General Assembly Diary

Friday, July 3
General Assembly Wrapup: Final Update

Some random highlights and thoughts here for you, as we now have concluded the 2009 General Assembly.  Appreciation to all the new friends who have joined in this battle.

For Concerned Nazarenes who were at the Assembly, our emotions ran in many directions during the time we were there.  Some of us were there for 10 days, others could only be there for two days.  But whatever time we spent there, we believe we were following the Lord’s leading.  One of the most exciting things was the fact that here was a group that worked together as part of the body of Christ, for six months or more, via email and phone, finally getting together and meeting for the first time.  For me, it felt like I had known them even longer.

We arrived in Orlando not knowing exactly what to expect, or how successful we would be.  We had several objectives.  One objective was to distribute as many of the DVDs as possible, and we did that.  About 6,000 DVDs were distributed, and thousands of Eric Barger’s warning pamphlets “How To Spot The Emergent Church”.  Speaking of Eric (of Take A Stand Ministries), he held twice a day seminars for three days, presenting an excellent expose of the emerging church and it’s influences on our denomination.  It was great meeting Eric and he is a wonderful brother in the Lord whose full time ministry is doing a great service in warning the body of Christ of New Age, emergent, and other influences that are causing harm to Christians.
We spoke with hundreds of people who were willing to spend a few minutes with us.  We even presented the gospel to the four young people who were hired to distribute DVDs (more on that later).

The General Assembly
How was the General Assembly, from our group’s experience?  Some good, some not so good.  Overall, the receptivity to our distribution of the DVDs and information was positive.  Some reactions began with almost disbelief, as one of the problems is that much of this emergent infiltration has been under the radar of most Nazarenes.  After the shock wears off from some of the folks, they have been generally concerned and amazed that some of these practices and teachings are in the church and universities.  Of course, there was opposition as well.  A few argued strenuously.  We stuck to scriptural authority as the only guide for determining whether these practices and teachings are valid.  We would get the usual arguments: “that’s your interpretation”, “we can’t throw the baby out with the bath water”, “we’re a big tent and we should accommodate all views”, and more.
But we were not here assuming we would convince everyone.  There are some hard core emergents who will turn away from this “stuff” only by the conviction of God’s Holy Spirit.

The New General Superintendents
We have elected three new generals, and the first one, Rev. Eugenio Duarte, is from my home island of Brava, in the Cape Verde Islands.  He was even born in the same town of Nova Sintra.  The other two are Stan Toler and David Graves.  I do not know them as I know Rev. Duarte, but I have heard good things about them, and I pray that God will direct these three new generals, and all the rest, as they take the most serious leadership role in the coming years for the Nazarene denomination.

The First Day
We immediately began distributing inside the convention center around 12:30 pm on Tuesday for about 20 minutes.  It went well, we passed out a lot.  But we had our first planning meeting at 1 pm, so we returned to the hotel.  We came back around 3 pm to distribute some more, and a few hours later, we were stopped by a convention assistant and told we could not distribute anything.  A few minutes later, the General Secretary, David Wilson, came and spoke with us, asking us to please take it outside.  He was very polite and gracious, and gave us some time to express our concerns, and promised he would give a copy of the DVD to each of the generals the next day.  So we agreed that we should take our work outside and distribute on the sidewalks only.

So we spent about an hour or two distributing DVDS to many people.  Many spent some time with us, asking questions, stating their support as well, sometimes disagreeing.  I spoke with quite a few from Hispanic speaking countries, and I promised them, in my best Portuguese, that I would have some information in Spanish on our main site in two weeks.  I will also post Spanish and Portuguese on my blog as well.

Outside on the sidewalk at the bottom of the long convention steps, this time about four security guards, in addition to several convention assistants, and General Secretary Wilson, came and said we also could not distribute DVDs where we were.  It was pointed out that only a few places a little further away could be used, showing us specific corners that we could go to.  It was only a few days later that I found out from a sheriff friend, that we could distribute on any sidewalk was touching a city street.  But even though we were hampered for these days, we still had great success during the Assembly.  A district superintendent received a DVD, spoke with us, and then asked for more so he could pass them out to each pastor in his district!

