I am very proud to belong to the Facebook Group entitled “Concerned Nazarenes.” This Facebook Group was formed to fight against postmodern (Emerging/Emergent) heresies infiltrating the Church of the Nazarene (CotN) denomination.
The growth of Concerned Nazarenes is a great encouragement to me, although I am not a member of the CotN. I am attempting to fight Emerging/Emergent heresies primarily in the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI). Like Richard Foster (click here and here), I grew up in the EFCI (before Foster and others helped hijack it from its strongly born again, separatist fundamentalist “Gurneyite” Quaker tradition).
“Progressive evangelical” EFCI institutions, particularly George Fox University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary, have been inviting Emerging/ Emergent heretics Richard Foster, Tony Campolo, Jason Clark, Todd Hunter, Dan Kimball, Brennan Manning, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Dallas Willard, and many others to teach and/or speak on various occasions. (Also, click here for a Lighthouse Trails list of Emerging/Emergent names at George Fox University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary.)
To complicate matters further, pastors and professors are increasingly shared between the EFCI and non-evangelical Quaker denominations (nonchristian Quaker denominations that profess Christ as Lord and Teacher but not as Lord and Saviour). The non-evangelical Quaker denomination with the most ties to the EFCI is Friends United Meeting (FUM) – which has many Quaker universalists.
Also, the EFCI has joined various ecumenical Quaker organizations. For example, years ago colleges in the EFCI joined the Friends Association for Higher Education, along with non-evangelical Quaker institutions. My question is, why?
Apparently the EFCI has “become blind” doctrinally. The EFCI continues to increasingly reach out to nonchristian, non-evangelical Quaker pastors and professors with open arms. The thing that counts, to many in the EFCI, is that “they are Quakers”. For these EFCI individuals, it does not seem to matter whether their fellow Quakers (in these other Quaker branches) are born again, professing Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Amazingly, in spite of these accommodations by the EFCI of non-evangelical Quakers and Emerging/Emergent leaders, I have located very few EFCI members who are confronting their denomination regarding these heresies. Concerned EFCI readers, please don’t remain silent! (I have a feeling many concerned EFCI members have already quietly left the denomination and moved on to more biblically sound denominations.)
My point is this. Compared to the Church of the Nazarene, which is being strongly confronted by the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group and various individuals, the EFCI is being confronted by very few individuals. I realize there is a size difference in the denominations (approx. 2.1 million for the CotN as compared to approx. 140,000 worldwide for the EFCI). Yet, for such a small denomination, the EFCI has caused great harm to evangelicalism. I pray that that members of the EFCI (and ex-members like myself) will speak out against its accommodation of non-evangelical Quakers and Emerging/Emergent teachings. (The EFCI is not alone – very few evangelical denominations today have any members who are actively protesting their slide into Emerging/Emergent and other heretical teachings.)
The Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group serves as a great model for all individuals who are attempting to fight Emerging/Emergents in their quickly disintegrating denominations.
Now on to Manny Silva’s article about the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group. Click here for the original article. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]:
Who are Concerned Nazarenes? (posted by Manny Silva as a Doc in Facebook Group “Concerned Nazarenes” 08/09/11)
In August, 2008, Tim Wirth, a former drummer in several rock bands, helped coordinate an event featuring author Ray Yungen (“A Time of Departing, and “For Many Shall Come In My Name”), at the Piqua Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. Since joining the church, he’d become deeply concerned about emerging church philosophy that had crept into the Nazarene denomination – and wanted to alert others to the emergent movement. Tim met Don and Sue Butler, long-time Nazarenes, who shared the same concerns – and Concerned Nazarenes was launched.
After several meetings and conversations with the Butlers, it was evident that the Holy Spirit had impressed upon their hearts to alert Nazarenes around the world to the emergent agenda. Shortly after this, Nazarene evangelist Beverly Turner joined Concerned Nazarenes and gave the movement a voice. Beverly shared the verse that would become the Concerned Nazarenes’ anthem: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
Concerned Nazarenes has grown to include Nazarene pastors and evangelists across the United States – each grieved by the spiritual demise of our much-loved denomination under the influence of the emergent movement. Concerned Nazarenes is a grassroots movement that serves to give voice to all those in the church that share our dismay at the direction in which the emergent movement is striving to guide Nazarene beliefs and practices. In 2009, more than 500 Nazarenes across the United States delivered a petition to our General Superintendents, seeking clarification of their stance on the Emergent Church movement. Our fervent hope and prayer is that the General Superintendents will respond by purging our denomination of the emergent cancer before it is too late.
When will the Concerned Nazarene DVD be available?
The DVD, “The Emerging Church”, is now available. By the grace of God and the generosity of dedicated Nazarenes, this insightful DVD is being distributed free of charge. When we consider that heresy cost our dear Savior His life, what is the price of one DVD? To get a free copy, send a request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why are we so concerned?
Below, we list the specific concerns of our group, and on our web site we provide articles and links that give more depth to our concerns. Please read these carefully and prayerfully, as the future of the Nazarene Church is at stake.
1. We are concerned about the authority of God’s Word being undermined. We consider His Word to be inerrant (without error) in all matters. The emerging church and a number of scholars within our academic institutions have a lower view of Scripture – often called “soteriological inerrancy*” – which we consider unacceptable. We do not believe that this is the historical stance of the Church of the Nazarene. We are in full agreement with a resolution for our Article of Faith, “The Holy Scriptures,” that will be presented by the Southwest Indiana District at the General Assembly. The resolution states that the “Old and New Testaments” are “inerrant throughout and the supreme authority on everything the scriptures teach.” In the words of the Psalmist, David: “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89).
2. We are concerned about the teaching of Open Theism within our academic institutions. Open Theism basically teaches, among other heresies, that God cannot know the future if man is to have freedom of choice. The Apostle John wrote: “…God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (I John 3:20). Furthermore, we are concerned about the teaching of evolution in our academic institutions, and the historic account of God’s creation being taught as allegorical.
3. We are concerned about the invitations extended to emergent teachers, such as Brian McLaren, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, to speak at our universities and colleges. Their stance on the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, such as sin, judgment and salvation, are a gross distortion of the truth. Because of required chapel attendance, emergent speakers have a captive audience and, as a result, students are forced to listen to emergent speakers or pay a fine if they choose to miss chapel. We are concerned for those who give financially and sacrificially to our academic institutions, expecting the values upon which our denomination was birthed to be upheld – not dismantled by emergent philosophy.
4. We are concerned about experiential works-based techniques for prayer being promoted on and through our academic campuses. These practices – totally alien to our Wesleyan tradition – include prayer labyrinths, prayer stations and retreats to Roman Catholic monasteries. Most of these contemplative prayer practices are promoted under Spiritual Formation.
5. We are concerned about the emergent ideology that our academic institutions and General Church within the United States are promoting. We ask a simple question: “Why are we giving a platform to those who would fabricate this falsehood, when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was and is and always will be the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16) for all mankind, and for every generation?” The emergent ideology is a perversion of the Word of God and the doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene.
6. We are concerned that the “Jesus” that the emergent movement is preaching is “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4). In the introduction to his book, “This Jesus,” Nazarene pastor W. E. McCumber writes:
“Let me tell you why I wrote this little book. First of all, I love Jesus and I welcome any means of telling others about Him. Second, 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.”
We are in full agreement with Rev. McCumber and pray that you share our concerns. If you do, please join us!