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Archive for the ‘General Assembly’ Category

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 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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The following is from  guest contributor Rev. Ken Staniforth.  He is a commissioned evangelist in the Church of the Nazarene.  He resides in Sequin, Washington.

 

     The following is a short account of a controversy that took place in England in the late 19th century.  The details are taken from “Evangelicalism in England” by E.J. Poole-Connor, who quotes profusely from the records made at the time.

 

     “How much further will they go?”  This question was asked by the great preacher C.H. Spurgeon in his magazine “Sword and Trowel” of 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.”  In 1887, Spurgeon launched his “Down-grade  Controversy” (- referring to the downgrading of the scriptures.)  Baptists, he said, were abandoning the Bible and the Evangelical faith, and “going down hill at breakneck speed.”  Many confirmed the necessity for his protest; others charged him with gross exaggeration.  Others found the subject a source of merriment!  Sadly, the Baptist Assembly of April 1888 finally rejected Spurgeon’s appeal to put its house in order, still claiming to be sound in doctrine.  Spurgeon, finding that no headway would be made, withdrew from the Baptist Union.  Evidently, the Baptist denomination was committed to the principle that there could be the widest departure from the older Evangelical faith without the least charge of heterodoxy being laid against it.  The tide which Spurgeon sought in vain to stem swept steadily outward until in 1925 a rank modernist with anti-evangelical convictions was elected to the presidency of the Baptist Union.  The stand taken by the faithful Baptist prophet was vindicated by subsequent events.  (p. 235 – 249)

 

     There is some truth in the old adage, “history repeats itself.”  I find that there are some striking parallels between what was happening in 19th century England, and what is happening now in many evangelical churches in North America (I was in England recently and the churches there are in a similar state of concern).  The churchof the Biblical Jesus Christ is under attack from those who repudiate the authority of the written and living Word.  This latest onslaught of liberalism calls itself the “emergent church” – “a concoction of Bible, New Age Theology and ancient Eastern mysticism.”           [W.E. McCumber, This Jesus, p. 4] 

     Most unfortunately, the emergent movement is rapidly gaining ground in many Christian churches and educational institutions – including some of our own in the Nazarene denomination.  Veteran pastors in the church are expressing their common concern over the alarming advance of this deviate philosophy which distorts Scripture and diminishes Jesus [See This Jesus  by W.E. McCumber].

     Nazarenes, in the light of the present serious situation, we need to apply Spurgeon’s question to our Zion – “How much further will they go?”  I joined the Church of the Nazarene chiefly for three reasons:  It was Protestant (not Roman Catholic), Wesleyan and evangelical.  The latter term seems to have undergone a change of meaning in the last forty years!  The amazing thing to me about the “Downgrade Controversy” is how far a denomination can drift from sound biblical doctrine and still claim to be evangelical.  My understading of what the term means is clearly expressed in these two quotes by Dr. J.I. Packer M.A., D.Phil. – (one time senior tutor of Tyndale Hall, Bristol):

 

               “It (evangelicalism) is, we maintain, the oldest version of Christianity; theologically regarded, it is just apostolic Christianity itself” [Fundamentalism and the Word of God, p. 38].        

               “Its basic principle is that the teaching of the written scriptures is the Word which God spoke and speaks to His church, and is finally authoritative for faith and life – what scripture says, God says” [Fundamentalism and the Word of God, p. 47].   

 

     According to this definition, the evangelical believes the entire bible to be “God-breathed” and thus he is completely submitted to its authority for faith and life.  Whoever denies the authority of God’s Word cannot honestly claim to be evangelical, no matter how sincere he is or how graciously he comes across on a college platform.

     The serpent in the garden was graciously deceitful when luring Eve into fatal error.  In 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Paul uses this incident to warn the church against the preaching of “another Jesus,” and receiving a spirit different from the Holy Spirit.  John also warns against believing every spirit but to test them to see whether they are from different gospels and consequently invoke the condemnation of God (Galations 1:6-9).  John Wesley, from whom Nazarenes claim spiritual succession, wrote:  “Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions or revelations to be from God.  They may be from Him.  They may be from nature.  They may be from the devil…Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it” [John Wesley, The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, p. 521].  

     We need to strive against being led astray by the seducing spirits of a movement that is not only intent on changing methods (the way we do church), but is also bent on changing the message on which our faith rests.  Brian McClaren, one of the leading advocates of the “Emerging One Church of the New World” stated to his fellow “emerging” pastors:  “When we change the medium, the message that’s received is changed, however subtly, as well.  We might as well get beyond our naivety or denial about this” [Church on the Other Side, p.  68].    

