By Peter Migner, Pastor
Deland Church Of The Nazarene
Dear Rev. Jenkins,
I want to go on record with you as a pastor under your leadership, that I am greatly perplexed and I am struggling with the current direction of the Church of the Nazarene and her Colleges and Universities. I do not know how many are with me and my wife on these matters, or if we remain is some kind of silent fearful minority of leaders who struggle with such matters. I have spent a year reading and researching trends in our church from the Emergent Movement to what is being allowed on our Christian campuses.
In the spirit of love I submit to you a summary of my recent correspondence with several in leadership in the past several months. In late December 2009 I wrote G.S. Jesse Middendorf about my concern about evolution being taught at ENC. After two months, the summary reply of a 3 page letter I received was very gracious and kind, but yet it was basically that I/we should have liberty (tolerance) for non-essentials and that there is room for diversity within the walls of the Nazarene Church on such subjects as creation.
Unsatisfied with that response I then wrote Professor Karl Giberson directly at ENC about his position on the creation of the first man Adam. He wrote back a brief comment that I should just see his blog ( read heresy at blog) as he did not have time for personal correspondence due to the high volume of inquiries he receives. Karl noted that all my questions about Adam were on the website. After careful review of the website and many other posts I have concluded that indeed Karl and several other Nazarene Professors are promoting heresy on the internet if not in the class room as well. The bible warns us of such false teachers! “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, . . .” (2 Peter 2:1)
So now my question becomes after a few inquiries: Does anyone in leadership know how to spot false teachers and prophets today? Outside of our Nazarene walls are culturally popular teachers and preachers like Rob Bell who are influencing countless people with their excellent communication ability. If you listen closely he and many other like culturally relevant teachers are teaching heresy alongside other biblical truths.
Just a few weeks ago I was enraged when I discovered that TNU was hosting a retreat at a Catholic monastery in KY. Instead of writing, I called TNU and spoke with President Dan Boone directly. I did appreciate the personal time on the phone with Dan . However, after reflecting on that conversation I still stand my ground in spite of what President Boone says about his reasons in justifying a retreat at this Catholic monastery. In my opinion we should not be sending our students onto these grounds and intentionally exposing them to Catholic people, practices and icons as it is a form of silent endorsement at worst, and teaching religious tolerance at best. Dan Boone’s reply to me was basically that it is cheap and affordable and we’ve been doing it for 40 years. I understand thriftiness in this economy but I must still ask, ”does the end ( cheap retreats) justify the means ( Catholic Monastery) when it offends ministers like me ( former Catholic) who were redeemed many years ago from the false teachings ( heresy) of the Catholic Church?” Just this past week our Hispanic Church planter pastor led three adult Catholic women to Christ upon hearing the gospel preached for the first time in a Nazarene church. They came forward to the altar of our Nazarene church. Now we must begin to teach them the truth which the Catholic church never revealed to them.
This past week I discovered that Point Loma Nazarene University is hosting some bizarre conference about Prophetic Imagination and among the featured guest speakers are: An Environmental Activist, a Monk, a Priest, a Black Activist and then it is Emceed by the President of NTS. Among the workshops is a Muslim Imam, a Catholic Priest and professors from ENC, NNU, PNU and TNU. This is not the Holiness Church I was led to as a young man from my Roman Catholic heritage. Some of the topics at this conference are just outright strange and Emergent in nature such as Sophia and Phronesis: A ‘What If’’ Question about Theology, and Feminist Pedagogy as Acts of Prophetic Imagination.
I am concerned that if this continues much longer the Church of the Nazarene will be swept away into total heresy among a generation that trusted the elders who led them into these false doctrines. I wonder how many more ministers will exit the church as Rev. Rick Headley recently did in Ohio.
I truly wish that this were all just some nightmare and I will wake up soon and find that our great holiness denomination has not actually become just another tolerant people with no distinction. If you don’t believe what I am writing by all means look at these links and see for yourself.
My oldest child is a freshman in one of our Nazarene Universities and I am not sure about her academic future if this continues. I cannot honestly imagine supporting our colleges and Universities if this is to become standard in our Denomination. As for the rest of my four children coming up through the ranks, I am inclined to begin looking elsewhere. Maybe my only vote will be by virtue of the Gospel of money until a true stand is made by the General church.
Peter Migner, Pastor
Deland Church of the Nazarene
Blog: Nazarenes For Biblical Creationism