Emergents Need Not Apply ( Interviewing Prospective Pastors)

2 Tim. 4:1-5 1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

So your church needs a new pastor?  Your longtime Bible believing, repentance preaching, “no-social-gospel nonsense” pastor is retiring?  And what, you are worried now?  I understand completely, although for me, thank God, I am not worrying about it. A true Bible believing pastor is getting harder and harder to find, and pastors eventually will retire or move on, and someone needs to take their place.  But who will come next?  Who can you trust to carry on the title of “undershepherd of the Great Shepherd?”  Well, perhaps some interview questions for anyone wanting the job, might be a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Here are some of my suggestions, and perhaps this criteria needs to be applied to our evolution-preaching, Bible-scoffing professors in the theology departments, at least as a way to screen which schools you send your child to:

Question 1: A simple Yes or No: Do you believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God in everything it teaches?
Followup One:
If you answered No to Question 1, who and/or by what authority determines which teachings are in error, give some examples of those errors, and how you or others of like mind arrived at those conclusions.
Followup Two:
If you answered No, explain why any Christian should have confidence in the Bible if  parts of the divinely inspired Book are in error, or are just myths, even when they are plainly written as fact?
Followup Three:
Do you believe that the Bible is the Christian’s sole authority for our faith and practice, and that we need nothing else?
(Open Letter Concerning The Authority of Scripture; Inerrancy And The Wesleyan TraditionNazarenes And Biblical Inerrancy)

Question 2: Do you believe that God cannot know the future? (Open Theism)
Followup: If yes, how can we have confidence in the many Biblical prophesies in the Bible, if we say that God cannot know the future? (Why Bible Prophesy Is Important Today)

Question 3: Do you believe that God makes mistakes, and learns from those mistakes?  (Process Theology)

Question 4: Do you believe in sanctioning official ecumenical gatherings and functions together with a Roman Catholic Church?
Followup:
If Yes, is it okay then to also fellowship with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons in their churches?  If not okay, what’s the difference and why, since JWs, Mormonism, and the RCC all teach false doctrines?   (Ecumenism Leads To Compromising The Gospel)

Question 5: Do you believe in evolution?
Followup:
If Yes, what is the biblical justification for denying the Genesis account of creation?  How do you explain the N.T. references to Adam and other Old Testament figures as real historical people, and not myths?  Could you explain Romans 5:12 and what it means?  (Theistic Evolution)

Question 6: In what ways does the Bible teach us to pray?  (Please provide biblical support for each explanation).
Followup:
If you are familiar with the practice of lectio divina, do you believe that it is biblical, and if so, please give solid scriptural reference that supports it.  (Contemplative PrayerLectio Divina)

Question 7: If a person denies the substitutionary atonement of the cross, and has suggested that people can find Jesus and stay within their own faith, and has described the cross as “almost false advertising for God”, please relate or contrast these statements with biblical teaching, and would you ever welcome him to speak to your congregation?  (Brian McLaren)

Question 8: This a test of your understanding of a certain Bible passage (Matt. 14:22-33).  If you heard Rob Bell teach that “when Peter started sinking in the water after starting to walk towards Jesus, that Peter did not lose faith in Jesus- he lost faith in himself”, what would be your reaction?  (O “Who” Of Little Faith?)

Question 9: Do you agree with emergent leader Tony Jones’ statement that unrepentent homosexuals can still be Christians?

Question 10: Is the use of prayer beads or prayer ropes biblical?  In other words, what is your opinion on the fact that Barefoot Ministries sells a book that promotes the use of prayer ropes.  (Roman Catholicism Taught To Nazarene Youth:  Part 1, and Part 2)

Question 11: Do you believe pastors should encourage their congregation to be Bereans, in other words, don’t automatically take their word for it, but search and verify the scriptures, as Paul commended the Bereans?  Or do you believe that pastors should never be questioned on anything they preach?

Question 12: Is it wise for a Christian university to invite a speaker, who comes in unchallenged and welcomed with open arms, when that speaker has promoted dangerous ideas, such as that “perhaps the Muslims have encountered the same God as we have encountered in Christianity?”

Question 13: Do you believe that the Kingdom of Heaven can be achieved here on earth through man’s efforts, similar to Rick Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan?  Or do you believe that the kingdom will not be finally established until Christ’s return?

