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

Ashes to forehead
(NPH Endorsement of the Catholic way)

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

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

Ash Wednesday: of pagan origin?

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

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

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

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

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

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

FOR FURTHER REFERENCE:​

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

The Nazarene Road To Rome Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For further reference:

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

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

 

 

Diaprax: How Most Christians Are Deceived Today And Become Blind To Truth

If, for example, you are attending a “church” that is taking or has taken polls, surveys, and feasibility studies to “grow” itself (the same method that is used in marketing to “make customers,” i.e. the same method used by Total Quality Management in the workplace, Common Core in education, etc.), it is trusting in the opinions of men, making man’s “feelings” and “thoughts” its head rather than the Lord God and His Word.  The dialectic lie, i.e. the great deception is that the “church” can “grown” itself (basing fellowship upon mans relationship with man—“and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”  1 John 3:1).  The truth is the Lord only adds to the fellowship of believers by His Word being preached and taught as is and accepted as is and obeyed as is, i.e. un-tampered by “human reasoning,” i.e. un-perverted by the opinions of men.  The minister of the Lord feeds the sheep with the Word of God.  He does not contaminate it with the opinions of men as the wolf in sheep skin does. (Dean Gotcher, from www.authorityresearch.com)

So this is about the “how” and less about the “why” as to why so many Christians are being led down the wrong path and are either accepting the false as being true, or worse, are behaving in an “I know nothing, I see nothing” state of mind.  The “why” can be difficult to know, but we do know it is happening, and that is what is frightening.  Have you heard of the term “diapraxis?”

What is diapraxis? What is the Hegelian dialectic process? As best as I can explain, it is a dangerous process which is used  over and over again by many false teachers and corrupt pastors to convince undiscerning Christians that there is nothing wrong with what they are teaching them, and that perhaps there can be two differing points of view that can live right alongside each other in harmony.  It is a way of teaching that says we can get along fine and accept each other’s seemingly contradictory belief systems.  Dean Gotcher explains that the dialectic process means that “truth must be treated as an opinion.”  For example, the battle going on now between theistic evolutionists and Biblical creationists is a good example.  Many in the Nazarene denomination and other denominations make the argument that we can hold to either belief system and still have harmony within the church.  Many of these folks have been victims of diaprax, and they don’t even know it.

In this short video excerpt from Dean Gotcher’s seminar on diapraxis, he gives a brief explanation of the term, and also his testimony of how he managed to escape the dangers of worldly thinking and reasoning, and his return to complete trust in the Bible.  I encourage you to go the links at the end and watch his full seminar on this important topic.  It is probably the primary way that today’s false teachers and corrupt pastors are bringing great harm to the church.  Instead of standing completely on the full authority of God’s word, many foolish Christians are being swayed to “get along”, to seek “unity”, and to not cause division, and these diapraxers know exactly what they are doing.

I recall from the past five years what may be a classic example of diapraxis.  I recall one of them particularly, which is a bit frightening, and it is something that probably happens all the time to many undiscerning Christians, even longtime “mature’ Christians.  You see, I believe in what God says, and that there is no other option for me.  Some however are easily swayed by the words of man, and are led to compromise their faith in God and what He says.

It was my first public presentation on the emerging church, which happened in 2009.  I was invited to speak by the pastor at my current Nazarene church, (since retired), and whom I consider to have been very bold and courageous for asking me to come.  I spoke to a crowd of about 150 people, including quite a few from various churches in the area.  After the presentation, I was approached by several people; some came to compliment me, others had some questions.

It was then that an older Christian from my former church came up to me.  He was full of encouragement, and expressed his appreciation for my taking a stand against false teaching.  I was, needless to say, happy to have his support and hear his encouraging words.  But I was shocked and dismayed, when less than six months later, to hear of what seemed to be a turnaround for this longtime respected Christian in the church.  At my former church one Sunday, my brother passed out copies of my not so well-received front page article from The Good News Today, which essentially was the same thing I talked about months earlier.  As my brother recounted to me later about his experience, he told me how that gentleman, who had acknowledged the truthfulness of what I spoke, now had changed his mind somehow.  His very words regarding my article were something like, “that belongs in the garbage.”  I believe that over those six months, he had been “diapraxed”.

What makes people change their minds like that?  This gentleman never once called me to explain why he changed his mind.  He may not even be aware that I know what he said that day.  Was he concerned for me, that I was now in error, and that what I taught that day was totally wrong?  If so, why could he not approach me and correct me as a fellow believer is encouraged to do from the word of God? Did he not care about my spiritual well being enough to try to convince me, with the word of God, where I was wrong?

This is just one small example of many.  Over the past five years, I have received testimony from many Christians about how their fellow believers seemingly have turned on them, even when they acknowledged that they spoke the truth.  Some of these who have turned against them, in spite of the truth, have probably been “diapraxed.”  They have been taught that it is better to get along rather than keep your convictions about the word of God.  It is a dangerous place to be, because many have remained to this day in that state of mind.

