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Archive for the ‘Nazarene Church’ Category

(revised 01/30/15)

I feel privileged to be Facebook Friends with John Henderson, a member of the “anti-Emergent” Facebook Group Concerned Nazarenes. This Facebook Group is attempting to confront and warn members primarily of The Church of the Nazarene denomination.

I, John, and many others are concerned about the doctrinal falling away of many evangelical churches and entire evangelical denominations. Most of these churches are falling away from biblically sound doctrine into the postmodern heresies of Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Leonard Sweet, etc. etc.

Interestingly, all of the above individuals have spoken and/or taught at the heretical George Fox University and/or George Fox Evangelical Seminary, schools in the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) denomination. The EFCI was once (relatively) biblically sound.  But, in recent decades, all the Regions of the EFCI (including the once very biblically sound, Wesleyan Holiness EFC-ER) have begun trending quickly into postmodern “progressive evangelical” apostasy.

By the way, John – like myself – is Wesleyan Holiness in doctrine. We hold to the Wesleyan-Arminian position that a born again Christian can turn his or her back on God, walking away into apostasy and “losing” his or her salvation. Technically, we believe in “conditional eternal security”.

So why exactly is the EFCI (and many other evangelical denominations) falling away? There are many factors I’m sure – factors which I will not attempt to enumerate here. But I did find the following post by my friend John Henderson very pertinent. Click here for the original source of this post. Note: I am inserting comments [in brackets] and emphasizing certain points by bolding.

Point of No Return
By John Henderson
12/14/14

This is one of those things where I would welcome, would embrace, having someone tell me I was wrong and showing me how so. It has to do when a person or a group has gone so far in the wrong direction, making wrong choices, and ignoring and neglecting God that they will never return to their better days outside of a divine miracle of intervention.

It happened first in the Garden of Eden. God made it clear to Adam and Eve what the limits were and what would happen if they went beyond them. They went past them and, in the day they sinned, they died spiritually on the spot and physically a few years later. Not only were those the consequences to them but they brought sin and damnation upon all of their descendants that only the Cross of Christ could overcome.

One might argue that God’s creation was perfect and it was impossible for man to undo what God had done. That is a good argument but it was not what happened. Salvation is perfect but man can still trample the perfect redemption.

That is how it is. There is a point where a person can go beyond the possibility of repentance—not because God is powerless but because his or her conscience is so seared by unbelief and rebellion that they cannot come to repentance. Someone has likened it to no longer hearing God’s call because the heart is so filled with animosity to the things of God and the attractions of the world that His call is drowned out by the din of those things. The call has not diminished. The hearing has ignored it so long that it is as though there is no call.

We have a grandfather clock in our hallway. It chimes the Westminster chimes every 15 minutes. Frankly, I do not notice them very often because I am accustomed to ignoring them. A visitor sleeping in a nearby room will often remind me of them. I try to remember to silence the chimes when we have overnight guests.

For this reason, I think a backslider who once followed Christ faithfully is less likely to return than would be a reprobate who has never received Christ. I think of the man who wrote that great song, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” who apparently never made it back. There are statics [sic] that say younger people are more likely to receive Christ than are older people. I often wonder if I would have ever turned to Christ had I put it off at the age of 15 until a later time; had I decided to taste of the world a bit before considering Christ.

There are many sad stories of people who put off salvation so long until all opportunities are gone. I do not like to hear of them but they are out there. Many of them I knew personally.

That same thing is true of once-great churches. I have yet to learn of a backslidden church or denomination that ever returned to its original level of spiritual life, activity, and influence after having started down the road of compromise. The slide was always gradual and hardly noticeable in the beginning. After a while, people started to notice something was wrong and eventually there were those who began to warn about it. There were occasional turnabouts, but not many and not often. Once the fatal drift took hold, it was too late. The cancer of sin had eaten away too much for there to be a recovery. If there ever was to be a cure, it had to be divine, but usually God had been so excluded that He was no longer considered that relevant and His call was no longer being heard.

The good news is that it does not have to turn out like that. There is still that clarion call and most can still hear it. Some will turn to Christ who seemed beyond the call.

I was told that when news got out that I had been saved, there were some who found it unbelievable about me. One person reportedly expressed such disbelief as to say: “Not him! Not that Henderson boy! Anybody but him could be saved!” I am glad that the Holy Spirit thought differently. God may have had to reach a little farther for me but He did. The stain of sin may have penetrated deeply even at my young age, but the Blood of Jesus went deeper than the stain had gone.

I have often thought that my own point of no return was very near then. An accident that should have been fatal convinced me of that. I had come to Christ shortly before the accident—maybe a week, two at the most—and believe I would have perished in the accident if I had put off salvation. I broke my neck in three places in a diving accident and walked away with no permanent damage of any sort.

Genuine revival is still possible. Maybe it won’t look like we used to know or expect, but it can be every bit as real and far-reaching as ever. As long as the Holy Spirit is still with and in us, everything pertaining to the preaching of the gospel is still just as possible as it was in the beginning. That will not change or diminish until Jesus comes again.

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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

EricAdamAaron.JPG
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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NOTE – The blog below is not my latest blog. To find more recent blogs, browse through the “Archives” section to the lower right.  ——>  ——>  ——>
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(revised 01/02/13)

I have posted many blogs covering occultish Spiritual Formation (specifically contemplative spirituality) and heretical Emerging/ Emergent teachings.  A number of Wesleyan Holiness denominations are increasingly teaching these heresies.

