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Back in 2010, I happened to chance across the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook Group. It was through this Group that I met Concerned Nazarene Manny Silva. And it was not long before we found something in common – Manny had recently attended a local seminar here in Ohio, led by counter-Emergent speaker Eric Barger. Small world!

I am reposting a blog by Manny, in which he recounts Eric Barger’s seminar. Click here for the original posting. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

1 Timothy 1:18-20  This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

By tonight, I will have returned from Canton, Ohio, where Eric Barger of Take A Stand Ministries, spent two days at Grace Brethren Church.  Eric is a Christian apologist who has been traveling all around the country for over 27 years now, warning the body of Christ of false movements, such as the New Age, the emergent church, and many more.  On Saturday, he spoke in the morning on the dangers of the emerging church, and in the afternoon session, the topic was about how the popular novel, The Shack, is deceiving so many Christians today, even though it is a book filled with heresies and blasphemous doctrine.  On Sunday, he preached in the morning on the truth and reliability of the Bible, and finished in the evening with a talk on the “real Jesus vs. the counterfeits.”  Eric is a true soldier in the fight for the true gospel. Eric spent three days with us at the Nazarene General Assembly last June, helping Concerned Nazarenes to expose the heresies being introduced to the Nazarene denomination by way of the emergent church.  Please pray for him and his ministry, as Christians who do what he does are constantly under vicious attack by the enemy from within.  I am hoping that he can soon be invited by someone to speak in New England, where he has never spoken yet.

There were several more reasons to come to Ohio.  In the past two years, I have found many new brothers and sisters in Christ who are true Christian soldiers, while I was undertaking whatever efforts I could to fight false teachings in the church.  And it seems that for every friend I have lost because of standing for the truth, I have gained at least one or two more.  My list is long, but every single person who has joined me in this fight, via emails and the phone, has been a blessing and an encouragement, and in turn, I have also been able to help some of them as well, and I thank God for that, and nothing else.

A few of these soldiers is a small group of men in Canton, Ohio, who helped organize Eric’s seminar.  I met Aaron Wright about a year or so ago via email, and along with his father Troy, and Aaron’s brother, Adam, they have a ministry called Foundations Research Group in the Northern Ohio area. When Aaron and his family encountered false teachings of the emergent church in their former church, they did not close their eyes to it and pretend it did not exist.  They did not say, oh well, we’ll just have to live with it.  No, they boldly confronted the purveyors of false teaching and tried to show them the truth of God’s word.  The end result was that they made the decision to leave, rather than stick around and tolerate false teaching.

Their faithfulness has been rewarded with a ministry that is now helping Christians at their new church and in the community to equip themselves with knowledge of the emergent church, and at the same time, equipping and reinforcing others with a love for the scriptures, which is the best way to combat false teaching.  Grace Brethren Church, led by Pastor Joe Cosentino, is a shining light in this town where there does not seem to be much light, or much of a desire to fight false doctrines.  If you live in the Northern Ohio area, and are looking for a strong, Bible believing church, perhaps you should pay a visit to Grace Brethren.  These kinds of churches are becoming rare in the midst of all this apostasy.

And so God blessed the faithfulness of Aaron and his family, and led them to a solid Bible believing, Bible preaching church whose pastor and leadership will not put up with the nonsense of emergent heresy or any other gospel except the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  So one of the reasons I went to Canton was to finally meet Aaron and his family, who are truly another new addition to my eternal family, the family of God.  We have shared information over the past year and helped each other with our ministries, and they have already made a big impact in their community and church.

But there were other soldiers that I just knew I had to meet when I came to Ohio.  There was Becky, her husband and young daughter, who came to the seminar.  I had met Becky over the internet as she was also finding herself and her family being thrown into turmoil, and again, the usual suspects were the purveyors of emergent church heresy. Their eyes were opened to the truth, and they had to walk away from their church as well.

Then there was Angie, and her friend Wendy.  These ladies are true soldiers as well, and for staying true to God, have also paid a price for it.  The tenacity and the determination of these two women, is an inspiration to me.  They will not be moved, they will not be pushed around or bullied by any false teacher.  Not even by the high-minded intellectuals with multiple PHds, nor by the smooth words of deceived pastors or anyone else.  They just want to faithfully compare and contrast everything they hear with the scriptures, and like the Bereans, prove that what they hear is faithful to the word of God.  They are solid sisters in Christ, and I am glad I got to finally see them personally.

There was also my good friend and brother in the Lord, Tim Wirth and his wife Donna, and I thank God for their friendship.  Tim started the Concerned Nazarenes website a few years ago, and was instrumental in helping get the DVD put together about the emerging church.  He was the first person that I actually made contact with when I first started stepping into the emergent mess, and has been a trustworthy friend who has given me solid advice, friendship, and encouragement.  Tim is also not well liked by a lot of emergents, which to me is a badge of honor for him, because he has a knack for exposing their false ideology, just by using the sharp-edged sword of God’s word against them.  I value his friendship; and the impact he has made in this battle as a missionary to the Nazarene denomination is immeasureable, and only God knows.  He and Donna are true and courageous soldiers in the fight against the apostasy of this age.

Finally, the only regret that I had was that there at least a few other soldiers from the Ohio area who could not make it to the seminar.  There was Brenda, who I have known also since the past year and a half.  She and her family chose to leave a Nazarene church because of emergent ideology, rather than stay and tolerate false teaching.  She has been a source of encouragement and advice and a real sister in the Lord.  And Beverly Turner could not make it this time, but I had hoped to see her as well.  She is a very brave Christian lady and evangelist who is not afraid to speak the truth about what has poisoned our denomination.  And then Rick Headley is also in Ohio, but I was not able to see him this time.  But he also has been an example of standing for God first, above anything else, including his own denomination.  He would not compromise, and like Brenda and Beverly, is a true soldier in this battle as well.  Finally, I thank God for a wife who has been behind me all the way, put up with my long hours of writing on some nights, was okay with me going on this trip, and who has also refused to compromise in any way her faith in Christ.  She knows the price that she has paid, but she would not change her mind if she could.  Her support has made this job I am doing a lot easier to do.  She is a soldier in this battle.

Folks, there are many more soldiers in this battle.  I only mention these friends now because of the Ohio connection and my trip there to see them.  There are so many more around this country and even around the world, who I have met, who are standing up for the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  Someday, I will write about many more of them (with permission) and tell you how they have chosen to stand for the truth, and how they have blessed my life with their example.  This is why I call them soldiers.  A true soldier of Jesus Christ is someone who refuses to sit quietly on the sidelines while multitudes of young people and adults walk down the wide path of destruction towards hell, following a different Jesus.  And it does not take too many requirements to be a “true soldier”: just be faithful to Jesus Christ- completely faithful; and trust only in the word of God that is revealed in the Holy Bible.  It does not mean you have to write a blog like I do; it does not mean that you have to be a preacher or evangelist; or that you have to have a ministry like the one Aaron and his family has.  No, all it means is that you are willing to stand up for the truth, with whatever gifts God has given you, and be faithful to Jesus Christ and defend the gospel once for all delivered to the saints.

You see, if you had not noticed, there is a great apostasy spreading throughout the Christian world, dressed in the robes of a false Jesus. It does not matter what denomination: Nazarene, Brethren, Baptist, Southern Baptist, Presbyterian, Mennonite, Salvation Army, Calvary Chapel, you name it.

It is here, it is deadly, and it is leading countless people down the road to hell with a false gospel, with another Jesus which is not of the Bible.  Don’t you see it yet?  And if you have seen it, what are you doing?  Are you going to be walking through the narrow gate, or have you been diverted to the wide path?

Are you willing to stand for the truth… no matter what the cost, and be a true soldier for Christ, like these friends decided to do?

2 Timothy 3:12-14 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,

2 Tim 4: 1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

MannyAaronEricPastorJoe.JPG
Manny, Aaron Wright, Eric Barger, Pastor Joe Cosentino

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Eric, Adam Wright, Aaron Wright

TroyAndEric.JPG

Troy Wright, Eric

* Note to all emergents and New Agers and other false movements reading this: we will not let up in our battle for the truth.

FOR FURTHER READING AND RESEARCH

Canton event notice on Facebook

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UPDATE 05/21/15
(some of this info is a duplication of my original blog, plus some responses made to readers)

For our readers, let me get one thing straight – I’m not trying to stir up a hornet’s nest by critiquing Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. I love the Jewish people, and I believe they are the apple of God’s eye. God says in His Word, “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.”

I have no problem with Rabbi Cahn warning the United Nations, the United States, and the U.S. Supreme Court (for example concerning the gay “marriage” agenda). I appreciate Rabbi Cahn confronting wicked, ungodly sinners with the need to repent. I believe we are approaching the End Times (and/or are in the End Times), and we need to stand up for the Truth and confront wickedness wherever possible. Like Rabbi Cahn I would love to confront and expose the wicked. In that regards, Rabbi Cahn and I are on the same page I think.

Some have asked why I am “attacking” Rabbi Cahn, whom they feel is a wonderful man of God. I believe there is a difference between attacking and correcting. Attacking to me means name calling, being anti-Semitic, etc. Correcting to me means speaking the truth in love (as lovingly as possible that is).

Others have wondered whether I have discussed my concerns with Rabbi Cahn privately first, confronting him face to face before posting this critical blog. As far as first confronting face to face (or by correspondence or by phone), it’s true I have not done that. But I know for a fact that others have  confronted, corrected, and warned Rabbi Cahn – apparently to no avail. I do admire the discernment ministries that try to confront straying individuals privately first. But note that when the individuals refuse correction, the discernment ministries “go public”. You could say I’m repeating what larger discernment ministries have already gone public with. For me the issue has gone beyond correcting Rabbi Cahn directly. My focus now is on warning others to stay away from his ministry and not follow his teachings.

My problem with Rabbi Cahn is how he apparently puts himself on the level of a modern day prophet, like the prophets of Bible times. On this I take issue with Rabbi Cahn, as well as the so-called “prophets, priests and kings” of the New Apostolic Reformation.

Rabbi Cahn gives many so-called “mysteries” and “new revelations”, teaching things that are extrabiblical, that I find nowhere in my Bible. Check out this list of over 1,960 messages available from Rabbi Cahn. Even as of today’s writing, there are odd sounding message titles (see for example messages dated 05/01/15 and 05/03/15). Judging from the message titles, many of these messages are chalk full of strange terminology and teachings. I cannot find any such teachings by  born again, biblically knowledgable, doctrinally sound Bible teachers. To me, these supposed revelations largely cancel out any meaningful warnings Rabbi Cahn might be giving to the United Nations, the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court, etc.

Our readers may wonder, why am I focusing so much on Rabbi Cahn? Because he is so influential in Christian circles. He is head of the largest Messianic congregation in America. He is a bestselling author. And, his writings are influencing the theology and eschatology of so many Christians. I am critiquing Rabbi Cahn for what I believe are heresies – just as I would critique pastors of the largest Protestant churches in America, pastors whom I also feel are heretical. Namely, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes, etc.

I would say, Rabbi Cahn does seem to be born again. He does come across as a very nice fellow, sociable, personable, and passionate about what he believes. He is in my prayers. But again I have serious problems with his methodology.  Read on…
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(blog originally published 02/05/13)

To me it’s obvious that Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s novel The Harbinger is heretical. Yet I’m finding a number of discernment ministries with good reputations that are sympathizing with The Harbinger if not endorsing it. So… rather than analyzing why so many born again, biblically sound men and women of God are falling for this, I’m trying another approach to hopefully wake up deceived Christians and nonchristians.

Namely, researching Jonathan Cahn himself – his life, his beliefs, etc.:

… Does he have a doctrinal statement, and what does it say? And does he really believe his own doctrinal statement, or is he just mouthing what he thinks born again Christians want to hear?
… What other books and articles has he written, and are they biblically sound?
… What sermons has he preached, and what seminars has he taught? Exactly what does he teach in his radio and television broadcasts?
… Where did he get his training, and what was he taught?
… Who were his mentors?
… What authors and books does he recommend?
… What pastors, speakers and movements does he recommend?

You get the idea.

If Cahn is a heretic (which I believe he is), his heresies should be able to be easily documented by looking at his life.

Regarding The Harbinger: I believe it is impossible for heretics to write biblically sound books. Can Richard Foster write a biblically sound book – or Eugene Peterson, Bill Johnson, Todd Bentley, Patricia King, etc. etc.? Of course not – it’s impossible! If Cahn is indeed a heretic, then The Harbinger is heretical.

Note: in this blog I am emphasizing certain points by bolding in orange, and inserting comments [in bolded orange in brackets].

First off, let’s look at a favorable biography of Cahn, found here:

Jonathan Cahn, also fondly known as “The nice Jewish boy” became involved in full-time ministry soon after his college years. From an early age Jonathan questioned his Jewish upbringing rejecting most of its teachings. Consequently he decided not to partake in the usual Bar Mitzvah ceremonies, a traditional rite of passage for young Jewish teenage boys. In seventh grade he became friends with a boy who spoke to him about Jesus, which prompted him to investigate more, searching for answers to his many questions about life and God. He came across Hal Lindsey’s popular book, The Last Great Planet Earth wherein he found evidence of his Jewish Messiah through the prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures. This seemed to be a turning point for him, but Jonathan still continued to live his life as he always did, including participating in a rock band. But one thing that did change at that time is his insistence on telling others about Jesus the Messiah─although he himself had not yet made a commitment to the Lord.

