Message About a Nazarene Heresy

The following was written by guest writer John Henderson.  I agree fully with his comments.

Message About a Nazarene Heresy
(See also below)

I make no apologies for what I say here about the above site. I only regret that my email list is not in the thousands—but I will post this on Facebook as well.

This is a Nazarene site in the Kansas City, MO area. That is where the Nazarene international headquarters are located. This bunch is listed on the Kansas City District. This is open heterodoxy by any definition. Sadly, it is not an isolated thing. It has reached epidemic proportions in our denomination. I could ask all sorts of questions that I, as a Nazarene elder, have every right to ask. I suspect, however, they would be ignored, disregarded, unheeded, discounted, snubbed, scorned, spurned, or flouted. I will speak up anyhow even if I am a doddering old foggy.

The leaders at this “church” are as slick as slime. They know the terminology we like and it will blindside the unsuspecting. They say everything so nicely but never speak of redemption, repentance, living holy lives, being separate from the world-order, etc. They stop just before going there with their multicultural and ecumenical nonsense. They are more willing to make homosexuals feel all warm and cozy as homosexuals than to really love their souls and tell them how Jesus can save them from their sinful “orientation” as well as their sinful behaviors. Dan Boone’s published sermon wherein he said that homosexual orientation was not sinful while homosexual behavior was sinful may have given them the idea.

Folks, that Baptist evangelist made me squirm in 1952 under the acute awareness of the coming judgment of God on my sins until my knees nearly buckled under me. But that squirming drove me to my knees in tearful prayer until the burden of sin was completely lifted and I became a new creature in Christ. Jesus didn’t coddle and reform the old man in me so I could be religiously tainted. He created a completely new one so that I became a new creature in Christ. Old things passed away (died) and all things became new (life) in Jesus Christ. I have regretted many things about my life over the years but never once have I been ashamed of having turned my life over to Jesus or of telling someone else that He saves from the gutter-most to the uttermost.

This is so serious that I will no longer regard anonymity as automatic. Anyone who writes or speaks anything either way on this matter has no right to personal confidentiality concerning it. That includes me. We should all be identified with whatever we say about it. It is the right of those who are impacted by it to know who is impacting them. I will never knowingly quote anyone out of context nor will I quote what I do not have on record, but neither will I let this nonsense just slide on by unchallenged and be respectably hidden in anonymity anymore. We shall be judged by our words and it is best that we deal with them now so we might correct them if we are wrong.

I am a Nazarene elder and gave my word at my ordination that I would uphold the church and her doctrines. I cannot—I shall not—hunker down while wolves disguised as Christians slink among the sheep of God slaughtering at will. I am limited, but God is not. I am expendable but His Word endures forever. I have no power but God is omnipotent even if some “Nazarenes” think He is limited. I cannot see the future, but He holds the future. My time is short but He is from everlasting to everlasting.

I do not have time, energy, or inclination to go about fighting wimpy Nazarene leaders over this. If they are unwilling to do anything to correct it, or are complicit in this, there isn’t much I can do to make them line up without being involved in depriving them of their money and power, maybe getting them replaced. If they want to be that spineless about it, they are not worth the effort. I will bypass them and go directly to the many Nazarenes who are not caught up in this heresy and warn them, perhaps rescuing some who are taken in by it. I am convinced that a Nazarene “tea party” is very likely in the making. That is the sort of thing that happens when leadership fails, as we all know so well from the political scene. When the trunk starts to decay, the roots will sprout another trunk.

The bottom line is this: If we do not have a genuine old-fashioned revival really soon—the sort that old-fashioned Nazarenes know so well—this denomination will be more of a way into Hell than it will be a beacon for Christ. If we neglect to have a sweeping revival (for God is not the one holding back) there are enough Nazarenes who are fed up with this madness that we will see an unprecedented split where the differences between sacrilege and truth will be obvious and the profane side will be the big losers. I do not want that to have to happen but I would not be able to stop it—and am sure if I would not even try. They can walk their labyrinths, do the spiritual formation and “centering prayer” nonsense, have “conversations” with non-Christians, apologize for telling people of their sins, and Kumbaya all the way into the Inferno if that what they prefer. Meanwhile, the rest of us are keeping oil in our lamps, winning the lost, and looking for the return of Christ. The old-fashioned way still works best.

We don’t need to “understand” our differences with the pagans. The Bible tells us plainly what they are. We need to preach the Word of God, to be instant in season and out of season with the clear message of the only two choices anyone has—to turn to Christ and live or to persist in sin and die in them with no hope beyond the grave.

