Nazarene Scholars Continue To Undermine Belief In God’s Word With Evolution’s Lie

“Theistic evolution is a concept being taught in many “evangelical” seminaries and colleges today. It is an idea that comes straight from the pit of hell. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Bible contains lies and myths, and that Adam and Eve were allegorical figures. If you teach and promote theistic evolution, you are calling God a liar. There is no middle ground here.”

This is my first article in almost two months, but I’m afraid things are just as bad as it was since my last post; the status quo in most of the evangelical denominations has not changed; and the Nazarene church is still in bad shape, notwithstanding any rosy reports from the General Superintendents or other leadership. Compromise seems to be the underlying principal for these religious leaders for quite some time now. Independent thought and true leadership is a thing of the past, as these General Superintendents continue to speak with one voice, or not speak at all, regardless of the truth.

In fact, the reluctance of the Generals to inform tithe-paying members about any details of the developing Nazarene Publishing House scandal, is a scandal and a moral and ethical failure in and of itself. I await further information before writing fully on this situation, but I can tell you that even those at NazNet (a Nazarene discussion site) who oppose us and disagree that there is a rebellion against God’s word within the church, are concerned and outraged at the continuing secrecy within the General Board regarding the financial debacle at the Publishing House. This link will take you to a discussion on NazNet that has broken all viewing records at that website, for any topic previously.

But let me alert you (again) to a further scandalous debacle that has been going on for a while now, and that is the promotion of theistic evolution in the church as an acceptable view of how we were created by God. The promotion of evolution by theology professors and other scholars, as well as by college and seminary presidents and district superintendents, goes to the heart of the problem in the Church of the Nazarene today. What is that problem? It is simply this: that men in the church are now standing on a foundation built on their wisdom and knowledge, rather than on the foundation of the teaching of God as written in His word. Selective belief in some scripture, while rejecting other parts, is the philosophy of these so-called “learned men and women”, even if they don’t state it overtly.

And now to show that it looks like the danger is worse than we thought. The group Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, lead by Tom Oord, professor of religion at Northwest Nazarene University, recently conducted an online survey. It involved the questioning of two demographics- a sampling of Nazarene laypeople, and a narrower sampling of Nazarene college scholars. Both results look pretty bad, and serves as a continued and even louder warning to parents who love their teenagers and want them to have a solid education that is grounded in truth. They will no longer be guaranteed to have that at any Nazarene university or college, including any of the seminaries.

Well known college presidents such as Dan Boone of Trevecca are fueling the advancement of the anti-biblical notion that man was created over millions of years of random evolutionary processes. Others pushing this godless idea which clearly contradicts the Biblical account include theological intellectuals like Al Truesdale, my former Greek New Testament professor; Scott Daniels, pastor of Pasadena First Church; retired professor Robert Branson; Kerry Fulcher and Mark Mann of Point Loma; Mark Winslow of Southern Nazarene; District Superintendent Stephen Borger; Carl Leth, Dean of Theology at Olivet Nazarene; Mark Maddix of Northwest Nazarene; Henry Spaulding, Mt. Vernon Nazarene President; theologian Rob Staples; and quite a few more “learned men and women”, who can be found at the Nazarenes Exploring Evolution site. These people are all responsible for helping indoctrinate countless students with theistic evolution, and their furtherance of this godless idea will lead to them being held accountable by God someday.  They need to repent, or they need to be removed from their positions of authority over our students.  Many of them have also been pushing the emergent church teachings. And do you wonder why so many young people are walking away from the church? Why wouldn’t they, when they are taught that they cannot trust God’s word?

In his article Poll Shows Nazarene Scholars Embracing Evolution, Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis summarizes the survey results:

Overwhelmingly, scholars at Nazarene institutions believe:

1) that the Bible does not require a belief in a young earth (nearly 95%)
2) that the Bible is compatible with evolutionary ideas (82%)
3) that science has established that the world is billions of years old (nearly 86%), 4) that human evolution is true (67%)
5) that the Nazarene church should consider theistic evolution as a valid alternative to biblical creation (87%).”

Those are very disturbing statistics, and the numbers for the first four questions, which were also posed to Nazarenes in general, were almost as ominous. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Bible contains lies and myths, and that Adam and Eve were allegorical figures. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Jesus was not truthful when he referred to Adam. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that sin and death did not come into the world through the disobedience of Adam, as written in Romans chapter 5.

So let’s be clear: if you teach and promote theistic evolution, you are calling God a liar. But it seems it will only get worse, and Bible-believing Christians will have to decide whether a secular college will be less dangerous to their children’s spiritual wellbeing than a “Christian” college or university. This whole bunch are some of the most dangerous people professing to be Christians today, and any parent sending their children to a Nazarene university or seminary today is literally gambling with their child’s spiritual health.