After two close calls that could easily have resulted in his death (2 accidents) Jonathan miraculously escaped without any injury and came to realize that if he was to take the Scriptures seriously he would need to make a full-commitment to the Lord, not just a mental acceptance without any lifestyle changes. At the age of 20, grateful that God had spared his life─he drove to a tranquil spot at the top of a mountain, knelt down in prayer and dedicated his life to the Lord. [Is “dedicated” the term Cahn himself uses? Is this his euphemism for repenting of sin and accepting the Messiah as his Saviour? Or did Cahn in fact not have a “crisis conversion experience”?] This marked a major turning point for him. It wasn’t long after that Jonathan was asked to teach a Bible study which led to his first ministry that mainly focused on assisting the needy, the homeless and disabled. [Helping people is okay, but it should always be secondary to evangelism/preaching the gospel/saving lost souls. Has Cahn ever had a truly soulwinning ministry?] Several years later in 1988, he was asked to lead Beth Israel, which with his leadership has grown to be the largest Messianic congregation in the U.S., consisting of both Jews and Gentiles worshiping the Messiah Jesus.

Jonathan Cahn is currently President of Hope of the World – “an end time ministry for an end time world,” and continues to act as senior pastor and Messianic rabbi for Beth Israel/ the Jerusalem Center in Wayne, New Jersey. He has an extensive radio ministry and his teachings are broadcast every day over hundreds of radio stations, some TV stations and by way of shortwave radio broadcasts that reach all around the world. [I’d like to find out when and on what channels/stations he teaches, to hear what exactly what doctrines he is teaching. This list of YouTube videos is a good start.] Jonathan and his ministry team are dedicated to sharing the gospel message. He has ministered to large groups not only here in the U.S., but also to massive audiences in India, Nigeria, Cuba, Mizoram, Honduras, Haiti and continues to reach out to other nations as well. Rabbi Cahn is married and has two children.

In January 2012 his book, The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future was published and quickly became a bestseller, debuting at number 10 and number 28 respectively on the New York Times bestseller list in the print paperback category. The book is also available with an accompanying DVD set. The Harbinger  published by FrontLine, an imprint of Charisma House [formerly known as the charismatic/New Apostolic Reformation “Strang Communications” – read more here] outlines a series of detailed parallels between what has happened in the United States since the 2001 terrorist attacks—including the economic collapse—and similarities in Israel’s history after it turned away from God. The author depicts his personal impressions in a fictional narrative how nine signs he identifies within recent events may signal God’s progressive judgment.

Tessie DeVore, book group executive vice president at Charisma House has stated, “It is a timely message for our nation and a rallying cry for Christians to pray for America.” No doubt she is right and the messages in The Harbinger have ignited a passion for believers who are serious about their faith─to share the Word of God and pray fervently for God’s mercy─to bring repentance and healing to a nation where so many have self-righteously dishonored and abandoned Him. [I disagree with this paragraph – I believe The Harbinger is spreading heresies more than it is bringing  repentance. The book is doing far more harm than good.]

Now let’s look at another short bio, found here on Cahn’s own website. Note especially the wording of the last sentence:

Jonathan Cahn is President of Hope of the World ministries, Senior Pastor and Messianic Rabbi of the the Jerusalem Center/ Beth Israel in Wayne, New Jersey. He is also the author of the best selling book ‘The Harbinger‘. His teachings are broadcast daily over hundreds of radio stations throughout the United States and the world and on television.  He ministers, as did the first Jewish messengers of the Gospel, sharing the message of Messiah to Jew and Gentile, Israel, and the nations.  He has ministered before mass gatherings in India, Nigeria, Cuba, Mizoram, Honduras, Haiti, & throughout the world.  His teachings are widely known for revealing the deep mysteries of God’s word and for the restoring of the new covenant message to its original biblically Jewish richness and power. [I’ve commented on a similar statement in the next paragraph below.]

And another revealing bio, found here:

Jonathan Cahn is President of Hope of the World ministries, Senior Pastor, and Rabbi of the Beth Israel Worship Center in Garfield, New Jersey. His teachings are broadcast daily over hundreds of radio stations throughout the United States and the world. He can also be seen weekly on television (“Something Different”). Descended of the line of Aaron, he has been asked to sound the Jubilee trumpet [who “asked” him to do this, and what exactly does “sounding the Jubilee trumpet” mean?] and minister among the nations, a prophetic ministry [but true prophetic ministries do not exist today – only in the ungodly, heretical minds of New Apostolic Reformation “prophets” such as Bill Johnson, Mick Bickle, John and Carol Arnott, Todd Bentley, Patricia King, etc. etc.] of and to the Jew and the Gentile in the last days. His teachings include the revealing of ancient mysteries , the depth and wonders of God’s Word, and the restoration of the Gospel message in its original Biblically Jewish context, richness, and power. [What exactly are the “ancient mysteries” Cahn is revealing? And what exactly does he mean by the “restoration” of the Gospel message? The Bible is sufficient in and of itself to tell us all we need, without having to be interpreted for us in new and revealing ways by a so-called “prophet” like Cahn.]

Some info on Cahn’s Messianic congregation, found here:

The vision for Beth Israel began with Gary Selman, a Messianic Jewish businessman with a heart for sharing the Gospel to Jew and Gentile alike. Helping this vision become a reality was Reverend Charlie Rizzo of the Church of the Nazarene who gave early support to the new work. [The Nazarene denomination is deeply involved in heretical Spiritual Formation/ Contemplative Spirituality and Emerging/Emergent teachings. And the Nazarenes are increasing ties with various New Apostolic Reformation groups including IHOP. Have the Nazarenes influenced Beth Israel and Jonathan Cahn with any of these beliefs?]

Beth Israel became an independent work in 1988 under the leadership, pastorship, and rabbinate of Jonathan Cahn. In this first year it grew from a congregation of about 35 people to three times that size. It soon outgrew its first home in the Paramus Church of the Nazarene, but there was no money for a building….

Beth Israel continues to grow, becoming what is believed to be the largest Messianic Congregation in the United States.

Stand Up for the Truth posted comments by Cahn on the Zohar (Kaballah) here. I’m providing his comments on the Zohar below. Note: the Stand Up for the Truth post also includes Cahn’s brief responses concerning extra-biblical revelation, Gnosticism, etc. Personally, I do not find Cahn’s answers very satisfying – it seems to me he’s just making excuses for his heretical teachings.

I’ve encountered similar excuses when I’ve questioned supposedly born again Evangelical Friends about the heretical Quaker teachings they’re reverting to – such as:

… immediate revelation
… “the Inner Light”/”that of Christ in every man”
… people of various religions going to Heaven because, in faithfully adhering to their own religion, they’re following “the Inner Light” that’s in every person (even though they’ve never heard the name of Christ)

But I digress – back to Cahn’s response regarding his quoting the Zohar, again, posted by Stand Up for the Truth here.:

Question:  It is stated that Jonathan Cahn “says that Zohar, an extrabiblical, mystical source from which the occultic and mystical Kabbalah is derived, greatly influenced his writing.”

Answer:  Unfortunately this kind of statements represents some of the extreme and bizarre opposition to The Harbinger – It is an extreme false accusation.

No. I have never in my life said that the Zohar has greatly influenced my writing – nor has it ever.  What this accusation is taken from and twisted out of recognition from – Is that I have in some special teachings shared quotes found in the rabbinic writings which unwittingly bear witness of the truth of the Gospel – things that most Jewish people have no idea of – such as Isaiah 53 being about the Messiah, or God being Three in One, Messiah dying for our sins [Isaiah 53 in our Bible clearly describes the suffering of Jesus Christ.  Why does Cahn need to appeal to occult, mystic Jewish documents like the Zohar/Kaballah  to get Jewish people to listen? Isn’t reading the Bible itself sufficient for Cahn?], or a connection made between the mercy of God and the word “Golgotha.”  These things can be used to share the Gospel.  This has been a standard method of apologetics and evangelism for ages.  Rabbinical writings, mystical or otherwise, have been quoted for ages, in Bible commentaries, apologetics, works such as The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, etc. To take this and then present it as if I or any Christian pastor or scholar is a secret follower of such things because they used a quote to bear witness of the Gospel is, as, one minister friend of mine would say – shameful at best. It should not have even appeared in print.

The apostle Paul actually quoted from a pagan hymn to Zeus in order to share the truth of the Gospel at Mars Hill.  [This argument has used by many heretics to justify their quoting Catholics, Buddhists, etc.] If we were to then to accuse him of being into Zeus worship, or that pagan writings were behind the epistles, or accuse of him of being secretly pagan – I would think we would need to repent.  It’s called bearing false witness.

Sorry, for me the logic does not follow. If Cahn is the born again Christian that he claims, he should condemn the ungodly, occult Zohar/Kaballah. He should not quote it, except in condemnation of its passages.  Let’s look at it another way – would a born again, biblically sound Christian:

… quote from a Catholic document to evangelize Catholics because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Mormon document to evangelize Mormons because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Jehovah’s Witnesses document to evangelize Jehovah’s Witnesses because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a New Age document to evangelize New Agers because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Wiccan document to evangelize Wiccans because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?
… quote from a Satanic document to evangelize Satanists because it seemed to contain some Christian thoughts?

I realize born again, biblically sound (in my opinion) Christians such as A.W. Tozer and even H. Orton Wiley have commended the writings of Catholic mystics. But they should not have. These and many other born again Christians set a dangerous precedent, helping pave the way for today’s contemplative Emerging/Emergents to quote Catholic mystics, etc.

And as I mentioned above, aside from his quoting the Zohar/Kaballah, why does Cahn need to “reveal ancient mysteries” to “Jews and Gentiles?” Why can’t he just preach the Bible as it is, without having to reveal various mysteries that have supposedly been hidden for centuries in its pages? I believe this is going way beyond what God’s Word says. Cahn is treading on dangerous, heretical ground here, twisting God’s Holy Word, reinterpreting passages to say things God never intended.

It would be very insightful to also locate detailed info about Cahn’s true positions on the following questions. To me it seems Cahn was quite flippant, evasive and unrepentant in responding to the questions below, in this interview:

Question: Why infer that God is giving extra-biblical revelation, when the Bible was given once and for all to the saints?

Concern: Israel is not America, and God did not make a covenant with us, nor are we the apple of His eye.

Question: Is the publisher pronouncing Rabbi Cahn a foretelling prophet?

Question: What else has the publisher put out there?

Question: Does Rabbi Cahn draw from extra-biblical, mystical writings as his sources?

Question: One critic said that since The Harbinger speaks of mysteries being revealed – does this have to do with Gnostic beliefs?

Question: It is stated that Jonathan Cahn “says that Zohar, an extrabiblical, mystical source from which the occultic and mystical Kabbalah is derived, greatly influenced his writing.” [I have attempted to expose Cahn’s true position on the Zohar/Kaballah in the paragraphs above. I’ve also reposted Berit Kjos’ much more detailed expose here – God bless you Berit!]

Question: Does The Harbinger say that Isaiah is prophesying of America?
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(Note – my blog was previously entitled Heretical “Harbinger” author Jonathan Cahn: who is he and what does he really believe?)

FOR FURTHER READING

Audio sermons by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn (full of heresies)

Christine Pack, A Commentary on The Harbinger: A Warning About The Harbinger

Ken Silva, David James’ Book “The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?” Available

Ken Silva, Jim Bakker’s Homage to Jonathan Cahn Who Says He’s Blessed by Bakker’s Mentoring

Ken Silva, Patriotic Idolatry: “America for Jesus,” the NAR and Jonathan Cain

Ken Silva, Prophet Rabbi Jonathan Cain?

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(revised 11/24/12)

I came across this excellent blog exposing the heresies of Quaker founder George Fox and contemplative Evangelical Friend Richard Foster.

Note – I have attempted to comply with the author’s copyright guidelines (listed at the bottom of this repost). I have gone through the repost and trimmed it down to excerpts, rather than reposting the entire blog. I found it  difficult to trim down – so much of the blog verifies what I have been writing about the Quakers, George Fox and Richard Foster in my other blogs. (In this repost I am hoping to add links to my pertinent blogs.) Thank you so much for your blog, Churchmouse Campanologist!

Following is my repost. Click here for the original site of this blog, in its entirety. I am emphasizing certain points in this repost by bolding in orange, and inserting comments [in orange with brackets].

Fuller Theological Seminary alums: Richard Foster

November 30, 2010

  Richard Foster is one of today’s leaders of spiritual formation.  Much has been written about the various forms of ‘Christian’ meditation, which have been sweeping America over the past several years.

From small acorns do mighty oaks grow.  Who would have imagined that a small non-profit started in 1988 and called Renovaré would have shaken so many Protestant denominations to their foundations?

Richard Foster is a Quaker — a member of the Religious Society of Friends [actually Foster was a member of the Evangelical Friends Church International denomination. Yet, he feels very comfortable associating with all nonchristian Quaker groups] — who put Renovaré and spiritual formation into play.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, and his Doctorate of Pastoral Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.

George Fox’s spirituality

First, a word about George Fox and the Quakers.  If Fox were a young man today, he no doubt would have been a follower of Foster’s and an adherent of spiritual formation.  Fox lived between 1624 and 1691 — a tumultuous time in England.  When Fox came of age, Oliver Cromwell had beheaded Charles I,  then the Interregnum took place, the English Civil War followed and Charles II ushered in the Restoration in 1660.  To say that tensions were running high during Fox’s life would be an understatement.

Fox grew up with Puritan preachers.  As such, he was well versed in the King James Bible. But, like many Calvinist renegades throughout the past few centuries (e.g. Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) the absolute doctrines of Calvinism upset him, particularly predestination.

Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries took a closer look at Fox’s mindset.  He read A History of Christianity and discovered (quote below is from the book, emphases are Silva’s):

For four years he suffered severe spiritual depression induced by the spectacle of human suffering,…and by the doctrine of predestination which he heard expounded from Puritan pulpits. By temperament a mystic, he was eager for direct and unhindered access to God

Eventually (1647) the light broke. He came to feel Christ could speak to “his condition,”… He believed that God is love and truth and that it is possible for all men so to open their lives to Him… [Fox] would follow and have others follow the Inner Light” (Vol. II, p. 822, emphasis mine).

What this meant was that Fox ended up rejecting sola Scriptura.  Sound familiar?  And so it goes today in the emergent church and in an increasing number of evangelical churches.

Quaker belief

Quakers believe that this Inner Light is present in everyone.  You can even see that reflected in the comments on the forum on QuakerInfo.com.  They don’t quote a lot of Scripture verses but rely on more secular or generically spiritual sayings or poems.  Some meetinghouses are more politically than religiously oriented.  There also appear to be three strands of Quaker practice — including an evangelical one. [Actually there are more “strands” – following are three of the larger ones.] Forum participant John writes:

Some examples:

Liberal Quaker – non-Christ centered … generally politically liberal, theologically liberal. [They “believe” in Christ as Lord and Teacher.]

Evangelical Quaker – Christ centered … generally politically mixed, running from liberal to conservative, theologically conservative. [This has changed since Richard Foster came on the scene in the 1970s. Today I would describe the Evangelical Friends aka EFCI as theologically “progressive evangelical”/Emerging/Emergent, since the leadership refuses to stop promoting Foster and other contemplatives/Emergings/Emergents. Granted, Evangelical Quakers/Evangelical Friends still refer to Christ as Lord and Saviour – although I wonder how many Evangelical Friends today are truly born again.]

Conservative Quaker – Christ centered … politically liberal on some issues (i.e. peace and non-violence), and politically conservative on others (limited government), theologically very conservative. [Theologically conservative perhaps in their manner of dress, but they don’t profess to be born again. They – like the Liberal Quakers above –  “believe” in Christ as Lord and Teacher.]

‘Are Quakers Protestant?’

QuakerInfo.com tells us (emphases mine below):

It is quite clear from reading the works of early Friends that they did not identify with the Protestant movement. They considered the Protestant churches of their day, as well as the Roman Catholics, to be apostate. They felt that Protestants had lopped off some of the false branches of Catholicism, but did not challenge the root of apostasy. Insofar as Catholicism and Protestantism were different, early Friends would often in discourse on a topic point out what they felt were the incorrect views of Catholics and the separate incorrect views of the Protestants on the issue.

The early Friends considered themselves “primitive Christianity revived” – restoring true Christianity from the apostasy which started very early. They were not interested in reforming an existing church, but rather freshly expressing the truth of a Christianity before any institutional church took strong hold.

There were a number of differences early Friends had with Protestants of their day. Some of the key differences were:

    • The Protestants replaced the authority of the church with the authority of the Bible. Friends, while accepting the validity of the scriptures and believing in the importance of the faith community, gave first place to the Spirit of Christ. Pointing to the prologue of the Gospel of John, they viewed Christ, not the Bible, as the Word of God. The scripture was secondary, a declaration of the fountain rather than the fountain itself. (See also Friends (Quakers) and the Bible.)
    • The Protestants replaced liturgy with a sermon as the center of worship. Friends center worship in the divine presence. Even though Friends disdain outward liturgy, in some sense Quaker worship may be closer to Catholic than Protestant in nature. Both Catholics and Quakers believe in the actual presence of Christ in worship, for Catholics centered in the host and for Quakers spiritually. (See also Friends (Quaker) Worship.)
    • The Protestants were continually disturbed by an inner sense of guilt and original sin, and often felt they were choosing between sins. Quakers balanced the concept of original sin with the idea that redemption and regeneration could actually free humans from sin.

Today:

much of Society of Friends has become more mainstream and tends to identify with some of the movements among Protestants. At the same time, some of the key Quaker understandings have become increasingly accepted among many Protestants in the last century. The pentecostal and charismatic movements, which have become a very large part of the Protestantism and have also impacted Catholicism, have some similarities with the early Quaker movement.

Shades of universalism

Ken Silva read more about George Fox’s experience in ‘the well-respected Handbook Of Denominations In The United States (HoD) from Mead and Hill’ (emphases below are Silva’s):

After failing to find satisfactory truth and peace in the churches of his time, Fox discovered what he sought in a direct personal relationship with Christ:

“When all my hopes in [churches] were gone… I heard a voice which said, ‘That is the Inner Voice, or Inner Light, based upon the description of John 1:9: ‘the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (KJV)’ ”

“This voice,” Fox maintained, “is available to all and has nothing to do with the ceremonies, rituals, or creeds over which Christians have fought. Every heart is God’s altar and shrine.” (140,141, emphasis mine).

Let’s be honest.  If you were to ask any number of people about a) having a direct personal relationship with Christ or b) if everyone is part divine or can come equally to God, you’d receive a surprisingly positive response to both.  The question then is — are these in accordance with the Bible?  No, they are not.

Silva warns us (emphases mine):

this false idea of an inner light, or a “divine spark,” is a very key issue to grasp before one can come to understand the root of the flawed semi-pelagian “gospel” preached by much of mainstream evangelicalism within which Foster has now become a major player. I cover this spiritually fatal idea of “a spark of the divine” allegedly inside all of mankind further in The Emergent “One” and Understanding the New Spirituality: God Indwells Mankind.

So in closing this for now I tell you in the Lord that this musing is actually classic Gnostic mysticism, which itself has already been condemned within the pages of the New Testament. Particularly in the Book of Colossians as well as in 1 John we find the Apostles dealing with Gnosticism. And again concerning all of this messed mysticism the Lord warns us through His chosen vessel Peter — In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up (2 Peter 2:3).

Foster’s Celebration of Discipline

Foster’s most notable work is his 1978 book, Celebration of Discipline, wherein he explores mystical and Quaker practices. Christianity Today named it as one of the top 10 of the 20th century.  Pastor Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel observes (emphases mine):

Celebration of Discipline alone, not even referencing Foster’s other writings and teachings and ministries, is a virtual encyclopedia of theological error. We would be hard pressed to find in one so-called evangelical volume such a composite of false teaching. These include faulty views on the subjective leading of God (pp. 10, 16-17, 18, 50, 95, 98, 108-109, 128, 139-140, 149-150, 162, 167, 182); approval of New Age teachers (see Thomas Merton below); occultic use of imagination (pp. 25-26, 40-43, 163, 198); open theism (p. 35); misunderstanding of the will of God in prayer (p. 37); promotion of visions, revelations and charismatic gifts (pp. 108, 165, 168-169, 171, 193); endorsement of rosary and prayer wheel use (p. 64); misunderstanding of the Old Testament Law for today (pp. 82, 87); mystical journaling (p. 108); embracing pop-psychology (pp. 113-120); promoting Roman Catholic practices such as use of “spiritual directors,” confession and penance (pp. 146-150, 156, 185); and affirming of aberrant charismatic practices (pp. 158-174, 198).

Gilley adds:

… the dust jacket of this edition assures us “that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found” … If spiritual growth is dependent upon the spiritual disciplines described in Foster’s book, should not we have expected to find this truth in the Scriptures? Why did God reveal them, not to the apostles but to apostate Roman Catholic mystics, and then to Richard Foster as he studied the mystics and used occultic techniques of meditation? We need to tread very carefully through this spiritual minefield. If this is in fact one of the ten best books of the twentieth century, I am not too anxious to read the other nine.

He concludes:

No one is calling for a purely intellectualized faith devoid of practice and experience. What those who draw their cue from Scripture and not mystics are calling for is a Christian faith, experience and practice that is rational, intellectual, makes sense, and most importantly is solidly grounded on the Word of God. Foster and company have taken many far afield in pursuit of mystical experiences that lead to a pseudo-Christianity that has the appearance of spirituality but not the substance.

Renovaré

The verb is Latin for ‘to renew’.  Since Foster founded this organisation in 1988, it has expanded around the world.

After the success of Celebration of Discipline, Foster received many public speaking invitations.  Audiences, particularly in the evangelical world, were highly receptive to the book’s subject matter and wished to know more.  In 1986, Foster withdrew from active ministry to pursue a means for teaching people how to live the disciplines the book explores.  He launched Renovaré two years later.

The non-profit organisation has taken on an ecumenical membership from a variety of Protestant denominations as well as from the Roman Catholic Church.  In fact, it is now headed by an Anglican Franciscan, Christopher Webb.  Foster remains a member of Renovaré’s board and its ministry team.

Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs and John MacArthur’s Grace to You Ministries shared his own impressions of Foster with Ken Silva (emphases mine):

I met Foster almost 25 years ago when we were both slated to teach seminars at a couple of writers’ conferences. At the time, he was teaching at Friends University in Wichita, which is a small college founded by Quakers and happens to be where my Mom got her degree in the early 1960s. So we had some things in common and spent quite a bit of time talking. He is a capable writer and a very likable person.

But in my opinion, he is not an evangelical. He does not seem to have any clear understanding of the gospel or the atonement. That’s why his emphasis is all about “spirituality” and “spiritual disciplines” and various things the worshiper must do, with virtually no emphasis on what Christ has done for sinners. I’ve read several of Foster’s books and have never even seen him mention the cross as a propitiation for sins.

Moreover, he blends all kinds of works-based approaches to spirituality, which he borrows from diverse “Christian” traditions and even from other religions’ mystical and superstitious practices. In my estimation, all of that puts him far outside the pale of orthodoxy. Although he occasionally makes quotable remarks and valid observations, he is by no means a trustworthy teacher.

Nonetheless, Foster’s disciplines are pervasive.

From Calvinists to the Nazarenes

Silva researched Foster’s effect on various churches and found that a new generation of Calvinists were on board.

In 2009, John Piper interviewed Matt Chandler of The Village Church, who gave Piper his impressions of being ‘a pastor, a Calvinist and a Complementarian’.  Silva found it ‘odd’ that

in a search for Richard Foster in the Recommended Books of The Village Church, “that have challenged and helped us as a staff in our faith and in our ministry work”, we find his books Celebration of Discipline, Streams of Living Water, and The Challenge of the Disciplined Life

And so I have to wonder: Why would a Calvinist pastor and his staff be recommending to anyone these books by a highly ecumenical Quaker mystic whose whole sorry shtick is reintroducing the unsuspecting to the apostate Sola Scriptura-denying and spurious spirituality of the Counter Reformation within the medieval Roman Catholic Church?

Mark Driscoll, controversial pastor of the Mars Hill Fellowship in Seattle, also advocates spiritual disciplines and contemplative practices.  Lighthouse Trails Research discovered (emphases mine):

In an article written by Driscoll himself, ironically titled Obedience, Driscoll tells readers to turn to Richard Foster and contemplative Gary Thomas. Driscoll states:

If you would like to study the spiritual disciplines in greater detail … helpful are Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster, and Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas.

And:

Presently, on Driscoll’s website, The Resurgence … is an article titled “How to Practice Meditative Prayer.” The article is written by an Acts 29 (Driscoll’s network of churches) pastor, Winfield Bevins. A nearly identical article on Driscoll’s site, also by Bevins, is titled Meditative Prayer: Filling the Mind. Both articles show a drawing of a human brain. In this latter article, Bevins recognizes contemplative mystic pioneer Richard Foster:

What do we mean by meditative prayer? Is there such a thing as Christian meditation? Isn’t meditation non-Christian? According to Richard Foster, “Eastern meditation is an attempt to empty the mind. Christian meditation is an attempt to fill the mind” (Celebration of Discipline). Rather than emptying the mind we fill it with God’s word. [Foster is misleading here – his form of meditation is indeed emptying the mind since it’s derived from Eastern meditation, albeit using “Christian” methods. I’m sure neurological studies would show that Foster’s meditation produces altered states of consciousness with Alpha brain waves – as does occult Eastern meditation.] We must not neglect a vital part of our Judeo-Christian heritage simply because other traditions use a form of meditation.

Meanwhile, Manny Silva at Reformed Nazarene does an excellent job in exposing false teachers to members of the Church of the Nazarene.

On November 14, 2010, he blogged about the possibility of Nazarene youth groups being influenced by Renovaré.  He writes about two Christian youth ministries already working with young adult Nazarene members — Barefoot and YouthFront — which wish to partner with Renovaré (emphases mine)…

… the third part of this alliance is Renovare, an organization founded by Richard Foster, perhaps the most influential person today in leading many evangelicals directly to and over the cliffs, right into the abyss of spiritual formation (certainly a more palatable and innocent-sounding phrase than contemplative spirituality, or “Christianized transcendental meditation”, or maybe “occultic prayer practices.”  I have also documented much of Richard Foster’s unbiblical practices and ideology, and it is maddening that he has such an influence in a denomination that preaches holiness and faithfulness to God’s written word, and long ago ironically moved away from experiential-based spirituality in rejecting the hyper-charismatic movement.

[The last sentence above from my personal friend Manny best describes the denomination (particularly Ohio Yearly Meeting aka EFC-ER) prior to the 1970s. Foster started gaining an Evangelical Friends foothold in the early 1970s in Northwest Yearly Meeting, then got a deathgrip on the entire denomination in 1978 with his bestselling Celebration of Discipline. From 1978 on, the Evangelical Friends have gone downhill into contemplative and Emerging/Emergent teachings. Amazing, and tragic, how times have changed for the Evangelical Friends and other Evangelical denominations.

