Questionnaire For Church Leadership, Part 1

Our Nazarene leadership is made up of many people.  But generally we think of pastors, District Superintendents, and General Superintendents, as our main leaders in the denomination.  We look to leadership for guidance, don’t we?  And sometimes we get confused as to what is good or bad for us, so we ask our leaders for their guidance.  Right now, many Christians are in somewhat of a state of confusion, regarding many things, including new practices that have arisen that never were around (in our denomination) 20 or 30 years ago, some not even in the last few years.  Practices that were never taught in the Nazarene church are now becoming the norm, and folks are rightly confused. Books by “new” authors that were never used before.  Would it not be good if our leadership could help answer some questions and therefore give some guidance as we try to sort out some of these things?

I am sending the following questionnaire (four questions) to my District Superintendent in New England, to each of the six General Superintendents, and to as many pastors as I have on my list.  I invite them all to share their knowledge of the scriptures in assisting us to get some solid, biblically sound answers to the questions below.  Feel free to also send in your answers even of you are not considered “leadership” (no degree required, just a love of Jesus and the truth).

1. Henri Nouwen was a Roman Catholic monk and mystic. Some Nazarene pastors use his books as a good resource. He also: instructed readers to test things by their own “vision”, instead of testing by the scriptures; taught that mantras could bring you into God’s presence; combined the teachings of Hinduism with Christianity; taught that God is in ALL things (universalism); taught that God is only love, unconditional love.
One of his most notable sayings is:

“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.”
Is Henri Nouwen a wise, biblically sound choice for recommending to Christians for devotional reading, and if so, how?
And is it your opinion that this question falls into the category of “non-essentials?”

2. Richard Foster, probably the most famous contemporary promoter of contemplative prayer, is also a favorite with many pastors.  His book, Prayer: Finding The Heart’s True Home, was featured in a prayer room at General Assembly.  Yet, in this same book, Foster gave the following advice before anyone practices contemplative prayer:

“I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as a supernatural guidance…. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on that, there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way! … But for now I want to encourage you to learn and practice prayers of protection.

Foster is saying here that contemplative prayer can be very dangerous!  He goes on to recommend that “novices” should not try it!  In light of this, as well as: his approval of new Age teachers; his occultic use of imagination; open theism; his promotion of visions, revelations and charismatic gifts; his embracing of pop-psychology, and more:
Is Richard Foster a wise choice for recommending to Christians for devotional reading, and if so, how?
And is it your opinion that this question falls into the category of “non-essentials?”

3. Rob Bell is the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Church.  He is author of such books as the very popular Velvet Elvis, and the creator of a popular series of videos geared especially for youth, called NOOMA.

Many Nazarene pastors seem to love this guy.  But in one of his lessons called Dust, when talking about Jesus and Peter walking on water, he claims that Peter did not lose faith in Jesus, but lost faith in himself!

Many other lessons like this are very dubious and seem to twist scripture.  And he has many, many thoughts such as the following regarding scripture, he says “This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true.”

Or this regarding original sin: “In other words, I assumed that the doctrine of Original Sin was a biblical notion, and that all Christians accepted it as gospel truth.  Of course, neither is true.”

There’s lots more, but in light of just these comments:
Is Rob Bell a good role model for teens and other Christians, or is he at best a dubious choice?

4. Prayer labyrinths. These are being used at Trevecca Nazarene University and some Nazarene churches. They are clearly derived from pagan cultures and religions, and existed 3,000 years before Christ.  I have been told by someone in Nazarene leadership that they may be coming into my own New England District! My question:
What is the biblical justification for the use of prayer labyrinths?  Perhaps that person can reply and defend what they told me that day- biblically that is.  Or
is it your opinion that this question falls into the category of “non-essentials?”

There will be some more questions soon, but these are the kinds of questions many of us would really like answered from our leadership- very specifically.  Can my District Superintendent send me an answer that is supported with scripture, taken in proper context?  Will a pastor out there give it a try, and defend or reject these four questions, and base that defense or rejection on the word of God?  Is there no one who can do this?  We have so many learned people out there with theology degrees and years of Bible study, and I and others have been sincerely asking questions like this for months, and have been met with silence or vague answers.
I pray that we get some answers.  Not much has been forthcoming for quite a long time.

Is the silence saying something?

“The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” Psalm 119:160

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128 responses to “Questionnaire For Church Leadership, Part 1

  1. Speaking as an ordained Nazarene pastor, 3rd generation Nazarene, 2nd generation Nazarene pastor, graduate of ONU & NTS…

    I have personally read books by all three of the authors you asked about, and I can remember benefiting from all three. In books by all three, there were things to agree with and things to disagree with.

    When it comes to “recommended reading,” a lot depends on the maturity and experience of the person to whom I’m recommending the book. Some folks are less mature and have much less experience with reading critically. But for any Christian who is accustomed to reading with a critical eye (in other words, not simply accepting everything they read as true) and is willing to have conversations with me about the things they’re reading (so that I can help steer them through the parts where we would disagree with the author), I would probably be happy to recommend all three of those authors.

    As for labyrinths, my experience with them is quite limited. I’ve only seen one or two. From the description Dan Boone (president of Trevecca) provided, what they have there isn’t so much a “labyrinth” as a “prayer room” with a handful of different focus areas. If a church chooses to use a pattern on the floor to force people to slow down and reflect in between prayer stations, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Many have used the Lord’s Prayer to talk about different prayer focus areas (adoration, confession, supplication, intercession, etc), and these “labyrinths” with “prayer stations” seem like a physical way to focus on those same areas of focus.

    I know I haven’t answered your questions as specifically or thoroughly as you requested, but it’s late on a Sunday night, and I don’t have any more energy tonight that what I’ve already put into this answer. Perhaps tomorrow…?

  2. 2 Peter 2:1-3

    1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.

    Revelation 3:17-19
    17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

  3. Well Manny you will either get silence or non answers. Ive been asked a lot lately about the Nazarene manual.
    Do you think false teachers like Brian Mclaren and Rob Bell agree with the Nazarene Manual?
    I can assure you their teachings are in conflict with the teachings of both the Bible and the Nazarene Manual.
    Its a well known fact that Brian does not think we have the gospel right yet.
    But even the Nazarene Manual affirms that scriptures are correct in matters of salvation.
    This is in conflict with Brian’s statement.
    And Brian McLaren pulls no punches or tries to hide anything in his new book.
    Brian McLaren is not a Christian (as Christianity is defined in scripture) and his writings show that.
    Now Brian can call him self a Christian or a Xbsertsitificant or what ever he wants to choose.
    But what you are as a true Christian needs to be revealed through God’s Word not just making it up as you go along.
    Yet Emergent Nazarenes have no problem inviting Brian to join them under the new tent they have created apart from both the Nazarene denomination and the Body of Christ.
    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim Wirth

  4. Some Nazarenes whose parents and grandparents paid a terrific price for their beliefs are willing to sell those beliefs today for the cheap pottage of popularity and social respectability. Some Nazarenes whose parents suffered persecution for their beliefs are not even willing to suffer embarrassment over their own. It isn’t that we have outgrown our doctrines; it is simply that some of us have grown too soft and flabby of hand and soul to hold on to them. — C. William Fisher

    The Church of the Nazarene was born in the fires of revival. But we can die in the smoke of neglect to the emergent movement — the smoke of an educational system that changes theology and doctrine,

  5. I heard in church this past Sunday that the best liars almost tell the truth. Would Nouwen, Foster, and Bell fall into this category? Perhaps not, I suspect they truly believe what they teach. However, if what they believe is a lie, and it comes from the Father of Lies, and it is almost the truth…is it wise to continue exposing ourselves to the material because it has “so much good in it?” Is it worth the risk to continue exposing those who know little or nothing about Christianity (as it is presented in scripture) to the teachings of those who leave out the one part that will make a difference for all eternity?

    When a Nooma video is played does anyone stand up and say before it is shown, “This is a really cool video that has lots of good stuff in it but remember, Mr. Bell does not believe that Jesus’ death on the cross has anything to do with our salvation. He teaches that we should all be like Christ and do lots of works of justice but it isn’t necessary to believe everything in scripture.”

    Or when they hand you a book by Henry Nouwen do they say, “This is a really good book on prayer that you will find enlightening but remember…Mr. Nouwen believes that we all find our own path to heaven and that Jesus isn’t the only way.”

    Or Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline, “There’s a lot of good in this book about Spiritual Disciplines and it will help you grow closer to God but Richard Foster comes from the Quaker tradition where they believe that there is a point of light at the center of each one of us, not just Christians, that is our true self/God within us. And if you want to try out that centering prayer stuff be sure to pray a prayer of protection because not all spirits out there are benevolent.”

    Or the prayer labyrinth, “Walking through this path will slow you down and we have stations for you to stop at and think about or do something at that will focus you on God. It’s a really cool spiritual experience. You might hear a voice though while you do this, just like in centering prayer, but there’s no guarantee it is a messenger from God. Satan likes to masquerade as a messenger of light and it’s really hard to tell the difference because what he says is almost the truth.”

  6. Clumsy Sword Bearer,
    I could not have written this better. I will have to copy this and use it in some future post or during a presentation. Just complete common sense that God has given us, and I can imagine (not using visualization now) saying those disclaimers in front of my church, and seeing what reaction I would get.

    Still waiting for a solid answer- it’s early. I pray that my D.S. or a General Superintendent can clear up these questions, before we move on to part 2.
    Blessings,
    Manny

  7. Clumsy Sword Bearer,

    When I played the “Dust” Nooma video for our congregation as part of my message last Sunday (Feb. 28), I didn’t put that disclaimer on it — because I don’t believe that to be an accurate description of what Rob Bell believes and teaches. I did, however, preach both before and after the video, in part to ensure that everyone understood that we can believe in ourselves BECAUSE Christ has chosen us to be his disciples, because “through his mighty power at work within us,” God is able “to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” It’s when we center our lives on Christ and allow him to do his transforming work in us that we are able to live the lives God created us to live.

    If any of you have a problem with my preaching or my leadership in this regard, I’m open to talking with you about it. Beyond that, if you feel you must intervene, I suppose you could take it up with my church board or my district superintendent. But you should know that earlier this year my church board unanimously decided to extend my pastoral call here for another 4 years during my pastoral review meeting with my district superintendent. I’m already accountable to people who know me a lot better than you do.

  8. Tim, you are still being silent and giving me non answers about the question on my blog.

    Brian Mclaren and Rob Bell are not Nazarenes. If you want to argue that they are not Christians that’s fine, but some might disagree. You might also argue that a Catholic might not be a real Christian, and others might disagree. Or you might argue that we should not read books that come from any of those people or invite them to speak and dialogue with them. But others may disagree, so this is a good discussion.

    I think others would argue that there is an educational element to dialoguing with those from other traditions. Even if we disagree with them about major things, but that does not mean that we should categorically dismiss them, especially in areas where they might agree with us. But, I think your argument that we should not do these things is a fair one. If that is all you were saying I would have no problem with it.

    The problem is that you are calling Pastors, Professors and leaders in our denomination “heretics” for following “a different Jesus not from the Bible” when they affirm our Articles of Faith which describes what we believe is a biblical understanding of Jesus.

    You told me on my blog that the Nazarene Manuel “does affirm certain parts of scripture”, as if it doesn’t affirm other parts. But this is not true; it is not what our manual says. How can you speak for what we believe as Nazarenes if you don’t understand what it says?

    Our manual says that we believe in “plenary inspiration” which we affirm that ALL of scripture is inspired by God which perfectly reveals God’s will concerning everything necessary for salvation. My blog, which I don’t think you actually took the time to read, explains this further. And it also explains how this biblical view is the point of scripture and how you and I should be able to be united in this, and not divided, as Christians and Nazarenes.

    So the question I asked is this: Do you think the Church of the Nazarene as a whole affirms Jesus of the Bible? This question is related to our Articles of Faith, on whether you feel the doctrine we convey is biblical and presents the biblical Jesus?

    You say I don’t follow the biblical Jesus, yet my affirmation of our Articles of Faith, which includes our statement on Scripture, reflects what we believe as the Church of the Nazarene is the Biblical Jesus. If you agree with these Nazarene Articles as biblical you CAN NOT SAY to me that I believe in a “different Jesus then the one from the Bible”.

