We Are Alive And Well, And Continue to Warn The Church

Perhaps much to the chagrin and disappointment of our detractors, many of them who are those who occupy much of their time at Naznet, Concerned Nazarenes is alive and well, and will always be so, God willing. Since kicking me out of the group a few months ago, NazNetters apparently still cannot help themselves and talk about us once in a while, and not in a flattering way (see here). In this case, they seem to think that we have gone away and are completely irrevelant now. From the writings of one of them, which at times is total speculation or outright fabrication, it seems that:

  1. Concerned Nazarenes have been outsmarted by people of great skill and expertise.
  2. We are extremists in our views (such as we believe in the Bible)
  3. They are proud of the fact that leaders, including General Superintendents, do not respond to any concerned Nazarene, as if that is something for a leader to be proud of.
  4. They accuse us of attacking “upstanding leaders”, while they ironically have (rightly so) questioned the integrity of several leaders and demanded board resignations in the NPH scandal.
  5. They act sincere and caring towards us, even as they go on a diatribe and attack us, often saying that we are not real Nazarenes.

What he wrote is echoed by many of his friends. What they truly do not understand is the positive impact and influence we have had, and continue to have, on the Church of the Nazarene. In spite of the fact that I had not written a blog article in several months, visitors come to my site at a rate of 1,500-2,500 per week. We continually get requests for DVDs every week, and sometimes we fall behind in sending them out quickly. Our newest videos have been getting thousands of hits on YouTube, and are reaching people far more quickly than we used to with just sending out DVDs. I continue to get letters from Nazarenes who encourage us in what we are doing. Some of them are retired pastors who are heartbroken at what is happening to the church. They ask us, how can they help? They are helping greatly, with their prayers, and with passing out our DVDs and information to others. We thank them for their continued service in this way.

We have helped people deal with very difficult issues, including struggling with the problem of deciding whether to leave their church, or to stick with it for a while. We have helped people who did leave their church, and needed support and prayer. As a small group within the larger group called Nazarene denomination, it has been an inspiring thing to see so many Nazarenes supporting, encouraging, and praying for each other, while dealing with watching the slow death of a denomination many grew up in all their lives. To the detractors at NazNet, we are irrelevant, mean, and hateful people who are hurting the body of Christ. But how can someone hurt the body of Christ, when they are speaking truth?

Our FaceBook group continues to grow, yet it is not about increasing membership, it is about support and encouragement and learning. Much of our membership is comprised of faithful Nazarenes who decided they would rather go it alone, rather than stay in a compromising church. Our group is just like those 7,000 few who would not bow the knee to Baal. It never was about numbers, and many of these people at NazNet seem to think that numbers is what decides who is right or wrong. A true “concerned Nazarene”, or any concerned Christian, is one who is willing to be the last faithful one standing, and refuses to exchange loyalty to God with loyalty to a pastor, a church, or even family. This is what has been happening to so many Nazarenes for a long time now. If we can reach one out of 100 with the truth, and they see what is going on and decide not to compromise, we are thankful to God.

We will probably never know for sure how much influence we have had, but I believe it is a lot more than we may think. I believe some things have changed in the denomination because we have raised our concerns. Yet, there is much that is being ignored, and the denomination is still damaging itself tremendously, and it will get worse, because the leadership has failed at all the highest levels. Their negligence and dereliction of duty is astounding, the most recent example being the Nazarene Publishing House mess.

I believe our influence may have given pause to many of the colleges, because we have seen less of an overt scheduling and promoting of the kinds of activities we had been reporting on in the last few years. Yet, many of us do not recommend any student going to any of these schools. There is too much bad mixed in with whatever good they have, and most of it is due to a disregard for what Scripture teaches. They are continuing on the emergent and contemplative spirituality ways, including the seminary that is turning out future pastors.

Perhaps, or perhaps not, we had some influence in the apparent demise of a site that proudly promoted evolution through the writing of prominent theologians, pastors, and other church leaders. The website Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, supported by so many Nazarene leaders, is no longer online, at least at this writing. Please pray that this website and its ungodly teachings never sees the light of day again, as it has contributed much to the decline of biblical authority in the church today and poisoned the minds of many undiscerning Christians. We can not truly know if our influence caused it to shutdown, but we will continue to fight the teaching of this ungodly ideology to Christians, especially in our universities and colleges.

One thing is for sure. We are not shutting down. Oh, it was proposed by Dennis Bratcher, former professor at Point Loma Nazarene University. Mr. Bratcher suggested that “The web site and remaining articles that still attack church leaders needs to be taken down, not just rendered inactive.” Mr. Bratcher, that is NOT going to happen, and you can’t do anything about it. The truth cannot be shut down.

