Mike King and Friends: Leading Youth To Spiritual Death

Today, my concluding comment is at the beginning.  It has to do with an event this past weekend called Wild Goose FestivalTwo other sources have also reported on this event:   The Christian Post: http://www.christianpost.com/news/left-leaning-wild-goose-festival-draws-ire-of-evangelicals-51560/,  USA Today:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-06-17-wild-goose-christian-festival_n.htm

I am asking Bible believing Nazarenes to join me to:
1. Call  for the immediate resignation of Mike King (and any other Nazarene involved with the Wild Goose Festival) from any association with the Nazarene denomination, and to remove himself as a speaker at the upcoming Nazarene Youth Congress;

2. Ask Nazarene Publishing House to stop distributing IMMERSE Youth Journal, of which King is executive director;

3. To write our General Superintendents (bgs@nazarene.org), who are charged with interpreting the Nazarene doctrines, and ask for an opinion as to why such associations are being allowed in the Church of the Nazarene, and to approve or disapprove of this type of festival.  How far will things get out of hand before our leaders say something- anything?

4. Ask the new incoming president of Nazarene Theological Seminary, Dr. David Busic, to do a thorough review of what is taught at the seminary, to determine whether courses such as Celtic Spirituality are in line with scripture and our Nazarene tradition, and to determine whether Mike King is fit to remain as an adjunct professor at the seminary.

5. Ask our leaders why was an ordained Nazarene elder from New York, Gabriel Salguerro, on the schedule of speakers at the Wildgoose Festival this past weekend?  Rev. Salguerro is on the board of Jim Wallis’s radical social justice organization, Sojourners At the least, it was a very serious error in judgment for Rev. Salguerro to speak at this event.

6. Plead with our national leadership to clean house and remove all who are promoting a false gospel to our youth and to our congregations.  If they don’t have the power to remove anyone, they can at the very least speak against what is going on, unless they themselves are complicit in all this.

The following is what led to my conclusion:

Mike King is an adjunct professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary, executive editor of IMMERSE Youth Journal which is published by Nazarene Publishing House, and president of YouthFront, a group that promotes contemplative mysticism and emergent ideas.  Mike King proudly promoted this “Christian” festival for youth.   He is also scheduled to be a presenter in a few weeks at the Nazarene Youth CongressAre any of your youth going?  Here is a post by ex-Nazarene about King and his work with IMMERSE: http://exnazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/immerse-another-tool-by-barefoot-ministries-to-promote-the-leftistliberalemergent-agenda/.

Here is how the festival is described on the website:

“The Wild Goose is a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit. We are followers of Jesus creating a festival of justice, spirituality, music and the arts. The festival is rooted in the Christian tradition and therefore open to all regardless of belief, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, denomination or religious affiliation.”

They are promoting Celtic spirituality- occultism really- as taught by Karla Yaconelli.  Tony Campolo, who was there also, promotes the same spirituality to our youth.  They are intentionally bringing in only secular music groups, who claim to be Christians.  Some promote yoga and other contemplative practices.  Many of their speakers approve of homosexuality as being okay with “Christians.”  According to National Catholic Reporter, “Wild Goose founder Gareth Higgins wants the festival to bring together people of faith to celebrate their diversity and their love of God in a non-judgmental setting.”  People of faith.   Not Christians, but people of faith- anything goes, ecumenism, tolerance of anything or anyone but Bible believing Christians.

Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries says: “The wise Christian will have nothing to do with these neo-Gnostic fools who’ve unbuckled themselves from the Word of God and have embarked upon their Wild Goose Chase of subjective experience.”

The late Dr. Walter Martin said this over 20 years ago: “What is the great danger in the Christian church today?  … The danger to the church today, whatever the denomination, from within, is the person who wears the cloth of Christ… and who stands behind the sacred desk, and who is unfaithful to the word of God.  That is the ultimate danger to the church.  The corrupt and apostate shepherds who infest our theological seminaries and our colleges, and fill our pulpits throughout the United States and Canada, and who know not God, do not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will stand in the way of anybody that wants to preach it.

The cancer is within, and it eats away, and we don’t recognize it.”

Pastor Silva and Dr. Martin are so right.  Our leaders are either asleep, or have bought into the worst kind of apostasy, otherwise this kind of stuff would not be happening.  This was truly a Big Tent collection of radicals who pervert the gospel.  Is the future of our Nazarene youth found in places like this now?  If you do nothing, then get used to it.  Few seem to care what is going on, so let’s just get out of the way and let it all in.  Be pragmatic, be ecumenical, it’s all good.  To those who embrace this, be happy.  To those who have covered their eyes to this stuff and ignored my continued warnings, do you get upset at me when I tell you the truth?  Do you have a child who is going to Nazarene Youth Congress in a few weeks, or do you know a child in your church who is?

Mike King is the avenue in which unsound doctrine is being disseminated throughout the church.  It is evident in his promotion and leadership in The Wild Goose Festival and in his publishing privileges via the NPH.   Paul warned Timothy of this in 2 Timothy  4:3-4.  Paul wrote:  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”

Mike King is a false teacher, and he is directly associating himself and giving his approval to other false teachers who reject the truth of Scripture, who promote Celtic spirituality, contemplative mysticism, social justice in place of the true gospel, and homosexuality as acceptable within Christianity.  Therefore he is not representative of Christian or Nazarene ideals, and needs to leave, for the sake of our youth.  (However, let me make it clear, Mike King is far from the only problem in the denomination, he is only one example of why the church is heading fast towards apostasy).

I would not be surprised to find that every single participant shares the same “anything goes ecumenical spirit” of today’s heretical movement of the emergent church and social justice crowd.  And please understand that “feelings” and “personal experience” are important to these people, such as Jay Bakker, who ignores the teaching of scripture and goes with how he feeeeels.  “I feel” that it’s the right thing to do”, they say.  I “feel” that God would never let someone go to hell.  I “feel” that God spoke to me when I “experienced” the labyrinth.  I “felt” so good yesterday as I swayed to the music.  I feel that God is just a God of love (leaving out the justice aspect).  I feel, I feel, I feel.  Don’t you know that’s why we are in this mess now??

This Festival is more evidence that chances are good that your child or grandchild could be indoctrinated by one or more of these people, at one or more of these types of events. They will then come home to you someday and laugh in your face as you try to explain to them that you believe and trust the Bible completely.  They will laugh and say, “where were you when all this was happening?”  You never said a word, mom, dad, and now you are trying to tell me that you failed to teach me the truth?”  Only then might you realize that your child has just been led down the road to hell by the professors and cultural icons you so blindly trusted.

If you love someone you will tell them the truth, no matter how much it hurts.  It’s for their own good.  Because the truth that hurts will lead to life; the falsehoods and the cover-ups and ignoring the truth, could lead to death.

Spiritual death.  These people are doing just that, leading our youth to spiritual death.  Embrace it, or clearly reject it.
It will do you well to listen to this by the late Walter Martin, a great defender of the faith and of God’s word: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qduSN8G7-Xw&feature=player_embedded

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Maybe these are the future role models for someone’s Nazarene child; but rest assured, not for my child.

Tony Campolo: Emergent leader, promotes social justice and ecumenism, Celtic spirituality.

Quote: “It seems to me that when we listen to the Muslim mystics as they talk about Jesus and their love for Jesus, I must say, it’s a lot closer to New Testament Christianity than a lot of the Christians that I hear. In other words if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, Can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?”

Source: Evangelicals and Interfaith Cooperation, an interview with Shane Claiborne

Tony Campolo’s wife, Peggy will be there also.  Peggy Campolo is even more radical in her view on homosexuality, and sees nothing wrong with homsexual relationships.