    So Tim (and Manny) it is up to you- You must decide for yourself if YOU are in or out. Stop right now calling Pastors, College Professors, and other leaders in our denomination unorthodox heretics when they affirm biblical orthodoxy as we understand them in our tradition. As a Nazarene you can not call people heretics when they affirm our shared Articles of Faith. If you think those you accuse are heretics, then you think our understanding of Christian orthodoxy which is described in our Articles of Faith is also unbiblical.

    So please join us in affirming our Articles of Faith as they affirm the Biblical Jesus and stop trying to divide us from within.

    PS- Manny- if you don’t allow comments from recognized church leaders, how can you say we are silent?

  9. Here is a litany of popular selfist concepts and activities: self-esteem, self-image, self-confidence, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness, self-assertion, self-improvement, positive self-regard, positive self-talk, positive affirmation, positive mental attitude, positive thinking, possibility thinking, human potential, etc., etc. The prerequisite for all of these is self-love, the cornerstone of humanistic psychology and, consequently, because of the overwhelming influence of so-called Christian psychology, a false but popular doctrine among evangelicals.

    A lot of Rob Bell’s videos seem to deal with SELF. Why don’t we mention one of Rob Bell’s videos where he mentions the male/female characteristics of God. (The name of that video evades me at this moment). Yeah, Rob Bell is the type of person I want my kids, nieces, nephews and my friend’s kids to watch on video. We’re responsible for training and teaching the younger generations about Jesus Christ, but not mix their heads up with the words of a heretic like Rob Bell.

  10. Rich,

    I don’t think any one is saying the Emergent group is mean or unlikeable. We are saying that they are not Christian.

    1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

    The scripture plainly tells me that Pastors and Churches are to lead people to Jesus. If the Pastor and Church are not leading people to Jesus please stop calling yourselves Christians. Please take the cross of the roof of your building.

    I deeply care what Jesus thinks of this. I know what the Nazarene leadership thinks. God will take care of it, we don’t want to dirty our hands or careers with this.

    I point you to Eli and Samuel.

    1 Samuel 3:11-14
    11 And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, [b] and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’ ”

    Come quickly Lord Jesus,
    Pam

  11. James,
    I would prefer if you kept your answers on the subject of the questions I asked- can you zero in on the merits of the questions; even if just one or two? For instance, why is Henri Nouwen a good resource for Christians, even though he believed in universalism and mixed Eastern religions with Christianity?

  12. Okay, James,
    Obviously, I have approved the comment. But I think you are straying from the specific questions here- but I’ll give Tim the opportunity to respond to this one- I’ll try to weigh in on it later as well during lunch.

  13. lol- of course I meant to say, I am looking forward to hearing what YOU have to say. I was rushing off to lunch too when I replied which is why I apparently failed to write a complete sentence.

    Of course you don’t have to approve this comment or the other one before it thanking you if you don’t want to- I just wanted YOU to know I appreciate that you allowed my comment and question to be heard and I look forward to your response.

  14. James and Rich,

    2 Timothy 3:16 states “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”. Why would the composers of the Nazarene manual only insert, “inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation”? When salvation is not the only part of the Bible, but in my opinion is the most important part for mankind. The original beliefs of the Nazarene church would not have added to or taken away from the scriptures in such a blatant way.

    “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

    “Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!” Psalm 119:4, 5

    “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book,” Revelation 22:18, 19

    In everything I read, I see pastors apply a piece meal approach to this part of the manual. Granted, there are things none of us will know until we’re in the presence of Jesus Christ, but I don’t want to cost someone something in their salvation by saying you can only trust this part or that part of the Bible. The arrogance that I detect in some answers over the months has in a me dropped jaw state at times. If we as Christians, put the Nazarene manual over the Bible, then we have more then lost our way in world today.

    Brad

  15. Why is Tim Lahaye a good read when the premise of his book is based upon an eschatological scheme that was devised by man and has only been around since the late 19th century? Manny, using your litmus test of what heresy is, that would make Tim Lahaye, Hal Lindsay, John Hagee and the rest of the dispensationalist heretics and their books should never be read by Christians.

    personally, I’m not a huge Rob Bell fan, but if someone can read him critically and pull out the good that is in there I say go for it. For me there is no different in that, than the middle aged SS class using Tim Lahaye’s book for Bible study on eschatology.

  16. Brad,

    Yes We affirm 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”- this is why we believe in Plenary inspiration meaning we believe every bit of scripture- all 66 books are inspired by God- for the purposes of salvation which God perfectly reveals through Scripture.

    I explain this more on my blog, but needless to say that I think what we are communicating by using the word “inerrantly” the way we do in our Article is that it scripture is “perfect” in a truly Wesleyan sense of in accomplishing it’s created purpose.

  17. Rich said:
    “When I played the “Dust” Nooma video for our congregation as part of my message last Sunday (Feb. 28), I didn’t put that disclaimer on it — because I don’t believe that to be an accurate description of what Rob Bell believes and teaches.”

    Rich your words reveal your heart. I am praying that God will grip your heart with conviction for subjecting the flock to this stuff. God will hold you accountable.

  18. David,

    Then explain why Paul talked about the rapture in 1Thessalonians 4:17 and reiterates it again in 1 Corinthians 51:54? Doesn’t appear 19th century to me.

    Why is it that Christians have so many diverse opinions on Eschatology and they can’t seem to agree on anything? Well, I believe it stems from a couple of things: (1) it is not taught in seminaries so it is not preached from the pulpit; therefore, Christians are “anemic” in their understanding of prophecy; (2) too many Christians don’t make the effort to study their Bibles as much as they should or could, so there is a lack of self-education and a resulting lack of enthusiasm on this subject. In these last days, however, a knowledge of prophecy and how to interpret prophetic passages correctly is extremely important. In fact, a correct understanding of prophecy is just as important and valuable as a correct understanding of the Biblical Gospel or any other part of the Bible.

    So now I’m a Nazarene turned Calvinist who is actually a dispensational heretic. This is not the time to be unaware or unconcerned concerning these things, because the Lord does not want us sleepwalking through our Christian life; and He certainly does not want us to slam, shout down, or scoff at fellow Christians over His return! This just doesn’t make any sense at all, and it even seems like a mockery of the Bible to me. But maybe that’s also a sign of the times we’re in.

  19. Pam,
    I’m not sure if you’re saying that I and my church aren’t leading people to Jesus… but please rest assured that we are. We are following Christ and making disciples. (That’s what the “Dust” video is all about: what it means to be a disciple.)

    RevRick,
    My words revealed that I disagreed with that assessment of Rob Bell. Please know that God has indeed gripped my heart. That’s why I’m in pastoral ministry. That’s why we started this church almost 10 years ago. That’s why I’m building relationships each week with people in our community who don’t go to any church and don’t know that the God who created them loved them enough to send Jesus to give them new life. And that’s why I used a helpful video to encourage people to live as disciples of Jesus and believe that God can do amazing things through them.

    God holds us all accountable. May we all live with that awareness.

  20. A Post on Biblical Nazarenes by Steve Sumner

    “It would seem simple to real people but this goes above board when they have to interpret their own articles. So that they can say one thing but believe another.

    Most of your arrogant Nazarenes who think that they’re educated above you, interpret the article with the emphasis on the phrase “necessary to our salvation” this isolates the meaning to one specific area. However, they ignorantly ignore “so that whatever is not contained therein” which makes the Bible eaqully authoritative in all the articles of faith.

    People hate authority! Except their own.

    They say if it doesn’t make since “there’s a buck in it” or the devil you take your pick.

    The new Nazarenes believe they are inerrant and the Bible is a mistake.”

  21. The problem is Rich is you may be leading people to a jesus.
    But its a diferent jesus and you are using a different gospel by promoting the false teachers you promote.
    So yes you may be introducing people to Rob Bell’s jesus or Brian McLaren’s jesus.
    You are making false brethern and false disciples by promoting the false teaching and teachers you promote and endorse.
    These teachers do not know the trueJesus as revealed in Gods Holy Word in scripture.
    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim Wirth

  22. Here is Article 12
    and it is NOT NECESSARY FOR SALVATION!
    Proving once and for all the salvation issue and inneracy is a big smoke screen, as Brad said.

    XII. Baptism
    16. We believe that Christian baptism, commanded by our Lord, is a sacrament signifying acceptance of the benefits of the atonement of Jesus Christ, to be administered to believers and declarative of their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and full purpose of obedience in holiness and righteousness.

    Baptism being a symbol of the new covenant, young children may be baptized, upon request of parents or guardians who shall give assurance for them of necessary Christian training.

    Baptism may be administered by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, according to the choice of the applicant.

    (Matthew 3:1-7; 28:16-20; Acts 2:37-41; 8:35-39; 10:44-48; 16:29-34; 19:1-6; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-28; Colossians 2:12; 1 Peter 3:18-22)

  23. It’s all logical I guess…use a reprobate author to lure the unsaved….

    How in the world did Uncle Bud Robinson ever do it?
    Unction man…Holy Spirit Unction… plain and simple.

    I say do it again Lord!

  24. You got to love the slickness of Rob Bell…after all its not about faith in Jesus is it? It’s about Jesus’s faith in us…It’s all about you and me isn’t it? Sounds to me like the words of a certain snake in the a garden a long time ago who said “If you eat the fruit you will become like a God”…So go ahead and eat it it’s all about you ….
    A heresy that is damning our church and nation……Man how blind can people be?

  25. Rich:
    I don’t know you personally so I won’t presume upon you. However, from reading your posts and ‘replies to others’ I can readily say that your answers are at the least ambiguous. You seem to ‘ride the fence’ quite a bit. It must be frustrating for you to never proclaim your exact position, although it is apparent you have taken a stubbornly fixed stance someplace.

    I mean so many things are OK with you because you don’t see what could possilby be wrong with them, unless of course someone meant them to be wrong although it would not hurt to take a chance, etc. etc.???

    Reading your posts is much like reading “The Cat in a Hat”. For EX:

    “Sally: Who are you?

    The Cat: Who, Me? Why I’m The Cat in the Hat, there’s no doubt about that. I’m a super fundiferous feline, who’s here to make sure that you’re…”meline”…”key lime”…”turpentine”. I got nothing! I’m not so good with the rhyming, not really, no. Look, I’m a cat that can talk that should be enough for you people!

    Mom: Well, if you’re both staying, remember the rules; Conrad, no playing ball in the house, no fighting, no answering the phone: “City Morgue”.
    Sally: Mommy, can’t I have some rules?
    Mom: No chewing tobacco. ”

    You say quite a bit, and you are consistently ????but ???

    The bible is simple enough. Jesus was very careful to NOT BE MISUNDERSTOOD. But you seem to need Rob Bell to stir the words…Nooma? Dust of the Rabbi? Those are just CONJECTURE about a man’s ideas about what he thinks the word should or could be. Don’t you see??? Cat??

    No harm meant, here, Rick. Just trying to use levity to make a point.

    But, I respectfully and truly believe you are “in the hat”, despite being an ordained Nazarene pastor, 3rd generation Nazarene, 2nd generation Nazarene pastor, graduate of ONU & NTS.

  26. Rich,

    The first post was written as a response to the article because I have seen so much strange theology in the Nazarene Church in the name of salvation and numbers in the last five years.

    My second post was a response to your initial post. I was shocked by some of your statements.

    Regarding the last post with a 5:14pm time, I don’t know if your church and ministry is Christian. I have always given Nazarenes the benefit of the doubt because I have believed they were Bible based.

    I’ve been shocked at posts that defend some of the emergent church practices and leaders. The emergent church is like a fog. They don’t want to be nailed down on their theology but they want to be viewed as Christian. You can’t have it both ways.

    I’ve talked with Brian McClaren and attended his church in Maryland. I was very open minded because I had no reason not to be. I told him I was praying for unsaved people that we both knew. He cringed and told me we don’t believe that way. I had no idea what that meant at the time but it has become much more clear.

    David Snodgrass,

    What? You are comparing Emergent Theology and Tim Lahaye?

  27. This question is for those who promote the emergent ideology:

    Is there no one out there who can answer my questions directly?