Question 14: Dallas Willard, whose books are listed as resources at Christian colleges, has said the following: “I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”  Please comment on this statement in relation to what the Bible teaches. (See Lighthouse Trails info)

Question 15: Contemplative prayer promoters have used Psalm 46:10 “Be still..” as a rationale for doing practices like “the silence”, or the repetitive Jesus Prayer.  What is Psalm 46 teaching us, and is it correct when contemplatives use it in this manner to justify their practices?  (Does Psalm 46:10 Teach Contemplative Prayer?)

Question 16: Do you ever preach sermons that talk about exposing false teachers and false doctrines, or talk about our responsibility as Christians to judge everything that is taught?  Or do you preach that Christians should never, ever judge, and never ever name false teachers? (Judge Not?)  (Beware False Prophets, sermon by Voddie Baucham)

Question 17: Does a Christian college have the responsibility to protect their students from false teaching, or do you believe in exposing them to anything or anyone that comes in, and let them fend for themselves without any correction?

Question 18: Explain the plan of salvation as clearly as possible, and also explain to us who does, and who does not, get to heaven.
Well, these are my questions.  I’m sure your list might include more, as would my final list.  These days, you just can’t be sure.  It seems that many Christian universities and seminaries are mass producing too many future pastors who can’t even say they believe that the Bible (all of it) IS the word of God!  Perhaps a Bible believing church can save much time and effort, by simply asking the candidate the first question, before even scheduling an interview.  Frankly, why bother with the rest of the questions if your future pastor does not trust the whole Bible?

The answer an emergent pastor might give to Question # 1 may end up being a long, twisted, tortuous string of intellectually sounding words that inevitably means one thing: “no, I don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God.” I’ve seen these type of answers, and it is frightening what our universities and seminary is putting into the minds of these future pastors, and current ones as well.

On the other hand, it’s sadly possible that some people may just do the opposite, and actually want to have a pastor who does not believe in absolute truth; a pastor who picks and chooses what is “inerrant” in the scriptures, and what is not; who recommends books by mystics as good Christian reading; who waters down his sermons and does not hurt any feelings with tough-love gospel messages; who wants to clean up the neighborhood and feed people food, but not feed them what actually will save them for eternity.  In other words, someone who can tickle their “itching ears”, and give them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.

My answer to question one is a simple yes.  What is yours?

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55 responses to “Emergents Need Not Apply ( Interviewing Prospective Pastors)

  1. The purpose for this post was mainly to be a help sheet for churches who know the emergent movement is evil, and want to screen out pastors who promote the movement.

    I wasn’t really looking for answers on this blog, especially the ones that many, many emergent pastors have given me.

    However, if anyone was to give me an answer to question one, I would expect a simple yes or no. I know some people don’t think it’s possible, but I do.

  2. Luther had his 95 thesis and Manny has his 18 questions. :D.

    I’m going to ponder and pray about these things. Question 1 for me as a layperson is yes. I have other things that I’m passionate about but I haven’t written them down in a systematic way.

    Thank for raising the bar Manny.

  3. Just for the sake of full disclosure regarding Question 14 on Dallas Willard:

    You left off the last line of the quote for Dallas Willard which is: “But anyone who is going to be saved is going to be saved by Jesus: “There is no other name given under heaven by which men can be saved.””

    http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=14

    I could be wrong, but it would appear in context that Willard is saying the exact opposite of what you are quoting him as saying.

    I just thought you would want to be aware of that.

  4. Fair enough. It’s still a contradiction to what followed, and perhaps he was trying to have it both ways.

    The editors at Lighthouse Trails explained it very well:

    Some have expressed concern that Lighthouse Trails has not posted the statement Dallas Willard made after the above statement, in which he says that anyone who is going to be saved is going to be saved by Jesus. While we do provide a link so people can read his entire article, we believe Willard has been very misleading in saying that it is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved. We must keep in mind the context of Willard’s statement, in which he is talking about the works of man in relation to salvation. And given his adherence to spiritual formation, this completely aligns with the view that man ( born again or not) can become Christ-like (and worthy of salvation according to Foster and Willard) by doing certain disciplines. It is in that context Willard makes that statement; he wasn’t referring to those who had never heard the gospel.

    In addition, it is the role of Christians to preach the gospel, calling out for people to repent and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. His instructions are very clear. And the apostle Paul always pointed to Jesus Christ and man’s absolute need to turn to Him in order to be saved and written in the Book of Life. If such a statement was right to say, then Jesus or the disciples would have said it. On Dallas Willard’s website, he recommends mystics who have panentheistic and universalistic affinities. His seemingly ambiguous statements and his recommendations resonate, and they should not be ignored.

