Some of the Reasons I Have Lost Interest in Being Involved with the Church of the Nazarene

The following account is a very accurate picture of the state of mind within the Church of the Nazarene today. All Christians should take warning.

Some of the Reasons I Have Lost Interest in Being Involved with the Church of the Nazarene

My story goes back several years where I saw things that troubled me.  Among the first was the time I was challenged in a Sunday school lesson I taught at Nashville First.  The topic was biblical creation and the challengers were an Old Testament professor at Trevecca Nazarene College and a biology professor at Middle Tennessee State University, both members of the class.  They took the evolutionism side.  No one in the Nazarene system seemed to be all that concerned about it.

There were other instances, such as the snickering comments about those old fashioned Nazarenes of years gone by, and a growing interest in things I felt biblically uncomfortable about.

The time came when I encountered something called Emergent Nazarenes and the current pastor was telling me privately that after the upcoming general assembly I would not recognize the Church of the Nazarene.

I began to search for answers and came across much more than I ever expected.  I found out that the denomination and its leadership, publishing house, and academic institutions had all but plunged headlong into the emergent heresies.  It was everywhere and openly promoted.  That plummet continues to this day.

When that pastor resigned, I implored our church board to diligently avoid calling an emergent pastor and gave them abundant examples of what to avoid.  My concerns and warnings were disregarded and they brought in a classic emergent who has led that church downward into the emergent abyss since.  Where once the church flourished in attendance, spirit, and finances it now is losing and diminishing in every instance.

I had moved on to a smaller Nazarene church before the new pastor arrived and found there a remnant of true believers.  As I looked about, however, I found that they were a rare example of old-fashioned Nazarenes, including their pastor.  Even smaller churches were taking the emergent plunge and the [Nazarene] Publishing House was getting worse until it finally closed under the cloud of shame of misconduct and mismanagement.  Its efforts at recovery are not going well.

Within a matter of months, if that long, the new pastor from Chicago had started the church in a different direction that incorporated postmodern/new age worship styles, Catholic copies, studies in heresy publications such as Rob Bell’s books.  Within two or three years he was promoting social justice activities for community “outreach” and more recently promoted “interpretative dancing” with the children in the sanctuary.  This all replaced the mourner’s bench activities.

Even at the small church we attended, there was an emergent associate pastor who was spewing his bile of false doctrine among good people.  He was arrogant and defiant when my wife and I faced him with it and I had decided to go elsewhere.  I had made up my mind that, at the end of a particular Sunday morning service, I would pack up my musical equipment, and go elsewhere.

However, the pastor announced his resignation and I felt I might remain through that interim period until another pastor was called, hoping he could lead the little church to better things.  The associate had to eventually be fired because he refused to resign as he was required to do when the senior pastor resigns.

I helped in the search and came up with the name of a man I was convinced would be very suitable.  The district superintendent would not allow him to be interviewed because he had been at odds with his current superintendent over the emergent issues and refused to send in his church’s budget payments because of the superintendent’s support for emergent errors.

The Tennessee superintendent had already stated to one of the members that if our church ever stopped supporting itself (paying its budgets) that he would put up a for-sale sign in a heartbeat.  The property is valued at two or more million dollars.

I kept up with the minister the superintendent would not allow us to interview.  He accepted a call to a church in a neighboring district and is doing well there.  He has a fine group of young people (what he had promised to do for us) and is active in district functions.  I suppose he is paying his budget there.  All he ever wanted was to be allowed to be a Nazarene pastor without having the emergent stuff shoved down his throat.

Nazarene ministers across the country and in other parts of the world are eagerly following after the emergent compromise in large numbers.  They discuss among themselves the merits of “creation evolutionism,” homosexual orientation, and question whether they ever got it right on the doctrine of entire sanctification.  Many are vitriolic towards other Nazarenes who openly express support for biblical inerrancy and complete inspiration of all parts of the Bible.  They demean those who dare to say that friendship with the world is enmity against God.  The laity is generally indifferent and compliant.