    There is too much deviation from them, and it seems that my guess is coming true: you cannot in any way justify with scripture, the support of any of these four situations. That is why I am not allowing all comments from you; this post was entered here for a reason, and if you can’t answer the questions specifically, then I’m not going to allow you to talk endlessly.

  28. 1. No: Henri Nouwen is not a good choice when we have plenty of holiness material written by others who do not compromise scripture and truth with false doctrines.

    2. Again Richard Foster is not a good choice. Yes there is some truth, but when there are lies and deceptions mixed in, then it is best to stay away.

    3. No Rob Bell is not a good model. When a Nazarene University student gets a tattoo because of the inspiration of Rob Bell we are headed down the wrong path. “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”Lev 19:28 But we already have a Nazarene pastor in the northwest of the US tattooing as part of a sermon illustration on holiness so go figure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15VWkaIMns8 But of course we might as well get a generation prepared for the mark of the beast and get them desensitized to marks and pain so the anti-christ does not have such a difficult time implementing change for the time of branding those who will sell their souls for a meal.

    4. Prayer is essential and Jesus never did any kind of prayer labyrinths and neither did his followers. They prayed in groups and prayed alone and in the wilderness and on mountains, but not in a rat maze. God Help the Church to wake up! Have we forgotten how to pray clear through? I guess we got to adopt some of the Catholic and mystic traditions to fill the void since the Spirit and anointing are not present in our midst. What have we made our churches to become? It is to be houses of prayer, not mazes for reflections.

    The Protestants are becoming more like the Catholics and many Catholics are becoming more like Protestants. There is a subtle demonic deceiving and merging happening to line up the masses of Christianity into a one world Religion. I believe there will be remnant of true bible believing Spirit filled Christians and that number will be far fewer if we do not stick to the Word of God.

    Jude 1:3
    Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

  29. Oh, and by the way, Rich…You seem so definite about one thing: You are leading people to Christ. Please, Rich, leading people to sit at the feet of Rob Bell does not lead people to Jesus and His Salvation. It simply moves folks to hear “the pied piper”.

    Rob Bell uses scripture as his basis for his own stories, hyperbole and conjecture. His stories (religious fiction) then drives people to fantasy and encourages them to imagine and fantasize what scriptures might mean to them individually. He teaches that everyone has their own version of the truth.

    Scriptures teach quite the contrary…

    Jesus IS the Living Scriptures and when one leads people to Him, He then reveals the TRUTH of The Cross. He leads people to DIE to the old nature and the old imaginations and leads them to the One and only, inevitable Truth: You must take up HIS CROSS.

    There is no room left for the OLD SELF and the old imaginations. He is very clear about what it takes to get rid of the old baggage and the stench of the rotting flesh that ensnares our souls and Spirit.

    Dead to self and raised to a NEW Life (Rom 6:4)

    You know, I appreciate your courage to come to this site, Rich. It allows all of us to work through on these matters. You are walking a strange path – emergent-type philosophies. Even you know that is oddly attractive. It is exhilarating. It ‘smacks of a truth’ that has been long missing from traditional Americanized churches.

    Please Rich. You sound like a rational and friendly man. But, what you are experiencing is BEING ENCHANTED.

    Being ENCHANTED is better than what I hear some drugs can do. It takes you to the PINNACLE and offers you the entire world. It is just not the Truth. It will lead to enslavement of you and all your followers. Please listen.

  30. Michael, what you just proclaimed in your comment about dying to self & being raised to new life in Christ, picking up your cross & following Jesus, etc — that’s what I preach.

    Tim, the Jesus I preach is the Jesus of the Bible. I preach from the Bible every Sunday. We use the Bible as our curriculum in every group/class that meets. People who decide to join our church give as one of their reasons for joining that they appreciate that my preaching is so Bible-based, that they appreciate learning so much about the Bible and seeing how it connects with their lives. I am not preaching any Jesus other than the one presented in the Bible.

    Oh, and Michael, if I haven’t been unambiguous enough about something, feel free to ask me for clarification. I have nothing to hide. You can email me at rich -at- livinghope -dot- info. I don’t think Manny wants us cluttering up his blog comments with much more of this. 🙂

  31. Rich,

    Can you show me in the Scriptures where Jesus is suppose to have faith in us like Rob Bell promotes? I’ve looked and looked and can’t find it.

    Brad

  32. Pam,

    Yes and no. I’m using it as an analogy. You guys say that Christians should never read books that written in speculation or written by an author whose theology is different from ours…even if it is just for the sake of information and critical thinking.

    The Left Behind series is based on a scheme that is not even 150 years old…A scheme that, in order to find in it the Scriptures, you have piece together bits and pieces of the Bible.

    As a result you have all these guys running around predicting the when and where of Christ’s return when Jesus himself said that He doesn’t even know the time or place. (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32)

    That being said, I would never prescribe any literature point someone to Hinduism, unless they are a mature Christian and I knew it could be read with a critical eye. Paul said that while all things are permissible not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 10:23). So while reading a book which points to Hinduism may make someone a better citizen it definitely won’t help their walk with Christ so why waste your time?

    Same with the Left Behind series, I don’t mind people who read it, but they must know that the Left Behind series is not Scripture and it is written from only one of many eschatological views. Will reading Left Behind make you a better Christian? Probably not, if anything, probably just scare you so much that you’ll be second guessing you salvation every hour on the hour. 🙂

  33. David, and to everyone who seems to be defending the elements of the four questions: can you not answer these at all with other than your own opinion. Scripture is my only authority on these matters. If you disagree, fine, but if you can’t defend Henri Nouwen as a wise choice for Christians to read as a devotional source- which is happening- then fine.

    But don’t tell me that he’s okay for Christians to read, just because you say so. And how do you know who is a mature Christian? Certainly, I know for a fact that I could read Henri Nouwen all day, but knowing his heretical positions such a s that all can find their way to heaven, is a red flag for ANY mature Christian to stay away from, other than to understand him a little more, THEN warn others about him and his false teaching.

    Sorry if I’m blocking some comments, but this is my blog, and I really am looking to see if anyone can defend this stuff biblically. Perhaps Dennis Bratcher, who is highly regarded my many emergents, can use his years of Bible knowledge and his theology training, to show us what is good about Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, and Richard Foster, and prayer labyrinths?

    But he or anyone else must justify it by the Gold standard of standards- the Bible- the only standard which never fails would you agree?)

  34. David,

    You make another comment about a “scheme” that is only 150 years old. You are more then mistaken when you make this claim. You also make an even bigger error when you say that the Bible doesn’t mention where Jesus is going to return. Do you not know your Bible?

    1) Zechariah 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, (This clearly states where Christ WILL RETURN).

    2) Only irresponsible people will set dates on the return of the Christ, but he does give us clues to the time/season. Matthew 24:32-34 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. (The fig tree is Israel and it became a nation again in May 1948)

    David, you’re guilty of the normal tactic of taking something out of context related to scripture on the return of Christ.

    Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

    Brad

  35. Dennis Bratcher can most definitely send unknowing people down the wrong path with his self-proclaiming knowledge.

  36. David Snodgrass,

    I haven’t suggested a banned book list. I am very against books and authors that are used in devotionals and chapels who point to other gods. I don’t think the end time ministries or fiction point to other deities.

    If you study history you are studying their deities because there has never been a separation of church and state till you get to America.

    If these historical books and ideas drive theology I need to part ways with those who use them. The Bible is all about people living for God among pagans. The historical discussions becomes too “rabbit trailish” and can quickly become emotional.

    The analogy between Emergent authors and The Left Behind series is to “apples to oranges” for me.

    Can you explain it using scripture?

    Rich,

    I appreciate your honest answers. I don’t want to talk to your board or spiritual support system. I’m not interested in stirring up mud.

    I truly want these things discussed in a logical and Biblical manner.

    Emergent Nazarenes & Church Leadership,

    Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

    We should be able to reason together using God’s word.

  37. Why would you block any comments? Shouldn’t you allow your readers to determine for themselves what they want to read or not read when it comes to comments.

  38. Anonymous,
    Have I not explained here why I block comments? One reason is that in this post, I want specific BIBLICAL reasons why people would recommend Henri Nouwen as a good Christian resource. if they want ot continue on and on with non-biblical reasons, they can write it on their own blogs! I’m not stopping them.

    Go ahead and start your own blog, and allow any and all comments- I have no problem with that. Over here, I use my judgment (whether anyone likes it or not) and block comments that are off the tracks are far as what I wanted to get from them, and comments that might cause doubt in a new believer and possibly mislead them. I know, I know… who are you to be the judge? Well, we do it all the time, don’t we? I constantly pray that I am doing it righteously- with the backing of Holy Scripture.

    I suppose if someone really does not like my rules or my way of editing out comments, they can stop commenting, and start their own blog, and set their own rules. No problem with at either

    Would you care to justify the use of Henri Nouwen books by a Nazarene pastor as something healthy and good for a Christian to use? (Just remember, I may not post any more of your comments, if they don’t try to use the Bible for justifying the use of such authors as Nouwen and Foster.)

  39. Manny,

    I’m wondering what it would look like to “use the Bible for justifying the use of” ANY author, other than those mentioned specifically in the Bible itself. Can we “use the Bible” to justify reading Max Lucado? Or Oswald Chambers? Or John Wesley? Or _________ (fill in that blank with any devotional writer you choose)?

    I’m just curious what that would look like, as I try to imagine how to frame an acceptable answer to your questions. Maybe you could help us out with an example?

  40. Okay, Rich… here we go.

    Henri Nouwen preached another gospel. I reject his writings for that, and for good biblical reason. And you want to compare his writings with Lucado, Wesley, and others. And you cannot even say thjat I am wrong about what I said about him, because they are all true facts. And being true facts, I reject them as unbiblical.

    Look, I rest my case- emergents will never condemn the use of Henri Nouwen and his heresies- sadder still that many are Nazarenes. He has no connection with traditional Nazarene doctrine, and for good reason: he taught the heretical belief that you don’t have to be a Christian or know Jesus to get to heaven. And yet you continue to defend him.

    How sad that you don’t see that, and you instead put him in some way in the same class as John Wesley.

    Thanks for trying anyway. Sorry you don’t see this man, and many other men’s, heresies for what they are, including Richard Foster.

  41. Henri Nouwen was a well respected Christian author read by many Christians, EVANGELICAL AND MAINLINE, long before anyone muttered the word “emergent”. I understand that you guys see things in terms of Catholic=heretic but I am sure you will like the guy when you meet him in Heaven. The point is you write as if no one in evangelical circles knew who the man was before the emergent church and that is simply not true.

  42. Please slow down, Manny. The only category I put those guys together in was that of “author.” I think we’re all in agreement that these guys are all authors. 🙂

    I was just trying to figure out how you would like to see your questions answered.

    Based solely on the descriptions you provided above, I don’t know that any defense of those three authors would be possible. However, I’m not sure about the accuracy or adequacy of those descriptions.

    Take Nouwen, for example. It’s been several years since I’ve read any of his books. I’ve probably read 4 or 5 of them. I don’t recall him saying anything like what you described above in the books I read, though I do remember being aware that, due to his Roman Catholicism, I knew I wouldn’t agree with everything he said. So perhaps I overlooked something like that as “one of those things we disagree with him about.”

    But what if he made a statement like the one you described in only one of his books? Does that mean that all of his other books now hold no value? (That’s what I meant when I said I’m not sure about the adequacy of the descriptions given above. Do we evaluate the totality of an author’s published works based on a handful of statements in one of them?) Can I recommend a book for devotional reading with a caveat, like, “This is a good book, with a really interesting perspective on _____, even though we disagree with his take on _____”? I remember one of his books being like that, as it had a whole section on Mary that I knew going in wouldn’t mesh with our Protestant/Nazarene take on her.

    I hope this helps.

  43. It is amazing, Unconcerned.

    By definition, anyone who claims that there are other ways to God than through Jesus Christ, is NOT a Christian.

    Thanks for trying. A Christian is not someone who claims to be a Christian, but someone who is a Christian based on the biblical standard.