We hired a company to help distribute the DVDs during the day, for about six hours, usually from 12 noon to 6 pm.  There were four young adults doing the work, and they worked very hard for us.  We often had to ask them to take the signs off and rest.  They were nice young people and did their job.  The sad thing about this part, which most people did not know as the disparaging remarks made on the blogs, about our decision to hire a company to distribute our DVDs.  However, as I told two of the young people on their last day just before finishing, I believe that they were placed there for a reason, at this very time.  I believe that our opportunity to witness to then after they finished, at a local restaurant, was meant to happen.  We pray that those young people will consider the gospel as given to them, and that they will find the Lord.  It is interesting that one of them said to us, that they have developed a great respect for the Nazarene church after all this activity this week.  We thank them for their hard work.

Throughout the week we passed out DVDs, talked to people, and listened as well. From all of this, many others have now been awakened to this almost silent invasion of our denomination by those who would undermine the word of God.  They will be watching and asking questions.

The Prayer Room and Richard Foster
There was a large prayer room in the South Concourse.  As we entered there was a table with some things on it.  The room was very dimly lit.  The mood was somber, gloomy.  A young man was at one station, seemingly bowing his head back and forth near a wall, similar to how the Jews pray at the Wailing Wall in Israel. There were various stations throughout the room.  It was not what I had expected, but I was not totally surprised.

I believe many in the denomination are pushing us toward a Roman Catholicism type of worship.  It is seen in the books being pushed by Barefoot Ministries, the publishing arm of the Nazarene denomination.  They have a study series promoting lectio divina.  There is also at least one book that teaches how to use prayer beads, or praying the rosary.  Trevecca Nazarene University has a prayer labyrinth.  At least one church has openly used it in their annual District Assembly video report.  So this is no surprise to see this prayer room at GA, although it is a shock.

At one of the stations on the left, I saw a book called “Prayer”, written by Richard Foster, next to a Bible on the table.  The same Richard Foster who warned those who would try contemplative prayer, that they need to say a “prayer of protection before going into it.”  He also warned that novices should not try it.  So where was the discernment in allowing this book to be used?  A funny thing is, that my brother had placed a handout in both the Richard Foster book, and inside the Bible.  The next day, it was missing from Foster’s book, but was still in the Bible. Does that say anything to you?  I don’t know.  Is this a Nazarene version of the stations of the cross in Roman Catholicism?

The Emerging Church Workshop with Jon Middendorf
Three of us attended this workshop Tuesday morning, wearing our Concerned Nazarene shirts near the front.  We listened and took notes.  We were familiar almost immediately with the usual emergent ideology.  Scott Daniels and Jon spent some time defending Brian McLaren, as well as Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, and other mystics.  The phrase “we can’t throw out the baby with the bath water” was used several times.  My response (silently), was we should.  We should not be giving someone water if it has a little poison in it, and expect them to filter the poison out until they drink only the good stuff.  That is not a sound biblical concept.  They however criticized those who would criticize writers like Foster and Merton.  There is more regarding what transpired here, but for lack of time, I will continue that later in another posting.

Do We Have A Voice?
The question we have raised is, do we have a voice?  At every turn, we have seemingly have been blocked. I could be wrong, perhaps we will have another opportunity to speak with leadership.  But our focus now is to go out to the people directly.  We are determined to bring this news to all Nazarenes, and then let them decide.  We cannot allow these practices and teachings to continue coming in unchallenged, and without the knowledge of many Nazarenes.

Friends, brothers and sisters in Christ
I thank all those who have been supporting the efforts of Concerned Nazarenes.  Not only the Concerned Nazarenes I have been directly working with, but the many who have been consistently praying and fasting over the months.  I am so grateful to all the friends I have encountered along the way.  When this blog was started, I felt as if I was alone in the battle.  Not really, of course.  (There are many folks out doing an incredible job fighting and exposing false teaching, at the risk of being vilified and called with hunters, and worse).  But there did not seem anyone close to me that was with me, other than my wife and her support.  My brother John, after investigating my concerns, and finding more on his own, has been solidly with us in warning others of this serious problem.  That’s all we have really asked people to do, check it out, if you are skeptical of these seemingly unbelievable claims we make.
Then in February Beverly left me a comment on my blog, and that’s where it started.
More on all this and the friends I met, in a later post.
Just suffice it to say, thanks to all who have dedicated themselves to the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ and your sacrifice, some of you at great cost.

