Nazarene Scholars Continue To Undermine Belief In God’s Word With Evolution’s Lie

“Theistic evolution is a concept being taught in many “evangelical” seminaries and colleges today. It is an idea that comes straight from the pit of hell. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Bible contains lies and myths, and that Adam and Eve were allegorical figures. If you teach and promote theistic evolution, you are calling God a liar. There is no middle ground here.”

This is my first article in almost two months, but I’m afraid things are just as bad as it was since my last post; the status quo in most of the evangelical denominations has not changed; and the Nazarene church is still in bad shape, notwithstanding any rosy reports from the General Superintendents or other leadership. Compromise seems to be the underlying principal for these religious leaders for quite some time now. Independent thought and true leadership is a thing of the past, as these General Superintendents continue to speak with one voice, or not speak at all, regardless of the truth.

In fact, the reluctance of the Generals to inform tithe-paying members about any details of the developing Nazarene Publishing House scandal, is a scandal and a moral and ethical failure in and of itself. I await further information before writing fully on this situation, but I can tell you that even those at NazNet (a Nazarene discussion site) who oppose us and disagree that there is a rebellion against God’s word within the church, are concerned and outraged at the continuing secrecy within the General Board regarding the financial debacle at the Publishing House. This link will take you to a discussion on NazNet that has broken all viewing records at that website, for any topic previously.

But let me alert you (again) to a further scandalous debacle that has been going on for a while now, and that is the promotion of theistic evolution in the church as an acceptable view of how we were created by God. The promotion of evolution by theology professors and other scholars, as well as by college and seminary presidents and district superintendents, goes to the heart of the problem in the Church of the Nazarene today. What is that problem? It is simply this: that men in the church are now standing on a foundation built on their wisdom and knowledge, rather than on the foundation of the teaching of God as written in His word. Selective belief in some scripture, while rejecting other parts, is the philosophy of these so-called “learned men and women”, even if they don’t state it overtly.

And now to show that it looks like the danger is worse than we thought. The group Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, lead by Tom Oord, professor of religion at Northwest Nazarene University, recently conducted an online survey. It involved the questioning of two demographics- a sampling of Nazarene laypeople, and a narrower sampling of Nazarene college scholars. Both results look pretty bad, and serves as a continued and even louder warning to parents who love their teenagers and want them to have a solid education that is grounded in truth. They will no longer be guaranteed to have that at any Nazarene university or college, including any of the seminaries.

Well known college presidents such as Dan Boone of Trevecca are fueling the advancement of the anti-biblical notion that man was created over millions of years of random evolutionary processes. Others pushing this godless idea which clearly contradicts the Biblical account include theological intellectuals like Al Truesdale, my former Greek New Testament professor; Scott Daniels, pastor of Pasadena First Church; retired professor Robert Branson; Kerry Fulcher and Mark Mann of Point Loma; Mark Winslow of Southern Nazarene; District Superintendent Stephen Borger; Carl Leth, Dean of Theology at Olivet Nazarene; Mark Maddix of Northwest Nazarene; Henry Spaulding, Mt. Vernon Nazarene President; theologian Rob Staples; and quite a few more “learned men and women”, who can be found at the Nazarenes Exploring Evolution site. These people are all responsible for helping indoctrinate countless students with theistic evolution, and their furtherance of this godless idea will lead to them being held accountable by God someday.  They need to repent, or they need to be removed from their positions of authority over our students.  Many of them have also been pushing the emergent church teachings. And do you wonder why so many young people are walking away from the church? Why wouldn’t they, when they are taught that they cannot trust God’s word?

In his article Poll Shows Nazarene Scholars Embracing Evolution, Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis summarizes the survey results:

Overwhelmingly, scholars at Nazarene institutions believe:

1) that the Bible does not require a belief in a young earth (nearly 95%)
2) that the Bible is compatible with evolutionary ideas (82%)
3) that science has established that the world is billions of years old (nearly 86%), 4) that human evolution is true (67%)
5) that the Nazarene church should consider theistic evolution as a valid alternative to biblical creation (87%).”

Those are very disturbing statistics, and the numbers for the first four questions, which were also posed to Nazarenes in general, were almost as ominous. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Bible contains lies and myths, and that Adam and Eve were allegorical figures. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Jesus was not truthful when he referred to Adam. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that sin and death did not come into the world through the disobedience of Adam, as written in Romans chapter 5.

So let’s be clear: if you teach and promote theistic evolution, you are calling God a liar. But it seems it will only get worse, and Bible-believing Christians will have to decide whether a secular college will be less dangerous to their children’s spiritual wellbeing than a “Christian” college or university. This whole bunch are some of the most dangerous people professing to be Christians today, and any parent sending their children to a Nazarene university or seminary today is literally gambling with their child’s spiritual health.

Dr. Ham, who has spoken out about and exposed these issues more than most Nazarenes have, went on to comment:

“This is clear evidence that a major denomination is teaching young people that they can’t trust the Bible when it comes to Genesis 1–11 and that fallible man can reinterpret God’s Word—thus man is the authority and not God.”

I agree. These men and women are a disgrace and not one of them should be in a position of authority that they are in, because they are misleading many.  The failure of the Nazarene General leadership in even attempting to right the ship makes them just as culpable, because they are allowing the erosion of Biblical standards by doing nothing- which seems to be all they are willing to do.



What follows is the statistical report of both surveys, which are from the BioLogos website. (   I found it very discouraging; you are free to make your own conclusions and decisions.

Poll of Nazarenes on Evolution

Question 1: Genesis and other biblical texts require Christians to believe the earth was created less than 15 thousand years ago.


Question 2: The Bible can properly be interpreted as compatible with the theory of biological evolution.


Question 3: Geology, astronomy, and physics have established that world is billions of years old.


Question 4: Humans likely became a species as God worked with the biological evolutionary process.


Among other things, this poll suggests that more Nazarenes today feel comfortable with evolution.


Nazarene Scholars on God Creating through Evolution

Question 1: Genesis and other biblical texts require Christians to believe the earth was created less than 15 thousand years ago.


Question 2: The Bible can properly be interpreted as compatible with the theory of biological evolution.


Question 3: Geology, astronomy, and physics have established that the world is billions of years old.


Question 4: Humans likely became a species as God worked with the evolutionary process.


Question 5: The Church of the Nazarene should allow the theory that God creates through evolution as one acceptable view of creation among others.


How Do I Know Heaven Is For Real?

I have been thinking of the parade of “Christian” movies that have come out this year, and of more to follow. The movie Exodus is scheduled to be out this Fall, with Christian Bale playing Moses (Bale was the first choice of Darren Aronofsky to play Noah, but he had scheduling conflicts). Recently, we had “Son Of God”, a movie about Jesus that was produced by a professing “Christian”, Roma Downey- a woman who dabbles in the occult, speaks to her dead mother through a psychic, attended a New Age school founded by John Roger, listens to tapes by Eckhart Tolle and Tony Robbins- among other issues. Most recently was the movie Noah, which butchered the biblical account, and distorted the character of Noah, distorted the reason for the flood, and whose own director, an atheist, said that it is only a fable, and not a true account. For the most part, we can count on Hollywood to distort biblical truth, in exchange for what they really seek: money and fame.

But right now, the latest “Christian” movie to soon debut, Heaven Is Real, is coming out on April 16. It is based on the wildly popular book of the same title, which is an account of a four year old boy’s near-death experience, where later he amazes everyone with stories of his visit to heaven. It has been a book that has had great emotional effect on many people seeking comfort about death and the hereafter, and the movie is sure to elicit the same emotions. But is it biblical, and is it reliable? By the way, there was never any medical evidence that Colton Burpo was clinically dead during his surgery.

Is someone’s mystical experience necessary to validate the existence of heaven, or to teach how heaven is actually like? Keep this in mind especially in light of the trend in Christianity for people to want to “experience God.” This is very important, as Christians move from the objective knowledge of God’s reliable word, to placing more and more trust in subjective and unverifiable mystical experiences, including near death accounts of heaven.

(Disclaimer: I have read only parts of the book, but not the entire book from cover to cover. But I believe I have enough facts to comment on it).
On the Facebook page promoting the movie, there are thousands of comments, and the vast majority are in favor of it. Here are a few samples:

“I feel like this movie is going to be a huge change for many!!! And of course it comes to us through a child.

“Can’t wait!!! Ever since my daughter could talk she’s told us that she remembers being in heaven with Jesus and “choosing me” to be her mommy.”

“I just lost my son, and I believe this movie is going to help me to understand, some may question that I have, I know he is in heaven.”

“I read the book! I believe!!!”

If I told you the following, would you believe my testimony as a Christian was authentic and believable? If so, on what basis would you accept what I told you?

  1. Jesus rides a rainbow-colored horse (see Rev. 19:11)
  2. The Holy Spirit shoots down power from heaven (see Acts 1:8)
  3. Everyone in heaven has wings except Jesus
  4. The angel Gabriel sits on the left hand of God’s throne
  5. The Holy Spirit is blue and sits in a chair near the throne of God
  6. Mary stands in heaven beside Jesus

These statements are either contradicted by Scripture, or are outside of any Scriptural revelation. And then we have Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians:

12 It is doubtless[a] not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

If Paul is referring to himself, which I believe he is, note the humility this man had, so as not to draw attention to himself regarding this experience.

If I told you that I learned secrets about someone who died in the womb, and that I knew facts about a great-grandfather that had never been told to me, would you credit that knowledge as a revelation from God? Is it possible that the source of that information may have been a manipulation of some kind, or even worse?