And, these Wesleyan Holiness denominations are taking part in a number of joint projects. There may be additional joint projects, but we are tracking the following:

Global Wesleyan Alliance (GWA) ( note – these are prospective members – the Alliance is still in formation)
– UPDATE: press release describing 2012 meeting of GWA – 14 prospective members as of Dec. 2011, 18 as of Dec. 2012
National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)
National Council of Churches (NCC)
Wesleyan Holiness Consortium (WHC) (producers of the Holiness Manifesto; 16+ denominations; for the official list of Participating Denominations click here)
WordAction curriculum (WA)(6 denominations)
World Methodist Council (WMC)

I am working on adding stats for each member denomination.  Also, I am adding links to articles showing how contemplative and Emerging/Emergent heresies are entering each denomination (some more than others).

Note: it is not my intent to “attack” Wesleyan Holiness denominations. On the contrary, I love what Wesleyan Holiness denominations used to stand for. Specifically,  a biblically sound theology which placed priority on the message of Calvary (John 3:16) and personal holiness (Rom. 12:1-2). And the rejection all unbiblical heretical teachings. The Wesleyan Holiness denominations of yesteryear fought modernism tooth and nail. Unlike today’s Wesleyan Holiness denominations listed below, they would have condemned today’s heresies of Spiritual Formation/Contemplative Spirituality and Emerging/Emergent teachings.

I know what these Wesleyan Holiness denominations have lost. I am fighting (along with many others in counter-Emergent discernment ministries) to help these straying denominations hopefully return to a biblically sound theology, rejecting Contemplative Spirituality and Emerging/Emergent teachings.

If the denominations themselves reject correction (as is usually the case), we are encouraging members of these denominations to separate, to leave for biblically sound churches. I recommend Bro. David Cloud’s Independent Fundamentalist Baptist directory – particularly the “two-asterisk” and “three-asterisk”  churches – although these churches vary on some doctrines from fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness churches of approx. 1890-1942.

WESLEYAN HOLINESS DENOMINATIONS FALLING FOR EMERGING/EMERGENT HERESIES

nazarenelogo  Assemblies of God  – in NAE, WHC
2010 stats: 12,457 U.S. churches, 1,753,881 U.S. attenders
main Wikipedia article
Assemblies of God (AG) claims to oppose the NAR and other heretical movements, but recent AG activities show otherwise
Repost critiquing the heretical Alpha Course: “ALPHA: New Life or New Lifestyle?”, by Elizabeth McDonald (AG is a big promoter of the Alpha Course)

brethren in christ logo Brethren in Christ Church – in NAE, WHC
Wikipedia article

cma logo Christian & Missionary Alliance– in WHC
Wikipedia article x
Christian & Missionary Alliance Workers will soon be learning Ancient Spiritual Disciplines (12/02/09)
a list of blogs exposing Spiritual Formation in the C&MA

 cma logo Christian & Missionary Alliance – Canada – in WHC

Church of Christ Holiness USA – in GWA
Wikipedia article

churchofgodandersonlogo Church of God – Anderson (aka Church of God Ministries, Inc.) – in GWA, WHC
Wikipedia article

churchofgodclevelandlogoChurch of God – Cleveland – in WHC
Wikipedia article

nazarenelogoChurch of the Nazarene – – in GWA, NAE, WA, WHC, WMC
– Wikipedia article x
Reformed Nazarene website (provides many blogs and links exposing CotN involvement in heresies)

Churches of Christ in Christian Union – in GWA, NAE
Wikipedia article

Congregational Methodist Church – in GWA
Wikipedia article

the evangelical church logo The Evangelical Church of North America – in GWA, WHC

Evangelical Friends Church International – in NAE, WA
my critique of the EFCI and EFC-ER
I have many blogs on my blogsite exposing heresies of the Evangelical Friends (and Quakers in general). Click here for a partial list of my blogs on the Evangelical Friends.
Wikipedia article

 Evangelical Methodist Church – in GWA
Wikipedia article

Evangelical United Methodists – in WA

foursquare logo The Foursquare Church (International Church of the Foursquare Gospel) – – in NAE, WHC
Wikipedia article

nazarenelogoFree Methodist Church USA – in GWA, NAE, WA, WHC, WMC
Wikipedia article

nazarenelogo Grace Communion International – in NAE (joined 1997 as Worldwide Church of God), WHC
Wikipedia article

International Fellowship of Bible Churches – in GWA

ipchlogo International Pentecostal Holiness Church – in NAE, WHC
Wikipedia article

The Methodist Protestant Church – in GWA
Wikipedia article

The Missionary Church, Inc. – in GWA, NAE
Wikipedia article

Pilgrim Holiness Church – in GWA
Wikipedia article

nazarenelogo The Salvation Army – in GWA, NAE, WA, WHC
Wikipedia article
Lighthouse Trails exposes The Salvation Army’s involvement in Spiritual Formation
– “A Simple Way to Begin the Day with Prayer” (Richard Foster, The War Cry, October 1985)
– Cory Harrison, Emergent Salvationism? (blog by an Emergent Salvation Army member)

shield of faith logo4   Shield of Faith – in WHC

united methodist logoUnited Methodist Church – in NAE (observer status), NCC, WHC, WMC
Wikipedia article

*** United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) – WARNING – Oneness Pentecostals; UPCI was in the WHC at one time, but as of 12/11/12 the UPCI is no longer listed as a member. Why was the UPCI allowed to become a member in the first place?
Wikipedia article

wesleyan church logo The Wesleyan Church – in GWA, NAE, WA, WHC, WMC
Wikipedia article

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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

© Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 2009-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? If you wish to borrow, 1) please use the link from the post, 2) give credit to Churchmouse and Churchmouse Campanologist, 3) copy only selected paragraphs from the post — not all of it.
PLAGIARISERS will be named and shamed.