Mr. Bratcher then gives an example of an “attack”, which is a truthful article that speaks about one of the major early supporters of emergent heresy, pastor Jon Middendorf. Mr. Bratcher also says that “There needs to be a public apology to the people who have been attacked, many falsely or without much understanding.” Yet he has never once given one example of a “false attack”, much like all the others who cannot stand hearing the truth. And finally, he claims that the actions of CN (along with the whole support cadre) were not just misguided but were nothing short of sinful.” Mr. Bratcher has just insulted many longtime, faithful Nazarenes, including retired church pastors, who would disagree with some of his unbiblical ideology. He then ends up signing off, as he always does, with “grace and peace”, after exhibiting anything but grace and peace.

Concerned Nazarenes is comprised of Nazarenes, former Nazarenes, and non-Nazarenes of likeminded concerns. We are not a debate group, which drives the opposition crazy. We have settled many things, including the fact that the Bible is God’s inerrant and infallible word. They hate to hear us say these things. Many of them do NOT believe that the Bible is God’s word, and that is the foundation of their whole misguided way of thinking. That is what we are refuting their misguided thinking, and warning others about it. It could very well be that your own pastor does not believe in the word of God. Such is the way the Church of the Nazarene is going. It may survive financially or in membership numbers, but spiritually it is dying.

And we will continue to warn all who are willing to listen and check the Scriptures, to see whether we are telling the truth or not. Please join us if you also believe in biblical truth.

On FaceBook
Concerned Nazarenes: https://www.facebook.com/groups/concernednazarenes/
Concerned Christians: https://www.facebook.com/groups/136328596390149/

NazNet- Hypocrisy, Ignoring Scripture, And Personal Attacks

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.

The purpose of this is to warn every Bible-believing Christian about a certain kind of “Christian leader and pastor”, who is always ready to vilify you at the slightest sign of dissension towards their unbiblical views. This is to warn you and prepare you to deal with these people, some who may be leading your church now. This is to show you what kind of men are being sent out from the seminaries, to pastor churches with the watered down social gospel and with messages that lack biblical conviction. These men are blind to the very poison coming from their mouths, which they accuse all discernment ministries of, and which they accuse Christians who dare challenge their belief system.

NazNet is a Nazarene discussion forum on the internet, of which I am a member (from which I received a one week suspension for “laughing” at two comments). It includes a mixed group with varying theological leanings, although it is predominately a haven for emergent church and social justice types. It also allows Bible believing members, although as you will read here, many NazNetters are highly intolerant of outspokenness from the likes of me and others. A good number of these liberals do not believe in the inerrancy of scripture. Many of them reject the facts of Genesis 1-11 as a true historical account of creation, and instead have bought into the ungodly theory of evolution. They have a disdain for those who believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant, infallible word, often labeling us as “bibliolaters.” These are the men I am talking about, and I will point out that very few on NazNet act like they do, so this is not a blanket indictment.

Last week, as I perused some NazNet topics, I came across one that dealt with the suicide of the son of Ergun Caner, a former administrator at Liberty Baptist University. Caner had claimed to have been a former Muslim terrorist turned Christian, and when the facts came out that it was a lie, he was let go by Liberty. He is now the president of another Christian college. When his son committed suicide this year, not too long after he was confronted online by a longtime critic of Dr. Caner, many were very upset over what looked like an unwarranted attack of this young man. I have read details of this encounter, and I agree that the verbal attacks by Baptist preacher J.D. Hall were unnecessary and reckless. But what followed on NazNet turned into a blanket condemnation of any Christian who calls out false teachers or Christian leaders who are in error.

So here is where I got in trouble on Naznet. The topic only had three comments. I read the first one which mentioned that tragic death, and the writer, David Pettigrew, a Nazarene pastor, ended with this:

This phenomena of “discernment ministries” – those who feel it is their divine calling to expose “error” – is doing real damage to real people. I am convinced it is psychologically driven. It becomes a compulsion for those with this “calling” to attack.”

I then read the next two comments, which said the following:

“I’m convinced it is some kind of mental disease. At least, let’s hope it is. For if these folks act with full mental powers, I would not want to stand in their shoes at judgement day.” (Hans Deventer, Nazarene licensed minister)

“IMO most “discernment ministries” are nothing more than bullying and most “discerners” are self-justifying bullies.”(Jon Bemis, Nazarene pastor)

 

I then clicked the “laugh button”, to imply that I thought that this was an absurd, blanket condemnation of all discernment ministries. Sometime later is when the attacks started, and the rest of the discussion is a perfect illustration of the complete hypocrisy of these people. Keep in mind that quite a few of them are ordained elders and pastors of churches; leaders who are supposed to be examples of Christ-like conduct. The following quotes are other examples of their “Christ-like” conduct and their truly hypocritical behavior and blindness to the very things they accuse me and others of.

