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Archive for June, 2009

The emerging church claims that propositional statements are a reflection of modernity, and that modernity is dead and truth statements are suspect to today’s generation because they have a postmodern mindset.  Therefore, the emerging book writers and leaders within the movement counsel pastors and lay leaders today to back off from presenting truth statements as a witnessing method. 

 

They question the validity of, and downplay, long held Biblical beliefs in their writings such as:  the necessity of a virgin birth, the propitiatory atonement of Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, eternal judgement, hell, salvation through Jesus as the only way to the Father, repentance, the authority and reliability of scripture, to name a few.  Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, and Doug Pagitt have all questioned the foundations of faith that I just mentioned.  They have all (except Bell) have been welcomed and given an opportunity to speak at Nazarene universities.

 

The emergents focus on creating communities and relationships and doing good works, which are not bad things.  If you read “the white paper” that the emerging nazarenes recently posted, they talk about all these things, citing examples of good deeds.  But, what is lacking in their “white paper” is an emphasis on the FULL gospel or counsel of God.  This is vital.  The early disciples in Acts always presented the gospel in its full counsel; they didn’t focus on deeds over creeds.

 

Man is a sinner and in need of a savior.  Lost people do not have a grasp of this concept.  To present Jesus as a good friend and buddy who can make your life better is to present a powerless gospel of cheap grace.  The emergent Jesus is painted as a social justice seeking, environmentalist.    Man needs to see his (sin) crime for what it is and realize there is an impending, righteous penalty to be paid for breaking God’s law that can’t be satisfied with good works;  only then, can man fully appreciate the great sacrifice that was paid on his behalf through Jesus Christ.  Through repentance, comes salvation through Jesus Christ to those who put their faith and trust in HIS death (work) on the cross.  This is sorely lacking in emergent theology and is glaringly absent in their writings.

 

The following is a  presentation given recently at the South Texas NMI Convention.   I would like to focus your attention at the 4:40 mark on this video.  Pastor Joe Staniforth of Lighthouse Ministries speaks about his concerns regarding the emergent movement and talks about “going all out for the gospel of Jesus Christ…..we preach the FULL counsel of the Word of God.”    I appreciate the support of applause that he received.

 

This is what the church is called to do in the Great Commission.  Christ told us to call people to repentance, teach, and make disciples of all the nations.

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A widely read internet news source, Bible Prophecy Today, has posted a story regarding the struggles within the Nazarene denomination regarding the emergent-liberalism that has seeped into the denomination.

 

http://bible-prophecy-today.blogspot.com/2009/06/concerned-nazarenes-to-confront.html

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The following clip is from a 1987 sermon warning the church about the influx of liberalism into the church.  It is about 10 minutes long, but is worth a listen. 

 

Liberalism in the form of emergent theology is taking hold in Nazarene universities, seminary, Publishing House, and in many churches.   There are some very faithful professors teaching solid doctrine, but there are some that have risen up from among the ranks that are steering students and ultimately the church in an emerging (liberal) direction, teaching things such as open theism.  The schools are also bringing into their chapels and workshops wolves from without who present emerging (liberal) doctrines to the students who have no choice but to follow school policy and attend chapel to listen to people like:  Shane Claiborne, Tony Jones, Tony Campolo, Doug Pagitt, Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, Donald Miller, etc, etc.

 

The emergents  argue that they are merely addressing the postmodern mindset and are attempting to reach young people today who think in a questioning, distrustful, postmodern way.  Therefore, the emergent method is to mirror postmodernism and not offer any propositional doctrines, but to open the doors to many ways of coming to God.

 

This is baloney.  What postmoderns need isn’t any different than what the world has needed for thousands of years, and that is TRUTH.  Truth presented in knowable, propositional terms.  The Gospel doesn’t need to be packaged in liberal wrappings; it needs to be presented in its whole counsel. 

  

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The following is an excerpt from a ministry update that I received from Take A Stand Ministries.  Eric Barger is presenting several workshops during the Nazarene General Assembly to expose and educate people regarding the destructive liberal teachings of the emergent church movement.