Are you willing to stand for the truth, no matter what the cost?

Blessings

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Thursday, July 2

Wow, I just can’t keep up with things brothers and sisters!  Sorry for the late report.

Let me just quickly say that our efforts on the ground are going well again.  In the last few days, we have passed many more DVDs.  We have interacted with so many people who are concerned about the emergent problem.  Certainly, we still get opposition as well, but that is to be expected.  Thanks to everyone who is still there working so hard to spread the message and warn Nazarenes.  We are so grateful for all of you and your efforts.  As this General Assembly winds to a close, I can assure you that those efforts will continue.  There is much on the drawing board for future efforts, and the word will still be going out, in ways that we have not imagined yet.  Take heart, and be of good courage.

There is now an email address to where you can request to be on our newsletter list.  We have more things planned for the near and later future.  We will not stop in our efforts to warn fellow Nazarenes and the body of Christ, of the dangers that are being allowed in our denomination.  We will ask questions of all who are promoting these comtemplative spirituality practices in the church and universities, and demand answers as to where they stand.  If these things are good and proper, then let’s bring it all out into the open, into the light of day, and let the people decide what is right or wrong.

On the other GA side of the news, we now have a full complement of General Superintendents.  All three replacement GS’s have been elected.  I urge you all to pray for them as they start on an important work along with the continuing General Superintendents.

Blessings to you all

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Wednesday, July 1

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today has been an excellent day in contending for the faith.  At about 11:00 A.M. this morning, several of us spent time with the Lord before hitting the usual street corner with our DVDs.  When we came back together, the Lord answered our cries.  The day prior, it seemed as if very little was happening.  Many DVDs had gone out, but there was little to jump up and down about.  However, today the Lord sent one person after the next who either supported our cause or was deeply interested.  For example, we met a District Superintendent from the U.S who was troubled by the emergent church, and took Eric Barger pamphlets to send to each church on his district.  A D.S from Mexico wanted more information, and gave us his address to send stuff in Spanish.  Several students from Olivet Nazarene University expressed their concerns about the emergent church, and were thankful we were out there.  They took several DVDs to take back and share with friends.  We spoke to two Africans who will be sharing the DVD abroad.  Praise the Lord!  There was great excitement among us, as one opportunity after another presented itself.  Brothers and sisters, the news is getting out!  Almost 6,000 DVDs have been handed out at the General Assembly, and many are beginning to share in our concerns.

Furthermore, during our time on the streets outside the convention center, news came to us that the first General Superintendent from a foreign country had been elected.  His name is Rev. Eugenio Duarte.  On top of this, he is from the same country as our own, Manny and John Silva – the Cape Verde Islands.  We pray that Rev. Duarte will serve to contend for truth.

Finally, the Concerned Nazarenes are receiving hundreds of hits on their website and blogs every day.  In a meeting today, we have agreed to revamp the website, and send out a newsletter each month.  This will keep you updated as to all the things that are going on, and will be a voice for the people.  You may subscribe by sending a request, including your email address and mailing address, to concernednazareneslist@hotmail.com.

Thanks for your prayers during our stay in Orlando, and let us pray that the Spirit continues to work on the hearts of the people that have received these emails.  God bless!

Yours in Christ,
Concerned Nazarenes

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009: Hi everybody.  Some breaking news today.

Rev. Eugenio Duarte has been elected as one of the new General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene. He is currently the Africa Region Director. He is from the Cape Verde Islands and the island of Brava, my hometown where I was born.  I am very excited to know that a Cape Verdean has been elected, knowing that he knew my father for many years and comes from a tradition of holiness preachers.  Congratulations to him, and may God bless him as he prepares to help lead the Church of the Nazarene.

Eugenio

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General Assembly Day 5: Monday, June 29

  • “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Cor. 4:8-9

Hi folks.  well, it’s Tuesday morning, and everyone has been so busy in Orlando, that a more complete update won’t be up until later on.  I am back in Massachusetts, missing everybody of course.  So look for more information on the happenings from Monday that are worthy of reporting, perhaps by noontime.  I know that Tim spent time with the people at the NazNet booth.  He spoke with quite a few of them and enjoyed the conversations.  Even though many of the NazNetters do not agree with us, they were cordial and Tim had a good time with them.
One thing I want to talk about in the coming days is Barefoot Ministries and its promotion of rosary beads and other practices.  I am outraged about the extent that they have gone to blatantly push lectio divina, and the books they promote as well.  Parents should be outraged as well, and when you get the full details, many of you will be upset.