Dr. Ham, who has spoken out about and exposed these issues more than most Nazarenes have, went on to comment:

“This is clear evidence that a major denomination is teaching young people that they can’t trust the Bible when it comes to Genesis 1–11 and that fallible man can reinterpret God’s Word—thus man is the authority and not God.”

I agree. These men and women are a disgrace and not one of them should be in a position of authority that they are in, because they are misleading many.  The failure of the Nazarene General leadership in even attempting to right the ship makes them just as culpable, because they are allowing the erosion of Biblical standards by doing nothing- which seems to be all they are willing to do.

 

Addendum

What follows is the statistical report of both surveys, which are from the BioLogos website. (http://biologos.org/blog/nazarenes-on-evolution).   I found it very discouraging; you are free to make your own conclusions and decisions.

Poll of Nazarenes on Evolution

Question 1: Genesis and other biblical texts require Christians to believe the earth was created less than 15 thousand years ago.

Q1a

Question 2: The Bible can properly be interpreted as compatible with the theory of biological evolution.

Q2a

Question 3: Geology, astronomy, and physics have established that world is billions of years old.

Q3a

Question 4: Humans likely became a species as God worked with the biological evolutionary process.

Q4a

Among other things, this poll suggests that more Nazarenes today feel comfortable with evolution.

 

Nazarene Scholars on God Creating through Evolution

Question 1: Genesis and other biblical texts require Christians to believe the earth was created less than 15 thousand years ago.

q1

Question 2: The Bible can properly be interpreted as compatible with the theory of biological evolution.

q2

Question 3: Geology, astronomy, and physics have established that the world is billions of years old.

q3

Question 4: Humans likely became a species as God worked with the evolutionary process.

q4

Question 5: The Church of the Nazarene should allow the theory that God creates through evolution as one acceptable view of creation among others.

q5

Mocking and Rejecting God And His Word

“Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:22

They twist God’s word for their own purposes.  We see them all around us now more than ever before, or so it seems.  Perhaps they are just simply less subtle and have been emboldened to be more plain about their heresies.  Complacency by both leadership and laiety alike further enables them to take a stronger foothold in our “Christian” universities, seminaries, and churches.  The sincere desire for “unity”, “love”, and setting aside “minor” differences has led to a watering down of God’s word and a reliance on man’s rationalizing to decide what is valid in Scripture.

Tom Oord of Northwest Nazarene University, a highly regarded professor of theology and philosophy, is perhaps the leading false teacher in the Church of the Nazarene.  He has been allowed to continue on and on with his poisonous agenda of evolution and open theism, and you would think he would be out by now, and teaching in a secular school instead.  Why he remains, as well as others, is either a matter of complacency, or fear, or the leadership sees no problem with his ideas.  He certainly is not there because he holds fast to biblical truth, because he has rejected biblical truth in place of his own.

In his latest article that caught my attention, he practically starts off with a falsehood:

“I take the Bible with utmost seriousness”

Anyone who does not believe Adam and Eve were real, or who believes that God cannot know the future, or who believes that God can learn from His mistakes, or that God could not have created all things in a brief period of days- does not take the Bible seriously!

He then starts slowly explaining how he came to his disbelief:

“Witnessing to God’s truth seemed to require that I believe the Bible was without error on all matters, including matters related to science.”

His love of man’s wisdom instead of God is shown in these words:

“Instead, I started reading the Bible carefully and the work of biblical scholars.”
“I also discovered discrepancies in the Bible.”
(so he says)

“My quest for better ways to think about the Bible prompted me to read theologians and Bible scholars from the past and present.”

His claim of “discrepancies” can be proven to be false, and that is another whole new article in itself.  He also rejects John Wesley’s own testimony that he believed in biblical inerrancy, conveniently dismissing it as being inconsistent at best.

He continues with his high regard for what “leading scholars” think:

“And I discovered through reading and conversations that those considered the leading biblical scholars and theologians today also reject absolute biblical inerrancy.”

“Perhaps even more important was my discovery that great theologians and biblical scholars of yesteryear believed the Bible’s basic purpose was to reveal God’s desire for our salvation.”

“The vast majority of Evangelical scholars with whom I talked also didn’t think the Bible has to be inerrant about scientific matters.”