Concerned Nazarenes will also be in attendence at General Assembly distributing information in the form of a DVD and some fliers to those who do not understand the movement and would like to be informed.  

More information about Take A Stand Ministries may be obtained by clicking on the link in my links box to the side.

 

Eric Barger and “Concerned Nazarenes” to confront Emergent Error in Orlando

 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. – II Peter 2:1-3

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18

 

Just imagine if you awoke to realize that the church in which you had invested time, effort, finances, and trust, had slowly slipped into spiritual disrepair? What if it occurred to you that the trustworthiness that you believed would never change was gone and it had become clear that your denomination, yes, even your own local church, had adopted doctrines, practices and beliefs that were just not questionable but were now active and useful tools for the devil? What if you, like so many of our brothers and sisters across America and around the world, were faced with the agonizing decision of either turning your head to attempt ignoring reality, fleeing to a safer place to worship, or standing up to expose and resist error?

My friend, these scenarios are exactly what many members of The Church of the Nazarene are facing today.   And what about the lost who may stumble into these Emergent-leaning churches unaware that what’s found inside in no way resembles the authentic, biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ? Who will vicariously speak up for them?

It’s for these reasons that I am flying to Orlando, Florida, this week to speak out against the Emergent Church during the international convention of The Church of the Nazarene. The Emergent Church movement has infiltrated the Nazarene denomination to such an extent that one wonders if it can ever successfully be pulled back from liberalism’s chasm. Thankfully, there is a remnant, a growing band of resistors known as “Concerned Nazarenes,” who are standing strong against false teaching in their midst. Though I am not a Nazarene and I do not have a vested interest to merely “save” a denomination, I fully support these folks and their brave and unwavering stand for truth.

Liberal and Emergent Nazarene intellectuals have relentlessly attempted to marginalize and demean these Bible-believing folks. I also share in the price that is being paid for exposing cultic beliefs, liberal theology, and the Emergent Church in The Church of the Nazarene. Because of my support of the Concerned Nazarenes’ cause, I have been demeaned and condescended to by liberal, Emergent defenders.  I have had the validity of our ministry and longtime track record in apologetics marginalized and my words twisted – without ever receiving any sound Scriptural answers from the Emergents.  I have even been called a “liar” by a PhD professor (from an increasingly liberal denominational university) who also pastors a Nazarene church!   But regardless of what it might cost, if we don’t come alongside our fellow Christians who revere the Bible and who are battling for the life of their church, then we need to check our own apathy level and repent appropriately.

Though I have had several close friends in the denomination, before sixteen months ago I was unaware of just how far the Church of the Nazarene had descended into Emergent thinking. I have outlined the experience I had in attending Emergent leader Brian McLaren’s conference at Northwest Nazarene University.   Frankly, I came away from the February, 2008, conference shocked and shaken at how this once-solid denomination was now not just toying with but had already fully accepted the Emergent darkness.   Since then, we’ve discovered that blatant liberalism, open theism (which states that God does not know the future) and even evolution are being embraced and, yes, taught by professors in nearly every Nazarene University as well as in their Theological Seminary in Kansas City.   To say that many of these intellectual educators do not believe the Bible to be infallible and inerrant is being overly generous! BUT LET ME BE CLEAR – THIS PROBLEM IS JUST NOT A NAZARENE PROBLEM!   Anything I bring out about what is happening in Nazarene circles could to varying extents surely be said about nearly every other denomination today. It is truly the “perilous times” the Apostle warned Timothy about.

While many Christians relax, thinking everything is surely OK in their camp, the core values of the Christian faith are under assault by individuals who have become so enamored with their own intellect and human reasoning that they have silently abandoned belief in the Bible and have rejected the very heart of the Christian Gospel.   Through the leadership of like-minded men the Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Lutheran and other great denominations were brought into spiritual apostasy 100-150 years ago.   The once-great denominations were commandeered by denominational officials and seminary and university professors who abandoned the Bible and embraced blatant heresy – all the while cheering each other on in their errors.   They are whom the late Dr. Walter Martin called “devils” and they are reproducing themselves in a new breed of pastor who – because of being mistrained by the aforementioned heretics – are either disenfranchising members who realize what is happening or helping to delude others who are yet clueless that all is not well in the pulpits.