“This is why they are called online discernment mafias. They operate in secret and have no accountability whatsoever.” (Bob Hunter)

“I’m increasingly convinced that when we spend time and energy on peripheral issues such as eschatology and witch-hunting in the name of the Lord, aka ‘discernment ministries’, we’re setting ourselves up for some real problems.” (John Kennedy)

“Self proclaimed holy wars never have a problem sacrificing life at the alter of “truth” (Cam Pence, Nazarene pastor)

“It’s the mean spirited, sarcastic, loveless, prayerless presentation, both online and in person, that causes the Concerned Nazarenes to not be taken seriously by anyone outside their facebook club. Nobody can hear your message because of your methods. This will be my only response to you, as I find exchanges with you are pointless.” (David Pettigrew, Nazarene pastor)

 

“I think the fundamental problem with discernment ministries is that those involved fail to see that they are not actually very discerning.” (Kevin Rector, Nazarene pastor)

You’re like Hamas, crying over the casualties they have created themselves by their tactics. Very sad for the casualties, but Hamas is the real cause of their suffering.” (Hans Deventer, Nazarene licensed minister)

 

I gave my argument for posting the laugh icons, noting that it was unfair to paint all discernment ministries this way. I argued using scripture, showing them how time and time again, we are commanded to expose false teaching, thus what we are doing is biblical and necessary in these times. I pointed out how I was criticized for using these laugh icons, yet the moderator did not scold anyone else about the comments they made that were, shall we say, over the top? (mental disease? bullies? discernment mafias? witch hunting? comparing me to the terrorist group Hamas?)

 

In reading through the topic, I noticed the same things that they do on a regular basis:

 

  1. Taking Scripture out of context. They select certain scripture passages in order to reprimand me, but ignore the very scripture I showed which validated my position. They refused to address that at all. These people are purposely ignorant of the truth, and often use what they accuse us of- cherry picking scripture, or proof-texting. They are guilty of that tactic, over and over. In another proof-text, pastor Kevin Rector quotes Heb. 13:17 to emphasize that we should obey our spiritual leaders and do what they say (touch not mine anointed, perhaps?). Yet he apparently conveniently ignores any scripture which warns us to watch out for the wolves amongst us, such as Gal. 1:6-10.
  2. They use personal attacks. I understand why they do this, because they have no other basis to argue with. They lack the scriptural understanding (or perhaps ignore it) that would allow them to correct those who expose their false teachings. They are desperate to protect their territory, and will try to destroy your character in order to do it. They hypocritically judge a pastor’s mean use of words that led to the suicide of a young man, yet they have no problem using mean words on others. How ironic!
  3. They employ emotional tactics to get sympathy, such as telling a touching story. When David Pettigrew gave an example of what he says was the devastation caused by a discernment ministry to a pastor and his family, I returned the favor by giving an example that I knew of, of a pastor who caused great harm to a family. Instead of acknowledging this story as legitimate also, he scolded me for telling it, perhaps unable to admit that there have been a lot of people from “his side” who have brought damage to many Christians also.
  4. Their insincerity. Take for example, Bob Hunter, one of my most vicious attackers over the last few years. He followed up later with this: “I pray for you. I pray your family is well and your life is blessed. I really do.” This is the same Bob who had no problem labeling discernment ministries as mafia types, and who has called me some of the worst things over the last few years. Why would someone pray for my life to be blessed, when I am supposed to be someone who is tearing apart the church, according to many of them?

 

  1. Their dependence on the “Church manual” more than scripture. As an example, here is what Kevin Rector said:“if it creates division in the body of Christ over non-essentials then it is of Satan and not of God (By the way, the church decides what is “essential“, not the individual – for example, you and I don’t have the spiritual authority given by God to define that which is essential for the Church of the Nazarene – that is done by the General Assembly).”

    So Kevin Rector and others apparently believe that if the General Assembly declares something, we should accept it without question, because it is “the church” that decides! To these people, it is the denomination that decides what is essential, not the Bible! This is outrageous, but this view is perhaps the norm now in the Church of the Nazarene.
  2. They don’t understand scripture. Bob Hunter misuses Matt. 18 when he said this: “Yes, the online discernment ministries have earned a bad reputation among reputable Christian leaders. They have a track record of being ruthless, unsympathetic, and mean. They never follow Matt. 18 and privately conduct matters.” Bob apparently has
    never read such passages as Gal 2:14 that describes Paul scolding Peter publically for teaching a false doctrine. These people constantly misapply the principles of Matthew 18. Again, no correction by using scripture at all; just giving opinions unsupported by God’s word.
  3. Their hypocrisy. They scold me for using the laugh button, eventually delete my laughs, and then suspend me for a week, for violating NazNet laws. Not rules, but laws! Yet, they never scold their own publically (or very rarely). They tend to look the other way unless it is an extremely outrageous comment, and make the excuse that since they did not use my name, it is not a problem with what they said. Quote Kevin Rector: “You did not say that what they said was “funny” you said it was “laughable”. That is a put-down, not a compliment.” Apparently, to them, it is not a put-down to compare me to Hamas, or to imply I have a mental disease, accuse me of being on a witch-hunt, or that I am loveless, hateful, and just plain mean. Don’t correct us with scripture; just call us names.

Please understand, these people have not hurt my feelings. I don’t lose sleep over their insults. I am not looking for sympathy, because I don’t need it. I confess I am not perfect and do not know everything. I am trying to follow scriptural commands which tell us to protect the flock from false teachings.   And if they are proud of what they write, I am glad to expose that to other Christians, and let folks decide if their behavior as pastors is Christ-like or not. In my opinion, they have disqualified themselves as pastors with their behavior.

