(By Lige Jeter)
Revelation 3:14 – 19 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot, So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot. I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.”
These are strong words from of our Lord, they are thought provoking and to the point. I came across an end-time article published by the Prophecy News Watch titled “Where is The US in Bible Prophecy.” The portion below was in point # 5 referring to “Apostate Christianity.” The article sums up what is happening in churches across America. The Nazarene church is not exempt from carelessly endorsing liberal ideology or growing lukewarm in its worship.
Posted with permission: “We are told in Revelation 3 of the 7 Churches, the last church or church age is symbolized by the Church of Laodicea. Laodicea means “the rights of the people.” Thus, this was a church governed by the will of the people, rather than the will of God. This is the church age, from which the Antichrist and the False Prophet will emerge. It is the church age Paul talked about that would not endure sound doctrine, but would gather around them teachers that would say what their itching ears wanted and desired to hear (2 Tim 4:3). This church described as lukewarm, indifferent, not concerned with right and wrong, or with good and evil. They take a neutral position: one of “live and let live; don’t rock the boat; and don’t cause waves.” They are trying to serve two masters—God and self (or the world).”
The above summation describes the emergent church to a tee. Their ideology and false practices designed to take the place of true worship has crept into the traditional churches where it is becoming difficult to tell them apart. The world has become so tolerant to abortion, homosexual behavior, same sex marriages, infidelity, and sensual material including sensual activity that it now endorses and passes laws protecting the same and calling it good. Many churches are adopting this same insane mentality. What at one time was taboo, the church stood firm against; now they find they are endorsing some of the same practices as the world.
When we carefully examine the meaning of Laodicea, “the rights of the people,” we see how the church is departing from sound biblical teaching and now governed by those who no longer accept God’s word as infallible and persists that the church change to accommodate their one-sided liberal views. To refresh myself on the issues facing the Nazarene church I went back and re-read Manny’s “Correspondences with the General Superintendents’ open letter #1 dated 10/05/2010 and open letter #2 dated April 11, 2011” concerning the direction our Universities and churches were heading. Manny pointed out the danger involved in courting these false teaching. On 05/18/2011, Dr. Eugenio Duarte wrote back acknowledging Manny’s concerns labeling them as challenges; however, ignoring to do anything about them.
The Bible is clear in that what applies to the church also applies to the nation. Many readily agree and have no problem when God judges the wicked. However, they have a problem believing that God holds the church to a higher standard. What is interesting is that Peter teaches that God judges the church first, then others. 1 Peter 4:17 “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? “ Adam Clarke believes; “God never punishes the world because of the wicked, but he always begins with the righteous first. The destroyer makes no difference between the just and the unjust, only he begins first with the righteous.” That being true, the church needs to re-evaluate its practices of worship against scripture to avoid any appearance of wrong and escape judgment.
Just recently, the Board of General Superintendents issued a statement regarding the closing of Nazarene Publishing House, and the layoff of all employees as of Dec. 1, 2014. Although there appears to be some type of acceptance of responsibility in that letter, there seems to also be a lack of full and complete disclosure of the truth that is much needed from our leaders. Bad things have apparently happened, yet we wait on the leadership to come to the people and be fully transparent about what led to events that have eroded even more the trust in our leaders. What does the closing of NPH truly indicate to us?
Has what is happening in our denomination today shed any light that God is trying to get our attention to get back on the track of holiness to avoid the further falling away and avoid greater judgment?