No Resurrection? False Doctrines? No Big Deal To Emergent Nazarenes

The following are a few excerpts from a recent thread on NazNet, a Nazarene website for theology discussions.  There are quite a few pastors as well as professors there.  The founder of the site, Dave McClung, is chairman of the Commission on the Nazarene Future, and a former president of Eastern Nazarene College.  It seems he has no problem allowing just about anything to be promoted on this site.  I found much of what I was reading to be unbelievable, so here are some of their thoughts on several subjects. If they are proud of what they write, I’m happy to help the rest of the Nazarene community know it more widely and let them make up their minds about these teachers.   The first topic was a discussion about theologian and writer Marcus Borg. 


Part 1: From the Marcus Borg discussion:

Dennis Bratcher, professor of theology at Point Loma Nazarene University:

“What is really irksome about people like Marcus Borg (TIC), is that correct belief is not a condition of being Christian. Of course they ought to be more “orthodox” (generally meaning that they believe like I do). We just have a hard time getting past the idea that someone who does not believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus can still be a recipient of God’s redeeming grace and live in relationship with God. It’s a good thing, too, I think, since I have heard at least two prominent Nazarene theologians say basically the same thing as Marcus Borg, as well as a couple of pastors.”

I wonder if Dr. Bratcher would care to name names?  If that is true, these theologians have no business being theologians, and they would also be heretics on a par with Marcus Borg.  And if Dr. Bratcher agrees with them, he has no business being a theology professor at a Christian school.  And those couple of pastors should also give up their credentials.  I find it amusing yet also sad that statements such as this are always given a pass, but if an ordination candidate makes the claim that he believes in scriptural inerrancy (such as at least one in my New England District) he is told he would not be ordained).  The world is turned upside down yet again.

Bratcher again:

“And before we are too quick to quote 1 Cor 15:14 as the final proof, perhaps we should also think of other passages like John 20:31, 1 John 5:1, and dozens of other passages that point to Jesus himself as the object of saving Faith, not to a set of propositions no matter how true.

Now, let me be clear. I think Marcus Borg is wrong about a lot of things. But as Wesley pointed out, most of us are just as guilty of believing faulty notions. That is why, even though we strive to grow and mature in the Faith, correctness of belief cannot be the judge of salvation no matter where we set the bar or how important the doctrines are that we define as essential. Salvation is by grace through faith, and the object of that Faith is Jesus who is the Christ. That is much different than drawing the boundaries of Christianity, as important as that is. Of course we must define Christianity theologically. But we cannot use those definitions as arbiters of people’s relationship with God. If we do, we all might have a lot about which to be concerned.”

A typical thing that these folks do is to say, “well, I don’t agree with much of what he teaches…”, but they rarely give examples.   Dennis Bratcher knows that Marcus Borg does not believe in the physical resurrection of our Lord Jesus, but he seems to think that this is not important.  He rejects the clear statement of 1 Cor 15:14, apparently.  The next step in unbelief perhaps is to then not believe Jesus existed other than in the minds of the early Christians.  Perhaps Jesus is just a metaphor, as Marcus Borg often uses this kind of argument regarding historical accounts in scripture regarding the resurrection and the events around it.

But, “just believe in Jesus, and don’t worry about obedience to Him, don’t worry about doctrine”, is their mantra.  These false teachers make the standard argument over and over: all you have to do is say you believe in Jesus.   Don’t worry about right doctrine.  It’s not important!  That way, they can make up their own theology and their own doctrine!  Talk about freedom.

Mr. Bratcher should be reminded that even the demons believe, and yet they tremble.  (James 2:19).  He claims to believe, and then says, in effect, doctrine means nothing.

Another NazNetter, also an ordained elder, says:

“Borg is a world class scholar, and Wright – though vocal about his disagreements with him – will say over and over again that he has the utmost respect for Borg as a scholar. Same with Dom Crossan… Personally, I absolutely love Borg. I also think that his work with the Resurrection as myth is better than any other…”

Who is Dom Crossan?  John Dominick Crossan is a member of the infamous Jesus Seminar, as is Borg, and he believes that our Lord Jesus Christ was probably eaten by wild dogs and buried in a shallow grave.  For an ordained Nazarene elder to admire a heretic like Marcus Borg who was part of a disgraceful bunch of unbelievers as the Jesus Seminar, instead of warning about him and exhorting others to stay away from him, is also shameful.