Shane Claiborne: Emergent leader, promotes contemplative mysticism.

Quote: “The time has come for a new kind of conversation, a new kind of Christianity, a new kind of revolution.”
Book: by Shane Claibourne entitled: Irresistible Revolution p. 29 Published: February 2006.

Jim Wallis: Liberal political activist, radical social justice proponent, uses religion to sell his agenda in the political arena.
Quote: “Being born again was not meant to be a private religious experience that is hard to communicate to others, but rather the prerequisite for joining a new and very public movement—the Jesus and kingdom of God movement. It is an invitation to a whole new form and way of living, a transformation as radical as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. It is far more than a call to a new inner life, or a rescue operation for heaven.”
Source: The Great Awakening: Seven Ways To Change The World [New York: Harper Collins, 2008] p56 Published: .

Richard Rohr: Franciscan friar, promotes contemplative prayer.  Holds to a pantheistic, universalistic doctrine.  Believes that much of the Bible is myth (like the Garden of Eden).  Promotes contemplative mysticism and liberal social justice work.

Quote: “The people who know God well—the mystics, the hermits, those who risk everything to find God—always meet a lover, not a dictator. God is never found to be an abusive father or a tyrannical mother, but always a lover who is more than we dared hope for. How different than the “account manager” that most people seem to worship. God is a lover who receives and forgives everything.
Book: by Richard Rohr entitled: Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer [New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2003] p131. Published: 2003.

Phylis Tickle: Emergent leader.

Quote: “The new Christianity of the Great Emergence must discover some authority base or delivery system and/or governing agency of its own. It must formulate—and soon—something other than Luther’s Sola Scriptura which, although used so well by the Great Reformation originally, is now seen as hopelessly outmoded or insufficient
Book: by Phyllis Tickle entitled: The Great Emergence, pg 151 Published: 2008.

If you can stomach it, listen to her lengthy dialogue with Tony Jones and Lauren Winter (who has appeared at several Nazarene universities, including MVNU chapel this past March).  I will be compiling a short video highlight of this in the near future.  It is outrageous.

Brian McLaren: Pastor, and godfather of the emergent movement; likens the Cross to false advertising for God, is confused as to whether homosexuality is a sin or not, promotes contemplative mysticism, rejects biblical inerrancy.
Quote: “The Bible is not considered an accurate, absolute, authoritative, or authoritarian source but a book to be experienced and one experience can be as valid as any other can. Experience, dialogue, feelings, and conversations are equated with Scripture while certitude, authority, and doctrine are to be eschewed!  No doctrines are to be absolute and truth or doctrine must be considered only with personal experiences, traditions, historical leaders, etc. The Bible is not an answer book.”
Source: A New Kind of Christianity, p. 52 Published: 2001.

Pete Rollins: Emergent leader.
Quote: “the bible is kind of crazy coherent mess. it kind of doesn’t make sense.”

Source: http://apprising.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Chisham.png (Oct 18, 2010).  And in the following video, he has this nonsensical conversation with Phylis Tickle, who coined the phrase Emergence Christianity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sRsOhy_WWA

Nadia Bolz-Weber: Emergent leader, “pastor” of House For All Sinners and Saints.
Quote: “Last Sunday I had the honor of preaching at the rite of reception/re-installation of 7 GLBTQ Lutheran clergy in San Francisco. My denomination [ELCA] changed its policy in August, now allowing GLBTQ clergy to be in life-long, monogamous, publicly accountable same-sex relationships. We’ve taken the closets out of the church.”
Source was on a blog that has since been taken down. Dated: 26th August 2010.

Peterson Toscano: from his website: ”  A Theatrical Performance Activist , Thoughtfully and humorously exploring queer issues”

Jay Bakker: Gay affirming emergent leader, “outlaw preacher.”

Quote: “The more I follow grace, the more I’m drawn to him (God), the more I’m willing to stand up for people being persecuted … This sounds so churchy, but I felt like God spoke to my heart and said ‘(homosexuality) is not a sin’.
Source: http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Story?id=2711472&page=2  Dated: April 2009.

Andrew Marin: Activist for LGBT Causes.

Founder of The Marin Foundation, “a non-profit organization that works to build bridges between the LGBT community and the Church through scientific research, biblical and social education, and diverse community gatherings.”  What this group really does is advocate for the homosexual lifestyle and to integrate this lifestyle into the body of Christ.

Marin spoke at MVNU’s chapel, March 18, 2011. You can listen to the chapel podcast at this link: http://www.mvnu.edu/podcast/podlist.asp?StartItem=10.  Mr. Marin has a blog called Love Is An OrientationAnd, his site is linked from Mike King’s IMMERSE Journal, a magazine for Nazarene youth.
For a Christian refutation of Marin’s agenda, view this report; Michael Brown Corrects Andrew Marin

Samir Selmanovic: Author, key emergent leader, ordained Seventh Day Adventist pastor, AND promotes occultism.

This man blends Wiccan worship with Christianity!  Critique: God Is Father of All Religion

Doug Pagitt: Emergent leader, “pastor” of Solomon’s Porch in Minnesota. Pagitt does not believe in original sin, denies the doctrine of hell, promotes “Christian” yoga in his church, and is practically a declared universalist.

In the following video, he debates with John MacArthur on the use of yoga: Christians and Yoga.

Tony Jones: Emergent Leader, resident theologian at Solomon’s Porch.

Jones does not believe the scriptures are God’s inspired word, approves of homosexuality for Christians, promotes contemplative mysticism, and has spoken at Nazarene universities, including teaching a one week course at Mount Vernon Nazarene  He also spoke in 2007 at Nazarene Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Nazarene University.

In the following video, Jones and Doug Pagitt deliver their emergent propaganda: An Emergent Manifesto of Hope.

After the festival ended, Jones tweeted the following blasphemous statement:

If all of this information I just gave you is not enough to wake up genuine Bible believing Christians, I don’t know what else to say.

The entire schedule of speakers can be seen here at their website: http://www.wildgoosefestival.org/festival-info/festival-schedule/


Real Nazarenes: Part 2

“I am afraid many people have allowed the denomination to become their idol rather than taking a stand for Truth.”

I agree with that statement, sadly.  What about you?  Have you made the Nazarene denomination your idol?  Think about that question, as you read a few more testimonies from Nazarenes (some former).

I loved the Nazarene denomination because I felt it was the closest denomination to the Word of God.  My grandparents and parents were active faithful members.  I grew up as an active, proud member of the Nazarene church and went to a Nazarene University where I met my husband.  He was also a third generation Nazarene.  We raised our 3 children in the church.  One of our daughters went to a Nazarene University and our son went to the Nazarene Bible College.  It was heartbreaking to have to leave the Nazarene church due to the denomination embracing evil practices and not believing in the infallible Word of God.  Through it all I discovered that I love God and His Word more than any denomination.  I am afraid many people have allowed the denomination to become their idol rather than taking a stand for Truth.  God’s Word is the only real truth we have to stand on in this evil world.  Praise God for His love and faithfulness to us.  My husband and I are very active in a Bible believing church where people are being saved every week and all of our children and grandchildren are loving and serving the Lord – but not in a Nazarene church – how sad.
Deena Triggs

I am a real Nazarene.  I  am the daughter of a farmer in Oklahoma,  My dad was called to preach when I was about 4 yrs old.  My Dad went to college at Bethany-Penile College for two years (although he already had a couple of degrees) and graduated in 1950.  Then he began pastoring in the Church of the Nazarene. He pastored two churches  in Oklahoma before we moved to Texas to start a new church which was never got off the ground.  He then accepted a church in
I was saved at the age of 5 in a church at the Bethany College church in a revival.  I have been involved in the church for 62 or so years.  I have played the piano, organ and keyboard as my service to our Lord.  I was on the church board many years and helped in many areas.