 

So my purpose is to show you how sad the state of the Nazarene church is today, as well as most denominations, in regards to those who are supposed to be leaders. These men speak their words publically in front of hundreds of other Christians, therefore they are accountable for their words. I have no problem pointing out their hypocrisy, and the false teachings coming from them, when it is clearly seen. There is no Matthew 18 directive with their public comments; we are not to “go to each of them” as they often say we should; we are to expose them publically, because they have committed these wrongs publically.

 

I have no doubt that if you are a member of a church led by men such as these, that someday if you decide to question what they are doing, and what they are teaching, please be prepared for the worst. They will be gentle at first, even kind and understanding. But if you persist, they will go on to follow the same advice Rick Warren gives in the Purpose Driven Church book, and that is to get rid of those who don’t go along with the crowd. You will be painted a troublemaker, you will be ostracized, and you will need to leave. They will attack your character and try to smear your reputation. In the end, these kinds of people are only thinking about themselves and their agenda. It has nothing to do with following the will of God and obeying His word.

 

Pray for the repentance of some of these men, who are demonstrating they are a real danger to the church.

Addendum: The entire conversation thread at NazNet:
http://www.naznet.com/community/showthread.php/15788-quot-Discernment-Ministries-quot-and-the-suicide-of-Braxton-Caner/page1

A Church in Crisis

by Lige Jeter, 4/9/2014

It has been awhile since I visited the NazNet web site. A recent article there caught my attention, especially since its topic [seems to] always be in the news. It is just a matter of time before churches are forced to accept its agenda or no doubt will be punished for taking a stand against such immoral behavior. After reading the post, I wonder what the Nazarene Church will do regarding homosexuality.

I read a recent post on www.naznet.comtitled Homosexuality — where I stand and why” , by Marsha Lynn, March 31, 2014. Without being judgmental, based upon many of the responses, it raises the question, “Where will the church stand when mandated by the law to perform same sex marriages,” which has prompted me to write this article. Although the site has no official connection to the denomination, it expresses the assessments of the subject, provided by its members and friends expressing their views on the topic. Many of their interpretations of Biblical truths are alarming and are an insight to their lack of spiritual understanding.

Marsha begins her thread with the following introduction.

I have been asked several times to provide biblical support for my position on homosexuality and gay marriage. This post is intended to address that issue.”

After the introduction, she states

“First, I need to clearly state my position on the matter: I believe that the question of sexual ethics for Christians experiencing exclusively same-sex attraction can be answered only from within the community of those experiencing such attraction. Second, having exposed myself to the words of those living in this tension, I am seeing a rising number of Christian gays concluding that God can and does bless committed, monogamous, loving, same-gender relationships – marriage.”

And here is her most alarming statement:

But, people ask, what about the Bible? Are we to set aside clear biblical teaching that homosexuality is an abomination to the Lord simply because some people who obviously are unable to take an objective viewpoint are willing to do so? Yes. We already set aside clear biblical teaching.”

Apparently, the social values pressed upon society as socially acceptable are forcing its way into the church with the goal to accept its practice as morally acceptable. We are not the first to fall under the spell of this kind of false accepted wisdom regardless how presented.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian Church warned against those who passed themselves off as the enlightened ones with special wisdom, knowledge or consciousness. It has been said that in Corinth you could meet self-taught sagacious men who mimicked their favorite philosopher by echoing philosophic discussions on any number of topics. They often portrayed themselves as learned or leading authorities in their field of study. I believe we are seeing a resurrection of such in these days spreading their false ideology, both in the church and society. Many today still seek recognition at any cost! Do not be fooled by their clever way of twisting the truth.

This newfound recognition has no doubt immersed itself into today’s beliefs, and touted by many as “experts” in their field of academics. I do not wish to imply that people with a higher education are not godly or wise; however, there is a tendency to trust one’s own judgment and learning rather than to trust in God’s wisdom. I am often reminded that the Bible teaches that the “foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

For me this separates reality from deception, keeping a proper perspective relating to things that are valid. In greater detail this is found in I Corinthians [1: 18-25] “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this Age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For the Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Have we reached a point in our society where man’s teaching has now become superior to God’s and is being touted as the truth, while God’s truth has now become suspect or inferior to man’s? It has become easier for many to accept the myth that God’s word is no longer indisputable and open to challenge or useful regarding one’s moral behavior. When will humankind recognize that God is supreme and that our existence depends upon Him, and not in the reverse.

Could it be that many church leaders are in the pastorate today as a vocation, and do not qualify as the spiritual leader chosen by God? Are they serving by “election” {God selected them} or by “self will” {they chose themselves}. This may account for their apathy concerning their beliefs about morality. Jesus warns His disciples about false teachers. Our Lord describes those in His day as serving God only to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. They loved to be highly thought of by men enjoying recognition as men of God. Jesus charged them with blocking the truth from others, thus keeping them from entering in. Matthew [23: 5 – 7, 13 – 15].