There is now a group across the denomination that calls itself Sacramental Nazarenes*.  They promote Catholic-inspired approaches to “worship” instead of the traditional Nazarene approaches.

The problem is compounded in that this spiritual sickness is an epidemic across the entire Wesleyan holiness movement.  Not one major Wesleyan holiness denomination is untouched by these heresies.  Not one major denominational school remains true to its holiness heritage.  Not one publishing house of those denominations is legitimately holiness anymore.

The so-called splinter groups may hold to the doctrine but they are rotted on the inside with legalism by going to the opposite extreme.

There is a remnant but they are difficult to find because they are so few and scattered.  Even those still within the backslidden denominations are subject to takeover by the heretics, so they must always be walking on eggs.

That leaves a lot of displaced Nazarenes—those who have had to leave for the sake of conscience or who have spoken up and been forced to leave their churches.  Some have gone to other denominations (themselves plagued with postmodern and emergent heresies) and, in some cases, a few come together in small groups.

That will work to a point but there will need to be leadership at some point.  Since Nazarene leadership has essentially jumped ship that means that holiness leadership has to come from among those groups.  It is the New Testament Church all over again.  Maybe that is a good thing.

​ *Members of Sacramental Nazarenes includes the president of the seminary, a former general Superintendent, and other leaders in the church.​


22 responses to “Some of the Reasons I Have Lost Interest in Being Involved with the Church of the Nazarene

  1. I have sadly seen much of what you are going through in my own church. I am a member and a board member also. We just went through a pastoral transition phase, called a new pastor and so far he seems to be great. Our previous pastor was there for over 30 years. Our church dwindled after building a new complex, and we lost about 30% when the pastor retired. We were plagued with “elephants”, there was an allowance for the emergent/ new age heresies, with the whole “umbrella church” passiveness. I had a guy that was so enthralled with the Bethel Redding movement and leading in worship, that the pastor so loved that he didn’t correct him. His apology for a spout him and I had was, “we all screw up, but give me grace.” He luckily is no longer in the church. We removed the youth pastor who was well associated with him also. Our interim was focused on Rick Warren and Rob Bell, that made me uncomfortable. Our new pastor is great and has a great vision. He is recalling the holiness and Wesleyan tradition, and I sure am praying that he brings the church back by the Holy Spirit’s power.

    What’s weird to say through all this is that I am of Reformed Faith (Calvinist). I used to attend more charismatic churches and when I started attending this Nazarene church after I moved to my wife’s hometown, I noticed so much in our Nazarene church, through the old youth pastor and worship leader and even our old pastor. During my time in the Nazarene Church I became Reformed. Many in our church are very emergent/ New Age, Bethel Redding oriented. We have “holy yoga” hosted by an outside of church gal. I confronted how it wasn’t correct doctrine and got the “well it’s not a salvation issue” argument. Had the old assistant pastor’s wife unfriend me on FB and many others are upset I confronted that. Let’s just say, our church is very “liberal.”

    Long story short, I am praying for the Nazarene denomination. As with being on our church board, I am seeing the behind the scenes and have had many thoughts of leaving our church. I don’t want to have to, it’s been my wife’s church since she was little and I have strong ties to the people.

  2. My heart is broken in the direction churches are going today. BUT, it is an exciting time to be living too. Should it surprise us all these things are occurring? As true believers in Jesus, we need to pray for those in error and expose them in love. When we discuss such issues in our Sunday school class, I am utterly amazed that people don’t hold to the inerrancy of Scripture but rather embrace these emergent/emerging teachings in church. Just to make my point, the quarterly we are currently using is heavily biased with a liberal worldview. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on why I felt that way. Then a couple of Sunday’s ago, it was very obvious the writer was very liberal. I researched the writer online and their blog talked about social justice and that we should accept homosexuality as normal because God created them that way.
    I believe that true believers will be more marginalized as we stand up for Truth and not be welcomed into our four walled assemblies on Sunday’s or any other time. Jesus said that the world will hate us because it hated Him first. Over the past couple of years, I have thought about the churches in America and Europe to the Churches in countries where my brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured, ostracized, and put to death because of the name of Jesus. To me, they represent true faithfulness in Jesus Christ. Recently, I have been praying that my faith would be like theirs. While praying that prayer, I tell the LORD that I don’t think I REALLY understand what I am asking.
    I am weary from going to the pastor and sharing my concerns. He is a great guy, but I don’t want him to think I am a whiner. I am not perfect as Jesus tells me to be perfect; but I do love Him, and I believe in the inspired Word of God.