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Schools in the Evangelical Friends denomination (EFCI) as well as the Nazarene denomination (aka Church of the Nazarene or CotN) are hotbeds of  contemplative and Emerging/Emergent teachings. I have been looking for ties between Emerging/Emergent Evangelical Friends schools and Emerging/Emergent Nazarene schools. The following press release provides the strongest evidence I have found so far.

Below I have reposted this press release which appeared in 2008. As of November 2012, Patrick Allen is still provost of George Fox University. In my repost I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

Bruin Notes
George Fox Journal, Spring 2008

“Allen fills top academic post”

Patrick Allen   Upon learning George Fox had an open provost position, Patrick Allen knew he had found his dream job.

“I saw the announcement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, cut it out, took it to my wife, Lori, and said, ‘Now this is the kind of place I’ve been talking about,’” he says. [Allen’s attraction to a contemplative/Emerging/Emergent hotbed speaks volumes.]

Allen, a chief academic officer at three universities over the past two decades [Southern Nazarene University, Point Loma Nazarene University, then GFU]  had reason to apply. “In several institutions where I led strategic planning efforts, George Fox was listed as a peer or aspiration institution — the kind of institution we desired to be like if we could,” he says. [Again GFU – a contemplative/Emerging/Emergent hotbed – is looked up to.]

The 57-year-old Allen was hired in December, culminating a search that began when Robin Baker [a contemplative/Emerging/Emergent I’m sure] vacated the provost position to become president in July 2007. The provost is the chief academic officer of the institution and is responsible for all academic staff and resources. [So Allen is directly aware of his contemplative/Emerging/Emergent faculty/staff and their teachings.]

Allen had been provost at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma since 2005, and before that served 10 years as provost and chief academic officer at 4,000-student Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Other universities at which he has served include Anderson University, Friends University [Richard Foster taught at Friends University after a stint at GFU], and MidAmerica Nazarene University.

He earned a doctorate in higher education from the University of Oklahoma, and also holds master’s degrees in management (Southern Nazarene University) and liberal arts (Southern Methodist University). He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Olivet Nazarene University.

“I feel that the provost has the second best job on campus and the president has the third best job — the best job is teaching and shaping students,” he says. “I get my kicks when I can recruit, equip, develop, encourage, challenge, and support the true heroes of the institution.” [Allen is referring to the faculty – who are contemplative/Emerging/Emergent.  See also this article describing the duties of a provost.]

Allen has taken more than 25 student groups to Europe; has played guitar in a bluegrass band in San Diego; and speaks in churches, conferences, and retreats on the value of community and Christian higher education.

Allen will begin July 1.

FOR FURTHER READING

http://www.georgefox.edu/offices/academic_affairs/index.html

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Update 11/07/12: Malone University still publicizes itself as a born again Christian school. Yet today I noticed Malone’s library has a display of 13 books by Emergent heretic Tony Campolo. Why? Read on.
————————————————————————————————
On 10/28/12 The Repository ran an article by Denise Sautters entitled “King era begins at Malone.” Towards the end of the article, I was struck by a comment from Dr. David King, being inaugurated 10/28/12 as Malone’s 13th president (1). (The latter part of this press release explains the presidential search process by Malone’s Board of Trustees; the press release does not mention how many of the Trustees were on the search committee.) Dr. King states:

“… [having time at a university before one’s inauguration] gives the president time to … develop a vision for the university.”

With all due respect, how biblically sound is Dr. King’s vision for Malone University? (2) Does it match the original vision of J. Walter Malone, the university’s founder? Based on his first year at Malone (prior to his inauguration), my impression is that Dr. King (along with a number of other presidents, faculty and staff) is taking Malone down a theological path far different from that envisioned by J. Walter Malone. I truly believe that J. Walter Malone’s dream for a born again, separatist Fundamentalist, Wesleyan Holiness, Evangelical Friends theological legacy is very close to being lost. (In addition, various heresies are entering the EFC-ER through routes other than Malone University.) How tragic!

Question: Emergent heretic Tony Campolo spoke at Malone University 09/28/12. Does this provide clues to new president Dr. King’s “vision for the university”? Read on…
——————————————-
Tony Campolo Like many discerning Christians (especially “fundies”/fundamentalists), I was shocked and angered by Charita Goshay’s prominent article favoring Emergent heretic Tony Campolo in The Repository Saturday 09/29/12. Her article summarized Campolo’s speech to Malone University students 09/28/12. (Malone University is an Evangelical Friends/EFCI school; Tony Campolo taught at new Malone president David King’s former school – Eastern University.)

“Church articles” are usually hidden away on the inside pages of The Repository‘s Section B each Saturday, on the so called “Faith and Values” pages. Yet Ms. Goshay’s article was prominently displayed on the front page of Section B (along with a blurb on the newspaper’s front page pointing readers to the article about Campolo). Apparently Ms. Goshay (and/or The Repository) knows that Campolo is a popular speaker. I am very disappointed – and angry – that Goshay did not write a more objective article, pointing out Campolo’s heresies and including statements from opponents.

Another problem – for me Goshay’s article raises more questions than it answers. For starters:

1) Was this event publicized beforehand, or was it an “inside event” only publicized to Malone students and parents? If  Campolo’s speech was not publicized on a wider scale, why wasn’t it?

