Emergent Ideology is Here, What Will You Do?

It is clear to me, that the movement called the emergent church movement has slowly but surely infiltrated into the very heart of the Nazarene denomination.  There is no doubt about it now.  The only question now is, what do we do?  At first I thought it was just a few renegade churches and colleges, but that is not the case.  It is more than that, and it is very disturbing.  It has particularly been welcomed by almost all Nazarene universities, and even our seminaries and Bible colleges.

It is obvious in the universities, with the consistent invitation of false teachers like Brian McLaren to speak, most of the time unchallenged, at seminars and even college chapels.  It is also obvious when you see Open Theists like Tom Oord of Northwest Nazarene University and Michael Lodahl of Point Loma Nazarene University, and evolutionists like Karl Giberson of Eastern Nazarene University, openly challenging the sovereignty of God in their writings and lectures.
It is evident in the curriculums, courses, and undiscerning recommendation of books written by highly suspect authors at best, and at worst, authors who are false teachers, such as McLaren and Rob Bell, and prominent and popular writer and spiritual formation guru Richard Foster.

It is also evident from the growth in popularity of spiritual formation courses and seminars, and new degrees and positions for “spiritual directors”.  But, is something that is very popular and highly recommended by our most learned professors and theologians and even pastors, automatically good for Christians?  That is the $10,000 question.  The answer is obvious; not necessarily.  Let us not make the assumption that just because spiritual formation is the rage now, that it is a good thing that all Nazarenes should adopt without investigating, and especially when looking at these practices in light of scripture.  After all, is not scripture the final and only infallible authority for our Christian faith and practice?

Upon first hearing this term “spiritual formation”, it sounds pretty good to most people.  It makes me think of growth as a Christian, and perhaps how as we read and study God’s word, pray, and fellowship with other Christians, we continue to grow spiritually and mature every day.  Ah, but that’s where the hijacking of terminology by the emergent church movement comes in again.  They are very good at using a word we may have used for many years, yet they put a different definition to it. (The term missional comes to mind).

Spiritual formation is simply a package that when you open it, has all the contemplative spirituality practices that the emergent church is resurrecting from the Desert Fathers of old.  The contemplative spirituality movement, as I have written before, goes hand in hand with the emergent church.  Where there is emergent, there is contemplative prayer practices.  There are often prayer labyrinths.  There is lectio divina in some places. There are breath prayers, and prayer stations, and now for the youth, straight from Barefoot Ministries, are the prayer ropes, prayer labyrinths, and recommended pilgrimages to interspiritual places such as the Taizé community in France, a popular center for contemplative, Eastern-oriented, interspiritual practices.  Do these things sound like traditional Nazarene to you?

And of course, the Rob Bell NOOMA videos are very popular. He is clearly one of the biggest threats to our youth today, because he is such a good speaker, and sounds so nice and caring when he speaks, but the substance of what he says is often a downright perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yet he is applauded at many universities, and the kids just keep marching like lemmings towards the cliff, not seeing in their naivete that they are being duped by a slick, well packaged product that does not pronounce condemnation of sin, and does not clearly spell out the fact that unless we repent and turn to Christ, we are all lost and totally sin-ridden rebellious losers who are headed straight to hell.

You see, the gospel of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and so many others, is a gospel full of non-condemnation, little reference to coming judgment, and more references to saving the planet and wiping out hunger and poverty, and the “can-we-all-get-along and hold-hands-with-all-the-religions-to-save-the-world” mentality.  Which is why Rob Bell (along with Doug Pagitt)  appeared on stage with the Dalai Lama and leaders of other false religions last year, at the Seeds of Compassion Conference in Seattle, WA.  What a disgrace!  He even referred to the Dalai Lama as “His Holiness”.  What an affront to every true Bible believing Christian!  If anything, that title is only deserved to be addressed to our Lord Jesus Christ, and not to the Dalai Lama, who is leading many people straight to hell.
Along with being there with a well known group of false religious leaders, Rob never once spelled out the saving message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the thousands there, as far as I know! What a lost opportunity for a Christian leader.  And he is considered by some Nazarene pastors as a good resource for youth? In my opinion, any pastor who recommends Rob Bell or Brian McLaren for a good read, other than to learn how bad their theology is, is sorely lacking in discernment.  The following scripture puts his appearance there in perspective:

  • Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.
    As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
    (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Rob Bell, and sadly, some Nazarenes, need to re-visit this passage.  There is too much ecumenical mingling going on here with this we-are-the-world mentality.  Perhaps Rob Bell is worshipping the Jesus of the New Age, rather than the Jesus of the Bible.  Rob Bell must be shunned as a teacher, while at the same time, we need to pray for him as well.