In lock step with Christ’s condemnation of false teachers, I say this in writing this warning. There are no easy ways to say this without being falsely misunderstood. That said, I hope my remarks in the spirit of a loving warning will be received. There is no “clergyman or church” that can truthfully boast as being more compassionate, loving, more forgiving, or merciful than God. I repeat there is none, and yet this is happening in churches all across our land today.

For any religious church leader either to condone or defend any abominable sin such as; {abortion, homosexual behavior ‘either sex’, or take part in performing same sex marriages, etc.}, they are hypocrites. In reality, they are saying they are more loving and merciful than God is even though the Creator condemns these sinful acts. I caution those who knowingly follow their example, avoid them at all cost.

Jesus describes them as setting out to “win one proselyte,” and when he is won, “you make him twice as much a son of hell.” As illustrated in the above scripture they circumvent the word of God pretending to be religious and accept only the parts that pleases them. The rest they ignore or discount as a myth or fable especially the truth pertaining to God’s judgments upon such behavior. It is dangerous to play god no matter who you are. Buyers beware of those who would offer you the easy way out that requires nothing on your part. There is the price of repentance to be paid. The non-repentant will go to hell in the end.

 

Related Articles:

https://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/no-resurrection-false-doctrines-no-big-deal-to-emergent-nazarenes/

The Time Has Already Come: They Are Not Enduring Sound Doctrine

In 2 Timothy 4, after Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the word, and to reprove, rebuke and exhort”, he explains to Timothy the reason for that instruction.  It is because there would be coming a time when “they will not endure sound doctrine.”  “They” refers to professing Christians, and Paul is saying that soon they will succumb to their own desires and wishful thinking, and will “after their own lusts shall they draw to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”  That time has long come and gone, and is continuing.  The teachers themselves are also now looking after their own desires and looking to soothe their restlessness with all sorts of bad teaching, therefore dragging some of their undiscerning flock down the road of apostasy.

Recently, Rob Bell revealed his approval of homosexuality when he answered a question at a seminar, as seen in this video at Apprising Ministries. Brian McLaren gave his thumbs up to Rob Bell’s pronouncement as well.  And now, Brian McLaren has officiated at a wedding ceremony for his homosexual son and his partner. (see Apprising Ministries)  Is it possible that a high number of pastors in today’s evangelical world have no problem with these two men and the way they are contributing to the eternal damnation of many souls?

Both of these false teachers have been heavyweight leaders in the emergent church movement for a long time now.  They are just simply adding on to their false credentials as post-modern “evangelical” leaders.  They are now bringing it up another level, and I wonder now: how will the leaders in the church respond now?  With silence again?  Where are the Al Mohlers within the Church of the Nazarene?  After all, those two men have been a major influence, both in the colleges, the seminaries, and in the churches.

What Brian McLaren Thinks

When asked about homosexuality a few years ago, Brian McLaren (who is no longer a pastor) said this:

“You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.”

Brian McLaren also said the following:

“Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality. We’ve heard all sides but no position has yet won our confidence so that we can say “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.” That alienates us from both the liberals and conservatives who seem to know exactly what we should think. Even if we are convinced that all homosexual behavior is always sinful, we still want to treat gay and lesbian people with more dignity, gentleness, and respect than our colleagues do. If we think that there may actually be a legitimate context for some homosexual relationships, we know that the biblical arguments are nuanced and multilayered, and the pastoral ramifications are staggeringly complex. We aren’t sure if or where lines are to be drawn, nor do we know how to enforce with fairness whatever lines are drawn.”

And he said this in 2006 regarding homosexuality:

Perhaps we need a five-year moratorium on making pronouncements. In the meantime, we’ll practice prayerful Christian dialogue, listening respectfully, disagreeing agreeably. When decisions need to be made, they’ll be admittedly provisional. We’ll keep our ears attuned to scholars in biblical studies, theology, ethics, psychology, genetics, sociology, and related fields. Then in five years, if we have clarity, we’ll speak; if not, we’ll set another five years for ongoing reflection. After all, many important issues in church history took centuries to figure out. Maybe this moratorium would help us resist the “winds of doctrine” blowing furiously from the left and right, so we can patiently wait for the wind of the Spirit to set our course.”  (http://www.outofur.com/archives/2006/01/brian_mclaren_o.html)

Both men have certainly had a big influence on many within the church.  In 2011, Rob Bell spoke at a pastor’s seminar at Point Loma Nazarene University, where you will find emergent ideology being promoted, mysticism, and a softening of the biblical view on homosexuality.  His books and videos are used in churches for weekly Sunday School studies instead of Bible study.

Brian McLaren conducted a three day seminar at NorthWest Nazarene University several years ago that was outrageous, as described here by Eric Barger, who attended the seminar.  His books are used widely as resources at many Nazarene universities, and can be found in the college bookstores.  His books are also popular with many Nazarene pastors, who have gone on to pass them down to undiscerning members.