I did find this description of the event here, in the Schedule for Parents’ Weekend:

2-3 p.m. [Fri. 09/28/12] –  Tony Campolo Speaking, Johnson Center Sanctuary. Dr. Campolo is a speaker, author, sociologist, and pastor. Over his many years of Christian service, Tony has boldly challenged millions of people all over the world to respond to God’s boundless love by combining personal discipleship, evangelism, and social justice. He will speak and then take time for questions from our students.

Note Malone’s positive description of Campolo. They could have said something like “this controversial Emergent leader is coming to Malone to debate his liberal views with Malone’s Professor so-and-so” (ala Brian McLaren’s debate at Malone). Yet Malone did not say this with Campolo.

2) Goshay’s article consists almost entirely of “born again Christianese” quotes from Campolo. Yet Campolo is an extremely heretical Emergent, on par with Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. Did Goshay leave out Campolo’s mainline/liberal/Emergent statements, or was Campolo’s entire speech “born again Christianese”?

4) Is Campolo’s entire speech (or a transcript of it) available online?

5) Did any Malone students protest Campolo’s coming to speak? (If so I’d like to meet them – we have a kindred spirit.)

6) In Campolo’s Q&A session, were opponents allowed to voice their  concerns about his heresies?

7) What individual(s) invited Campolo to come speak at Malone? Did the individual(s) not know that Campolo had a theological stance (heretical Emergent teachings) incompatible with what Malone has claimed to believe at least in the past? (For example, Campolo’s favoring the LGBT movement – an issue Malone has claimed it opposes.) Malone does seem to be changing in various ways – I’m not sure what specific individuals are pushing this change. (Check out their current Mission and Foundational Principles, for example.)

8) David King was recently hired as Malone University President. King was previously an employee of Eastern University, where the heretical Campolo taught for ten years. (In fact, the graduate department at Eastern University is named after Campolo.) Did King’s coming to Malone have anything to do with Campolo coming to speak?  Or was that just a coincidence? (And how about Betsy Morgan, professor emerita of English at EU, coming to speak at Dr. King’s Inaugural Symposium – was that also just a coincidence?)

Campolo Emergent and heretical

Just how Emergent/heretical is Tony Campolo? Here’s a clue: Campolo is an ordained minister in the mainline/liberal American Baptist Churches USA denomination. Note this description of the denomination, found here:

Generally considered more liberal than the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. is a member of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and of the World Council of Churches. It has taken an active part in ecumenical affairs and has worked for closer union among the various Baptist groups.

In 1998 the denomination adopted an “American Baptist Identity Statement” that sought to summarize the Christian faith representative of American Baptists. This was amended in 2005 to include a statement about homosexuality…

“Fundies” have a right to be critical of Campolo. In his book Letters to a Young Evangelical (2006), Campolo devotes Chapter 9 to describing and criticizing Fundamentalists. The chapter is entitled “Being Rescued from Fundamentalism”; the entire chapter is viewable online. Malone University was strongly separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness between approx. 1892-1942. Any Malone alumnus who loves Evangelical Friends of this time period should be offended by Campolo’s criticisms of fundamentalism.

For those who are still not convinced that Campolo is extremely heretical, consider these quotes from Campolo (click here for another blog of mine dealing with Campolo and other Emergents):

“Going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia… There are many ways…It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up in the same place.” 1a

“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.” 1b

“But the overwhelming population of the gay community that love Jesus, that go to church, that are deeply committed in spiritual things, try to change and can’t change…” 1c

“…we want to see God at work converting society, converting the systems, so that there aren’t the racist overtones, the economic injustices, the polluting of the atmosphere.” 1d

“I learn about Jesus from other religions. They speak to me about Christ, as well.”1e

“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.” 1f

1a CarpeDiem: Seize the Day, 1994 page 85;
1b “20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch” page 117;
1c Beliefnet.com/faith/Christianity 08/2004;
1d MSNBC 2008 interview;
1e MSNBC 2008 interview;
1f Charlie Rose show 1/24/97

(Tony Campolo is an author, professor of Sociology at Eastern College, former spiritual counselor to President Bill Clinton, and a leader of the movement called “Red Letter Christians”.)

Campolo’s lack of adherence to Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement

(Click here for the Doctrinal Statement and ending Sections; to me the Doctrinal Statement sounds biblically sound for the most part – even if many Eastern University employees do not truly follow it)

Note the following two sections below. David King and Tony Campolo had to sign Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement annually. I don’t know much about King, but it is obvious from Campolo’s writings that Campolo (like many employees of the liberal Eastern University I’m sure) does not hold the born again Christian beliefs stated in the Doctrinal Statement. Yet Campolo taught at Eastern University for ten years; they even honored him by naming their graduate college after him.

Apparently signing the Doctrinal Statement is like taking an oath in court (“I promise to tell the truth… so help me God”), or like making a wedding vow (“I promise to love you… till death do us part”). Signing Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement annually seems to mean nothing to many employees there. I believe signing a Doctrinal Statement such as this, when you do not truly believe it, is a very serious offense against the Lord.

[In the excerpts below, I have emphasized certain points by bolding.]

SECTION II

Every member of the Board of Trustees, every administrative officer of the Institution, professor, teacher, and instructor shall annually subscribe over his or her signature to the Doctrinal Statement, excepting only that a non-Baptist individual occupying any of the foregoing positions shall not be required to subscribe to that part of the Doctrinal Statement regarding the mode of water baptism.

SECTION III

Whenever a member of the Board of Trustees, administrative officer, professor, teacher or instructor is not in complete accord with the foregoing Doctrinal Statement, he or she shall forthwith withdraw from all connections with the University, and his or her failure to do so shall constitute grounds for immediate removal from such positions by the Trustees.