    How ironic that in Willard’s article, he was addressing it to a college girl who had been a Christian and had turned away from and rejected the gospel, saying that all paths lead to God. This was Willard’s answer to her.

  5. Not to mention that he is a promoter of contemplative spirituality and mystics such as Richard Foster and Henri Nouwen. Not very good discernment there.

  6. Rev. Ted;

    You raise a very good point. I have read the full context of Willard’s quote and wondered what gives. That final sentence seems at odds with the previous ones. Frankly, I’m not not sure how to logically resolve them.

    One way to allow both to stand would be if Jesus were heaven’s bouncer; He can choose to let you in even if your name is not on the A-list. Jesus is final arbiter.

    Another more favorable resolution would be that Willard was trying to express his personal desire that God would not limit the ways of salvation, but the reality is…[final sentence]

    However this option only sounds good if you take the “I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can.” and omit the dogmatic sounding, “It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”

    All said, I still have issues with the citation, even in its entirety.

  7. Manny,

    The answer cannot be yes or no to question #1. For starters, if I ask you “is the shirt long sleeve?” answer yes or no. You wouldn’t have any idea what shirt I was talking about.

    Just for fun I answer:

    Answer to #1 NO

    Listed are seven basic errors in so-called bibles. 64,000 more could be listed.

    2Sam 21:19
    NIV,RSV,ASV,CEV,RV
    “Jaareoregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite,”

    The proof this is wrong is in the Bible itself.

    Mark 1:2
    NIV,RSV,ASV,CEV,RV
    “As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,”

    The proof this is wrong is in the Bible itself.

    Luke 2:33
    NIV,RSV,ASV,CEV,RV
    “And his father and his mother”

    The proof this is wrong is in the Bible itself.

    Mark 10:24
    NIV, RSV, CEV
    “But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!”

    The proof this is wrong is in the Bible itself. The opposite is true!

    Psalms 10:5
    NIV, NKJV
    “His ways prosper at all times;”

    The proof this is wrong is in the Bible itself. The opposite is true!

    Ecc 8:10
    NIV, ESV
    “the wicked . . . were praised in the city”

    The proof this is wrong is in the Bible itself. The opposite is true!

    Isa 9:3
    NIV, TNIV, NKJV, RSV, NASB, ASV,CEV,RV
    “you have increased its joy;”

    The proof this is wrong is in the Bible itself. The opposite is true!

    Acts 8:37 was answered in invisible ink.

    Follow up #2: All modern versions should be held in contempt and suspect of satanic tampering.

    Follow up #3 There is no such thing as “THE” Bible anymore. Everything must be qualified.

    The King James Bible has been carrying the church for 400 years, and the underlying text for 1600 years prior to that. It is the only major version exclusively accepted amongst Christians around the world as “THE” standard of Truth.

    No proven error exists to date!

    Steve

  8. Manny said, “The answer an emergent pastor might give to Question # 1 may end up being a long, twisted, tortuous string of intellectually sounding words that inevitably means one thing: “no, I don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God.””

    They don’t have a Biblical World view, nor do they have any clue what it means. They don’t know how to think Biblically with answers from the Bible. The draw 80% – 90% of their answers from historical documents and opinions of others and then become enraged because they are “really nice people.”

    The Church of the Nazarene needs Pastors with Biblical World Views, not just nice winsome personalities. I think Scott Daniels truly feels blind sighted because he has a wonderful personality, used a Bible verse in each chapter of his book, and did a lot of historical research for the sermons.

    Heaven help the person who says that to a Pastor who has just come from NTS or a Nazarene school in person.

  9. I think Pastors need to have a Biblical world view. I don’t think most of the ones from seminary in the last years have a clue what we are talking about. The idea that people use the Bible as “truth” for their lives is foreign to them.

    They are taking most of their ideas from historical articles, opinions of others and one or two Bible verses. They think a fun personality is the main ingredient.

  10. David,
    I had missed your comment for a while- life is hectic.

    H. Orton Wiley affirmed biblical inerrancy. See the post on inerrancy that I have here, written by Dr. Daryl McArthy- there are actually several, including. I won’t go into another debate about it though. Bottom line, if he did NOT affirm inerrancy, he’s just a human anyway, right? I still believe in the inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures. I guess that’s why we call them Holy.

    https://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/biblical-inerrancy/

  11. H. Orton Wiley certainly doesn’t trump holy writ, but he was our premier theologian for the first half of our denomination’s history. If he couldn’t pass your litmus test for Nazarene pastors, then perhaps your problem is not with the so-called Emergent Church, but with Nazarene doctrine.