  3. I’m perplexed as to what is meant by “traditional Nazarene ways of worship.” Could you detail what that looks like?

  4. Thank you for sharing. Praying for your church. So much of what you said pretty much says what went on in my church, until we had to leave. My dad was pastor of that church years ago, and added to it not only physically with a new extended building- but he always preached holiness. After he retired, and after the next pastor come and went- it all went downhill with two young emergent pastors, one who is still there to this day. We were forced to leave the church when he twice accused me of “slandering” Tom Oord- even though all I did was speak about what he teaches. He promotes the same foolishness that the others do. He loves Rob Bell, the mystics, and anything else that is a fad nowadays.

    Since then this ministry was launched- and I have much from other Nazarenes with the same kind of stories. So sad that our leaders in the COTN do nothing but crunch the numbers it seems.

  5. Thanks you for your comments Brian. God bless you. So true, as more and more apostasy comes onto the scene, we know that Jesus is getting much closer to coming. May we be one of those found to be with true faith when He returns.

  6. We must give thanks in all things and I now praise God for allowing the heresy in the denomination. It forced us to do more research into what we believe and discovered the Nazarene Church to have been doctrinally off from the get-go. Like this person, we took a stand against all the emergent, liberal heresy and tried to reform within in it only to realize we needed to leave and let the denomination fall. There is a reason it is crumbling and that’s because of its foundation. Soteriology being the biggest man-centered, semi-Pelagian heresy repackaged as well as it’s closely related doctrine of entire sanctification being rooted in works-righteousness…. we would have never dug into our Bibles and understood that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, on the authority of Scripture alone to the glory of God… ALONE. Salvation is wrought in God alone! And HE who began the good work will be faithful to complete it. False teachers and many professing Nazarenes still remaining in their social club who supposedly claim Christ but promote homosexuality, evolution, women in leadership, new age, Catholic rituals, etc… they are false converts NOT born of God. Yet Nazarenes would say they got “saved” by their profession and are just now backsliding or worse, lost their salvation. No! They were never born of God. The Holy Spirit does not powerfully regenerate someone only to produce professors of Christ who deny His Word. That’s an oxymoron and blasphemy to the power of God and salvation.

    We needed the trial to seek a body of true fellowship and unity on the Gospel. Yes, we were scattered but have found rest in the Lord alone in fellowship with other saints and for that we give thanks.

    To those Nazarenes still left and floundering and scattering. … keep seeking the Truth of God’s Word and do NOT keep trying to rectify another idol in a denomination because it is your “heritage”. No, your heritage is in Christ – ALONE.

  7. As I read these responses to Manny Silva’s editorial on his journey thru and out of the Nazarene denomination, my comments are pretty simple. Although having been in the Nazarene church for a long time, I was raised in another denomination. However,I do not believe that denomination preempts Biblical integrity! I attended the Nazarene church not because it was Nazarene but because it at one time this denomination believed in the infalibility of the Word of God. I too took on the pastor of my church here in Pasadena for many months regarding all the issues that involved the emergent church movement….but to no avail. Hence, I moved on to another church. These comments left by others are so heartfelt and well understood by myself. But one who has convictions must stand alone for the sake of the Cross. There has always been just a remnant….we are that remnant for today and must stand strong and never waiver..