Quoting David Cloud:

Some might ask, how Colton could learn secrets about his dead sister who died in the womb and facts about his great grandfather that he had not been told. The answer is demons. Paul warned that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:14-15). The book Heaven Is for Real also promotes the visions of child progeny Akiane Kramarik, who began “seeing heaven” at age four (pp. 141-144). Colton claims that the “Jesus” that he saw in heaven is the same “Jesus” that Akiane drew from her visions at age nine. But Akiane’s religious faith is a New Age type faith in a vaguely defined “God.” It is religious mysticism rather than faith in an infallible Revelation from God and the blood atonement of Christ. Even if we knew what Jesus looked like, we are forbidden by God’s law to make His likeness (Exodus 20:4).” (David Cloud, Way of Life website)

I am not saying that God will never reveal to us in one shape or another something that can only be explained as supernatural. I believe that the best we can say is that “it is possible” that it was a direct experience with the supernatural that was initiated by God. On the other hand, we can also know for sure that an experience cannot be from God, but is satanic in origin, if that experience is in direct, clear contradiction with scripture. Yet, even if it lines up with scripture, that does not mean the event actually happened, does it?

When my wonderful, godly mother passed away nine years ago, she experienced something the night before she passed away and went to be with the Lord. She was very weak physically, but was of a clear sound mind at the time. She was sitting in her bed and suddenly asked us, “who are all these men in white robes standing around my bed?” Did angels come to minister to her, and comfort her in her final hours? Perhaps. I do believe that was probably what happened. Will I tell you for sure that is what it was? Of course not. How would I know with full certainty, unless I saw the angels also?

I don’t tell folks much about this story, because my certainty and assurance of eternal life and heaven comes not from what may have been a supernatural occurrence for my mother, but my assurance comes from Jesus Christ and His word. No other experience can add to my confidence in my salvation, and in knowing that He has prepared a place for me.

Heaven is for real- because God’s word says it’s real. Scripture tells us that heaven is God’s throne (Isa. 66:1; Mat. 5:34-35). After Jesus’ resurrection and appearance to His disciples, ““He was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55-56). He spoke of how the Father has “many mansions” in heaven. He assured us that He would return and take us to be with Him in heaven. Because of His word, His assurance and promise to us, I know that heaven is real- and I need no other confirmation.

I am not telling you to not go see this movie. That is up to you. I myself do not feel the need to see this movie, particularly because of the things in this young boy’s story that contradict Holy Scripture.

It’s my prayer that you will rely solely on God and His word, the promises of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, which will never give you false information.


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Nazarenes Exploring Evolution: Spreading Evolution’s Lies, Rejecting God’s Word

“These men are dried-up springs, mere clouds driven by a storm. Gloomy darkness is reserved for them.”  2 Peter 2:17

Evolution is a farce.  It is unprovable.  It is at best a hypothesis, and not even rises to the level of a theory.  It is not based on the scientific method of provability.  And one of its most amazing assumptions, that some living things amazingly transitioned to a totally different living thing (such as fish to mammal), does not have one shred of evidence and has never been observed to have happened.

Yet, it seems Nazarenes Exploring Evolution are trying their best to turn the Nazarene denomination into one that first and foremost holds to the false and unfounded teachings of the religion of evolution, while grudgingly letting faithful Bible-believers hold on their “silly” notion that the Bible does mean what it says when God explains creation in the book of Genesis.

The latest indication of a corrupted mind comes from a recent article written by Mark Maddix, Professor of Practical Theology and Discipleship at Northwest Nazarene University.  In an article titled “Evolutionary Theory and Moral Development”, he gives further proof that the Nazarene universities are a breeding ground for false teaching, and are a “great” place to send your child if you wish to have his or her faith shattered by the time the graduate.  Northwest Nazarene is clearly near the top of the list of the worst, along with Point Loma and the Nazarene Theological Seminary, yet we cannot recommend a single Nazarene university today that is holding true to biblical principles, and that has not fallen for the emergent ideology and the “spiritual formation” programs which are corrupting our youth.

Dr. Maddix is also known for his promotion of contemplative spirituality (the true name of spiritual formation).  At General Assembly this year, he led a presentation which ended up promoting the usual forms of contemplative spirituality that has so infected practically all Christian universities today.  When I stood up to challenge him on his premise that Roman Catholics believe the same way we do, we could tell that he was not only steadfastly defending that position, but that he and his colleague were wrong on the side of history, claiming that the Bible came from the Roman Catholic Church.  These are the kinds of dangerous things being allowed by the General Superintendents and the board of directors at these schools.

In his article, Maddix says this:

 “Growing up in a Christian home, evolution was only referred with negative connotations. I was taught that evolution was an atheistic theory which undermined the authority of Scripture in general and specifically Genesis 1 and 2.”

So in his early years, he was taught the right thing.  Evolution is an atheistic theory, it has never been close to being proved and cannot be proved with any facts whatsoever.  So what made Dr. Maddix change his mind?  Was it compelling evidence from Holy Scripture?  Sadly, no.  His authority is not the Bible, as is evident now.

He goes on to say that when he went to a Christian university, that is where he changed his mind.  He was persuaded, not by God’s word, but by the words of a professor.  He believed the professor who said that “the author of Genesis, probably not Moses, (that created another anxiety) had no understanding of modern science and was writing to show God’s relationship with God’s creation.”   So then Maddix explains that “His explanation changed the course of my understanding of the creation-evolution debate and helped me understand Genesis 1 and 2 as theological not scientific.”

He then goes on to tell how he subsequently became confused by a young earth creationist’s explanation of our origins.  He then stayed confused until a biology professor “affirmed his belief in evolution by stating that Darwin’s theory was the best way to explain how God created the universe.”  He accepted the professor’s explanation that “”Believing in evolution does not reject Scripture, since Scripture was not written for such purposes.”  Dr. Maddix goes on the state that “My Christian liberal arts education provided me with a clearer understanding of a Wesleyan view of Scripture, particularly as it related to the creation accounts and a view of creation that could include evolution.”

Hath God Said?

Thus he bought into the lie, and thus that is where he is now.

You must read on through his entire article in order to appreciate the kind of thinking that is causing great harm to Christian students in our universities.   A other quote by Dr. Maddix:

“In my search for understanding how persons grow and develop morality, I first asked whether humans are born with the capacity to know what is right or wrong (nature), or is morality shaped primary by our environments (nurture).”

He is searching for answers, but he seems to not search in the right place.  His search for understanding can only fully be fully arrived at in the pages of the “great book” as John Wesley called it.  As he and others distort the history of John Wesley for their purposes, they forget that John Wesley believed entirely in the complete inspiration of Scripture, and that it has no error whatsoever.  And therein lies the problem.  They do NOT believe that the Bible is God’s word.  They pick and choose and decide for themselves what the Bible says, not what it really says.

Dr. Maddix concludes:

“Evolutionary ethics does not contradict a Biblical view of human persons Instead it provides a scientific explanation for how God created humans with the capacity to be moral, and through our environments, we grow and develop morally.

How truly sad.  How pathetically sad.  Yet he will answer to God for the damage he is causing.  But Dr Maddix is not alone; he is but one example of the many members of Nazarenes Exploring Evolution who are causing great harm today.  One is a former professor of mine in Greek New Testament.  Another is Tom Oord, also from NNU, who also promotes such false teachings as process theology and open theism.  Another is Dr. Dan Boone, president of Trevecca Nazarene University, one of the most dangerous and influential men in the denomination today.  It is a long list of “learned men and women” who cannot seem to accept the plain taught facts of Scripture.

As I wrote in a previous article:

Believing in evolution means you must accept that, among other things:

-Adam and Eve were not real historical figures as described in Genesis;

-Jesus was not truthful when he talked about Adam and Eve in a historical context;

-You reject God’s account in Genesis that He created everything in six days;

-You reject the ​truthfulness of the​ genealogical account of the Lord in the book of Luke, which includes Adam;

-The account of the first 11 chapters of Genesis is only allegory;

-You accept that death came into the world many years before any Adam and Eve, contradicting Romans 5:12 and its explanation of how sin and death came into the world;

-You pick and choose what you want to believe, instead of accepting God’s historical account at face value;

-You choose to use your own intellect and human reasoning and philosophy to validate the Bible, instead of letting the Bible validate itself;

-You reject the inerrancy and reliability of Scripture as the sole and final written authority for our faith and practice, and instead accept that the Bible has errors and is written deceptively.

Quoting a friend who recently commented on Maddix’s article: “What was it someone said to Paul, “Great learning has driven you mad.”  This fellow, like many in our universities, has had Christianity educated out of them.  So sad.”

Well, we know that Paul certainly was not mad, as he was clearly preaching and teaching the truth.  He himself claimed that the words that came from him were “not man’s word, but God’s words.”  Dr. Maddix and his friends do not believe the Bible is God’s inerrant word, and until they accept God’s word for what it teaches, they will be lost like a ship in the storm.

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95 Theses To The Modern Evangelical Church (re-post)

The following was originally posted three years ago by Greg Gordon, founder of  Thought I would share this again today on Reformation Day.