 Just a comment on Manny’s statement that the EFCI “long ago ironically moved away from experiential-based spirituality in rejecting the hyper-charismatic movement.” I don’t know about the other Regions/Yearly Meetings of the EFCI, but EFC-ER put out a statement in 1970 forbidding the open speaking of tongues during services. Ironically, today EFC-ER’s Malone University is becoming increasingly open to IHOP teachings. Again, a huge change from yesteryear. Interestingly, IHOP and other Third Wave Pentecostal groups incorporate Foster’s contemplative practices – as well as overlap with the Emerging/Emergent movements.]

Why Christians are unhappy

Manny Silva reminds Nazarenes what experimentation in religious practices can do not only to individuals but to a denomination as a whole (same link as above):

… we seem to be continuing down this road, making more and more alliances with organizations that have a veneer of truth. And so I ask again, since there is some truth there, does that make it okay to join with them?  Is there any more doubt as to where our denomination is heading, my friends?  Are we fooling ourselves and thinking that these are just minor aberrations in the whole scheme of things?

What does it say to you, then, that NTS, our main seminary for training pastors for the future, is clearly holding hands with these groups, and promoting them? Remember NTS’s promotion of the Spiritual Formation Retreat just before General Assembly?  Remember the Prayer Room at General Assembly with the Richard Foster book?  Or the Richard Foster/Renovare event at Point Loma Nazarene University? Or Trevecca Nazarene University’s prayer labyrinth? Remember the promotion of contemplative practices on the NTS website, for pre-teens?  …  Either our leadership is totally in the dark about these (and many more that I have not mentioned), or they know of it, and are saying nothing specific to the questions many have put to them.

Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine.  In ‘What’s Wrong and Right about the Imitation of Christ’, he offers these observations of contemplative Christianity (emphases mine):

It would be a travesty simply to lump together medieval mysticism, the Anabaptist tradition, Quakers, Pietism, and Protestant liberalism. Nevertheless, there is a common thread running through these diverse movements-a theology of works-righteousness that emphasizes:

    • Christ’s example over his unique and sufficient achievement;
    • The inner experience and piety of believers [and nonbelievers] over the external work and Word of Christ;
    • Our moral transformation over the Spirit’s application of redemption;
    • Private soul formation over the public ministry of the means of grace.

… Let’s leave the final word to Martin Luther, as recorded in Tabletalk (emphases mine):

Yet all these seeming holy actions of devotion, which the wit and wisdom of man holds to be angelical sanctity, are nothing else but works of the flesh… 

Is the same true of our contemplative friends among the laity?  Please exercise caution in your Christian practices.  Is what you are doing in the Bible, particularly the New Testament? If not, avoid it. Rely not on Christian bookstores, errant pastors or sensation-seeking friends.  Instead, be Berean.

End of series

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(revised 02/04/14)

In this blog I wrote about how Emerging/Emergent heretic Tony Campolo spoke at EFCI’s Malone University 09/28/12. I am shocked by Malone University’s affinity (and the EFCI’s affinity) in recent years for heretics such as Campolo.

I have also been trying to keep up with goings-on in the Nazarene denomination and other Wesleyan Holiness denominations. Following is a blog originally posted here by my friend Manny Silva (reformednazarene), regarding Campolo’s visit to Southern Nazarene University. This blog is excellent, in that Manny provides a summary of Campolo’s heresies. He also provides a list of additional links about Campolo, following the blog.

False Teacher Campolo To Speak At Southern Nazarene University

Posted on November 15, 2012 by reformednazarene

The Nazarene denomination’s fascination with Tony Campolo, especially as a guest speaker at the universities, is astounding.  The latest venue he is scheduled at in the near future is Southern Nazarene University, where he is slated to speak on Feb. 14, 2013.  I am sending this to the president of Southern Nazarene University, and I hope that he will agree with those of us who are fully aware of the falsehoods in Tony Campolo’s ideology, which do not lineup at all with Nazarene teaching, and more importantly, with Biblical teaching and doctrine.  The right thing to do would then be to withdraw the invitation for Campolo, with the exception that they would at least provide a forum where he can be debated in front of the university students. I know several Nazarenes (myself included) who would, in a heartbeat, be willing to debate Dr. Campolo on the merits of his belief system, which I will highlight in a moment.  After all, is not the university the best place for a vigorous debate between opposing principles, where students can listen and make up their minds?  It would serve everyone well to see if Dr. Campolo’s beliefs stand up to the light of Scripture.

In previous posts, I have documented his promotion of pagan Celtic “Christianity” and its “thin places”.  In his speaking engagement at Eastern Nazarene College, he blatantly promoted “thin places” and contemplative spirituality, with Nazarene pastors in attendance at the chapel service, and not a word of protest as far as I know.  And I’m not surprised, as not one pastor in my New England area who happens to be on my email list has ever commented back to me about any concern about Tony Campolo.  One would think that they would want to correct any erroneous assessments of Tony Campolo, including the fact I have called him out as a false teacher.  I have not heard a word either supporting Tony Campolo, or condemning his false teachings.

I have had one university leader, Dr. Karl Leth of Olivet Nazarene University, respond to me and try to defend the welcoming of Dr. Campolo to their campus.  His defense failed the biblical test, although I do respect the fact that he was willing to try.

It truly is sad how bad things are getting in all our Nazarene universities.  It truly is sad how are General Superintendents have done nothing in the last four years since they started getting warnings from me and many others.  If they have been doing something to stop the onslaught of false teachings, I would love to know what it is.  And it certainly has not been made know publicly, which would be the proper thing to do, so there will know where they stand.  But no, continued silence from these leaders, who according to the church manual, are charged with the responsibility of interpreting church doctrine.

Below are just some examples of the heretical views of Tony Campolo.  Judge for yourself.  I am sending this to the General Superintendents again for their review and comment as to whether Tony Campolo reflects the values of the Church of the Nazarene.  It must be pointed out again that Dr. Campolo is never openly challenged in front of the students, who sit passively as he indoctrinates many of them with his false teachings.

SOME OF TONY CAMPOLO’S HERETICAL BELIEFS:

His ecumenicalism, and belief that you don’t even have to know you are saved, or astoundingly, that you even have to be a Christian to have “Jesus in you”.  He also places Islam on the same equal footing as Christianity.

“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.”  (Charlie Rose show on January 24, 1997)

“Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.”  (Page 149, Speaking My Mind)

“I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus; that’s my evangelical mindset. However, I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians”  (National Liberty Journal, 8/99)

“…what can I say to an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry, and clothed the naked? You say, “But he hasn’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I would argue with that. And I would say from a Christian perspective, in as much as you did it to the least of these you did it unto Christ. You did have a personal relationship with Christ, you just didn’t know it.” (EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne)

“Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving”  (EP News Service, Oct. 4, 1985)

“What I am trying to say is that Jesus who incarnated God 2,000 years ago is mystically present and waiting to be discovered in EVERY person you and I encounter”  (A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 171)

His Promotion of Contemplative Prayer (Mysticism)

His fascination with mysticism and heretics such as Ignatius of Loyola, who was a leader in the Counter-Reformation.  Here, he mentions Loyola as an important source of help for him.  Campolo apparently forgets the fact that Ignatius was in charge of the brutal group called the Jesuits, also known as the pope’s shock troops, who persecuted Christians who dared to defy the Roman Catholic teachings.  Yet, he calls Ignatius a saint!

“Counter-Reformation saints like Ignatius of Loyola have become important sources of help as I have begun to learn from them modes of contemplative prayer. I practice what is known as “centering prayer,” in which a sacred word is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.”   (“Mystical Encounters for Christians”)

His Promotion of Mindless Repetitive Prayer and Pagan Celtic Spirituality

“I’ve got to push everything out of mind save the name of Jesus. I say His name over and over again, for as long as fifteen minutes, until I find my soul suspended in what the ancient Celtic Christians called a “thin place”–a state where the boundary between heaven and earth, divine and human, dissolves. You could say that I use the name of Jesus as my koan.”  (Mystical Encounters for Christians)

* It is also interesting that Nazarene Theological Seminary’s Doug Hardy is teaching the pagan Celtic Spirituality to future Nazarene pastors.  This is an abomination, frankly, along with the emergent ideology and other contemplative spirituality they are teaching.  The seminary is preparing our future false pastors for Nazarene churches across the globe right now.

His “Feminization” Of Jesus In the Following Statement

“There is a feminine side of God. I always knew this … It is this feminine side of God I find in Jesus that makes me want to sing duets with Him … Not only do I love the feminine is Jesus, but the more I know Jesus, the more I realize that Jesus loves the feminine in me. Until I accept the feminine in my humanness, there will be a part of me that cannot receive the Lord’s love. … There is that feminine side of me that must be recovered and strengthened if I am to be like Christ … And until I feel the feminine in Jesus, there is a part of Him which I cannot identify.”(Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88)

His Lack of Understanding Of Scripture regarding Homosexuality

“On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians, as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.”  (20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch”, page 117)

Dr. Campolo also believes in evolution; does not believe that the Bible is inerrantly inspired; believes that man has an inner divinity; believes non-Christians might go to heaven; believes that homosexuals are “born that way”, and that it is not a “volitional” issue.

So this man continues to get invited to our Christian schools to indoctrinate our students with all sorts of heresies.  Discernment was thrown out a long time ago by our leaders.

Related Articles:

Beware Tony Campolo:  http://www.wayoflife.org/database/campolo.html

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/olivet-nazarene-lets-false-teacher-campolo-speak-in-chapel/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/symptoms-of-a-great-apostasy-in-our-christian-schools-and-seminaries/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/tony-campolos-thin-places-occultic-christianity/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/false-prophet-tony-campolo-promotes-doctrines-of-demons-to-enc-students/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/profiles-in-apostasy-tony-campolo/

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The following paragraph seems to have been removed from the Wikipedia article on “Church of the Nazarene“. At this web page, I found this note (which references the user who deleted the Concerned Nazarenes paragraph):

This is the current revision of this page, as edited by NazareneBishop (talk | contribs) at 22:17, 18 September 2012. The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this version.

A pretty bold move by NazareneBishop (whoever he is), removing the paragraph. In one fell swoop he changed the Wiki article from balanced (both sides) to biased (one sided).

Following is the deleted info, which I found by clicking on “previous revision” at the above Wikipedia link and ending up here. I suppose the info could be added back in, or liberal/Emerging/Emergent content could be removed that was just added. (Hint, hint!) In either case, again, NazareneBishop overstepped his bounds in messing with the previously two-sided article.

Concerned Nazarenes criticism

Alarmed by what they perceived to be the increasing influence of “emerging church philosophy that had crept into the Nazarene denomination”, after August 2008 a group of church members formed an organization called “Concerned Nazarenes”.[92] They believe that “The emergent ideology is a perversion of the Word of God and the doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene.”[93] The group circulated a petition to members of the denomination, which was presented by 500 members to the Board of General Superintendents in January 2009, with the desire that “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.”[93][94] Prior to the most recent General Assembly held in July 2009, the Concerned Nazarenes advocated revising the Articles of Faith to affirm biblical inerrancy: “Old and New Testaments are inerrant throughout and the supreme authority on everything the scriptures teach.”[93] Further, they are concerned about the teaching of open theism and biological evolution in Nazarene universities; invitations to emergent church leaders Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, and Doug Pagitt to speak at Nazarene institutions; and the use of “experiential works-based techniques for prayer”, including prayer labyrinths, prayer stations and retreats to Roman Catholic monasteries. On 15 June 2009 the Concerned Nazarenes issued a press release indicating “Conservatives are pushing the church hierarchy to make a clear statement about Scriptural inerrancy at the Orlando gathering. Representatives from Indiana have put forward a resolution, urging delegates to affirm the Bible as totally free of error.”[95] The resolution was defeated by a large majority of delegates voting. During the General Assembly 6,000 copies of a two-hour DVD outlining the perceived dangers of the Emergent Church were distributed to delegates and visitors.[96]

[92] ^ “Who Are Concerned Nazarenes?”, Concerned Nazarenes

[93] http://www.concernednazarenes.org/page12.php[dead link]

[94] ^ To see the petition, http://www.ericbarger.com/grace.naz.petition12-2008.pdf

[95] ^ http://www.ericbarger.com/naz.pressrelease.6-2009.pdf

[96] ^ Manny Silva, “General Assembly Diary” (Friday, July 3, 2009), http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/general-assembly-diary/

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Click here for the original site of this blog, by my friend Manny Silva.

Three Years Later: Nazarene Foundations Still Crumbling

Posted on January 5, 2012 by reformednazarene

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  Psalm 11:3

The Church of the Nazarene is caught in a serious crisis, even though those in leadership may not think so.  The foundations are slowly being destroyed, and many leaders are ignoring the warnings; some are part of the problem; and only a few are sounding the alarm.  I often see reports and updates that tell us that the church is healthy.  Surely in some places things are going well, but there is a cancer slowly running through the church and eating away at its spiritual health, and that is being ignored too much.  How foolish if a sick patient ignores the warning signs of a deadly disease!  The following items of apostasy have been welcomed into our universities (in varying degrees of severity depending on the school) and many of our churches and districts:

Emergent church ideology (now more often dressed up as “missional”); contemplative spirituality or mysticism; spiritual formation; ecumenicalism and interfaith collaborations; Roman Catholic practices; environmental movement; social justice “gospel”; open theism; process theology; theistic evolution; and finally, what has led to all these things, which is the rejection of the inerrancy and authority of God’s word.