I am old enough that I can survive one way or the other. “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ Blood and righteousness.” Those coming after me are the ones that break my heart. They are so unsuspecting and they are being fed the devil’s poison in things like this. I have already objected to having “Love Wins” presented at our church but lost that debate very handily—unless I had been willing to cause a stir. Maybe I should have. Maybe that is what I am doing now, because I will no longer hold back when the emergent heresy (by any definition, or under any excuse, or by anyone of any status) ever shows its ugly face where my family and I are attending church.

I am fed up with the whitewash. I am fed up with the lies. I am fed up with the duplicity. I want the untarnished gospel of Jesus Christ and nothing else. I want the Bible held up and honored, not nit-picked apart and us lied to that it is not completely inspired. I want to know that my family will not be exposed to postmodern-new age-emergent cult counterfeits and deceptions. I am tired of the Rob Bells, Richard Fosters, Bill Hybels, Mike Kings, Tony Campolos, Rick Warrens, Leonard Sweets, Doug Pagitts, C. S. Cowles’s, Brian McLarens, and every other emergent teacher like them or even resembling them. I am weary of these people being on Nazarene campuses and being allowed to spew their lies into the faces of naïve Nazarene students while our Nazarene educators smirk approvingly. I am weary that they even stand in some our pulpits, where they have no right to be. I am disgusted with Thomas Jay Oord being allowed to keep his job in a Nazarene university after unabashedly advocating postmodernism and open theism in the name of Wesleyan theology. I am disturbed to hear of a sensitive Nazarene church member being told by a prospective pastor that she must have been abused when younger because she believes the Scriptures are inerrant in all things and having his DS back him up on the nonsense.

Even Scott Daniels’ making excuses for Emergent Nazarenes is unacceptable, although he did not keep it up. Jon Middendorf may tell his members that we should not throw out the baby with the bathwater in defense of the emergent heresy but he should realize that a little leaven leavens the whole lump. We are dealing with the bread of life, not bathwater. Those who promote that stuff are enemies of the Cross and are willing agents of destructive error. They are a plaque to holiness—not anywhere close to being like or complimentary to holiness or, as Scott Langford of our congregation wrote me about Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” book—that at the end of the day it “highlights the beauty and power of Wesleyan theology.” That is pure gobbledygook! Not so, unless by stark contrast. Darkness does not enhance light. It gives way to it. Who wants to eat meat full of maggots? Only buzzards do that.

The gospel is not about building nonjudgmental relationships and apologizing to those steeped in sin because they get their feelings hurt. We are not to befriend the world (friendship with the world is enmity with God). The gospel is about winning them to Jesus so He can save them and take away their sins and make them new creatures in Christ. If someone is drowning, we don’t make friends with them. We throw them a lifeline. Then we make friends with them. That is what it should mean to be a Nazarene. Or, am I seeing what an astute Nazarene pastor told me in early 2009, that, after the upcoming General Assembly, I would not recognize the Church of the Nazarene. How little I understood that then! I shudder that the emergents almost got away with it and am not really sure that they did not.
Well, I still know who Jesus is and He is not the counterfeit Jesus they come up with out of unproductive imagining. I still see that His Bible has not changed in spite of what C. S. Cowles and others may haughtily claim of its supposed errors. The Great Commission has not modified to accommodate postmodernists, new agers, and Emergent Nazarenes in their inane pursuits of contemplative prayer and group hugs.

They may want to huddle under a bunch of burning candles and sniff incense, but I prefer the open air where Jesus is still the Light that has come into the world and the darkness cannot overcome it. I prefer old-time Christianity where feeding and clothing the needy, caring for the widows and orphans, and visiting the imprisoned has the clear message of salvation in it and is nothing like the phony “social justice” of Marxism turned religious.

When I come to face Christ at the Judgment, I want a clear conscience. Anyone who persists in following after this stuff will be without excuse, but then, they may become so entangled in it that they will be caught by surprise on that Day. How tragic that will be for them! I hope not for their sakes, but they must make up their own minds about it while they have time on their side. In spite of what Rob Bell says in his books and television interviews, there are no postmortem conversions. The man lied to us about it in his books and in person. He was charming, but he still lied. The appointment has not been cancelled. It is still appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment.

