:
“How long have you studied? What degrees do you have?
These are the questions they sometimes ask us, as if the mark of a faithful Christian is a college degree or two; as if the maturity of a Christian is reflected in how much Greek New Testament they know.  Yet, they have no explanation at all for those who have studied as long as they have, or have more degrees, but who totally disagree with their ideology. Odd, is it not?

4. Scolding us For not “going through proper channels.” They love to pull that one. “Why did you not go through the process as outlined in the Nazarene manual? “You must defer to our leaders, because they are the ones who determine in the end if something is false teaching or not.”

What do you do if the leaders decide there is no false teaching going on?  We know that many Nazarenes have written to the Generals, and the answers are filled with rhetoric and follows the pattern of non-answers to specific questions.  I will tell you this, that it seems their answers are far too often focused on what the church manual says, with its man crafted rules, than what the real Manual (God’s word) says.  If I did not know any better, I would almost think they believe the Church Manual is infallible and inerrant, whereas many of them reject the inerrancy of God’s word!
5. Asking us to leave if we’re not happy: “If you don’t like it, leave the COTN.”

More Nazarenes have left than most people realize.  But it’s up to each of them, in their own circumstances, to decide.  Some have had no choice because after leaving their own church because of false teaching, could not find a single Nazarene church that was not peddling the emergent church ideology.  Some are fighting within their churches to make a difference, but often they are in a losing battle and will ultimately leave.  However, leaving does not mean losing- it means these folks did their best, and in the end, made a decision to protect their family from false teaching.  However, each Nazarene who leaves, will leave on their own terms, and not from any intimidating words from the emergents.

These emergents have shown us again:

1. A lack of discernment, or unwillingness to exercise discernment.

2. A horrible lack of knowledge on the subject of judgment, or a willful turning away from that responsibility.

3. A failure (again) to provide a biblical answer to hard questions a pastor should answer.

4. A failure in providing any biblical justification for their ideology.

5. A failure to correct.

This is partly a result of the years of indoctrination at our Christian colleges, the lack of solid expository Bible preaching in exchange for “story telling,” and the continual drumbeat of “biblical inerrancy ONLY in matters of salvation.”  The foundations are crumbling, the Bible believers will leave, and the denomination will become one of the leading spiritual groups in the world.  That will be great, I suppose, if you want to be right alongside the ELCA*, the Episcopal Church, the PCUSA**, the United Methodist Church and many more apostate denominations.

 

*Evangelical Lutheran Church In America

**Presbyterian Church USA

 

For further research: http://www.wayoflife.org/database/denominationstoday.html

Rob Bell Comes Out Gay Affirming

Replying To An Open Letter By A Pastor

Dear Rev. Barnard,

This past week, I read your Open Letter To Concerned Nazarenes.  (Your letter in it’s entirety is the end of this response).  As always in such letters to us, it fell flat on its face, and I would think that you even possibly regretted it later.  Perhaps your emotions got the best of you, or maybe an unhealthy admiration for your friends has clouded your judgment, and instead of taking an opportunity to refute our claims using Scripture- well, you went the easier route of character assassination.  It clearly lacked substance, there was no verifiable support for your accusations, and you simply used personal attack on us, instead of attacking what we believe and showing where we are wrong.  I am responding primarily because perhaps it can be a eye-opening moment for some of your friends who may be on the fence, and don’t really know what’s going on.

Our efforts from day one have been to expose false teachings in the church, and to wake up people to what is happening in our denomination.  We certainly have tried very hard to elicit some kind of biblical defense from those who oppose us, but all we seem to get in return are such writings that have no merit biblically. So you missed a great opportunity to refute what we believe with scriptural support; instead all you used was personal attacks, which is the substance of your letter.

You said at the start, “… someone needs to speak truth to you.”  Yet your letter is only infused with personal and unsubstantiated attacks throughout, finishing with words such as: “I wish you the best in life”, “Grace and Peace.”  What a contradiction to end your letter in such a manner.

 

So let’s see some of the things that were “clearly and lovingly” said by you:
“you are THUGS.”  “you “whole-earth scorched” some friends of mine”; “you choose personal and vile attacks; “your bitter hyperbole”;  “we are at opposite ends of the humanity spectrum.”