95 Theses To The Modern Evangelical Church

Greg Gordon (

I have revised many of these and also all of them are of a size that will fit on twitter and facebook easily to re-post. Pray about sharing these with others and sharing each theses individually. I believe many need to hear these truths and they are shared in the humility of my weakness and lack in my own Christian Life. May God in His mercy come and revive North American Christianity for His glory alone. “May the Lamb of God receive the reward of His sufferings in our lives today!”  – Greg Gordon (founder of

1. The “church” at large has forgotten that the chief end of man is to glorify God. (Rom 16:27; 1Cor 6:20; Mt 6:9; 1Cor 10:31)

2. Christians ignore most of the methods, practices and principles found in the book of Acts. (Acts 2:42,44; Acts 2:46; Acts 2:38)

3. Many treat “church” like any other social club or sports event that they might attend. (Acts 2:46; Heb 10:25; Acts 1:14)

4. We’ve made Christianity about the individual rather than the community of believers. (Rom 12:5; 1Cor 12:12; 2Tim 4:16)

5. In most “churches” the priesthood of all believers isn’t acknowledged as the role of pastor is abused. (1Pt 2:9; 1Cor 12:12; Eph 4:11-13)

6. The “church” as a whole has lost the concept of their being grafted into the promises given to Israel. (Rom 11:15, 17-18, 20, 25)

7. There needs to be a recovery of teaching the whole counsel of God, especially in expository form. (Acts 20:27; 1Tim 4:6, 2Tim 2:15)

8. We take it too lightly, the blessing and honor of having God’s Scriptures in our possession. (Ps 119:16; Acts 13:44; Neh 8:9)

9. There has never been more access to the Word of God, yet so little reading of it. (1Tim 4:13; Neh 8:1-3; Ps 119:59)

10. Some read the Scriptures to attain knowledge, but do not practice what they read. (Jam 1:22; Mt 7:21; 3Jn 4)

11. Worship has become an idol in many “churches”. The music often resembles the world. (Amos 5:23; Phil 4:8; 1Jn 5:21)

12. The world is shaping the views of the “church” more than the “church” shaping the world. (Rom 12:2; Mt 5:13; 1Cor 1:22-23)

13. The “church” spends more money on dog food than on missions. (2Cor 9:6; Lk 21:2; Acts 4:34-35)

14. We take lightly the cost of discipleship laid out by Jesus Christ and do not deny our lives. (Lk 14:33; Lk 14:26-27; Mt 8:19-20)

15. There is a lack of true discipleship and making others to be obedient disciples. (Mt 28:20; 2Tim 2:2; 2Tim 2:14)

16. Many subscribe to the error that parts of life are to be spiritual while others are to be secular. (1Pt 4:2; Col 3:3; 1Jn 2:6)

17. Modern Christians often find Jesus’ command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent. (Phil 2:21; Jam 3:16; Rom 12:1-2)

18. Self disciplines in the Christian life such as fasting and praying are considered legalistic. (2Tim 2:21; 2Tim 1:8; Mt 6:17)

19. Little thought and contemplation is put towards the lostness of men, the seriousness of the Gospel. (Phil 3:8; Gal 2:20; Heb 10:34)

20. We are living with an epidemic of cheap grace with flippant confession and shallow consecration. (Lk 14:28-30; Lk 14:26; Jam 4:8)

21. Since the inception of the Church, the Gospel had the requirements of repentance and discipleship. (Acts 2:38; Lk 14:26; Jn 8:31)

22. Now forgiveness is offered without repentance, discipleship without obedience, salvation without sanctity. (Heb 10:29; 4:11; Lk 13:24)

23. Introspection, counting the cost, godly sorrow over sin, are all foreign to many in the “church”. (Acts 2:37; Ps 119:9; Heb 6:1-2)

24. The modern church loves itself more than its neighbor. (1Cor 3:3; Gal 5:13; Phil 2:3)

25. The church must repent of its idolization of personality, and business principles. (2Cor 2:17; 1Cor 3:5; 1Cor 12:23)

26. Many elders and pastors of the “church” sadly are fleecing the flock to supply their own wants. (Jn 10:12-13; 1Pt 5:2-3; Rev 2:15)

27. The qualities most in demand in today’s pastorate are frequently foreign to the Scriptures. (1Tim 3:2-3; 1Tim 3:5; 1Tim 1:5-7)

28. The professionalization of the pastorate is a sin and needs to be repented of. (2Cor 11:13; Gal 3:1; Gal 2:6)

29. There must be repentance for the ambitious desire and idolization of the celebrity pastorate. (3Jn 9; Jer 17:5; 1Cor 12:22)

30. Pastors must trust the Spirit, not statistics. (2Sam 24:1; 1Cor 1:25; Rom 8:14)

31. Modern day prophets are being stoned by criticism and neglect. (2Tim 4:3-4; Gal 1:10; Jer 1:7-8)

32. God’s prophets are ill-treated and shunned by most “christians” considered too harsh or extreme. (Jer 6:10; Isa 6:9-10; Gal 4:16)

33. The prophets prophesy falsely, priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so. (Mt 24:4, 11-12; 1Cor 1:19, Jude 8 )

34. There are many false gospels being preached from pulpits in our day. (2Cor 11:4; Gal 1:8-9; Jude 16)

35. There is an epidemic of a “mock” salvation message. It is correct in doctrine, but false in reality. (2Cor 3:6; 1Jn 5:11-12; Rom 8:9)

36. A salvation that does not make men holy is trusted in by a deceived many. (Jude 4; Rom 8:1; Rom 6:17-18)

37. There is a needed perseverance in the truths of the Gospel without unbelief. (Eph 1:1; Heb 6:11-12; Heb 10:26-27)

38. A great need is to see “christians” become saints in actual experience. (1Jn 2:29; Col 3:5-8; Tit 3:8)

39. Many professors of religion are forbidding people to be a part of the holy body of Christ. (Mt 23:13; Ps 119:1-2; 2Pt 1:3-4)

40. Preaching has become all about the happiness of man and not the glory of God. (Jn 6:26; Rom 4:20; 1Pt 4:11)

41. Preachers give smooth words to entice men, yet very few give any words of correction or rebuke. (Jer 6:14; Pro 1:23; 1Tim 5:20)

42. Run from gospels that focus on your success and prosperity in name of Jesus Christ. (Jn 2:16; Acts 20:33; Jer 6:13)

43. Run from gospels that focus on self-improvement. (1Tim 6:5; Heb 12:14; Jam 4:14)

44. Run from churches where men, and not Christ, are glorified. (Col 1:18; Jude 25; Jn 16:14)

45. Run from churches where there is no Bible, no cross, no mention of the blood of Christ. (1Pt 1:18-19; Eph 3:13; Rev 1:5)

46. Run from churches where the worship leaves you cold, where there’s no sense of God’s presence. (1Cor 5:4; Ps 80:14-15; Jer 12:11)

47. Run from churches where you’re comfortable in your sin. (1Cor 14:25; Heb 10:30-31; Heb 4:13)

48. Run from churches that use the pulpit of God for a personal agenda. (Jude 10-11,19; 3Jn 9)

49. Run from those who preach division between races and cultures. (Jam 2:4, Gal 3:28, Rev 5:9)

50. Run from ungodly, spasmodic movements and endless empty prophesying. (Jer 5:13; 1Cor 14:33, 1Jn 2:16)

51. Run from preachers who tell mostly stories and jokes. (Eph 5:4; Tit 1:8; 2:12)

52. Run from those that are only after money, who use one gimmick after another to get your money. (2Pt 2:3; 2Cor 12:14; 1Cor 9:18)

53. The phrase “accept Jesus as your personal Saviour” is not found in the Scriptures. (Rom 10:9-10; Col 1:13; Acts 26:20)

54. Evidence of true conversion does not seem important to modern day Christians. (1Jn 2:6; 1Jn 4:17; Mt 7:20)

55. Thousands of sinners think of God as having only one attribute: Love! But continue in sin. (Rom 1:18; Acts 5:11; Ps 2:12)

56. “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!” has hindered true evangelism. (Rom 3:19; Acts 26:18; Phil 3:18-21)

57. A Gospel of love and grace only, without the law of God being preached. This is a doctrine of Satan. (2Tim 4:3-4; Rom 2:4-5; 3:19)

58. There has clearly arisen a careless mixture of 20th century reasoning with God’s revelation. (Col 2:8; Rom 1:25; Gal 1:6)

59. Decisionism and the “sinner’s prayer” has been a major cause of false conversions in the “church”. (2Pt 2:1-2; Eph 2:4-5; 2Cor 5:17-18)

60. Many will be surprised to hear Jesus say, “I never knew you, depart from me.” (Mt 7:22-23; 1Cor 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-21)

61. Men have taken the place of the Holy Spirit in confirming men in their supposed salvation. (1Jn 2:3-5; 2Ths 1:8; Gal 6:12-15)

62. The doctrine of hell and eternal suffering is something little grasped by most professing “christians”. (Mt 13:42; Jam 5:1; Ps 9:17)

63. The judgment seat of Christ is perhaps one of the most neglected topics in the modern pulpit. (2Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 1Cor 3:13)

64. The second coming of Christ needs to be re-instated as the church’s general thrust and burden. (1Jn 3:2-3; Col 3:4-6; 1Ths 4:14-17)

65. The church has lost the fear of God and has over emphasized the love of God. (Heb 12:28-29; Lk 12:5; Heb 10:31)

66. The church has left evangelism to a few trained professionals. (Acts 8:1,4; Acts 4:29; Rom 10:14)

67. Repentance is considered a one-time act in modern evangelism rather than a way of life. (Rev 3:19; Heb 12:17; 2Pt 3:9)

68. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is something that is not taught in many pulpits. (Acts 2:36; 1Cor 12:3; Rom 6:18)

69. Many in “churches” are not open to correction, church discipline or rebuke. (1Cor 5:5; 1Cor 11:31-32; Heb 12:7-9)

70. Some preach salvation as a theory instead of persuading men to come to Christ. (Jn 5:40; Col 1:28; 2Cor 4:5)

71. There has been a loss of the fullness and majesty of the gospel. (1Tim 1:11; Jude 25; Rom 15:29)

72. There is little mention of sin or the depravity of man from “church” pulpits. (Jn 3:20; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5)

73. Covetousness, consumerism, and coddling of the world’s goods does not appear wrong. (Jer 22:17; 1Jn 2:15-16; 1Tim 3:3)

74. Little is made of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in churches or in evangelism. (1Cor 15:14-15; Acts 4:10, 33)