So all that and more, is what is getting into our universities and some of our churches, right now.  So the state of affairs in the universities is such, that I would not recommend automatically sending any of your children to any Nazarene university, until you have investigated it thoroughly.  I have a seven year old, so he has a long ways to go yet.  But I also have a checkbook.  I can safely say that, until there is some clarification from them as to where they stand, I will not give one penny to any Nazarene university seeking my help.  You see, money talks, and perhaps it is time to start sending letters out, or even better, pay a visit to your prospective college for your son or daughter, and ask some hard questions, before making a commitment.  You see, I am one of many who believe that if you have that Nazarene name on your school, you had better be upholding essential Nazarene principles as well.  The “we are a liberal arts school with an open mind to everything” explanation does not hold water.

One final note, regarding our Nazarene website.  What puzzles me is the switching of words on one of the Nazarene NMI web pages.  I got my first warning flag last year, when I encountered on an NMI webpage, a page titled “Emerging”.  After reading it, my gut reaction was, did Brian McLaren write this?  The emergent language was practically jumping out at me.  Its the usual postmodern-like terminology and fuzzy words that sound nice, but leave you wondering what exactly did it mean.  Well, when I went to the same site a few weeks ago, I was stunned that the same exact article seemed to be there, but every occurrence of emerging or emergent, was changed to “developing”.  Everything else looked to be the same words from before.

So, instead of emerging, we are now developing?  How does that change things?  Should I stop my campaign of warning others about the emergent church movement and believe that it is over now?  Should I assume that there is no more ideology of the emergent church coming into our midst, since the word has been changed to developing on the Nazarene website?

We have been waiting since General Assembly, for a statement from the General Superintendents, regarding the emergent church movement.  I pray that that will come soon.  We need to know where our leadership stands on this matter.  It is only right, and fair, to inform us. We deserve clarification on this emergent issue, as well as the issue of inerrancy of scripture as it pertains to how Nazarenes should treat the Bible: as perfectly reliable in all it teaches, or as semi-reliable, which would open up doubt in the minds of many, as to whether they should trust the Bible at all?

These are crucial times in our denomination, and as a pastor friend has said to me several times, the pendulum often swings during critical times in the history of the church.  The question is, will the pendulum swing in the direction of the emergent church, with its postmodern thinking, and its attempt to lower the bar on scriptural authority?  Will we allow the “ancient traditions” to come in and influence us with a lessened reliance on trusting the word of God for direction, and instead do we start trusting experience-based and ritual-based processes?  Or will the pendulum swing in the direction of scripture as the only trustworthy arbiter of truth?

The good news is that there are pastors, laypeople, evangelists, and others rising up to speak out, and their voices are getting a little louder every day.  Something is happening, folks, and many are not taking this laying down.  This issue will need to be addressed, but in a very serious manner.  Not just with a simple statement from leadership that “we are working on the problem”.  There are too many souls at stake, and time is of the essence.  We need to return to true holiness preaching, and throw out the nonsense of emergent “conversations”.

The sooner the better.


28 responses to “Emergent Ideology is Here, What Will You Do?

  1. I have been watching this discussion with rapt attention with special concern with the responses. I too have found much concern with considering McLaren and Bell to be spokespersons for the future of Christianity as the Church of the Nazarene devotes herself. I have concluded with you that there are strong “Emergent/Emerging” tides within the Church of the Nazarene. We must recognize that Christianity is not an American product but has roots and history into antiquity. As Wesleyans we need to be influenced by those that influenced Wesley himself, such as the Desert fathers and the like.
    If we will listen rather than rant, we will see that holiness, as a second work of Grace from the Holy Spirit is needed now as much as anywhere. Sola Scriptura is not Wesleyan or Nazarene for that matter. We hold to the primacy of Scripture along with Reason, Tradition and experience. Wesley’s writings, sermons and teachings that Bresee trumpeted in the Glory barn was a complete surrender to God that worked in tangible ways in the communities where little churches arose. What you are concerned with is valid yet your reactions are just as wrong headed as those of McLaren and Bell, only in a different direction.
    We are Called Unto Holiness! We need a holiness that does not reek of reformist dogma but produces honest men and women of faith, devoted to a deeper walk with God. Spiritual Formation or otherwise, we need to be people respondent to the prompting of God where we find ourselves rather than reacting to things for reaction sake.
    Like it or not, you are a part of the Emerging dialogue simply by recognizing its concerns. The only way to avoid it is to be quiet, which is not something I think will happen.