ENDNOTES

(1) Malone’s 13 presidents are:
1) J. Walter Malone (1892-1918)
2) Edgar Wollam (1918-1921)
3) C.W. Butler (1921-1936)
4) Worthy A. Spring (1936-1948)
5) G. Arnold Hodgin (1948-1951)
6) Byron L. Osborne (1951-1960)
7) Everett L. Cattell (1960-1972)
8) Lon Randall (1972-1981)
9) Gordon R. Werkema (1981-1988)
10) Arthur Self (1988-____)
11) Ron Johnson (____-____)
12)  Gary W. Streit (_____-2010)
12a) Provost Will Friesen, Ph.D., Interim (2010-2012)
13) Dr. David King, (2012-     )

Sources: #1-7: Ohio Yearly Meeting Quaker Sesqui-centennial Commemorative publication, 1962, p.  43
#8,9: EFC-ER 175th Anniversary Commemorative publication, 1987, p. 32
#9:  Founded by Friends: The Quaker Heritage of Fifteen American Colleges and Universities, by John William Oliver, Charles L. Cherry, Caroline L. Cherry, 1970. p. 215 (viewable online)
#10,11: personal conversations with Malone associates
#12,12a: Malone University Welcomes 13th President: David King

(2) Another clue concerning Dr. King’s vision for Malone – and Malone’s vision for itself – is given here:

According to Board Chair Steven Steer, “Dr. King’s depth and breadth of experience seem to have converged with Malone’s vision for the future in a divine appointment.” King says it was Malone’s foundational principals that speak to the integration of faith, learning, and experiential activism that ultimately drew him to the University. Those words resonated within him, and it has not taken him long to embrace the University’s mission as his own.

Frankly, this sounds rather ambiguous to me. To get more specific, it seems to me Malone and Dr. King are pushing the envelope of contemplative spirituality (ala Richard Foster) and the Emerging/Emergent movement.

FOR FURTHER READING

I will be compiling a list of discernment articles about Tony Campolo’s heresies and providing the links here. For starters:

Apprising Ministries – various discernment blogs about Campolo

Let Us Reason Ministries – various articles about Campolo

Lighthouse Trails – article about Campolo

Manny Silva – various  discernment blogs about Campolo

A list of Google hits – articles about Campolo’s endorsement of occultish, contemplative centering prayer (click here for a discernment article exposing centering prayer)

Eastern University’s ringing endorsement of their Emergent darling Tony Campolo

2007: Mennonite Emergent Conversation (with representatives mostly from the liberal Mennonite Church USA denomination) held at Eastern University

2008: Campolo’s stint as featured speaker at 2008 Yearly Meeting of NWYM (the most liberal/Emergent Region of the Evangelical Friends denomination)

2012: Eastern University receives a grant to study occultish contemplative labyrinth prayer

The Repository‘s article mentions that Campolo has written 39 books. I am looking for a complete list of his writings (hopefully with content viewable online). (Admittedly, Campolo is a very readable writer; his books explain heretical Emergent teachings in laymen’s terms.)

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The late H. Orton Wiley was one of my favorite Wesleyan Holiness theologians. He was not perfect (no one is), but his writings are far more biblically sound than more recent Nazarene theologians such as Mildred Wynkoop, H. Ray Dunning and Thomas J. Oord. (Click here for my blog which discusses the increasing liberalization of Nazarene theology textbooks over the years.)

Below I’ve reposted Wiley’s list of books on the Atonement and related doctrines, from his three-volume Christian Theology. Click here for the original source of this list – as well as Wiley’s entire three-volume Christian Theology – viewable online.) Note – I’m in the process of alphabetizing this list by author. Also note – the original list was not scanned accurately by those who put Wiley’s three-volume Christian Theology into digital form.

I plan to add links to author bios, as well as links to online books.

Please note that these books present many different theological positions, not just the Wesleyan Holiness position. I am working on separate blogs which list only books of the Wesleyan Holiness position.

THE ATONEMENT (III, 419-421)

Anselm (1033-1109), Cur Deus Homo, English Translation by Deane, Chicago, 1903 (free online Google eBook of first edition, 1858)

Albert Barnes (1798-1870), The Atonement in Its Relation to Law and Moral Govern­ment, Philadelphia, 1859 (free online Google eBook)

Charles Beecher Redeemer and Redeemed, Boston, 1864 (free online Google eBook)

B.R. Brasnett, The Suffering of the Impassible God, 1928

Horace Bushnell (1802-1876), Christ and His Salvation, 1865 (free online Google eBook)[I added this title-DM]

Horace Bushnell, The Vicarious Sacrifice (2 volumes), New York, 1891 (this free online Google eBook  includes both volumes under one cover)

John M. Campbell, The Nature of the Atonement, London, 1873

R.S. Candlish (1806-1873), The Atonement: Its Efficacy and Extent, Edinburgh, 1867 (free online Google eBook)

S. Cave, The Scripture Doctrine of Sacrifice, T. & T.  Clark

H.S. Coffin, Social Aspects of the Cross, New York, 1911

Thomas J. Crawford, The Doctrine of the Holy Scripture Respecting the Atonement, 1875