And here is how some of your friends responded:

Former Eastern Nazarene College professor Karl Giberson said “Their righteous rants are nothing but thoroughly carnal and self-centered acts of hate. In another era they were the people who physically persecuted people for their beliefs.”  (This is a man who does not believe that the Bible is God’s inspired word and has deceived many students over the years).
One of your supporters considers your letter as an example of “civil discourse.” And yet another said that your letter is “Clearly and lovingly said.”  Pastor John Brickley agreed with Dan Boone’s characterization of us as “Nazarene Taliban…. their actions are shameful and they bring shame to the cause of Christ.  David Wesley, a professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary said  None of us should put up with our brothers in Christ being beaten up by a group of thugs.” Pastor David Pettigrew said, “The only response to bullies is to stand up to them. They won’t go away on their own. They have absolutely no courage or shame.”

We’ve been called other names before, but never a THUG until now.  ( You changed THUGS to BULLIES later, but… is that supposed to make us feel better?).  You are apparently upset at how Concerned Nazarenes have “attacked” some “good and Godly men and women in the Church of the Nazarene”.  You seem to think that to judge and challenge their ideologies and beliefs is, in your words, “un-Godly behavior” and “un-Biblical.”  You defended Rev. Gabriel Salguerro, who some of us recently rebuked for praying at the Democrat National Convention, and for his promotion of the un-Godly Wildgoose Festival.

We will take a look at some of these friends you mentioned.  Remember, no one is above scrutiny, and the Bible gives us instructions to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15), and also tells us to “reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim 4:2-5)  There is also Paul’s sobering words in Galatians 1: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”  We are warned in Ephesians 5 to “let no one deceive you with empty words.”  And in Colossians 2:8, see this warning: “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.”

So these are the words of God, and I could cite even more examples that clearly gives warning to us that we should not fall asleep spiritually, and for us to “contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3).  The only question remaining is, who is rightly dividing the word of truth, you or us?  Both cannot be correct.

 

Here are short summaries of some of the friends you defended:

Dan Boone, President of Trevecca Nazarene University: Promotes a prayer labyrinth at Trevecca.  He changed the name to “prayer walk” when we exposed it.  Promotes yearly trips to a Roman Catholic monastery where students practice contemplative mysticism (the silence).  He uncharitably calls fundamental Christians jihadists and intolerant and suggests that people “stun them (CNs) with our silence”, while ironically writing a book called Charitable Discourse.  Allows many books by contemplatives to be available at Trevecca’s campus.  Claims that some of the Psalms were borrowed from pagans cultures.  Wrote a few years  ago that “I am deepening in the mystical forms of prayer.”  (Since then that has been removed).

 

Thomas Jay Oord, professor at Northwest Nazarene University: Promotes the twin heresies of open theism (God does not know everything) and process theology (God learns from His mistakes).  Supports evolution.  Does not believe sin and death came by way of the disobedience of Adam (as told directly to me).  Questions propositional truth and attacks the doctrine of inerrancy in the book Postmodern and Wesleyan.

Doug Hardy, professor of Spiritual Formation at Nazarene Theological Seminary:  Teaches occultism to future pastors at the seminary (Celtic Spirituality).  Promotes many books written by Roman Catholic mystics.  He is on the board of Spiritual Directors International, which promotes spiritual direction regardless of religion, and also prayer labyrinths.  Their mission statement says: “Throughout human history, individuals have been called to accompany others seeking the Mystery we name God. In this time, Spiritual Directors International responds to this call by tending the holy around the world and across traditions.”

Karl Giberson, former professor at Eastern Nazarene College: Promotes the heretical teaching of evolution, which denies the biblical account in Genesis.  Does not believe Adam and Eve existed in the Genesis account.  Believes that much of the Bible is fiction.  He openly mocks fundamentalist Christians, including one of his big critics, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis.  He wrote Saving Darwin: How To Be A Christian and Believe In Evolution.  Sadly, Dr. Randall Stephens has taken up his mantle at ENC.

