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Archive for March, 2010

To answer the siren call for an ever hungry, insatiable appetite of feelings-based spirituality, Lake Houston Church of the Nazarene,  and Flushing Community Church of the Nazarene  (amid other Nazarene churches) have turned to the Catholic tradition of the Stations of the Cross. 

Who needs to spend time and study in God’s Word when the new spiritual crack of ‘me-focused’ spiritual experiences can give one an euphoric feeling of being close to God instead?  Who better to turn to for these mystical experiences than the traditions of the Catholics?  Makes one wonder what could be next?  Nazarene nuns?  Trevecca has had the Abbey of Gethsemani monastery booked for retreats for the purpose of student spiritual formation for the past 40 years.  With the acceptance and endorsement of other Catholic traditions into the Nazarene denomination, it could happen.

For more in-depth reading on the dangers of Spiritual Disciplines and offering them as routine practices inside of the church, read and print off the following articles:

The Dangers of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Disciplines 

Ancient-Future Spirituality

Welcome to FCCN!

We’re glad you’ve come to visit our website, and we hope that you’ll find what you need here. We encourage you to join us at weekly worship, currently offered at 10:30 each Sunday. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, or just drop in at church next Sunday.

Stations of the Cross

 Monday thru Thursday of this week; 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  Our gym will be set up with 14 different “stations” for you to come and seek the Lord through scripture, prayer and contemplation. The stations  are based on several moments in the final week that Jesus lived (known as “Holy Week”). Come and go at a time that is convenient for your but allow enough time to experience each station and the work of God in your heart
 

THIS WEEK | MARCH 30, 2010
Love God | Serve All
www.lhcn.org

 

easter

Stations of the Cross

 
 
 
 
 

Tue-Fri  |  Mar 30-Apr2 |  12-9pm Worship Center
 
 
Through prayer and reflection, follow Jesus Christ on the way to Calvary. Learn to trust Him more by accompanying Him on the Way of the Cross through this interactive journey. This is a drop-in event.
 
 
 

 
Through prayer and reflection, follow Jesus Christ on the way to Calvary. Learn to trust Him more by accompanying Him on the Way of the Cross through this interactive journey. This is a drop-in event.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Here is an article written by Paul Proctor at NewsWithViews.com.   He illustrates the slide of the religious left into the socialist agenda via the cry for “social justice”.  

Nazarene churches are swallowing the “social justice” lure and jumping on the works-based bandwagon and replacing the gospel of repentance and turning away from sin to one of doing good works.   

You may access Paul Proctor’s article HERE.  

SOCIAL  JUSTICE  IS  NOT  CHRISTIAN  CHARITY      by  Paul Proctor

Glenn Beck has certainly cut to the quick by reportedly saying: “social justice is a perversion of the Gospel,” adding, “I beg you, look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words.”

The implication here is that these “code words” signify the Church’s infiltration by two tyrannical extremes of the political spectrum: Nazis to the right and Marxists to the left – both attempting to advance unbiblical agendas in and through the Church. Although I hesitate to point blank call fellow Christians “Marxists” and “Nazis,” I am acutely aware of ungodly influences from both sides of the aisle adversely affecting the Church today and have addressed the issue on numerous occasions over the years, concluding a November 2000 article with the following:

“Socialism needs two legs on which to stand; a right and a left. While appearing to be in complete opposition to one another, they both march in the same direction.”

Now, I’m not a Mormon. I don’t watch Glenn Beck’s show on the Fox News channel; and based upon what I’ve seen and read online, there are more than a few things he and I would not agree on. But, he is right about social justice being a perversion of the Gospel and “progressives” being a danger to the Church. In fact, I tackled the topic of “social justice” in three recent and consecutive articles for NewsWithViews.com.

Not wanting to belabor the issue and weary my readers with redundancy, I moved on to other subjects of concern after the first week in January. But, since social justice in the church has now made front-page headlines due to Beck’s recent comments, I thought it prudent to revisit the issue again from a Biblical perspective and point out a couple of the things that are conspicuously absent from all of the heated rhetoric and media coverage.

ABC News’ story on the controversy noted what appears to be a little backpedaling and damage control from one of Glenn Beck’s producers:

Stu Burguiere, executive producer at “The Glenn Beck Radio Program,” sought to clarify Beck’s comments today.

“Like most Americans, Glenn strongly supports and believes in ‘social justice’ when it is defined as ‘good Christian charity,'” he said. “Glenn strongly opposes when Rev. Wright and other leaders use ‘social justice’ as a euphemism for their real intention — redistribution of wealth.”

