“In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” Matthew 23:28
I believe that Dr. Walter Martin was correct when he said that the greatest danger in the church today is the corrupt pastors in the pulpit and the leaders who are unfaithful to the word of God. He called them “corrupt and apostate shepherds.” He also said that “we are so careful to preserve the wolves in the church, and so slow to defend the faith.” So here is the truth, like it or not. This must be taken very, very seriously, and these corrupt shepherds need to be confronted directly, no matter how high they are in the hierarchy.
This is a recent real-life example from an email written by a high ranking church leader to a constituent of his. This account illustrates to us a common trait shared by many of these leaders. It is the trait of deception, covered up with a mask of self-righteousness. Deception is a dangerous thing, and there are men actively seeking to deceive, or to distract the people they lead, into believing a lie, such as “there is nothing is wrong in the church”.
In summary, a district superintendent wrote to a Nazarene who was asking about the Emergent Church. I believe the purpose of this email was to lead that lady away from the truth, from getting straight answers to her question. In the email, he:
1. Falsely stated that I was no longer a member of the Church of the Nazarene.
2. Falsely implied a quote to me while referencing my father, a man he never knew.
2. Accused Concerned Nazarenes of “inventing” the Emergent Church (yes, really)
3. Accused me of knowing little about the COTN, and knowing little about Christianity.
4. Accused me of various transgressions, without specifying anything.
5. Accused Concerned Nazarenes of producing libelous and untrue statements, never specifying anything again.
6. Praised two “prominent Nazarene theologians” (both who happen to reject scriptural inerrancy, and at least one of them supports evolution.)
7. Wrote a misleading statement, making it seem as if the source of any strange or aberrant theology in the universities is the “exuberant youth” who need some kind of correction from the adults (who are actually the purveyors of false theology in the universities).
I would not think much of this, and would not waste my time with it, since I have gotten this kind of letter before. But since it was sent to a constituent, and he took the time to forward it to me, and recommend that she pass it on to her friends, I felt I must respond. This was a shameless attempt to distract inquiring Christians from the truth, and that is what really got me angry.
You see, these leaders are motivated by something other than preaching the truth of God’s word. They purposely lie or they twist certain facts, or at best they are so deceived or misinformed that they are believing a lie rather than investigating to see if it is true or not. If the lie serves their agenda well, then perhaps they then pretend that this lie is the truth, thus continually deceiving themselves and some of those they foist these lies upon. They are, as Jesus said, “hirelings”, and not true shepherds. (John 10:11-13)
As this district superintendent reads this, my prayer is that he will repent from his attempt to divert the truth from those under his watch. This is so that you will understand the level of deception these people will go to. My prayer is also that this woman and her friends will eventually see through his prevarication.
She asked him the following question:
“We have some people in our Home Group who are hearing disturbing things about the Church of the Nazarene and the Emergent Church. Can you give me any info on this and if it is in our Universities and churches?”
What was the answer? He responded to her with no specific information whatsoever, and instead gave her answers that not only were written in generalities, but were also full of statements in error. It was also loaded with personal accusations and ad hominem attacks against those who have been trying to warn the church.
Before you read his letter and my response to him and to this lady, you must understand something. There are many honorable men in leadership today, but the Church of the Nazarene also has many leaders such as this. They will do all they can to divert the people from the truth. They are dangerous, and they are not directed by God; they are used by satan who has deceived them into believing lies. They are used by satan because their words and false accusations cannot possibly be inspired by God. God is Truth, and God is not the source of lies and deception and misinformation.
These men do not tell the truth; they are men who have been appointed positions of leadership, but they are not leaders; they have disqualified themselves from leadership, yet they remain in their position, fully supported by others who think like him. They lie to the people, and they propagate this phony idea that “nothing is wrong; keep moving on; there is nothing to see here.” These men who are in leadership positions in the Church of the Nazarene are the most dangerous kind.
My real fear is that this lady, if she decides to continue to pursue the truth, might become vilified and called a divider, and will, like many Nazarenes, be ostracized from the fellowship. But the ones who need to be ostracized from the church are these very men who poison the minds of the believers, who distract them from the truth in order to stay in power and keep their jobs, and to receive the praise of others.
Here are his words (in red) and my responses to them(in blue). It is followed by the rest of the email I sent to the lady and to him. As always, don’t take my word for it. Seek the truth yourself and compare it with the word of God. Note that he seems more concerned with pointing out the church manual, and what others think, than to defend anything with God’s word.
Several years ago a former member of the Church of the Nazarene (the son of a deceased Nazarene pastor/evangelist) began a crusade to discredit leaders in the Church of the Nazarene who “don’t do things the way his father did them.”