More to come later.  Thanks for checking in and I appreciate you visint here to get information.  We’ll do the best we can to inform you.

General Assembly Day 5: Sunday, June 28

  • “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Cor. 4:8-9

Today’s report is a little different.  Of course, Sunday is called a day of rest.  Most of the Concerned Naz team went to the morning and afternoon services at the General Assembly.  Since I did not go, and had very little time to speak with any of them until the evening,  I don’t really have any input on how the services were.  So today’s summary is unusual, and is from my experiences.

So, as for my day, I did the unthinkable (in the eyes of some emergent Nazarenes).  Yes… I worshipped today… at… a… Baptist church.  A fundamentalist church.  They even believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, like most Nazarenes still believe.
It was First Orlando Baptist where my sister attends, and today was a special baptism service.  From shortly after the service started at 11, until we had to leave right at noon, there were at least 175 people being baptized in four different tubs.  It was awesome and inspiring to see each person stating their trust and faith in Christ, and then being baptized.  Many came down after an invitation from Pastor Uth, and among them was Orlando Magic basketball player Nick Anderson.

We also attended Sunday School.  I had been there 4 months ago, and had asked the class to keep the Nazarene denomination in prayer, because of the emergent danger.  The lead teacher in the class, Ray Tomlinson, was very kind and asked me to speak on the Nazarene situation this morning.  I spoke for about 20 minutes, and then he finished up with a good followup using scripture from Acts, talking about the Pharisees and Sadducees.  After meeting the couple in the class who are from Iran, I don’t think I’ll complaint too much about the emergents and their insults.  It pales in comparison to the persecution these people and their families go through.  They are now on my prayer list.
I left about 20 Emergent DVDs and brochures (with no fear of arrest), and exchanged emails and will keep in touch.

Picked up Tim Wirth at the airport.  Tim is the original founder of Concerned Nazarenes and was instrumental in helping Sue and Don Butler to bring the DVD project to fruition.
We got back to the hotel, and after a while, we were in a meeting room with almost everyone else.  After a lot of discussion and planning for Monday, we spent some time in prayer for the General Assembly.  There were other personal issues as well, and we prayed for those, as well as for a pastor whose church is in serious crisis due to the emergent heresy.  However, this pastor is one who is standing fast for the truth.

It’s 1 am, and fatigue is settling in.  I return to Massachusetts Monday, leaving at noon.
My employer really needs be back before July 1st, and I guess that’s a good thing.  It has been one of the most spirit filled weeks of my life.  The opportunity to work so hard with people I had known for only six months, and only via email or phone, was incredible.  As I told a young professor (who seems to have taken in the emergent thinking), who asked me how has this affected me, I said that all this has served to strengthen me.  Although I know that this is probably just the beginning of a long, hard battle against heresy in our church, I will miss my new brothers and sisters in Christ.  They have been like a rock to me, and have been a great inspiration.  Every one of them has paid some kind of price for their faithfulness to the truth of God’s Word.  It has been a great privilege to work with them so closely, and as one body that is well connected and all it’s parts are working smoothly.  I thank God for these new friends, each and every one, and I have been blessed to know them.  But we are far from finished in working together, this work will continue as we warn the “average” Nazarene of this cancer coming into the church.

Oh, and the folks all across the country who I have yet to meet.  People who sent in their stories of betrayal and how they had to leave their beloved church.  All are in my prayers and of you are reading this, I really am still praying for you, and have surely not forgotten you.  God bless you, each of you, for standing for the truth.

Monday is  a new day.  I’m sure there will be surprises.

Signing off for now,

Manny

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General Assembly Day 4: Saturday, June 27

Dr. James Diehl preached tonight on the topic of healing.  I have not heard more than two sermons from Dr. Diehl in my life, but I really like the way he preaches.  Tonight he shared the joyful personal account of his miraculous healing from throat cancer after many prayed for him.  He preached on the different types of pain and sufferings in our lives, that can be healed, through the power of Jesus.  And towards the end of his sermon, he shared the painful experience of losing a son to cancer just about a year ago.  His trust in God through all these things was evident to all.  After his sermon, he called 100 pastors up to the altar, where he invited many to come and be prayed over by these pastors, after being anointed with oil.  It was a wonderful service, in this his last official sermon as a D.S., at a General Assembly.