But you see, in my estimation, it is the contrived and duplicitous definition of “social justice” that is causing all the confusion.

“Social justice” is not “Christian charity.”

You will find the word “justice” in scripture, as you will the word “gospel” – but you won’t find the word “social” in front of either of them because “social justice,” like the “social gospel,” is the wily work of men, not the Will and Word of God. Jesus Christ did not suffer and die on a cross so we could repair, remodel and rehabilitate a wicked world for Him to rule over, but instead to redeem us from it for a “kingdom not of this world.”

If someone doesn’t speak up and point this out, the issue will be forever confusing, controversial and divisive and the Church will continue to be swayed off course by those with political ambitions.

Scriptures containing the words “justice,” “justly,” and “judgment” that progressives handily quote to try and validate “social justice” as a Christian concept and mandate for the Church are predominately from the Old Testament, which is ironic considering progressives by and large prefer to dismiss or discount much of the OT and its so called “legalism” because it inconveniently clashes with their no-absolutes and no-authority philosophies, theologies and lifestyles. Frankly, it is God’s justice and judgments throughout the Old Testament that confound and offend progressives the most about the Bible resulting in the sleazy greasy grace they preach and practice as “Christianity.”

But, the term “social justice” puts global change agents in the driver’s seat down at the church house allowing them, through carefully placed operatives, endless opportunities to enable, justify and even promote, via the humanist mantra of “tolerance, diversity and unity,” any number of unbiblical behaviors, theories, religions and causes from promoting promiscuity, to homosexuality, to syncretism, to abortion rights, to euthanasia, to birth control, to stem cell research, to Darwinism, to faith-based initiatives, to “no child left behind,” to global warming, to you name it – which fits in perfectly with the United Nation’s plan for a one-world government, one world economy and one world religion.

The New Testament scriptures most often cited by progressives to support “social justice” are not about justice at all, but about charity. Even so, they use the words “justice” and “charity” as if they were synonymous, and in doing so, morph and merge social/political issues and programs into moral/religious issues and programs while steering the Church’s focus and attention away from the spiritual and eternal to the more carnal and worldly.

It has also been my observation that embracing “social justice,” more often than not, shifts the emphasis from repentance and faith in Jesus Christ to more earthly endeavors like environment, empowerment, employment, entitlements, equality and esteem-building programs promoted by global elites to benefit or punish selected people groups as needed for its “sustainable development” – an agenda more in keeping with that of a community organizer than a follower of Christ.

Justice is about righting a wrong, defending the innocent and punishing the guilty. It is a commendable work but it is not Christian charity.

Charity is about generously and sacrificially helping, serving and providing for someone in need. The Good Samaritan did not stop to exercise “social justice” when he found the man wounded and robbed by thieves along the road in Jesus’ parable as recorded in Luke 10:30-37. He demonstrated compassion toward the victim of a crime, not because he was socially, ethnically or financially disadvantaged, but because he was simply a “neighbor” in need.

Furthermore, the Good Samaritan didn’t go after the thieves to recover the man’s belongings, avenge his abuse, have them arrested and start a traveler’s protection and possessions recovery program at the local synagogue because that’s not what Jesus was teaching His followers in the parable to do – nor was it the mission of His coming.

If you steal someone’s money, it is “justice” that sees it returned to its rightful owner and/or has you punished – not “charity.” Charity has empathy for those in need and shares with them, cares for them, comforts them, encourages them, prays for them and provides for them as a divine demonstration of God’s love, compassion and generosity. In doing so, we bless others as God has blessed us in our time of need. Christian charity is a picture of the Gospel and God’s grace toward the spiritual poverty and desperation of a lost soul.

This is the age of grace, my friends, not the age of justice.

If anyone wanted and needed “social justice” during Jesus’ earthly ministry, it was the Samaritans, as revealed by Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well, who told Him: “…the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” But, Jesus didn’t offer her social justice – He offered her “living water” which had nothing to do with her social status, rights or economic condition.

But, if you synthesize the two words “justice” and “charity” in Hegelian Dialectic fashion, as “progressives” in the church have so shrewdly done, you end up with a hybrid gospel that does not demonstrate the love, grace, mercy and generosity of God at all, but a government-approved, politically-correct, humanistic religion called “collectivism” that glorifies the brotherhood of man through “good works” for the benefit and advancement of an earthly kingdom instead of glorifying God through His work on the cross of Christ for a heavenly kingdom.