Several years ago, I found out about a movement called the Emergent Church. Some of its main leaders are folks like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, and more. It is not an invention. It is a deadly movement that denies the truth of God’s word. Sadly, it came into my own church, and within months, I was forced to leave the church after my own pastor called me a liar and slanderer- publicly. It is not a mythical organization.
This man has no education in doctrine, church governance, or historic church practice.
One of the typical false charges with no merit whatsoever, coming from those who think they are the elite ones with the special knowledge. My response to this is always Psalm 119:99- “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.”
His writings reveal that he knows little about the Church of the Nazarene, and less about Christianity in general.
Another typical ploy. Dr. ——— knows nothing about me, and here he says I know little about the COTN, and less about Christianity- with no proof whatsoever. No details. Typical attack.
He “likes what he likes and dislikes what he dislikes,” a little like the Walter Brennan character in the old TV show, “The Real McCoys.” He contacted a few like-minded people by email; together they started a website, published a “statement of faith” that contradicts the historic statement of faith of the Church of the Nazarene, and began to write uninformed (and often misinformed) criticisms of the Church of the Nazarene, our general and district leaders, many pastors and university professors at several of our schools.
More unsubstantiated attacks. Where is the evidence other than vague statements?
They began to target anyone who didn’t subscribe to their extremely narrow definition of “who a Christian is,” and how Christians should behave.
Ad hominem attacks. Do you see a pattern here? Notice he did not give you our definition of what a Christian is- just says that we have an extremely narrow definition. Should you take his word for it, or ask him to give proof of what we believe?
They labeled themselves “concerned Nazarenes,” although they have embraced a statement of their faith that is significantly at odds with the official statement of the Church of the Nazarene (Manual Part III, pp 28-43).
No specifics again for you to know- just generalized accusations, which he wishes for you to accept with proof.
Based on what they have collectively written, none of them would be eligible to be received into membership in a local Church of the Nazarene. (See Manual par. 107.1; 27.3)
No specifics again. No examples. Keep in mind, a few of my friends that I have CC’d this to- one is a Nazarene pastor, retired. Another was a Nazarene pastor, fired for preaching against this so called “mythical organization.”
They have invented something they call “The Emergent Church” and accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being part of this “mythical organization.”
He gives us too much credit. Again, this is either a deliberate lie- or Dr. ——— clearly does not want you to worry about anything. Nothing going on here is what he wants you to believe.
(A classic example of ‘creating a straw man in order to destroy it’)
More deceptive words- and no evidence given yet.
The broader picture is that there are a number effective pastors and evangelist in many denominations that speak of an approach to church life and evangelism that is “emerging” at this time in history, much in the same way as Protestantism “emerged” from Roman Catholicism in the late 15th century; and as Methodism “emerged from Anglicanism” in the 18th century, and as the Church of the Nazarene “emerged from Methodism” in the early 20th century. These writers, teachers and evangelists share very little in common with one another except for their love for Jesus, His love for lost people and their willingness to create local church organizations that know how reach lost people. It would be very difficult to characterize their collective efforts as a “movement,” say nothing of an “Emergent Church.” Their work has little or nothing to do with the Church of the Nazarene.
Our Board of General Superintendents has written kindly and patiently to this group of dissenters, explaining the doctrine and mission of the Church of the Nazarene. They kept to the “high road” of Christian forbearance, not threatened to prosecute the libelous and untrue statements this group continues to publish. In keeping with judicial process as defined in the Manual (Judicial Administration par 500-515.6) they have insisted that any accusations against a member of the Church of the Nazarene – a lay person or a minister – must follow due process. This group refuses to do so and continue its attacks on the church.
Our group continues to expose the falsehoods, the lies, the false teachings that have invaded a denomination that we have loved for years. Dr. ——— does not seem to care for defending the church against false teachings. Either that, or he has been living in a bubble. Instead of responding to my email that I sent out yesterday, he attacks me by sending an email to you.
Over the last two years the District Superintendents in Canada & the USA invited two of our most prominent theologians, Dr Al Truesdale and Dr. Tom Noble, to address us at our September conference.
Dr. Truesdale was my Greek New Testament professor for three semesters. I had great respect for him. He now not only promotes the false idea of “theistic evolution”, but he has rejected the belief that the Bible is the fully inerrant word of God. And so has Dr. Noble.
They each affirmed that there are many streams of thought and practice that are emerging at this time, as churches try to find ways to be more effective in their task of reaching lost people. They reminded us of what St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “some of these are works are “works of gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; but every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Cor 3:5-15)
Both of these professors serve/have served at Nazarene Theological Seminary and are in positions to hear for themselves what is being taught in our Universities. They both affirmed that there is – as there has always been – an “edge” in our university classrooms: when young students gather to discuss theology (or any other subject) they often say and write things in the exuberance of youth that don’t stand the test of orthodoxy or orthopraxis.
Open theism is being taught (God cannot fully know the future). I can prove thisProcess theology is being taught (God makes mistakes, and learns from them). I can prove this.