I believe that the Church of the Nazarene is moving in a direction that will at some point, perhaps in the not too distant future, put it on the same level as apostate mainline denominations such as the ELCA, the Episcopal Church, and the PCUSA.  Those denominations have shared, amongst other meltdowns, an affinity for watering down the biblical message against homosexual sin, and accepting the LGBT lifestyle as a normal part of Christian living.  We already are seeing signs of this viewpoint coming into some of our universities such as Point Loma and Southern Nazarene University, and even some weakness in official denomination papers (Pastoral Perspective on Homosexuality).

For those who are new to much of this, in December of 2008 I made my first contact with Tim Wirth.  Tim and his friends Sue and Don Butler were instrumental in putting together the Emergent Church DVD, which was passed out to over 6,000 people at General Assembly 2009 in Orlando.  Sometime during the early months of 2009, I had met other Nazarenes or former Nazarenes who were concerned about the direction the denomination was going due to the influence of the emerging church movement and unbiblical teachings in our universities.  We organized ourselves and “invaded” the General Assembly to warn our fellow Nazarenes.  It has been a real battle as we have been joined by many other Nazarenes, and even non-Nazarene friends, in sounding the warning and educating others to the dangers we all are facing throughout all denominations.

I believe that now after almost three years there has come a new turning point, from what I have seen, and what I am planning as far as my ministry goes.  I may not necessarily be speaking for all concerned Nazarenes, and will not be presumptuous to think so.  Most of what I will say here is shared by many others, although I do not claim to be “the voice” of the Concerned Nazarenes.  And I also am taking the risk of losing more friends with what needs to be said today.  I accept that risk, as long as I am being truthful in my assessment.  From all I have seen, the Church of the Nazarene is near or at the forefront of all other traditionally orthodox denominations in bringing emergent ideology and other unbiblical practices and teachings to its people.

Response From Our National Leadership Has Failed

This to me has been the biggest red flag and the most troublesome indicator that the Nazarene denomination is headed for even more difficult times.  And when I speak of difficult times, I only speak of one thing: that of spiritual matters.  It has nothing to do with membership, or finances, or status in the world.  Therefore, I have come to two main conclusions at this time regarding the Board of General Superintendents:

1. General Superintendent Dr. Jesse Middendorf is an active perhaps the most influential supporter of the emergent church agenda within the denomination.  His son Jon Middendorf has also been a big influence, with his embrace of emergent ideology and ecumenical fellowship with the Roman Catholic church.  From his support of Jon’s presentation at the 2009 General Assembly, to his collaboration with emergent church leaders such as New Age sympathesizer Leonard Sweet, it is clear that Dr. Middendorf has been one of the major catalysts in fostering the growth of emergent ideology, contemplative spirituality, and acceptance of Roman Catholic practices within the denomination.  Some university leaders I have communicated with are also helping to usher in Roman Catholic practices, mysticism, and emergent ideology.  Their oftentimes ambiguous or evasive answers, and their staunch defense of false teachers such as Tony Campolo and Mike King, reveals that they have little discernment and have been deceived, and even worse are now spreading that deception to others.

2. The Other General Superintendents.  I do not have hard evidence of any of the other Generals being directly involved in promoting the emergent agenda, because they do not reveal much in their answers to me and others.  However, there is another indicator, which is the apparent lack of leadership from them, and lack of meaningful, clear answers to specific questions.  There are two possibilities, neither of which are good: the current leadership is either complicit with the emergent movement as Dr. Middendorf is, or at best they are aware of the problems and have made a conscious decision to ignore these serious threats to our church for the sake of, perhaps… staying united in one voice?  If so, that does not match up with biblical principles, because staying united as leaders at the expense of ignoring biblical truth, and at the expense of shirking their responsibility to lead the church and give guidance and direction, is unacceptable.

Throughout the past two years, the Generals have written several official statements, including The Emergent Church.  I have personally received responses from them.  Others have received individual responses.  All the words in these statements at best translate to a very generic, “we are against false teachings” position, but lacking substantive comments on anything or anyone specifically.  The current editor of Holiness Today also has shown signs of being sympathetic to the emergent movement, and is known for having attacked Concerned Nazarenes more than once, but like the others, never being specific in his accusations (Ill Informed Critics? Part 1, and Part 2.  So in effect, both the “silent” treatment tactic, and the attempts to attack our motives instead of biblically correcting us, seems to be the primary strategy of not only the leadership, but of those at the universities, as well as many at the District level.  I have had personal disappointments with some of the top leaders in my district, who have not even so much as responded to my emails seeking to have a meeting to discuss my concerns.  In my opinion, they too have shirked their responsibilities as leaders.  There were promises to meet with me, but never followed up.  Yet this “ignore them and they’ll go away” strategy simply exacerbates the situation, not just for me, but for others who at best have received polite form letters that are empty in substance.

The Universities Are Falling Apart

Some university presidents are either fully involved in spreading emergent heresy, or like some of the Generals, are not willing or are powerless to take serious action or speak out.  Universities that have been severely compromised include:
Northwest Nazarene University , led by the open theism of Dr. Tom Oord (see also Open Theism and Christian Evolution at ENC), as well as its welcoming of heretical speakers such as Brian McLaren and Jay McDaniel, and the embracing of The Shack author William Paul Young recently.

Point Loma Nazarene University
, with its promotion of contemplative spirituality and Richard Foster’s Renovaré seminars, compromising the biblical view of homosexuality (Homosexuality At Point Loma); inviting an Eastern Orthodox speaker to teach praying to icons, and welcoming false teachers such as Rob Bell to speak on campus and to pastors;

Trevecca Nazarene University , which has been promoting prayer labyrinths and contemplative mysticism for years, as well as retreats to a Roman Catholic monastery to teach contemplative mysticism to students.  Their president, Dan Boone, changed the name of prayer labyrinth to prayer walk when this was exposed, but it does not matter.  It is still an unbiblical practice.  (See Are There Fundamentalist Nazarenes, And Are They Jihadists?, and Conversation With University President).

Nazarene Theological Seminary openly promotes contemplative mysticism; has a required course for pastors called Celtic Spirituality, an occultic version of “Christianity”; apparently is unapologetically involved in the interfaith movement; has a professor, Mike King, who spoke at the blasphemous Wildgoose Festival (Mike King and Friends Leading Youth To Spiritual Death).  New president David Busic quoted heretical emergence Christianity proponent, Phylis Tickle, extensively in his inauguration message.  There is more, as I have documented, but this is the school responsible for preparing our future pastors!  This is shameful.

The other Nazarene schools have been compromised also in one way or another.  Nazarene Bible College is teaching lectio divina, which is apparently standard fare now with books on that practice at the Nazarene Publishing House, which is sorely lacking in discernment with its promotion of the Catholic ritual of ashes to the forehead.  At the very least they must be seriously scrutinized before sending your children there.  The ones that I have mentioned, I would strongly recommend to stay away from at the moment, and do not send money to them until they repent of what they are doing.

District Leaders

There have been district superintendents who have shown the same display of politically correct responses to letters from concerned Nazarenes, and pastors who simply want to talk about “love” and maintaining “unity.”   Yet, some of them could do something, they could speak out, and yet they choose to remain silent, some of it due to the fact that they have bought into the false teachings.  Yet I thank God for those few pastors (including my own) and district leaders who have boldly taken a stand and rejected these false movements, and have declared it publicly and to their congregations.  There are still pastors who are defending their flock at great cost at times and rejecting the emergent agenda of their districts.  Some have been persecuted and lost their job, because of speaking out against emergent heresy.

People Are Leaving- Because of The Emergent Church

The leaders at some point will have to decide to be on one side or the other- and not walk the fence.  Nazarenes are leaving the denomination because of its liberal attitude and welcoming embrace of emergent thinking and rejection of the Bible’s full authority.  Of course, many are being attracted to the church because of its new emergent, post-modern thought- but at what cost?  How many of those who have come into the church are truly born again?  You will not have types of Nazarenes for too long.  Make up your mind, state your position clearly, and let Nazarenes decided whether they will put up with the emergent (missional) church or not.  But stop leading people on and making them wonder where you stand.  The fact is, if you don’t speak against it, you ARE for it.  If you want us to look like the Roman Catholic Church, you’ll see more of this, which was posted today:

“I can’t do it anymore, I am going to have to leave my church, when the associate pastor and others condone the teachings of the Catholic church it is time to leave!!!  I just can’t take the associate pastor and others supporting the doctrine of the catholic church. How do I witness to a Catholic and then turn around and accept their false teaching?  Pray for us.”

No More Letters

At this point, I will no longer be sending letters to the General Superintendents pleading with them for an answer to serious questions.  Their “answers” from the past two years have been inadequate and cryptic at best, and now I see them as part of the problem unless proven otherwise, not part of any solution to the problems in the church.  If the Lord moves them to action, and the Holy Spirit convicts them, they will finally start showing the leadership that seems to be lacking now, and provide badly needed spiritual guidance to several million Nazarenes.   They have the potential to send a loud and clear message to the apostates that have taken over our churches, our universities, and that are deceiving so many young people today.  But the days of asking them questions are over, and from now on I will be exposing them for their silence until they give us a straight answer.  If they cannot do their job, perhaps they need to resign, and find another occupation with less responsibility.  Here’s some food for thought expressed recently by a Nazarene pastor:
“I wonder how much of the emergent church stuff in our leaders and local congregations comes from the fact that we have failed to “guard the doctrine” (study the Scriptures) and are living in a “fly by the seat of our pants” theology. How much of it is because we have innocently tried to be “all things to all people” and there is really a heart to win the lost for Christ, but we no longer know how to or feel comfortable with the mission because we’re not IN THE LIVING WORD. So all sorts of other avenues are presented to be an attraction to people. How many of our leaders have just been running a giant organization too long to even be aware of what is happening or willing to put a face on it and call it for what it is? Maybe they’re still reeling from the fact that satan has shoved his foot in the door right under their noses and they don’t want to scare people away by pointing him out.”

Some may say, you are not being fair, Manny.  Who are you to question leaders of such stature?  Perhaps they are working diligently “behind the scenes” to fix the problems.  But that’s not how strong leadership works.  Strong leadership will instill confidence and trust from the people.  The fruits of their actions, or perhaps “non-actions”, have borne nothing but more uncertainty for Bible believers, while allowing the apostates to continue solidifying their foothold on our institutions and many of our churches and districts around the world.  If the great apostle Paul demanded accountability and commended the Bereans for verifying his teachings, why should we not hold our General Superintendents, college presidents, district superintendents, and pastors to the same high biblical standards?

Follow Our Example

One of my biggest disappointments has been seeing so many longtime Christians, many of them close family and friends, ignore what is going on, as if it will go away.  It is time now for pastors and laypeople alike who are sitting on the sidelines and do not agree with the false teachings, to stand up and be counted.  I do not claim to come close to emulating the apostle Paul, yet I am compelled to ask many of you to now do something.  I ask that you do as I do, just as Paul asked many years ago, simply because what we are doing here is biblically justified and even mandated- no exceptions.  Admitting that we are imperfect, I ask those who have been on the sidelines to follow my example and that of many Nazarenes who have put themselves on the line, risking reputation and even years of friendships, all for the sake of Jesus Christ and the truth of His word.  Perhaps you can do some research and educate others.  Perhaps you can write or call your district superintendents and ask where they stand, and then continue to pressure them for answers.  Perhaps you will need to confront your own pastor, or a friend in your church.  Perhaps you as a pastor must teach your congregation to be better Bereans.  It will not be easy.  That’s what I had to do.  It cost us plenty, but honoring Christ is the only honest option for us.

Manny Silva

For those who are feeling the threat of false teachings coming into your church, you are not alone.  Need advice and support, a free DVD, or other resources?  Please contact me or join us at our Concerned Nazarene FaceBook page.)


Addendum: Things To Prayerfully Consider

1. Consider specifically assigning your tithe ONLY to certain local church expenses, so that there is less chance it will be sent to the General Church budget.

2. If you are in a church that is promoting emergent ideology, withhold your tithe in some type of escrow until leadership is removed or repentance comes about.

3. Write to one or more of the General Superintendents and express your concerns about the direction of the denomination.

4. Write or call your District Superintendent, and ask him as to where he stands on the emergent church movement.

5. Talk to your pastor and find out exactly what he believes, especially if you suspect he may be trying to bring in “strange” practices, or if his sermons sound different and “odd” lately.  You may want to start by asking if he believes in the full inerrancy of scripture, not “only in matters of salvation.”

6. If your pastor is firmly against the emergent church, give him your unwavering support; pray for him and his spouse; encourage the congregation to stand with him 100%.

7. Write to one or more of the universities or seminaries, especially if you are an alumnus, and express your concerns and ask for the leadership to explain where they stand.  Do not settle for generalities, but press for specific responses to specific issues.

8. If you donate regularly to one of our universities, consider stopping the sending of any money to them, and write and let them know they will no longer get any funds until they get their act together and clean house.

9. Pray daily, especially for the safety and protection of our students at the schools, who are being exposed to dangerous heretical teachings, or who are being ridiculed by theology professors for standing for biblical truth

10.  Consider the possibility that you may have to be divorced from your church.  But is there any price that cannot be paid for standing for God’s truth, and being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ?