For more on Marcus Borg and The Jesus Seminar:
Marcus Borg Attacks the Inerrancy, Historicity and Inspiration of the Bible

Marcus Borg: A Critique

Who Does The Jesus Seminar Really Speak For?


Part 2: From the Roman Catholicism Discussion:

In this discussion, the initial commentator mentions problems he sees with some of the Roman Catholic Church beliefs, and he asks: “How do we see their theology, can there be any sort of coming together doctrinally?”

Some responses from other NazNetters follow, keep in mind again many of them are ordained elders in the COTN.  Some who are very familiar with the Roman Catholic Church and its history, have also pointed out to me how these NazNetters do not even have an accurate understanding of RCC history, and it makes me wonder if they are deliberately lying about the factual statements that some made in contradicting their claims that the RCC can be considered a Christian group.

“As long as Catholics affirm the historic creeds of the church, I think we would have a hard time saying they aren’t Christian.”

“Penance is one of the seven sacraments, a means of grace, preparing for receiving the Eucharist.”

 “Scripture is tradition. Therefore, I would say the RCC is right – tradition and scripture are equal. Also, Scripture is contradictory. Why should that be a problem in the tradition?”

“Christ gives to the Church the power to forgive, and the authority to withhold forgiveness.”

“All Priests, RCC, EOC, Protestant, whatever… as representatives of Christ to the people of God have the authority and power to forgive, and likewise the authority to withhold forgiveness – to a certain degree – per John 20:23.”

“Thus when we pray our prayers of confession in each of our regular services, we as Ministers “acting in a priestly role” can offer a general absolution to the people based upon the assurance of Christ’s atonement and God’s subsequent forgiveness of the truly penitent.”

“The RCC is absolutely a blessing to the Body of Christ, as one of the largest parts of that Body. Genuine Christians should consider it a blessing to be a part of the RCC, just as they should in many other streams of our faith.”

The discussion on this topic has now been closed by the admin.  Perhaps there was just much too much opposition to Rome within their own group.

Naznet continues to be a breeding ground for emergent heresy and promotion of fellowship with an apostate church (the RCC). Sadly, leaders in our universities and pulpits are pushing for the same kinds of changes this group is generally advocating. And some folks wonder why many of us worry about all the Roman Catholic rituals and traditions continuing to come into the Church of the Nazarene now.  It’s no coincidence.


Addendum:  Following is a list of beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church which are clearly against Scriptural teaching.  Perhaps any of the NazNetters will publicly profess that there are no problems with these lies.  It is from Jackie Alnor’s Apostasy Alert blog.