John Henderson

11 responses to “Message About a Nazarene Heresy

  1. Thank you for being straightforward and putting your name to it! I’m beginning to think that the time for anonymity is over, as well. If we aren’t willing to stand up and fight (or “contend”) with masks off, no one else will be.

  2. John, could you be a bit more specific about what the folks at Trinity have said or done that you believe is heretical? I was having trouble finding the specific points of critique in your post. I mean, I didn’t see you interacting with anything specific that they’ve said or done.

    I had the opportunity to hear the leaders of their “Love Wins: LGBT” ministry speak at the last Millennium conference in Louisville, KY. They said they are very clear about what the Bible says and what we as Nazarenes believe. They don’t hide anything from the people they are reaching out to. But they certainly lead with love demonstrated in practical ways.

    I don’t think I’ve seen or heard the Dan Boone message you refer to, but the idea that “homosexual orientation was not sinful while homosexual behavior was sinful” comes straight from the “Pastoral Perspective” document on this subject put out by our General Superintendents back in 2008. You can find that document & a “further clarification” document on the Nazarene website:

  3. Rich, it seems you are more interested in espousing the dangerous statements from that document by the Generals, than clear biblical teaching. I really don’t give them much credibility at this point, since they are not even addressing the doctrines of demons coming into our denomination.

    The Bible teaches plainly that sin is sin- and trying to water down scripture with that kind of statement is reckless and should never have been written.

    I feel sorry for all those who twist the scriptures for their own personal agenda.

  4. Rich,

    I have huge problem with them even invoking the phrase “Love Wins” on their site. There is nothing wrong with saying the words, “Love wins,” but because of Rob Bell, those words are now an obvious reference to his book wherein he suggests that people can be saved after death, and goes directly against Nazarene Article of Faith 16:

    XVI. Resurrection, Judgment, and Destiny

    20. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, that the bodies both of the just and of the unjust shall be raised to life and united with their spirits—“they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

    21. We believe in future judgment in which every person shall appear before God to be judged according to his or her deeds in this life.

    22. We believe that glorious and everlasting life is assured to all who savingly believe in, and obediently follow, Jesus Christ our Lord; and that the finally impenitent shall suffer eternally in hell.

    Additionally, they have “LGBT” put on there. If they are interested in helping people who struggle with same-sex attraction to find wholeness in Christ and turn from homosexuality, why didn’t they make that clear on this site? To just put the acronym next to “Love Wins” sends the message that this is a gay lifestyle-affirming group. If they truly are “very clear about what the Bible says and what Nazarenes believe,” then their site is very misleading. I read their whole “We believe” section, and it didn’t mention anything about what Nazarenes believe about homosexuality. They are clearly sending mixed messages, at the very least.


  5. Sondra,

    That church was using the phrase “Love Wins” long before Bell’s book came about. They had used it with another outreach ministry before the outreach to folks in the LGBT community started. So it’s not really fair to lump them in with Rob Bell’s book or to say it’s “now an obvious reference” to it.

    As for the name of the ministry, they’re specifically reaching out to folks in the LGBT community, showing and telling them about the love of Jesus Christ. How they describe it on their website is up to them… and since their “What we believe” page is a paraphrase of our Articles of Faith, one wouldn’t expect it to mention homosexuality, since our Articles of Faith don’t. They do link to our denomination’s website, where anyone who’s interested can find out more.

    Anyway, if you really want to know why they present themselves the way they do, I’m sure you can ask them. They share contact information right there on the site.

  6. An excellent article by John Henderson showing that even well meaning people can sabotoge or water down the truth to where it is without power to convict or save the lost. I read “Trinity Family Midtown’s” website especially the parts “About Us and What to Expect” and was disappointed in the message I read. There was nothing their that reflected anything life changing. I hope that I am not being too critical but In fact I took away that they were apologizing for existing so the visitor should not really expect to find anything different.

    Sondra made some good points regarding their “Love Wins” LGBT. I felt that they did not make their intent clear and left the impression that they were supportive of their life-style though the Bible condemns such activity.

    Rich Schmidt made reference to an article written by the BGS “A Pastors Perspective on Homosexuality” On page 4 the article makes the statement; “The Bible says nothing about homosexuality as the term often used today.” When I read this, I thought, I beg to differ with that statement. In I Corinthians 6: [9-10] (NKJV) Paul lists a hosts of sins of those who commits such will not inherit the kingdom of God. “Homosexuals nor Sodomites” were listed. Homosexuals could be called “Catamites” Catamites were young partners of gay man. Sodomites could also be called male homosexuals.