M.C. D’Arcy, The Pain of This World and the Providence of God, 1936

R.W. Dale, The Atonement, New York, 1876

James    Denney,    The Atonement and the Modern Mind, London, 1903

James    Denney,    The Christian Doctrine of Reconciliation, New York, 1918

James    Denney,    The Death of Christ, New York, 1903

George C.    Foley,    Anselm’s Theory of the Atonement, New York, 1909

L.W.    Grensted,    A Short History of the Doctrine of the Atonement

Grotius,    De Satisfactione (Editions from 1617-1730), English Translation by Foster, Andover

James    Hinton,    The Mystery of Pain, 1866

F.R.M.    Hitchcock,    The Atonement and Modern Thought, London, 1911

A.A.    Hodge,    The Atonement, Philadelphia, 1867

E.W.    Johnson,    Suffering, Punishment and Atonement, 1919

Albert C.    Knudson,    The Doctrine of Redemption, Abingdon, 1933

J. S.    Lidgett,    The Spiritual Principle of the Atonement, London, 1901

Clark Robert    Mackintosh,    Historic Theories of the Atonement, New York, 1920

H.R.    Mackintosh,    The Christian Experience of Forgiveness

William    Magee,    Scripture Doctrine of Atonement and Sacrifice, New York, 1839

Howard    Malcom,    The Extent and Efficacy of the Atonement, Philadelphia, 1870

F.D.    Maurice,    The Doctrine of Sacrifice Deduced from the Scriptures, 1854

John    Miley,    The Atonement in Christ, New York, 1879

R.C.    Moberly,    Atonement and Personality, New York, 1901

R.C.    Moberly,    Sorrow, Sin and Beauty, 1903

J.K.    Mozley,    The Doctrine of the Atonement, Scribners, 1916

J.K.    Mozley,    The Impassibility of God, 1926

H.N.    Oxenham,    The Catholic Doctrine of Atonement, London, 1865

A.S.    Peake,    The Problem of Suffering in the Old Testament, 1904

Leighton    Pullen,    The Atonement, London, 1913

Lonsdale    Ragg,    Aspects of the Atonement, London, 1904

Rashdall,    The Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology, MacMillan, 1920

G.W.    Richards,    Christian Ways of Salvation

Ritschl,    The Scripture Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation,

H. Wheeler    Robinson,    Suffering: Human and Divine, MacMillan, 1939

A.    Sabbatier,    The Doctrine of the Atonement and Its Historical Evolution, English Translation, New York, 1904

D.W.    Simon,    Reconciliation Through Incarnation, Edinburgh, 1898

D.W.    Simon,    The Redemption of Man, Edinburgh, 1899

G.    Smeaton,    The Doctrine of the Atonement as Taught by Christ Himself, Edinburgh, 1868

P.L.    Snowden,    The Atonement and Ourselves, London, 1919

G.B.    Stevens,    The Christian Doctrine of Salvation, 1905

William    Symington,    The Atonement and Intercession of Jesus Christ, New York, 1849

T.V.    Tymns,    The Christian Idea of Atonement, London, 1904

Ralph    Wardlaw,    Discourses on the Nature and Extent of the Atonement, Glasgow, 1844

J.S.    Whale,    The Christian Answer to the Problem of Evil, 1936

THE PRELIMINARY STATES OF GRACE (III, 423-424)

The best treatment of the Preliminary States of Grace, as also the subjects of Justification and Regeneration, will be found in the standard works on Systematic Theology. Representing the earlier, or what is some times known as modified Arminianism, are the following: Watson, Insti­tutes; Wakefield, Christian Theology; Summers, Systematic Theology; Pope, Compendium of Christian Theology; and Ralston, Elements of Divinity. The last named work contains an excellent discussion of the Calvinistic and Arminian positions. As representative of the so-called later Arminianism, Raymond, Systematic Theology; Miley, Systematic Theology; Whedon, Commentaries, and A. M. Hills, Fundamental Chris­tian Theology. In the Calvinistic theology, Dr. W. G. T. Shedd represents the realistic position, and Dr. Charles Hodge, the Federal or Representa­tive position. Among the older works on both the Calvinistic and Ar­minian positions, may be mentioned the following:

James    Arminius,    Writings, Volume III

Albert Taylor    Bledsoe,    Examination of Edwards on the Will, An; Philadelphia, 1845

Albert Taylor    Bledsoe,    Theodicy, A; or Vindication of Divine Glory, New York, 1853

John    Calvin,    Institutes, Book III, Chapters xxi-xxiv

Edward    Copleston,    Enquiry into the Doctrines of Necessity and Predestination, London, 1821

Jonathan    Edwards,    A Divine and Supernatural Light Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, 1734 (A sermon noted for its spiritual philosophy)

Jonathan    Edwards,    An Essay on the Freedom of the Will, 1754

W.    Fisk,    The Calvinistic Controversy, New York 1837

John    Fletcher,    Checks to Antinomianism, Volumes I-H

John    Forbes,    Predestination and Free Will Reconciled, or Calvinism and Arminianism United in the Westminster Confession, 1878

Randolph S.    Foster,    Objections to Calvinism, Cincinnati, 1848 (many editions)

Martin    Luther,    Bondage of the Will

Asa    Mahan,    Election and the Influence of the Holy Spirit, 1851

Asa    Mahan,    System of Intellectual Philosophy, New York, 1845

J.B.    Mozley,    Augustinian Doctrine of Predestination, 1855

Henry Philip    Tappan    Doctrine of the Will Applied to Moral Agency and Responsibility, 1841 (Single volume, Glasgow, 1857)

Henry Philip    Tappan    Doctrine of the Will Determined by an Appeal to Consciousness, 1840

Henry Philip    Tappan,    Review of Edwards on the Will, A, New York, 1839

George    Tomline,    A Refutation of Calvinism, London, 1811

Thomas C.    Upham,    Treatise on the Will, 1850 [early Wesleyan Holiness?]