When I realized that the church was teaching and allowing to be promoted that the Bible is not the inerrant word of God in all things I was very upset. I believe it is inerrant in all things from it’s original transcripts. I began searching and learning what was happening.  I saw in our local church the new teachings that do not match up with the scripture. The Nazarene church is going along with false doctrines and not standing up against them.  Our own pastor did not believe that all the Bible was the inerrant word of God….he called it literature.  I had to leave. I do not believe in these new teachings and could not stand to hear it or support it.  They are adding to the word of God, and practicing things that are from all kinds of religions.  If God’s Word does not teach it, I do not think we should either.

I pray for my friends and family that still attend that they will not be deceived.  It is so deceptive.  Most do not want to know or hear about it, but God will not be mocked.  His Word is Truth.
Virginia Bowen

I am a “Cradle Nazarene”, having been taken to the church of the Nazarene of which my parents were charter members when I was one week old.  That has now been more than 77 years ago.  It was in the Church of the Nazarene that I was taught about the love of God, the wrath of God, and the plan of salvation, including the second work of grace, heart holiness and scriptural advice and admonitions for holy living.  It was in the church that, as a young child, I first came to know Christ, and it was in the church that I was encouraged through the years when I needed spiritual encouragement and prayer.  Christ was first and foremost – over personal pleasures and ambitions.  So – several years ago, I began to hear about, and personally know of through trusted friends, about the “trend” in the Christian church, including the Church of the Nazarene, of this deceptive movement known as the Emergent Church Movement.  It has been very disturbing. I have observed also that the message of heart holiness is not being proclaimed as strongly as it once was.  I have seen a number of emergent practices publicly admitted to by a pastor in a COTN that we previously attended in a different location from which we now live.  And I have heard from many friends about experiences in their churches where this deceptive philosophy is being promoted and practiced. And I am personally aware of “Bible” studies that are actually not Bible studies at all, but sessions on books written by emergent authors.   Yes – I will speak out against the emergent movement without feeling that I am being divisive.  I want others to be aware of what is happening and hopefully, avoid falling prey to it.
Margerete Gilroy


I gave my life to the Lord at North East Nazarene Camp the year after I was in fourth grade and totally committed my life as a teen. My grandparents, John and Lilly Wetzel started Lavelle Church of the Nazarene (name changed) in their home. …My parents, Tom and Muriel Wetzel have given their entire lives to the Lord and were managers of North East Camp for 18 years and my mom was Phila. district missionary president for ? years. I had great examples of what a Christian should be, which helped me make my decision. We have stayed with the Nazarene church despite many bumps in the road, because we agree with the doctrine. I don’t know how much longer we will stay if the church gets off the right track!
Sandra Sands


A REAL Nazarene…what is that….one who joins the church…one who teaches a class (possibly using “emergent” materials)…one who warms a pew on Sunday buts sees nothing wrong with getting a little drunk on Saturday nite….one who puts …a token 20 in the offering plate…or one who holds true to the holiness tradition and understands what that means! Unfortunately I am no longer a member of the Nazarene church…but I am a third generation Nazarene (both from Dad & Mom). One grandfather was a pastor who started many churches in 3 states. The other helped start a Nazarene church in his hometown. Both my parents were born into the Nazarene church and faithfully served in the church. I attended both ENC & ONU (graduate). I was on the same track…until…something just wasn’t right about materials being used and the lack of holiness preaching. My husband & I found what was missing at the local Wesleyan church. Strong Holiness preaching at a church busting at the seams (1999 – less than 100; 2011 over 2,000 and 4 additional “network” churches). You know there has been talk for years about the two merging…maybe I’ll become a Nazarene Wesleyan? Unfortunately “emergent” garbage is in all denominations, you just have to find a church that avoids it.
Shirley Hunsberger Schindel


I am a Nazarene elder, but I am considering changing my ordination to the Wesleyan church over the issue of Scriptural Inerrancy. I’m a small church pastor with little influence. I support the stand the CNs are taking, but I need to go where I can serve God best.
Anthony Scott Rose


Even the government thinks I’m a real Nazarene. I left after 41 years because of what was entering my local congregation and what I saw popping up in denominational publications, but like my wife, I still love what the church was and continue in prayer for her. The government line…I still have my Army dog tags showing Nazarene on them.
James Scullin


I am a real Nazarene. I am (at least) a third generation Nazarene, dedicated, baptized, and married in the Nazarene church. We are raising our daughter to be the fourth Nazarene generation in our family. I am a member in good standing at Ne…w Hope Community Church in Chandler, AZ. I head up a special outreach ministry making prayer shawls for those struggling with different life situations. I am also on the Arizona/Southern Nevada Women’s Ministry Council and serve as the Publicity Chairperson of that council.
Janessa Osborne


I am certainly “credentialed” in the CotN, but found out I was “Nazarene” in my beliefs decades before actually becoming one on paper. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church until coming to know Christ personally (age 11), then predominant…ly attended Baptist, Church of God (Anderson), and AoG churches throughout most of my Air Force career.

18 years ago, I attended my first Nazarene church in SW Texas, and fell in love with a bunch of good, godly and holy Nazarenes.  They were the ones who affirmed my calling into full0time pastoral ministry.  Since then, I’ve never found a denomination I could or would more readily align myself with- no other denomination, in my experience, more clearly advances Wesleyan-Arminian holiness the way the CotN does.

My heartbreak comes when I see so many leaders within the denomination I so dearly love so eagerly “abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1).  And even worse, they are leading others down that same path of destruction.  There are times I feel like a very small fish in the pond, but I will remain faithful to the people God has called me to lead and serve- they will know and will hear God’s Word.
John A. Roberts



I am a Nazarene. I don’t contribute to the site often but I check it and read what has been posted every day. Thank you all so much. I love the denomination and pray that God will undertake and stop what is going on. If it is not too late!
Esther White Korpics


I am a 3rd generation Nazarene and my kids are the 4th generation. 18 months ago we almost left the Nazarene church. We were part of a church plant that is now going emergent. Gave 8 years to building the ministry but could no longer go along with the direction.  We were able to return to our planting church and have become involved once again in the ministry there.
Darren Krauter

Real Nazarenes: Part 1

“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”  Gal. 4:16

The following are testimonies from “real” Nazarenes.   They are either current members, or are former members who decided that they had no choice but to leave the church.  For too long, those of us who have tried to sound the alarm, and raise awareness of the crisis in our denomination, have been called “unloving”,  “hateful”, “dividers”, “un-Christlike”, “uninformed”,  enemies of the church, ignorant of the scriptures, and not “real” Nazarenes. We are not the enemy. We are real Nazarenes.  In spite of what the emergent crowd says, or those who have decided to stay on the sidelines and pretend it’s all okay, we do love the Church of the Nazarene. Here are some of their testimonies.  We will be posting more in the near future.

1. I’m a member of the Body of Christ still in good standing with God because of what Jesus did for me at Calvary. Those are my credentials. But I did go to a Nazarene church until my pastor’s kid convinced him Rob Bell is ok. Funny thing was this was the Nazarene church that the whole Concerned Nazarene movement started. My ex pastor allowed me to bring in Ray Yungen for a conference. I then met Don and Sue Butler and the rest is history. That’s how Concerned Nazarenes started. Three people who were concerned with what was going on in the Nazarene denomination.
Tim Wirth

2. This is how real a Nazarene I am.

My Great-grandfather donated the land for the little Nazarene Church in Montrose, Iowa.
My Grandfather was a Sunday School teacher and treasurer of this same church for years.