  44. From Rich’s post on March 8, 2010 at 10:14 am

    When I played the “Dust” Nooma video for our congregation as part of my message last Sunday (Feb. 28), I didn’t put that disclaimer on it — because I don’t believe that to be an accurate description of what Rob Bell believes and teaches.

    Rich,

    If I am right about Rob Bell would it matter?

  45. “A Christian is not someone who claims to be a Christian, but someone who is a Christian based on the biblical standard.”

    Amen!

  46. Rich when you played that Nooma video for your flock to see you were putting your stamp of approval on Rob Bell. The position you have generally brings with it a level of respectabiltiy in which people will trust your opinion without question….Can you without fail stand behind all that Rob Bell believes or doesn’t believe in?

  47. Unconcerned,

    Someone who says they are a Christian and points converts to a different deity than the God of the Bible is a heretic.

    I feel like I’m playing a hide and seek game with the Emergent Church Prophets.

  48. Is it possible to walk a prayer labyrinth while reading a copy of Velvet Elvis and contemplating in prayer on the multiple ways to God by Henri Nouwen at the same time?

  49. Manny,

    What Nazarene Church do you attend? I’m just curious, after all, you’re a nazarene. I attend MidCity Church of the Nazarene in San Diego where my Pastor opposes heresies like Process Theology and has even written against that heresy in a new book!

  50. Ben, I’ll answer this because Bob Hunter wants to know also- even though it does not matter much here.
    I am a member of the Nazarene church- currently not attending my church of 36 years because its pastor supports the emergent church movement, and I oppose it vigorously as you know.
    I am attending a few different churches now for the moment, including non-Nazarene, as we wait and see what will happen. I have very good reason to believe the New England District leadership has welcomed this movement as well, and I will fight vigorously to oppose them if that’s the case, and warn every Nazarene possible.

    Now, perhaps you can answer question #1 for starters- with biblical justification for recommending (if you do) books by Henri Nouwen, who was a unversalit- not exactly a trait of a true Christian.

  51. I hope this comment will go through, since my last one didn’t…

    RevRick & Clumsy Sword Bearer: From what I know of Rob Bell, having listened to probably hundreds of his sermons over the years, I am quite confident that the Jesus he preaches is the Jesus of the Bible. I know there have been times when I’ve disagreed with him, but on the whole I find his proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to be biblically sound.

    Of course, that means I disagree with the assessments of him that have been presented here. I hope these answers and clear and straightforward enough for everyone.

  52. Rich states” From what I know of Rob Bell, having listened to probably hundreds of his sermons over the years, I am quite confident that the Jesus he preaches is the Jesus of the Bible.”
    That says it all
    Thank you Rich for your funny (and scary) post.
    Tim

  53. Tim, I’m not sure what’s funny about the fact that my evaluation of Rob Bell’s preaching is different from your own. I think it’s difficult to adequately evaluate someone based on a tiny percentage of what they have said, because it becomes far too easy to misinterpret that tiny percentage.

    We’ve all seen people do this with Scripture, haven’t we? Someone takes a single verse from Paul (say, about requiring women to be silent in the church) and draws conclusions that don’t make sense if we look at the totality of what Paul has said.

    Likewise, we don’t evaluate James based only on his statement, “a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” If that was all we had to go on, we might say he’s preaching “a different gospel” than the one Paul preached. But when we read the rest of what James wrote, we can see that he’s not.

    I think a similar principle applies here.

    (This is the same concern I expressed in my comment from yesterday afternoon, which hasn’t been approved yet. I mention it here so that, if it does get approved now, folks will go back to read it.)

  54. Rich,

    I am quite confident that the Jesus that Rob Bell preaches in this video is not the Jesus of the Bible:

    http://www.viddler.com/explore/GoodNewsTo/videos/12

    If you believe that this is an accurate telling of the gospel then we stand at an impasse and one of us is wrong.

    **********
    The nature of deception is that the deceived do not know that they are.

  55. Clumsy Sword Bearer,

    Which part of the Jesus in that video is not the Jesus of the Bible? Having just watched it (and parts of it more than once), I’m curious.

    The first part of it is a quick history of how the words used by the gospel writers to tell the story of Jesus were being used in their culture. If that part is accurate (and I haven’t done the digging yet to find out, but it jives with what I’ve heard from other sources), then it can only help sharpen our understanding of the Bible to better understand the words being used.

    Then he says, near the climax of it (starting around the 9:00 mark):

    “That’s the gospel. That’s it. The gospel is the good news that God hasn’t given up on the world, that the tomb is empty, and that a giant resurrection rescue is on the way, and you and I can be a part of it.

    “And so, yes, this has a deeply personal dimension to this. Jesus is saving me, he’s saving me from my sins, from my mistakes, from my pride, from my indifference to the suffering of the world around me, from my cynicism and despair. The brokenness I see in the world around me is true of my own soul, and so he’s rescuing me moment by moment, day by day. Because God wants to put it all back together: you, me, the whole world.

    “And so he starts deep inside each of us, with our awareness that we need help, that we need saving, that we need rescuing, and then he begins to show us, step by step, what it looks like to put flesh and blood on this gospel. Because we all fall short. And that’s the beautiful part: broken, flawed, vulnerable people like you and me are invited to be the hands and feet of a Jesus who loves us exactly as we are and yet loves us way too much to let us stay that way.”

    I think he does a good job of presenting the gospel in a way that wakes up sleepy ears and causes them pay fresh attention to the Good News of Jesus Christ. It’s not the whole story, of course. It’s an 11-minute video. But I don’t see any part of it that I can point to and say, “That’s not true to the story of the New Testament.” In fact, we could probably type out the transcript of it and match the various statements he makes to Bible verses that say the same thing.

    (By the way, the video linked above is most of the 15th Nooma video, “You,” for those who are wondering… just in case the video gets taken down for copyright violation or something.)

  56. Clumsy,

    You linked to a specific Bell video. For the sake of clarity, which parts of that video do you find the most objectionable?

    Thanks

  57. Rich you stated ” I think it’s difficult to adequately evaluate someone based on a tiny percentage of what they have said, because it becomes far too easy to misinterpret that tiny percentage.”
    But one paragraph before in this thread you stated
    “From what I know of Rob Bell, having listened to probably hundreds of his sermons over the years, I am quite confident that the Jesus he preaches is the Jesus of the Bible.”
    How can you therfore be confidant that Bell does not preach a different jesus?
    ?????
    Your statements seem to be in conflict with one another
    Tim

  58. Here’s my opinion on taking bits and pieces of Rob Bell’s speeches, videos, sermons to find the good or bad in it as Rich appears to do.

    Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

  59. Revelation 21 is what I believe about the one and only second coming of Christ.

    Brad, perhaps your reference in Zechariah has already happened. Jesus stepped foot on the Mt. of Olives plenty of times while here on this earth. Perhaps, you are guilty, just like the jews and teachers of the law were during Jesus’ time on earth, in that you interpret the OT passages as the Kingdom of God being a mighty military take over.

    Manny, are Paul’s words that all things permissable but not all thing beneficial not good enough? I don’t believe any church is using these book as a part of their liturgy…no pastor is getting up in the pulpit and saying, “hear the words of Murton, or whoever,…”

    By the way, Manny just lost credibility with me…I’m done with this discussion and web page, as all it is, is a bunch of fundamentalist who do not even attend the COTN. I would encourage all my Nazarene friends to refrain from navigating to this site and allow these folks to say what they wish.

  60. Tim,

    I feel like listening to hundreds of hours of his preaching puts me in a better position to evaluate the content of his message than someone who has read a few paragraphs excerpted from books and interviews, plus a handful of 10-minute videos.

    A handful of excerpts = a tiny percentage

    Hundreds of hours of preaching = a much larger percentage

    Does that help clarify what I meant by my two statements? I apologize for any confusion.

  61. Sword Bearer,

    Yes, I do believe that this is an accurate telling of the gospel so then we are at an impasse and one of us is wrong.

    We are invited into the WAY of Jesus, the very Way of the cross which we are charged to daily pick up and follow. Like the many ways Jesus, and later his early followers, would take a word and flip it on its end and make it something new, the word “sword” as reference to “God’s Word” was a way to subvert the way of the sword and its violence and sin in favor of the good news of being able to follow the Word made flesh that died on a cross an overcame evil with good and the ressurection.

    I heard Rob Bell call people into the Way of Jesus- the Way of Jesus in the Bible.

    I get the feeling that you do not know that sword has been subverted – I don’t care if you like Rob Bell, but put down the sword and pick up the cross and follow Jesus.

    I like your tag line- “The nature of deception is that the deceived do not know that they are.”

    hmmmmmmm this is so true.

  62. Rich
    I predict that you will do well in the coming days as a Nazarene Pastor. Who knows maybe one day you’ll sit on the General Board with John Middendorf.

    Lord Jesus come quickly I pray…

  63. Rich I thought you were speaking for yourself in the first paragraph.
    Thats where I was confused.
    So how do you know how much research many of us have done on Rob Bell?
    Plus I dont need to listen to hundreds of hours of preaching to discern Bell preaches another jesus.
    Its very simply to come to that conclusion by comparing what Bell teaches against what scripture teaches.
    Its called discernment and knowing what the Bible teaches
    The scary thing is if you really have listened to hundreds of hours of Rob Bell’s teaching (as well as McLaren’s perhaps) and you can’t discern that Bell is a false teacher I really feel for you Rich.
    But your lack of discernment doesnt excuse you from exposing your congregation to false teachers.
    Of course Rich you are not accountable to me.
    I pray that your congregation digs deep into Gods Word and learns the truth about Rob Bells teaching if they are not going to hear it from their pastor.
    You ought to be ashamed of yourself Rich.
    Tim

  64. David,

    When “Emergent voices” trash Bible prophecy and the understanding of prophecy, do you understand how biased they are? Do you really understand how mean they are? How sad then that we are saddled with biased, humanistic philosophy masquerading as Bible teaching.

    If you’re an example of a Bible teaching product of the Nazarene university system, I am completely fearful for the future generations. First, Revelation 21 is not related to the second coming, it is the new Jerusalem that is being described after the 1000 year reign of Christ. Revelation 19 is the second coming of Christ.

    You and others like you are in my prayers for clarity and a better understand of the scriptures.

  65. I don’t believe I have anything to be ashamed of, Tim. I’ve done my research, both into the Bible and into Rob Bell.

    You’re correct that I don’t really know how much research you have done on Rob Bell. But when you make statements like, “I don’t need to listen to hundreds of hours of preaching to discern Bell preaches another jesus,” it makes me think that you’ve done less than I have. You suggest that a solid conclusion can be reached by “comparing what Bell teaches against what scripture teaches.” I’ve done that with hundreds of hours of “what Bell teaches.” You’ve done it, apparently, with only a handful of excerpts.

    It’s interesting that you believe that I lack discernment. Back when I was taking “spiritual gifts inventories” to try to get a good handle on how God has gifted me, I always scored high on the gift of discernment. And others who knew me (including those older than myself and mature in the faith) confirmed that they saw this gift in me. I hope you don’t mind if I trust their assessment of me over yours.

    Thank you for praying that my congregation digs deep into God’s Word. I pray the same and am working hard to help them do just that.

    Re: Brad White: I hope I’ve shown that I’m not basing my conclusions on “bits and pieces of Rob Bell’s speeches, videos, sermons” but on a broad sample of his teaching and preaching over several years.

  66. Rich: You say “I hope I’ve shown that I’m not basing my conclusions on “bits and pieces of Rob Bell’s speeches, videos, sermons” but on a broad sample of his teaching and preaching over several years.”

    WOW. What an admission. And this is THE problem, Rich. With all your training and pedigree, why in the world do you find it necessary to spend YEARS studying and now promoting another MAN’s thinking. Especially someone like Rob Bell who does nothing more than express his own OPINION of what the Bible says or what Jesus meant? THE problem seems to be that you HAVE LEFT THE “SOURCE” and gone to an alternative. Man’s method of searching for TRUTH is turning to other men for answers! Rob Bell is NOT the Truth and leading others to him is, ultimately, ANTI-Christ thinking!

    Rich, Rob Bell is on a magic carpet ride, and you have been “enchanted”. I know it is offensive to suggest that you might consider a prayer group who knows how to take authority over spirits to cast them away from you.