75. The “church” has relied more on technology than God. (Zech 4:6; 1Cor 1:21; 2:4)

76. The prayer meeting is considered one of the least important meetings in the “church”. (1Tim 2:1; Acts 4:31; Phil 4:6)

77. Pastors have never prayed less than they do in the “church” today. (Jer 10:21; Phil 2:21; Eph 6:18-19)

78. Very few are waiting on God for His direction and purpose for His Church. (Eph 1:11; Ps 37:7; Isa 40:31)

79. The “church” has many organizers, but few agonizers. (Phil 3:18-19; Rom 9:1-3; Jer 9:1)

80. We need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the “church”. (2Tim 4:2; 1Cor 14:39; 1Cor 12:31)

81. A serious, sober, self-controlled Christianity is very seldom found or preached. (2Pt 3:11; 1Pt 4:7; Jude 3)

82. The “church” at large has forgotten how to pray. (1Jn 3:22; Acts 6:4; 1Ths 5:17)

83. Many “churches” are more dependent on tradition than the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Mk 7:13; Acts 16:6; Acts 13:2)

84. Multitudes of professors preach and teach: that you cannot be freed from sin. (Rom 16:18; Rom 6:1-2; 2Pt 2:1)

85. The Apostles and Christ always preached the possibility to walk free from sin. (Tit 2:11-12; 1Pt 1:14-16; Rom 6:19)

86. Sinners are not saved to sin, but rather, saved to holiness and good works. (Rom 6:13; Eph 2:10; 2Pt 3:14)

87. Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. (2Tim 2:19; 1Pt 4:17-18; 2Tim 3:12)

88. A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day. (1Tim 6:3; 2Ths 3:6; 2Ths 2:13)

89. Many are confused about obedience, and good works that are readily mentioned in the Scriptures. (Tit 3:8; Jn 10:32; Rev 3:15)

90. Little emphasis is put on the plan of God to make us like Jesus Christ in “churches”. (1Pt 1:14-16; 1Jn 2:6; 1Pt 4:1)

91. Christ did not die on the cross to obtain a worldly “church” but for a “glorious Church.” (Eph 5:27; Tit 2:14; Col 4:12)

92. Christ does not come into an unregenerate and impure heart as many contemporary theologians say. (2Cor 5:17; Mt 5:8; Eze 18:31)

93. A holy Church is God’s blessing to the world; an unholy “church” is God’s judgment upon the world. (Mt 5:14,16; Eph 4:1; 1Ths 2:12)

94. If Christianity is to make any headway in the present time, it must be proved to be more than a theory. (2Ths 3:6-7; 1Ths 4:1,11-12)

95. Unbelief has gagged and bound us as risen Lazarus, we need release in this final hour! (Heb 3:12-14; 1Cor 3:21-23; Heb 11:6)


Responding To A Nazarene Pastor’s Attempt To Discredit Bible Believers

Rev. Ulmet,

This letter is in response to your article (“I Am A ConcernedNazarene”) in the March/April edition of Holiness Today, the premier publication of the Church of the Nazarene which reaches Nazarenes across the world, in print and on the internet.  After reading it several times, I hardly knew where to begin to respond.  I do not especially like to correct a pastor who is in error.  It is not the first time I have had to do this, and it is never enjoyable.  A pastor is charged with the responsibility to lead and teach his flock as an undershepherd of the Great Shepherd.  But undershepherds are not perfect, they are susceptible to error like anyone else, and must be corrected when necessary, even by a layman without a theology degree.  (I recall the Bereans who were commended by Paul for making sure he was in line with Scripture, even though from the viewpoint of men, he was of greater stature then they).

You posted your article publicly, therefore this response must be public.  Please understand that this is intended for the purpose of correction, for reproof, to help you see the errors of what you have written to many Christians.  I have no animosity towards you, but many Nazarenes believe that what you and other pastors and college professors are promoting is very dangerous and unbiblical.  You have only succeeded in attacking and questioning the integrity and sincerity of many more than you know, but you have not succeeded in destroying their integrity.

There is no Matthew 18 imperative here to confront you in private.  When serious error is put forth publicly to Christians, it must be refuted publicly for the benefit of all, and for reproof and correction of the one who is in error.  Paul the apostle saw the need to correct Peter in public, because Peter had been promulgating incorrect teaching to other Christians.  Paul did not concern himself with Peter’s credentials as an original apostle of Jesus Christ; he did not worry about what others would say about him criticizing such a great man as Peter; he was only concerned with the truth, and correcting any false teaching, no matter who it came from.  And as I recall, Peter humbly took this public rebuke, and learned from it.  I pray that you do the same.

You said that you are a fourth generation Nazarene born into a Nazarene pastor’s family, the son of a district superintendent, and you have a BS and MS from Nazarene institutions.  I’m a second generation son of a Nazarene pastor who was rescued from the bondage of the Roman Catholic Church and who preached holiness for 50 years, and I have a BS and MS from non-Nazarene institutions.  But it really does not matter, does it, our heritage or educational pedigree?  Whatever credentials or background you or I have are irrelevant to any of these issues; let’s judge them only by the word of God.

There are a few areas I wish to address:

1. The Personal Nature of Your Attacks Against Many Nazarenes

This was I believe the most irresponsible thing you did, and for a pastor who is charged with greater responsibilities, it was doubly shameful.   What was worse was that not one of these words you used had one ounce of substantiation and had no documented information and proof.  Here are just some of the words you used to characterize a lot of Nazarenes:

“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”.

May I suggest that if you have even read the things we all have been saying, that you have simply ignored the substance, and resorted to your only strategy available: demonize those who disagree!  You said all these words simply because we are speaking out against what we believe to be false teachings according to God’s word?   With these words and more, what you have done is not only vilified the obvious and more visible “Concerned Nazarenes”, but you have attacked the integrity, honesty, and sincerity of the many Nazarenes who you do not know, and who have sent me many testimonies.  “These people”, as you refer to them, have written to me many times to tell me of the heartbreak they have experienced as they have watched their denomination of many generations slowly being infiltrated from within with false teachings like a cancer.  Some have told me of being demonized, of being called the divisive ones, and forced to leave their churches of many years, simply for daring to be Bereans and questioning the “new” teachings of their pastors.  Others have left the denomination because they could not find another Bible believing Nazarene church to go to.  Some still struggle on in their church, hoping that they can still make a difference.

These are the very people you speak of when you use those words.  Some of these godly and saintly people have served the Lord faithfully long before you were born, and for you to paint them all like this is an insult to them and their faithful testimony.  Most of them have risked a lot more than I have risked, including pastors who have stood up for the truth.  You have no idea what kind of destruction has occurred because of those who promulgate a theology of emergent openness to everything under the sun, which is doing nothing but watering down the Gospel, and is destroying our churches and our Christian universities.  You owe these people a sincere apology for the false words that were uttered in your attack piece, and you need to repent to God for painting them all in this light.

I quote here a former Holiness Today editor, the late Rev. William McCumber, who wrote in his book This Jesus:

“… I am troubled by “emergent theory” that is moving toward an “emergent church.” Leaders of this “conversation” or “movement” call themselves “post-modern” and I guess if you need a tag that one is about as good as another. My concern about them springs from their distortions of Scripture and their diminishing of Jesus …. More disturbing to me is the fact that the Jesus they talk about is not the Jesus of Scripture … Only the Jesus disclosed to us in the New Testament is relevant to our times and adequate for our salvation. To diminish Him is to destroy ourselves.”

I could give you further examples and quotes from God-fearing, Jesus-loving men and women of God in the Nazarene denomination, as well as other denominations who have rejected the godless ideology of the emergent church.  Perhaps someday, with their permission, I will publish their testimonies, as a witness to those who are siding with God’s word, not man’s word.  I prefer to be on their side of the issue, not yours.  I ask you, who then has been led by the Holy Spirit, and who has not? It can’t be both, can it? (See point #3).

After some people read your article at the Holiness Today FaceBook site, I was amazed at what some of them said, in spite of the caustic words you used to describe so many Nazarenes.  I have attached a running dialogue of that Holiness Today Facebook Discussion. Here are some of their words:

Excellent, Kevin!”
It was such a well-thought out, even-handed look at the whole issue. If anything could bring about true and charitable conversation, it would be this.”

Thank you for this timely article.”

This article is a needed statement that has been long in coming. I commend the editors of Holiness Today for the courage to publish what they knew would be a controversial article. The way in which many in the church have had to suffer under unfounded attacks often based on second hand information or on ignorance has been heartbreaking. I know that on my own district one church was divided by these unfounded attacks and a young pastoral couple suffered greatly because of it.”

I agree with you, David, an article meant to reconcile and bring civility has brought out such animosity, anger and personal attacks.”

Best article I have ever read in H.T. Maybe there is hope!”

No longer only saddened, now I am outraged that good pastors are being subjected to attacks such as this. I don’t even have words to express my disgust. It’s not a defense of truth or correct doctrine, but an outright assault on those who do not kowtow to a narrow interpretation. Pastor Ulmet, HT, thank you for the article. I might otherwise have never known the vitriol many of our pastors and professors are facing. Pastor Brickley is correct in that we have a way to settle differences. This is not it.”

And finally, Rev. Ulmet.  These are your words:

“We can handle these challenges in biblical ways. We can sit down and reason together.” (K. Ulmet)

You call this diatribe that you wrote a biblical way of handling these challenges?  This is how you like to sit down and reason together?  Have you actually taken up anyone on their offer to sit down and discuss these issues with you, in front of others, and let them decide for themselves?  I know others have accepted your offer, so let me do the same.  I would travel to a venue of your choice, let you select whomever you wish to help you, and bring the same number of people with me.  Sure, let’s sit down and not necessarily just reason together, but compare our ideologies and let others decide which is biblical.  Would you accept this challenge from someone who has no theology degree?