My father was an ordained elder on the Central Ohio District.  He was the Sunday School Church Board Chairman for years, and when the District split to create the North Central Ohio Dist. Dad was the Church Board chairman there as well. He was also a Trustee for MVNU/C in the early 80’s.

My Mother was the VP for the Dist. Miss. Society for years.

I was ordained on the Central Ohio Dist., in 1993.

My Nazarene lineage goes back to almost the beginning of the Denomination. And if that is all I have going for me spiritually, — I will still go the Hell! This is not about being a Nazarene, this is about salvation through Jesus alone and the absolute truth of the Bible! That I have to write the above shows how pathetic the situation is.
Robert Bruce Fruehling

3. I am a “real Nazarene” having joined the church as a third generation Nazarene in 1967, and currently a member in good standing at the New Hope Community Church of the Nazarene, Lakewood, WA. I wanted to attend a Nazarene College, but a degree in my field (Electrical Engineering) was not offered at the time.
I”m not sure what else is required to become real. Perhaps a leader who accuses us of being so ill-pedigreed can explain the requirements to be “real”.
Cindy Hurrelbrink Peak

4. I’m a real Nazarene.  My dad was a Roman Catholic years ago in the Cape Verde Islands. He became a Christian at 20 years old and joined the Nazarene church, going to seminary in the islands.  Dad preached from town to town, sometimes on horseback or mule, over mountains from village to village. He preached holiness, and worked hard at bringing the true gospel to the Roman Catholics, NOT to incorporate their mystical practices.  A bit of history about him here:

He came to the States in 1961, pastored in New Bedford, then was called to East Providence, RI, where he took a small church of Cape Verdeans, Americans, and Portuguese people, and built a new church that grew over the years.
I became a Christian at 18 years of age, at a revival service in Wollaston Church at ENC in Quincy.
I have been involved with Sunday School teaching, missions, and sound system and technology at my old church. I had to leave my church because of emergent ideology, but I am now a member in good standing at New Bedford International Church, which REJECTS the emergent nonsense and trusts in the Bible. If not for that, I may have left the denomination. I stay now to warn others of the apostasy that is threatening our children in our universities and many of our fellow Christians.
Manny Silva

 5. Am I a real Nazarene? I guess it depends on the definition of real. I am a Christian first and foremost. So if following the manual before the Scriptures makes me real, I guess I’m not because Scripture will always come first for me. If being a real Nazarene means I am a member in good standing in a Nazarene church, then I guess I’m a real Nazarene.
Kathy Tyler

6. I came to the Nazarene denomination on Easter Sunday, 1996 at the age of 40. I walked in darkness for 22 years after leaving the Lutheran denomination at age 18. The Holy Spirit drew me there, but what kept me there has been the preaching of holiness. The church that I attend in Salisbury, Md. is still preaching the Word. If there ever comes a day when it does not then that will be the day I depart. My husband, who was a non-practicing Muslim and all three of my children came to know the Lord in that church. I came upon the revelations of the emergent church about three years ago. I would just like to testify that the people that I have met on Concerned Nazarenes have impressed upon me to be people who love the Lord and are heartbroken about the infiltrations of practices that have been seeping into the Nazarene denomination. If at times there have been a flaring of emotions I know that it stems from their frustration in feeling that their concerns are falling on deaf ears. I have met some wonderful “REAL NAZARENES” that I thank God for everyday. I pray that those who are questioning their authenticity and their genuine love for their brothers and sisters, first in Christ, and then in the Nazarene denomination would truly take the time to see their hearts.
Mary Abdelbasat

7. I am certainly “credentialed” in the CotN, but found out I was “Nazarene” in my beliefs decades before actually becoming one on paper. I was raised in the Presbyterian Church until coming to know Christ personally (age 11), then predominantly attended Baptist, Church of God (Anderson), and AoG churches throughout most of my Air Force career.

18 years ago, I attended my first Nazarene church in SW Texas, and fell in love with a bunch of good, godly and holy Nazarenes. They were the ones who affirmed my calling into full-time pastoral ministry. Since then, I’ve never found a denomination I could or would more readily align myself with–no other denomination, in my experience, more clearly advances Wesleyan-Arminian holiness the way the CotN does.

My heartbreak comes when I see so many leaders within the denomination I so dearly love so eagerly “abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1) And even worse, they are leading others down that same path of destruction. There are times I feel like a very small fish in the pond, but I will remain faithful to the people God has called me to lead and serve–they will know and will hear God’s Word.
John Roberts

 8. Member in good standing of Nazarene churches for 20 years (Texas and Oklahoma – husband’s company transferred us a couple of times.) Raised our kids in the Nazarene church. Have served as Church board member, Children’s Quizzing director, Music Ministry coordinator, choir member, pianist, vocalist, VBS director, SS teacher, etc. I assume the label “real Nazarene” refers more to whether we are/were active and involved church members in the Nazarene church and not outsiders or pew warmers that don’t know/love the Nazarene church and what it used to stand for. Labeling us as hateful and divisive because we are concerned about the current direction of our beloved Nazarene churches is just wrong and untrue!
Annette Trimble Williams

9. I was raised Catholic, but always searching and seeking after God. Mainly through Christian radio, I finally heard some good Bible teaching and repented of my sins and understood what the salvation offered by God through His Son was all about. Became part of a Nazarene church in 1983, raised a family in the church.

Having been an art major in college, I studied eastern art and religion, and I was all too aware of the influence of eastern religion and Catholicism that was beginning to seep its way into the denomination. I didn’t know what the name for it all was at the time, but, being one who always questions and digs for information, I soon discovered what was taking place and began to try to show others. This was around 2005.

My husband and I were very active members in our church. We sent 2 children to the Nazarene colleges and invested about $160K in that effort. One of our adult children is still actively involved in the Nazarene denomination which means that we might have potential grandchildren being raised in the Nazarene denomination.

So, though we have left (2007), we invested years of heartfelt service, invested hard earned income in two of the universities, and still have loved ones in the Nazarene church.
Brenda Brockman Diefenbacher

10. One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make was to leave the Church of the Nazarene. I had been a Nazarene all my life (57 years), and was myself a fourth generation Nazarene. Although I am no longer a “real” Nazarene, I still love the church that helped shape my spiritual values, and I pray they come back to their own beliefs. In my heart, a part of me will always be a Nazarene.
Glenda Edson Scullin

A Walk To Death In The Church

2 Tim. 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

“Who am I?  How do I find what I am passionate about?  What is my purpose on earth?  We are seeking a spiritual path we can follow with our entire being; with our hearts and our souls; our minds, and our bodies.  But in order to find that sacred path, we must first find the stillness which will allow us to listen, to let the spirit in, as we search for answers.”

Beautiful words, are they not?  Perhaps its the start of a good biblical devotional that answers those questions, that gives us the answer to what our “sacred path” is.  A message that leads us through the scriptures and points to the God of the Bible, and to the all sufficient answer we find in Jesus Christ, and the guidance we find through the Holy Spirit.