  8. We have been dealing with this for year. We have walked out of several Nazarene churches when travelling. When voicing this concern to our new D.S. a few weeks ago, he told me “You better stop talking, or there will be trouble!” ‘Called unto Holiness’ should no longer be our denomination’s motto. When we retire from our small church, we will probably have ‘home church’, since we feel very uncomfortable in churches we’ve visited. I’ve said for a long time, if a sinner feels comfortable & at ease in your church, something is definitely wrong, and if a Christian feels uncomfortable, something’s is wrong. I attended a Nazarene ‘College’ and when our daughter attended a Nazarene University, it was as different as night & day. I would never recommend a young person to attend one of our colleges, instead, advise they attend a Bible School somewhere like Kentucky Mountain Bible School, or God’s Bible School. It’s so sad!

  9. Sorry that you are perplexed. We have written enough here I think for now. Perhaps you can tell us what is traditional, and also tell us what is NOT traditional. Then perhaps we can go from there.

  10. Very soon, at the Nazarene university in Nashville, TN, you will no longer be able to find merchandise (e.g., clothes and school and office supplies) adorning the word “Nazarene.” According to the campus bookstore clerk, this is a “marketing” decision made by the University. To me, it means compromise. I can proffer a valid explanation for this decision by the University leadership, but it would only be mere speculation because I do not know the true intent of this maneuver. Whatever the reason, one thing is apparent—the University is changing. And perhaps this ultimately reflects the direction of the Church of the Nazarene in general.

  11. On behalf of all of us “heretics,” thank you for leaving. Wish you could take the other reformed folk and fundies with you. Hey, the door didn’t hit you too hard, did it? That kind of thing always concerns me.

  12. Well, the gentleman who wrote this has not left the denomination, Evan. But I feel so sorry for you. You are an ordained pastor, are you not? You need to repent, in any case. I continue to pray for you and your friends.

  13. I find it interesting that one can read similar stuff from Nazarenes who are pretty much opposite from where you are, Manny. So I appreciate how you are bringing balance to the table.

    But I’ll be honest and say I never would have thought that you would lose interest in the Church of the Nazarene. I think it is wise though.
    Not exactly an honoured source for many, I know, but even those can sometimes be right: Rob Bell advises people to start the church they want to be a part of rather than try to change where they are in.

    Where ever you may end up though as to a church, small group, house church or anything else, I agree that may very well be a good thing. Where ever God wants to lead you, I sincerely hope it is a place where you and your family can find healing, be blessed and be a blessing.


  14. Hans, I did not write this- although I pretty much have the same similar thoughts the author wrote. My interest in the Church of the Nazarene, even after i leave it officially, will continue- sorry to say. I will continue this ministry to warn as many Nazarenes who will listen.

    As for my family, we found healing about six years ago- after we had to leave our local church. We found healing because we did the right thing by walking away from false teaching. My wife found healing by knowing she stayed true to God, instead of being weak and staying with friends and family at a church that was in error. My son found healing because he saw a dad who taught him to stand up for the truth of God’s word, even at the cost of losing friends. So Hans, we are not in search of healing, we have healed. God has been so good because we obeyed him at a terrible cost to us, yet here we are- at peace with God while others like your many friends at NazNet are floundering in some kind of bizarre world where you strangely attack and vilify those who believe that God;s word IS God’s word.

    My prayer Hans, is that you and so many of your friends will stop leaning on your own understanding, and actually start believing the Bible. Try it, I guaranteed you God’s word will never fail you if you just trust it completely. Including the book of Genesis.

    And I would advise you to stop reading and quoting Rob Bell- a heretic who now promotes homosexual marriage. It’s so sad to see several of your NazNet friends, who are pastors, upholding same sex marriage in that statement made by “evangelicals.” It shows us where the Church of the Nazarene is heading.

  15. Perhaps some of those pastors need to re-read their Bible for its truth and inspiration to be more Christ centered rather than self-centered. I like what our Lord said in Matthew 10:25, “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!” Jesus was to His disciples and is today the greatest example of this.