There have been quite a few “Likes” for your article on the HT FaceBook page.   It was more than 100 the last time I looked.  (There have been over 2,000 on the Holiness Today website).  And yet, these folks who complimented you somehow looked past the vitriol that flowed from your pen, and complimented you on how kind and loving and wonderful your words were.  They thought that this was a great example for others to see.  Yet, they switched on the condemnation immediately upon any Nazarene who dares to say a word against the ungodly movement called the emergent church.  Is this where our denomination is heading, that discernment is thrown out the window, and the ones who are insisting that we stand for biblical truth, and believe in the Bible, have become the enemy of the church?

It is no wonder that I truly believe that we are in the last days, and that satan has already started sending a great delusion into the minds of many Christians.

2. The Sol Alinsky-Like Tactics Of Diversion From The Facts

That being said, I want to also point out that this is no surprise to us.  This is a tactic that my friend John Henderson spoke of in his response, which is the tactic of personalizing the issue against your opponent, much like Sol Alinsky promotes in his book Rules For Radicals.  If you have no substantive argument against your opponent, just go after him personally, and divert the attention of your readers from the core issues, like the facts of the matter, and how they hold up to scripture.  Rev. Ulmet, I believe you are guilty of that tactic, but it’s no surprise, because I have yet to see one person who promotes this emergent foolishness defend his positions and beliefs using Holy Scripture, which is the ONLY source of authority for our Christian faith.  Our infallible authority is not the Church Manual, nor a professors’ theological musings; it’s nothing else but the word of God, and if the Church Manual goes against God’s word; we ought to correct it, not hold allegiance to it.

This diversionary tactic I have no doubt will fail, because the truth of God’s word will overcome the false attacks against those who love God and respect His word.

3. You Said That The Holy Spirit Prompted You To Write Your Words

You said in a posting to your congregation:

“This article was prompted by the Holy Spirit some months ago after observing for some time the tactics and approaches of a few who are critical of our denomination, our pastors and leaders, our Universities and other entities.”

And now compare this quote:

“After the truth was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit, and being prompted by the Holy Spirit to be in obedience to God’s word, I went out determined to refute the emergent church and its’ false teachers in our denomination, exposing their tactics and approaches to as many Nazarenes as I could, in order to keep many from being deceived.” (A concerned Nazarene)

Rev. Ulmet, the prompting of the Holy Spirit never leads a man to error, because the Holy Spirit always leads a trusting believer into truth, and will never contradict the Scriptures.  If it does lead to error, then it is not the Holy Spirit.  It is another spirit that leads a man to say two opposites in one breath: that the Bible is God’s inspired word, BUT that it is also only inerrant in “matters that pertain to salvation.”

The implication from your “Holy Spirit” statement is obvious: since the “Holy Spirit” guided you to write what you did, then everyone should accept that all those who do not agree with you are wrong.  If that is the case, we ought to all repent of what we are doing, and join your “side.”  But wait, how does one determine who is correct, when two people claim the Holy Spirit prompted them to opposite conclusions?  One must compare what they claim with the word of God.  I will leave it to informed readers to make up their minds as to which statement is Holy Spirit inspired.

4. Your Own Words Tell Us That You Do Not Trust All Of Scripture

Quotes:  “To those who would deny full inspiration of all 66 books or dispute inerrancy “in all things necessary to our salvation” we must lovingly but firmly respond with our deep conviction of this Word being God’s Word!”  and  “We subscribe to God as Creator, the Bible as the fully-inspired and with regard to all things salvific the inerrant Word of God.”

I find it incredible that you start out with an affirmation of the inspiration of Scripture and that it should be defended firmly; but then you weaken that very affirmation by qualifying inerrancy as being only in regards to those things necessary to our salvation!  First, I reject that revision of our official statement because it reveals your distrust in all of Holy Scripture.  Secondly, who or what has given you or anyone else the authority to declare that Scripture is inerrant ONLY in matters of salvation?  And thirdly, who or what is the arbiter of what is or is not necessary for salvation?

You also seem to have an unusually high esteem of the Church Manual, perhaps too high.  You said: “our precious Articles of Faith”, and “”we must boldly declare our allegiance to Article IV of the Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene.”  Perhaps that is the problem today in our church.  We are almost holding up the Church Manual as equal to Holy Scripture, and that surely we must hold allegiance to it, in spite of the fact that we fallible Nazarenes seem to change the meaning of that very Manual every four years!  So our final allegiance should only be to one set of words, and that would be the Holy Bible, not the Church Manual.

 5. Your High And Misguided View Of What Our Schools Should Teach Our Students

This I really had to address, because one of the major problems with our schools today, including our seminaries, is the reckless and careless teaching (all documented by the way) of unbiblical practices and ideas.  These are not taught as things to avoid, but as good things, and this is destroying the solid foundations these schools once had.  It is troubling what you said:

“But we must also remember that higher education requires exploration of many ideas and various traditions. Our professors must be supportive and encouraging of our theological and doctrinal positions, while also carefully leading students through a necessary and healthy process of critical evaluation, as well as personal growth and maturity.”

Unfortunately, the way you phrase this is not the way it is being done.  You and many of your colleagues instead promote and encourage an “anything goes philosophy under the guise of “we are a liberal arts institution.”  A Nazarene school should not be claiming to be a Nazarene school, if it does not reflect and teach its students the core values that the denomination says that it holds and teaches.  Under this excuse, our schools have introduced our students to dangerous teachings by Tony Campolo, Tom Oord, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, and many others.  Instead of promoting the equipping of our students to combat and refute the false teachers, you promote the indoctrination of our students with these false teachings.

This pastor’s words reflect the same philosophy, which is what is coming out every year from our seminaries as they are being themselves indoctrinated with emergent (aka missional) ideology:

“A fine quality Christian Liberal Arts Education like the one you will find at Eastern Nazarene College, Northwest Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminaryoperate with an educational philosophy that equips the next generation of nurses, doctors, lawyers, ministers, business men and women, musicians etc. to engage our post-modern world as effective and exceptional young Christians.  The fact of the matter is that neither the world nor the church of the Nazarene operates under this closed system of thought that you have chosen for yourself and continue to promote with your e-mails and blog.  Some denominations and many bible colleges find it their purpose to operate within these strict confines and that is fine for them.  I believe they have a valuable place in God’s Kingdom.  But a liberal arts education and a missional church do not operate that that way”

That is exactly what is wrong today with many of our pastors and professors today, captivated by liberal post-modern thinking, in exchange for the simple truth of God’s word.

6. You Seem To Have An Aversion To “Test All Things, Prove That Which Is Right”

“Our ability to historically separate the biblical from the unbiblical-while at the same time loving the person and leaving the judgment to God…”
“Under the guise of protecting the church from ‘emergent ideas and concepts, whatever those are…”

“We can sit down and reason together.”

“Even when we disagree, we can do so agreeably without casting dispersion and eternal damnation on someone else.”

“discourage others from division…”

These are things that jumped out at me, so I ask you: as a pastor, do you not wish to preach the whole council of God?  I think we all know that at some point in time any Bible believing pastor is going to confront error filled beliefs or false teaching.  Are you saying that we should always just simply agree to disagree?  If so, you have an incorrect understanding of the many passages in Scripture that command us to reprove, rebuke, to even shun and cast out of the church, those who would cause divisions by their false teaching.  You see, the dividers are not those who are trying to keep God’s word pure.  The real dividers are the very people Concerned Nazarenes are fighting to either correct and lead to repentance, or if not, to make them leave the church so as not to cause any further harm to God’s people!

Another concerned Nazarene read your article and here is what he said about a few of your thoughts:

“Apparently the author considers “emergents” mavericks that God has raised up to be used by God for His Glory and the advancement of His kingdom.  Really?  It is my opinion that none of the emergent leaders are in the class of those the author cited and I cannot believe the author includes the “emergent” leaders in his reference to “God’s servants” that are responsible for the “explosion of new and creative ideas” today.”

I assume also that is what you meant in your reference to mavericks, and if so, I believe that the “mavericks” of today do not come close to being called God’s servants.  In fact, in most of these mavericks’ cases, you will find a real disdain for the Bible, and a pick and choose attitude as to what is relevant.  They all ignore many parts, and particularly the passages that warn of false teachers, which is no surprise.

If you refuse to obey the Scriptural commands to expose and refute false teaching, you would be just as guilty as those who promote false teaching.  The only question left is, are you simply in error, or are you purposely and knowingly promoting the false teachings of the emergent church?  And so, your plea for Christians to stop using words such as “heretic” and “unorthodox” and “emergent” and “threat” should be ignored by Bible believers in exposing the dangers to the church.  We will not accede to this request to keep silent, for we will be as guilty as the watchman on the wall who fails to blow his trumpet at the sign of danger.

You were so correct when you said “our Wesleyan-Arminian and Holiness Movement history that have guided us well for over a century are under attack. Not from those outside our Christian faith, but from those inside.”  How right you were, but little did you know that this “inside attack” is coming from folks who are redefining John Wesley in ways that fit their emergent ideas.  This attack comes from those of you who reject true holiness and invent one that is based on social good deeds.  This attack is from those who reject the Bible as fully God’s word, instead qualifying it as “containing” God’s word.

My prayer is that those who are reading this will have a better understanding of what we are fighting.  I am fighting your ideas, not you personally.  However, since you are promoting these ideas, I have a responsibility to respond when these ideas run contrary to Scripture.  If you truly want to help out in these situations, then I suggest that the next time you write something, please use specific quotes and specific documented information if you are going to accuse a bunch of Bible believing Christians of such things that you have.  It is only fair, because what we strive to do is document everything, state what the person is saying or teaching- and make our opinion known based on the Bible only.