Sorry, these words are at the beginning of a four minute video (Introduction to Re-Discovering The Labyrinth), that describes a path that can lead to hell.  It is a path of paganism, the kind we are warned about in Isaiah.  It is a path that is antithetical to the word of God, and to the biblical principles of the Church of the Nazarene and any other denomination that claims to be a Bible believing church.  The spirit these words speak of is not the Holy Spirit of the Trinity, but another spirit, an unholy spirit.  It is a pagan practice that is being used, and is apparently now accepted, in many churches and universities of the Church of the Nazarene.  The only question I still ask every day is, why.

“You, LORD, have abandoned your people,  the descendants of Jacob.  They are full of superstitions from the East;  they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs.” (Isaiah. 2:6)

The woman in the video, the Rev. Doctor Lauren Artress is the person most singularly responsible for helping spread the practice of the labyrinth in the U.S.  She has ties to Professor Doug Hardy of Nazarene Theological Seminary.  Both are members of the highly interspiritual and ecumenical organization Spiritual Directors International.  Dr. Hardy’s bio on the site says that “Doug’s fundamental calling is to come alongside others to help facilitate their alignment with God.”  Dr. Hardy as I reported in a previous post also taught a class this past Spring that promoted occultic Christianity.  And Dr. Ron Benefiel, current (and outgoing) president of the seminary, is a member of KC Trinity Church that actively uses a prayer labyrinth and also teaches the Eastern religion practice of yoga every week.  Others have disappeared after they came under scrutiny, which I can’t understand.  If they are proud of what they are doing, why hide it after being found out?

 If you decide at this point to stop reading this, maybe its not that important to you.  However, if you do ignore this, rest assured that the problem is not going away.  You can decide to face it now, or face it later.  If you know that prayer labyrinths are pagan practices that have no part in any Bible believing church, how can you let this go unnoticed?  And what about other related practices, such as “the silence”, lectio divina, centering prayer, prayer stations, Stations of the Cross, prayer beads or ropes, ashes to the forehead?

 One of the questions I asked the General Superintendents was whether they thought practices such as this are in accord with scripture.  They know what a prayer labyrinth is by now.  They probably know that Trevecca Nazarene University has used one for years, and still does. Yet, my questions in them asking for guidance, in accord with their responsibilities to the Church of the Nazarene, have gone unanswered for months.  Instead, all I have received are responses with no specific answers, from leaders who are charged with the duty to interpret the doctrines of the church.  I must be honest, they have disappointed me very much.  And I am not the only one who has asked these questions.  Yet it seems that the answers for all the others who have asked is anything but a real answer. 

 But as far as getting answers, have you asked yourself why?  Why won’t the General Superintendents give a specific answer on something like this?  Why won’t some pastors tell us whether this practice is good, or bad?  Why do we get responses that are political in nature, that never answer the question, and seem to have been written by a lawyer?

 In two frustrating years, I have asked questions, and gotten nothing back, except words that… said nothing.  I’ll soon be posting my correspondence with the leadership and you will see what I mean. You would think that faithful members of the church, who are concerned- truly concerned- about its direction, deserve answers.  But here we are, feeling like we are being asked to shut up and stop complaining.  We are now more often than not being characterized as mean, un-Christ like, dividers.  But all we are trying to do is simply get an answer.

 The Nazarene denomination in North America has lost 11,000 in attendance since the last four years, not 10,000 as I thought.  That figure was reported by Dr. Broadbooks at the M11 Conference.  While I cannot tell you how much of that total is attributed to the emergent church invasion, I can tell you that in every single email or letter I have received in the last two years that talked about leaving or thinking of leaving the church, they all referenced emergent church ideology, Roman Catholic practices, or pastors who don’t believe in God’s word.

After you watch the video, ask yourself these questions:

1. Did I get a check in my spirit that something is not totally right with this?

2. How does following the steps of a prayer labyrinth have anything to do with Jesus Christ, and is this adding to the all-sufficiency of relying on Him and His finished work on the Cross, thus diminishing His work?

3. Will I search the scriptures to see what justifies the use of this practice?

4. Will I search the scriptures to see what condemns this practice?

5. Will I ask my pastor to give me a clear answer about this practice, and how it lines up or does not line up with scripture?

There are only three possible answers: A. This is a work of God, B. This is a work of Satan, C. This comes under the area of a practice (like which day to worship, or eating meat) that is up to the individual’s conscience.  In any case, the answer must be arrived at based on only the authority of God’s word- nothing and no one else’s.

Please prayerfully consider what the implications of these things are for your church, for your denomination.  If you have no problem with it, well…  But if you sense that something is wrong, that something with this just does not square with scripture, then what?  Will you keep on pretending that everything will be alright, and this all will go away soon?  Or will you do something about it?  Pastors, what will you do?  Will you tell your flock something is wrong in our denomination, or will you keep telling them to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain?”  If you are a layperson who is facing opposition in your church, and don’t know what to do, please contact me.  There are more and more of us who are willing to help you fight the apostasy in your church.

The elephant is in the room.  The labyrinth is not a walk to life, but a walk to death.  Do you have the courage to confront the wicked?

Additional Resources:

Prayer Labyrinths: What Are They?
Includes Mike Oppenheimer from the Emerging Church DVD explaining labyrinths, and a video of a Nazarene Church from Texas that used a labyrinth for their District Assembly report)

The Labyrinth: A Walk To Life, or A Walk To Death?
Steve Muse, Eastern Regional Watch

Researching The Labyrinth Part 1

Researching The Labyrinth Part 2

Researching The Labyrinth Part 3

Conversation With An Emergent Nazarene Pastor

At the Nazarene General Assembly in 2009, I listened as two prominent Nazarene pastors promoted the emergent church movement.  They defended Richard Foster, Thomas Merton, and other heretical writers and speakers.  I heard them repeat what is a favorite phrase, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”  I had read that one of these pastors was a central figure in the push to get emergent ideology into the Nazarene denomination.  Present at this session was Holiness Today editor, David Felter, and General Superintendent Jesse Middendorf.  Dr. Middendorf was there to support one of the presenters, his son, Jon Middendorf.  The other pastor was Scott Daniels, from Pasadena First Church in California (who since then wrote an article claiming that the emergent church is dead!)

 The following is part of a conversation with Pastor Jon Middendorf with one of his own congregation.  Here you will get some insight into the thinking of one of the main promoters of the emergent church and all that goes with it: ecumenism, mysticism, denial of scriptural inerrancy, the social justice gospel, just to name a few things.  It seems that at least a few brave souls did not want to accept it all, and decided to ask questions of their pastor about his belief system.  (I have highlighted some particularly serious items of concern in red, and comment on them at the end).

A Meeting with Pastor Jon

In an attempt to be as accurate as possible so as not to misquote anyone, I am writing down my questions and Pastor Jon’s responses. It is my hope that the others as well as Pastor Jon who were present in the meeting will edit this page appropriately to insure its accuracy. Please note that the dialogue below is representative of the discussion and not complete as I am not a fast note taker and did not have a voice recorder present.

Present in the meeting were myself (Monte Brown), Pastor Jon, Ms. Tina Hughes, and Mr. Michael Sykes.

Monte: After the last couple of weeks, I too have thought and rethought my position. If I were to follow the postmodern beliefs, who should I read?
Pastor Jon
: I do not really consider myself postmodern, but the following books are a must.

Mildred Wineford: Foundations of Wesleyan/Arminian Theology; Theology of Love

Henri Nouwen: Life of the Beloved

Brennon Manning: The Ragamuffin Gospel

NT Wright: Simply Christian

 Monte: If I were to revive the practices of the early church in my life where would I look? Is there a certain time period I should study?
Pastor Jon
: Begin with our tradition which comes from the Methodist which is from the Anglican Church which is from the Catholics. As prayer goes there is “silence”. There is also “Lectio Divina”.