  2. Ron where is it that you find that Wesley was influenced by the Desert Fathers?
    Where is a actual quote from Wesley that backs up your statement?

    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim Wirth
    PS say hi to Pastor Paul for me

  3. Rev. Hunter, I agree with some of the things you said, for sure, and I appreciate you taking the time to contribute to the discussion. We are certainly called unto holiness, and all Christians I believe, not just Nazarenes. I take exception with some things you said, however, and I think you misunderstand why I write the way I do. Let me explain.

    Point 1: I really am not so sure Wesley was influenced by the Desert Fathers, and if so, can you please give me the references. If he was, I certainly would be disappointed, because the Desert Fathers practiced things that were not according to scripture, such as asceticism, and just their practice of isolating themselves completely as a way of Christian living also is unscriptural. So frankly, these people were way off base, and their practice of contemplative spirituality is not sound and based on scripture, which is our sole reliable infallible guide for Christian living, notwithstanding the “Wesleyan quadrilateral”, as some would argue with me.

    Point 2: I found this definition of rant, which perhaps is what you were thinking about my post: “A rant or harangue is a speech or text that does not present a well-researched and calm argument; rather, it is typically an attack on an idea, a person or an institution, and very often lacks proven claims. Such attacks are usually personal attacks.”
    Well, I don’t think I fit that if you meant it in that way. You see, this post was written from good research, and when I wrote it, I was calm, although I can see some parts of this which would prompt someone to think I was not. Frankly, it simply is time for us to be more blunt about these serious matters. So it was not really personal attacks, but attacks based on what they teach. And I don’t agree that my reactions are wrongheaded, because I am simply pointing out bad teachers, as the scriptures command us to do!

    Point 3: I will repeat what I said: “After all, is not scripture the final and only infallible authority for our Christian faith and practice?” Call it sola scriptura, and that it is. And you will find many a pastor or evangelist preaching that same thing, without saying the words. But they do preach that “THE BOOK” is the only source of reliable Christian guidance.
    In fact, I heard a sermon like that at camp meeting tonight that would disagree with your refutation of sola scriptura. It was from a Nazarene evangelist. And it was not reformist dogma, in a bad sense. If reformist dogma is total reliance on the word of God, let me keep talking that talk then.

    Point 4. I do not react for reaction’s sake. I am too busy fighting the very real and dangerous threat of false teachers like Bell, McLaren, and others, to waste my time. I have a wife and two small kids, and they are very patient with me while I do this. So I need to make my time useful. It’s not a waste of time to follow the commandments of scripture, which includes exposing false teachers, and rebuking them sharply as needed. It is now time to rebuke these people sharply, loudly, and persistently, until they go away and are stopped from poisoning the minds of our college youth. That is why I speak so bluntly now about these matters. Remember Paul, when he called Elymas “you son of the devil”, and Jesus scolded the Pharisees rather sharply as well. Sometimes it is needed to wake up people. I make no apologies for speaking the truth about people who would subvert the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I said, soul are at stake.

    Sincerely in Christ,

  4. Manny,

    The job that you and Tim are doing is great. I was reading this morning in Galatians and felt that Paul’s message is a mirror reflection of what you are currently doing.

    Galatians 1:6-10 (NASB)
    6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel
    7 which is really not another, only there are some who are distrubing yo uand want to distort the gospel of Christ
    8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
    9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
    10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.


  5. Those verses are often on my mind, because it reflects how serious Paul was in defending the gospel. I really do think it’s time now to get into the “harsh” language phase. I was just criticized for going on a rant, but whatever people want to call it, it is the kind of talk that is sorely sometimes. I suppose Paul and even Jesus would have been called out for going on a “rant”.
    There are times that we need to use gentle language. But for some of these emergents, they have been warned enough times. So no apologies for harshness here, it is necessary with some of them.