I conclude with these quotes of Dave Hunt, which reflect solid biblical doctrine and teaching:

“The Bible allows for no compromise, no discussion, no dialogue with the world’s religions (emergent) in search for common ground. Remember, Christianity is not a religion but distinct from all of them.

Jesus didn’t say, “Go into all the world and dialogue about faith. He said, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel.

A reasonable and genuine faith must take very seriously what Jesus said – not what somebody says about what Jesus said, but His very words as recorded in the Bible.”
(Dave Hunt, The Berean Call)

Manny Silva

Responding To Dr. Leth’s Open Letter To Manny Silva

[Dr. Carl Leth recently wrote “An Open Letter To Manny Silva” in response to my post about Olivet Nazarene University promoting contemplative spirituality. My response to that is below, followed after by the full text of his letter.]

Summary Statement:

Dear Dr. Leth,

1. Instead of attacking the stated facts in my article, you wrongly attacked the integrity and honesty of Stand For Truth Ministries (me) and of Lighthouse Trails Research. You attacked the messenger, but not the message!  I think you could have done better.

2. You did not give a biblical defense for Olivet allowing false teachers like Tony Campolo to speak to students unchallenged.

3. You did not give a biblical defense for Olivet using books by authors like Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster.

4. You demonstrated no Scriptural defense of “spiritual formation.”  Ironically, the only passage you used, Romans 12:2, is actually a reason for not allowing Tony Campolo to speak to the students at Olivet.  He is part of the world!

5. You wrongly accused Lighthouse Trails of some kind of deception.  You said: But I do object to anonymous critique from people without identity or accountability. They operate – by choice – in the shadows.”  Well, you obviously missed the easy-to-find “Contact Us” section that lists David and Deb Dombrowski as the editors.  And you can further read their doctrinal statement, including the opening statement that the Bible is inerrant and historically accurate- a belief that is sadly lacking amongst many Nazarenes today, including many of our college theologians.

6.  John Wesley was not someone who promoted contemplative spirituality. (Although if he did, I would have called him out on it).

7. From your letter, I can only conclude that Olivet Nazarene University has at this time no intention of seriously looking at the implications of what it is doing by promoting contemplative spirituality (via “spiritual formation programs”).  That is why, unless their is a serious change, I do not recommend Olivet for any Bible believing Christian, as I do not recommend any of the other Nazarene schools and the seminary and Bible college as well.

8. I have no problem accepting your invitation to come and visit Olivet.  You can read my answer at the end.

Full Response:

Dr. Leth, although I still have serious disagreement with you on these issues, at least you have responded publicly, and I commend you for that.  Too many leaders in our denomination today are “operating in the shadows.”  The church needs to know the facts of where you and other leaders stand at all the colleges and seminaries, and make their decisions based on the answers.

You stated, “What you failed to mention was our exchange of multiple e-mails and an extended phone conversation discussing Dr. Campolo. You also neglected to mention the multiple page assessment of Dr. Campolo which I sent to you (and which I also shared with our University chaplain), discussing points of disagreement – and agreement – with your concerns.”

Any “omission” of our communications was done out of consideration for your statement of confidentiality, and certainly not to hide anything.  All your emails you sent me marked as confidential, including the one which had your assessment of Dr. Campolo attached.  Your disclaimer says: “This message is from the Office of Carl M. Leth at Olivet Nazarene University and is intended only for the recipient to whom it is addressed.  Please do not share or forward this e-mail without the permission of the sender.”

 So I honored that disclaimer.  If you wish, I would be glad to publicize all those emails that you stated were confidential, as well as your assessment of Dr. Campolo.  There was no failure or dishonest omission on my part, as is implied.

Secondly, I stand by my statement in which I said that you have no problem with Dr. Campolo.  Yes, you did write an assessment of Dr. Campolo that included some criticism, but the bottom line is this.  In allowing Dr. Campolo to come to Olivet, you (and the leadership) are okay with a false teacher coming to the Olivet campus and speaking unchallenged.  You know by now that Dr. Campolo promotes a whole lot of unbiblical ideologies, including contemplative mysticism, mantra prayers, and tacit support of the homosexual agenda.  By allowing him to speak, you (the leaders of Olivet) potentially allow him to poison the minds of your students.  That is irresponsible, and at least says that you and others are willing to tolerate the appearance of a false teacher on campus without giving anyone a chance to refute him at the same time.  I’ll let others decide for themselves whether that is wise or not.

Thirdly, you also said, that “standing for truth” does not require basic courtesy, not to mention following biblical principles for dealing with matters of disagreement.”  I am not aware of any biblical principles I violated.  Surely you do not mean Matthew 18, which does not apply here.  You are a public figure, whose words are read by hundreds of students at a time at Olivet.  A public response to you or any other public figure is absolutely appropriate.  We warn you and the leadership of what your school is allowing.  I am duty bound by God’s word to point out the errors publicly, for the sake of the students who attend your school, and for those who may attend.  I see no biblical basis for keeping my mouth shut publicly.  On the other hand, it would be reckless for me to not give out any warning as Olivet continues on this course.

You Question My Integrity, and That Of Lighthouse Trails

In spite of my serious disagreements with you, I had not (until now) questioned your integrity because I have not had any concrete reason to do so.  I do question your ideas.  I know that you sincerely believe in what you do, although I believe you are sincerely wrong.  A person can be in error and still be a person of integrity.  Yet you are questioning my integrity and my honesty, as well as that of the Lighthouse Trails writers.  That is a disappointment to me, and I believe it is an improper unscriptural judgment of me, Lighthouse Trails, and anyone else who has an opinion of what Olivet is teaching.  And it results , intentionally or otherwise, in trying to deflect away from the facts, which you never refuted.

You said:  “standing for truth” does not require speaking truthfully” …. “It revealed that “standing for truth” does not require a very high standard for truth. The critique of Olivet in a broad, sweeping stroke, was based on the posting of “Lighthouse Trails Research” which you trust and “commend.” 

 I commend and stand by Lighthouse Trails and the work they do, and I stand by my work as well. We bring facts out in the open, and we give our opinion.  Were these facts inaccurate about Olivet?  If so, which stated facts are in error, and why?  Frankly, what you object to is not the facts, but my conclusion as well as LHT’s conclusion, that Olivet is promoting contemplative spirituality.

And it does not matter whether LHT has a Wesleyan background!  John Wesley did not write the Bible!  What matters is if what they post is the truth, and there has been no refutation of any facts, and no biblical justification given for allowing these false teachers to influence our students.  I have no formal theological training, but God has given me the discernment to see what is false, and what is truth.

So I am very disappointed at your accusation that both Lighthouse Trails and myself are lacking in integrity and honesty.  This reminds me of the same technique used by my former pastor, when he did not like hearing the truth from me and could not refute a single thing I wrote.  I’ve seen this often.  When some people can’t refute the truth, they simply try to destroy the integrity of the messenger!  I am not perfect, but my conscience is clear before God.  Is yours?

I suspect that not one theology professor at Olivet, nor any other Christian university, can defend in a biblical manner the ideology of such writers as Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Tony Campolo, and many others.  They all share one thing in common, and that is the rapidly growing phenomenon of “spiritual formation.”  I would challenge your professors to come up with a biblical defense for the use of Henri Nouwen and Richard Foster books.  If not, they ought to throw it all out.  Sadly, those who are on the spiritual formation bandwagon are using contemplative practices that are unbiblical and that teach Christians that if they are quiet enough, the voice of God will speak to them; that if they practice “the silence” they will get closer to God.

Dr. Leth, you and some of your colleagues including some at our seminaries, are trying to justify the positive use of books by men who promote doctrines of demons.   We should not be trying to confuse people by saying we can take the good from these men, and throw out the bad.  That is not biblical at all.  You are trying to justify contemplative spirituality, and denying that it is what you call spiritual formation.  Spiritual formation programs are a Trojan horse bringing in contemplative mysticism. You say mystical expressions are okay.  I would ask, how does one know that any of those mystical expressions are from God, or from Satan?  How do I tell which is it? You seem to be pretty much on the same page as Tony Campolo, who said:

 “We must pay serious attention to mystical happenings, and discern, in the context of biblical understanding in Christian community, whether or not we believe they are of God. Discernment is crucial to mystical spirituality. Without it, anything goes. On the other hand, we must learn to doubt our doubts if we are going to be open to the work of the Spirit in our lives” (The God of Intimacy and Action, p. 11).

Finally, you said: “And I categorically reject the position attributed to Nouwen suggesting that there could be any other way to God.” 

How can it be clearer?  In his own words, Nouwen said:

“Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God” (Sabbatical Journey, New York: Crossroad, 1998, p. 51).

Dr. Leth, let me make it clear: I have nothing personal against you or anyone at Olivet or any of the other colleges.  I believe you and your colleagues have good intentions.  God has long ago removed any personal resentments from my heart.  But I am saddened that the current position of Olivet leadership seems to be one of either denial, or refusal to repent.  I call on you and the leaders of the school to reject the use of these false teachers as good resources, to reject the spiritual formation which is a trojan horse for contemplative spirituality, and to get back to the Bible and nothing else as your source of truth.  It is a call for repentance from what is slowly destroying the Nazarene denomination.  It is a call to turn back to obedience to the inerrant word of God.

Your Invitation to Visit:

Regarding your invitation to come to Olivet.  I would be glad to come sometime with a colleague and have a dialogue with two of your best theologians, in front of all the students in chapel, on the merits of contemplative spirituality (spiritual formation).  I think something like that would be very interesting, and would allow someone like me, who is not seminary trained, to make my case.  I would only be armed with my knowledge of Scripture, my knowledge of those who promote contemplative spirituality, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Besides, would this not reflect the spirit of academic discourse and freedom, and sharing of ideas?