Christians need to be very careful about setting aside the Gospel to pursue “social justice.” Jesus took our justice on Calvary’s cross that we might receive and reflect God’s grace and forgiveness.

 

Is it social justice the Lord is calling us to or Christian charity?

You see, Jesus told another parable in Matthew 18 about a king whose servant owed him ten thousand talents. When the servant couldn’t pay, the king ordered him and his family sold to make restitution. When the servant fell at the king’s feet and begged for patience, the king had compassion on him and forgave the debt.

 

That same servant then found a fellow servant who owed him a hundred pence and demanded payment. When the fellow servant fell at his feet and asked for patience, the king’s servant would have none of it and had his fellow servant thrown in prison. When the king found out that his servant did not show the same compassion and pity toward his fellow servant, the king had his servant thrown in prison as well until he could pay back all that he owed.

Charity moved the king to forgive his servant’s debt. Justice compelled the king to later throw that uncharitable servant into prison.

So, what are we to learn from Jesus’ parables – social justice or Christian charity?

Related Articles:

1. Evangelical leader takes on Beck for assailing social justice churches
2. Christians Rip Glenn Beck Over ‘Social Justice’ Slam
3. Glenn Beck: ‘Leave Your Church’
4. Franklin Graham: ‘Our Churches Are Dead’
5. Willow Creek Wants A ‘Just’ Christmas?
6. What’s Wrong With A More Social Gospel?
7. The Test of Faith
8. Not again! Meet Obama’s new controversial pastor

© 2010 Paul Proctor – All Rights Reserved

 

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Eric Barger from Take A Stand Ministries, recently wrote the following piece.  You may find his site HERE. 

March 19, 2010 

WHERE IS THE LEADERSHIP?

Nazarene Pastor Resigns while Church Officials Attempt to Ignore Heresy

Many of you have tracked my research and involvement concerning the Church of the Nazarene and the alarming inroads that Emergent leaders and philosophy have made into this once-sound denomination. Though I am not a Nazarene (and never have been), I speak regularly in solid Nazarene churches and it is no secret that I am a friend and supporter of many inside the Nazarene Church who are engaged in fighting heresy throughout every tier of the denomination, in particular the hierarchical leadership and the extensive Nazarene university system. (See “The Church of the Nazarene and the Emergent Church” for an extensive menu of information concerning this.)
 
In a newly released position statement, Nazarene General Superintendents acknowledge the controversy and extreme disagreement within their church concerning Emergent teaching and practices. However, according to one District Superintendent, the General Superintendents of the denomination have decided not to take a position concerning Emergent ideas and theology. This is a sad and troubling turn of events.
 
Bluntly put, one has to wonder how those leading such a large body of Christian believers can ignore the Bible’s strong exhortations to those who would lead God’s Church concerning what can only be described as blatant heresy.
 
Exposing and routing false teaching was nothing foreign to Jesus, His Apostles and the early Church. Nearly every book in the New Testament outlines a struggle for truth or a warning about apostasy, false teachers or the disastrous outcome of theological error. Paul instructed the Galatians to accept only the authentic Gospel (as represented in the Scriptures) and pronounces a double curse on those who would purvey false doctrine (Galatians 1:8-9). The letter written by the Lord’s half-brother, Jude, is consumed with warnings over false teachers, including the famous statement that Christians are to contend earnestly for the one true faith. Jesus Himself points out that the end of days will be signaled by an exponential increase in false teachers (Matthew 24:11). He caps this by warning that, because of the work of false prophets and their perverted views, the love (for truth) of many (in the Church) will grow faint. Paul clearly instructs Titus that the mouths of those who oppose accurate teaching and doctrine are to be stopped! This is the very crux of biblical apologetics – a reasoned statement of truth and a defense of the true faith in the face of what is false. Thank God that many are vigorously engaging in apologetics inside the Nazarene Church at this time.
 
One pastor told me recently that he has personally challenged his own District officials concerning Emergent radicalism and when told that there will not be an official denominational position concerning Emergent error he bluntly replied, “No position IS taking a position. To take no position on Emergent isn’t leadership!” I agree. We are also now told that Nazarene university officials are being instructed to try to play down Emergent thought in their midst and, at least for a season, they should cease having Emergent leaders as guest speakers on their campuses. It may be too little, too late, regarding trying to keep key Emergent leaders off the premises however. Emergent philosophy is heralded by many professors and has broad appeal to many unsuspecting students. The unorthodox teaching of Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Rob Bell, Doug Pagitt, Phyllis Tickle, and Alan Roxburgh (among others) has spread like wildfire in the bible colleges and seminaries associated with nearly every denomination. So any effort to limit the appearances of Emergent leaders by the Nazarenes really can’t be construed as any sort of refutation of Emergent teaching but rather only an effort to allow the existing controversy surrounding them to wane.
 