  12. Wiley as I said affirmed biblical inerrancy. So you are saying he was an evolutionist, in your reference to Q5?

  13. Wiley presented several theories of Creation in his seminal work, “Christian Theology”. He stated that one could hold a Christian view of evolution, and that it ought not be an issue that divides us as Nazarenes. He put it firmly in the category of non-essentials.

    All Nazarene pastors should believe God created the heavens and the earth. I’ve never encountered any Nazarene – pastor, professor, or laity – that believed otherwise.

  14. If that’s the case, then I’m disappointed in Wiley for believing that.
    He certainly is correct in affirming the inspired word of God as inerrant.
    Wiley or anyone else is simply a human being, subject to errors and mistakes. My position is (as well as many other Nazarenes) is that you cannot hold to evolution, and at the same time also believe the Genesis account. It’s either one r the other; I belief what God said regarding creation. But of course, you already knew that.

    As far as litmus tests, actually the problem is the emergents are the ones who are causing problems with Nazarene doctrine, not folks like me. Like, for instance, as a glaringly bad practice that is unbiblical as well as un-Nazarene, the use of pagan rituals like prayer labyrinths is completely un-Nazarene, and more importantly, un-Christian. By the way, I try to center on biblical doctrine, and I do not hold Nazarene doctrine as authoritative above biblical doctrine.

  15. Manny, I believe the problem is that many feel they have the spiritual gift of Immaculate Perception. The way they see things is surely the way God sees them.

    I’ll never cease to be amazed by presumption. I wasn’t there when God created the earth, I wasn’t there when the Genesis account was written down, and I would never be so arrogant as to think that my view on such matters is the only possible correct view.

  16. Manny, I’m encouraged to see you acknowledge that all human beings are “subject to errors and mistakes.” I assume you realize that this includes you, me, and everyone else here, right?

    I’ve confessed openly in past comments on your blog some of the errors and mistakes I’d found myself making along the way and how God has helped me to grow and correct them. I assume you’ll have that same openness as God’s Spirit continues to “guide you into all truth” found in Scripture.

  17. Thank God I don’t have that idea, David, so let me reassure you that I don’t have the the spiritual gift of Immaculate Perception. I believe what God says in Genesis. It is plain and clear. It is NOT open to interpretation.

  18. David,

    I perceive that you are speaking of yourself.

    Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye,

    but perceivest not

    the beam that is in thine own eye?

    Immaculate Perception just happens to be a spiritual gift, and a consequence of proper judgment.

    I wouldn’t make light of it if I were you.

    Maybe you should go to those that sell and buy you some.

    Steve

  19. By infiltrating the minds of the professors in the seminaries and Christian colleges, who in turn teach the classes and corrupt the vast majority of students with those old antiquated but effectual lies, Satan and his minions of evil have reached new heights in their attempts at destroying the truth of God’s word. These newly initiated followers of Satan are now intent on disseminating their new god’s doctrine instead of the One true God’s inerrant word.

    “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:13-15 KJV.

    “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV.

  20. Pam and Brad,

    So, do you believe my world view would not have been poisoned without the influence of sitting under our Nazarene college and seminary professors? Just curious.

  21. The fact is that if a litmus test like Manny’s held sway at the beginning of the Church of the Nazarene there would be no Church of the Nazarene, because Phineas Bresee as well as all of the major early Nazarene leaders such as Jernigan, H.F. Reynolds, and so many others were all committed to social justice and the transformation of society today. They had the radical optimism of grace that believed that Christ is alive and active in the world today and can actually transform society, NOW. They did not preach a pie in the sky when you die religion, but worked for social transformation of the communities and world around them today, because they believed that their God was able to transform the world, and they committed their lives to that. They understood that Christ’s Kingdom came and comes wherever Christ was and is present, and they understood that He is present in this world and that His calling on us is nothing less than the transformation of all of society, it is a social transformation that calls for true justice. So while they never would have expressed your question 13 the way you express it, because they did not believe they were doing it through human efforts, they were simply participating in and cooperating with Christ’s mission in the world to live out the Kingdom of God (a mission and a Kingdom that seeks to transform every aspect of society), but clearly if you really understood what they were about, they never would have passed your litmus test, and hence there never would have been a Church of the Nazarene to begin with.