  6. Manny,

    Thought I’d put this out hoping you’d post it. It’s a small clip from a Ron Graham article. Hopefully Christians who are trying to understand what the emergent church is actually about will have their eyes opened after reading this clip. The title of the article is “Something Evil This Way Comes — Again”.

    There are many scriptures in the Bible which point out that there will be a perverted apostasy promoted as the norm in the last days. How then are leaders like these who promote this EC/CS movement and others able to be so completely deceived? It’s actually quite simple, they don’t really believe what the Bible says, or they allegorize scriptures that should be taken literally. As President Bush stated recently, “I don’t take the Bible literally, I’m not a literalist”. When he meets Jesus face to face he will be.

    Oh sure, these deceived leaders speak as with great scriptural knowledge and authority, very eloquently but they are actually harboring satanic deceptions. Christian leaders who embrace this new spirituality are leading multitudes astray, all because they refuse to follow Gods word. They are heading right down the path that their leader has set for them. He’s a wily old fox and a deceitful lying serpent.

    “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time,” 1 John 2:18. A very strong delusion has arrived on the Christian scene in force and millions of gullible folks are already deeply involved in that deception. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us,” 1 John 2:19. Of those high profile evangelicals who are now so deceived, many actually began their journey in the ministry with very good intentions. They started well but have been seduced by listening to Satan who convinced them to join his team. And of course they are so deluded they don’t even realize it.

    “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son,” 1 John 2:22. Many evangelicals are now beginning to align themselves with other faiths, such as to those who embrace the Muslim faith. They’ve begun to meet together with the leaders of those false religions in order to promote universal ecumenicalism. But Islam denies Jesus is the Christ. How can evangelicals promote a unified body with Islam? Be careful folks, something evil this way comes.

  7. Manny, keep up the good work in exposing those false teachers and their heresy that’s being taught in our schools. I just heard last night of another young pastor who will probably be ousted. He was voted in as a pastor believed schooled in the Nazarene doctrine, only to find he had fallen victim to the Emergent heresy taught by wolves in sheep’s clothing in our schools.
    One young Nazarene pastor, determined to promote the Emergent heresy that he was schooled in, remained long enough to help destroy a growing church of 200 and stayed till the attendance plunged to around 30. The young Pastor finally resigned and last report was that he is out of the ministry.
    How can we stand by and see our young people answer the call of God to become ministers of His word, and being entrusted to our schools; coming out with another gospel, another Jesus, another spirit.
    As a Child of God , an ordained Minister and Evangelist in the Church of the Nazarene; I will do everything I can to expose and get rid of those who are destroying our youth and many of our Churches.
    Evangelist Beverly Turner

  8. “These are crucial times in our denomination, and as a pastor friend has said to me several times, the pendulum often swings during critical times in the history of the church. The question is, will the pendulum swing in the direction of the emergent church, with its postmodern thinking, and its attempt to lower the bar on scriptural authority…or will the pendulum swing in the direction of scripture as the only trustworthy arbiter of truth?”

    My thought on this is found in Matthew 24:10-13 and Luke 18:8. The Lord said that things would get progressively worse up until He returns (Luke 17:26-30). Until then He commanded us to watch for Him and pray (Mark 13:33-37, Rev 16:15) as did others in the NT (I Thessalonians 5:1-6, I Peter 4:7, II Peter 3:10-18). It seems that we are in the final chapter of history and that MOST churches, not just the Church of the Nazarene, are all falling asleep before the return of the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:5).

    I attended ENC in and graduated in 1989. I remember Karl Giberson and sat in his class in college. I have seen the changes in the Nazarene denomination and ENC but especially within the last 5-7 years and especially here in New England. My office is just a few miles away from the ENC campus. I live exactly one mile from a local Nazarene church, one I used to attend with my wife and son. We no longer go there because of the reasons listed on this website and began attending a nearby Baptist church because they actually preach and exegete the Bible, though I do not agree with all of their doctrine. The spiritual climate here in New England is VERY dry. Even the best of churches do not seem to be what they could be.

    I cannot speak as an expert because I myself have struggled spiritually and I feel that I have “lost out” due to my falling into certain sins such as anger and evil thoughts. I try to keep a short account with God and I pray and read Scripture every day. BUT…I really want to have a major breakthrough with God. I want Him to have His complete way with me, even though I feel and seem so distant and far away from Him.