These statement are all indications that show he clearly does not come to his conclusions based on what the plain teaching of God’s word is, but rather on the wisdom of “great scholars and theologians.”  Throughout his writings you will see examples of what he “thinks” is, instead of taking God’s word for it, when God clearly speaks in a literal, not allegorical fashion.  But leave it to Tom Oord and other intellectuals to decide what’s best for us and convince us that only certain parts of Scripture are infallible; the rest are not trustworthy in what they say, because of a so-called conflict with “science” and man’s foolish and unproven theory of evolution.

Scripture instead asks “Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  1 Cor. 1:20

And then he finishes with a flourish and an example of his superior intellect over what the Bible teaches:

“After my studies, I came to believe that the Bible tells us how to find abundant life. But it does not provide the science for how life became abundant.”

So Tom Oord’s premise is this: we cannot believe anything the Bible teaches us, even if evidently in a plain literal way, if it has to do with such things as geography, science, history, anthropology, or even politics.  No, to Tom Oord and others, we can believe in biblical inerrancy only in matters of salvation.  I don’t know who originally came up with this, but it is certainly not based on God’s word.  The Bible does not teach us this at all; it is man’s invention.  I believe the answer as to why he thinks this way, is that he has no trust in God’s word at all.  It is impossible to trust God’s word, and then at the same time say that parts of it are false.   And if he does not even trust God’s word, let me dare ask the question: is Tom Oord even saved?

How do we determine which parts of Scripture has to do with salvation, and which does not?

For instance, in Romans 5:12, it is written that “sin entered into the world” and thus “death” by sin.  Does Tom Oord reject the fact that the “man” that Paul is talking about is none other than Adam?  And if sin entered the world through Adam according to Scripture, followed by death, how is that compatible with the story (fable) of evolution, which logically says that death came into the world long before man existed?  Is Paul a liar, thus making God a liar, since what Paul wrote IS God’s word?  How then can Tom Oord or any other pastor or Christian leader tell us that this passage has nothing to do with “matters of salvation?”

Let me make it clear as far as what I believe.  If you are actively teaching others that evolution is compatible with the Bible, you are a false teacher.  If you believe this theory to be true, you are sadly deceived and need to re-visit the Bible and what it says.  You have been fed a lie, and if you think that a Christian can continue on in their Christian faith solidly believing in only part of God’s word, and not stumbling on account of that belief, you are sorely mistaken.

In part two of his series on BioLogos, Oord says the following:

I think, however, that the Bible can be trusted about what it says about salvation even though its statements about the natural world – when interpreted literally – may be wrong.”

What total arrogance!  His reliance on “biblical scholars once again brings him to this man-driven conclusion:

“After all, biblical scholars say we best interpret Genesis 1 and other Bible creation passages as hymns and theological poetry, not scientific treatises.”

And then the height of arrogance in the following:

“For instance, evolution tells us that it took millions of years for creatures to evolve into the complex forms we now see. But if God gives freedom and/or agency to all creatures and they act as created co-creators, it would make sense that creating complex creatures takes time.”

Yes, for Tom Oord, it does not make sense that God can create anything in a short amount of time.  For him and his colleagues, it only makes sense that God needs millions and millions of years to create life.  Perhaps Dr. Oord believes that God made some mistakes over those years, and had to try several times before He got it right. After all, that is what process theology teaches, does it not?

This is total foolishness, and this is only a small part of what is destroying the Church of the Nazarene from within.  Tom Oord is a lover of wisdom, not a lover of God’s holy and pure and inerrant word.  The doctrines which he conjures up are senseless and speculative, and in the general sense of how the word “fool” is used often in Scripture, it means void of understanding or any moral sense.  This aptly describes Dr. Oord and all those who are teaching this philosophy.  They are devoid of understanding of God’s word, notwithstanding all of their training and degrees.  They are corrupt shepherds leading the flock to destruction.

And the rest of the leaders in the church?  What about them?  Silent as usual.

Open Theism and “Christian” Evolution At Eastern Nazarene College?

I am not a theologian.  I am simply a Christian whose highest degree is an MS in physical education, hardly a qualification that will get me into the theology department in any school.  I have a hard time dealing with lofty theological constructs, and really need to focus when I listen to lectures that are very heady.  But I can muddle through them if I really try.  And so I did last Thursday night, April 30.  The occasion was a lecture at Eastern Nazarene College by one of the major proponents of Open Theism, Dr. Thomas Oord of Northwest Nazarene University.  I had the pleasure of meeting him that night, and we chatted for  a few minutes.  No debate, just a few pleasantries, and he already knows my position on some of his views.  I drove up to hear him, because most of the time I am reading up on someone’s views, but I rarely get the chance to hear them live, on meet them in person.