    I am not suggesting that you may be possessed but I am saying SOMETHING is speaking to you – something has your ear – that is NOT the ONE. (By the way, as what I would call a “NEW” Nazarene do you even hold to the Bibical teachings of “rulers, powers, world forces of darkness, spiritual forces and wickedness in the heavenly places.”?)

    The garden of eden is one example of “enchantment”. Eve was enchanted. Another is when the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, and the devil attempted to enchant Jesus – “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”

    A study of Rob Bell is NOT the way to the Cross of Christ or God’s Glory. It does seem to captivate you. It does seem to have a powerful hold on you. Sort of an enchantment.

    On a human level, Bell’s methods also seem like a great way to draw crowds and gain personal recognition and personal adulation.

    I can tell from what little I have read from you that you honestly and sincerely believe what you are saying, even when the Truth says otherwise. That is why it is call being “Enchanted”.

    I have a dear friend who, after getting ordained as an Elder in the Church of the Nazarene, has been swept away by the Enchantment of Rob Bell and the emergent philosophies. He agreed with scripture that homosexuality is not a legitimate lifestyle, that socialism is not God’s plan for man, that abortion is murder, and many other traditional bibilcal teachings. NOW? Now, he is a little more uncertain. He now says, “there is more truth out there if we would just look for it. Things aren’t so black and white anymore.” He is Enchanted by his new following!

    PLEASE consider what I am saying. Just consider it and go to God and ask Him about this matter of being ENCHANTED. (You sort of brushed me off earlier saying “I don’t think Manny wants us cluttering up his blog comments with much more of this” which really sounded like perhaps say you are tired of my direct-ness or this is not ‘heady’ enough. So, this will be my last post to you. I sincerely pray that God will Bless you with the richness of His Truth. And if I am off base on this, that He will show me as well)

  67. To Pastors,
    Blessed are the pure in heart, because they shall see God. Matt. 5:8
    As a believer in Jesus our Lord I know our Lord said these very words. He spoke them. I do not think He could have been any clearer.
    We are either for Him or against Him. There is no picking or choosing the things that we can use to preach the gospel. He gave us everything. We are to preach the Word. Only the Word. No bells and whistles no cool hip relevant reach the culture psychobabble. Speak the Word. It does not return void. It is sharper than any two edged sword.
    I believe all of what the Lord said. Conviction,repentance regeneration,sanctification,glorification. Start to finish very simple even a child understands it. The Gospel does not need anyone to comment on it or try to make it more relevant or culturally acceptable. It is not supposed to be any of those things. Divine love surpasses all the gifts, Divine Love is the Gospel. Divine Love sent Christ to save the repentant.
    It is very simple as John the Baptist said” Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”
    God bless,
    Beth

  68. Rich, you never answered my question about where in the Bible is the part of Jesus having faith in us humans. Rob Bell is guilty of some very dangerous and over the top comments. How can you justify a person like that as being a true Bible believing Christian?

  69. manny, get out the lawn chairs and a tall and I mean tall glass of lemonaid cause you are going to be waiting a long ,long,long time. i’d book a vacation !!!!!!! I seem to hear the cries and yellings from the emergent camp cutting themselves on the pages of the false prophets heretical way, ought to nickname you ” little e”. how many times in the old test. did our Heavenly Father tell his children to not have ANYTHING to do with false teachings, prophets, other gods, idols, the other’s cultural way?
    Yet even within these postings there is the old nature allowing itself the right to choose between obedience and sacrifice. the means do justify the ends…….not !! and never, never will. often thought of it like this.. how much of a poison pill are people willing to take? How much of this poison are you pastors, teachers,d.s’s, and g.s’s going to let be dispensed at the cost of what? well that cost is AN ETERNAL SOUL. if i had any books, materials, circul, tapes of these false prophets in my church or personal library i’d burn them. if it was good enough to burn’em in Elijah day its is good in our time too. it is beyond my comprehension how a GOD CALLED MINISTER WOULD KNOWINGLY RISK THE SOULS IN his care with this poison. come out from among them was HIS call for a lifetime. sure its harder than ever to win people to Jesus, & build a church, and worry about the numbers,& budgets. but one day an accounting will take place. He has asked all of HIS children to walk the way of holiness. He has the correct prescription all we have to do is FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ,,,,,,, yet you put on your pharmaceutical robes of righteous and put forth another easier pill to swallow. it is easier, seeker friendly, culturally acceptable, ” less harsh”, etc,etc. but the bottom line is that you just poisoned your people your are responsible for. you know even baby snakes are poisonous from birth. you would not give your child such a deadly item. why then do you give His sheep piosonous water? so manny, can’t wait for part 2. thanks for letting me speak my heart. i do hope it will help someone . enjoy the vacation! in HIS service, respectfully, mark

  70. Michael,
    Rob Bell is simply a pastor whose preaching I find edifying. That’s why I’ve listened to him over the years (and of course, as I listen, I compare to Scripture). Not because I felt a need to study or follow or promote him. I study Scripture. I promote Jesus. I’ve not been enchanted by anyone other than my wife of 13 years. (As of today, it’s probably been 3-4 months since I’ve listened to a sermon by Rob Bell, not counting the couple of 10-minute videos that have been mentioned in this thread. Does that sound enchanted to you?)

    Thank you for your concern. I assure you (as would the dozen or so mature Christians who know me well) that I am not enchanted by Rob Bell.

    (PS – I have friends who pray the way you described. They would tell me if they felt I was being influenced by a spirit other than the Spirit of Christ. They haven’t.)

    Brad,
    I apologize for missing your question. I’d say that John 14:12 does a decent job of summing up that sentiment, when Jesus says to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Jesus is saying to them, “You will do what I have been doing.” (There are other verses that say similar things, but I think this one is sufficient.)

    Just like in the “Dust” video, it’s not a question of “Do I think I have it in me?” It’s a question of “Do I think Jesus knew what he was doing when he called me to be his disciple? He says I can do what he’s been doing. Do I believe it?”

    It’s not that we can do this “on our own” or apart from Jesus. It’s that we can obediently follow our Lord and do what he commands us to do. Isn’t that the Wesleyan perspective? We are not those who believe that Jesus commands the impossible, just so we will realize how sinful we are. We believe that God gives us his Spirit and transforms us so that we will be able to do what Jesus commands us to do.

    Manny,
    I hope you’re still OK with me answering questions in the comments here when I’m asked them directly. I’ve tried to honor your request to not sidetrack things… but if you keep letting their questions to me through, I’m assuming you’re OK with letting my answers through, too. 🙂 Thanks.

  71. Mark and Manny,

    I feel like I have a ring side seat on Mount Carmel. A part of me can’t believe it and the other part wants to puke.

    Rich and David Snodgrass,

    I’m praying for you, your leaders and your churches. Two things always tell the truth, Jesus and time.

    If these things are nothing they will disperse like a cloud but if they are truth things will become much more bizarre in the Church.

  72. Ok cool Manny Qand A with Rich thats ok with me.

    Ok so we see that Rich has no problem with a person many of us consider a false teacher namely Rob Bell.
    Rich let me ask you a very direct question.
    Is there anyone you would not promote or endorse (at all) because of false teaching?
    And I’m stating anyone alive right now who calls or refers to themselves as Christian?
    Is there anyone in Christianity today at present that you would consider a false teacher
    Tim

  73. Rich, I’m sorry, but you are completely wrong on scripture saying that Jesus has faith in us.

    John 14:12-15
    12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater the works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father
    13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son
    14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
    15 If ye love me, keep my commandments

    No where does this scripture say Jesus has faith in us or interpret that way. The apostles will be doing what Jesus did because he was going to the Father, but not because Jesus had faith in the apostles, but the work of the apostles would be (vs 13) glorifying our Father by asking in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ on the works they were performing.

    It can’t be done and you know you can’t support anything of Rob Bell through Scripture because the man is a complete heretic.

  74. I think that is a good question. But how would you classify a false teacher? someone who is wrong about anything?

    Tim, I know the bible says to watch out for false teachers, but can you show me where the Bible tells us how to define or identify one?

    How are we defining this? How does the bible define a false teacher?

  75. Tim,

    Sure. There are plenty of people/groups who call themselves Christian but are outside of orthodoxy. The Mormons/LDS come immediately to mind. I’m not familiar with any of their pastors to give you names, though.

    These are groups who add other literature alongside the Bible as equally inspired and authoritative. These are groups who abandon the historic creeds, with their definitions of the Trinity and the full humanity and full divinity of Christ. I have no trouble recognizing these groups as heretical/unorthodox/”false teachers.”

    I also have trouble with health-and-wealth, name-it-and-claim-it preachers. I don’t think their preaching lines up with Scripture, either… though I hesitate to call them heretics. It’s been a while since I looked at them closely enough to say something like that. But I have no problem telling folks that I think they’re dead wrong. 🙂 I also think Roman Catholics and strict Calvinists are dead wrong about some pretty important things. But that doesn’t make them heretics.

    There are lots and lots of “false teachers” out there, but most of them don’t wear the label “Christian.”

    Does that answer your question?

  76. Manny,

    I hope part 2 is as good or even better then part 1. I enjoy searching the scriptures for answers, support, and disproving the likes of Rob Bell and others. I may not be a pastor, but I’m learning to be a better witness for Christ through the proper use of scripture.

    Brad

  77. Hey Brad,
    I’m working on Part 2 questions now. If anyone who is against the emergent church wants to send me suggested questions that can try to elicit some clear biblical defenses of the emergent ideology, send it to my email.
    Manny

  78. Chris,

    This might help answer your question you posed.

    Characteristics of New Evangelicalism that define it as apostate. They are:

    Repudiation of separation;
    Replacing separation with dialogue;
    Love for positivism; a judge-not philosophy by a dislike of doctrinal controversy;
    Exalting love and unity over doctrine;
    Pragmatic approach to ministry;
    Desire for intellectual respectability, by pride of scholarship;
    Attitude of anti-fundamentalism;
    Contradictory;
    Division of Biblical truth into categories of important and unimportant;
    Exalting social-political activity to the same level as the Great Commission;
    Mood of softness; a neutrality toward spirit warfare.

    New Evangelicalism: its fruits in doctrinal apostasy.

    Biblical infallibility is in question (John 10:35; 2Tim. 3:16; 2Pet. 1:21);
    Ecumenism (Evangelicals joining with other groups that are not Christian);
    Apostasy is seen in Christian living (the world spirit of the present age);
    Acceptance of heretics.

  79. Thanks Brad can you show me where the bible defines false teachers using the catagories you gave?

    Those things you say sound bad, but I want to do what the bible tells me to make sure I am following the real Jesus.

  80. Rich- thanks for ducking the question.
    Figured you would.
    Again if you think Rob Bell is orthodox and worthy enough to put your flock in danger by exposing them to his false teaching.
    I guess I really have come to know you would have a poor understanding of scripture and not be able to understand and answer my question.

    Chris- read your Bible

    I couldn’t offer a treatment better than (or as good as) Warren Wiersbe’s in his excellent Bible Exposition Commentary. (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, c1989, 1996).

    All that follows is from Wiersbe:

    It is interesting to observe that antichristian groups rarely try to lead lost sinners to their false faith. Instead, they spend much of their time trying to convert professing Christians (and church members, at that) to their own doctrines. They are out to “seduce” the faithful.

    The word “seduce” carries the idea of “being led astray.” We have been warned that this would happen: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons” (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1).

    Jesus calls Satan the “father of lies” (John 8:44), The devil’s purpose is to lead Christians astray by teaching them false doctrines (2 Cor. 11:1-4, 13-15). We should not accept everything a person tells us simply because he claims to believe the Bible, for it is possible to “twist” the Bible to make it mean almost anything (2 Cor. 4:1-2).

    Satan is not an originator; he is a counterfeiter. He imitates the work of God. For example, Satan has counterfeit “ministers” (2 Cor. 11:13-15) who preach a counterfeit gospel (Gal. 1:6-12) that produces counterfeit Christians (John 8:43-44) who depend on a counterfeit righteousness (Rom. 10:1-10). In the Parable of the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43), Jesus and Satan are pictured as sowers. Jesus sows the true seed, the children of God; but Satan sows “the children of the wicked one.” The two kinds of plants, while growing, look so much alike that the servants could not tell the difference until the fruit appeared! Satan’s chief stratagem during this age is to plant the counterfeit wherever Christ plants the true. And it is important that you be able to detect the counterfeit and separate the teachings of Christ from the false teachings of antichrist.