11.  Flee.  If all else fails, and you and your family are threatened by unbiblical teachings, you must protect them.  Leave, and find a good solid Bible believing Nazarene church, and if that fails, find a good Bible believing church.  Your allegiance is to Jesus Christ, not any denomination.

12.  Ultimately, you may have to leave the denomination.  That is your call, in your time, based on your circumstances, and only through prayerful consideration.

Manny Silva

(How Do We Discern?- Michael Youssef)

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5 Responses

  1. Lige Jeter, on January 6, 2012 at 11:41 am said:

    Twice Solomon wrote In Proverbs [14:12] and [16:25] “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” Solomon is saying that man is capable of having his own view of religion apart from Scripture that leads to a false faith and supports a false creed or set of beliefs. It is obvious that Solomon was writing about his earlier life when he followed his own set of beliefs rather than trust in those of his father David as David followed the Creator. I believe this sums up the emergents basic ideology and the effect it is having on the Christian Community at large and the COTN.

    Jesus expressed it another way found in Matthew [7:21-23] “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” The warning here is to know that we are doing things Christ’s way and not as the false prophets were doing in their own strength and wisdom, without Jesus knowledge or blessings. They mimic miracles done by Jesus, and then tried to present themselves to Jesus as one of His. There is only one gospel whereby man can be saved, and that is Jesus Christ, and why the Church fools around with less than this truth goes beyond reason.

    I must ask the question, as I did to the BGS, are we like Solomon doing that which seems right in our own sight, and ignoring God’s Word? I truly hope this is not so, and only the leadership can answer according to his or her own conscience. I can’t help but wonder how much Jesus approves of what we as a denomination are doing in His name. No one wants to hear “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

  2. reformednazarene, on January 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm said:

    Hello Dennis,

    The following response to you is from my wife. My only answer to you is, I am reaching people with the truth, and part of that truth is that there are wolves among us Nazarenes. The question is, are you one of them also?
    You had maybe your first and only chance to show me and my concerned friends where specifically we are wrong. You did not.
    Your response is the same type of response I have gotten from the Generals over the last year or two: vague, and never answering any question, or pointing out any specific error. My immediate conclusion is that you have fallen for the deception also, and I pray that your sphere of influence grows much smaller with our youth, if my conclusion is correct, since I know you work closely with the youth in the Nazarene church. Here is my wife’s thoughts after she read your words:

    Dennis,
    I will try to be practical, as a matter of fact practical is what I have been all this time, but my brothers and sisters are missing the message. I am not attacking generals or anyone. This is not a human battle but a spiritual warfare, against principalities and the rulers of the darkness. (Eph. 6:12) I am trying to be as practical as I can using one weapon only, the Word of God. I believe you would do the same to protect the Kingdom of God and your sheep, and your family against false teachers and false messages, if you truly believe in God’s word. As a Berean and watchman you and I should be aware of what is coming by the book of Revelations and be prepared to defend the Word of God. The apostle Paul said: Gal. 1: 9 “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you received, let him be eternally condemned” It does not say, take what is good and discard the rest. Make the best of it, or what some like to say “you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,…” Well. if it is not the true Gospel than throw it out, ALL of it.

    Remember what happened with Joshua when he said to burn everything and not keep anything to themselves, (Jos. 6 :24) what happened later, God told Joshua in Jos. 7: 11 “Israel has sinned, they have violated my command… they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions.” God does not want anything that it is half true, half right, half good, half ok, He wants it as the whole, complete truth. I always say like the apostle, do not take my word for it, do your own study and investigate, analyze, use your discernment. This is not a game, and it is not an attack, it is a call to open your eyes. Yes people are being saved, yes the church is growing, but at what cost, ‘false message’ ‘numbers only’ we as Christians should be worried about saving lives saving souls. A lot of what is being preached in churches today, is for saving the earth, recycling, joining forces with what we have been separated for centuries, i.e. Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, and many eastern practices.

    This is ALL condemned in the word of God, but our leaders seem to have found something good about all of this; notice “something good”. Remember, it is not something good we are looking for if it is not the TRUE GOSPEL, it must be condemned. I pray that you will look deeper into what is being done in the Church of God and take a stand and defend. I will pray that you will ask for God to show you what is really being done and He will show you. It is souls that we are talking about, and I don’t want to play games. I have told only what I have seen and heard and it has been a battle, it is not my battle is it our battle as Christians to defend God’s Kingdom and if we are not vigilant, we will fall for all this. The emergent church is promoting an environmental religion, a one religion, homosexuality, acceptance of all, worshiping the Virgin Mary, usage of rosary (prayer beads), labyrinths, emptying your mind (not knowing what spirit will come to possess you), practicing “the silence”, yoga and other kinds of meditation (prohibited in the Bible) and so much more. As I say, do your own investigation and ask for God’s guidance and He will give what you ask. I say all this with a praying heart, a hurting heart for your soul and many others. May God bless you and guide you.
    Monica

  3. Clumsy Sword Bearer, on January 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm said:

    “Take what is good and discard the rest”

    A test that never applies to scripture.

    It can, however, lead you on a “wild goose” chase.

  4. Clumsy Sword Bearer, on January 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm said:

    “Take what is good and discard the rest” seems to be the stock answer I’ve heard from more than one person regarding the use of ideas and materials that are out there. So let’s go with that. Let’s take what is good and discard the rest.

    First question: What is good? How is that determined? What is the plumb line?

    Second question: What is discarded? For every teaching and every practice you hold to that has both good and not good please lay out exactly what they are so that the rest of us may know. What are you keeping and what are you discarding and why?

    It appears that the line between good and not good with a lot of the old rejected practices being revived is how they make the practitioner feel. No one is advocating kneeling and whipping yourself with chains until you bleed or isolating yourself in a tiny little room living on starvation rations or having yourself nailed to a cross (though these things are still practiced). Walking a labyrinth, lectio divina, and contemplative prayer (all methods of emptying the mind and entering an altered state of consciousness aka finding the “spark of the divine within”) are advocated because of the so called benefits of the experience. The feeling of being close to god.

    Social Justice and Environmentalism have a veneer of respectability in our culture and, as Christians, we are to care for the widowed and the orphaned and be good stewards of the earth so they sound right; at first. But look closer and tell me if they really are the same thing. Social Justice and Environmentalism have their own underlying philosophies that run counter to what is taught in scripture.

    Open Theism and Evolution completely fly in the face of the clear teaching of scripture that what God purposes he brings about. Open Theism can not co-exist with prophecy being 100% accurate. The test for a true prophet of God is that everything he says happens. If there is one thing prophesied that does not happen then you need not fear or heed that prophet. Open theism allows for God not knowing everything leaving open the possibility that prophecy may not come true. Genesis (whether you believe it is a poetic telling or a narrative) clearly states that all things were created according to their kind and reproduce after their own kind. To hold to either of these ideas, Open Theism or Evolution, is to reject portions of scripture. If you are rejecting portions of scripture then what foundation are you building your faith on?

    All we ask is that you be honest. And all we ask of those in positions of leadership who allow these teachings, knowing what they are, is that they be honest as to why they do. I believe that those who teach these things are being forthright. It is the leadership who allow this without comment other than a general statement of support for the schools that leave us wondering. Please….What do you believe? And are you willing to defend it?

  5. I’m currently an MDiv student at NTS and the Celtic Religions course is not required for that degree…the structure at NTS is a self-guided degree program (outside of the COSAC Mdiv)…I don’t believe the celtic course is required for any degree but it is offered

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For quite some time now, born again Nazarenes have been speaking out against the drift of the Church of the Nazarene (CotN) into dangerous Emerging/Emergent teachings.  Still, leaders in the CotN refuse to give up these teachings and return to the biblically sound roots of the CotN. The latest example of this Nazarene refusal to repent is an article posted by Rev. Kevin Ulmet in the online March/April edition of Holiness Today (the flagship magazine of the CotN), entitled “I A Concerned Nazarene.” Click here for Ulmet’s article. And click here for the original site of the born again, biblically sound response reposted below.

Note – although this battle is going on in the CotN, it is very similar to the Emerging/Emerging battle going on in many evangelical denominations today. (Personally, I am particularly interested in the Emerging/Emerging battles going on in Wesleyan Holiness denominations, such as the EFCI aka Evangelical Friends.)

A Response To “I Am A Concerned Nazarene” Article in Holiness Today

Posted on April 11, 2012 by reformednazarene

The following is by John Henderson in response to an article posted by Rev. Kevin Ulmet in the March/April edition of Holiness Today.  Here is the link to the online version of the article by Rev. Ulmet:  “I Am A Concerned Nazarene.“

I have added several headers in bold blue text for navigation purposes.
– – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – — – – –

Dear Pastor Ulmet:

I have read your article, “I Am a Concerned Nazarene,” at least twice.  I will have referenced it a few times more before completing this letter to you.  Please understand that, in view of your published comments in Holiness Today, a Nazarene magazine, this is an open letter and will be shared with others.  Many will likely redistribute to their addressees and some will publish this on websites.  I am responding only to your article and will neither say nor imply anything personal.  I have asked several people to go over this very carefully and tell me if I have observed the following guidelines for myself:

1.      Did I demonstrate an accurate understanding of the contents of the article that I referenced and responded to?

2.      Were my responses dispassionate and unbiased, and did they accurately address the questions I brought up?

3.      Was I respectful towards Dr. Ulmet concerning his character, position, and personhood?

4.      Did I reference the Scriptures appropriately to the questions and issues being addressed?

5.      Did I misrepresent anything?

Also understand this:  I am always open to questions, corrections, and positive criticisms.  I take those things seriously and respectfully from the one who directs them to me.

I assume many of your references are fed by your perception of the frequent counter-emergent articles I have written and the material I have forwarded to you as a recipient on my email list.  I also know that you have relatives who have posted on Concerned Nazarenes Facebook and expect that they have kept you informed—if indeed you have not done so yourself.  I have no issue with that.  You and they are more than welcome to do just that.  You should know what the other Concerned Nazarenes are thinking in their own words. In fact much of what I present is borrowed from several others who have shared their own research and thoughts with me, so this is essentially a composite of several opinions.

It has been important to me that I acknowledge the spirit in which I write and send this.  I cannot send it from a spirit of resentment and bitterness because I have seen my friends unfairly maligned.  I have no such feelings about it.  There are no “gotchas” in this.  That goes against my grain.  I don’t need to win an argument.  Clear facts are enough for me no matter who happens to “win”.  I don’t need to correct your misunderstanding and misapplication of facts.  You appear to be running on a different wave length than I and there is possibly no base of reasoning that we share on these issues.  I don’t feel I need to convince you of anything.  You have convinced yourself of these matters and I not asking you to be willing to reconsider your own decisions.  The only thing I think I need to do is just set the record straight for the sake of those who will read your article and my response.  If they also read my response, it will still be up to them as to how they will judge this matter.

I should emphasize that “Concerned Nazarenes” is not an organization.  It is no more than a network of like-minded Nazarenes, Wesleyans, Evangelical Friends, other Wesleyan types, and anyone who shares the same concerns about the influences of the postmodern emergent movement in our denominations.  They come together on the Concerned Nazarenes Facebook and other similar sites.  Some post on other sites that exist solely to publish online.  There are Baptist and independent groups as well and there is congenial dialog among them and the Wesleyan groups.  It is all best described as a volunteer alliance or network of Christians who have a problem with the tenets of the Emergent Church Movement and its influences on traditional churches and Christians in general.  They have no significant power over others or within their denominations.  They function only to inform and encourage a return to the evangelical traditions of their churches.

Besides all of that, there are a host of Nazarenes; including elected leaders, pastors, and members; and other Christians who are not a part of Concerned Nazarenes or any other similar network who nonetheless grieve in spirit over the direction our denomination has set upon.  Some of them say something from time to time and many just keep to themselves and make private remarks or say nothing at all.  I am aware of a handful of those folks from across the country whose opinions reach me privately from time to time.  I am also aware that many of that kind sit in First Church and other pews every week. Concerned Nazarenes is only a segment of that massive network.

Allow me to say in that regard that there are a lot of people who post on Concerned Nazarenes Facebook, and the number is growing.  I would say that most are pretty solidly traditional Wesleyan-Arminian; a few are shallow and driven by unreasonable biases and prejudices, inadequate information, and lack of research—they are extremely nerve-wracking; and some are emergent infiltrators.  Tares grow with wheat and it is hard to distinguish between them most of the time.

(Regarding NazNet and Other Emergent Groups)

In all fairness, have you read the many comments coming out of NazNet that fit your list of objectionable behaviors and attitudes every bit as well as you say about Concerned Nazarenes?  I am not prepared to generalize and say that everyone who posts on NazNet is vitriolic just because there are numerous responses on that site that are crotchety, snappish, sarcastic, impertinent, and irreverent in tone and manner towards those who object to the Emergent Nazarene movement.  Those who post like that on NazNet against “fundamental” or Concerned Nazarenes do not usually hold their punches.  Some are more reasonable.

Of course, there may still be the Emergent Nazarene site and others that follows that same pattern.  They are also a network that appears to be committed to putting Concerned Nazarenes in their proper place by whatever means possible—just as you essentially did in your closing remarks by your invitation to others to join you in the effort you espouse, wherein you principally invite people to a fight, not anything that actually resembles compassionate discourse.  Is that discourse reserved only for the postmodern pagans that our leadership often seems eager to cozy up to?   A Nazarene in Ohio who has read your article believes that you are confused as to who the enemy within is and referenced your appeal to Martin Luther by discussing the widespread record of his public battles, implying (my interpretation) that Luther more resembled Concerned Nazarenes than any sort of established entity, referring specifically to his use of the printing press (a precursor to the Internet).