Other things happened of course throughout the day.  Eric Barger did two more seminars, and although attendance was not as good as we had hoped, his presentations were biblically sound and very effective at exposing the errors of the emergent church.  No news from the press releases, so they have not gone out yet, if at all.  We still pray for that to happen.

My brother and I were thrilled to meet Rev. and Mrs. Bartlett Wheeler, who had pastored our RI church in the early 70s, just before our dad came to take over to work with the Portuguese people.  We had lunch with the Wheelers, who serve currently now at a church in West Virginia.  They are solid Bible believing folks who have a lot of friends back in RI.

More DVDS were passed out today.  People are asking questions.  We trust that God will use these tools to reach out to people who do not even know of the dangers to our denomination.  We pray that as they find out, they will make a decision to take a stand for truth, “no matter what the cost.”

Okay, and then there is the serious matter of the resolution to clarify the issue of Biblical inerrancy.  Friends, this could be more important than we realize.  We are talking about a declaration to the world, that we truly believe completely in the Bible, and that it has no error!  Yet, we do not even know whether it will come out of committee and go to a vote on the floor.  Without speculating any more at this point, let us pray that this will come about.  It is important and critical, to the future of our denomination, to affirm that the Bible is indeed completely true, not just parts of it.

I think the highlight from our experience today, was something you might not expect to hear.  At least for some of us.
We had hired four young people from a local advertising company, to walk around and distribute DVDs and flyers.  At times, they would wear walking ads on their backs, but it is tiring to do that for six hours, so they would often take them off.  Most of the time, they would stand at a strategic corner and pass them out.
They worked very hard for us.  They went, as people say, beyond the call of duty.  Sure, they were getting paid for doing the work, but they did such a great job!  Even with some emergent blogs trying to criticize us for hiring them, we are proud of their work.  Frankly, if those bloggers (you know who you are) are reading this, let me say this to you: these four young people exhibited more Godly behavior, by far, than by some of you who have behaved  shamefully in the past week.

At the end of their last day today, Pastor Joe and Sue took them to a local restaurant, and they had something to eat, and some ice cream.  They witnessed to them and Joe presented the gospel.  Pastor Joe explained what we were doing.  How God is preparing the church, His bride.  And how that we are concerned that the bride is pure.  How that some in the church are not saved, even though they attend church.  After all that was done, none of these young folks had a negative view of the church, at least from speaking with them all week.

I had spoken to two of them earlier, and I told them that I truly believed, that God had meant for them to be here, in this time and place, for a reason.  I encouraged to try to get to know the God that I know, the Savior that I know, and I believe the Lord is going to continue speaking to these young people.  One had told Pastor Joe, that he had learned to appreciate and respect the Nazarene church through all this.

So there it is.  Tonight’s summary of Saturday’s happenings.  There was more.  Too much to tell.  Oh yes, I snuck a few DVDs and brochures to people right inside the convention center.  As I left towards the back entrance, I ran into one of our “security” friends and confessed to her that I had just finished passing them out.  We had a good laugh after she “scolded” me.  After this weekend, it’s funny, I will miss her too.

Finally, I suggest we pray for one more kind of healing.  I would like to pray for spiritual healing.  The kind of spiritual healing that comes to those who have bought into a lie.  Healing to those who have abandoned a complete trust in the Word of God.  Healing through the removal of professors in our universities who are not upholding the true gospel. Healing to those who invent new ways to pray and get in touch with God, instead of praying to Him as instructed in the scriptures.  Spiritual healing for a denomination that may be slowly straying away from the true gospel and moving towards ecumenism and the institutionalization of false doctrine.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart! Psalm 119:1-2

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General Assembly Day 3: Friday, June 26

To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
3 Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed;
Let those be ashamed who deal treacherously without cause.

4 Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.   (Psalm 25:2-5, NKJV)

Again we humble ourselves in God’s presence, and acknowledge nothing is possible without His great wisdom and guidance, and that we ourselves are nothing without Him.  Let us not forget that.