So consider this reply a Yes to your offer for me to visit the campus and speak to your students.  After all, if Tony Campolo, a non-Nazarene, can speak to them, why not a lifelong Nazarene like me?


Manny Silva

* Additional comments have been added in red within your letter below:


Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2012 07:29:47 -0800
Subject: An Open Letter to Manny Silva

An Open Letter to Manny Silva

(Please note: This letter will also be published on

Dear Manny,

You recently issued a sweeping online critique of Olivet Nazarene University which you sent to Dr. Bowling and myself.  I was saddened and disappointed to receive it. But not by what it had to say about Olivet. It was what it revealed about Stand for Truth Ministries.

It revealed that “standing for truth” does not require speaking truthfully, or at the very least, is not averse to misleading statements. You wrote, concerning Tony Campolo’s visit to speak in chapel, “I sent my concerns to Dr. Carl Leth, dean of the School of Theology, but apparently he has no problem in having Dr. Campolo speak there.” What you failed to mention was our exchange of multiple e-mails and an extended phone conversation discussing Dr. Campolo. You also neglected to mention the multiple page assessment of Dr. Campolo which I sent to you (and which I also shared with our University chaplain), discussing points of disagreement – and agreement – with your concerns. In the end, our differences were less about the areas where Dr. Campolo is on questionable grounds than the severity of that critique. I shared your concerns about several positions Dr. Campolo advocates but I did not conclude that they disqualify him from speaking at all. That is a different conclusion from yours but hardly constitutes having “no problem” with Campolo.

It revealed that “standing for truth” does not require basic courtesy, not to mention following biblical principles for dealing with matters of disagreement.  In my multiple exchanges of communication with you I have tried to understand your concerns and respond to them in a serious manner. While we do not agree on every issue I want to honor your concerns and perspective. In those multiple (and wholly congenial) exchanges I repeatedly asked you to contact me if you had any concerns about what we were doing at Olivet. “If you have a concern please let me know.” I extended my personal invitation to Olivet to communicate your concerns directly, offering to personally serve as your host. You have my e-mail address and my personal phone number, both of which you were invited to use freely. Yet this latest, sweeping, critique came without any prior contact from you. Perhaps any explanation I would have made would have been unsatisfactory to you. But it would have been a gesture of simple courtesy to give me that opportunity.

It revealed that “standing for truth” does not require a very high standard for truth. The critique of Olivet in a broad, sweeping stroke, was based on the posting of “Lighthouse Trails Research” which you trust and “commend.”  So I went to Lighthouse Trails to learn a bit more about my accuser. What I learned was almost nothing. The editors of Lighthouse ministry shine a bright light on folks they disagree with but remain, themselves, in the shadows. The site includes a tab “about us” but it does not include any names, credentials, or church affiliation. Instead, the site freely identifies their purpose as for-profit book sales. I have no objections to free enterprise or book sales. But I do object to anonymous critique from people without identity or accountability. Do they have any meaningful theological training? Are they from the Wesleyan Holiness tradition? Are they active in a local church? Is there an accountability community that can vouch for their character and integrity? I am not presuming negative answers to any of these questions. I am simply noting that I have no basis on which to offer any kind of answer to them. The writers of Lighthouse Trails may be well-trained churchmen, deeply grounded in the Wesleyan holiness tradition and their understanding of our tradition, and persons of high personal, spiritual and moral character. I simply have no way to know. They operate – by choice – in the shadows.

Nevertheless, they have been installed as the authoritative theological source for assessment of the Church of the Nazarene and Olivet Nazarene University whose judgment is accepted without question by Stand for Truth Ministries.
Dr. Leth, I have many reliable sources of information that I use, besides LHT, and I also do my own research and also verify the information.  But how would you know I accept LHTs words without question?  And please tell me, which facts that they reported were incorrect?  Did they not use Richard Foster’s book, and Nouwen’s books, in some courses?  Did not the VP of SPiritual Life favorably quote Nouwen?  Which facts were incorrect?

Among the faculty of Olivet’s School of Theology and Christian Ministry we have over 200 years of ministry experience – on the mission field, as pastors, in local ministry staff positions. I have, myself, over 25 years of pastoral service, including four years in Missions. I have been entrusted with leadership roles on districts where I have served – District Advisor Board, chairman of the district Finance Committee, chairman of the Ministerial Credential’s Board. You can read what I have written, identified by name, in multiple publications easily available to the public (including You can hear me preach any Sunday at the multi-cultural church I pastor (as a bi-vocational pastor) in downtown Kankakee. My credentials, experience and service are readily available for public assessment. But for Stand for Truth Ministries none of that matters the moment an anonymous, for-profit, online bookseller makes a condemning critique. That is the standard of truth.  No sir, the standard of truth is Jesus Christ, and His word, the word of God!

LHT is NOT anonymous, and you should correct that and apologize for saying that.  They even explain why they are for-profit, but even so, what s wrong with for profit?  Can they make a living, just as a pastor needs to get some income as well?  Do you earn income for what you do?

As far as your credentials, they look really good to me.  But is that the standard for Christians before they can discern what is right and what is wrong?  Does that mean no one is qualified to discern unless they have gone to theological school and received a degree?  Please read Psalm 119:99 and you will know that is not necessarily the case.

About Olivet

So much for what this reveals about Stand for Truth Ministries. Let me respond to the substance of your expressed concern. The general concern about “spiritual formation” reflects a misunderstanding about what spiritual formation is. You assume that anything identified as spiritual formation must be, or lead to, inappropriate forms of mysticism or non-Christian spirituality. This is simply mistaken. The disciplines of spiritual formation have been a part of the Christian community from its beginning. They reflect the intentional formation of practices and patterns of life to reflect and honor Christ’s lordship. They include practices of prayer, reading Scripture, worship, giving, and service. John Wesley did not use the term “spiritual formation” but emphasized the practices of spiritual formation as “means of grace.”

John Wesley, as far as I know, would not be involved with the kind of spiritual formation being promoted in the universities today, in many of our churches.  But… if he did, I suppose I would have to call him out on it as well.  The attempt to re-write the history of John Wesley, such as the claims of some that he was the first emergent, is outrageous!

The Wesleyan holiness understanding of God’s work of salvation has always included an emphatic insistence that this must include a radical change of life. Justification cannot be the experience of the believer without regeneration, newness of life, or initial sanctification. This means that life change is part and parcel of the New Birth. We must live in a new way. And this includes learning new habits and patterns of life. We need to learn to read the Word, spend time in prayer, spend time just listening to God, learn to act in new and different ways – like learning to serve others and spending time in the fellowship of the church.

All we need is the instructions God has given us in scripture.  We MUST NOT use “new and different ways” if they contradict God’s word.  But your examples certainly are not new.  Serving others, fellowship in the church- those are nothing new, although they are biblical.  Practicing the silence is not.  Using books by heretical authors as good resources are not.   Placing ashes on the forehead are not.

It is the expression of living worship. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

That is one of the points I have been trying to make!  Do not conform to the world!  Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster are part of the world!  Run away from them- don’t embrace them!

This work of life transformation is God’s work, a gift of grace, but it is not done without us. We are called to participate with God’s gracious work in us. And just because it is grace does not mean that the work is not sometimes hard work on our part. We emerge from lives of sin and the powerful influence of this world with deeply ingrained patterns of thinking and habits of life. We have to re-learn how to think of ourselves, what we value, how to use our resources, how to work through our hurts and grievances. All of this is part of God’s work in our lives to make us holy. All the “work” we do is participating in God’s sanctifying work in our lives. This is what “spiritual formation” must always be about – being made holy, reflecting the image and character of the Christ to whom we belong.

This is the work we are purposing to do. No mystic spiritualism. No inner divinity. Richard Foster claims that EVERY human being can be a portable sanctuary for contact with God.  EVERY human being, not just Christians. No universal spiritual being. Just forming hearts and lives around the heart and life of the One who gave himself for me. He alone is our life. He alone is our hope. He alone is the One we seek.

Let me add a word about the language of mysticism. It is easy for someone to misunderstood what is being said when calling for a movement from “moral” to “mystical” Christian experience. There are Christian traditions that see the Christian life as primarily a kind of moral living. Being Christian is, essentially, following the moral standards found in Scripture or expressed by the church. The life of the Christian is a life of compliance with the Law or the Church. “Mystical” expressions of Christianity have called people to a personal experience of God, a living personal relationship that does not require the mediation of a priest or the institutional church.

How is “Mystical” expressions biblical?  Please explain how mysticism is encouraged or taught in Scripture.  Nouwen said this:  “Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love. … For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required” (In the Name of Jesus, pp. 6, 31, 32).  How is this scriptural?

In this sense, we of the Wesleyan holiness tradition have always been “mystical.” We have never believed that being Christian is, essentially, about the Law.  Dr. Leth, let me explain what being a Christian means.  Being a Christian is this: someone who has repented of his sins, and placed his faith in Jesus Christ.  He has turned away form his sinful path, and now turns to obedience to Christ.  How do you obey Christ?  Simply by following His word, His law if you will.  Jesus said it Himself: if you love me, keep my commandments.  He did not say, if you love me, become a mystic and experience by practicing the silence.

It is about a personal encounter with the living God. It is what every altar in every church calls out. God, Himself, may be met here.

This is a description of the experiential philosophy of the emergent church and the mystics of today.  That you can “experience” God.   However, this is very subjective, and there is not clear way for us to discern whether someone’s “persona” experience is genuine or not, or if it is demonic.

In this sense I am glad to be called “mystical.” In fact, I refuse to be anything else. As I write this response I am listening to the song that asks, “Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth and song, as the burdens press, and the cares distress, and the way grows weary and long?” And my heart is encouraged by the ringing refrain, “O yes, He cares; I know He cares!…I know my Saviour cares.”  I know because I have met Him, I know Him. The Christian life is to follow Him and to know Him. This is the “mysticism” we value here at Olivet.