Kevin Ulmet, Pastor of Nashville First Church: Wrote a scathing article in Holiness Today, attacking us with even more ugly words than you have used.  He too was praised by many Nazarenes for writing such a loving and “spirit-filled” article.  Amazing what some people can make themselves see, even if it is not true.  It was far from spirit-filled.  His words were an insult to the many Godly men and women I have met in the past four years during our work in alerting Nazarenes and other Christians.  As were his words, Rev. Barnard, your words were also unbecoming for an ordained elder in the church.

Jon Middendorf, Pastor of OKC First Church: One of the prime pushers of the emergent church movement in the Nazarene denomination and son of a General Superintendent.  His church used to, and perhaps still does, share communion services at a Roman Catholic Church.  He and his friend, Rev. Scott Daniels, promoted the emergent church and its mystical false teachers at a seminar at General Assembly in 2009.  We sat in the front row and eagerly waited to ask questions, but it was not offered except for personal questions after the seminar. (See Conversation With An Emergent Pastor).

Jesse Middendorf, General Superintendent: Dr. Middendorf was there that day at General Assembly, as he proudly (I assume) sat in the room to watch Jon promote the emergent church.  When pastor Joe spoke up and asked Dr. Middendorf if any Nazarenes who had concerns about the emergent church would ever get the chance to voice their opinion, his response to us was: “That’s not likely.”  Dr. Middendorf is a supporter of the emergent church and spiritual formation, whether through promoting the retreat back in 2009 at General Assembly, or through his silence.

 

So these are very brief summaries of a few of the folks you defended. The challenge before you, if you would take it, is to defend these specific teachings and practices that I mentioned.  However, your defense would not be acceptable unless it is with the use of Holy Scripture, and not by your own personal opinion.  You must not take scripture out of context as well (for example, using Matthew 7:1 to “prove” that we should never judge; or, using Psalm 46:10 to justify the mystical practice of “the silence”, as Dan Boone did).  If you accept the challenge, that’s great.  If not, that’s fine also, we will understand.

The same trend has continued for several years now, and it is the same.  You see, those who criticize us and call us “unloving” and “hateful” and “dividers”, have never really tried to correct us, as loving Christians ought to.  Instead, they have resorted to the only arrow in their quiver: personal attacks, like yours. We go after the false teachings, and yes, we do sometimes sound harsh, because when going after false teachings, we are commanded in scripture to “reprove, and rebuke”, to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor. 10:5), and to “encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 2:1).

So if you or your friends are to respond, please do so without meaningless, unsupported and baseless attacks.  What I really pray for is that you will look seriously again at what we are saying and compare it with Scripture, that’s all.  We are not concerned about feelings being hurt; we are concerned for the truth of God’s word.  We are concerned for you.

Manny Silva

 

 Additional Resources: Why People Hate Those Who Expose False Teaching (Tim Wirth)

Deluding Influence by John Henderson

 

 

Rev. Barnard’s Original Post: An Open Letter to Members of Concerned Nazarenes:

If you are part of that “group”, you may want to stop reading now and unfriend me. It will save you some anguish. But someone needs to speak truth to you. Since you BLOCK your FB page and only allow those that support your cause to post there, and since I can’t message you, I’m forced to break my own rule and use my page to express my thoughts without first engaging you privately (though I’m sure it would be of little use).

I have followed your comments, rants, ravings, posts, and visual media since you debuted your DVD around our General Assembly in 2009. I have read what you write on blogs, posts, comments, Twitter, Facebook, NazNet, and NCNNews among other outlets. I believe I have formed an accurate and honest perspective on your cause. 

You aren’t Concerned, you’re angry. You aren’t Nazarene, you’re judgmental. 

In short – some of you are THUGS.

 I watched today as you “whole-earth scorched” some friends of mine and fellow Nazarene pastors, Gabriel & Jeanette Vargas Salguero, on the NCNNews Message Board. You have attacked good and Godly women and men in the Church of the Nazarene, such as Dan Boone, Thomas Jay Oord, Doug Hardy, Mark Maddix, Kevin Ulmet, Loren Gresham, Jon Middendorf, Jesse C Middendorf, Karl Giberson, Dan Bohi, Diane Cunningham Leclerc, among others. In doing so, you don’t enter into constructive dialogue, you choose personal and vile attacks. It’s un-Godly behavior; it’s un-Biblical; and it’s time someone stood up and told you so. That’s where I come in.