  22. Manny,

    You wrote:

    “Thank God I don’t have that idea, David, so let me reassure you that I don’t have the the spiritual gift of Immaculate Perception. I believe what God says in Genesis. It is plain and clear. It is NOT open to interpretation.”

    Don’t you see that to say that the Bible is not open to interpretation, IS an interpretation. You state that Scripture is plain and clear, but the question is what Scripture are you talking about? Are you talking about scripture in the original language, of which we only have copies (albeit very early copies, but copies none the less), and which you (as you have stated many times) cannot read yourself, therefore, you only can access them through the scholarship of others which is an interpretive process. Or are you talking about the King James Bible which was translated from the original languages using copies that have proved to be much newer than those that have been discovered since its publication, and therefore, despite what Steve Summer states above is not the most reliable translation that we have in English. Or perhaps you are referring to some other English translation (I am sticking with English translations here because I know that is the only language that you are fluent in)? As Steve Summer does correctly point out (albeit perhaps inadvertently) each translation is an interpretation and therefore makes theological choices in how it translates certain words or phrases (and believe me when I tell you translation is always an interpretive process, I have been involved in the translation of scripture, and other books and there is always interpretation involved in translation).

    These are just the linguistic interpretations that have already taken place before you even pick up the book. This does not even touch on the cultural, historical, and contextual issues that come into play when translations are made, when manuscripts are copied more times than you can count, and when they are read.

    To say that it is clear and simple begs the question to whom, and based on what context? You are doing interpretation all the time, and this ultimately becomes your biggest problem, because you do interpretation and because you insist that your interpretation is the only interpretation doesn’t that make you the final arbiter of truth? Isn’t that place reserved for God alone? You what I think you have been missing all along, is that no one is telling you that you cannot view scripture the way you do, but we are asking you to be humble, to realize that in your interpretation you may not have all the truth, and that you could actually learn from others. Now history has shown me how you will probably respond to this, and that does not give me much hope. History also tells me that you probably will not let this post stay on your blog, but at least you will read it, and I hope you will be willing to allow the Lord to search your heart to see if pride has not clouded your vision.

  23. David,

    I long ago concluded that our limited knowledge of God leads to many questions that cannot be answered in this life. It is essential for us to have direct access to Him before we can have a proper understanding of His complete nature.

    People who decide to fill in the gaps with guesswork are doing the Lord a disservice. By just being wrong in some areas, they can bring confusion and discredit to our understanding of the Creator.

    There is no need for speculation in the first place. People need to realize that it is perfectly acceptable to say “no” or “I don’t know.” Anyone who goes beyond the bounds of the basic facts is willfully venturing out into the realm of falsehood.

    God only requires us to apply ourselves to the basic rules of life.The act of placing our trust in God does not require us to have a degree in physics.We have all eternity to learn the details of God’s universe.

    “For since the beginning of the world [men] have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, [what] he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him” (Isa. 64:4).

  24. It is sad to see so many supposed holiness pastors with their disbelief in the word of God. I am embarrassed to see it, and I suggest that if you do not believe that the Bible IS the word of God, then resign and go into another profession.

    I mean this will all the love I can muster, because this is about souls of children going to eternity, and you are aiding and abetting their demise when you do not believe the Bible.

  25. You skipped one of my comments again, Manny, so I’ll ask once more. Who is the serpent in the Creation account?

  26. I believe Manny is correct in a church knowing what their prospective new pastor believes before he becomes the pastor. I would go one step further and lay the major responsibility to ensure that the church is getting the right person for ministerial duties upon the “Ministerial Credentials Board” at the district level, who’s responsibility is to screen new canadite for ordaination, and not simply assume that if they came through one of our schools then they must be ok.

    Some may disagree with this, but I see no harm in a DS asking an active pastor if he/she still holds to the truths of Scripture especially if their are reasons to doubt. I preface this upon the fact that some have abandoned their faith and have embraced other doctrines. It is sad that we have reached a time in our denomination when some who holds the highest credentials our church offers does not agrees with what the church has stood for over the years.

    A few weeks ago we had a missionary from Panama (Hiram Galves) speak in our church. Rev. Galves was born in Cuba and raised under the Cuban communist party. His message was on target in carrying out the great commission. One thing among many things he said that struck a cord with me was concerning the last days. He said that we are living in days of great apostasy and when he used to read about the end time it was like the end time was out in front of him just out of reach yet to happen. Now when he reads about the end time it is no longer out in front, but that we are in the end time as spoken about in Revelations.