    How does a believer do this? By depending on the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Each believer has experienced the anointing (the unction, 1 John 2:20) of the Spirit, and it is the Spirit who teaches him truth (John 14:17; 15:26). False teachers are not led by the Spirit of Truth; they are led by the spirit of error (1 John 4:3, 6).

    The word anoint reminds us of the Old Testament practice of pouring oil on the head of a person being set apart for special service. A priest was anointed (Ex. 28:41), and so was a king (1 Sam. 15:1) or a prophet (1 Kings 19:16). A New Testament Christian is anointed, not with literal oil, but by the Spirit of God—an anointing that sets him apart for his ministry as one of God’s priests (1 Peter 2:5, 9). It is not necessary for you to pray for “an anointing of the Spirit”; if you are a Christian, you have already received this special anointing. This anointing “abides in us” and therefore does not need to be imparted to us.

    We have seen that false teachers deny the Father and the Son; they also deny the Spirit. The Spirit is the Teacher God has given us (John 14:26), but these false Christians want to be teachers themselves and lead others astray. They try to take the place of the Holy Spirit!

    We are warned against letting any man be our teacher, for God has given us the Spirit to teach us His truth. This does not deny the office of human teachers in the church (Eph. 4:11-12); but it means that under the guidance of the Spirit you must test the teaching of men as you search the Bible for yourself (cf. Acts 17:11).

    A missionary to the American Indians was in Los Angeles with an Indian friend who was a new Christian. As they walked down the street, they passed a man on the corner who was preaching with a Bible in his hand. The missionary knew the man represented a cult, but the Indian saw only the Bible. He stopped to listen to the sermon.

    “I hope my friend doesn’t get confused,” the missionary thought to himself, and he began to pray. In a few minutes the Indian turned away from the meeting and joined his missionary friend.

    “What did you think of the preacher?” the missionary asked.

    “All the time he was talking,” exclaimed the Indian, “something in my heart kept saying, ‘Liar! Liar!'”

    That “something” in his heart was “Someone”—the Holy Spirit of God! The Spirit guides us into the truth and helps us to recognize error. This anointing of God is “no lie,” because “the Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6).

    Why are some Christians led astray to believe false teachings? Because they are not abiding in the Spirit. The word “abide” occurs several times in this section of 1 John, and it would be helpful to review:

    False teachers do not abide (“continue”) in the fellowship (1 John 2:19).
    The word (message) we have heard should abide in us (1 John 2:24).
    The anointing (the Holy Spirit) abides in us, and we should abide in the Spirit (1 John 2:27).
    As we abide in the Word and in the Spirit, we also abide in Christ (1 John 2:28).
    We noticed this word abide earlier in John’s letter too:
    If we say we abide in Christ, we should walk as He walked (1 John 2:6).
    If we love our brother, we abide in the light (1 John 2:10).
    If the Word abides in us, we will be spiritually strong (1 John 2:14).
    If we do the will of God, we shall abide forever (1 John 2:17).
    “To abide” means to remain in fellowship; and “fellowship” is the key idea in the first two chapters of this epistle. From chapters 3 to 5, the emphasis is on sonship, or being “born of God.”

    It is possible to be a child in a family and yet be out of fellowship with one’s father and with other members of the family. When our Heavenly Father discovers that we are out of fellowship with Him, He deals with us to bring us back into the place of abiding. This process is called “chastening”—child-training (Heb. 12:5-11).

    A believer must allow the Spirit of God to teach him from the Bible. One of the major functions of a local church is the teaching of God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:2; 4:1-5). The Spirit gives the gift of teaching to certain individuals in the fellowship (Rom. 12:6-7) and they teach others, but what they teach must be tested (1 John 4:1-3).

    There is a difference between deliberate deception and spiritual ignorance. When Apollos preached in the synagogue at Ephesus, his message was correct as far as it went, but it was not complete. Priscilla and Aquila, two mature believers in the congregation, took him aside privately and instructed him in the full message of Christ (Acts 18:24-28). A Christian who spends time daily in the Bible and in prayer will walk in the Spirit and have the discernment he needs.

    The Spirit teaches us “of all things” (1 John 2:27). False teachers have a way of “riding a hobby”—prophecy or sanctification or even diet—and neglecting the whole message of the Bible. Jesus implies that we are to live by “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Paul was careful to preach “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable” (2 Tim. 3:16).

    If you ignore or neglect any part of the Bible, you invite trouble. You must read and study the whole Book, and be able to “rightly divide” it (2 Tim. 2:15); that is, you must “handle it accurately” (cf. NASB). You should discern in the Bible what God says to different people at different times; there are passages that apply specifically to the Jews, or to the Gentiles, or to the church (1 Cor. 10:32). You must be careful to distinguish between them. Though all of the Bible was written for you, not all of it was written to you. False teachers, however, pick (out of context) only what they want, and often apply to believers today passages that were given only for ancient Israel.

    John’s second epistle gives further warning about false teachers (2 John 7-11). A Christian who meddles with these deceivers is in danger of losing his full reward (2 John 8). You should not even say “good-bye” (which literally means “God be with you”). You are not to be rude or unkind, because that would not be Christian; but you are not to let them into your home to explain their views. Why? Because if you let them in, two consequences may follow: First, they will plant the seeds of false teaching in your mind, and Satan can water and nourish these seeds to produce bitter fruit. But even if this does not happen, by entertaining false teachers in your home you are giving them entrance into other homes! The deceiver will say to your neighbor down the street, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith let me into their home, and you know what good Christians they are!”

    Thanks
    Tim

  81. Tim,

    In what way did I duck your question? You asked:
    “Is there anyone you would not promote or endorse (at all) because of false teaching?
    And I’m stating anyone alive right now who calls or refers to themselves as Christian?
    Is there anyone in Christianity today at present that you would consider a false teacher”

    I answered: Yes. Mormons, or anyone else who adds other “scriptures” to Scripture or abandons the historic creeds that define the Trinity, Jesus’ full divinity & full humanity, etc. Mormons call themselves Christians, as do Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of the Church of Christ, Scientist, etc. But they are all unorthodox in their teachings.

    I thought that was a pretty direct answer.

  82. All I can say is AMEN, Tim.

    Rightly dividing the scriptures.
    Scriptures were written to different people and for different times.
    What more can be said?

  83. Rich let me rephrase the question to be more specific.
    Do you think Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt are orthodox teachers of the Christian faith?
    Thanks
    Tim

  84. Tim,

    I think Rob Bell is orthodox, and he does a good job of presenting the good news in fresh ways. That means he’s often coming from a different angle than people are accustomed to hearing. But I think his theology & teaching are orthodox, yes.

    Brian seems to ride the line. I haven’t read his latest couple of books. Some of his earlier books were clearly orthodox. I’ve never listened to his preaching.

    I’m not familiar enough with Doug Pagitt to have an opinion.

  85. Ok so you state that Rob Bell is orthodox.
    What good new are you refering to that Rob Bell presents?
    What do you mean by Brian seems to ride the line?
    And do you promote Brian McLaren in your church or to your church?
    Tim

  86. This should help describe Brian McLaren a bit.

    2 Peter 3:1-4

    1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance
    2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour
    3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
    4 And saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation

    McLaren has made it clear that those of us who believe Jesus is to return to establish His Kingdom on earth, like Jesus says He will, need to be confronted robustly by, in his words “the rest of us”. Just who are those who need to confront true Bible believing Christians? And what does he mean by robustly? McLaren’s statement “The rest of us” is speaking of those who profess a Christian faith but who don’t actually believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. Without a doubt they’re going to have a problem with those of us who believe Jesus Christ is God Almighty. According to McLaren, those who believe in Bible prophecy will be confronted, and he emphasizes this with the adverb “robustly”.

    If we look up the synonyms for robustly we get the words strongly, vigorously, forcefully. So McLaren perceives Bible believing Christians as needing an adjustment to their thinking, at the minimum that adjustment must come forcefully to confront our bogus, terrible, distorted, and deadly beliefs. Somewhere in all of his ranting I’ve missed the part about loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, and of course loving our neighbor as our self is missing as well.

    Brad

  87. Tim, I already stated in earlier comments that I believe Rob Bell proclaims the good news of Jesus Christ as given to us in Scripture. I even gave a transcript of part of the Nooma video linked to earlier in which he speaks of the forgiveness of sins and new life made possible by Jesus Christ. I’m not sure what more you want from me. Rob Bell preaches Jesus. (They recently wrapped up a 5-month, verse-by-verse study of the Sermon on the Mount on Sundays at his church. I got to listen to one of them during my 3 hours in the car today, on the Lord’s Prayer. It was excellent. http://www.marshill.org/sotm/)

    How would I “promote” Brian McLaren? I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned him on a Sunday, and we’ve never used any of his books in a small group. I thoroughly enjoyed his novel trilogy. I think his book on evangelism (“More Ready than You Realize”) is very helpful. Personally, I like reading his stuff, because he challenges me to think clearly and take a fresh look at Scripture and the Christian life.

    I said he seems to ride the line because he seems to enjoy challenging traditional approaches. Most of what he writes is provocative, trying to raise questions, to get people to think, not give answers. Even so, I don’t know that he’s ever done anything to deny the historic creeds, the Trinity, etc. He doesn’t seem to be trying to pull people away from Jesus or the Bible. If anything, he seems to be trying to get people to engage in reading the Bible more carefully and following Jesus more closely. At least, that’s the effect he has on me.

  88. And again Rich I repeat “And what verses in Gods Word in the Bible do you derive your definition of false teacher from?”
    Because you claim to be a Christian of course the only authority that could define a false teacher would have to be from Gods Holy Word.
    Not what you (or me) thinks
    Tim

  89. Plus Rich you stated ” I think” Rob Bell is orthodox,” What do you base this statement on.
    What shows Rob Bell to be orthodox and a teacher who rightly divides the Word of God”.
    You would not want to expose any of your congregation to false teaching or teachers.
    Right?
    Tim

  90. You stated about Brian “Some of his earlier books were clearly orthodox.”
    Are you unclear if Brian is orthodox now?
    Or are you stating as fact that you think Brian Mclaren is a orthodox teacher of the Christian faith as taught in the Bible?
    Tim

  91. Thanks for the link to Mars Hill Rich. Been there before forgot how scary and unorthodox this place was and is.
    Rob Bell in his belief section does not base his or his churches beliefs on what scripture teaches but on what Rob Bell teaches.
    Rob has added to and put his own spin on Gods Word.
    So by your own definition of a false teacher (the cults etc.. who have added to Gods Word Im sure now you must realize from Robs church own belief page that they (he Rob) adds to the scriptures there by making himself a false teacher by even your own definition of false teacher.
    Again Rich because of this I would ask you to repent and reject Rob Bell’s false teaching and adding to and distorting Gods Holy Word.
    Tim

  92. Rich you seem confused.
    Probably a nice guy but confused about how clearly the scriptures teach and warn us about false teachers and teaching.
    You have yet to even quote scripture to back up your views.
    Rich I looked back on your posts and you talk a lot about scripture and the Bible but you hardly ever quote it or even reference it.
    Not saying that you never do but scripture teaches in Proverbs 3:5-6
    5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own understanding;
    6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He shall direct your paths.
    You seem to want to trust in the Lord but you also want to seem to trust in your own understanding.
    You are also drawn to false teachers who lean on their own understanding (not Gods).
    So there is truly no trust there.

    So who will it be that directs your path when you lean on your own understand instead of scripture?

    Also your ways seem to acknowledge Rob Bells ways but not Gods.

    Isaiah 55:8 states 8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.”
    And please if I am not rightly dividing Gods Word here please call me out on it.
    But show me why and how.
    Tim

  93. To me Rob Bell and Brian McLaren both seem to say “I love jesus” as they shout out “I hate God and His Word”.
    At least it seems that way to me
    Tim

  94. Tim,

    I’ll try to answer all your questions here in this one comment, if I can.

