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/

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)

Just Who Is Dividing The Church?

“It is better to be divided by truth than united in error.”
 “It’s better to be hated for telling the truth than loved for telling a lie.”
“It’s better to know the truth and to stand alone than it is to be wrong with a multitude.”
“It’s better to speak truth that hurts and then helps than falsehood that comforts and then kills.”
“It’s better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.”

Yes, peace and unity are very high in my hierarchy of values. But in my value system, “Truth trumps peace and unity.” You see, in the long run, there will be no lasting peace and unity without truth. How grateful I am for grace and forgiveness. But in my value system, if there is a conflict, “Truth trumps even grace and forgiveness.” For without truth there is no grace or forgiveness.  (Mrs. Joyce Rogers, wife of the late Adrian Rogers)

Over the last few years, the Concerned Nazarenes group has come under criticism from its opposition within the church.  Typical descriptions include “unChristlike behavior”, “causing division”, “dividing the church”, “who are you to judge?”, or the unscriptural “you should never judge” admonition.  Those of us who believe in exercising biblical discernment need not fear any Scriptural refutation of our concerns, because there is none.  The response is either false accusations and misused Scripture references such as Matthew 7:1 to say we should not judge, or Psalm 46:10 to justify contemplative spirituality practices; or no response at all.

When we explain how prayer labyrinths, ashes to the forehead, and lectio divina are unbiblical; the opposition says we are causing division.

When we speak out against ecumenism and the embracing of Roman Catholic mystical practices and state the biblical reasons why; they say we are causing division.

When we point out the false teachings and doctrinally-challenged theology of Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet and others… they say we are causing division.

When we expose a Nazarene pastor (Gabriel Salguerro) for promoting an ungodly “spirituality” festival, we are met with silence because they cannot defend that type of behavior… or we are called dividers.

Recently, I posted on our Facebook Group page a request for anyone who might be able to help translate articles into Portuguese and/or Spanish.  About a month later, the following was posted publicly on the Facebook page of Rev. John Brickley, an ordained elder in the church and a NazNet member, who apparently sent out the same message to a list of Portuguese-speaking Nazarenes.  Below is the English translation of his message:

“To all my friends in the Church of the Nazarene (Lusafona). Recently a group called Concerned Nazarenes asked for help to translate their material into Portuguese. This group already has done much harm to the Church of the Nazarene here in the United States.  Churches have been divided because of them, and many good leaders including Presidents of Universities and the Seminary, some District Superintendents, and also Generals were attacked by name by this group. Even If some of you agree with SOME of the concerns of this group, they act in a manner which is dividing the Church. So I’m warning you not to help this group or with the translation or with the propagation of their material. I am praying constantly for you all and I know God has great things for the Church of the Nazarene (Lusafona).” God Bless, Your Brother John  (my emphasis in bold)

This is another typical example of the kind of attacks that we should expect more and more in the future, for anyone who dares to continue to expose the truth of what is happening in our denomination as well as many others.  Rev. Brickley, who has posted this type of invective publicly before, is not an exception.  He exemplifies what is standard procedure for even some ordained elders in the church, and for those who support and promote the emergent church movement, contemplative spirituality and other dangerous ideologies.

These Are The Ones Who Claim To Be Understanding and Loving?

There were the attacks that came from Trevecca President Dan Boone that lacked any biblical defense  (See here) Dr. Boone is also an ordained elder who wrote a book called A Charitable Discourse, and then ironically in the very book he wrote uncharitably equated fundamental, Bible believing Christians to Muslim jihadists!  He also said this in response to some of our exchanges:

“Religious fundamentalism is one of the hot topics in the world today and this website has given me the best model, other than Islamic fundamentalism, to demonstrate to students how religious fundamentalism works.”

“I am most likely viewing these websites for the last time and would urge all thinking Christians to join me in the exit. Maybe we can stun them with our silence. In the meantime, I am working on a book called “A Charitable Discourse on the Things that Divide Us”. I’ll discuss Jihad in the church.”


So much for practicing what you preach.  Note that if you don’t agree with Dr. Boone, you are not a “thinking Christian.”  Yet he has received much praise for a book that attacks Christian fundamentalists.