More DVDs and brochures continued to be passed out Friday.  We started the day with an 8 am meeting at “headquarters” to plan strategy.  We prayed for the Lord’s guidance for the day.  I read a wonderful, encouraging letter from my niece, who had sent it to all the Concerned Naz folks.  It brought some of us to a few tears , and we appreciated reading that before our day got started!  At 10 am,  some of us attended Eric Barger’s seminar on the Emergent church.  It was well presented again, and more folks came than the previous ones, so the word is getting out more.  We expect a good group Saturday morning.

I got a call from Tim who gave me a heads up.  Apparently, someone on NazNet had implied that we were there at Jon Middendorf’s seminar with possible intentions for committing violence, which is why there were apparently some body guards there.
You know, I believe some NazNet people are very nice,  and I have met them, and spoken with some of them.  But others are totally irresponsible, and sadly, some of them are pastors.  This person was reckless and irresponsible for implying that we are violent people, and he ought to be ashamed and ought to repent for this type of talk.

Anyone who even thinks we may be violent in any way, is sadly misinformed, and these folks are coming close to acting with slanderous intent.  Perhaps the leadership had a right to be careful privately, but for someone on NazNet to suggest there could be violence, I believe is an veiled attempt to smear us.

The emergents on NazNet and the opposing Facebook group are besides themselves.  However, what really upsets me, is the distortion, and sometimes outright lies that they have been saying on their blogs.  It does a great disservice to those on their blogs, who are at least polite and respectful to us who oppose their theology.  My answer to them mainly has been, wait a little while, the noise is going to get louder, from the many who are starting to openly voice their disapproval of unbliblical teachings and practices.

Since they will read this eventually, I give them a warning now.  We do not fear them at all, but they themselves need to fear the wrath of God.  They are playing a game of defiance with the Almighty God, and the consequences will be deadly for them.  Please pray for their repentance, brothers and sisters, that they will ask the lord for forgiveness for doubting His Word; for worshipping the idols of man-made prayer techniques; for doubting God’s sovereignty; for believing that God can make mistakes and learn from them; for teaching youth heretical beliefs on our universities, at the peril of their very souls.  In the words of Dr. Diehl, “Oh God give us a Holy Ghost revival”…. “so that we can win souls for Jesus.”

My brother John and I ran into a whole lot of old friends and other people today.  It has been a great chance to see old and new faces here.  Our Concerned Naz friends who we have been working with for so long over the internet and phones, are going to be missed when we all have to leave.  They are all people who love God and are willing to sacrifice everything if possible for the Lord Jesus Christ.  We were excited to meet Eric Barger who has been doing a great ministry for so long, please pray for him that the Lord will keep him strong physically since he travels so much.

Let us continue to pray for the General Assembly.  Perhaps the most important committee meeting today is the one reviewing the resolution to clarify biblical inerrancy in our Nazarene Manual.  Please pray that this resolution will be voted out of committee and get the chance to have a floor vote.  It could be one of the critical, defining moments for the Nazarene church.  We must declare to all Nazarenes and the world, that Nazarenes, and true Christians, believe in the complete and utter reliability of the Bible, and in the words of John WESLEY: “IF THERE BE BUT ONE ERROR IN THAT BOOK, IT DID NOT COME FROM THE GOD OF TRUTH.”  Amen.  We have a God of truth, and there is no error in the Bible.  Praise His Holy Name forever.

May the Lord bless you all and thanks for your prayers.

Manny, the Concerned Nazarenes group, and ALL concerned Nazarenes here at General Assembly

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General Assembly Day 2: Thursday, June 25

Brothers and sisters, let me tell you… I am not trying to preach a sermon in this update.  I was never a preacher as my dad wanted me to be, but I will say… this is true spiritual warfare we are in down here, right in the General Assembly!

We met for a little bit of coffee and prayer around 7 am.

We then set out for the seminar held by Jon Middendorf and Scott Daniels, called The Church (of the Nazarene) for An Emerging Culture.  My brother John, Pastor Joe, and I, sat right near the front with Concerned Nazarene shirts on!  I know they were already expecting us.  We sat a took some notes, but really, it was the same old, same old emerging talk that got nowhere.  “Let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater” was repeated several times.  Fundamentalists and conservatives were disparaged again.  And of course, the usual re-writing of Wesleyan history again.  A defense was made of Brian Mclaren, Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, and other mystics!  It was an embarrassment to hear all this, but of course, they were mostly preaching to the choir, hence the many “amens”.