    I do pray that God would make me to be not only His but also pure, clean and filled with His Spirit. I pray that my family will be like this too. In 2001 I believe that God laid hold of me and saved me or at least gave me such a powerful touch of His Spirit that I did a U-turn in my life. But now years later I seem to have “spun out” even though I am trying to use “the means of grace” – prayer, Bible study, going to worship services, etc. Lately it seems that Satan has really been hindering any progress toward real life in the Spirit. Even getting to church has been real difficult and I am losing interest in this. I do pray that Jesus will do a complete overhaul on me.

    I did not want to leave the Nazarene church but it seems that very few people really see what’s going on. That’s all I wanted to say – sorry for the long rant…


  9. Oh no, Bruce, that was me ranting, as someone else mentioned. 🙂

    I’m afraid I agree with you about what’s coming. Most importantly, I agree with what the scriptures say, that there will be a great falling away. We must be ready, and we must warn as many as possible, to keep them from the hands of the evil one. This is one reason why lately I have so “harsh” or forceful in some of my posts. This is not fun and games, this is the lives and souls of our young people at risk.

    Amen, and thanks for your testimony, brother, and I will pray for you, and that God will answer your prayer for a “complete overhaul”. I think we can all use one can’t we?

    “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

  10. Bruce,

    Please do not be discouraged because I have experienced the very same thing as you. I grew up in the Nazarene denomination here in the Nashville area and we’re experiencing the same type of spiritual decay within the Nazarene church and other denominations. I’m currently a member of a fundamental Baptist church and I’m so grateful to God that my wife and I found a true Bible teaching church. It is very strong and aggressive in its exegesis method of teaching the Bible.

    I myself had a broken relation with Jesus for many years. Even though I was saved, I was not living the christian life that Christ would have wanted me to live. I was attending a non-denomination church for many years and discovered something missing in the sermon each week. It was not until I attended a seminar about Israel that I experienced a true awakening from God. Since that moment, my eyes have been re-opened and I strive daily to research, learn, pray and fellowship so that I will know God’s will for my life.

    Through my research I have come to learn what the emergent church movement is all about. This is how I found Manny’s website and I praise the Lord that I did find it. I left that non-denominational church back in February of this year after questioning the pastoral staff about the lack of preaching on critical Bible doctrine. In the five years I was there, there was no alter call, talk about conviction of sins because we are born as sinners, the results of sin if we do not confess and ask for forgiveness. I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist of what was missing from the messages the pastor never touched on. It was a true sensitive seeker environment that didn’t want to offend the non-believer. My question to them was how can you become a believer if you are not told why Christ died for our sins and how we must confess these sins to be saved by the blood he shed for us.

    After searching a few weeks for a new church home, I thought I would get back into my beloved Nazarene denomination. Well I was met with a very shocking surprise. The small church here in Murfreesboro that I was going to visit had a young pastor that was using teaching materials from Rob Bell. Since I had become familiar with him and other emergent church teachers, I wanted to meet with this young pastor before making a personal visit to this Nazarene church. I found out the pastor was degreed from Olivet Nazarene University and was from Michigan. Actually not to far from the church that Rod Bell preaches at. After my discussion with this young pastor, I knew that this small Nazarene church was in deep trouble. On the many topics I discussed with the pastor, I touched on the tapes of Rob Bell. To make a long story short, this pastor sang the praises of Rob Bell and I knew that this church was not going to be in my future.

    Last Sunday night my pastor talked about revival in America and what we must do to try and make it happen. I don’t know if it is to late for America, but the pastor did bring up some great points that I am taking on personally. I have determined to have a sweeping change in my life (1 year into that now), put myself in a place of blessing (true Bible teaching church), and most importantly I’m doing a thorough job of repenting and asking God to bring to my heart anything that is breaking fellowship with him.

    Isaiah 57:15 (KJV)

    For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones

    2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

    If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

    Your brother in Christ

  11. Manny,

    That is my personal testimony of my experience with the emergent church experience within the Nazarene denomination. I wish I had been comfortable enough to share it with you before the GA in June. My next step is to talk with friends currently attending Trevecca and warn them of what is actually occurring there.