Have you been diapraxed?  Have you been taught to ignore the truth, in exchange for “unity” and “fellowship?”
Please keep this Scripture passage in mind: “13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.  2 Cor. 11:13-15

I encourage you to bookmark these four sessions by Dean Gotcher and spend some time going through all of them.  It is very important in order to understand the mindset of the false teachers and how most of them operate.  Dean is the founder of Authority Research (http://authorityresearch.com/

and bases his work on the foundational reliability of Scripture.

Dean Gotcher’s seminar on diaprax:

Part 1 (1:13) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMTgxDbxa2g

Part 2 (1:12) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQGV04XqTls

Part 3: (1:10) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHOg4bOD9tA

Part 4 (41 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgxwaKhxs0Y

Pastors That Promote Evolution Need To Be Challenged

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at his coming. 1 John 2:26-28

The debate is over.  Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy.  For those who missed the debate about evolution, there will be a DVD of the entire debate available, and the debate is now online here (skip to the 13 min mark where it actually starts).  The online video has already had over 1.2 million views since last week.  I was perhaps most grateful to Ken Ham for the fact that several times in the debate, he was able to share the Gospel message, pointing to us what is most important. I was also thankful that folks like him and Dr. Purdom are faithfully defending God’s clear and unambiguous account in Genesis of how we were created.  My prayer is that God will use this event to move hearts and minds, bring people to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ, help remove doubt and confusion in the minds of wavering Christians, and that He will rebuke those professing Christian leaders who are promoting this ungodly teaching.

I know, perhaps not many minds were not changed right away, and some minds may never change on this issue.  Yet, the biblical Christian knows that the theory of evolution is a farce.  Even a non-believer who looks at the evidence knows it is a farce.  It is unproven, it is full of holes, and many parts of it have been discredited over time, after many scientists were so sure about it.  Yet, the sad irony is that not only does Bill Nye reject the truth of the biblical account of creation, so do many pastors!  And this is one of the great dangers in our church today- pastors who deny the truth of Scripture, and you need to be warned about this.

It is very possible today that you could be under the leadership of a pastor who denies the historical accuracy and truthfulness of Genesis 1-11.  In fact, I would advise you to ask him what he does believe, if he has not made that clear yet.  If you believe what God has said in Scripture, and if you reject the godless theory of evolution, what does it say to you if you find out that your pastor accepts evolution?  Before and after the debate, I read various comments about Ken Ham at several “Christian” websites on the internet.  There is a certain disdain for Ken Ham, who has defended the biblical position and has written many articles exposing the godless teaching of evolution within the Nazarene denomination.

There is also a certain disdain for Nazarene pastors, and Christian pastors in general, who believe in the biblical account.  There is an elitist spirit about these critics of Bible believing Christians.  I saw this elitist spirit at General Assembly this year, as a pastor from New England, along with his friend, abruptly walked away from a conversation with me about evolution.  I was challenging them from a biblical perspective, and in the end, they would have none of that kind of talk in the conversation.  They wanted compromise, and they wanted me to accept the evolution position as a viable position.

As we have posted before, if you believe in evolution, then you have to reject several things taught in Scripture.

To a theistic evolutionist, he/she must believe that:

-Adam and Eve were not real historical figures as described in Genesis;

-Jesus was not truthful when he talked about Adam and Eve in a historical context;

-You reject God’s account in Genesis that He created everything in six days;

-You reject the ​truthfulness of the​ genealogical account of the Lord in the book of Luke, which includes Adam;

-The account of the first 11 chapters of Genesis is only allegory;

-You accept that death came into the world many years before any Adam and Eve, contradicting Romans 5:12 and its explanation of how sin and death came into the world;

-You pick and choose what you want to believe, instead of accepting God’s historical account at face value;

-You choose to use your own intellect and human reasoning and philosophy to validate the Bible, instead of letting the Bible validate itself;

-You reject the inerrancy and reliability of Scripture as the sole and final written authority for our faith and practice, and instead accept that the Bible has errors and is written deceptively.

Those pastors who are promoting the godless theory of evolution must be confronted.   If not, they will continue deceiving countless Christians without opposition.  They will sow the seeds of doubt in their minds, and soon, the floodgates will open for some, who will start doubting other parts of Scripture.  These pastors are the “corrupt shepherds” that were so aptly described by Walter Martin.  Some of them are the open theists as well, who believe that God cannot know all of the future.  They have swallowed hook line and sinker the religion of man, but the fact that they have been fooled cannot excuse them, because now they are teaching others about their godless ideas.

