By Lige Jeter and Manny Silva
The Church of the Nazarene seems to be heading towards full acceptance of homosexuality. With its compromising at the university and seminary levels, as well as in local churches and districts, the evidence is there. The desire to “be relevant”, or the need for being viewed as “kind” and “tolerant” Christians, is too strong apparently for the leadership in the church today. Acceptance of homosexuality in the Church of the Nazarene is coming, and is just a matter of when, not if. Perhaps it will take another five or 10 years, or perhaps it will happen at the next General Assembly in 2017
The groundwork for this has been laid down for a long time. It can all be traced to the persistent and obsessive put-down of the belief of Holy Scripture as the inerrant and infallible word of God. Ask most leaders in the Nazarene church today, and they will tell you that they do not believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Some have been denied ordination for believing such a thing. That is how all the heresies have started, when “men of god” ask the same question that Satan asked in the Garden of Eden: “Hath God really said.” This is seen within the emergent church movement, which has been embraced by Nazarenes throughout the denomination. It is a movement that has total disdain for the Bible’s authority and inerrancy.
Just in the last seven years or so we have many examples of how the Church of the Nazarene is bringing the world into the church. We find that there is an attraction to the idea of “welcoming” or “affirming” the LGBT radicals who believe that homosexuality is not a sin. Nazarene leaders want to get along with everyone, and show their “love” and “compassion” towards homosexuals. The focus on “understanding” homosexuality (a sin) is far and above any focus on any other particular sin. It is an obsession, perhaps an attempt to be “relevant” as a church.
Just a few of many examples:
- Recently, at Oklahoma City Church of the Nazarene in February (the senior pastor is Jon Middendorf), an event was hosted called “With All Due Respect: Hospitality & the LGBT Community.” The panel included a professor, Dr. Timothy Crutcher, from Southern Nazarene University; a mother of a homosexual child; a theology major who labeled herself as an intersex person; and Andy McGee, a Nazarene pastor and executive director of Love Wins: LGBT in Kansas City. The absurdity of all this can be seen when you read the article about this event. (http://www.gayly.com/love-wins-conservative-church-shows-respect-lgbt-community. This is an example of meaningless and endless talk about something that is clear as day in Scripture. When the LGBT community heaps praise on a Nazarene church for what they did, it cannot be good news for biblical Christians.
- Adam Hamilton and Mike Slaughter are pastors in the United Methodist Church who believe that homosexuality and same sex marriage are okay. A few years ago, Hamilton proposed a radical change to the bylaws of the United Methodist Church. See a rebuttal to these two men by a concerned Methodist in this post: http://goodnewsmag.org/2014/06/an-open-letter-to-revs-adam-hamilton-and-michael-slaughter/
These men clearly promote a way of life which the Bible teaches is sinful, and are under fire in their own denomination for what they are advocating. Yet, at Nazarene Bible College, and at the Nazarene Theological Seminary as well, their material and videos are used in Bible classes for future pastors. Why does a holiness Bible college and the seminary allow the use of material by those who promote acceptance of homosexuality and same sex marriage?
- An LGBT support group started at Eastern Nazarene College and approved by the college leadership.
- A message preached to students at Eastern Nazarene College by the now former chaplain, Corey McPherson, in which he talked proudly of having worshiped together with the members at a “Christian” homosexual church. His message, which is transcripted on my blog, was a complete compromise to biblical Christianity, yet this message was apparently acceptable to the college president and other leaders in the church.
- A radical LGBT group, SoulForce, was once again allowed to come onto the campus of Trevecca Nazarene University and “dialog” with administrators and students from the school. This was the second visit by this group to Trevecca, which is led by Dan Boone, who has also permitted a variety of unbiblical practices, such as contemplative mysticism, to continue at the school for years now.
Why is all this happening now?
A Storm Is Coming
As a lifelong Floridian, I am familiar with hurricanes, and know the basics on how to prepare for the danger it presents. Every resident that has lived in Florida for any length of time is familiar with what to expect. New residents who have never weathered a storm need to follow some simple common sense rules to avoid the obvious dangers connected with them. Each needs to assess their own situations in light of the forecast and act accordingly for the best interest of their family. Having prepared to survive (building upon the rock) increases your chances of survival. To do nothing (building upon the sand) guarantees failure.
Past experiences have taught those who forecast storms that certain atmospheric conditions, such as water temperature, prevailing winds, and landfall location, play a vital part in the likely destruction the threat represents to those in its path. As in any storm, promptly acknowledging its initial disturbance regardless how small is crucial. It is important to monitor its movement and its primary direction of travel. Monitoring future parameters surrounding the disturbance that contribute to it eventually becoming a hurricane is necessary. This same analogy applied to the Church facing an imminent Spiritual storm can protect its membership; or lack of can cause irreparable damage causing great loss.
There are several organized forces invading the Christian community. Groups like Soulforce, LGBT groups, and individuals such as Nazarene Ally have an unrelenting determination for acceptance, and to change the Church’s stand against homosexual and lesbian behavior including same sex marriage. They have won favor and support on about every front except the Church, as a whole, which appears to be their next big target to conquer. Even though the Church of the Nazarene recently made it clear on its Biblical standing regarding deviant behavior, it is not exempt from groups like these who are applying pressure targeting its leadership to change their position. Soulforce recently visited Trevecca Nazarene University for the second time, March 15, 2016. The article of their visit is found here: http://www.soulforce.org/#!Hollering-into-the-Well/cb7u/56e8721f0cf2bc133ba11645
An approach for social acceptance in the Church suggested by Nazarene Ally peddled under the banner, “We Can Do Better;” they play the numbers game, comparing the number of LGBT presumed in the world (2 – 4 percent) to the corresponding members inferred by definition in the COTN. By using the lower estimated percentile associated with the world, the COTN would have 48,000 LGBT members based upon 2.4 million memberships. This number could double by applying the higher estimated percentile of 4 percent. The intent of sequence was to weaken the perceived impact they would have on the Church if accepted. This small number would thereby reduce the threat of any implied compromise.
They hint that “A Perfect Storm” is about to take place suggesting a series of events could occur leading a pastor to perform a same sex marriage based upon a longtime childhood friendship. Using persuasive logic, they will go to any length to win support for their side. We are seeing this today in our ranks, the pressure is mounting to cave-in, but the Church cannot become a partner to this foolishness. The Church cannot afford to compromise its convictions or give in under any circumstance. The article is located here, Gay Nazarenes | Nazarene Ally
In 2Kings, God gives a warning not-to-be-taken lightly. The Church, as with any nation, if not careful can reach the moral point-of-no-return as warned in 2 Kings 19:3 “And they said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah: This day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth.” “For the children have come to the birth” represents the danger of perishing because the woman was so spent she had no strength to deliver the child.
Should our Church ever compromise its polity against wrongful behavior, we too will be as the woman and will have no strength or desire to deliver ourselves. The danger is the Church will become complacent in its new spiritual state and will not wish to return. Some Churches have already gone too far to turn back. For those who engage the LGBT lifestyle the Bible is clear to those who claim to be a Christian Homosexual or Christian Lesbian, or any other act of perversion is an oxymoron. Wicked men often think that which they suggest against revelation justify them in rejecting it.
Prepare for the storm in the next General Assembly 2017.
Links for Adam Hamilton:
In his own words:
A critique of Adam Hamilton from a fellow Methodist:
Referenced material in course work at Nazarene Theological Seminary:
Course Name: Leading Strong, Healthy Churches
Course Name: Christian Preaching