“There is a sad lack of serious and strong biblical leadership from those who are supposed to lead the flock as undershepherds of the Great Shepherd.”
(See Acts 20:17-38; 1 Peter 5:1-4, 2 Timothy 4:1-5)
My intent last week was not to single out House Studio as a unique aberration occurring within an otherwise strong denomination. Rather, it was to show that it is yet another symbol of the many institutions within the Nazarene denomination whose leaders are failing miserably in their responsibility to maintain a strong biblical basis for what they do. Whether it is Nazarene Publishing House, Barefoot Ministries, YouthFront, Nazarene Theological Seminary, or some other Nazarene universities, districts and churches around the country, there has been a serious breakdown of leadership, and those in leadership will be held more accountable by God than those who are not. There also seems to be a total reluctance to name false teachers no matter who they are, and when some of us do call them out, we are labeled as “hateful”, “unloving”, “unChristlike.” But worst, there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing right within our own walls; they are masquerading as angels of light; and they will be exposed by the light of truth. The only other possibility is that these leaders, in spite of their Master’s degrees in theology, are utterly bankrupt in their biblical understanding and need to get into the word of God.
In my last post, I answered Chris Folmsbee’s question, “So, tell me, why should I care about this controversy?” The controversy he was referring to was regarding the new book by Rob Bell, Love Wins, and I posted my entire response on his blog. Since then, after 42 comments from various people, both for and against the new book, the blog moderator decided it was time to terminate the “conversation”, which of course he has a right to do. He/she said:
“Looks like we’ve passed any potential for this to continue being a constructive discussion. Thanks all for participating!”
Well okay, House Studio. End the conversation that you and your emergent friends always proudly state is what you seek to have all the time. It is disappointing once again, to see another group that promotes emergent ideology and mysticism back off when we ask questions that are looking for specific answers that are not shaded in mystery. We have exposed your agenda in the past, and we will continue to expose it to as many Christians as possible. After all, you are playing around with the minds of youth, and that is a heavy responsibility. My suggestion for resignation is still something Mr. Folmsbee ought to consider.
Well, now it seems Mr. Folmsbee’s colleague, Mike King, President of YouthFront, has weighed in regarding the Rob Bell “controversy.” Apparently, Mr. King cannot spot a false teacher as well, and would not want to call them out if he did. Here are his words from his latest blog post:
IS Jesus Christ Lord? Love Wins…
Without wading into the Love Wins conversation too deeply (a conversation that has been going on for two thousand years, by the way) I will add a thought about the context of what I see.
I have watched with a sense of sadness at the labeling and demonization of each other around this issue. I was sitting in church yesterday thinking about what is going on. If one confesses “Jesus Christ is Lord” we (those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord) should, despite our differences in theology and doctrine, at least acknowledge each other as sisters and brothers. Yes, let us have disagreements, but please do it without labeling, dismissing and demonizing the other.
To me this feels like two fans of the Kansas City Chiefs hating each other because one fan believes the offense is the key to a future Super Bowl Championship and the other fan believes that the defense is the key. To declare the other “not a true fan of the Chiefs” would be absurd.
Of course, I am not saying these issues being discussed around “Love Wins” are trivial and don’t really matter. They matter immensely, but let us learn how to seek first to understand before being understood.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
This is utterly ridiculous. I understand Mr. King is an adjunct professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary and a graduate. Is this the best biblical analysis he can do, that one only needs to proclaim that Jesus is Lord, and everything else is fair game? So I can therefore say “Jesus is Lord”, but go on doing anything I want, even if it is in direct contradiction to Jesus and the apostles’ doctrine? I am amazed he would say that, and surely he does not really mean it, does he? This is the typical disdain for scripture and doctrine that the emergent church crowd has, and instead, they love the touchy feely, emotion driven, let’s all get along theology that has no origins in scripture, but from somewhere else, and from someone else.
It’s also interesting that he uses a football analogy, because he simply looked into that old worn out emergent playbook, and all he could come up with is a play that is frankly getting rather old, useless, and predictable. It only plays well to the choir which I’m sure is cheering and posting congratulations on Mr. King’s blog, but it does not play well with Bible believing Christians.
The playbook’s favorite moves go something like this:
- Use emotion and accuse those who expose false teachers of being hateful, or demonizing, or unChristlike,
- Twist scripture out of context to lecture us that we should be “loving”, or going about the business of “the Kingdom”,
- And finally, don’t use scripture to back up your argument, but instead tell us how you “feel” about it, or give us your own intellectual reasoning that has no basis in the Bible, but in the new spirituality.
For Mr. King and Mr. Folmsbee, and even many of the leadership at Nazarene Theological Seminary, to apparently not see what is going on, is very sad. They are clearly promoting contemplative spirituality in their alliance with Barefoot Ministries. NTS has even promoted CS to middle grade students. This all is happening with the blessing of the president of the school, Professor Dean Blevins, and others, unless they do not know, although that does not seem possible. Dean Blevins happens to be the Chairman of the Board of YouthFront, how would he not know? He is also President of the highly ecumenical Religious Education Association. President of NTS Dr. Ron Benefiel must know what they are doing in promoting this contemplative spirituality. Why, even a class this Spring that teaches future pastors on the practice of Celtic Spirituality, which is rooted in occultism, is acceptable!
It is clear that these leaders are promoting this new spirituality which has no basis in Nazarene Wesleyan theology, and most importantly, no basis in scripture. It is even ironic, yet not a surprise, that the prayer Mike King quoted is one that is ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis was well liked by many, but he taught and practiced many heresies, spent much time in solitude and contemplative practices, and the veneration of Mary. And did you know that he received the blessing of Pope Innocent III to head up the Inquisition, which as we know led to the brutal persecution and murders of many Bible believing Christians? Yet, Mike King cannot quote anyone else but a Roman Catholic who had no respect for religious freedom? But it makes sense because the emergent church is bringing in Roman Catholicism to the Nazarene church, including the latest offering of a book that promotes the ritual of ashes to the forehead.
Mr. King, and Mr. Folmsbee, please turn away from these false teachings you are promoting. If not, please resign your positions, and let someone else take over YouthFront and Barefoot Ministries, someone who will have the Bible as the foundation for all of its activities and programs, not man’s religion.
2 Tim. 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.