If you believe in evolution, then perhaps it is of no concern to you that your pastor might also.  But if you reject this godless idea, then isn’t it only fair to know where your pastor stands on this?  Go ahead, ask him, and politely ask for a straight answer on this issue.  Is it because you know more than your pastor, that you can challenge him?  No.  He has his theology degrees, but you have something better.  You have the word of God, and that is all you need to confront him with.

Related articles:

http://townhall.com/columnists/stevedeace/2014/02/08/lingering-questions-for-bill-nye-the-science-guy-n1790133/page/2

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/prominent-nazarenes-reject-gods-word-and-promote-ungodly-evolution/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/what-they-believe/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/square-peg-nonsense-in-false-theology/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/responding-to-nazarenes-exploring-evolution/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/you-say-toe-may-toe-i-say-toe-mah-toe/

 

The Vacuousness of Arrogance

Ken Ham Bill Nye Debate

This coming Tuesday at 7 pm EST, you will have an opportunity to see a debate between Bill Nye, the Science Guy, and Ken Ham, president of Answers In Genesis.  The topic is evolution​, which is being promoted more and more by prominent leaders, pastors and theologians in the Church of the Nazarene, as well as other denominations.  Go to www.debatelive.org and register for the live streaming.  Invite some friends over, listen to this presentation of two diametrically opposing views, and decide for yourself.

The following article was written by my friend John Henderson and is related to that same topic.The Vacuousness of Arrogance

By John Henderson

“He knew not what to say, so he swore,” is supposed to have been stated by one of America’s founding fathers.  It goes to the point that human intelligence is painfully limited and incapable of going beyond its own limitations.  That is true of the genius and the moron, and most of us are somewhere in the middle of that.  Unfortunately, there is a tendency to puff up that lack with the hot air of pride.

I no longer debate irrationality (if I ever did) except to furnish information for those sincerely in search of truth.  When Mr. Obama recently closed his 2014 state of the union address by saying:  “The debate is over, climate change is real,” I felt no compulsion to respond with the specifics—actually lack of evidences—in that argument.  When atheistic evolutionists and phony creation evolutionists make their unfounded assertions because they reject the clear revelational truth of the Scriptures, I simply go back to the Bible and trust God that what He said is true.  It is not a blind trust, either.  I have seen God at work in the arenas of faith and have seen Him prove Himself over and over.

My reasoning is that I cannot debate a closed mind.  It is like digging a hole in a mud puddle.  Every shovelful removed is immediately filled with more mud.

Just the same, I think it important to address the system of logic that is used in most error, using evolutionism as an example.  Evolutionism claims that everything, especially “higher life” evolves from something before it—presumably something like a “lower order.”  Just how that order is decided is never explained.  If that reasoning is carried to its logical conclusion (and this is often presented as a creationist’s retort) there has to be a first cause.

If a first cause is identified (and evolutionists have yet to do that) they are still obligated by their own logic to explain how that first cause came to be.  After a while it becomes like trying to string popcorn while it is cooking and deciding which ones were to be first onto the string.

What evolutionists actually do is to haphazardly pick up at some assumed point and make assertions in both directions—all the while without observing or producing a shred of pure unadulterated evidence of change outside of adaptations that were pre-existing within a species.  All of their evidence is so thickly buttered with biased interpretations that it is like putting lipstick on a pig.

What I am saying is that they begin with an assumption and never give up on it regardless of the evidence or lack of evidence.  They willfully ignore the obvious for the fantasy.  The heavens declare God’s creative glory and they refuse to see it.  As someone has said, they cannot see the sun because the sun’s own brightness obscures it from natural view.

They cannot see it because the work of God is not understood by human intelligence.  We are limited to discovery only.  We are incapable of understanding and explaining origins.  It is not possible for our human intelligence to operate outside of our small boxes of discovering what already exists. We can only discover what already is. Forming or decrypting new things from nothing is not our privilege.  We only have what exists and that will explain God to us very well unless we decide we do not want to acknowledge God in our thoughts.  Then, we are no better off than trying to string together—in sequence—the exploded kernels in a pot of popcorn as it cooks.

There is one other area of intelligence that the natural mind cannot grasp.  It is in the spiritual realm.  It is possessed only by mankind (not animals) and can only be activated when the soul is in right relationship with Christ as Savior.  It is there that spiritual things are actually understood by the spiritual mind.  The carnal mind can never comprehend spiritual things because it is darkened by rebellion’s ignorance.  A blind man can stare his entire life at the mountains and valleys and never once see them.  He may declare they do not exist because he has never seen them.  It is not that they do not exist.  The man is blind and cannot see what is there before him.

Faith is the blind man’s taking the word of a friend that they exist.  There is a song we used to sing called “Beyond the Sunset.”  It is said to have been written by a blind man whose friend had described a sunset to him.  That man wrote about what can only be seen by those whose hearts are right with God.  The Christian can see way beyond the sunset into eternal realities and aside from the natural eye.