  12. Yes, the social gospel heresy has fully infiltrated but, before I go, I will plant seeds of truth in the hearts of the children by teaching in Sunday School. I will teach them to be like the Bereans and to search the scripture to see if it is so. The Book will be our text and we will learn how to use it as well as learning what it teaches. I will do this until God calls me out. No child will escape my class without at least hearing (if they come only once) if not learning a simple presentation of the gospel.

    That’s what I will do.

  13. Brad,
    Thanks for the testimony. That was great. may God bless and use you as He sees fit to do.

    And thanks for that note Sword Bearer. May you plant many seeds of truth in the minds of the children. There is nothing like “The Book”, he perfect word of God.

  14. I dropped by your blog this evening to see how your discussions are going.

    You stated: “After all, is not scripture the final and only infallible authority for our Christian faith and practice?”

    Absolutely correct. Any theology that allows human reason, tradition, and experience to have equal weight with Scripture will fail.

    You are doing an excellent job of exposing false teaching. It is a Scriptural task, and an essential task, and you are brave for continuing in the good fight.

    Silence helps no one. Anyone who distorts the Gospel and the Word of God while claiming to be a brother and a teacher needs to be exposed lest they lead many sheep astray.

    Previously Manny, I had asked you why Emergent Theology has found a foothold among the Nazarenes–perhaps it is the fault of placing importance on human tradition, reason, and experience.

  15. Karen,
    You hit the nail on the head, as far as a leading excuse I get from most of the emergent pastors who argue with me. They call it the “Wesleyan quadrilateral”, in other words they say we need to balance everything with tradition, reason, experience, and scripture. However, they have done just that which is a fatal flaw- equated the other three on the same level as scripture.

    And furthermore, although John Wesley ultimately is not my real guide, they do distort his record and try to re-write his history, including denying that he believed in scriptural inerrancy, when his very words prove that he did.
    It has been an embarrassment seeing so many Nazarene pastors fall for this ideology which denies the very authority and infallibility of God’s word, a seeing them welcome with open arms mystical pagan practices that my father years ago, gave up, to be come a Christian and a Nazarene pastor.

    The good news, Karen, is that since the General Assembly in June, there seems to be an awakening going on, and more and more Nazarene pastors and evangelist are speaking out against this heresy, and there is hope for many, and I thank God for them.
    Thanks for dropping by and the word of encouragement,

  16. HI all,

    Many thanks for the encouragement. I am glad to see that there is a “confessing movement” within the Nazarene church as in other churches. Wouldn’t it be geat to see the churches become what they once were in Acts 2-4? Groups of people meeting in homes, in public places, etc., praying in the Spirit and exhorting each other with God’s Word? Holding to the teaching of the Apostles and celebrating the Lord’s Supper? Who’s to say that this is not what God would have for us instead of what church has become? I’m not talking about wildfire or “loosey-goosey” worship, but what Jesus stated in John 4:21-24?


  17. Just a note- Notice how Ron Hunter has not replied. Its typical to just throw something out there with no proof or documentation to back it up (like John Wesley being influenced by the Desert Fathers and the like) and just leave.
    Doesn’t have to be proven or true lets just make some stuff up.
    That’s why documentation is so important as well as God’s Word to show what we say is the truth.
    Gods Word being the most important.

  18. I was raised in the Nazarene church and my father was a pastor for over 30 years. However I recently left the Nazarene church due to the path I saw it was taking. It saddened me to see this once great denomination take the path that it has chosen. I wrote the generals about my concerns but I know that they will not answer. All I can do is pray for them and let God do what He always does best.

  19. Thanks Ken, sounds like you and I had a similar upbringing. I am hanging in there for now, and working hard to get attention to this, and the only thing keeping me in the denomination is the hope that others will continue to speak out and make some changes.
    Thanks you, we do need to pray for our leaders. We give them information. The rest is up to God and the Holy Spirit’s voice.