Monte: What is your definition of “Lectio Divina”?
Pastor Jon
: Lectio Divina means sitting with scripture long enough to hear it. A means of praying scripture. Our tradition is not afraid of mysticism. Again, using Wesley we follow his four laws, tradition, reason, experience, and scripture. To Wesley scripture was considered first and most important, the other three were treated equally.

Monte: Is social justice and political activism two sides of the same coin?
Pastor Jon
: Justice is the only responsible interpretation for the Hebrew word. I am not a socialist. Read Jeremiah 8 and Matthew 25.

Monte: Is the social justice that John Wesley practiced the exact same social justice we practice today?
Pastor Jon
: Jesus and Paul would both agree that the gospel would reach everywhere even public office. Social justice is different as the culture is different. We are called to challenge the structure that demeans.

Monte: Whose brand of political activism should I follow Jim Wallis’s or Dr. James Dobson’s?
Pastor Jon
: Jesus. Actually neither of the two. To disregard either of them would throw out too many babies with the bath water. If there is anything that really characterizes my ministry or what I am about it is this. (Pastor Jon handed me a print-out of the Church of the Nazarene Articles of Faith)

Monte: What is the significance of Soren Kierkegaard’s theology?
Pastor Jon
: Can’t tell, not really significant.

Monte: Since I have heard very little Bible prophecy in the last several years, other than a few verses here and there, what vision for the future should I prepare for?
Pastor Jon
: It is funny you should bring that up as we will begin a new series on June 20 concerning Revelations called “Now and Not Yet”. I believe in the second coming of Christ.

Monte: I know I have heard the Emergent Church talk a lot about Heaven on earth and getting everything right here, then the Christ will come back and lead His people.
Pastor Jon
: Well it might surprise you but the Bible does talk about the kingdom is here and now.

Monte: I know it is in all of our hearts.
Pastor Jon
: Read Revelations 20. Prepare for tomorrow by living faithfully.

Monte: If I were a juror on a tragic murder trail where the accused was guilty would my beliefs lean more towards life imprisonment or the death penalty?
Pastor Jon
: It is up to you. Were you asking what I would do?

Monte: I ask this question because I read in the paper that OKC 1st was participating in an anti-death penalty rally.
Pastor Jon
: Lance as a staff member is free to support those things he deems as important without dragging the “church” into it. He was disciplined for that.

Monte: Why were we in the Industrial Areas Foundation?
Pastor Jon
: I cut that off this year. The board and I are looking into it and then at the end of the year we will vote.

Monte: Well I was concerned because of how the organization began and that “pro” Obama article, which I emailed you, clearly states that they are still using the founder’s same tactics. Those are not the ways of the church.
Pastor Jon
: I will maintain a veto power for the entire area and thus have some control. Even so, we (the board) will be examining the issue using three criteria.

1. Should we be involved in the local community?

2. Would the IAF make us more effective in our community?

3. Would it fracture our fellowship?

If the answers to first two questions were yes, then we would answer question three and take our action accordingly.

Pastor Jon: During Terry’s pastorate here I wanted to begin an internet ministry and he rejected it stating that the internet was evil. And he was right as 60 percent of all internet activity is from pornography. We have even had to clean the churches computers from viruses a couple of times. But I believe that Facebook and twitter are important for reaching today’s generation.

Monte: I agree as our Boy Scout troop is just now getting our website back on line. We had a website once and somehow lost our host. Then a company in California claimed our address and would sell it back to us for $80.00.
Pastor Jon:
Yes, we get 1,000 hit’s a day! There are only Nazarene churches that get more internet hits than we do.

 Pastor Jon: I am concerned about that group you have.  You know there is a group called “Concerned Nazarenes” and all they are trying to do is cause fractions. There was one who lost his ministry and license because he went about it the wrong way.

 Monte: No need to worry about them. As the name “ReviveUsAgain” implies we are seeking just that. We are not after anyone’s job or seeking to remove anyone. We are a prayer group and we have been praying for you.
Pastor Jon
: Thank you, I appreciate all of that I can get. If anyone wants to talk to me, my door is always open. I hope you will encourage that.

Monte: I do and I have.

Pastor Jon: Have I answered all of your questions? Do we need to meet again?

Monte: Yes, I would like to meet again as some of this conversation has raised a few more questions. However, these questions are not quite as urgent.


1. Out of the four books Jon Middendorf recommended, one is highly suspect at best, and two were written by outright heretical false teachers.  NT Wright is a big promoter of emergent church ideology.  Henri Nouwen, who is now deceased, was a Roman Catholic priest and is very popular with many Nazarene pastors, including my former pastor, and his books are used in theology programs at several Nazarene universities, or are recommended resources.  Nouwen mixed Buddhism with Christianity, and was a universalist, who wrote in his last book:

“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.”  (Sabbatical Journey, page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition)

David Cloud’s article Beware of Henri Nouwen is well documented and clearly shows that he was a heretic and that he should not be part of any pastor’s library.

And Brennon Manning is just as dangerous.  In Beware of Brennan Manning, David Cloud has documented in detail the heresies that this man teaches, and yet again, he is also popular with pastors, is quoted often, and is used also as a resource at some of our schools.  From the book that Jon recommends, here is what Manning claims about those who take the mark of the Beast:

“And he [Christ] will say to us: ‘Vile beings, you who are in the image of the beast and bear his mark, but come all the same, you as well’” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 21).

And in the same book, Manning promotes an ecumenical stance that is destroying orthodox Christianity:  that we should “listen to people in other denominations and religions” and we shouldn’t “find demons in those with whom we disagree” (The Ragamuffin Gospel, p. 65).

If you read the entire post by David Cloud, you will be amazed and wonder why so many pastors are enamored with Brennan Manning.

2. “As prayer goes there is silence.”  It appears that Jon has no problem with the “new Nazarene” system of practicing the silence.  This is part of contemplative spirituality, and it is unbiblical, and there is no place for it in the Nazarene church.

3. “Our tradition is not afraid of mysticism.”  This was said after Jon recommended Lectio Divina, clearly equating this practice as being part of some kind of “Christian mysticism.”  Is this what he is part of then, a movement to bring in mysticism into the Nazarene denomination?  Some have been asking lately, wait a minute, why are all these things like ashes to the forehead, labyrinths, and other mystical practices not being introduced at General Assemblies to the people?  Can anything be allowed to come in behind the scenes, and we just simply have to accept it?  Where is the accountability?  Who has announced to the unsuspecting masses that these things are now going to be part of the Nazarene church, including the new social justice emphasis, and environmental gospel?  Have “proper channels” been observed, as they like to ask those of us who object to these new teachings?

4. “There was one who lost his ministry and license because he went about it the wrong way”.  He is probably referring to Pastor Joe, who spoke out against emergent ideology.  They never do tell us how to go about it the right way.  I remember when we were at that session at General Assembly, and Pastor Joe asked Dr. Middendorf whether those who disagreed with emergent ideology could also have a forum to speak their views, and Dr. Middendorf replied, “that’s not likely.”  We have exhausted all proper channels, and yet nothing happens, no clear answers from the Generals, and they will still tell us that we have not “done it the right way.”

I could go on about other things here.  Note that Jon says that what characterizes his ministry most is the Nazarene Articles of Faith.  NOT the Holy Scriptures, but the Nazarene Articles of Faith.  Maybe the problem lies there.  And his phrase again, “throw out too many babies with the bath water,” says that emergent pastors are willing to mix truth with error; as long as there is some truth and good there, then anything is acceptable.