 This is Satan’s second go at destroying authentic, Bible-believing Christianity in the past 200 years. He is at this moment using the exact same methods that worked so successfully the first time: – Convince selected “Christian” intellectuals (who think highly of how highly they think) that God’s word isn’t true or trustworthy; – Give said intellectuals tenure to teach heretical ideas in seminaries and Christian colleges; – Elect denominational leaders not willing to defend the entire Bible and the essential doctrines of the faith; – Then churn out apostates with Bible school degrees to fill the pulpits and act as change agents for the “new” Christianity in the congregations.

 Since this scenario worked so well when Satan set out to destroy the previous generation of evangelicals, why would he ever change it in our day?  Obviously, he hasn’t.  You see, in the end, the dilemma facing the Nazarenes is actually about the integrity of the Gospel.   Will it be faithfully presented in our day and then passed intact to the next generation for them to execute the “Great Commission” and see lost souls redeemed?   So, for the sake of the seasoned saint and the unsaved alike, we have no choice but to preach prophetically and blow the trumpet of warning.

This is why Take A Stand!  Ministries exists!   It is why I am going to Orlando and it is why I need your prayers and support as I go.   We are hoping to reach many, many Nazarene pastors and laypeople with the truth concerning the Emergent Church and liberal heresy that is encroaching daily upon their churches and universities.  In doing so, I feel certain that we will be met with some stout, if not angry, opposition from conference attendees sympathetic to Emergent thinking.   However, if we reached just ONE pastor through this effort, the cross country plane flight and the costs involved are worth it. 

Above all, we are praying for a spirit of brokenness and repentance on behalf of the delegates in Orlando. The fact that three conservative general superintendants are ending their terms of leadership this week means that the election of new general superintendants could be the making or breaking point for the Nazarenes.

Please join me in praying that godly, biblical thinkers will be tapped to lead and hopefully reform the Nazarenes, leading them out of the anti-biblical thinking that is inundating most of their schools and some of their pulpits.

A past president of a Nazarene university has personally encouraged us to pray, fast and believe that there will be widespread repentance during the international convention in Orlando. This individual and other biblical Nazarenes are aware of the onslaught of Open Theism and Emergent ideas infiltrating the denomination and educational institutions and is trusting God that the gutting of the Bible can be stopped.   Current General Superintendant, Dr. James Diehl has also sternly warned about the perils of the Emergent Church.  

End of excerpt.

 

Information regarding the times and location of Eric’s seminars are listed below.

May the Lord open the eyes of leadership within the Nazarene denomination to do some serious research into the emergent church movement AND spiritual formation movement to see  them for what they REALLY are…..liberalism and new age spirituality. 

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Here is a YouTube excerpt of Dr. Diehl warning Nazarenes “that there are those in our church who are trying to blur the lines.” 

 

What does Dr. Diehl mean by his reference to new age and Oprah?  If you research some of the nonsense being promoted via Spiritual Formation  you will understand.  Things that are being promoted as “spiritual formation” would include:  labyrinth walks, prayer walks/stations, retreats to Catholic monasteries or abbies, sacred space, centering prayer, lectio divina, prayer beads/rosaries, etc.  It’s all about feelings and basing your knowledge of God on feelings and experiences; imparting sound scriptural teaching is looked down upon as irrelevant and possibly riddled with errors.  

 

Spiritual Formation is being promoted to mostly the young people at Nazarene universities, and is being promoted through some of the selections of the Nazarene Publishing House via Barefoot Ministries.   Nazarene Theological Seminary  and Northwest Nazarene University is promoting a retreat to a Catholic monastery in Orlando the week of General Assembly.    (see my previous post dated 3/17/09)

 

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Here is a YouTube post of Dr. Jim Diehl’s recent remarks at the Central Ohio District Assembly.  “There are those who did not originate in our church that are trying to take us down a liberal road.” 

 

He correctly calls the emerging church movement a liberal movement within the Nazarene denomination.  I’m glad that someone in leadership finally ‘gets it’ and speaks out against it.

 

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