Now permit me to address your article.  My comments are only what I intend as a dispassionate response to those things you have written.  Actually, I have included thoughts from a number of Concerned Nazarenes that have been shared with me after they read your article.  Nothing I received from them was subjective.  They dealt only with factual matters, as I hope to do here.

(The General Nature Of Your Article)

I view the general nature of your article as being a frontal attack on counter-emergent Nazarenes.  That is indicated by your frequent characterizations of those with whom you are disagreeing. You frequently used derisive descriptions of them (stubborn, Internet rumormongers, involved in “a Salem witch-hunt or Inquisition-type atmospheres,” narrowly and selfishly defining worship, slanderous, rumor-spreaders, “full of righteous self-piety,” judgmental, critical attitude of mistrust and gossip, unjustly manipulative, involved in special interest-political-action-group thinking and their tactics, and having divisive and disruptive behaviors.  I think that covers all of the adjectives of your opinion about what typifies Concerned Nazarenes.  Some calls your list the “Dirty Dozen” because there are twelve of them.)  In fact, the quantity and quality of negativism towards those whom you say are attacking the Church of the Nazarene from within sets the tone for your article.  It puts me in mind of Saul Alinsky’s 13th rule for radicals in using conflict tactics:

“13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.  In conflict tactics there are certain rules that [should be regarded] as universalities. One is that the opposition must be singled out as the target and ‘frozen.’… any target can always say, “Why do you center on me when there are others to blame as well?” When you “freeze the target”’ you disregard these [rational but distracting] arguments…. Then, as you zero in and freeze your target and carry out your attack, all the “others” come out of the woodwork very soon. They become visible by their support of the target…One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other.” (pps.127-134).

It is interesting that you refer to counter-emergents as being more in the mode of political activism than of holiness.  It is the view of many Nazarenes and others that the emergent church movement is precisely that—the religious arm of Marxist progressivism and carrying out the political designs of the Marxist agenda by infiltrating the churches.  It is blatantly apparent to many Nazarenes, including Nazarenes in leadership, not just those few of us who rant on the Internet.

I certainly give you credit for not intending to directly adhere to a Marxist rule of Alinsky’s.  Nevertheless, it comes across clearly as being just that sort of conflict tactic against those other Concerned Nazarenes who do not see things as you choose to see them.  Your inference, just the same, is that the angels are on your side and the devils are on their side.  I might go so far as to say that you appear to be assuming that God is on your side and opposes those whom you seem to believe dishonor the Holy Spirit by not letting Him do the work He wants to do and by their not seeking the Spirit’s direction.  How you happen to know that escapes me.  That sort of statement leads me to assume that you already presume to know what that direction is.

I must immediately ask, therefore:  How do you know that?  I assume, from the frequent references you make on nFocus and elsewhere as to your being led by the Holy Spirit and your references to the Holy Spirit in the article, that you see yourself as being led by the Holy Spirit.  You certainly said so in a recent nFocus as to why you wrote the article in the first place:

The March/April issue of our denomination’s official magazine features an article I wrote entitled ‘I Am A Concerned Nazarene.’  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.”

A New England reader of your article observed that someone else made that very claim of being led by the Holy Spirit to be a part of Concerned Nazarenes in order to oppose the postmodern influences among Nazarenes.  He went on to say that you both cannot be right on the same matter.  I guess our respective readers must decide that for themselves.  I would suggest, however, that the best way to determine if someone is actually being led by the Holy Spirit is to look at the fruit of their activities from a biblical viewpoint and to be alert as to whether or not there is genuine evidence of the power of the Spirit in their lives.  In addition, the Holy Spirit never speaks outside of His written Word, i.e., everything He says to the heart is verified in the Scriptures.

I should insert here that your section on music is peripheral to the issue at hand as I understand it, so will not address that.  The portion on “heritage of worship” could, however, be a reference to your support of what you allow and take part in at First Church.  You call it ancient/future worship.  But you do not specify that so I cannot respond to it in that context.

Following our two-hour meeting shortly after your arrival in Nashville, I went home with one of the clearest memories in my lifetime of any meeting.  I had not audio-recorded the meeting, as I normally would have with your permission, so had to rely on memory.  I wrote the exchange in accurate detail for my own record immediately upon my arrival home.

Some of the things you say in the article reminded me of what you said in that meeting.  You convinced me then, as you do now, that you are in full support of the concepts of theistic evolution, limited inspiration of the Scriptures, and Catholic mysticism and other matters emergent.  You as much as say so in your article and actually reference “full” inspiration of Scriptures as “in all things necessary to our salvation” and “a certain view of creation” in making your point.

In a short few months, you also have established a known record of frequently incorporating at First Church practices directly from the “ancient church fathers” (post-A.D. 200) and 20th Century emergent innovators and other activities that clearly identify postmodern emergent doctrines and practices, both in fact and in the minds of many First Church Nazarenes. After all, as one NFCN member recently stated in complaining about all the “new” things going on there: “singing an invitation hymn, being moved by the Holy Spirit to repent, accept Christ’s free gift of salvation, and go forward to confess Him before men is so old fashioned,” but it still works best.

(Your View of The Manual And Of Scripture)

One might surmise from the article that you put preeminence on statements from the Manual as though the Scriptures are amenable to the Manual statements and not the other way around. You may claim that those things you talk about are traditionally Nazarene, but I say unequivocally that they are heretical, postmodern, unorthodox, emergent, new age, and a clear affront to revelational truth.  I can prove my claim from the Scriptures because the Scriptures are my final—no, only—authority.

How do you justify your support of these things?  I make a distinction between exegetical interpretation of the irrevocable authority of all Scripture (all of it being relevant to our salvation wherein it speaks on any subject) and the weak philosophy-based theologies. What equal or superior authority do you claim outside of the Scriptures, and why would you?  Philosophical theology will let you down, if that is where you go for understanding.  You suggest we stop using “emergent”, “unorthodox”, “heretic”, and similar terms.  I see no need to do so because a stinkweed that is called a rose is still a stinkweed by nature.  We did not come up with the term “emergent” anyhow.  They were chosen by that crowd to identify themselves. Their doctrines, when examined in the light of Scriptures, show them as unorthodox and heretical.  How else should we define them when the Bible is the authority?

(Fundamentalism And its Meaning In The Church)

You say the Church of the Nazarene was never fundamentalist.  I understand how people define “fundamentalist” as Calvinistic—as you do in the article—and that much is true to a point.  However, being fundamentalist did actually characterize the Church of the Nazarene, at least in R. T. Williams’ mind in 1928 at the 7th General Assembly.  The term was later abandoned to draw a distinction between Nazarenes and Calvinism.   We had also dropped “Pentecostal” from the church name for similar reasons. That didn’t make us less Pentecostal in the New Testament sense.  I think both actions were a surrender of important terms of identification.

The term is not actually the point, but you might want to consider my footnote #1 to get a more accurate perspective of fundamentalism.[1]  What is fundamental to the truth of the inspired Scriptures is and has always been the concern in these times of uncertainty about where our denomination is going.  No one among the Concerned Nazarenes I know favor having the Church of the Nazarene become Calvinistic in theology.  If they and the Calvinists happen to agree on basic truths such as the unqualified full inspiration of the Scriptures, just as they do on many biblical truths, that does not mean that Concerned Nazarenes are advancing the notion of becoming Reformed in doctrine.  They are very content to remain Arminian and Wesleyan. They just want to also remain truly biblical and evangelistic.  Calvinists do not have the exclusive right on defining inspiration as absolutely full inspiration.

At the same time, I find it odd that you censure fundamentalists and Reformed believers as objectionable while embracing a “new thinking” of emergent principles and practices as somehow appropriate to traditional Nazarenedom.  If I should have to make a choice between the two, please give me Calvinism over emergent theology or anything “new thinking” in character.  At least the evangelical Calvinists are truly and thoroughly Christian and their doctrines are much more scriptural than anything coming out of the so-called “new thought” of postmodernism.  Despite Thomas Oord’s suggestion on his website, we Nazarenes have absolutely nothing to learn from postmodernism and everything to avoid with haste.

One North Carolina Nazarene reviewer of this article and responding to your article said the following in an email to me:  “I would definitely stress that we are not Calvinist, even though it is definitely preferable to his ideologies which lean towards mysticism and Catholic rituals.  It does not have to be an either/or – holiness can stand on its own scriptural merits.”

I never dreamed I would ever be defending Calvinism against inaccurate accusations; whose major tenets on salvation, as defined by the T-U-L-I-P theory, I do not subscribe to!  At least, T-U-L-I-P is internally consistent.

(The Inspiration Of Scripture)

You make an issue of inspiration of Scriptures whereby you decry “Calvinist” ideas of inspiration in favor of a supposed extra-biblical[2] notion of partial inspiration (“in all things necessary to our salvation”).  I should say that every other idea of inspiration, verbal, literal, plenary, dictation, etc., are in total support of every word of the Bible coming under the definition of divine inspiration. Their only discussion is how inspiration came about and not what was and was not inspired. The inaccuracy of “pertaining to our salvation” is in the statement itself.  None of the Scriptures are specifically pertaining to our salvation.  They pertain to Christ (John 5:39) and our salvation is included (verse 40).  I know that the Nazarene statement has been essentially the same since 1908.  There was never a problem with is being understood as anything but one-hundred percent inspiration of Scriptures until modern liberals began to twist it to mean as it is often touted these days as limited inspiration—something the Nazarene Manual never says.

Your idea selectively eliminates any sections that you or anyone may not for any number of reasons deem as “necessary to our salvation” and therefore open to challenge.  In doing so, you are saying that what is called the Bible is a mixture of inspiration and error. Of course, the so-called “not necessary to our salvation” parts have never been definitively identified by anyone who makes that allegation, except those parts they want to question—like the creation account.

Another Nazarene (not part of Concerned Nazarenes) views your line of reasoning as consisting of what is called an etymological fallacy.  That is, you are arguing that the present-day meaning of “fundamentalist” is necessarily identical to its historical meaning.  By that is implied that the present meaning of “fundamentalist” is based exclusively on its etymology. I have demonstrated that such is not the case.

(Middle of The Road)

You say that we are a middle-of-the road Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.  If I may insert a bit of humor here, someone said that if you stand in the middle of the road, you will get run over from both directions.  Put into a political context, I would say that a moderate is a liberal masquerading as a conservative.  In a biblical sense, however, there are no moderates in God’s kingdom.  The narrow way to His place of bliss has no room for moderation.  There is ample space, however, on that other broader road.  All kinds of riff-raff can be found there.

(Your Reference To Christian Leaders Of The Past)

You referenced Christian leaders of the past for your support:  John Wesley, Phoebe Palmer, H. Orton Wiley, and William Greathouse, and said they would blanch in concern if they were aware of “the insidious theological and ecclesiastical battle going on through the Internet, driven by categorization, guilt-by-association, and ‘gotcha’ tactics that more represent radical politics tactics than anything remotely biblical, Christian, or certainly holiness.”  I knew one on that list, Greathouse, and he was pretty much solid, except in one matter when he and Dunning wrote that the Church is our mother if God is our Father.  He might have been more in agreement with you than the others because of that one remark but I doubt even that.  I can easily quote references from Wesley that would contradict your claim about him.  Wiley tended to be immensely profound but the substance of his writings that I have read would contradict your assertions about where he would stand.  Palmer would not agree with you either, and I do not subscribe to some of her positions on Wesleyanism.  Even those positions I disagree with do not support your claim.  I think that many of her contemporaries would call you on it.

You appealed to Martin Luther as being something of a “maverick” as you see yourself.  Martin Luther’s foibles are not related to what you are supporting.  He came from a different mindset and experiences that were basically opposing much of the Catholicism of his day, things that some emergent Nazarenes are attempting to turn to in an effort to change our denomination into what it never has been—more Middle Ages Catholic and less evangelical and fundamentally biblical.  Anyhow, not only would I object to his ripping the Epistle of James from the Scriptures, but I also disagree with him on transubstantiation, his callousness to the tragic death of Zwingli, and his acceptance of the possibility of “soul sleep.”  You might notice that when he translated the New Testament into German in 1522 that James was included and was still there when he translated the rest of the Bible two years later.

On the other hand, Luther held no resemblance to what you are propounding according to any records I have seen about him—and I have read a lot.  I am inclined to have great respect for him because his life was in almost constant jeopardy and because of the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”  He fought battles you I and will never have to fight.  He never deviated from his theme that people are made right with God in his emphasis on Sola Gratia (“by grace alone”) – Sola Fide (‘by faith alone”) – and Sola Scriptura (“by the Bible alone”).

Augustine said a lot of good things that are worth remembering.  Also, he made some highly outlandish assertions in his “new thinking,” as you call it, which must be rejected as unscriptural.  He is considered the father of Roman Catholic theology, not Protestant—certainly not Nazarene—theology.  It is possible that he, along with other so-called church fathers after AD 200, has been responsible for many of the Hindu mystical and unscriptural practices advanced by emergent church leaders today.  I prefer to go back prior to AD 200 for better guidance on understanding truth and proper Christian behavior.  That period of “distinguished” early church fathers was responsible for martyrdoms that dwarfed the Roman persecutions and spawned the eventual Reformation.

A Nazarene in Illinois had this to say about Augustine and Luther in an email to me:

“I know that Augustine published a list of retractions late in life. So when quoting Augustine, I think it important to know when in his walk that he stated whatever is being quoted and whether or not he later retracted it. From my limited understanding of Luther, the same is true, it is important to know when he did or said whatever you happen to be quoting. I surmise (given limited knowledge) that Ulmet’s Luther statement is well out of context.”