    1. You seem to think you’ve asked me before about what verses from the Bible I would use to define a false teacher. If you did, I can’t find it. It’s not a bad question, but I don’t have time to do a Bible search right now for the relevant verses. Maybe tomorrow? Or Saturday? (We have youth group tonight.)

    My short answer would be that a false teacher is someone who teaches something contrary to Scripture or contrary to the historic creeds that the church developed as they wrestled with the definition of the Trinity & the dual nature of Christ. It’s someone who leads people away from Jesus.

    2. I base my statement that I believe Rob Bell to be orthodox on the hundreds of his sermons that I’ve heard, the dozen or so Nooma videos I’ve watched, and the book and a half of his that I’ve read. (I’m not sure how many times you want me to say this. I think this is the 3rd time.) I’ve not encountered him teaching anything that falls outside of Scripture or orthodoxy.

    3. I said that I haven’t read Brian McLaren’s most recent books. I feel it would be irresponsible to have an opinion about the orthodoxy or unorthodoxy of something I haven’t read. The books of his that I have read, I didn’t find to be unorthodox, anti-Jesus, anti-Bible, etc.

    4. The Mars Hill theology page doesn’t “add to Scripture” any more than our own Nazarene Articles of Faith do. Both are simply summaries and explanations of what these groups believe, based on Scripture. If you read their “narrative theology,” it’s clear that it comes right from the Bible. In fact, the first words of it are:

    “We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.”

    I’d encourage you to read the whole thing, especially the part about Jesus being born of a virgin, being our only hope, etc. It’s all very orthodox, very biblical.

    What I said earlier, if you’ll read it again, is that many unorthodox groups view literature besides the Bible as equally inspired and authoritative. Like the Mormons and their Book of Mormon.

    I’m not sure how much more clearly you want me to say these things, Tim, but I’m happy to keep talking about them as long as you keep asking & Manny keeps letting the comments through…

  95. Rich said:

    “I preach is the Jesus of the Bible. I preach from the Bible every Sunday. We use the Bible as our curriculum in every group/class that meets.” . . . “I am not preaching any Jesus other than the one presented in the Bible.”

    Rich, would you mind telling which bible you teach and preach out of?

    Maybe you have a different version of Jesus than the rest of us.

    Steve

  96. Rich,
    Can you comment on this by Brian Mclaren?

    ““The church latched on to that old doctrine of original sin like a dog to a stick, and before you knew it, the whole gospel got twisted around it. Instead of being God’s big message of saving love for the whole world, the gospel became a little bit of secret information on how to solve the pesky legal problem of original sin.”

    Manny

  97. Rich are you aware of the quotes by Rob Bell that Manny has stated such as:

    “In other words, I assumed that the doctrine of Original Sin was a biblical notion, and that all Christians accepted it as gospel truth. Of course, neither is true.”

    If so, is original sin a biblical notion that is not true as stated, or is this a false statement?

  98. “Original Sin” is a biblical notion in the broadest sense of it describing all of humanity’s shared broken condition going all the way back to our first parents.

    Much of the details after that depend on various theology, systematic and otherwise, which is never pure scripture but what method we use to connect biblical ideas together.

    I think some systems over play the role of original sin, I believe gnosticism certainly does. But I also believe that much of Calvinism over plays it in their doctrine of total depravity. As Nazarenes we believe our depravity can be restored when the heart is fully cleansed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Calvanist would disagree.

    These are just two ideas, there are more. But which one of these two is biblical? Which one is the pure truth of the bible?

  99. I’d prefer not to comment on excerpts with no context, either from Bell or McLaren. I hope you guys don’t mind.

    As for me, I believe what the Church of the Nazarene teaches on it: that we are all born into sin/depravity, with a sinful nature, but that God by his prevenient grace enables us to respond to the Good News of Jesus Christ, and by his sanctifying grace sets us free from original sin’s lingering effect on our lives.

    So original sin isn’t a “pesky legal problem” for us Wesleyans as it is for many other Christian traditions. In fact, our view on this issue may be one of the reasons some Nazarenes resonate with the things said by Bell & McLaren. Because we don’t believe the same things about “original sin” that many other Christian traditions do.

  100. Steve, I preach out of the same Bible every other Nazarene uses, in various English translations — mainly the NIV and NLT.

    I mostly think in NIV, since that’s what I grew up with (I’m 35), but I still occasionally think in KJV, since the Christian school I attended from 3rd to 7th grade used KJV. Thankfully, the Christian school I attended in high school let us use NIV.

  101. Oh, and Tim, you said, “You have yet to even quote scripture to back up your views.”

    I’ve quoted Scripture 3 times in the course of this thread. The first time was in my second comment.

    I guess this should probably be a clue to me as to how carefully you read people’s writings before making pronouncements about them…

  102. Rich you stated “The books of his that I have read, I didn’t find to be unorthodox, anti-Jesus, anti-Bible, etc.”
    I would like to know what books by Brian McLaren get covered by you as a pastor with your own blanket of orthodoxy.
    You still think Bell is orthodox how very sad.
    All I know is that in one of Rob’s latest videos where he is staring at himself in the mirror is very creepy to me.
    That is not the gospel of Jesus Christ being presented there.
    Rob how ever has a lot of faith in Rob.
    Matter of fact he seems to be having a love affair with himself (and I hope they are happy with each other).
    As far as Rob not quoting scripture you miss the point as you quote the Manual and not the Bible.
    And even the Manual quotes the scripture its baseed on so Im not sure what your point is.
    Rob doesnt quote scripture so its harder to pin him down.
    He doesnt quote scripture because then you have a point a referance to be faithful Bereans and check to see if what Rob is saying is true.
    Which of course is not.
    Biblical truth totally evades Rob.
    Yes Rob sounds very christian as he quotes pieces of scripture and mushes things together.
    Very much like the Mormons/Church of Latter day saints do in there commercials.
    In Mormon commercials they mention jesus and even the King James Bible.
    Wow, gee golly wizz.
    They gotta be christian (just kidding here folks but thats the con here).
    You dont see them mentioning their other works here book of mormon etc..
    Just like Rob Bell and Brian as well as other Emergents.
    Rob has faith in Rob not Jesus Christ.
    At least not the Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible.
    Maybe thats the appeal to many?
    We want to help Jesus out.
    Jesus started everything let us take it from here now.
    Thats a scary thought.
    Got a conferance to go to.
    Everyone have a good weekend
    Tim

  103. Rich,

    You need to stop calling yourself a “Wesleyan” because you cheapen and corrupt the “Wesleyan” tradition by grouping them with the likes of Bell and McLaren. John Wesley did not go about mixing scripture with some 16th/17th French philosopher’s ideas of the world. I’m completely ashamed that someone from the Nazarene denomination would even consider such an idea, but of course you have already done and accomplished that. My cousin who is a Nazarene pastor says you guys are so far off base that you’re not even teaching the gospel. Of course, that’s what we’ve been trying to advise you about for such a long time.

    With a sincere heart Rich, I pray and hope that your eyes are open to the errors of your way.

    Brad

  104. I’m sorry, Brad, but perhaps you’re not as familiar with the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan tradition as you think you are. Both of the comments on this thread in which I used the word “Wesleyan” were quite clearly Wesleyan in theology. One was a paraphrase of our own Nazarene Article of Faith on original sin.

    Thank you for your sincere prayers on my behalf. I, too, pray that the eyes of all our hearts will be enlightened (Eph 1:18).

    Tim, if you want to know my opinion of the various McLaren books, all you have to do is read my earlier comments in this thread.

    Re: the Manual & Mars Hill
    Our Articles of Faith don’t quote a single verse of Scripture. They simply give the relevant Bible references (and those were only added in 1976. Prior to that, no references were given). Just because Mars Hill’s statement doesn’t give references doesn’t mean it’s not based clearly and obviously on the Bible. If you read it, you’ll see that. Go to http://www.marshill.org/believe/ and click the “read the entire Narrative Theology” link. It will take 5 minutes.

  105. Rich,

    Thanks for the answers, I understand you would rather have a context to answer fully.

    This is beside the point but in your response you said:

    So original sin isn’t a “pesky legal problem” for us Wesleyans

    I was a Wesleyan nearly my whole life and original sin was not biblically or otherwise a “pesky legal problem.”

    1. It is a nature problem (not legal.) If it was legal then the Law would have fixed it.

    2. In Nazarene Doctrine it is not “eradicated” until Sanctification. Therefore to most Nazarenes it is a “pesky” problem!

    3. After Sanctification, your nature to sin is still with you! Else there would be no need to die daily. I call that a pesky ME problem)

    Also you said earlier of the video:

    “The first part of it is a quick history of how the words used by the gospel writers to tell the story of Jesus were being used in their culture.”

    Can I get a Bible verse to substantiate this Lie.

    Rob Bell along with many others are trying to re-lay foundations with unbiblical conjectures that only tickle the ear.

    This is nothing more than a clever attack on the “words” of God!

    The rest of the video could have been perfectly in line with sound doctrine, as long as faith in the word of God was erroded just a little more!

    You are supposed to feed the sheep not poison them!!!!!!!!!

    Steve

  106. Rich: What books of Brian Mclaren are you referring to as orthodox in this sentence?
    “The books of his that I have read, I didn’t find to be unorthodox, anti-Jesus, anti-Bible, etc”
    What I am asking is what are the titles of those books that you have read?
    Tim

  107. Rich,

    Maybe I do know the tradition more than you realize, but I don’t twist like others do.

    Brad

  108. Steve,
    My perspective on original sin that I shared above came almost directly from the Church of the Nazarene’s Manual. The phrase “pesky legal problem” was taken from McLaren’s quote that I was trying not to comment on. While original sin is certainly a problem, it is one that we believe is dealt with by God’s grace in this life. Many other Christian traditions do not believe this, so for them the problem is much peskier (?) than it is for us. And some of them do approach it from the “legal” angle. Obviously, we don’t.

    As for the definitions and context of the words the Bible uses: it’s not possible to give a Bible verse for where the words themselves came from. I can’t show how the words were used in Roman culture by quoting Scripture, because Scripture doesn’t give us that background. The Bible just uses the words (ekklesia, euangelion, etc), knowing that the original hearers were familiar with them.

    Tim,
    In an earlier comment, I’d said:
    “I thoroughly enjoyed his novel trilogy. I think his book on evangelism (“More Ready than You Realize”) is very helpful.”

    Beyond those, I’ve read a couple of his other books (Church on the Other Side, Generous Orthodoxy, and just a little bit of Everything Must Change), but I’d rather not express conclusions on their orthodoxy or unorthodoxy, because it’s been quite a while since I read the first two, and I only read a little bit of the last one. All I can say is that I don’t *remember* reading anything unorthodox in any of them.

    If you want titles for his novel trilogy, they are:
    – A New Kind of Christian
    – The Story We Find Ourselves In
    – The Last Word, and the Word after That

    I enjoyed these as novels that raised theological questions. While some of the characters reached conclusions, others didn’t, and I certainly didn’t agree with every conclusion every character reached. They were interesting as novels.

  109. “We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.”

    Just for the fun of it let’s take this apart and try to understand what it says.

    “We believe God inspired the authors of scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today.”

    So does that mean the words themselves were not inspired (as in plenary inspiration)?
    Sounds like this is saying that God inspired the human authors to speak to all generations of believers. That would make the writings of these authors their own words and not The Word of God.

    “God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.”

    What’s an authoritative narrative? I googled it and found this:

    • It is the narrative of Scripture that is authoritative.
    • What makes it authoritative is the fact that it reveals God’s actions, which allows us to know God.
    • The logical force is the force of confessional recitals of history that provide an overarching interpretation of the history of the world.
    • The Bible is brought to bear on theology in a very direct way, although it is a two step process: the Bible reveals God’s actions which in turn reveal God.

    http://bluecord.org/biblioblog/2007/06/history-and-narrative/

    The above concept is tied to N.T. Wright, a writer whose work can be found on Rob Bell’s Mars Hill website at marshill.org/believe/articles.php

    So….an authoritative narrative is a narrative revealing God’s actions and it’s the fact that it reveals God’s actions that make it authoritative? It’s not the inspired Word of God? It’s just the story/narrative that reveals God and it’s not God’s direct revelation to man?