 

NazNet Pastors Weigh In On McLaren’s Actions

We have often called NazNet a breeding ground for emergent heresy, and with good reason, and unlike those who accuse us of being unloving, we have documented what they said, compared with Scripture, and have clearly pointed out their error.  They continued that trend in a new thread on NazNet, although there were others who strongly disagreed with many of these pastors.

What some of these pastors have said reflects the kind of compromise, lack of Scriptural understanding, and lack of strong conviction that has allowed a lot of the damage that has come into the Church.  Would these pastors say the same words to their congregations?  Would they say these words at a district assembly in front of other churches?  Since they said these words publicly, let’s put out what they have stated in their own words so that others may see and decide whether their words are based on sound doctrine:

I am not able to be as black and white on this issue as some of my friends – on either side. And I hope we will have grace to understand that this is, for some, a more complex issue than others see it…. I don’t have a problem at all with Brian McLaren doing this, any more and perhaps even less than I have a problem with a member of the clergy praying a blessing over various activities of our secular culture. He is not a member of my theological tribe, and thus has absolutely no accountability to me, or to us.”
“Okay, now I will say this – and I know that many will disagree. I am still not sure how I personally believe about this issue.”
(Mike Schutz, Nazarene pastor)

 “McLaren still has a bit of capital with me, and I offer hopefully a diminishing amount of public criticism for those who clearly strive to sense the Lord’s direction. Selfishly perhaps, I’m focusing increasingly on what the Lord wants me to do, and less on telling others what they should do.” (Dennis Scott, Nazarene pastor)

“Brian McLaren drinks beer, too. I’m not sure what the big deal is. I don’t know why anyone would need to defend the man for anything. Some things he’s said have helped people think about God in new and refreshing ways (some have helped us think of God in old, powerful ways). Disagreeing with one thing (this is hardly the first thing he’s said that gives one pause to think) does not negate the positives.
There’s a ton of our brother and sisters who have spent lots of time, effort, and prayer seeking how to deal with this issue and have decided differently than us. We have to get along with each other.
I don’t consider one’s views on homosexual marriage as a litmus test for faith (I’m more inclined to do so on things like purity, chastity, faithfulness, and relationship).”
(Ryan Scott, ordained Nazarene elder)

I see McLaren the way I see a MLB slugger. I’m a fan because he hits a lot of homeruns. I am a fan in spite of the fact that he also strikes out.
While my own evaluation is that this was a swing and a miss, I’m still a fan.
(Wilson Deaton, Nazarene pastor)

“It sounds like Brian McLaren was in a tough spot, given that it’s his son we’re talking about here. … McLaren didn’t officiate at the actual wedding but “led a commitment ceremony” for family and friends later in the day…. which sounds like the pattern I’ve heard advocated here on NazNet in the past (couple gets married by the state, then blessed by the church).
Of course, as a Nazarene minister, such an action is out of bounds for me, but if I were in Brian’s shoes… who knows what choice I would’ve made?
 (Rich Schmidt, Nazarene pastor)

“I guess I’m confused as to what is being blessed here?
I would be happy to pray for or at just about any event. I’d love to pray for any couple, gay or otherwise, that they would experience all the love and grace and peace and joy that God has for all God’s children – that they would have the wisdom and grace to seek to love and serve others in all situations – that every person’s life would radiate the love and grace of the one who created them.
I’d be happy to pray at any wedding, even if I thought it was a bad idea – the thing ill-conceived marriages need most is prayer.” (Ryan Scott, Nazarene ordained elder)

These men would do Brian McLaren proud with their words.  These are indicative of many other pastors who show a weak sense of conviction regarding homosexual sin.  To be unwilling to clearly rebuke Mr. McLaren and avoid him as Scripture demands, is just as wrong as approving it.  This same kind of wavering or refusal to make a clear statement on homosexuality, was reflected at Bruce Barnard’s FaceBook discussion.  It does have a lot of eye opening insight in how these pastors are so devoid of discernment.  Maybe they have good intentions, but they are way off the mark biblically.  There is nothing ambiguous when it comes to homosexuality and what the Bible teaches.

So what now?  Irresponsible, undiscerning, or apostate pastors is one of the reasons why the Church of the Nazarene is sliding deeper and deeper into apostasy.  And yet, will the General Superintendents still remain silent and allow these two men to continue spreading poison in the church?  Or, will they ever say, enough is enough, and call for a return to true holiness teaching and doctrine based on God’s word, not McLaren or Bell’s doctrine?  Of course, even if they banned McLaren and Bell completely, that would not come close to helping cure the sickness spreading in our denomination.  And how many more pastors are our seminaries sending out, who cannot stand firm and lovingly on the teaching of Holy Scripture, without trying to send ambiguous messages to people that could be sending them straight to hell.
Additional Resource: From Truth To Fables (John Henderson)

Just Who Is Dividing The Church?

“It is better to be divided by truth than united in error.”
 “It’s better to be hated for telling the truth than loved for telling a lie.”
“It’s better to know the truth and to stand alone than it is to be wrong with a multitude.”
“It’s better to speak truth that hurts and then helps than falsehood that comforts and then kills.”
“It’s better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.”