The Results of Ignoring Heresy
 
In one of his most emphatic and corrective letters, the Apostle Paul warned, “A littleleavenleaveneth the wholelump.” (Galatians 5:9) That is, if we allow heretical views to gain ground and spawn, it won’t be long before the entire loaf (the Church) is corrupted with heresy.Nothing better illustrates the deep divide present in the Church of the Nazarene than the fact that solid, bible-believing churches and leaders are now seeing their only recourse to be to leave the denomination. One would hope and pray that the international leaders of the Church of the Nazarene (and nearly every other denomination including the Southern Baptists and Assemblies of God) would wake up and stop courting Emergent heresy as nothing more than just a “new way to do church.”
 
I have been in constant touch with others who have now been threatened, intimidated and, in one case, actually put out of his ministry position, by Nazarene officials intent on stifling any negative discussion opposing Emergent philosophy. Now there is the case of Pastor Rick Headley from Ohio. Here is the letter he wrote to Rev. Jerry Porter, one of the General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene.
 
Dear Rev. Porter:

 

On May 5, 2000, after 10 long years of studying and working to finish my studies and complete necessary service time, you ordained me as an Elder in the Church of the Nazarene. At the altar of Grove City (Ohio) Church of the Nazarene you looked me in the eyes and charged me to be faithful to the Word of God and its ministry. You then placed your hand upon my head as I knelt at the altar and you prayed that God would help me carry out the charge that you had given me. I took that charge seriously, Rev. Porter. I have faithfully attended to this charge as a local pastor for a total of 20 years.

 

I have been disheartened to see our great denomination travel a very slippery slope as it has allowed emergent thinkers to infiltrate our educational institutions, publishing house, and our districts. The heart of this movement is an open denial of the inerrancy and relevancy of God’s Word. The very Word of God that you charged me to be faithful to. I have waited for you and the General Board to refute the leaders of this movement in our denomination and reaffirm the Church of the Nazarene’s commitment to scripture. The General Board’s silence on this issue has been deafening.

 

Rev. Porter, I am conflicted by the idea that you charged me to be faithful to God’s Word and its ministry and yet you choose to be silent as well known Church of the Nazarene leaders such as John Middendorf, Dan Boone and others use their influence to propagate the emergent ideology. I am compelled to believe that the silence of the General Board on this issue is communicating an acceptance through tolerance.

 

“How much further will they go?” was the question that was asked by the great preacher C.H. Spurgeon in his magazine “Sword and Trowel” in August 1887. He asked this of the Baptist Denomination – a movement that he had faithfully served for 35 years and in which he was the most prominent preacher. For some time, he and others in the Baptist Union had been concerned that apostasy from earlier standards might be showing up in the denomination. They were also concerned at the character of the teaching being given in some of the Baptist colleges. After asking the above question, the great soul-winner said, “It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the truth once delivered unto the saints should fraternize with those who have turned to another Gospel.”

 

After much prayer and deliberation I have decided to return my ordination document to you. I can no longer tolerate the idea of being associated with a denomination that openly allows an ideology that promotes disdain for God’s Word, ancient mystic practices, and pagan catholic traditions.

 

Sadly Submitted,
Rev. Rick Headley

To the dismay of Nazarenes’ intent on placating Emergent thought, letters like this could indeed be just the tip of the iceberg. Literally every day I am receiving emails or phone calls from Nazarene pastors on the verge of leaving the denomination because of what is being allowed by Nazarene leaders and openly advocated in Nazarene universities. One pastor told me he had been blatantly lied to by those wishing to protect Emergent teaching in the Nazarene university system. Another told me that waking up to the reality that heretical ideas are being forwarded inside Nazarene classrooms was like being blindsided in the worst way. Still another Nazarene pastor called last week to say that his church was simply not going to follow the status quo any longer and was about to embark on an effort to confront Emergent error being promulgated at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio by simply withholding funds that would normally be earmarked for use there. Ladies and gentlemen, if there is any way to get the attention of district officials it is this way. As my mentor, the late Dr. Walter Martin, once said, “If we REALLY want to fix the problem of false gospels in our churches we need to use the ‘gospel of the checkbook.’ It stimulates almost instantaneous repentance.(Click Here to watch Dr. Martin address the “Cult of Liberal Theology” from 1987.)
 