Richard    Watson,    Theological Institutes, Part II, Chapters xxv-xxviii

John    Wesley,    Works, Volume VI, On Predestination

Daniel D.    Whedon,    Freedom of the Will, 1864

CHRISTIAN RIGHTEOUSNESS (III, 424)

Here again, the best treatment of the subject will be found in the standard works on theology. The clearest and most specific treatment is found in the earlier treatises.           ‘

James    Buchanan,    The Doctrine of Justification, Edinburgh, 1867

John    Calvin,    Institutes, III, xi-xxiii

G.    Cross,    Christian Salvation, Chicago, 1925

John    Davenant,    A Treatise on Justification (2 volumes), London, 1844­1846

R.N.    Davies,    A Treatise on Justification, Cincinnati, 1878

Jonathan    Edwards    (the younger), On the Necessity of the Atonement, and Its Consistency with Free Grace in Forgiveness, Three addresses, 1875, which form the basis of the “Edwardean Theory” of the Atonement, generally accepted by the “New England School.”

Faber,    The Primitive Doctrine of Justification

Julius Charles    Hare,    Scriptural Doctrine of Justification

Charles Abel    Heurtiey,    Justification, 1845 (Bampton Lectures)

M.    Loy,    The Doctrine of Justification, Columbus, Ohio, 1869, 1882

Martin Luther, On Galatians

H.R.    Mackintosh,    The Christian Experience of Forgiveness (previously mentioned)

S.M.    Merrill,    Aspects of Christian Experience, Chapters iv-vii

John H.    Newman,    Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification, London, 1874

John    Owen,    Works, Volume V, The Doctrine of Justification

G.W.    Richards,    Christian Ways of Salvation, New York, 1923

Albrecht    Ritschl,    The Christian Doctrine of Justification and Reconciliation, (Translated by Mackintosh and Macaulay)(Second Edition, 1902)

Richard    Watson,    Theological Institutes, II, Chapter xxiii

John    Wesley,    Sermons, V, VI, and XX. (Harrison, Wesleyan Standards, Volume I)

John    Witherspoon, Essay on Justification, 1756 (Considered one of the ablest Calvinistic expositions of the doctrine)

CHRISTIAN SONSHIP (III, 424-425)

Outside of the standard works on theology, the literature of Chris­tian Sonship or Regeneration is not extensive.

H.    Begbie    Twice-Born Men, New York, London and Edinburgh, 1909 (previously cited)

Stephen    Charnock,    On Regeneration, (Complete works in Nichol’s Series of Standard Divines, 5 volumes, Edinburgh, 1864)

R.N.    Davies,    A Treatise on Justification, 1878 (Lecture x)

Jonathan    Edwards,    On Spiritual Light (mentioned in connection with Prevenient Grace)

Faber,    Primitive Doctrine of Regeneration

John    Fletcher,    Discourse on the New Birth

G.H.    Gerberding,    New Testament Conversions, Philadelphia, 1889

G.H.    Gerberding,    The Witness of the Spirit

John    Howe,    On Regeneration (Sermons xxxviii-xlix) Complete Works (2 volumes), London, 1724; New York, 1869

G.    Jackson,    The Fact of Conversion, London, 1908

Archbishop    Leighton,    On Regeneration

N.H.    Marshall,    Conversion or the New Birth, London, 1909

S.M.    Merrill,    Aspects of Christian Experience (Chapter x)

H.E.    Monroe    Twice-Born Men in America, 1914

Austin    Phelps,    The New Birth, Boston, 1867

Walton    Witness of the Spirit

John    Wesley,    Sermons, X, XI, XII, XVIII and XIX (Harrison, Wesleyan Standards, Volume I)

John    Witherspoon    Treatise on Regeneration, 1764 Calvin, Institutes, III, i-ii

Witsius    Covenants, III, vi

Young,    The Witness of the Spirit, 1882

ADDITIONAL READING  (Wesleyan Holiness books on Salvation, Evangelism and related topics; I am also preparing some lists offline)

The Wesleyan Heritage Library CD contains the following, among eBooks on many other subjects:

Amos Binney, Binney’s Theological Compend

Samuel Logan Brengle, The Soulwinner’s Secret

Charles Ewing Brown, The Meaning of Salvation

James Blaine Chapman, All Out For Souls

James Blaine Chapman, Nazarene Primer

List of PDF books from various theological viewpoints

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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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  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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My good friend Manny Silva posted this blog, in which he exposed the dangerous Quaker contemplative practice of “centering down.”

I’m sure many in what has become the “Emerging/Emergent” Evangelical Friends denomination see no problem with centering down. Plus the Evangelical Friends use the WordAction curriculum, which as Manny describes is starting to tout centering down.

Beware The Leaven Coming Into Your Church Curriculum

Posted on April 2, 2012 by reformednazarene

Colossians 2:8-12 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Reflecting God
is an adult Sunday School journal with daily devotionals written for each month by various writers, prepared by the WordAction company.  It is not only prepared for Nazarenes but also for churches that are in the Wesleyan tradition.  They state that: “WordAction is the world’s leading provider of Wesleyan Sunday School lessons and curriculum for children, youth, and adult Sunday School, as well as a leading provider of small group resources and devotional material for family or personal daily devotional times.”