Dr. Oord’s lecture was concerning “Creation and Providence in A World of Good and Evil”.  At the beginning of the lecture, he stated that he believed that evolution was compatible with Christianity.  Red flag already. That is a troubling statement, and yet it is something being taught by some Nazarene university professors.  Evolution contradicts the Biblical, historical account of the creation, and either one is false, or the other.  I choose to believe the Bible.  Dr. Oord also admits he is not a biblical inerrantist (that the Bible is without error), and that is a non-starter with me that I have had with emergent thinkers.  I cannot have a “conversation” with people who support the emergent church movement when they cannot start from the premise that the Bible is without error.  (We are talking about the original manuscripts).  Unless I am mistaken, Dr. Oord is a pretty strong supporter of the emergent church movement.
During question and answers, I made sure everyone knew that I  was clearly a Biblical inerrantist.  Then I pointed out to Dr. Oord how Romans 5:12 helps to answer the question of why there is evil and death in the world.  The scripture says:

  • Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.  Romans 5:12-14

I cannot remember the exact answer Dr. Oord gave, but at the end of it, he said something that  essentially pointed out that we disagreed on this.  He said also, “I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”   I failed to followup with another question for clarification, but it was later I realized that Dr. Oord probably does not even believe Adam and Eve existed, since he believes that evolution is compatible with Christianity.  If so, there was no Adam and Eve!  Believing in evolution destroys the biblical account, as well as many others.  So the two cannot be compatible.  You can believe evolution, or believe the Bible account of creation, and believe what Romans 5 says, that sin and death came through Adam, NOT evolution.
So let me make this clear as to where I  stand on the theology of open theism.  It is a denial, however subtle, of the total sovereignty of God. Nothing more, nothing less.

To think that God may not only know the whole future, as they believe, but that He is susceptible to making mistakes and learning from them, is at best a grossly mistaken error, and at worst, a heretical teaching.  So my concern is this: why is Dr. Oord, who seems to be a very nice guy, being asked to speak at Eastern Nazarene College?

To answer the question of why is he speaking at ENC, you need not look any further than ENC for the answer. In 2007, an Open Theology and Science Conference was held at Eastern Nazarene College in June 2007.
As a followup, last April of 2008, ENC had a registration page for an Open Theism and Science Conference at Azuza Pacific University.  On their “What Is?” page, this is how they defined Open Theology:

Open Theology Affirms That

  • 1) God and creatures enjoy mutually-influencing relations,
    2) the future is open and God does not fully know or settle it
    , and
    3) love is uniquely exemplified by God and is the human ethical imperative

I am particularly troubled by #2.  “God does not fully know the future?” The others will need further explanation as to what they may mean fully.
Keynote speakers at that conference included Dr. Gregory Boyd, a leading proponent of Open Theism.  Also scheduled to speak were Dr. Oord himself, Dean Blevins of Nazarene Theological Seminary, Michael Lodahl, whose writings I had to refute in a “conversation” with a pastor who might himself be an Open Theist; and Clark Pinnock, another highly acclaimed Open Theist.  Finally, one of the directors of the conference is Dr. Karl Giberson, professor of science and religion at ENC, whose books include Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.

So the question above seems to have been answered.  It seems that at least some administrators at ENC have no problem inviting Open Theists to speak at their campus, and have no problem advertising conferences which openly promote Open Theism.  It would probably be logical to assume that Northwest Nazarene University also has no problem with having a full time professor who teaches this theology.  One of the answers I could not get from attending on Thursday night was, why do the powers that be at ENC invite these speakers to their campus, unless they believe the same theology?  If so, that is again very troubling. My oldest son is only seven, but if he was close to college age, I would be asking questions as to what theological beliefs are being taught at any university he might attend.  I would want my child to attend a Christian school that is firmly planted on solid Biblical ground.  I would certainly never send him to any school which promotes emergent theology, contemplative spirituality practices, or which challenges the authority of the scriptures.

If you have a child soon to be considering going to ENC, or a child who is there now, you may want to give a call or a visit to the theology department at ENC and ask some questions.  Perhaps even write a letter to the President of the College, Dr. Corlis McGee, to see where she stands on this issue.  It is an important enough issue to ask questions and get answers.

If you are comfortable with the idea that God may not know everything, and that God also is susceptible to making mistakes, then there is nothing to worry about.  But if you are concerned, then one question is this: how many “young skulls full of mush”, as a talk show host affectionately describes young, impressionable youth, will be deceived into believing this very erroneous belief, and I believe, a heretical view of God.

For one of the many refutations of this heretical view, see the article Does The Bible Affirm Open Theism by John M. Frame

For extensive resources on this topic, go to the monergism.com website for a list of links to various articles.