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Archive for December, 2011

(blog under construction)

Should Christians dance (or drink, or smoke, etc., etc.)? Originally the Nazarenes (CotN)(as well as many other Wesleyan Holiness denominations) banned dancing altogether, both inside and outside the churches: http://www.biblefacts.org/church/denom/holiness.html

Here’s the info regarding CotN specifically, at the above link:

“Church of the Nazarene, founded 1908, Holiness. Banned activities: dance, alcohol, smoking, theater, membership in secret societies.”

And many Conservative Holiness denominations are still very “strict” in their behaviors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_holiness_movement (I would say they’re “living holy lives” – “strict” sounds too negative.)

Conservative Holiness denominations, unfortunately, have “loosened up” somewhat since approx. 1900-1950. Yet I remember not too long ago when one of the denominations (I forget which one) would not allow “mixed swimming” at their church camps.

The most admirable example I’ve seen in recent years was a plainly dressed born again, biblically sound Mennonite woman with a daughter about five years old. She gave her daughter a coloring book showing a little girl on the beach. But she taught her daughter to color long black dresses on the little girl (down to her ankles), on every drawing of the little girl in her bathing suit.

Was this “old fashioned” or “backward” or “legalistic”? Many evangelicals today would say “yes.” But I admire this Mennonite mother for bringing up her daughter so modestly. Her daughter would now be about 15 years old – I’m guessing she has turned out much more godly than most kids nowadays. By the way, I’m guessing her daughter was home schooled – which also helped greatly I’m sure.

We need to set the bar very high nowadays when it comes to bringing children up in a moral way. It reminds me of the following passage:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6, KJV)

I’m pointing a finger at myself here. My stepchildren were almost out of high school by the time I got married, but there is much more I could have done (but didn’t) even in this situation to bring them up “in the Lord.”

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(revised 07/13/14)

Note that throughout this blog, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].
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Various evangelical Holiness denominations have been increasingly taking part in joint ventures – but for what purpose?

In 2011 an article appeared entitled “Holiness Leaders form Global Wesleyan Alliance”. Click here for the original text of the article.

The article describes the Global Wesleyan Alliance (GWA) as:

“a unique partnership to amplify the prophetic voice of Wesleyan-Arminian, holiness ministries and increase their effectiveness in spreading scriptural holiness throughout the world.”

Sounds good, right? Not so fast. What exactly do they mean by “the prophetic voice “? And what do they mean by “spreading scriptural holiness”?

Reading between the lines, I am disturbed by this summary of their purpose:

“This alliance will enable holiness denominations to achieve a historic level of cooperation and unity for evangelism, discipleship, church multiplication, compassion, and justice. Our passion is to pursue the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment — making Christ known through words and deeds and millions of lives filled with perfect love.”

Evangelism? Yes that’s great – but would this include friendship evangelism, seeker sensitive evangelism, or compassion evangelism? Or how about a favorite of Emergents – presence evangelism? And discipleship? Sounds good – but does this include learning the heretical disciplines of Spiritual Formation? Church multiplication, compassion, and justice – all Emergent teachings.

Note the definition of their hybrid Great Commission/Great Commandment goal: “making Christ known through words and deeds and millions of lives filled with perfect love.”

Here is THE Great Commission:

15) And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15-16, KJV)

I wonder how many of the pastors in the GWA’s denominations even mention damnation…

I’m trying to locate notes from a recent EFC-ER Yearly Meeting sermon by the  head of the EFC-ER (who is also head of the Evangelical Friends aka EFCI). He defined the Great Commission II as including compassion and justice, or something to that effect. Although the EFCI is not in the GWA, it is in the “network” of six denominations using Nazarene Publishing House’s  WordAction  curriculum.

The EFC-ER Region of the EFCI has this as their “Strategic Vision”:

“In joyful obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission–and in the spirit of His Great Commandment–our movement purposes to serve the church and the world in love, multiplying disciples and churches in the power of the Holy Spirit so that our children’s grandchildren and generations of the unreached will be compelled to join.”

Besides including Emergent wording, this is a watered down statement. Nowhere does it mention calling sinners to repentance, to accept Christ as their Saviour so they will not perish in a Lake of Fire for eternity (John 3:16).

Also note the wording “our children’s grandchildren and generations of the unreached…” This mirrors the Emergent position of denying a premillenial return of Christ. Here is a quote from Tony Campolo, which I included in another blog:

“[Dispensationalism] is a theology that – with its implicit threat of being left behind, of time running out – is used by Dispensational preachers to great evangelistic effect. It has been a very effective goad to conversion… To the contrary, the history of the world is infused with the presence of God, who is guiding the world toward becoming the kind of world God willed for it to be when it was created. Human history is going somewhere wonderful.”

I believe Emergent Campolo’s statement fits the real purpose of the GWA. And it also ties in very nicely with C. Peter Wagner’s Dominion Theology.

And click here for an expose in which we read that “the terminology and concept of missional… has spread throughout evangelicalism. Christians need to be warned that being “missional” has nothing to do with the fulfillment of the Great Commission. “

Now let’s compare the above GWA and EFCI statements side by side.