I have read these lessons many times, and have used this or similar curriculum books in teaching Adult Sunday school classes.  For the most part, it has solid reliable material.  However,  a friend alerted me to this particular lesson, which I had not seen.  I am working on another edition that a good friend also sent me a few months ago to review.  So now its time for a word of warning, and a word of serious caution.  The caution is this: WordAction may possibly be gearing up to slowly start promoting contemplative spirituality practices that are at the core of the spirituality of the emergent church movement.

Here is an excerpt from the Feb 8 lesson titled Center Down (and for those who don’t understand this yet, I will explain what this means:

“The Quakers quiet their hearts and spirits before God when they gather for worship through a meditative state they call “centering down.”  When they rest in the Lord and “wait” on him, they believe that he will bring understanding, direction, and peace.”

In addition to serving God, Brother Lawrence, the author of the book “The Practice of the Presence of God,” advises that we stay in touch with him.  He said, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God.  Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it.”

This is a blatant promotion of mysticism!  And I point out the elitist-like last sentence that suggests that only those special people who practice and experience contemplative prayer will truly understand God!  This is the mindset of the mystics, that they are special.  My friends, I have come to the point in my last three years researching that anyone using the word EXPERIENCE must at least be scrutinized as to what he means by it when he uses the word!  It more often than not means an experience that is outside the bounds of Scriptural teaching.  Please remember this.  It is essentially a type of experience whose goal is to reach some kind of union with God.  And please note again what they said: “they believe.”  Not, “Scripture says”.

First of all, the Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) are a religious group that claims to be Christian, and they promote a weird doctrine that we have some sort of “Inner Light” within us.  The founder was George Fox, who at a young adult age, had a strong mystical experience.  He became convinced that “person requires no spiritual intermediary but can receive direct understanding and guidance through one’s own “inward light,” which is supplied by the Holy Spirit.” (Source)  He believed that everyone has a divine spark within them that can respond directly and personally to God.

The Inner Light, according to respected Quaker author Howard Brinton, “can be reached only by ‘centering down,’ to use an old Quaker phrase: that is, by concentrating our attention on the inward side of life where the soul’s windows open toward the Divine.…” (Brinton, 1953). “Centering down” means turning away from ego-driven pursuits, from selfish individual concerns, and allowing oneself to be moved by a spiritual intelligence greater than one’s everyday consciousness.  (Source: Paths of Learning.net)

Their most famous member today is perhaps Richard Foster, the modern day guru of contemplative spirituality, who believes that anyone (not just Christians) can be a “portable sanctuary for God”; who recommends contemplative prayer but at the same time warns that we need to pray a prayer of protection before participating; and also warns that novices should not do it.

So when they promote centering down, they are promoting a practice that is part and parcel the same as the practices of Eastern mysticism.  Here is a description of the Quakers’ practice of centering down, as explained by the Rev. Sue Annabrooke Jones on her website:

Meeting actually begins when all are joined in that silent “waiting upon God” that the Quakers call “centering down.” With mind and body stilled, members sit in deep contemplative silence together for one hour, each person attuned to his or her own inward light.
During a meeting someone may feel moved to speak. When this happens, it comes from a deep religious experience and a conviction that this experience must be shared. This spoken ministry, which is usually brief and simple, requires no response, and is intended as meditative seed for everyone else in the group. This unique cross-fertilization component distinguishes Quaker meditation from other forms of meditation which, even when practiced in a group, remain ultimately a solo activity.
  (Source: CosmicLotus.org)

Is this a biblically sound practice that belongs now in a Nazarene holiness publication?

And then there is Brother Lawrence. Who is Brother Lawrence?  He was a 17th century monk who “developed a technique–mostly through inspiration and intuition–which leads to results akin to those developed by the continued practice of either Zen or mindfulness meditation.” (Source: Lighthouse Trails)

He was part of the Carmelite Order, which was run by the very contemplative Teresa of Avila, another monastic practictioner who was also influenced by Jewish Kabbalic mysticism.  His “practicing the presence of God” as he coined it leaves much question as to how this can be verified as real or not.  It is not because it is too subjective, and leaves a wide open door for anything to be conjured up in ones imagination.

In his document, “Evangelicals Turning To Catholic Spirituality”, David Cloud describes the epidemic that is racing through the evangelical world, which is one of embracing more and more the monastic Eastern mysticism of the Desert fathers and early “church fathers”, although this clearly does not include the real early church fathers, i.e. the apostles themselves.  You will not find anything close to this that they ever wrote about in Scripture.  However, in this report by Cloud, you will clearly be disturbed by seeing some well known names of today who have favorably promoted some of these practices.  It is what it is, and we have to deal with the facts.

In Scripture, we are told that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”  (Gal 5:9).  Satan attacks us from within, after he slips into our churches in disguise, often through the undiscerning and sometimes well meaning minds of many Christians.  I consider this an attack upon the church, even if the rest of this curriculum book is on solid ground.  We cannot allow Satan to grab a foothold in any way in our church literature, just as we cannot allow him to gain a foothold in our universities, churches and pulpits.

So beware, you have been warned to watch what you read, and judge it by the word of God.  Nowhere in Scripture are we taught to “practice the silence” and “wait for God to speak.”   Reflecting God is a wonderful sounding title, but this particular lesson truly does not reflect God, but rather subtly reflects the doctrines of demons being promoted in our denomination today.  Do not tolerate this for one second.  Do not compromise a bit on any of this.  This is being sent to the publishers of WordAction, so that hopefully with this warning, they will take great care that they are not becoming complicit in the infiltration of ungodly teachings in our Christian books.  No excuse will be acceptable for this.  I pray it was a mistake that will not be repeated.  But if so, it will be exposed again for what it is.

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