Jon Middendorf is not an exception, but in fact, is a model of the type of pastor that has been coming out of our seminaries for quite a few years now.  They are the young, hip generation of pastors who proudly call themselves post-modern, and who believe they are better equipped to reach the youth of today more effectively.  But when these same pastors have a seriously deficient view of scripture (that it is NOT totally believable) how does that help reach the lost with the gospel effectively?  The answer is, it does not, and if we continue to produce pastors from our seminaries who cannot trust completely in the word of God, this denomination will fade into obscurity, and those most responsible will have a lot to answer to God on judgment day.

Additional Resources For Further Study:

The Emerging Church DVD, by Concerned Nazarenes, discusses Jon Middendorf’s involvement in the emergent church

NTS Session 8 with Jon and Jesse: http://emergentnazarenes.blogspot.com/2006/10/nts-session-8-jess-jon-middendorf.htmlhttp://emergentnazarenes.blogspot.com/2006/10/nts-session-8-jess-jon-middendorf.html

Jon Middendorf’s Emerging Ideology: http://exnazarene.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/jon-middendorfs-emerging-theology/


Adrian Warnock’s Critique of NT Wright’s View on Atonement: http://adrianwarnock.com/2007/04/atonement-n-t-wright-attacks-both-sides/

Article discussing Nazarene social justice and the IAF: http://exnazarene.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/nazarene-social-justice-and-its-communist-connections/

The Prayer Station: Did It Make You “Feel Good” Today?

How many of you are now in churches that are using prayer stations?  In your church district?  When did it start?  What is the purpose?  Have you ever asked why, or have you accepted anything that has come in that is new, without question? Are you comfortable with prayer stations?  Would you also use prayer labyrinths if your pastor introduced them?  How about prayer ropes or prayer beads?  What if incense, candles, breath prayers, or yoga were introduced to the church activities?  How about ashes to the forehead?  Is your trust in your pastor or other leaders so much, that you never wonder about checking with the word of God to see what it says?  Do you stop wondering about that little “check in your spirit” because the pastor just tells you, “don’t worry, it’s a biblical practice?”  Or, “the Bible does not explicitly say anything about prayer labyrinths, so its okay.”


In re-visiting the Prayer Station, (aka Stations of the Cross, contemplative gathering stations) it seems it is one of the more easily accepted forms of Roman Catholic religious practice that have been incorporated into the Church of the Nazarene.  Since faith in Christ and His word is no longer all sufficient for us, this practice has been one of those additions to the church, which I never experienced or saw even once in my New England District 20 years ago, or in my church where my dad pastored.  Now it is becoming commonplace in the Nazarene denomination, along with other forms of mysticism.  A former District Superintendent from my district has no problem with them.  My former pastor told me that, sure, maybe it (prayer labyrinths) will be used someday.  Prayer stations have now been used at our New England District Prayer Gatherings.


Lighthouse Trails describes it this way:

“Also called Contemplative Gathering Stations or Journey to the Cross, “Stations of the Cross” is a Catholic ritual with 14 stations, each one with pictures or sculptures that depict the various “stages” of Jesus Christ’s final days. This is a practice that began centuries ago and was sanctioned by the Pope Clement XII in 1731. In more recent days the practice has spilled over from the Catholic church into the evangelical church. Another example of the interspirituality taking place around the world and a further walk into apostasy.”


All over the denomination, churches are starting to use prayer stations, as well as prayer labyrinths.  Perhaps because these are a sanitized version of prayer labyrinths, they are more attractive to folks who might think the labyrinth is just too weird for them.  After all the prayer labyrinth is clearly derived from pagan practices and is clearly not biblical in nature.  (For you emergent pastors, where is the biblical justification for prayer labyrinths, anyway?). Yet, Trevecca Nazarene University has no problem using a prayer labyrinth (although they have changed the name to prayer walk, after I brought up the issue on my blog and had a back and forth dialogue with President Dan Boone.  He seemed satisfied with changing the name, but as they say, if you put lipstick on a pig, its still a pig. 


There were two prayer stations set up at General Assembly in Orlando in 2009.  Here is a short video tour of the larger one.  They both had quite the Roman Catholic feel to them, not a Nazarene feel.  How many of you walked into this room, and when you left, had no problem whatsoever with this new thing?  Is your mindset in such a state, that you automatically accept anything that comes down the pike in the church?  Do you ever stop and think, why are we doing this now?  Do you ever think about all the new things happening in the denomination, like the new names and faces, such as Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet, Richard Foster, and Tony Campolo?  Do you care that Tony Campolo advocates repeating a word over and over like a mantra, and promotes all sorts of mysticism to our Nazarene youth?  Do you care about that or do you just turn away hoping everything will be alright?  Do you care that we are becoming a church that is focusing more on experiential and mystical-driven methods, and less and less focused on the reliable word of God?  Have you noticed a trend in your church for sermons that barely focus on God’s word, and instead tell lots of nice stories that make you feel good inside?


The prayer station is just one instrument that is being used to attract people to something new.  That something new is contemplative mysticism.  It is the belief by emergent church proponents that you can “experience God” in a way that you never could before.  Think about it, you were wrong apparently when you thought that the Bible was sufficient for all our faith and practice, and that God’s word was the only way to really learn about Him.  No, silly Christian, you need to REALLY experience God, and the way to do that is to go back and discover anew the old practices of the early church, who really knew how to experience God.  What they will not tell you is that, they are really trying to resurrect the unbiblical practices of the Roman Catholic Church, which was rejected by countless Christians, sometimes at the risk of their own lives.


Have you really, really thought about this?  Have you asked yourself, why did the Nazarene church miss these wonderful things for so many years?  Why did we not teach our people years ago about practicing the silence?  All these years we missed the “voice of God” because we never practiced the silence.  All these years, we could have enhanced our worship “experience” through the use of candles, incense, and walking a circular path.  Who knew? Well, now we have it, and apparently these things are here to stay, so get used to it.


After all, if these practices were bad, our leaders by now would have denounced them as unbiblical.  Since they have not, and they are charged by the Manual to interpret doctrines of the church, it must be okay.  Why would our General Superintendents otherwise ignore something that is bad for the church?  So call it what you will, in whatever form you like: prayer stations, prayer labyrinths, prayer walks, prayer beads, it’s all the same in one sense: it is a statement that says our faith in Christ is not enough, what He has ordained in scripture is not enough, and we need to have a deeper, experiential relationship with God, and if we don’t use these systems, we are missing out on a wonderful experience with God.


After all, that’s the goal of a Christian when practicing these things, is it not?  Seeking the most ecstatic, mind blowing, close as you can get to God experience that you can have.

Just let me know how I can know for sure whether that experience was with God, or another spirit, okay?

When The Leadership Of the Church Fails- Part 1

(by Pastor Joe Staniforth)

The Sin of Silence

Recently I awoke to hear some tragic news.  The Reverend David Wilkerson had been killed in a car accident in our own state of Texas.   Although I had never met Wilkerson, you could say that I had grown up with him.   At about the age of 12, I was absorbed by his ministry in the slums of New York, when I read “The Cross and the Switchblade.”   In more recent years, I have been particularly inspired by his boldness to stand for truth.   No matter how popular the questioning of truth may have been, he would not be silent.  His dying words to the church are recorded in his final blog entry, “When All Means Fail.”:  “Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.” 

In this first essay, I would like to focus on the title of Brother David’s last words, “When all Means Fail.”  Though the contents of this essay may be dire, I assure the reader that there is great reason for hope.  In the next essay, I will be focusing on the hope that we have if we “stand fast in His Word.”   