And remember the more recent diatribe written by the Rev. Kevin Ulmet in Holiness Today, where he used a few dozen nasty ways of describing those of us who dare to criticize what is happening, and leaves out any biblical defense of his position.  I don’t know what was more shameful: his article, or the many Nazarenes who complimented him on such a fine, “Christlike” and loving piece.  It really was simply another attack piece without biblical foundation, yet he was praised for it.  Some of his “best” loving descriptions included:

“driven by categorization, guilt-by-association”;  “gotcha” tactics that more represent radical politics than anything remotely biblical, Christian, or certainly holiness”;  “Internet rumormongers”; “Salem-witch-hunt”; “Inquisition-type atmosphere”; “Our presidents…  are under direct and often slanderous attacks from various sources”;  “full of self-righteous piety”; “great derision and mistrust in the scurrilous E-mail exchanges”; “mistrust and gossip”; “no regard whatsoever to biblical conflict resolution principles”; “inflaming the emotions of the faithful”; “unjustly and manipulatively ratcheted up by the fully-aware bloggers”; “special-interest-political-action-group thinking”.

And then there were the personal attacks from Olivet theology head, Dr. Carl Leth.  (Responding to Dr. Leth’s Open Letter) He wrote a critique which also followed the Dan Boone method of claiming love and concern for us, but which devolved into yet again the same pattern: baseless attacks with no Scriptural foundation.  When you view the many comments of those who praised his article, it is astounding how people can be blind to Dr. Leth’s baseless and un-Christlike accusations.  As we proved with objective facts in our response, Dr. Leth was either horribly ignorant of the facts, or he deliberately ignored the facts and made false accusations about me as well as the folks at Lighthouse Trails Research.

Then there are the many colleagues of Mr. Brickley over at NazNet.  There are those such as Dennis Bratcher, former professor at Point Loma, who has in the past said some very nasty comments about me and Tim Wirth and anyone else who challenges his version of the truth.  There is the kindly sounding Professor, Dr. Tom Oord, who has expressed a disdain for fundamentalists in some of his writings.  However, even as he has avoided direct vicious attacks on us, he nonetheless exhibited a strange tolerance for one of his Facebook friends, who wrote the following during a discussion of Rev. Ulmet’s article and the Concerned Nazarenes:

 “Pray for what? Insight as to WWJD? Victory over the Enemies of the Church? Assimilation? If so, who is to be assimilated? What’s up with ‘personal sameness’? With Jesus? I am curious. How do you determine if/when that occurs? Do you offer the same advice to the CN’s? What if they don’t listen? What if the opponents to the CN’s don’t listen? Please explain, as I do not, given human nature, see your ‘solution’ .  I abhor strife and violence, but sometimes it boils down to the simple fact that some people just need killing … figuratively if not literally.”

It is amazing that Dr. Oord did not call out this man for making such a hateful and threatening statement on his Facebook page.  It is ironic as well, because Dr. Oord loves to write and talk about love, and has a blog called For the Love of Wisdom, and The Wisdom of Love.  Apparently he has no problem allowing this kind of comment to go unchallenged.

These are just a few examples.  I could go on, about those who brought false accusations against Pastor Joe Staniforth for simply preaching against emergent ideology, leading to his dismissal from his pastoral duties and missionary service.  I could go on about the General Superintendent who dismissed me out of hand in an email to Dr. Boone, after he realized I was not budging easily from my position.  All these attacks serve to illustrate that these people will go to great lengths to protect their turf, at the same time pretending to be the understanding and loving ones.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

They Will Go After Anyone

The NazNetters, and the emergent Nazarenes who claim that they are part of a  so-called “big tent” denomination, will go after anyone.  I recall the disrespectful comments they dished out when a well respected District Superintendent dared to write and speak out against emergent ideology and radical liberalism in the church.  Just as they attacked his integrity for refuting their ideology, so they will someday even go after a General Superintendent who might speak out and stand up for biblical truth in the church.  They don’t care, because their sole interest is to protect the turf that they are trying to permanently claim as theirs, and theirs alone.

To those who are working hard to defend the truth and expose the lies, you have not seen the worst of it yet.  You need to prepare for even worst in the future, and the worst will continue to come from within, from the wolves inside the church.  Do not be afraid of them, do not give an inch to them, do not be intimated by them.  Just keep calling them out for what they are doing to the church of God.  Regardless of the consequences, your obedience to Christ is not an option.

To those who are in the company of Rev. Brickley, Dr. Leth, Dr. Boone, Dr. Oord, Rev. Ulmet, and others who are attempting to silence us by their false accusations of dividing the church:

1. There is a division that is good.   Jesus Christ mentioned it.  He said that He has come to divide with a sword.  He will separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats.  There will not be a “big tent.”  The way is narrow that leads to life, but the path of destruction is wide and looks very comfortable and full of those who love “conversation.”

2. The division that is happening in the church is coming naturally, because what you teach and promote throughout the denomination is causing many Nazarenes to react to your unscriptural teachings, and they are calling you out on it.