GS Jesse Middendorf was there to support his son.  With 5 minutes left, we realized there would be no formal Q&A time.  Pastor Joe had been primed for an inerrancy type question, I was going to tackle spiritual formation.  But Scott asked someone to close in prayer, and then would take questions after, but at the front one on one.  But right after the prayer, Pastor Joe stood up, addressed Dr. Middendorf directly, and asked “since the emergents were getting a forum to speak here, why are not concerned Nazarenes being allowed to get a forum, and will we be allowed a forum?”  The answer…. “That’s not likely”.

That is the only answer we got from a General Superintendent of our denomination, my friends. “That’s not likely”.  In other words, we will not likely get the opportunity to express our concerns.  We are apparently being told to be quiet.  I hope I am wrong, and we pray for an opportunity.  This, after Scott Daniels had just finished stating that our church is a big tent that accommodates many different views.  Thank you, Dr. Middendorf, for your concern.  I will leave you to think of the implications of that response.

Other things happened today.  Although they have tried to thwart us, we are getting the word out, as well as DVDs.  People are expressing their outrage at what the emergent movement is doing.  Yes, there are those who are shunning us and refusing any DVDs, but most folks are receptive to what they get from us.  They have not and will not stop us.
The hired walkers have been awesome and so helpful, beyond doing the minimal they need to do.  And we have often spent time with them, because we are not ashamed of what we are doing.  (This is a response to the distorted perception of why we are using them, as mentioned on NazNet, a blog Scott Daniels is a part of).

Eric Barger started his seminars today, and we are praying for even more people in the next two days to come and hear him.  He is an excellent speaker, and backs up his work using scripture, something that was completely lacking in Scott and Jon’s workshop this morning.

One final note; Dr. J.K. Warrick delivered a powerful sermon on taking up your cross.  It was the kind of sermon that every single Nazarene university student needs to hear, especially those who have listened to the poison of Brian McLaren and others.  I Pray that God will rebuke those who are still allowing their heresy onto our campuses to try to deceive our students with a false gospel.  Continue to pray for the rest of the Generals as they prepare for their sermons later this week.

Sorry this is long, but it could be longer!  We have seen disappointments today, but much to thank God for.

But I share the following with you to finish up, as we humbled ourselves before God today, confessing to him that it is not our strength, or wisdom, our ideas that will have any effect here.  It will be only the power of our Holy God and His Holy Spirit to stir the hearts of men and women, to turn to Him in repentance, and follow the true Jesus.

Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Please pray for miracles from God the rest of the week.  We cannot do anything of ourselves, if we don’t trust the Lord completely in this battle.  Satan is working against, and is even using some within our own denomination to stop the word from getting out.  But it is not working.  I met several pastors from our New England District today, and I can tell you this, the volume of noise in New England is ready to rise, and we are seeing more and more pastors and leaders voicing their stance for the truth of the Bible.  Praise God.

God bless you all, we pray for all who are standing for the truth, and your prayers are appreciated, and we continue to pray for all of you.

Blessings,

A humble servant of Jesus Christ, Manny, and all the Concerned Nazarenes at General Assembly

P.S.  Brenda, we miss you, God bless you, wish you were here!

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General Assembly Day 1: Wednesday, June 24
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

We ended the night with this song, after a time of prayer.  We poured our hearts out to the Lord earlier also, as 12 of us met today and started making “battle plans”.  We are in a fight, and this fight is against the forces of satan, as he tries to continue bringing deception into the church.  He has already deceived many, especially our youth in the colleges and universities, and he certainly has deceived countless professors and pastors who have bought into this heresy.

This was the first day of the Concerned Nazarenes’ work at the General Assembly.  Our goal these next 10 days is to distribute 9,000 DVDs about the emergent church, as well as brochures and contact information.  We also have Eric Barger speaking for three days, twice a day, at a nearby hotel.

Many of us had been working so closely for so many months, looking forward to this day, but this week was the first time most of us met in person.  I thank the Lord for so many new brothers and sisters in Christ who are finally getting together.  We met at 1 pm to do some planning.  But before that happened, four of us went to the Convention center for about 20 minutes, and in that time alone, we passed out so much information to so many!  Almost all were very receptive, many spent a few minutes talking with each of us.