GWA statement:

“This alliance will enable holiness denominations to achieve a historic level of cooperation and unity for evangelism, discipleship, church multiplication, compassion, and justice. Our passion is to pursue the Great Commission in the spirit of the Great Commandment — making Christ known through words and deeds and millions of lives filled with perfect love.”

And the EFCI statement:

“In joyful obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission–and in the spirit of His Great Commandment–our movement purposes to serve the church and the world in love, multiplying disciples and churches in the power of the Holy Spirit so that our children’s grandchildren and generations of the unreached will be compelled to join.”

Note that both statements use the terms “Great Commission” and “Great Commandment.” In view of the similarities, it appears these two statements were drawn from the same source.

The source appears to be Emergent heretic Brian McLaren. This critique [broken link] provides a quote from Brian McLaren (on pages 7-8)[and the last time I heard, not stating your source was called plagiarism]:

“There is no true evangelism without embodied action,” that is, without such things as “recruiting a million Christians to protest the wasteful Industrial-Consumerist system which destroys the planet, human communities, and human culture, and to proclaim in its place a vision of the kingdom of God, and so show the love of Christ.” If this redefinition does not catch on, he says, “I have little hope for evangelism in the postmodern world.” “Unless disciples are following the Great Commandment, it is fruitless to engage in the Great Commission.”

Notice four phrases from McLaren’s quote, apparently incorporated into the GWA purpose statement: “million”, “love”,  “the Great Commandment”, and “the Great Commission.”

Googling on these two terms together – “Great Commission” and “Great Commandment” – also brings up this heretical Emergent article describing the connection.

Following is another red flag concerning the formation of the GWA. A recent meeting of the Wesleyan Leaders Summit (forerunner of the GWA) was hosted by the extremely Emergent leaders of the Church of the Nazarene denomination. Apparently the Wesleyan Leaders Summit has been meeting annually for awhile.  As of 12/09/11, the GWA is still under organization.  Following are the denominations which are at this point considering voluntary membership:

Church of Christ Holiness (USA)
Church of God (Anderson)(aka Church of God Ministries, Inc.)
Church of the Nazarene
Churches of Christ in Christian Union
Congregational Methodist Church
Evangelical Church
Evangelical Methodist Church
Free Methodist Church USA
International Fellowship of Bible Churches
Methodist Protestant Church
The Missionary Church
Pilgrim Holiness Church
The Salvation Army
The Wesleyan Church

Another item in the GWA announcement  jumped out at me:

“A major effort will be made to establish procedures for the mutual recognition of minister’s credentials among the Alliance’s covenant partner organizations.”

So whatever ministers are the most Emergent/heretical (whether in the incredibly Emergent Church of the Nazarene or one of the other denominations), their credentials will be accepted by the other member denominations? Scary.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many of the prospective GWA member denominations have belonged to the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium  (WHC) since 2006. The WHC is an Emergent/NAR postmillenial consortium. Besides the “traditional” Holiness denominations from the GWA, it also includes Pentecostal denominations (Foursquare, the “Jesus-only” UPCI, etc.) favoring the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation).

My advice for those seeking a church home? Avoid these increasingly Emergent denominations at all costs. As a biblically sound alternative,  I recommend certain kinds of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches. For an excellent list of IFB churches see this Ohio Baptist directory adapted from David Cloud’s directory of IFB churches. And here are the traits David Cloud looks for, in compiling his directory. I realize  Baptist churches are dispensational – which in ways is quite different from Wesleyan/Holiness theology. Yet, of all denominations and independent churches in America today, I believe these Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches are closest in faith and practice to the Wesleyan-Holiness churches of approx. 1900-1950.

FOR FURTHER READING

Another version of the GWA announcement:
http://www.cccuhq.org/news/cccu-news/latest-cccu-news/268-denominational-leaders-form-global-wesleyan-alliance

One of the Holiness associations prior to the GWA: Christian Holiness Partnership: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Holiness_Partnership. I don’t know whether this partnership was technically a predecessor.

A 2006 venture prior to the GWA: the Holiness Manifesto: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/marchweb-only/113-13.0.html This does seem morely closely associated with the planning meetings for the GWA. Check out the Nazarene signers (the Nazarene denomination is a major player  in the formation of the GWA):

Jesse Middendorf — Nazarene
Thomas Noble — Nazarene
Diane Leclerc — Nazarene
Craig Keen — Nazarene

Holiness Leaders Form New Global Wesleyan Alliance! – a blog favoring the GWA; notice also the comments following the blog

Global Wesleyan Alliance promotes collaboration between Wesleyan-Arminian denominations (12/18/12)

Dr. Tom Hermiz Elected President of Global Wesleyan Alliance (02/13/13)

Global Wesleyan Alliance has 3rd annual gathering (01/10/14)

many articles discussing the Global Wesleyan Alliance – read with discretion – most of the articles favor this heretical organization

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