Yes, peace and unity are very high in my hierarchy of values. But in my value system, “Truth trumps peace and unity.” You see, in the long run, there will be no lasting peace and unity without truth. How grateful I am for grace and forgiveness. But in my value system, if there is a conflict, “Truth trumps even grace and forgiveness.” For without truth there is no grace or forgiveness.  (Mrs. Joyce Rogers, wife of the late Adrian Rogers)

Over the last few years, the Concerned Nazarenes group has come under criticism from its opposition within the church.  Typical descriptions include “unChristlike behavior”, “causing division”, “dividing the church”, “who are you to judge?”, or the unscriptural “you should never judge” admonition.  Those of us who believe in exercising biblical discernment need not fear any Scriptural refutation of our concerns, because there is none.  The response is either false accusations and misused Scripture references such as Matthew 7:1 to say we should not judge, or Psalm 46:10 to justify contemplative spirituality practices; or no response at all.

When we explain how prayer labyrinths, ashes to the forehead, and lectio divina are unbiblical; the opposition says we are causing division.

When we speak out against ecumenism and the embracing of Roman Catholic mystical practices and state the biblical reasons why; they say we are causing division.

When we point out the false teachings and doctrinally-challenged theology of Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Leonard Sweet and others… they say we are causing division.

When we expose a Nazarene pastor (Gabriel Salguerro) for promoting an ungodly “spirituality” festival, we are met with silence because they cannot defend that type of behavior… or we are called dividers.

Recently, I posted on our Facebook Group page a request for anyone who might be able to help translate articles into Portuguese and/or Spanish.  About a month later, the following was posted publicly on the Facebook page of Rev. John Brickley, an ordained elder in the church and a NazNet member, who apparently sent out the same message to a list of Portuguese-speaking Nazarenes.  Below is the English translation of his message:

“To all my friends in the Church of the Nazarene (Lusafona). Recently a group called Concerned Nazarenes asked for help to translate their material into Portuguese. This group already has done much harm to the Church of the Nazarene here in the United States.  Churches have been divided because of them, and many good leaders including Presidents of Universities and the Seminary, some District Superintendents, and also Generals were attacked by name by this group. Even If some of you agree with SOME of the concerns of this group, they act in a manner which is dividing the Church. So I’m warning you not to help this group or with the translation or with the propagation of their material. I am praying constantly for you all and I know God has great things for the Church of the Nazarene (Lusafona).” God Bless, Your Brother John  (my emphasis in bold)

This is another typical example of the kind of attacks that we should expect more and more in the future, for anyone who dares to continue to expose the truth of what is happening in our denomination as well as many others.  Rev. Brickley, who has posted this type of invective publicly before, is not an exception.  He exemplifies what is standard procedure for even some ordained elders in the church, and for those who support and promote the emergent church movement, contemplative spirituality and other dangerous ideologies.

These Are The Ones Who Claim To Be Understanding and Loving?

There were the attacks that came from Trevecca President Dan Boone that lacked any biblical defense  (See here) Dr. Boone is also an ordained elder who wrote a book called A Charitable Discourse, and then ironically in the very book he wrote uncharitably equated fundamental, Bible believing Christians to Muslim jihadists!  He also said this in response to some of our exchanges:

“Religious fundamentalism is one of the hot topics in the world today and this website has given me the best model, other than Islamic fundamentalism, to demonstrate to students how religious fundamentalism works.”

“I am most likely viewing these websites for the last time and would urge all thinking Christians to join me in the exit. Maybe we can stun them with our silence. In the meantime, I am working on a book called “A Charitable Discourse on the Things that Divide Us”. I’ll discuss Jihad in the church.”


So much for practicing what you preach.  Note that if you don’t agree with Dr. Boone, you are not a “thinking Christian.”  Yet he has received much praise for a book that attacks Christian fundamentalists.

And remember the more recent diatribe written by the Rev. Kevin Ulmet in Holiness Today, where he used a few dozen nasty ways of describing those of us who dare to criticize what is happening, and leaves out any biblical defense of his position.  I don’t know what was more shameful: his article, or the many Nazarenes who complimented him on such a fine, “Christlike” and loving piece.  It really was simply another attack piece without biblical foundation, yet he was praised for it.  Some of his “best” loving descriptions included:

“driven by categorization, guilt-by-association”;  “gotcha” tactics that more represent radical politics than anything remotely biblical, Christian, or certainly holiness”;  “Internet rumormongers”; “Salem-witch-hunt”; “Inquisition-type atmosphere”; “Our presidents…  are under direct and often slanderous attacks from various sources”;  “full of self-righteous piety”; “great derision and mistrust in the scurrilous E-mail exchanges”; “mistrust and gossip”; “no regard whatsoever to biblical conflict resolution principles”; “inflaming the emotions of the faithful”; “unjustly and manipulatively ratcheted up by the fully-aware bloggers”; “special-interest-political-action-group thinking”.