Back in the afternoon, around 5 pm time, we passed out so many more brochures and DVDs.  Things were going effortlessly.  Then we were asked by some staff to cease what we were doing, and then the General Secretary, David Wilson, stopped to help them out, and asked us to also stop.  We spoke with him politely for about half an hour, we made our case, we spoke about our passion to stop the emergent church movement.  I spoke about what I have gone through myself, he listened, and even promised to give a DVD to each of the Generals tomorrow.  We agreed to distribute outside only as asked.

Later, we were again asked to stop distributing where we were, although by then we had passed out many DVDs and flyers.  I could not understand why they now are asking us to go even further away, and I will try to verify for sure that we cannot distribute from where we were.  This time, Dr. Wilson also was there, but there about 5 security guards and other staff.  Most were polite, although one was a little rude to my brother John, hinting that they may have to “take other measures”!

Meanwhile, Sue Butler was walking around with the “walkers”, four young people who were hired to walk around with signs on their backs and distribute the flyers and DVDs.  We had great success also on this first day with that, and people were swarming around them to get the info.  Praise the Lord!
We saw a prayer room (I have pictures) that looked morbid, and looked like a recreation of the ancient style types of scenarios that you found in monasteries and Roman Catholic churches, but not in a Nazarene church.  Is this part of an ecumenical movement?  Oh yes, and a book on prayer by… Richard Foster.  Does any one in the leadership know about this man and his teachings??  If so, why are his books there?  Where is the discernment?  His material is some of the worst teaching you can imagine that does not measure up to the scrutiny of the Word of God.

Anyway, I spoke in my best Portuguese to about 8 or 9 different groups of Hispanic speaking delegates and visitors, and somehow promised to have a Hispanic page on our site in two weeks!   We will have it there somehow, and I pray we will also have a Portuguese page as well.  (Sorry Monica).

Brothers and sisters, we are determined to tell every Nazarene possible about the heresy that has entered the denomination, especially in our universities.  I spoke with quite a few people who were outraged at the information I passed on to them.  They are just as upset as we are, that professors are questioning the sovereignty of God, and that the Word of God is being challenged as a completely reliable source for Christians.  There are about 15 of us doing this right now, but there are a whole lot more Nazarenes behind us in this.  The leadership either does not know this, or they are looking the other way.

A few weeks ago, I asked  a group of people at a presentation: “Are you willing to stand for the truth, no matter what the cost?”  My answer is a full and complete yes, as is the answer of these brave brothers and sisters I have been blessed to meet today.  Please pray for us, as there is much more to be done in the next week.  Pray for Eric Barger’s twice a day seminars, which begin Thursday morning.  Pray for the leadership, that God will move them to make a stand against this unbiblical movement.  Pray for the Nazarene denomination, the decisions that will  be made this week, could dramatically alter the future of this great denomination.

May God open the eyes of many during this critical moment in our Nazarene history.

Blessings

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Monday, June 22
John and I arrived in Tampa.  Spent some time with friends, and then stayed overnight at our friend Fonso’s house.  Not much happening yet for us.  I know that the One Heart, Many Hands community service project starts today.  The main meeting site for it is Orlando First Baptist church, where my sister and brother in law are members.  It is probably the largest Baptist church in Orlando, and I was there several months ago, and enjoyed both the Sunday School and worship services.  The senior pastor, David Uth, preached a solid, Bible based message, and Sunday School was really a joy to attend, where they actually studied the Bible the way it is supposed to!  I plan to attend again next Sunday.

Captain’s Log, June 24, at 10:30 am
On Tuesday, our good friend Fonso, who got me really interested in apologetics and serious Bible study, took us to the car rental place at noon.  We got to our destination, a villa in Kissimmee which was generously offered to us for the week.  After settling in, I called Sue Butler, one of the Concerned Nazarenes who along with her husband have helped so much towards the efforts to inform Nazarenes about the emergent church.  We made plans to go to the hotel and meet with her around 5 pm.  Details on that later.  Gotta run to meet Pastor Joe now (Wed 10:30 am) and check out the Convention Center and see what is going on today.

Tuesday afternoon, we met with Sue at the hotel where most of the team is staying.  Eric Barger will be speaking there also.  I will write some notes on our conversation with Sue later.  Gotta run to survey the Convention Center.