We follow and know Him by knowing His word.  Otherwise, your mysticism and my mysticism can be totally different, and again, how can I tell whether your experience is valid or not?  Or whether the “mystical experience” of 1000 different students at Olivet is valid or not.

That is not to say that any mysticism will do. Absolutely not! Only a life grounded in the life of Christ has found Life. And I categorically reject the position attributed to Nouwen suggesting that there could be any other way to God. There is no other Way, no other Truth, no other Life.

Where is any scriptural support for mystical experiences that can somehow be achieved by our efforts?  All the mystical experiences documented in the New Testament were initiated by God- not by Paul or anyone else going through some kind of procedure or ritual.

Moving Forward

I want to take you and your concerns seriously – as I have tried to do from the beginning. I will ask our faculty who are using Nouwen to carefully consider the texts they are using. I will ask them, specifically, to explore the suggested pluralism in the source you attribute to Nouwen.

They know what Henri Nouwen believed and taught.  There should be no question but that they should immediately remove his material, as well as Richard Foster’s, from the curriculum.  However, I do not fault Olivet alone on this.  I was ashamed to see Richard Foster’s book at General Assembly, AND in a prayer room, which was doubly shameful.

We want to avoid any suggestion that we affirm mystical spirituality or hope of salvation that is not grounded in the life of Christ alone.

But that is what the Nazarene denomination is doing right now, seeking “experiences” instead of remaining int he word of God.  It is no longer sufficient for them.  They must seek more new ways of getting close to God.  That is an insult to the sufficiency of placing our faith in Christ, and relying on His word.

We will not, however, abandon the enterprise of spiritual formation as I have described it. To do so would be to fail to be faithful stewards of the responsibility entrusted to us.

I’m sorry to hear that.  May the Lord bring conviction to you all and repentance from this path that Olivet seemingly has chosen.  It is the wrong way to go.

Nonetheless, I want to repeat my earlier offer to you. You are welcome to visit Olivet at any time as my guest. I will personally serve as your host and we will work to arrange meaningful opportunities for dialogue with you. If you are unable to visit the campus but have concerns you would like to express please communicate them to me and I will try to address them. In whatever we do let us try to honor Christ and be honoring to each other for his sake.

I’ll be glad to come, if I will be allowed to speak to the students in chapel, just as Tony Campolo was.

Ashes To Fire: Baby Step To Apostasy And Spiritual Damage

Ashes To Fire is another baby step to apostasy.  If Christians are waiting for Satan to get right in their face and say, “here is the false teaching I am spreading, here are the evil doctrines that I want you to believe” – they don’t understand Scripture.  What Satan does is mix 99% good with 1% evil, and so he appears as an angel of light to the unsuspecting, undiscerning Christian who has not been grounded in the word of God, or has lost his grounding.  He hooks you in with something that looks good. It’s no wonder that even some of the most well known and once solid, doctrinally sound preachers and teachers that we know, have now themselves been corrupted by doctrines of demons.

The infiltration of heresy is so much clearer to me now, looking back.  I was taken in by it.  I became highly aware of it after leading a small group study of the Purpose Driven Life book.  After the group ended, some things just did not sit right with me about Rick Warren’s book.  Soon I discovered the book was full of scripture twisting gymnastics, quoting of New Agers, and convenient use of verses from The Message, a paraphrase (not a translation) of the Bible with its own occultic references.  I remember apologizing later to a fellow employee to whom who I had given the book.

Darkness and Gloom

But it had already started a few years back.  Now I can see what was happening.  Have you ever been to a Maundy Thursday service?  Well, the one I attended at my church was held almost in total darkness, with a few candles, and loud banging noises to simulate the crucifixion, to get you in the right “mood”.  And you were told that as soon as the service ended, you were to walk out solemnly in total silence.  I remember some folks scolding others for whispering; they took it quite seriously, as if it was a biblical mandate.  That was Maundy Thursday.  Never saw it before in my many years as a Nazarene, certainly never experiences such a dark, somber event, and I hope I never do.  But I went along with it, even though it seemed a bit strange.  I remember my father-in-law was not at all comfortable with it, describing it as Roman Catholic-like.  His discernment antennae were already up a long time ago, as I found out later.

“In the emerging culture, darkness represents spirituality. We see this in Buddhist temples, as well as Catholic and Orthodox churches. Darkness communicates that something serious is happening.”  Dan Kimball, The Emerging Church, p. 127

Rituals and “Experiencing God”

Then came the rest over the next several years, a little at a time; the new emphasis on Advent services, Lent, Ash Wednesday, the lighting of candles again.  I guess it seemed okay to me at first.  Then there were the books given out to church leaders.  For example,  “Experiencing God” by Henry Blackaby.  Turned out he is a mystic who promotes contemplative prayer. Then I spotted the Henri Nouwen books, and many of his sayings were written in several Advent booklets.  Nouwen was a universalistic Roman Catholic monk who in his final book wrote that his desire was to help everyone find their own way to God.  So why is his book being given away by pastors?  Then the Rob Bell and Richard Foster material and videos that were used for Wednesday night “Bible” study.  Whatever happened to real Bible study?

“This is part of the problem with continually insisting that one of the absolutes of the Christian faith must be a belief that “Scripture alone” is our guide. It sounds nice, but it is not true.”  Rob Bell

A Full Stomach, A Clean Planet, But Empty Souls

Then there is the increased involvement in community service such as food banks, with little focus on feeding the gospel to the people.  Then there is the new terminology being used, like the “Eucharist” instead of communion.  And then there are the ecumenical services with Roman Catholic or Episcopal churches that still continue with my old church.  I attended one of them initially, but it did not feel right, not for me or my wife.  She said how could she sit there in the service and be praying to Jesus, while the woman next to her is perhaps praying to “Mother Mary?”   Why do we do this now in even more Nazarene churches, where we fellowship with folks who are in darkness, and then just simply walk away after the service, leaving them still in darkness?  Are we not to be a light to them?  What is wrong with us?  Is this how we show our love for people who are in serious error?

“My sense is that “what is trying to be born” in the pregnant Christian faith will involve a convergence of Roman Catholic, Evangelical/Charismatic, and Mainline Protestant Christians (along with, I hope, some Eastern Orthodox as well).” Brian McLaren, from his website

And how can I forget the worst District Assembly service (in 2009) my brother and I ever attended, when we heard two songs that were more fit for a Wiccan service, or perhaps an environmental conference, than for a worship service; we saw video advertisements for cleaning up the environment; packets called “I’m A Naz-a-Green” passed out to the youth; and the District Superintendent recommended a heretical novel, The Shack, as a great missional book for pastors.

We “ought to read Revelation through environmental eyes.”  Dan Boone, M7 Conference.

Looking back, I see how it all was coming together.  It’s all part of the road to Rome.  Come back to the Mother Church, and many Nazarenes are tripping over themselves falling for this.  And I did for a while, but I am thankful for the grace of God and His mercy in opening my eyes.  And He did not speak to me directly in an audible voice while I practiced the silence.  He simply told me in His word, guiding me to the truth through the Holy Spirit.

Ashes To Fire: The Latest Tool Of  The “Angel of Light”
Ashes to Fire is in its second year, and fits in nicely with the big plan to join with Rome. Most will fall for its allure and not see the big picture.  It is just a matter of time when at your local Nazarene church (unless it is led by a pastor who does not bow the knee to Baal) you may have to decide whether to go up and get ashes put on your forehead, or to flee, or worst yet- sit there and say nothing.

This year’s Ashes To Fire YouTube video, from Beacon Press, omits any reference to ashes on the forehead, which is seen on last year’s video promo that was created by Nazarene Publishing House.  From their website, you can download instructions (Planning Resources) on how to set up a prayer walk at your church.  Perhaps your church will do that this year.  Will you follow along with it, just to get along with what your pastor wants?  Will you be drawn in to seek that EXPERIENCE?

Ashes to Fire is just another of the many feel-good EXPERIENCES you now can have, courtesy of the compromisers who have invaded the church.  And so, with all the other “new ways”, you now may have the opportunity as a Nazarene to:

– Do a prayer walk (labyrinth),

– Walk a prayer labyrinth (same as prayer walk)

– Do a prayer station (Stations of the Cross),

– Use prayer beads (rosary),

– Light a lot of candles,

– Sit in darkness more often,

– Proclaim the bread and wine as the ACTUAL body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation),

– Repeat scripture over and over without gaining understanding (mantra),

– Join with priests and nuns in a retreat to practice the silence,

– Put ashes on your forehead,

– Replace the Bible with Love Wins by Rob Bell,

– Sit in silence while waiting for the voice of God,

– Pray alongside someone who trusts in works for their salvation,

– Feel like you did something good after you prayed alongside someone who trusts in works for their salvation,

– Work at the community food bank and not once give the gospel to the poor empty soul with the full stomach who is heading straight to hell.  But you will feel good.

The Apostates Among Us

THIS IS WHAT IS CALLED APOSTASY.  This is a small portion of what has been ushered into the church.  Some of these people were not compromisers before, but they have been seduced by “deceiving spirits”. Some of them are leaders in our universities and in our pulpits who have facilitated this deception to our youth.  And they wonder why we are so “divisive?”   The answer is simple: they are the real dividers who are damaging the body of Christ, and they need to repent, or to be expelled from our fellowship.  The other thing we need to do is pray that even now, those being introduced to these things for the first time, will have the discernment, and will heed the warnings we are sending out.

Additional resources:

Prayer Stations, Dark Sanctuaries, and Multi-Sensory “Worship” (Lighthouse Trails Research)

The Emerging Church: Another Road To Rome  (Roger Oakland)

NPH Endorses Catholic Practice Of Ashes On Forehead