And then there were the personal attacks from Olivet theology head, Dr. Carl Leth.  (Responding to Dr. Leth’s Open Letter) He wrote a critique which also followed the Dan Boone method of claiming love and concern for us, but which devolved into yet again the same pattern: baseless attacks with no Scriptural foundation.  When you view the many comments of those who praised his article, it is astounding how people can be blind to Dr. Leth’s baseless and un-Christlike accusations.  As we proved with objective facts in our response, Dr. Leth was either horribly ignorant of the facts, or he deliberately ignored the facts and made false accusations about me as well as the folks at Lighthouse Trails Research.

Then there are the many colleagues of Mr. Brickley over at NazNet.  There are those such as Dennis Bratcher, former professor at Point Loma, who has in the past said some very nasty comments about me and Tim Wirth and anyone else who challenges his version of the truth.  There is the kindly sounding Professor, Dr. Tom Oord, who has expressed a disdain for fundamentalists in some of his writings.  However, even as he has avoided direct vicious attacks on us, he nonetheless exhibited a strange tolerance for one of his Facebook friends, who wrote the following during a discussion of Rev. Ulmet’s article and the Concerned Nazarenes:

 “Pray for what? Insight as to WWJD? Victory over the Enemies of the Church? Assimilation? If so, who is to be assimilated? What’s up with ‘personal sameness’? With Jesus? I am curious. How do you determine if/when that occurs? Do you offer the same advice to the CN’s? What if they don’t listen? What if the opponents to the CN’s don’t listen? Please explain, as I do not, given human nature, see your ‘solution’ .  I abhor strife and violence, but sometimes it boils down to the simple fact that some people just need killing … figuratively if not literally.”

It is amazing that Dr. Oord did not call out this man for making such a hateful and threatening statement on his Facebook page.  It is ironic as well, because Dr. Oord loves to write and talk about love, and has a blog called For the Love of Wisdom, and The Wisdom of Love.  Apparently he has no problem allowing this kind of comment to go unchallenged.

These are just a few examples.  I could go on, about those who brought false accusations against Pastor Joe Staniforth for simply preaching against emergent ideology, leading to his dismissal from his pastoral duties and missionary service.  I could go on about the General Superintendent who dismissed me out of hand in an email to Dr. Boone, after he realized I was not budging easily from my position.  All these attacks serve to illustrate that these people will go to great lengths to protect their turf, at the same time pretending to be the understanding and loving ones.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

They Will Go After Anyone

The NazNetters, and the emergent Nazarenes who claim that they are part of a  so-called “big tent” denomination, will go after anyone.  I recall the disrespectful comments they dished out when a well respected District Superintendent dared to write and speak out against emergent ideology and radical liberalism in the church.  Just as they attacked his integrity for refuting their ideology, so they will someday even go after a General Superintendent who might speak out and stand up for biblical truth in the church.  They don’t care, because their sole interest is to protect the turf that they are trying to permanently claim as theirs, and theirs alone.

To those who are working hard to defend the truth and expose the lies, you have not seen the worst of it yet.  You need to prepare for even worst in the future, and the worst will continue to come from within, from the wolves inside the church.  Do not be afraid of them, do not give an inch to them, do not be intimated by them.  Just keep calling them out for what they are doing to the church of God.  Regardless of the consequences, your obedience to Christ is not an option.

To those who are in the company of Rev. Brickley, Dr. Leth, Dr. Boone, Dr. Oord, Rev. Ulmet, and others who are attempting to silence us by their false accusations of dividing the church:

1. There is a division that is good.   Jesus Christ mentioned it.  He said that He has come to divide with a sword.  He will separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats.  There will not be a “big tent.”  The way is narrow that leads to life, but the path of destruction is wide and looks very comfortable and full of those who love “conversation.”

2. The division that is happening in the church is coming naturally, because what you teach and promote throughout the denomination is causing many Nazarenes to react to your unscriptural teachings, and they are calling you out on it.

There Are Two Things We MUST Do

The Scriptures clearly teach us that we are to be discerning, and to defend the faith once given to the saints.  Paul says in Galatians 1 that if anyone else preaches another Gospel, let him be accursed.  We are to be Bereans, and question our very own pastors or leaders if necessary when we hear strange doctrines and “new” ways of “experiencing” God.  It is not hateful to do that; it is because of love that we ought to do that, for their own sake, and especially for the sake of Jesus Christ and obedience to Him.

But Jesus also commands us to love our enemies.  There are enemies of the Cross within the church, and yet, we are to love them, and to pray for them.  And so we will.  To those reading this who have been misled by false teachings, we will lovingly and prayerfully reach out to you and show you what God’s word says and help bring you back to the truth.  To the ones who are deliberately misleading other Christians, we will not be so gentle with you, because false teachers will not be given a free pass.  We will call you out for what you are doing against God’s word.  We will reprove and rebuke, but we will also pray for you, and we still love you.

But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.  Jer. 20:11

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  1 Peter 4:12-14, 16