95 Specious Lies of Rome


1. The Roman Catholic Church was founded by Jesus.

2. Mary is the mother of God.

3. There is a place sinners go after death called Purgatory.

4. The RCC has the Melchizedek priesthood.

5. Catholic priests are Christ as they offer mass.

6. The pope’s authority is from apostolic succession.

7. Bones, hair and fingernails of dead saints are worthy of veneration.

8. The pope is the Vicar of Christ and the head of Christ’s church.

9. The pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals.

10 Priests turn bread and wine into the body, blood, soul & divinity of Christ.

11 The communion elements are to be worshipped as God.

12 The RCC has the authority to determine what dead people are saints.

13 Saints are to be prayed to & sought after for miracles.

14 Access to Jesus is thru Mary.

15 Sins must be confessed to a priest for absolution.

16 Penance, not repentance, is required for forgiveness.

17 Indulgences to get dead ones a reduced sentence in Purgatory is still taught.

18 No person can know for sure they are saved; that’s the sin of presumption.

19 The higher the clerical position, the closer to God.

20 Making the sign of the cross has spiritual benefits.

21 Clerical vestments are holy.

22 Kissing the pope’s feet shows honor to Christ.

23 Priests should be addressed as Father.

24 The pope is the Holy Father.

25 The Commandment not to make any graven image is not in the RCC’s list.

26 Holy water is beneficial in sanctifying people and objects.

27 Statues of saints can be bowed to.

28 Self-flagellation is accepted by God for penance.

30 The host is to be adored as it passes in a bejeweled monstrance.

31 Priests must take a vow of celibacy and not to marry.

32 Some sins send you to hell, some to Purgatory – mortal & venial.

33 Catholics must refrain from eating meats during Fridays in Lent.

34 Mass cards can be bought to help spring loved ones from Purgatory.

35 Some hosts have miraculously turned into actual human flesh.

36 Some chalices of wine have miraculously turned into human blood.

37 Chanting the Rosary is a form of legitimate prayer.

38 Reciting the Hail Mary gives one grace with Mary.

39 Mary can hear all prayers just as God can.

40 Meditation by making a mind blank brings one closer to God.

41 Keeping the RCC sacraments is necessary to get to heaven.

42 All other Christian denominations are inferior and the separated brethren.

43 Ex-Catholics are lost until they come back to Rome

44 The scapular gives spiritual protection to the one who wears it.

45 The miraculous medal of Mary will spring the dead person out of purgatory.

46 Mary never died, but was transported to heaven alive in the Assumption.

47 Mary’s apparition has appeared and is appearing with miraculous signs.

48 Seminarians must obey those above them even if they ask them to sin.

49 Mary stayed perpetually a virgin and had no other children.

50 Joseph never consummated his marriage to Mary.

51 Mary was born without original sin and never sinned.

52 Dead saints, like pagan gods, rule over a particular life’s need or position.

53 The Roman Catholic Church is Christian.

54 The Reformers are heretics, worthy of the executions the RCC put on them.

55 The unity of all religions under Rome is a Catholic goal, i.e. Assisi.

56 The RCC has replaced Israel.

57 Rome has replaced Jerusalem as God’s holy city.

58 The RCC is the Mother Church.

59 God recognizes all annulled marriages as if they were never joined.

60 The RCC can change truth with the authority to bind on earth as it is in heaven.

61 The RCC has the right to cover up the sins of their pedophile priests.

62 Baptizing babies makes them part of Christ’s Church.

63 Drinking blood during the mass is A-OK.

64 The faithful received Christ into their stomachs, not their hearts.

65 Rats can eat God.

66 Unbaptized babies do not enter into heaven.

67 Church tradition is equal to the Bible in faith and practice.

68 Peter, a married man, was the first pope.

69 Levitation is a miracle that many saints have engaged in.

70 Grace is not unearned favor, but a special blessing one can earn thru works.

71 The archangel Michael is a saint.

72 To be a saint, miracles have to be attributed to the person after death.

73 Dead loved ones can be present among their families.

74 Exorcisms are performed with the use of the crucifix and holy water.

75 Eucharist adoration keeps Jesus company while he’s stranded in the tabernacle.

76 Jews have no biblical right to the Holy Land.

77 Communion cup forbidden to laity.

78 Jesus’ sacrifice needs to be reoffered daily in a bloodless manner.

79 Vows of silence earns grace with God.

80 The Magisterium holds the mysteries of Christ.

81 The Catholic Church gave us the Bible.

82 Mary is a co-mediatrix between God and man.

83 Jesus died so we can all become gods.

84 Incense and candles create a holy atmosphere.

85 Icons and religious art can be venerated.

86 Mary statues that cry or bleed are holy signs.

87 The stigmata wounds cause saints to suffer like Christ for the sins of others.

88 The infant Jesus is an entity that can be addressed in prayer.

89 Stoicism and deprivation of the needs of the body are acts of holiness.

90 Jesus cannot turn down requests from his mother.

91 OK to pray to body parts such as the sacred heart or immaculate heart.

92 The RCC is the guardian of salvation – they hold the keys to the kingdom.

93 Doctrine and truth evolve.

94 Christ’s payment for sin is insufficient; we must suffer for our own sins.

95 The Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church.

(Originally posted at