    Well, yes, this is a “fresh” way of saying “I believe in the bible” and it certainly does see it from a “different perspective” but it doesn’t mean plenary inspiration (the very words are inspired and are THE Word of God) and it certainly doesn’t mean at all the same thing when I say “I believe in the Bible.”

    As for the rest of the above statement – I’ll let someone else swim through the murky depths to define how to “live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God” (Though I have a sneaking suspicion it has something to do with Contemplative/Centering prayer since his latest staff member is well versed in the Quaker tradition of “entering the silence.”).

  110. Excellent point clumsy. The way that they will live out that “story” is to make it up as they go along.

    For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

    Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

    Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    …so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

    But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

    Steve

  111. “We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.”

    Observations:
    1. Written by a master word-smith!!
    2. Written by someone who can speak Christian-ease proficiently.
    3. The immerse verb is very is very catchy.
    4. “authoritative narrative” seems to point to the Bible
    5. “faithfully interpret communally and individually”
    6. “led by the Spirit of God”

    Critiques:
    1. #1&#2 Emergent Church signature, but not wrong
    2. The author speaks using very vague Christian-ease but never says Jesus Christ.
    3. #3 – immerse – This describes cults.
    4. #4 – The author alludes to the Bible.
    5. #5 – You can only interpret their “authoritative narrative” in “communally and individually”. I would guess it is much more “communally”, once again very cultish.
    6. “Spirit of God” – When you haven’t defined you self as Christian or followers of Christ then this could be any spirit.
    7. Why don’t they use “Jesus Christ” in their belief statement?

    Romans 10:9
    That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    1 Corinthians 12:3b
    … no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

  112. “We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.”

    Pam,

    This is only the first paragraph of their Narrative Theology. To read the whole thing you would have to go to here: http://www.marshill.org/believe/ and click on [Read the Entire Narrative Theology] towards the bottom of the page.

    I think they rather clearly state what they believe and they aren’t trying to hide anything. How anyone can read it and come away believing it is orthodox historical Christianity is either seeing what they want to see or they don’t know what orthodox historical Christianity looks like. A third option is that they don’t have eyes to see.

  113. Pam:

    I was on staff at a small to medium sized Nazarene Church for a while (until they went radically left and Emergent) and during that time I had discussions of the sort you ask “Why don’t they use “Jesus Christ” in their belief statement?” then you reference Romans 10:9.

    Here is the answer I found which was revealed in a sermon from one of our pastors-gone-emergent at my former church: “You do not need to confess the Name of Jesus in order to be saved. You just need to believe in God and DO GOOD WORKS to be saved.”

    I confronted him with his statement and he said “I never said that”.

    He stuck with his denial until I replayed the CD from his sermon to him. Then he changed his story to say, “Well, the thief on the cross did not confess the name of Jesus and he got saved and there are times when it is not necessary to actually, verbally confess the NAME of Jesus to be saved”.

    I had to laugh. I said “But, what about what the Bible tells us?” Then I quoted Romans 10:9 to him. His response was “Yeah? Well, who was Paul anyway? He was just a man like you and me. And besides not everyone can confess the name of Jesus. For example, WHAT ABOUT SOMEONE WHO IS BLIND AND DEAF AND DUMB? HOW DO THEY CONFESS JESUS? I GUESS THEY HAVE TO GO TO HELL?”

    I was stunned! I said, “Brad, just think about what you have said. (1) You take a single statement of a thief and elevate its importance over the life, writing and teaching of Paul! AND you try to make a doctrine from it – if not an entire new theology. (2) You dismiss Paul who was directed by God to write most of the New Testament under the unction of the Holy Spirit (3) You invent an absurd situation to defend your position.

    Our discussion was becoming less fruitful so I asked this fellow pastor “Have YOU ever confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior with your mouth?”

    There was a long pause, a few “hems and hahs”, a string of stammers and then he referenced Rob Bell’s and Brian McLaren’s writings to justify his stance. But he failed to answer me.

    I pressed him for an answer and finally he gave me a weak “no”.

    OK! That’s what four years at Eastern Nazarene University will do for you! Raised in a Nazarene home and son of a Nazarene Elder and Pastor. Just like our friend RICH, Degrees, pedigrees etc. It all means NOTHING if you don’t know the LIVING GOD Jesus Christ!

    And, just like our friend RICH, my friend spent many hours o studying Bell and McLaren and giving their books to our youth, in order to gain understand and spread that deadly message – rather than read the Bible for knowledge, wisdom and Truth.

    My pastor-friend and had never verbally acknowledged and surrender his life to Jesus – and quite possibly had never been saved!!

    So, it is no wonder his understanding was lacking and darkened! He didn’t GET IT (The Truth) because He didn’t HAVE IT – The Holy Spirit!!

    The things of God are foolishness to the world – including many of our Nazarene college graduates with degrees!

  114. Those guys at MarsHill are so confused they wouldn’t know the difference between the return of Christ and the appearance of the anti-Christ.

  115. “We believe God inspired the authors of Scripture by his Spirit to speak to all generations of believers, including us today. God calls us to immerse ourselves in this authoritative narrative communally and individually to faithfully interpret and live out that story today as we are led by the Spirit of God.”

    This 1st paragraph is so open ended you can drive a truck through it.

    I don’t have a problem with the rest of the paragraphs.

    Zondervan’s Velvet Elvis they state:

    He mocks literalists whose faith seems to depend on a six-day creation, and one of his favorite people is a woman who turned up repeatedly at his church, only to tell him that she totally disagreed with his teachings.

    This isn’t orthodox Christianity. Why would a Godly Pastor mock someone who believes in six day creation?

    In the Noonan video’s, he tells about the Peter walking on the water then throws in the Peter not believing in himself at the end.

    He states commonly held views then throws in things for effect or because he believes them.

  116. Rich,

    You made an earlier comment that “I might not be familiar with the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan tradition as much as I though I might.”

    When I was 12, my Nazarene youth pastor gave me a comic book form of Revelation that taught younger people what Revelation was about. Since you and other emergents have trouble with Bible prophecy, would my Nazarene youth pastor be disqualified to fully knowing the Church of the Nazarene and the Wesleyan tradition?

    Also, you weren’t even born when I was 12 so you can’t say that Bible prophecy wasn’t given much attention within the denomination.

    Brad

  117. Michael,
    I confess, here and now, that Jesus Christ is Lord. I went to the altar for the first time when I was 4 years old after a VBS. I was baptized at 11, experienced entire sanctification at 12. My life has been one of growing closer to Christ, not moving away from him. I say all that only because you seemed to be calling into question whether or not I really know the Living God, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. I am glad to say that I do.

    You’re correct, of course, that compared to knowing Christ, degrees and pedigree are worthless. (The apostle Paul said something similar, right?)

    Having said that… for someone who DOES know Christ, it is a great gift to be able to invest years of your life in studying the Bible at our Nazarene educational institutions. My years at ONU & NTS were wonderful. Learning Greek and Hebrew. Getting a better understanding of the depth and breadth of Scripture, the contexts in which it was written, the ways it has been interpreted and applied down through the centuries of church history. These were immensely helpful for understanding this inspired Book that guides and shapes our lives and from which I have the privilege of preaching every Sunday morning. (Tomorrow is all about Jesus eating with sinners. We’ll cover four sections of Scripture — Matthew 9, Luke 7, Luke 18, and Luke 19 — for a total of 36 verses. And that’s just what’s printed in their handout. I’ll refer to others, too.)

    Brad,
    You know I can’t give an opinion about your old youth pastor based on a comic book he gave you more than 35 years ago. But since the Church of the Nazarene has purposefully left room for many different theories about how and when Christ will return, I can’t imagine your youth pastor would have disqualified himself by giving you a comic book… unless he was asserting that Christ won’t return at all.

    Also, I’m not sure what “trouble” you think that I have with Bible prophecy. I don’t know how you interpret the various Scripture passages nor how you relate them to our current Christian life and the hope we have for the future. Perhaps you and I would differ on some of them. Maybe we would agree on most of them. I don’t know.

  118. Rich,

    In your multiple attempts to explain yourself related to the Bible, your replies make me question your knowledge about the Bible in general. There are not numerous theories on how Christ is going to return based on the Bible. Theories are based on what man speculates, but the Bible is very clear on the one and only way Christ is going to return. Try reading Revelation 19: 11-16. It doesn’t require multiple interpretations either. As for dating, there again man will err by attempting that. The Bible is clear on what to expect and look for.

    Brad

  119. Rich

    Thank you for your heartfelt reply. I do not now, nor have I ever questioned your salvation. Your reply that matter. Thank you.

    The purpose of my post (although, now, I regret having shared so much detail) was to point out (in response to Pam’s question “why do ’emergents’ fail to use the Name of Jesus in their confessions?”) what I had learned about some emergent reasoning. I was also illustrating how Bell and McLaren have influenced emergents and others to think that there are OTHER or MANY paths to the One True and Living God. And they Bell and McLaren point out that there are OTHER or MANY ways to obtain His Salvation. It’s BLASPHEMY (old term, I know, but still useful) and HERESY. These are serious offenses. I don’t know how God sees these men. I just know that if you change one jot or tittle…or if you lead others astray or away from the True God, the consequences are serious!

    I am certain that we are to speak out against errant teaching. Their teaching is like drawing two lines across a page that APPEAR to be parallel. A BASE line and a parallel line. But in reality they are just slightly divergent. You can’t even notice the divergence until you reach the end of the page and then you see that you have drifted far away from the BASE line and there is NOTHING you can do about it now. Teachings of McLaren, Bell, Campolo and others are divergent NOT emergent.

    Rich, I agree with you that the type of education, training you have gained can have great value in the right hands, and you sound like a capable man. I also understand the value of your experiences and your family heritage. I am happy for you to have had such rich and deep experiences.

    You seem to be and sound like a patient and caring man – the type of man God can use to effectively accomplish His purposes in other’s lives.

    I dislike challenging your views on these matters. I feel certain I would like to be personally acqainted with you.

    But, my experience with these matters lead me in a different way.

    God’s grace and wisdom be multiplied to you.

  120. Brad,

    You may question my familiarity of the Bible all you want, I suppose. But you are revealing your own lack of familiarity with the Church of the Nazarene if you think there is only one acceptable theory/interpretation of how the events of Christ’s return will play out. Read any Nazarene history, and you’ll see that *Bible-believing* Nazarene pastors and teachers have held to a variety eschatological theories (pre-millenial, post-millenial, and a-millenial) for as long as we have existed as a denomination.

    If you want a quick online resource, Google “strange bedfellows Nazarene” and you’ll find a .pdf of a 2005 journal article by Nazarene archivist Stan Ingersol. It’s hosted at nazarene.org, and on page 17 it shows (with footnotes) just a little bit of the variety of interpretations that have been accepted within the Church of the Nazarene. And, again, these have all been *Bible-believing Nazarenes.*

    It’s clear that you’ve studied the issue and are convinced of the correctness of your theory (though I can’t tell which that is from your repeated references to Rev. 19). That’s a good thing. But it doesn’t change the fact that there are Bible-believing Christians who have thoroughly and prayerfully studied the Bible and arrived at conclusions different from your own. I hope you’ll be gracious enough to acknowledge that, rather than asserting that everyone who disagrees with you either doesn’t know or doesn’t believe the Bible.

  121. Brad, you can also go to Amazon.com and search for “four views on the book of revelation” (without the quotes) and find several books that compare different views of Revelation, the millenium, the rapture, etc. — with all the perspectives written by people who believe the Bible and are doing their best to bring all that it says on the subject into one cohesive view.

    Just trying to help…

  122. Well if Nazarene historian Stan Ingersol wrote a paper and put it on Nazarene.org, who needs the Bible. It’s just been holding the Nazarene church back all these years!!!

    When you see Jesus tell him about the Stan Ingersol pdf on Nazarene.org. I’m sure he will get a lot of giggles!

  123. Rich,

    My grandparents were Nazarenes back in 1918 and what they taught my dad about the denomination has been forwarded on to me. I’ll keep with that tradition instead of the one that has been tainted and diluted over the years.

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