There Are Two Things We MUST Do

The Scriptures clearly teach us that we are to be discerning, and to defend the faith once given to the saints.  Paul says in Galatians 1 that if anyone else preaches another Gospel, let him be accursed.  We are to be Bereans, and question our very own pastors or leaders if necessary when we hear strange doctrines and “new” ways of “experiencing” God.  It is not hateful to do that; it is because of love that we ought to do that, for their own sake, and especially for the sake of Jesus Christ and obedience to Him.

But Jesus also commands us to love our enemies.  There are enemies of the Cross within the church, and yet, we are to love them, and to pray for them.  And so we will.  To those reading this who have been misled by false teachings, we will lovingly and prayerfully reach out to you and show you what God’s word says and help bring you back to the truth.  To the ones who are deliberately misleading other Christians, we will not be so gentle with you, because false teachers will not be given a free pass.  We will call you out for what you are doing against God’s word.  We will reprove and rebuke, but we will also pray for you, and we still love you.

But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.  Jer. 20:11

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  1 Peter 4:12-14, 16

No Resurrection? False Doctrines? No Big Deal To Emergent Nazarenes

The following are a few excerpts from a recent thread on NazNet, a Nazarene website for theology discussions.  There are quite a few pastors as well as professors there.  The founder of the site, Dave McClung, is chairman of the Commission on the Nazarene Future, and a former president of Eastern Nazarene College.  It seems he has no problem allowing just about anything to be promoted on this site.  I found much of what I was reading to be unbelievable, so here are some of their thoughts on several subjects. If they are proud of what they write, I’m happy to help the rest of the Nazarene community know it more widely and let them make up their minds about these teachers.   The first topic was a discussion about theologian and writer Marcus Borg. 

 

Part 1: From the Marcus Borg discussion:

Dennis Bratcher, professor of theology at Point Loma Nazarene University:


“What is really irksome about people like Marcus Borg (TIC), is that correct belief is not a condition of being Christian. Of course they ought to be more “orthodox” (generally meaning that they believe like I do). We just have a hard time getting past the idea that someone who does not believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus can still be a recipient of God’s redeeming grace and live in relationship with God. It’s a good thing, too, I think, since I have heard at least two prominent Nazarene theologians say basically the same thing as Marcus Borg, as well as a couple of pastors.”

I wonder if Dr. Bratcher would care to name names?  If that is true, these theologians have no business being theologians, and they would also be heretics on a par with Marcus Borg.  And if Dr. Bratcher agrees with them, he has no business being a theology professor at a Christian school.  And those couple of pastors should also give up their credentials.  I find it amusing yet also sad that statements such as this are always given a pass, but if an ordination candidate makes the claim that he believes in scriptural inerrancy (such as at least one in my New England District) he is told he would not be ordained).  The world is turned upside down yet again.

Bratcher again:

“And before we are too quick to quote 1 Cor 15:14 as the final proof, perhaps we should also think of other passages like John 20:31, 1 John 5:1, and dozens of other passages that point to Jesus himself as the object of saving Faith, not to a set of propositions no matter how true.

Now, let me be clear. I think Marcus Borg is wrong about a lot of things. But as Wesley pointed out, most of us are just as guilty of believing faulty notions. That is why, even though we strive to grow and mature in the Faith, correctness of belief cannot be the judge of salvation no matter where we set the bar or how important the doctrines are that we define as essential. Salvation is by grace through faith, and the object of that Faith is Jesus who is the Christ. That is much different than drawing the boundaries of Christianity, as important as that is. Of course we must define Christianity theologically. But we cannot use those definitions as arbiters of people’s relationship with God. If we do, we all might have a lot about which to be concerned.”

A typical thing that these folks do is to say, “well, I don’t agree with much of what he teaches…”, but they rarely give examples.   Dennis Bratcher knows that Marcus Borg does not believe in the physical resurrection of our Lord Jesus, but he seems to think that this is not important.  He rejects the clear statement of 1 Cor 15:14, apparently.  The next step in unbelief perhaps is to then not believe Jesus existed other than in the minds of the early Christians.  Perhaps Jesus is just a metaphor, as Marcus Borg often uses this kind of argument regarding historical accounts in scripture regarding the resurrection and the events around it.


But, “just believe in Jesus, and don’t worry about obedience to Him, don’t worry about doctrine”, is their mantra.  These false teachers make the standard argument over and over: all you have to do is say you believe in Jesus.   Don’t worry about right doctrine.  It’s not important!  That way, they can make up their own theology and their own doctrine!  Talk about freedom.

