What is NazNet? As I wrote before, it is an online website discussion group, founded by Nazarenes. Although not officially sanctioned by the Nazarene denomination, they were allowed to have a booth at the General Assembly in 2009. A statement on the site describes NazNet: “The NazNet Fellowship Forum is an Internet-based forum for members and friends of the Church of the Nazarene. Dave McClung, G.R. “Scott” Cundiff, and Hans Deventer are moderators of the Forum.” Here, members ( of which I am still one) can post topics for discussion, generally about community or theological issues, among other topics that include sports, prayer requests, technology questions, and other categories.
I joined NazNet last year as a way to participate in discussions regarding the Bible and mostly regarding the emergent church movement. What is disturbing to me, is that many of the participants on Naznet, including pastors, are trying to pass off some very distorted thinking as orthodox Christian doctrine, or as traditional Nazarene doctrine and beliefs.
Okay, so that is Naznet. And their thinking is still becoming more and more bizarre every day. And as my friend Tim Wirth described it, NazNet is a breeding ground for emergent heresy. I agree. And I applaud the writings of Grant Swank, a hardhitting, former Nazarene minister, who is doing the hard work of exposing the many heretical viewpoints that are being allowed to go unchallenged by the moderators of the “supposedly Nazarene-friendly” forum at NazNet. Some of their stuff is really outrageous and heretical, including one of the moderators himself stating that there is no hell, but that sinners are annihilated! Please check out Grant’s commentaries on some of the worst of NazNet: http://naznetdistorts.blogspot.com/
Recently, this group started a new topic- about me. Yes, they like to talk about me from time to time, and about my concerned Nazarene friends, a group that just keeps on growing every day- thank the Lord! The title of the topic was, Dan Boone engages with Manny at his reformednazarene blog, and was “inspired” by my issues with Trevecca Nazarene University and Dan Boone. I read some of it, which was started by Rich Schmidt, a regular on NazNet. Here is how he started the discussion:
The other day I realized it had been quite a while since I’d heard anything about the Concerned Nazarenes, so I decided to hop over to their Facebook group and Manny’s “Reformed Nazarene” blog… where I was surprised to discover that Dan Boone, president of Trevecca Nazarene University, had engaged with Manny on his blog!
It appears to have started with Manny’s post on February 1 about Trevecca “promoting mysticism and pagan practices.” I guess Dan left some comments on that post and may have emailed Manny directly as well. The next couple of posts (Feb. 8 and Feb. 12) brought some of that conversation to the surface.
Later on was where I stumbled upon yet another set of comments from another pastor on NazNet, that made me wonder, yet again, where does this thinking come from? Where does all this postmodern type of talk originate from, or is inspired from, the Bible? Here is his first comment:
One of the comments I am most interested in is the promise of an “Open Letter” from TNU that I hope will bring more clarity to some “confused Nazarenes” who might be caught in the middle. I really appreciate Dan’s responses and thought, “wow, if you had any reservations about sending your kid to a Nazarene School . . . I guess you would be more confident now than ever.“
I certainly beg to differ with that last opinion! I would think that after my warnings, any reasonable parent would have second and third thoughts about attending a Nazarene university! Especially when heretical practices are being pushed all over the place, and false teachers like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, (not to mention books by mystics like Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen) are applauded at many of these schools. I know I have lost confidence for now, and so have many other Nazarene parents.
Then came another comment by this pastor later on which raised even more eyebrows- at least from me! His comments are in blue, and my comments are in red so that you can follow with my thoughts in reaction to his writing. The occasional biting sarcasm that you may see in my writing is basically the way I try to reflect my response to what this pastor is implying or saying.
FROM A NAZNET PASTOR:
Gary, although it saddens me quite a bit it doesn’t really surprise me. Remember that the move toward post-modernity has literally ripped the carpet out from under many who just don’t understand what is going on.
Translated: we’re just so stupid compared to the post-modernists. This is a typical attitude they have, that we just aren’t educated enough, or don’t have the wisdom that post-moderns have.
The affect it has on the church has left many laypeople grasping for something that’s nailed down.
(Like solid, never changing biblical truths perhaps?)
Concerned and reformed Nazarene folks offer the illusion of stability that rings of familiarity.
(Sure, how could I be so insecure? What Christian in his right mind wants stability?)
In increasingly changing times we can see how people would overreact (panic) and grasp out for a Word that never changes,
Overreact, panic? Absolutely not! We just simply get outraged at false teachings, that’s what we do!
And heaven forbid that the Word NEVER changes! Are you saying what it seems you are saying? That God’s word changes over time? Will what it means change five years from now?
a God who is fixed and predictable and a church that fights to keep it that way.
Note these verses, pastor, regarding God’s changeability. You may have forgotten them or overlooked them (and there are much more):
James 1:17 (NKJV)Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
or Malachi 3:6 “ For I am the Lord, I do not change. Therefore you are not consumed, you sons of Jacob.
I think the motivation for many is not anger but fear.
(Perhaps it is pastor- but maybe its fear that souls will be lost due to the heresies in our denomination. I think I would call it a healthy fear! Oh, and I am angry also– very angry that these emergent ideologies, including a disdain for God’s infallible word, is being spread on your wonderful Naznet forum).
Although, I do have to admit that for some it does seem that power and control ARE motivating factors.
(Yes, you would have to admit that, of course. Why… look at me. Some of you on Naznet have heard of my personal story… and you know, I’ve always dreamed of having power and control- so when I had the opportunity last year, I jumped at the chance for power and control- risking the 36 years I spent at my church, risking my relationships, my family, losing contact with many friends at church, all for POWER and CONTROL. That’s it! The emergents have nailed it, we seek power and control! Certainly not the purity of the gospel, certainly not staying faithful to all of God’s infallible word.)
I am reminded of a comment made by David Troxler in an unrelated thred about ministerial practice and preparation: “Hauerwas indicates the difference between medical training and ministerial training. A physician has to have his courses well in hand or we would deem that practictioner’s risky and a danger to patients. Hauerwas reminds us about the Church needing to insist on the Christology courses, otherwise the practictioner of ministry is also a risk to patients (the congregants of local parishes).”
The minister must have his courses well in hand in order to navigate the tension caused by culture and concerned/reformed nazarenes in the local church. (Is this the same as saying, he needs to be in full control of the situation? And what about the minister who has his courses well in hand, and thoroughly refutes your ideology! What do you call them? Oh yes, I guess… concerned Nazarenes)
If not our churches might become more and more harassed and helpless.
(Possible meaning of what you are actually concerned with: “if not, our churches might actually see behind the facade and expose us for what we are”.)
It really is a privilege to minister in these challenging times. I hope I can do it with the grace, courage and conviction of someone like Dan Boone (a deceived college president), Ron Benefiel (a deceived seminary president) and others of you (the rest of the deceived who I like to hang out with now, doing a lot of backslapping and affirming of our false, man-centered ideology).
END OF COMMENTARY
That’s it. Yet another sad example of confused and misguided emergent speak within our own denomination. Let us pray for those on NazNet who have been deceived and truly believe they are following Gods word. Their disrespect for the word of God who is revealed to us in the Bible is unbelievable. May God help them.