It is an understatement to say that many are heartbroken that the church they have invested their lives in has been slowly transformed by what can only be described as a satanic infiltration of cultic teaching and false teachers. Though I feel like a broken record repeating it again, this is a nearly identical attack that brought the once-evangelical Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Congregationalist, and other denominations down 100-150 years ago. As I mentioned to a Nazarene pastor who called me today, the issue isn’t really over mystical practices, Open Theism or Brian McLaren. Those are sub-issues of the larger point. The REAL issue is over the authority and validity of the Bible. That’s where Satan focused his attack from the very beginning, when the serpent mused, “Hath God Said?” (Genesis 3:1)
 
Please hear me clearly here. I thank God for men, women, and churches who are righteously standing for the whole counsel of God’s Word. There are thousands upon thousands of biblically-minded Nazarene clergy and laypeople who are not willing to in any way support false teaching. To them, I encourage you to stand up, and continue to stand on the teaching of the scriptures as you warn your friends, families, colleagues, and congregations. Remember that, in the end, your allegiance is first to God, His Word and His truth – not to any earth-bound organization, no matter how storied and trustworthy a history it may have. The final question is, if we do not make ourselves vulnerable and challenge heresy now, what will the next generation of Nazarene, Baptist or Assemblies of God pastor resemble?
 
Though some may misconstrue this, I hope that what I’ve stated here is taken as a call for righteousness, for clarity, for truth, and for sound doctrine. Those holding to aberrant theology may not like it, but Paul told the Thessalonian church to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil” (I Thessalonians 5:21-22). The Ephesians were instructed to “Prove what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:10-11). The command in both passages is clear: we are to “prove” what is true, avoid what is heresy, and expose the activities of those who deceive.
 
Although following in the footsteps of Pastor Rick Headley is for many an unthinkable end to consider, there is hope for any and every pastor or layperson that God leads out of any group. Life didn’t start and will not end with the hierarchy of any fellowship or denomination. This is especially true if those who’ve been entrusted with the faith seem content to ignore or worse yet, even protect heresy while merely hoping the opposition to what is plainly false teaching would somehow subside. Yes, speaking up may cost you. Someday ask Paul, Peter, or Stephen about the price they paid to stand for truth. You may be denigrated and shunned for defending the faith. You may feel threatened and your very ministry may seem to be in jeopardy but, in the end, to whom are you accountable?
 
Those who are publicly tackling issues such as the Emergent heresy are often made out to be misfits and troublemakers by those who’ve refused to expose and root out heretical ideas in our denominational structures and theological institutions. Having been such a target throughout the years, I personally know this all too well. The current group of detractors has chosen to attack and malign me personally because of their inability to present valid arguments against what I am proclaiming. Emergent defenders have neither history nor the Bible on their side, so a few have decided to just spend their time and energy lampooning and ridiculing those of us who dare oppose their favorite brand of apostasy. Although they often tout the tired claim that “apologists destroy unity,” it is disingenuous and laughable for the opposition to claim that those speaking up and biblically exposing error are themselves actually the issue.
 
Emergent sympathizers would like me and others to just shut up and go away. But retreat doesn’t shine the light on error or warn the unsuspecting. I honestly know of no one involved in apologetics and discernment ministry who relishes confrontation and the other often uncomfortable aspects of the work. However, we understand that peace at any cost isn’t real peace and that unity for the sake of appeasement isn’t real unity either. Error must be exposed no matter how unpopular or disquieting it may be. Truth – God’s truth – is the most important element and without it as our guiding force, unholy compromise quickly spreads and becomes the norm. That’s just not acceptable.
 
SPECIAL NOTE: This Saturday (March 20) Jan Markell and I are going to discuss this very concept of how apologetics ministries and ministers are themselves attacked and disrespected merely because of their stands for biblical truth.

I invite you to listen in at 9 a.m. (Central, USA) to “Understanding the Times” radio as we discuss “The New Pharisaical Bullies.”

If “Understanding the Times” isn’t heard “live” in your city, you can listen to the program here online by clicking through on the radio link found at www.olivetreeviews.org For those who are unable to listen on Saturday morning, the podcast of the program will be uploaded and available late Sunday. Just visit http://www.olivetreeviews.org/ for more information.

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