Injustice has become common place in the 21st Century.  Systems designed by man to assure man that justice will be served have fallen short of expectations.   Criminals go unpunished and the innocent are unrewarded for crimes against them.  Men whom we have elected as Justices of the Peace have failed to uphold the promises that their title demands.  All means of justice seemed to have failed us.     

Many have turned to a denomination or a parachurch for solace.  Like boats in a dark and dangerous harbor, cast about by the wickedness of the age, they have expected to see a lighthouse that would “hold fast” to the rock that is Christ – “the Holy One and the Just” (Acts 3:14).  Instead, they have only found a “church” made by men out of mirrors.  There is no light of divine justice going out, only a dark reflection of an unfair world.  In the words of the prophet Isaiah:  “Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness” (Isaiah 59:9).     

Many false teachers have risen among us, and have served to corrupt souls, as criminals corrupt society.  Christian universities, colleges and houses of worship have become contaminated with professors and pastors who simply will not “hold fast” to the authority of scripture.  They would rather pump a humanistic gospel* into the minds of the young and unaware student, as the insubordinate serpent perverted the mind of Eve with his venom.  They have no regard for God’s condemnation of humanism:  “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man” (Jeremiah 17:5). 

However, I do not believe that my grief is due to false teaching or false teachers.  If you buy a dog, there is a certainty that it will bark. If you hire a false teacher, or invite one to a conference, you can be sure that he will bark his heresy.  The failure within the church lies at the feet of the leader who knows better, yet says nothing when a heretic howls his teaching.  The man of God is not a Justice of the Peace who has been elected by man.  He has been elected by the Just Judge to stand firm against foul doctrine.

When God warned the Israelites about sacrificing their children to Molech, there was a death sentence pronounced for those who did nothing, as well as those that committed this foul deed: 

“And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off.”  (Leviticus 20:4,5) 

According to the law, “the people of the land” had a duty to ensure that justice was done when heresy reared its ugly head.  Instead, many would “hide their eyes” like an ostrich with his head in the sand, and the demands of the law were not met.  They knew better, but refused to act, and the justice of God was not served.    

This justice must now be served by the leadership within the church.  They are God’s chosen means through which justice must come – “to judge them that are within”! (I Corinthians 5:12).  The Apostle Paul did not to put his head in the sand when he stood before the elders of Ephesus.  He didn’t count his life dear to himself (Acts 20:24).  He declared to all who would dare to stand behind a pulpit to “take heed.”   There would be two types of wolves – false teachers – that would prey on their flocks:  Those that would enter the church from the outside (Acts 20:29), and, the most dangerous of all, those that would rise up among them from the inside (Acts 20:30) – the ones with sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).  His word of command for all shepherds to heed – “watch”!     

The word “watch” is not an inactive verb, indicating that the shepherd merely serves as the casual observer of wolves, as these four-legged heretics enter the fold to devour the sheep.  A shepherd was called upon to put his life at risk when danger came.  This was an indication that he loved the Church, “as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25).      

The young shepherd, David, served as an Old Testament type of the New Testament pastor.   When the bear and the lion came and took a lamb from the flock, he did more than hide his eyes.  He defended the sheep.  This was his calling and his command.  Also, these were his credentials (I Samuel 17:34) when he stood before the giant wolf, Goliath, on the battle field and rebuked him publically: “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel whom thou hast defied” (I Samuel 17:45).  With his sling in hand and the faith of a true warrior of the Lord, he was used by the Almighty to bring about justice.   

Nevertheless, there are elders who have failed the church.  Their office walls are crowded with paper credentials, but they lack the courage to “watch” when the wolves come prowling.  They would rather “hide their eyes” in the sand of meaningless duties, as the devil mocks the armies of the living God and lambs become open season for his pack of softly-spoken deceivers.  This is not a time for faint-heartedness, in this age of great apostasy.  The faint-hearted were removed from the ranks of Israel before captains were chosen to lead them.  Such leaders were dangerous because they caused others to be faint-hearted (Deuteronomy 20:8.9).  A faint-hearted pastor causes the flock to be faint-hearted when the wolf prowls!           

The Scriptures have demanded that the leaders in the church, like Timothy, respond with personal and public rebuke (I Timothy 5:19,20; 2 Timothy 4:14; 2 Peter 2:15-16a; 3 John:9-10).   This is the sling of justice that must be used on the battlefield, against the subtleties of the serpent, to bring his giants of academia to the ground.  We cannot be in fear of their intellects, as the human mind can do nothing against the weapons of God that are not carnal.  The “weapons of our warfare” are for “casting down imagination** and every high thing that exalteth itself against God” (II Corinthians 10:4-5).  No matter how big and impressive “the fruits of their thoughts” and books may appear, the Lord will bring evil upon them, because they have rejected the wisdom of God (Jeremiah 6:19).  Like Goliath, they have openly “defied” the Almighty! (I Samuel 17:45).

If such rebuke is not heeded, then there remains only one option – removal!  False teaching is a spiritual harlotry that will corrupt the body of Christ, just as the human body is defiled by a promiscuous lifestyle.  The prophet Hosea defined the harlotry of Israel as a “departing from the Lord” (Hosea 1:2).  This “departing” was instigated by false teaching (Hosea 4).  Paul was grieved by the church in Corinth because they kept company with fornicators (I Corinthians 5:11).  To ensure that justice was done within the church, God breathed His command through the pen of the apostle:  “put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (I Corinthians 5:13; see also Romans 16:17).  As the head of Goliath left his body because his mouth had offended the Lord, so must the false teachers and their teaching be cut from the bride of Christ, lest she become defiled.           

Many brothers and sisters, who have been grieved by the state of the church or have had loved ones deceived by false teachers, have pleaded with leadership.  Their cry for justice has been in vain.  Instead of rebuke and removal, they have received nothing but silence from those who have been called to watch.     

As a member of a group called “Concerned Nazarenes”, a group that is united by a common grief over false teaching, I have heard many heart-breaking stories from men and women who have been faithful to both Christ and His church.  This was the first story to capture my attention. 

Several years ago, a young man attended a Bible study in Southern California where I presided as a youth pastor.  He was excited about the teaching of the Word, and wanted to stay.    He had to return to a school known as Point Loma Nazarene University to complete his theological training.  After two years of liberal teaching he joined an emergent church with a gay pastor.  His grandparents were broken-hearted.  People pleaded with the administration for answers, but received only silence.  There was the usual politeness, but no one was held accountable for the soul of this young student. 

The stories are many, but the answer still remains the same – silence.  This epidemic of “hush-hush” has worked its way, like leaven, through the lump of entire denominations.   Anywhere from the local church to these academic institutions that train future shepherds, leaders who are supposed to be “separated unto the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1) have chosen silence instead of scripture.      

To the Silent Elder

Paul opened his mouth to warn the church, so that the blood of the bride would not be upon his hands.  He warned the church before the wolves came, but you have heard the wolves howl from lecterns and pulpits and said nothing!  Do you believe you will be acquitted with the blood of souls on your hands when you stand before Christ?  Do not neglect the warning of James: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is a sin” (James 4:17)

*The purpose of this essay is not to expose false teaching.  There are many fine apologists who have done this time and time again.  Just understand for now that in the heart of every false teacher there is a desire to elevate man to a status of a god.  This is accomplished by making God look more human, or man more divine.  The father of all false teachers first fed mankind this lie in the garden – “ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5) – and many have fallen prey over the centuries.

** Reasoning that is contrary to the Christian faith.

(Pastor Joe Staniforth)

For the full length paper, download here: When the Leadership Fails