    Whether you believe what Rev. Hiram believes or not, I believe we all agree, that we are living in perlious times perhaps unlike any other. In 2 Thess. [2: 1-17] Paul points to the great apostasy and strong delusions that is to take place in the latter days and encourages the “brethern, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” One cannot be too careful.
    Lige

  27. David,
    You’re a pastor, you explain it.

    And do you believe in the infallible, inerrant word of God? Yes or no.

  28. David Pettigrew said, “Pam and Brad, So, do you believe my world view would not have been poisoned without the influence of sitting under our Nazarene college and seminary professors? Just curious.”

    David I don’t know where your world view was in college and seminary. I don’t know where it is now.

    I think Christian Pastors who preach in Christian Churches and call themselves a Biblical Christian should have a Biblical World View.

    David, I’m sorry if it hurt your feelings, that was not my intention.

  29. Hi Brad, thanks for your thoughts, though I don’t believe you answered my question. I appreciate your words, however, and can definitely agree that some things are simply unknowable. I don’t get too worked up over how many toes are on the left foot of the Beast of Revelation, for example, or what language was spoken by Adam and Eve.

    However, if God does not want us to ask the tough questions, I’m not sure why He gave us a brain in the first place. If all He wanted was lock-step obedience, well, He had the angels already.

    Have you studied the book of Job? If we’re not allowed to ask the hard questions (like why doesn’t faith always work like it’s supposed to) then we are perhaps missing out on part of the reason we were created in the first place.

    When I read the four gospels, and find two totally contradictory accounts of the death of Judas, I don’t think God expects me to just pretend they are really not different, or come up with some convoluted explanation that sounds phony (why, he both hanged himself AND stumbled, of course!). Why would God allow something in the Bible that He wants us to ignore?

    For those who are shocked that there are, in fact, two different accounts of the death of Judas – please get off the internet now and spend more time actually reading the Bible instead of trying to defend it.

    Blessings!

  30. Thanks, Manny.

    Please point out the verse in Genesis 3 that identified the serpent as Satan.

    Well, I’ll let you off the hook. You can’t do that, because it’s not there. There is nothing in the creation account that indicates the serpent is Satan. Satan isn’t named in the whole book of Genesis, even. He doesn’t make an appearance until I Chronicles. The devil is referred to as a serpent in Revelation, but is never identified as the serpent from the Garden. If you take the scripture for what it says, God created a talking, intelligent creature besides humanity.

    So how in the world did you come up with Satan if the only possible way to understand the creation account is just to take it at plain face value?

    Could it be….interpretation?

    I’m not trying to pick on you. Just making a point that not only is it possible to have more than one interpretation of Genesis – it is impossible not to do so.

  31. I’m not interested in going on rabbit trails here. Feel free to tell me what you think about the serpent. But I don’t intend for it to go on a long discussion about the serpent.

    However, I was wondering, what do you say to all those Nazarene pastors on Naznet who DO NOT believe in the inerrant, infallible word off God, as you have said you do?

    Do you believe I practice bibliolatry, because I stand by the authoritative word of God? Is that a Brenna Manning idea by the way? He wrote that in one of his books, wondering if the emergent pastors who have already scolded me are parroting Brennan Manning?

  32. Thanks, Pam. I promise my feelings aren’t hurt, though I appreciate your sensitivity.

    I don’t know any Nazarene pastors or professors who do not claim to have a biblical world view.

    The comment was made twice now that the reason so many pastors have gone off the reservation is because of the demon possessed professors they sit under at college and seminary.

    So, my question was do you think this is true of me?

    Once again, I’ll let you both off the hook. I didn’t go to seminary, nor did I study theology at SNU, where I earned a bachelors in music. I’m totally self taught.

    So, I guess we can’t blame the professors all the time.

    Now, I will be the first to agree that I sometimes hear things from recent seminary grads that alarm me, and have seen it lead to disaster in more than one small church.

    I believe the failure is in the system, not in the teaching.

    We give 24 year olds loaded (theological) weapons and don’t give any gun safety training. There’s little mentoring or intervention on the district level until a crisis erupts, and often by then it’s too late.

  33. David Pettigrew, said “So how in the world did you come up with Satan if the only possible way to understand the creation account is just to take it at plain face value?”

    Wow, so much for Historical or Biblical Christianity.

  34. If someone asked me who the serpent was, I would say “I don’t know.” Consider the rabbit trail closed, I believe I made my point with this one.

    I don’t know any naznetters who do not believe in the inerrant, infallible Word of God. His name is Jesus. See John 1:1.