    Adam Clarke breaks this down in mainly two parts. One, it is simply enough that a disciple of Christ to be like his master pretending to be nothing greater. If we do this, we cannot expect to be treated well by the world (such as called Beelzebub). Second, For those who want the pious recognition and worldly honor all they need to do is abandon Jesus and they will receive what they strive for.

  16. I invite any of you that are looking for a denominational home that proclaims the Inerrrancy of Scripture, do what I did. I joined the Southern Methodist Church. It is imperfect but doctrinally sound conservative Methodist association of churches. We actually need some good pastors to fill pulpits of rather small congregations. There also is the Association of Independent Methodists that is beginning to grow again under able leadership. IMO, there are scripturally sound denominations that could use your help and experience to get the message of the full Gospel to our lost world. I am glad I finally made the break for the COTN. It hurts me to see how far they have fallen. But God has a place for you if you are willing to follow His Leadership. My short time trying to learn about NazNet was a nightmare. I asked Hans to delete every post I wrote because I didn’t want to be ridiculed after I was gone. I was sorry I ever tried to communicate anything to anyone there. I know, the nerve of me trying to proclaim the reliability of God’s Word! That Book changed my life. I pray that it will once again change the followers of the false gospel of the emergent COTN.
    BTW–anyone wanting a copy of Dr Vic Reasoner’s book, The Importance of Inerrancy, let me know. I can send you a hard copy or pdf or kindle copy. It is well worth the read. We want everyone who wants a copy to get one, especially pastors

  17. Raised in the COTN …almost brain-washed…many are..and seems a bit cultish at times..but most churches are..when you leave a church are snubbed….I served in several ministries as staff and as lay…enjoyed the people..the pastors..the teachers..but one ministry would have destroyed me ..if it was about me..but it is about Jesus..and he walks with me and talks with me ..and tells me I am His own…I was a childrens pastor and outreach guy…in my 20’s…married with 2 daughters..moved into a 60 % black neighborhood ..started outreach..God was blessing…church called me in to a board meeting..stated we had a problem…the childrens church was in the basement…they told me the church was getting TOO BLACK downstairs…2 weeks later they had a solution..they were starting a Black church 2 miles black kids could go there…I resigned….SAD Chapter in my life….told my kids they did not have to move to another church,,this was their church…God closed the doors to this church is no longer there…this was in the 80’s .

  18. It is a sorrowful time that we live in. We who remember the church in it’s former glory and now cannot find a place of rest for our weary souls. Thank God He knows what we are all going through. Thank God He puts us with others who see what is happening in the church and gives us strength. Let us encourage one another and be a light to the others who are in darkness. You have a good site here…. thank you.

  19. Start a home church or small group and then look into joining a Bible Believing group such as the AIG (Association of Independent Methodist) out of Jackson, MS. I know Gary Briden personally and he is the Executive Director of this association. There is a way to be Wesleyan and true to the Scriptures. I am ordained through the Southern Methodist Church of Orangeburg, SC.

  20. ReformedNazarene, I read through your posts and I feel your anguish for a denomination that is becoming dominated by the culture instead of influencing the culture with the Gospel. Long story short, I grew up in the Nazarene Church and graduate from a Nazarene University. The more I tried to grow in “holiness” the more sinful I felt before God, to the point that I questioned my faith as a Christian. More than a decade later, I stumbled across Reformed theology and was introduce to pastors John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Steve Lawson, J.I. Packer, Sinclair Ferguson, John Bunyan, Charles Hodge, and so many others who espoused the doctrines and sufficiency of grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. I finally was born again! No longer did I worry about maintaining my salvation for Jesus Christ secured my salvation in eternity past and called me as His own child to live in His joy forever. What peace! What relief! Just like Pilgrim, I finally was able to lay down my burden and put on the robe of righteousness. I encourage you brother as you press forward to enlighten the remnant of Nazarene believers who are fighting for this denomination’s preservation as a Bible-believing church. Please know that you are in my prayers. In Christ’s love, Brian.

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