Feel free to google me (you won’t find much), listen to my conversations (all on-line and in iTunes), read my FB page (it’s public), follow me on Twitter (again, public), and in general add me to your list of those that deserve your bitter hyperbole. I’ll gladly take it if it means I’m in the likes of those YOU currently call “enemies of the church”. These General & District Superintendents, faculty and college presidents, chaplains and officers in our military, student leaders on our Nazarene campuses, and pastors and parsonage families, have done nothing TO YOU, yet you feel the need to RISE up against them. Shame on you. Shame on your cause.

If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you want to UNFRIEND me. No problem. In fact, if you are friends with me AND part of the FB Concerned Nazarene group, I’ll likely UNFRIEND you. It’s not that I don’t value my FB friends who have differing opinions than me, or that I don’t learn from them (just read my recent political posts) – but they truly are interested in TRUTH. You are interested in getting your own way. I don’t need you in my life.

I’ll pray for you. I’ll fast for you. I’ll care what you do with your life, and how God will respond to you on judgment day (though if I were you I wouldn’t hold out hope for mercy). But I won’t waste time trying to understand you. We are at opposite ends of the humanity spectrum.

I wish you the best in life…HONESTLY, I do!

Grace & Peace — Bruce Barnard, a HOPEFUL NAZARENE!

PS – this is a NOTE, not a post…it’s sharable if you so choose…

Who Are We To Judge? Answering The Question

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6

“I would rather tell you the hurtful truth, than pretend that all is well and good.”  A pastor friend recently responded to an article I posted by David Cloud, Being A Friend To Sinners: The Emergent Way.  (Original source)

I wanted to share my response to him, as his thoughts reflect what many other pastors and laypeople believe. It is vital to keep providing facts and evidence to our Christian brothers and sisters, even as they continue to be shocked by what they see as uncaring and hateful words, improper judgmentalism, and “divisiveness.”   we have been called haters by such as “pastor” Steve Furtick.  My objective is to show them the truth even if it hurts, and to show that what we are doing is the most loving thing we can do in the face of apostasy today: expose and call out the false teachers, and warn the believers of the danger they are facing, dangers that threaten their very spiritual well-being.  We do this as friends, and because it is a biblical mandate.  As always, I am open to correction from the word of God.

From A Pastor Friend:

    “Wasn’t Jesus accused of the same behavior: being a friend of sinners and publicans? He befriended multitudes, but most of them did not come to repentance.   There is a time, a place, and a way for everything. We need to stop this war against the Church just because some choose to do things differently.  Who are we to be judging others? Are we so full of ourselves that we cannot see that we are hurting the Church rather than heal her? What we need (all of us without exception) is an infilling of the Holy Spirit. Shorter than this is just nonsense.”

Dear Brother, thanks for the comments.

Yes, Jesus was indeed a friend to sinners.  The stark difference is this: He befriended them, BUT He always pointed them to their only real need; their need for spiritual re-birth.  Not so with the emergent crowd and the man-pleasers of today in our denomination and others.  These people focus on becoming friends with unbelievers, and emphasize following “the way of Jesus” by doing good deeds, and practicing the “let’s all get along philosophy” of the emergents, ecumenists and New Evangelical crowd.

So here is the problem.  For all their good intentions of living “in community”, of being a friend to the world, of being non-judgmental and accepting of everyone, they lose sight of the “main thing.”  They ignore the most important thing that Jesus ALWAYS did: He showed the sinner his need of a Savior to pull him out of the miry clay of sin.  That is what is so wrong with the church today, as David Cloud pointed out in the article.  Too many in the church are focusing solely on being friends to sinners, to the detriment of their real need.  I quote from the article again:

“Gurganus is saying we should befriend the unsaved, but he is not saying what the emerging church is saying.  Gurganus is saying that the objective is not merely to befriend the unsaved but to win them to Christ!”