Mr. Bratcher should be reminded that even the demons believe, and yet they tremble.  (James 2:19).  He claims to believe, and then says, in effect, doctrine means nothing.

Another NazNetter, also an ordained elder, says:


“Borg is a world class scholar, and Wright – though vocal about his disagreements with him – will say over and over again that he has the utmost respect for Borg as a scholar. Same with Dom Crossan… Personally, I absolutely love Borg. I also think that his work with the Resurrection as myth is better than any other…”

Who is Dom Crossan?  John Dominick Crossan is a member of the infamous Jesus Seminar, as is Borg, and he believes that our Lord Jesus Christ was probably eaten by wild dogs and buried in a shallow grave.  For an ordained Nazarene elder to admire a heretic like Marcus Borg who was part of a disgraceful bunch of unbelievers as the Jesus Seminar, instead of warning about him and exhorting others to stay away from him, is also shameful.

For more on Marcus Borg and The Jesus Seminar:
Marcus Borg Attacks the Inerrancy, Historicity and Inspiration of the Bible

Marcus Borg: A Critique

Who Does The Jesus Seminar Really Speak For?

 

Part 2: From the Roman Catholicism Discussion:

In this discussion, the initial commentator mentions problems he sees with some of the Roman Catholic Church beliefs, and he asks: “How do we see their theology, can there be any sort of coming together doctrinally?”

Some responses from other NazNetters follow, keep in mind again many of them are ordained elders in the COTN.  Some who are very familiar with the Roman Catholic Church and its history, have also pointed out to me how these NazNetters do not even have an accurate understanding of RCC history, and it makes me wonder if they are deliberately lying about the factual statements that some made in contradicting their claims that the RCC can be considered a Christian group.


“As long as Catholics affirm the historic creeds of the church, I think we would have a hard time saying they aren’t Christian.”

“Penance is one of the seven sacraments, a means of grace, preparing for receiving the Eucharist.”

 “Scripture is tradition. Therefore, I would say the RCC is right – tradition and scripture are equal. Also, Scripture is contradictory. Why should that be a problem in the tradition?”

“Christ gives to the Church the power to forgive, and the authority to withhold forgiveness.”

“All Priests, RCC, EOC, Protestant, whatever… as representatives of Christ to the people of God have the authority and power to forgive, and likewise the authority to withhold forgiveness – to a certain degree – per John 20:23.”

“Thus when we pray our prayers of confession in each of our regular services, we as Ministers “acting in a priestly role” can offer a general absolution to the people based upon the assurance of Christ’s atonement and God’s subsequent forgiveness of the truly penitent.”

“The RCC is absolutely a blessing to the Body of Christ, as one of the largest parts of that Body. Genuine Christians should consider it a blessing to be a part of the RCC, just as they should in many other streams of our faith.”

The discussion on this topic has now been closed by the admin.  Perhaps there was just much too much opposition to Rome within their own group.

Naznet continues to be a breeding ground for emergent heresy and promotion of fellowship with an apostate church (the RCC). Sadly, leaders in our universities and pulpits are pushing for the same kinds of changes this group is generally advocating. And some folks wonder why many of us worry about all the Roman Catholic rituals and traditions continuing to come into the Church of the Nazarene now.  It’s no coincidence.

=========================================

Addendum:  Following is a list of beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church which are clearly against Scriptural teaching.  Perhaps any of the NazNetters will publicly profess that there are no problems with these lies.  It is from Jackie Alnor’s Apostasy Alert blog.

 

95 Specious Lies of Rome

 