Truly, the pride of a man goes before his own fall.  He stumbles over the debris of his own failed logic especially when he must come face to face with the Creator—the real First Cause.  He pitifully stumbles through life thrashing indiscriminately about in the darkness as though he were all-wise, puffing hard to keep his own punctured ego inflated enough to give the appearance of substance until he exhausts all of his own unrenewable resources and finds himself as the nothing he always was, the nothing he made himself to be when he could have been all things in Christ.

After all of the smokescreen has dissipated, the evolutionists and anyone who believes and teaches error is left standing there still unable to offer anything as good as, let alone better than, the self-evident realities that God created all that exists and that all that exists was created by God.  His solutions fall far short of anything as reasonable and true as that: “The debate is over!  Creation by God is a fact!”  Truth is God’s alone!

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31).

If it is not possible for the natural mind to compete with the basest and most foolish things of nature (of which it is a part) so as to understand what they are teaching, I find it profoundly amazing that one could be so intoxicated with his own opinion and foolhardily overconfident as to assume he knows what God knows or even more so—or that anyone would believe his outrageous claims.  They become an affiliation of surreal dupes and clowns bent on self-destruction for the mere sake of self-destruction.

Dr. Gran’pa
(John Henderson)

Reaching Today’s Youth

By John Henderson

Life has spanned enough years for me to observe the different modes leaders in the church have used to reach the youth of our generation.  My wife and I are products of the youth outreach of our time.  There has been a noticeable change in the approach to reaching the young people from that time to this.

Even before our own time, there was the YMCA and YWCA.  Those were actually evangelistic arms of the church.  We have seen now that not only has evangelism ceased in them but any real semblance of Christ or Christianity exists except for smatterings of some sort of general morality.  Even that is not all that much emphasized.

We were exposed to Youth for Christ and came to Christ and grew spiritually under its banner.  Churches had Sunday evening youth services that have now gone from what they once were to being hardly noticeable, if at all. Not much is heard of YFC these days.  It, Campus Crusade for Christ, and others seem to have faded and some have taken on the identity and mission of the emergent church movement.

Somehow and gradually, the notion arose that assumed young people should be reached in their own sub-culture.  That sub-culture was largely identified by the worldly influences in vogue at the time, especially in the “music” of that sub-culture.  The choruses and gospel songs were soon replaced with rock-and-roll sounds that contained hints of being gospel in some way.  That was further enhanced by “worship” music set to shallow ditties that were justified because they somehow alluded to something Christian. Gone were the youth songs and choruses of the past that always supplemented the major hymns and songs of Christ and the entire shebang was replaced by this new music.

Music has always been a teacher of theology and so it still is.  It is just that the theology changed to suit the music or else the music was changed to reflect the new theology.  We may sometimes call it contemporary but is far from contemporary.  It is just rehashed out of the world into a veneer of gospel.

Frankly, we have it all wrong.  We shall never reach young people for Christ by giving them amended worldliness.  If nothing has changed over the years, it is the simplicity of the gospel.  It is like a beautiful girl and when we gaudily dress it up like a floozy, we ruin the beauty that is there by nature.  I have peered into areas used for youth activities and saw what resembled night clubs more than places for prayer.  Add to that the stage performances—and the stages themselves—and there is no doubt as to what is being learned.

We should be bringing our youth into environments that more resemble the church as it should be.  They should be exposed to learning the Bible and memorizing the Scriptures.  They should be trained in praying and in witnessing so that they can actually pray with a fellow young person until that person meets Christ in repentance and faith.  Their music doesn’t have to sound like it is from the Middle Ages but it should have the same depth of message in it that they should be hearing in regular church.  In other words, they should be in training for taking the leadership when they become responsible adults.  If they remain trained in shallowness that is what they will carry into the church’s leadership when it is their turn to lead.  That is, those who hang around long enough to actually take the reins of leadership.

I can fondly remember the experiences on the youth services of my day.  I loved walking into a meeting being conducted by youth and hearing gospel songs being sung and a young person preaching as well as many adults I ever heard.  I loved standing around a bon fire on the beach at night while we shared memory verses and testimonies of the saving grace of Christ and the struggles we were having at school because of our testimonies.  I recall youth camps that were reflections of the old-fashioned camp meetings the adults were running.  In fact, there were no serious differences between youth and adult services except perhaps ours were more youthfully vibrant.  The content was just as deep biblically.

By the way!  Good marriages were bred in those environments.  Calls to the ministry and the mission field were answered there.  Lives I still know about were rooted in Christ there and are still grounded in Him.  Time never changes anything.  The only thing that ever changes is commitment to Christ and the Word of God.

Dr. Gran’pa
(John Henderson)

 

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

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

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

Answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is There Anything Good?

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

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

My Advice Based On The Current Condition Of the Church

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

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

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

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

Final Thought

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

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

Links:

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

 

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