  20. I grew up in an Independant Fundemental Baptist Church. The doctrine in that church nearly darkened my understanding of the reality and danger of final personal apostasy.
    In the midst of that God led me to discover the works of Wesley and later to visit a local Church of the Nazarene. It was love at first sight for me! God convinced me of the reality of full salvation. What a ride
    it has been. I have been a licensed/ordained minister in the church for 20 years now! I am certain that this heresy movement is straight from the pit of hell! Why wouldn’t the devil mess with the Church of the Nazarene? It has stood for the truth for so long! I can’t/won’t turn back on my call to spread scriptural holiness! The message won’t go down with the ship!
    The devil thought he could destroy the Truth by killing the early Christians…what happened? They fled
    to other towns and took the Gospel message with them!
    There are independant Holiness colleges, churches and organizations who are wholeheartedly fighting off the emergent heresy. This is not the time to be a closet holiness proclaimer!

    Pastor Rick

  21. Manny,

    Would you be so kind as to define your use of the term “sovereignty of God” for your readers? You’ve used it very ambiguously, and I don’t know what you mean when you say that Tom Oord and Karl Giberson undermine it.

    You used it in a way that seems very similar to Calvinists. That’s ok, but you yourself have said that the inerrantists you revere which are calvinists – are wrong about predestination. That’s ok too. I would agree with you!

    So, if you obviously don’t mean what Calvinists mean by the term – but yet you here have used it in a way that doesn’t mean what Arminians mean when they use it either – and since it is not a term ever found in the Bible: can you please define what you mean by it?

    That would help your readers understand what is meant when you use there term – and help them understand your post and your concerns better. Thank you.

    I definitely don’t think you were just using rhetoric (using words that sound good but with a loose, vague definition or no definition at all so as to sound correct without making any substantial claim) to make your post effective. But that is what it might seem like to some readers when they see a word used like that with no definition.

    You seem here to be using your own qualification for it. That’s fine. You have done the same with “reformed” in your name. You explained that – and did that well. I accept your redefinition of it and have never made the silly claim that “reformed nazarene is an oxymoron” bc I Know and accept what you mean by the term.

    Can you define what you mean by “sovereignty of God” the same way you have done with “reformed” ? That would be a great help. Thank you, sir.

  22. What is ambiguous about the term “sovereignty of God”? God has supreme authority over all creation. Tom Oord and Karl Giberson circumvent God’s authority by mixing evolution and creation.

    God gave mankind freewill (This isn’t Calvinists to me) to chose or refuse his calling for salvation. It is obvious that Tom Oord and Karl Giberson have refused to trust in the Word of God through their belief and claims of evolution.

    “Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” Proverbs 30:5, 6.

  23. Thanks for answering Brad. With all due respect, Benjamin, I was again thinking how complex you and some other folks try to make these things out to be. I was thinking on how to respond, and I really did not want to get into a long writeup on this.

    I was basically going to say that God knows all, He knows the future (Oord does not believe that, neither apparently does Michael Lodalh, Dennis Bratcher, or Karl Giberson). They can correct me if I’m wrong, which I would love to hear that from them!

    Michael Lodahl apparently believes that God makes mistakes! That is heresy!
    Hard words, but if you think God makes mistakes, sorry, that contradicts what scripture teaches us. If Dr. Lodahl can correct me, that’s great, but I’ve seen that in his own writing.

    God is sovereign over everything. He knew who I was before I came into the world. How can He not be sovereign?

  24. Manny,

    Thanks for the reply! That helps me understand what you’re talking about.

    I guess my only response would be that sovereignty doesn’t naturally mean anything that you’ve just stated. Sovereignty is about authority and power.

    Meaning – God can choose whatever he likes and do whatever he likes. However, in theory, that could mean that he would choose to create a world where he doesn’t know the future so that he can live in authentic relationship with His creation.

    That’s still sovereign right? I’m not saying that’s true – not at all. I’m just saying it doesn’t deny sovereignty. It meets all the criteria for sovereignty.

    That’s why I was confused. It seems like you’ve said if God is sovereign “x, y, and z must be true.” Instead I would say – “If God is sovereign, the world can be any way he wants it to be – which includes a world where he doesn’t know the future – if He so chooses.”

    I’m not supporting open theism here – just showing how your view seems to add some qualifications which don’t really have to do with the term “sovereignty” which is why I said it was “ambiguous” and asked you to define it.

    So I see what you mean by the term – and yes these professors would deny that definition to be true of who/what God is. May I advise something to you? As a brother in Christ?

    Don’t say that they deny “God’s Sovereignty” as I’ve already shown their views allow for God to be totally in charge in that if he is not in control of anything or doesn’t have knowledge of something (the future) – then that’s because He created the world in such a way so as to make that the case.