I hope you read that article again by brother Cloud.  It is so right on and biblically solid, I don’t see what objection you have to it, but I am open to biblical correction, as I am sure brother Cloud is also.  Many in the Nazarene church today and other denominations are failing to emphasize the Gospel.  Not the social gospel; not the environmental gospel; not another Jesus; but the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which teaches that nothing is more important in our lives than to repent, confess our sins, and turn to Jesus Christ, the only way to the Father.  Anything that pushes aside this message, or waters it down to a works-based gospel, is not the true gospel; it is doctrines of demons.  And I am sorry to say, but this is being disseminated in the Church of the Nazarene by our leaders and many university presidents, and by many district superintendents and pastors who are byproducts of Nazarene Theological Seminary, a school which is shamefully condoning the teaching of occultism and contemplative spirituality.  (Please refer to Proverbs 27:6 again before you get offended at what I just said).

You said:  “There is a time, a place, and a way for everything. We need to stop this war against the Church just because some choose to do things differently.”

It is not that some are doing things differently; it is that those different ways are contradictory to biblical principles. You must realize that we are fighting a war against Satan, and not against the Church.  We are in the middle of what looks like the end times apostasy.  The true Church is composed of obedient Nazarenes, Baptists, and Christians from many different denominations.  The true Church is not composed of those who are attacking the Church and its biblical foundation; the true Church is composed of those who are standing up to defend the truth of God’s word. The war against the Church will only stop when Jesus Christ returns and puts Satan away for good; in the meantime, please do not mistake me and others for being those who wage war against the Church!  We are defending the faith, we are defending the Church.  We cannot continue to ignore the cancer that is spreading within the church, and much of it is being spread by the corrupt shepherds in many of our pulpits.  As Roger Oakland said in his article on end times apostasy:

“No denomination or fellowship of churches is immune to this delusion. Even those who once stood on the simple Word of God, warning of deception and teaching the Bible  verse by verse, have fallen in the trap. The pressure is too great not to go with the flow. Even when well-respected pastors and leaders see the signs of apostasy happening in their own circles and proclaim a warning, most refuse to listen. They go on their merry way for the sake of popularity and success.”

You asked, “Who are we to be judging others?”

Answer: In the same chapter in Matthew where Jesus CLEARLY shows to us that we are to judge, He later gives us another command that, if we do not judge- we cannot keep that very commandment!  He said:

“Watch out for false prophets.   They come to you in sheep’s clothing.  But inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”  Matt. 7:15

How can we watch out for false prophets?  We judge them by their fruits, and whether their teachings line up with the word of God.  So we are expected by the Lord Jesus Christ to judge; but we are to judge righteously.  It is biblical; it cannot be refuted; and it is an act of disobedience to refuse to judge, because if we do, then we are disobedient to a whole bunch of other scriptures which we cannot truly obey, unless we judge!  I will point you again to a more thorough presentation on whether we should judge or not, as I have posted before, in Yomi Adegboye’s biblical answer to the question: Judge Not?

Finally, you said: “Are we so full of ourselves that we cannot see that we are hurting the Church rather than heal her? What we need (all of us without exception) is an infilling of the Holy Spirit. Shorter than this is just nonsense.”

First, what is hurting the church is not the biblical Christians who are faithful to God’s word; it is the purveyors of false doctrines, including many of our leaders, as I have documented many times.  These are hurting the Church, not folks like me.  We must put away this continuing habit of unity at the cost of compromising God’s word.

It is ironic that you mention the Holy Spirit.  I was speaking to a new sister in the Lord the other night.  She was expressing the heartbreak she and her husband are experiencing, as they see the slow infiltration of emergent ideology into their own church.  She spoke of certain things she felt inside as she listened to sermons, and heard things that just did not sound right.  I have felt the same things, as have many others.  We believe that much of that “gut feeling” that something is wrong, comes from the prompting of the Holy Spirit in us.  Much of that “feeling” has then been validated by the testimony of others, and ultimately, by the testimony of Holy Scripture.

Believe me, the Holy Spirit has led us to where we are now.  We take ridicule from our very own friends and family, and from people we know for years, who have remained blind to the truth for the sake of preserving their “fellowship.”  Worst still is the fact that many know the truth, but are deliberately compromising for their comfort, friendships, or even positions of power.  At what cost, and who will they answer to someday?

I challenge you once again to look at the facts I report on every week, and come to a conclusion based on God’s word, and nothing else.  I challenge you to come and join the many other pastors, laymen and leaders who have joined with us in the same biblical principle: that we are to please God first, and not men.

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”  Gal 1:10