    I don’t know anything about Brennan Manning, as I’ve not read any of his books, though many have said they are quite good.

    I can’t speak to the intent or condition of your heart when it comes to “bibliolatry”. Though we are admonished to judge one another’s actions, the intent of the heart is God’s and God’s alone to judge – something I wish you and your concerned friends would ponder.

    I will summarize my thoughts on the subject with the story of Gideon, found in Judges 6-8. Israel was being oppressed by the Midianites. God raised up Gideon to fight them – but first he had to destroy his family’s altar to Ba’al. When the men of Gideon’s village saw the altar destroyed and found out what Gideon had done, they wanted to kill him!

    Though Gideon’s father was the owner of the now demolished altar, he defended his son with this argument – if Ba’al was truly a god, he needed no one to fight on his behalf – let him fight his own battles!

    My friends, if God is truly God, as we know He is, and if the Bible is true, as we know it is, and if He is everything we claim He is, and we know He is and more – well, then HE DOESN’T NEED OUR DEFENSE! Why don’t we stop this foolish bickering and get about the business of bringing Jesus to the world and the world to Jesus?

    If I’m the one whose deceived here, God will take care of me without your help. The reverse is true as well. So, let’s just get about the Kingdom business of making disciples. Imagine what we could accomplish if we spent as much time reading the Bible and doing what is says as we did arguing over it?

    With love and prayers to all who love God,
    dp

  35. Manny,

    David is not trying to take you down a rabbit trail or even to dispute whether or not the serpent was Satan, he is simply pointing out (rightly so) that you are interpreting the Genesis account of creation by saying that the serpent is Satan, because as he rightly points out, the text does not say that. Therefore, it is open to interpretation and you are interpreting it.

  36. David,

    I was trying to address your comment “Wiley presented several theories of Creation in his seminal work, “Christian Theology”. He stated that one could hold a Christian view of evolution, and that it ought not be an issue that divides us as Nazarenes. He put it firmly in the category of non-essentials.”

    I think creation is a major essential when pastors and Christian universities start putting doubt in the heads of our younger generations. You have to take the Bible literally on the principles of human creation or risk creating doubt with other parts of the Bible….i.e. The Flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Separating of the Red Sea…I could go on forever on topics that this humanistic society tries to disprove and bring doubt towards the Word of God. And I know how Nazarene pastors today will not even approach Bible prophecy.

    I don’t have or know all the answers, but I trust completely in the Word of God (yes I prefer the KJV)and guidance from the Holy Spirit to help me find the answers.

    Brad

  37. David: I wasn’t asked to comment, and hope you do not mind.

    Jesus said in John [16: 13} “When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.” That being true we can trust the Holy Spirit in interpreting correctly God’s Word. As Brad pointed out in an earlier comment concerning the natural man not being able to receive the things of the Spirit of God neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned

    Now regarding your comment that nothing in Genesis 3 points out the serpent is Satan. As it is written that statement is true if you stop their. However, the Bible has a unique way of interpreting itself that only the spiritual man can descern aided by the Holy Spirit.

    John [8:44] reveals that the Devil was a murderer from the beginning. Rev. [12:9] identifies him as the serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan. Rev. [20:2} Again identifies him as the serpent of old called the Devil and Satan.

    If you take the position you have taken and ignore other Scripture references that identifies him as the serpent of old who is called the Devil and Satan then you mistrust God’s Word. Perhaps this is why so many young pastors are questioning the Bible today. By the way God’s Word does not contridict itself only man does that.

    When I pastored, I would tell my congregation if they did not have the assurance or witness of the Holy Spirit to the truth of what I was preaching to ignore everything that I said.

  38. Hi david,
    Been slow to respond- been at a conference with Eric barger in Ohio, where he was exposing the heresies being taught by the emergent church people.

    I am surprised that you said: “I don’t know any naznetters who do not believe in the inerrant, infallible Word of God.” I think I spend less time on Naznet than you do, and there are quite a few NazNet pastors who despise me and others, and insult us time and again, BECAUSE we claim to believe int he inerrant word of God. So it seems you don’t really talk to to many of them, other wise you would know this.

    God help the Church of the Nazarene, because it’s universities are raising up a new generation of Bible doubting pastors who have no business to be pastors if that’s what they hold to.

    Perhaps your serpent question was much too easy for you to ask. I do believe that it is Satan, yet if you don’t, I won’t call you a heretic.

    How about a question that no emergent (not saying you are) has ever answered, to my knowledge, in the affirmative: do you believe Leonard Sweet is a false teacher?