(Your Defense of Various Nazarenes In Leadership Positions)

You came to the defense of those fine Nazarene administrators, professors, and pastors who have entertained questionable speakers on campuses and pulpits and were criticized for doing so.  You didn’t say their guests were solidly Nazarene-like and seemed to agree they were often questionable.  You should understand that when people hold those doctrinal positions as you described, those who invite them must take the responsibility for the results of their own actions and decisions.  If they are caught off-guard, that is one thing.  To embrace them and support them (as a chaplain from one of our mid-western universities did in an email to me); that puts them in the same camp, even the same tent, as the objectionable guest.  My dad would have said they were in cahoots (they shared equally; become partners in the same thing).

When I raised the question in conversation with you that Rob Bell’s book had just been presented in a study at First Church just prior to your arrival, you didn’t even blink.  You did, however, bristle and passionately denied my request to present a counter-emergent, pro-Nazarene study in a similar format that others in the church had asked me to do.  You told me emphatically that it would add to the disruption already going on in the church that you had inherited.  Rob Bell, who openly advocates the false doctrine of post-mortem salvation, is okay but a Nazarene elder wanting to advise Nazarenes of the risks of following postmodern/new age heresies is disruptive?  Is that what you mean by people such as I am as being “full of self-righteous piety”?  Was I being “under the guise of protecting the church from ‘emergent’ ideas and concepts” or was I really being a Concerned Nazarene who genuinely cares about the direction towards Hell that our people are being lured?

(Critical Thinking)

You express support for what you call critical thinking.  You do not define it so I assume you refer to what is normally understood by “critical thinking” as coming from “Higher Criticism.”  While higher criticism was originally associated with the study of the literary structure of the various books of the Bible, and more especially of the Old Testament, it has degenerated into arrogant attacks upon the Bible and the supernatural character of the Holy Scriptures.  It fosters subjective conclusions and world-friendly opinions.  To say that Nazarene college students must study and learn to evaluate situations of life by that standard is absurd. Christians are not of this world and have no need to understand it and dialog with it other than to know that it is filled with lost souls that need the Savior.

(Textbooks In The Universities And Accountability)

My wife and I ran into that problem when we objected to an offensive textbook being used in one our daughter’s classes at Trevecca.  The excuse they gave us was like the one you offer—they needed to let students know what it was like out there in the real world.  What nonsense!  It doesn’t take a Christian college curriculum to inform kids of what is going on around them.  They already know more than we know about such things.  Anyhow, the real notion of “critical thinking” is not about teaching students the processes of logic and reasoning.  It teaches them what they should “reason” and the conclusions they are expected to reach in a compromise of biblical truths.   This kind of thinking is the antithesis of “Thus saith the Lord.”  It has nothing to do with intelligent awareness and everything to do with being rebellious to God’s truth.

That drivel has brought us to the point that we now teach them that homosexuality is normal unless you act it out.  The next thing we will be telling them is that even the act is okay.  We already tolerate openly homosexual Nazarene “ministers” who boast of it.  The wedge is in the door and the homosexuals are pushing it open while we step aside and just let them walk right in without a murmur of objection.  Even the recent “invasion” by a homosexual advocacy group on some of our Nazarene campuses turned out to be squandered opportunity to share the gospel.  Our educational leaders pandered to them instead of witnessing to them.  Suppose that same group had been there as child-molester advocates.  What would have been out people’s response to that?  If your response would be what I think it would be, I say we should have done with the homosexuals what we would have done had they been advocating child molestation.

Why shouldn’t our college presidents and administrators be called to account over this absurd acquiescence along with their other compromises?  Why are they not being called on the carpet by those with oversight of them?  Why are people like Concerned Nazarenes demonized for bringing it up?  Could it be that we speak up because we are the only ones who really care about our church and harbor no vested self-interests?

(The Battle Is From Within)

You are right about one thing.  “Our greatest battles are from within—from those who name themselves among the people of God and the people called Holiness and Nazarene.”  You just have the finger pointed in the wrong direction.  Disruption, hurt, and damage is not from those of us who have been here all along and instinctively care deeply about holiness.  It comes from the infiltrators who pretend to be of us but whose hearts are far from us. It comes from the backsliders and compromisers among us, and from those who have never been born again but who have slithered into positions of power and prestige and presume to decide what we Nazarenes are expected to think and do.

A lady in the state of Washington wrote me the following: “I didn’t believe these things were happening before I investigated.  And I investigated because I wanted to prove these “concerned” ones wrong.  I found out they weren’t so wrong after all.  I’m a layperson.  If I were a minister or leader in the church, I’d be checking all the more.”

This following is information that you might not really care about.  Maybe you do.  The Church of the Nazarene is viewed largely by the Christian community as having lost its way as demonstrated by the preponderance of emergent-postmodern-new age teachings and practices among us.  They see our churches, pastors, universities, and publishers as willfully compliant in the emergent error and as having carelessly abandoned the faith that was once delivered through the gospel message that brought us into being in the first place.  That is from non-Nazarenes!

(Are You Willing To Have An Open Discussion?)

One reader of your article observed:  “In two locations in this article, the writer claims to make the offer of open discussion.”  He goes on to say that he has sought an open discussion with you but that you have systematically found ways to avoid it.  He views it as your not actually meaning what you say.

May I make an alternative offer? Since you did say in the article, “We can handle these challenges in biblical ways.  We can sit down together and reason together,” I find that very appealing.  Therefore, I would gladly meet in an open (public) forum with you and any two or three people of your choosing, and I with any two or three people of my choosing.  The number is only a suggestion.  It can be any number as long as both sides are represented by the same number.  Both sides would, in my opinion, be free to say anything on their minds and hearts in the matter by following agreed-upon rules that suit both sides equally and moderated by a neutral party. I suggest it be open because it should not be secretive.  I would want it recorded as well.

I should thank you for submitting the article to Holiness Today and should thank Holiness Today for publishing it.  You have unintentionally done what Concerned Nazarenes would have never been permitted to do—to inform Nazarene readers to a greater extent beyond our meager resources and capabilities.

It is possible that many Nazarenes who once never knew about the emergent problem will now do as I did less than two years ago and start searching for themselves.  I am eager for them to do that and will respect their final analysis as far as it concerns their own choices.  I prefer that they are enabled to make informed decisions one way or the other.  After all, that is all Concerned Nazarenes have ever wanted to accomplish. That could hardly be called hurtful and disruptive.  With that in mind, I share a thought from one of my sons in an email:

“Effectively, by allowing this article to be published in our only official magazine … Kevin’s article right now is the de-facto official opinion of the Church of the Nazarene. Some might claim it is not truly ‘official’, but since there is not a published counter-point to this article, this is the de-facto ‘standard’ for Nazarenes. I’m not sure our BoGS truly want this to be that authoritative. But, for now it is.”

The goals you express at the end of your article are, indeed, noble.  As stated, they are goals that anyone who eagerly pursues holiness of heart and life would happily agree to.  The only problem I see with them is the context you place them in and the implications you make of them.

You have already raked Concerned Nazarenes over the coals—those counter-emergent ones that you claim are trying to drag the Church of the Nazarene into Calvinism; those Nazarenes who believe in the literalism of the creation account as reported in the Bible, who faithfully adhere to the total inerrancy of the entire Bible without reservation, and who reject the imposition of Eastern mysticism as replacement for a Biblically prescribed lifestyle of praying.

By that appeal, you ask your readers to subscribe to what you have just written as true and join you in rejecting fundamental Nazarenes through a kind of “holiness” that sounds biblical but is actually counterfeit.  Why not invite them to evaluate your assertions by doing their own research?  Those who will read your article are grown-ups.  They can handle it.

(Conclusion: The Holy Spirit)

One more thought.  The Holy Spirit is never up to something new.  That is unscriptural.  God’s mercies are new (fresh) every morning but they are not different from day to day.  The Holy Spirit is consistently involved in the old-fashioned gospel that has always worked.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He has no need to be innovative so the gospel message can go forth.  Of course, we already know from the Scriptures that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  The “Holy Spirit” that is “up to something new” is an imposter.  The people who subscribe to that notion will find out they are heeding seducing spirits, not the Holy Spirit.  Gimmickry can never replace evangelization. Christianity is not a novelty.  It is a message of salvation to whosoever will accept Christ as Savior through faith alone.  Sin is old-fashioned and so is the remedy.

A Personal Note:  This is the only time I will be getting personal.  All that has gone before was not meant to be personal in any way.  It was only about the issues and nothing else.  Having said that, I still fully expect to be meticulously excoriated—personally and publically—for what I have written here, and that it will come largely from many who support a holiness denomination moving towards emergent postmodernism. But I have already considered that as something I may have to accept as inevitable.

I want you to know that it is my deepest desire to get behind you in a ministry that will bring glory to God in every respect.  What I see at this point includes so much of postmodernism that I am hindered from giving you the full support I dearly want to give.  I challenge you, not because I want to get in the way, but because I care enough about you to tell you the truth as I understand it.  You are pastoring a church filled with wonderful people and it is my prayer on your behalf that you will more than meet the task in being faithful to their souls.  I do not want you to be hurt in any way because of me.  You and I will stand before the same Judge and neither can answer for anyone but themselves.

Because I care about you and your ministry, I will not indulge you and tell you things I know are not true.  I once told you that I can be your best friend.  I still mean that.  I trust that you do not feel you have arrived at the pinnacle of possibilities.  There is still a long way to go and there always will be that for anyone.  I pray for you but cannot ask God to bless you in doing the wrong things, but only in the right things.  I do not always know the difference but He does.  I pray for you and trust Him to sort it all out.

You are headed in the wrong direction with what I call postmodern emergent error and maybe you just don’t realize it.  I am sure you understand that people who believe deeply as do Concerned Nazarenes and other counter-emergent evangelicals also feel deeply committed to biblical truth.  I have learned from our youngest son’s outlook about his ten years at war and life itself that if you don’t let opposition destroy you it will strengthen you.[3]  I sincerely do not believe God will bless you in the pursuit of “new things” and that you will eventually find that out if you continue in them.  I honestly wish God’s best for you.  May I offer a single consideration that is expressed well in an old gospel song that has expressed my life-long goal:

Let me lose myself and find it, Lord, in Thee.

May all self be slain, my friends see only Thee.

Though it costs me grief and pain, I will find my life again.

If I lose my self I’ll find it, Lord, in Thee.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

Respectfully submitted,

John Henderson

April 11, 2012


[1] “Online Etymology Dictionary: 1920 in the religious sense (as is fundamentalism), from fundamental + -ist. Coined in American English to name a movement among Protestants c.1920-25 based on scriptural inerrancy, etc., ….Fundamentalism is a protest against that rationalistic interpretation of Christianity which seeks to discredit supernaturalism. This rationalism, when full grown, scorns the miracles of the Old Testament, sets aside the virgin birth of our Lord as a thing unbelievable, laughs at the credulity of those who accept many of the New Testament miracles, reduces the resurrection of our Lord to the fact that death did not end his existence, and sweeps away the promises of his second coming as an idle dream. It matters not by what name these modernists are known. The simple fact is that, in robbing Christianity of its supernatural content, they are undermining the very foundations of our holy religion. They boast that they are strengthening the foundations and making Christianity more rational and more acceptable to thoughtful people. Christianity is rooted and grounded in supernaturalism, and when robbed of supernaturalism it ceases to be a religion and becomes an exalted system of ethics. [Laws, “Herald &Presbyter,” July 19, 1922]  The original opposition to fundamentalist (within the denominations) was modernist.

[2] Extra-biblical refers to teachings, concepts and practices claimed to be supported by or taught in the Bible, but which are based on incorrect interpretation. (www.apologeticsindex.org)

[3] “I definitely do need the struggles that I face these days. In fact, in spite of how impossible they may appear on the surface most times, I highly value them for the potential they will forge in me” (Karl Henderson, April, 2012).

Dr. Gran’pa
(John Henderson)
[NOTICE:  ANYTHING I write over this signature may be copied or shared with others
and is deemed as published material unless otherwise stated herein]

One Response [as of 04/11/12]

Christi, on April 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm said:

I applaude your response to that article! I was furious when I read I am a concerned nazarene. Nothing is on my heart and in my prayers more then the compromise of the emergent sweeping our universities and churches. Just a few years ago, I was going to a Nazarene univeristy that was completely swept away by this movement. And while I was being swayed towards it, something deep in my gut kept screaming, “This is wrong! This is wrong!”. I only attened there 2 years, and then God brought me from there and did not allow me to finish college anywhere, no matter what I did something always kept me from it. Over the last few years I have done heavy research on the emergent. And broken hearted over it all. When I see fellow sturdents, who even now, are still clinging to the emergent and their top leaders, I break down and sob and sob and plead with God for eyes to be opened. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not praying and pleading God. And the young girls I mentor now, I am so careful that they know the Bible and what it says, and not to be swayed by every new teacher, preacher, study material that is out there. Thank you for posting this response.

FOR FURTHER READING

Reader comments on Ulmet’s HT article (many comments opposing Ulmet, as well as many comments favoring Ulmet – use discretion and discernment)

A Response To Holiness Today’s Attack On Scripture (Nicholas, 04/13/12)

Responding To A Nazarene Pastor’s Attempt To Discredit Bible Believers (Manny Silva, posted 04/19/12)

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