    Instead say something like: “They contradict this passage here : _____” or “they don’t believe God has ______ which goes against this passage: _____.”

    It is more substantial, gives a better support for your readers, gives a basis for discussion, and doesn’t come off as a “buzzword” such as your use of “sovereignty” seems to.

    As to Dr. Lodahl believing God can make mistakes: We would have to again qualify what is meant by this statement.

    I’ve probably read more of Dr. Lodahl’s work than anyone here. Not that I think others haven’t read a lot (I’m sure some have), it’s just that I’ve been a student at our universities, been required to read his work – and I’ve read his Doctoral Dissertation which is only available through a University Library in which case you’d have to be enrolled in a University. In fact I’m starting a class with him as my professor on Tuesday.

    So that being said – I think I can confidently answer your question about what Dr. Lodahl does – and does not – believe.

    Does Dr. Lodahl believe that God can make mistakes of action – that is – CAN GOD DO SOMETHING WRONG? NO! Dr. Lodahl would absolutely reject this idea. 100% of the time. 100% of the way. Dr. Lodahl would never accept this.

    Can God make a mistake of Judgment? Meaning – can God think that Benjamin Burch is going to be faithful to him – and then Benjamin Burch is unfaithful to him? Dr. Lodah would say this is true. However – we have to qualify this a little bit further to get at the heart of what Dr. Lodahl believes.

    Does this mean God slips up? NO! Dr. Lodahl would reject this. The reason we think of “mistakes” as being bad as humans such as a mistake in judgment about someone else’s faithfulness is because we are finite creatures. We do not have all knowledge of past and present. We do not have all resources at our disposal.

    Dr. Lodahl would say – if God thought/hoped Israel would be faithful and they were not, we might want to call that a mistake. However, for God, this is simply part of what it means to be in authentic relationship with Israel/Manny Silva/Benjamin Burch/Michael Lodahl. God is infinite – in that he possesses ALL knowledge of past and present. He possesses ALL resources with which to deal with Israel’s unfaithfulness. Therefore – even though we might call that a mistake – for God it can hardly be so negative. Instead, it honors God as being in authentic relationship with Israel, and He is not caught off-guard by this because He knows exactly how to deal with this situation in the perfect way.

    That’s what Dr. Lodahl and other Open/Process thinkers would want to say.

    You may still disagree. I’m not saying that I agree or that you should agree. I’m just hoping this might be able to help you know and understand more accurately and fully what Dr. Lodahl in fact thinks.

  25. I’m confused on this statement:

    “Meaning – God can choose whatever he likes and do whatever he likes. However, in theory, that could mean that he would choose to create a world where he doesn’t know the future so that he can live in authentic relationship with His creation. ”

    (Why would God bring John to Heaven in the Book of Revelation and show him the future of mankind if you’re trying to promote a theory of God living in relationship with His creation and He doesn’t know what the future holds?)

  26. “…if God thought/hoped Israel would be faithful and they were not, we might want to call that a mistake.”

    Scripture is clear that God knew Israel would “play the harlot”–see Deut 31. God told Moses specifically that the people would forsake Him, and He already knew He would hide His face from them, and He already knew what they would say about this–“Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?”

    God knows the future, without doubt. At the same time He speaks His hope that we will obey, He also knows when and how we will not obey. Our knowledge is imperfect, but God’s is not.

  27. For all of those that would discuss Wesley, I have this word of advice to give. Do not look back to Wesley, look back to what Wesley was looking back to.

    In understanding what was lost by the Nazarene leaders over the last 70 years, I am constantly provoked by an image that I hold in my mind: I see a man standing in a dark art museum straining to look at a picture in the dark. Another man walks up, and this man has a flashlight. This man is curious as to what the first man is looking at, so he shines his flashlight on the first man, but does not think to shine the light on the picture. Both men remain unable to see the picture that remains in the dark.

    You hold the light in your hand, shine it on what Wesley was looking at, and strive for what wesley was striving for. This was nothing less than a full reproduction of the early church.

    There are those that can shine the light. I can. Let those that have light illuminate the direction, and follow them. Immergant leaders are all in the darkness, they do not hold the truth, and according to the Word of God, they lie and do not know God.

  28. Thanks Jeff, I totally agree. Well said, we must always look at the real source of truth.

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