1. The Roman Catholic Church was founded by Jesus.

2. Mary is the mother of God.

3. There is a place sinners go after death called Purgatory.

4. The RCC has the Melchizedek priesthood.

5. Catholic priests are Christ as they offer mass.

6. The pope’s authority is from apostolic succession.

7. Bones, hair and fingernails of dead saints are worthy of veneration.

8. The pope is the Vicar of Christ and the head of Christ’s church.

9. The pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals.

10 Priests turn bread and wine into the body, blood, soul & divinity of Christ.

11 The communion elements are to be worshipped as God.

12 The RCC has the authority to determine what dead people are saints.

13 Saints are to be prayed to & sought after for miracles.

14 Access to Jesus is thru Mary.

15 Sins must be confessed to a priest for absolution.

16 Penance, not repentance, is required for forgiveness.

17 Indulgences to get dead ones a reduced sentence in Purgatory is still taught.

18 No person can know for sure they are saved; that’s the sin of presumption.

19 The higher the clerical position, the closer to God.

20 Making the sign of the cross has spiritual benefits.

21 Clerical vestments are holy.

22 Kissing the pope’s feet shows honor to Christ.

23 Priests should be addressed as Father.

24 The pope is the Holy Father.

25 The Commandment not to make any graven image is not in the RCC’s list.

26 Holy water is beneficial in sanctifying people and objects.

27 Statues of saints can be bowed to.

28 Self-flagellation is accepted by God for penance.

30 The host is to be adored as it passes in a bejeweled monstrance.

31 Priests must take a vow of celibacy and not to marry.

32 Some sins send you to hell, some to Purgatory – mortal & venial.

33 Catholics must refrain from eating meats during Fridays in Lent.

34 Mass cards can be bought to help spring loved ones from Purgatory.

35 Some hosts have miraculously turned into actual human flesh.

36 Some chalices of wine have miraculously turned into human blood.

37 Chanting the Rosary is a form of legitimate prayer.

38 Reciting the Hail Mary gives one grace with Mary.

39 Mary can hear all prayers just as God can.

40 Meditation by making a mind blank brings one closer to God.

41 Keeping the RCC sacraments is necessary to get to heaven.

42 All other Christian denominations are inferior and the separated brethren.

43 Ex-Catholics are lost until they come back to Rome

44 The scapular gives spiritual protection to the one who wears it.

45 The miraculous medal of Mary will spring the dead person out of purgatory.

46 Mary never died, but was transported to heaven alive in the Assumption.

47 Mary’s apparition has appeared and is appearing with miraculous signs.

48 Seminarians must obey those above them even if they ask them to sin.

49 Mary stayed perpetually a virgin and had no other children.

50 Joseph never consummated his marriage to Mary.

51 Mary was born without original sin and never sinned.

52 Dead saints, like pagan gods, rule over a particular life’s need or position.

53 The Roman Catholic Church is Christian.

54 The Reformers are heretics, worthy of the executions the RCC put on them.

55 The unity of all religions under Rome is a Catholic goal, i.e. Assisi.

56 The RCC has replaced Israel.

57 Rome has replaced Jerusalem as God’s holy city.

58 The RCC is the Mother Church.

59 God recognizes all annulled marriages as if they were never joined.

60 The RCC can change truth with the authority to bind on earth as it is in heaven.

61 The RCC has the right to cover up the sins of their pedophile priests.

62 Baptizing babies makes them part of Christ’s Church.

63 Drinking blood during the mass is A-OK.

64 The faithful received Christ into their stomachs, not their hearts.

65 Rats can eat God.

66 Unbaptized babies do not enter into heaven.

67 Church tradition is equal to the Bible in faith and practice.

68 Peter, a married man, was the first pope.

69 Levitation is a miracle that many saints have engaged in.

70 Grace is not unearned favor, but a special blessing one can earn thru works.

71 The archangel Michael is a saint.

72 To be a saint, miracles have to be attributed to the person after death.

73 Dead loved ones can be present among their families.

74 Exorcisms are performed with the use of the crucifix and holy water.

75 Eucharist adoration keeps Jesus company while he’s stranded in the tabernacle.

76 Jews have no biblical right to the Holy Land.

77 Communion cup forbidden to laity.

78 Jesus’ sacrifice needs to be reoffered daily in a bloodless manner.

79 Vows of silence earns grace with God.

80 The Magisterium holds the mysteries of Christ.

81 The Catholic Church gave us the Bible.

82 Mary is a co-mediatrix between God and man.

83 Jesus died so we can all become gods.

84 Incense and candles create a holy atmosphere.

85 Icons and religious art can be venerated.

86 Mary statues that cry or bleed are holy signs.

87 The stigmata wounds cause saints to suffer like Christ for the sins of others.

88 The infant Jesus is an entity that can be addressed in prayer.

89 Stoicism and deprivation of the needs of the body are acts of holiness.

90 Jesus cannot turn down requests from his mother.

91 OK to pray to body parts such as the sacred heart or immaculate heart.

92 The RCC is the guardian of salvation – they hold the keys to the kingdom.

93 Doctrine and truth evolve.

94 Christ’s payment for sin is insufficient; we must suffer for our own sins.

95 The Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church.

(Originally posted at http://rrrapostasyalert.blogspot.com/2011/11/95-specious-lies-of-rome.html)

They Just Won’t Believe God’s Word

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


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

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

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

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

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


Quotes from NazNet Discussion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From another prominent Nazarene professor at PLNU, Dennis Bratcher:

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

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

End Quotes

For further reference:  The Gospel- Evidence For Creation