And also what some are teaching in our universities is that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not true, but only allegory or myth. If Dr. ——— can live with that, then that’s fine. But we believe in God’s word and its truth. Sadly, too many Nazarene professors are teaching that the Bible cannot be fully trusted.
Nevertheless all of our religion and theology professors who are ordained or licensed as ministers in the Church of the Nazarene, are committed to help shape the students for future ministry by gently and firmly correcting their excesses and errors.
Such as: denying a young minister the chance to be ordained- because he would not give up his belief that the Bible is fully inerrant! True story, right here in the New England District. Yet, they will easily ordain a pastor who believes that we came from monkeys.
As ministers in the Church of the Nazarene these professors are required to report annually to their respective district assemblies and subject themselves to the scrutiny of the assembly. It is the district assembly (not the General Superintendent) that has jurisdiction over all credentials matters.
A short summary after a long answer is that the Church of the Nazarene now, as always, is in need of prayerful intercession from Godly people like those in your “Home Group”.
Thanks for asking. Feel free to share my response with your group. Pray for us!
The Church of the Nazarene is what is in need of prayerful intervention. If you read the documentation I sent you, I believe you will come to that conclusion. Again, don’t take my word for it automatically. And certainly, don’t take Dr. ———’s word. Verify everything according to the word of God. That is all I ask you to do.
May God bless you. Perhaps the Lord has used this opportunity to help you find out what is really going on. A warning to you, however. Many, many Nazarenes have written to me about how they were vilified and were called troublemakers, when they persisted in trying to get answers from their leadership. I pray that this will not happen to you. But if it does, know that you are not alone, and that other Nazarenes who are really concerned, will be there to give you prayerful support and encouragement.
Feel free to share this email and my materials with your group also. We have nothing to hide, and if I am wrong, I will immediately repent of any wrongdoing or falsehood if it is shown to me.
END OF THE DS’s LETTER WITH MY RESPONSES. THIS IS THE EMAIL I SENT TO “JANE” ALONG WITH THAT.
You do not know me, but since Dr. ——— copied his email to me, that he sent to you, I had no choice but to write to clear up some things he said, including some false statements. It is my hope that whatever motivation Dr. ——— had to write these things, I pray it was not to divert you from seeking truth. Whether he said these falsehoods intentionally, or from ignorance, I cannot tell. What I do know is that the contents of his letter to you fit a pattern that I have seen all too often in the last four years, from people who have been defending the emergent church movement and other false teachings.
Yet, as we always tell everyone: Don’t take my word for it. Don’t take his word for it. Check the facts, scrutinize what we say just as the Bereans did when Paul preached (and commended them!). Then make up your mind as to what the truth is. If I deserve a rebuke, it will be evident. If Dr. ——— deserves it, it will also come to light.
I am sending this to him at the same time. I am also CCing to a few good friends who keep me accountable for what I do or say. Perhaps Dr. ——— will also paint these people in the same light as he described me. It is interesting that Dr. ——— has never met me. Probably knows little about me, other than what he has been told by others.
First, Dr. ——— started with a clear falsehood. He said I am a former member of the COTN. That is not true, as I have been a Nazarene all my life. The deceased Nazarene pastor/evangelist he refers to was Rev. Ilidio Silva, a preacher of great integrity and honesty, who was a former Roman Catholic before he became a Christian in the Cape Verde Islands. Feel free to read this short little story about him at this website:
Frankly, I know that my father would never, ever have spoken about someone as Dr. ——— did- especially someone he did not know. He was well aware of the requirements of a pastor as Scripture tells us, and he would not have spoken such words as were spoken of me. Dr. ——— could have learned a few lessons from my father.
I also found it rather interesting that Dr. ——— gave us credit for “inventing the emergent church” and describes it as a “mythical organization.” Again, this is either flat out deception on his part, or he is very ignorant about what is going on in the Christian world today.
I will make the rest of my comments in the body of the email, for easier reference. He has said much in this email which needs some serious correction. And if you are seeking to find answers to some of the problems in the church, I ask you to review the material I have attached, which is only the tip of the iceberg. I just sent out the final General Assembly report, and the extended version has also much material which will either shock you, or you will have no problem with. In either case, it is all facts and truth, and you can make up your mind whether you agree with what is going on or not. If so, I would encourage you to get in touch with me, and I can give you resources to learn more.
Dr. ———, it would have served you better if you had contacted me in some way, and tried to actually correct me with God’s word, as a pastor is charged to do. Instead, you resorted to falsehoods and ad hominem, personal attacks- which we have known for quite a while as the only real strategy left for those who cannot defend the indefensible. Shame on you sir. I will pray for your repentance. As a District Superintendent, you have set a very poor example for others to follow.
Are You An Under Shepherd or A Hireling?