  39. By the way, David, some of your own Naznet friends have accused me of bibliolatry.

    And you said: “So, let’s just get about the Kingdom business of making disciples. Imagine what we could accomplish if we spent as much time reading the Bible and doing what is says as we did arguing over it?”

    Correct doctrine is vital when we preach the gospel and try to make disciples. The emergent church despises correct doctrine and makes up their own.
    It’s as if you are dismissing tose who would defend correct doctrine. I hope not.

  40. Hi Lige,

    I certainly don’t mind your comments at all.

    I certainly see where the argument can be made that the serpent was indeed Satan, based on the scriptures you cited (which I cited as well). This has been the traditional teaching of the church, though it is not stated plainly anywhere in the Bible.

    My point was you cannot reach this conclusion without interpretation.

  41. Manny, I certainly understand being busy.

    I think I’ve stated my position plainly enough, and it’s pretty obvious from your response that you are not understanding me. In the same way I don’t believe it is a valid calling to prove the so-called “emergents” wrong, I don’t believe it’s my job to prove you wrong or convince you of anything.

    Enjoy your conference!

  42. Oh, I’m not trying to avoid your question above. Like the vast majority of Nazarenes who have heard him speak or read his books, I have found Leonard Sweet’s teaching very insightful and encouraging. I do not believe him to be a false teacher. I’m not interested in debating it, however.

  43. David,
    Thanks for answering on Sweet. Others might not. If you are a pastor, I pray to God you don’t introduce Sweet to your congregation.

    He is a false teacher. We will do all we can to expose him for what he is to all Nazarenes and all Christians. I don’t intend to debate with you or anyone else- the information is out there for all to make up their minds.
    Manny

  44. Rest assured I don’t introduce so-called “teachings” from Sweet or anyone as far as I know.

    I go to the scripture, let it speak to my heart, transform me, and share it with those God has entrusted into my care.

  45. John Brickly wrote:

    “Or are you talking about the King James Bible which was translated from the original languages using copies that have proved to be much newer than those that have been discovered since its publication, and therefore, despite what Steve Summer states above is not the most reliable translation that we have in English.”

    It always dumb founds me to see people spew ignorance like it was truth.

    First of all to all the people who thought that the reason for different versions was the thee’s and thou’s must now grow up and learn a lesson. That was a lie!

    Second, what Brickly is referring to was found in a trash can in a Catholic Monastery! It is corrupt; can be proven so, and is not older that the Vaticanus Manuscript that was discovered in 1481 prior to when the Authorized Version was translated.

    New modern versions use for their basis two corrupt Catholic Manuscripts to change the King James bible back to the way things were before the reformation. They are called Siniaticus and Vaticanus. So when your bible is missing a verse and the footnote say the oldest and best MSS omit this verse. What they are saying is; they have been cut out by the Catholic Church.

    The Vaticanus for example, what Brickly thinks is so superior to the AV, Is missing Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 46:28, Psalms 106 through 138, the Pauline Pastoral Epistles, Revelation, and everything in Hebrews after Hebrews 9:14. It contains or adds the Epistle to Barnabas and the Apocrypha. Not mention hundreds of other omissions and variations.

    And Scholars call that the “BEST TEXT” You are a monkey’s uncle!

    The lying hypocrites will not print the truth they are changing your bible a little at a time.

    Manny, Brickley, inadvertently gave away their secret language when he used the words “most reliable.” That is the true stance of every deluded scholar alive today, not “inerrant” but reliable.

    Everyone knows what you mean when you say “word of God” as long as you don’t capitalize the “w” you are referring to “scripture” not Jesus in the flesh. A better way to state your question is:

    Do you possess (presently) a copy of the holy scriptures as referred to in 2 Tim 3:16 and if so, is your copy the inerrant, infallible word of God?

    Everyone knows what you mean by interpretation. However, all you have to do is add the word “private” to “interpretation.” 2Pet 1:20. That should shut the mouths of the gainsayers, no, on second thought, you will have to teach that to them too.

    If I had known about the Ohio trip I would have stopped by. Hope it was a blessing.

    Steve

  46. Thanks Steve,
    It was my bad for not sending an email out to all about the Ohio conference- and I had not had my contact list up to date with addresses or states especially, to find all who were in the nearby area, so I missed sending to you. Sorry! Things were hectic.

    But it was an excellent conference.
    There may be another one near you in the next month or so- I’ll try to get the details and let you know.
    Manny

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