    I believe that ones sexual orientation and behavior is linked together and only God’s power to defeat sin in the life of a person can make the difference. The unregenerated homosexual I believe will lust in his heart just as Jesus spoke concerning adultry and is equally guilty of sin as if he or she committed the act.

  7. Manny:
    I apologize for leaving my name off. I hit the post comment button before I realized I did not provide my name; therefore, Anonymous on August 26, at 3:39pm is Lige Jeter. Thanks

  8. Thanks for your comments, Rich, and I do intend to ask them for specifics about how they help people who struggle with same-sex attraction. If they are truly trying – in every meeting – to show these people that Jesus can help them overcome this problem, then I’m very supportive of what they are doing. However, if their intent is to “listen to their story”, affirm that homosexuality is beautiful and normal, and never share (lovingly and gently) the truth about this destructive lifestyle as the group at San Diego First Church was doing, then they should certainly not be connecting themselves in any way with the Nazarene denomination, and if Nazarene pastors are involved, they should be reprimanded at the very least.

  9. I have emailed Andy McGee to ask if this group has an Exodus International-type focus that seeks to help people leave the gay lifestyle, through Christ. I hope it does, and I hope he responds. I found this statement elsewhere, and I agree with it: “I would like to see the term “LGBT community” dropped from the Christian vocabulary. It is a term created to single out a particular group of people who want to legitimize a myriad of deviant sexual practices. By adopting it as part of its own vernacular, the church is being complicit in legitimizing those practices.” If this group does have the right approach to homosexuality, I wish they would not use this acronym.

  10. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said John. I have a feeling that if I would hang around with the “Love Wins” crowd, I wouldn’t even know I was hanging around with people that are called Nazarenes! Darrell Nicklow

  11. I went and read all through their church information and a few things sent red flags for me….one is the statement under beliefs:

    “We know God’s personality as Father, Son and Holy Spirit”

    I thought, well that could be their way of simplifying the Trinity so I let that go…then I saw that Andy’s (pastor) bio says he is a lover of all things Oprah. Now that statement bothered me because Oprah has said there are several ways to God, even argued with Christians in her audience about it, She has said she channels spirits of past people when playing characters in movies, she turns to Eric Tolle as her spiritual guide who is definitely about as new age as they come, she has become a serious spiritual adviser (though she’d never take that title, that’s what she is doing-spiritually advising her audience to listen to these false new age people) on her new channel, bringing in all kinds of mysticism, new age people etc. Why would the sacred (Christians-Andy) want to associate with the profane? Saying he is a lover of ALL things Oprah can open up his people to her too and they might accept her religious beliefs as their own and she talks a lot of religion or anti-religion lately. The fact that he made that statement says a lot about him.

    Then they say they do not hide their message-Rich said at the conference they said they are clear about what the Bible says and what Nazarenes believe, but if that’s the case, why not say so on your website? The website is misleading and that’s deceitful and God never deceived anyone to get them to turn to him and certainly never led the unbelievers into the church, in fact in 1Corinthians 5 Paul says to throw these people out-he gives a whole list of behaviors that are worthy of being thrown out and he explains why-because these people will bring down the church.

    And my last comment kind of goes with the last paragraph. I looked at pictures they have of them decorating their new building and there is a woman wearing a shirt in many of the pics and the shirt says “Some people are gay, get over it” now tell me-if they are being so honest in this church, then why is this woman being so blatantly defiant? Is she not listening to the messages? She shows up to help at church in a shirt that advertises that she doesn’t care what God and the Nazarenes believe? That’s pretty bold! That’s a smack in the face of God and she does it in his building?!

    Oh, one last thing-the “what you can expect” section says

    “When we are finished eating and sharing about our weeks we discuss either the scripture for the week or the book we are reading.”

    How can you sit with these people you know are perishing in their sin and not be so anguished for them that you want to share the gospel every possible opportunity you have?!! You want to discuss a book they read when the greatest book ever written has all of the answers to life?

    We must be diligent when sharing the gospel! We don’t have time to be sitting around discussing a book by our favorite author. This is not a book club, this is God’s HOUSE! I’m sorry, but it hurts me to think that these people are in leadership. If one of those people parishes without Jesus, how do you explain to God that you had to discuss a Shane Clairborne book or some other man instead of sharing Him with them? (I use Shane because they quote him on their website, but it’s just an example of a book I feel pretty sure they’ve probably discussed)

    I am truly sad for this situation. Truly sad…..

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