     Speaking about the emergent church, Nazarene General Superintendent Jim H. Diehl said, “It sounds very new age.  Anything but holiness!  It seems centered on “everything must change” and they mean “must” and the mean “change”.  In other words, everything you and I have given our lives for must change.  If they could have their way, the Church of the Nazarene would no longer be holiness nor evangelistic.”  (2009)*

     It seems as though open season has been declared on all the precious doctrines of the one and only Gospel.  None of them are safe from the misrepresentation of false prophets.  The following comments were made by Marcus Borg, held in high regard by some of his emergent colleagues, one even considering him “an essential part of emerging spirituality.”  (Roger Oakland, Faith Undone, p. 196.)   He wrote:

 

               “I let go of the notion that the Bible is a divine product.  I learned that it is a human cultural product … Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of Himself as the Son of God, and did not see His purpose as dying for the sins of the world.”  [The God We Never Knew, p. 25]

 

   Note the sequence – denial of the inspiration of the written Word leads to the diminishing of the Living Word.  Jesus did know that His death was for the sins of the world.  In the synagogue at Nazareth (Luke 4:17-21), Jesus claimed to be the promised Messiah of Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 61).  The Master certainly knew His Bible and His revealed destiny.  Therefore, it is inconceivable to suggest that He did not know the prophet’s prediction of His death and its purpose.  “He was wounded for our transgressions … the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 5 3:5-6).  The 12th verse of Isaiah 53 is quoted by Christ and applied to Himself in Luke 22:37.  In the upper room, as He shared the wine with His disciples, He said, “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”   Matthew 26:28

     The substitutionary atonement of the Savior is the heart and core of the christian faith.  Christ’s shed blood at Calvary is the only acceptable atonement for man’s sin.  Our whole salvation depends absolutely on His death – our Redemption (Ephesians 1:7), our Righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21), our Sanctification (Hebrews 13:12), and our Reconciliation (Romans 5:8, 6, 10).  

     And yet, what do we find?  Many advocates of the emergent church have reduced His sin-atoning death to mean merely an example of sacrificial service.  Others have called the idea that God would send His Son to a violent death for the sins of mankind “a slaughterhouse religion” (Horton, Church History and Things to Come, p. 156), “this vile doctrine” (Alan Jones, Reimagining Chrisitianity, p. 168) and “false advertising for god.”  (Brian McLaren, The Bleeding Purple Podcast Interview, 2006)

     Clearly, most emergent New-Agers have turned to another gospel, one that teaches that the experience of God is discovered through mysticism and a new form of meditation in direct oppostion to the authentic gospel which teaches that penitent believers were saved only by the grace and mercy of God, through the sacrificial shedding of Christ’s blood for sin.  Amid the clash of accusation and argument, the Christian cries with Paul, “for I determined not to know anything among you except Christ and Him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2).

     “How far will they go?”  The question of Spurgeon fell on deaf ears.  The church leaders of his day failed to deal with the liberal infiltration of their movement, many even denying there was any such problem.  In the 1960s, hundreds of churches plled out of the Baptist Union when its president cast doubt on the unique deity of Christ.  We are not immune to what has happened in other historical denominations which failed to discern the daming effects of liberal theology.

     The Church of the Nazarene, of which I have been a member and servant for forty years, has been used by God in wonderful ways for over a century.  Praise God that around this sin-sick world, on its mission fields, revival fires are burning and many are turning to Christ.  May the great ministry of our church continue to bring blessing to our world! 

     We need to pray urgently that the ministry will continue but, at the same time, in the words of General Superintendent Diehl, we need to “watch out” and “be on our guard.”  (2009 Ordination Service, Grove City, Ohio.)  Whatever it costs, we need to distance ourselves from those who propagate a false gospel.  “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17).

     We also need to renew our regard for and belief in the plenary inspiration of the sixty-six books of God’s infallible revelation.  We are to “hold fast (to keep secure) the form of sound words according to the established doctrines of the gospel” (Nazarene Certificate of Ordination).  Jude puts it like this:  “….contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  (Jude 3)

 

*   This quote was from an email that was sent to a Nazarene evangelist from General Superintendent Diehl.  Concerned Nazarenes have had permission from this evangelist to print this quote.

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Here is another excellent resource for those who are interested in learning about the emergent church movement and why it is so concerning.  It is a movement that has made inroads into all denominations.  It’s NOT just a movement that calls people to be more like Jesus; it’s a movement with a deeper agenda. 

Crosstalk interviews Pastor Bob DeWaay, author of:  The Emergent Church, Undefining Christianity

http://www.crosstalkamerica.com/shows/2009/05/the_emergent_church_undefining.php

 

 One major part of the emergent church agenda is to deny the inerrancy and reliability of God’s Word.  This has become a major issue within the Nazarene denomination and is being brought forth for a vote at the upcoming General Assembly in June in Orlando.  Those who support the emergent agenda within the denomination are against the passage of it.  They want the Article to remain as is…stating that the Bible is inerrant in matters of salvation only, which renders the authority of God’s Word as untrustworthy in all other matters.

You can preview the Resolution here:  Go to page 15   

 

http://nazareneresolutions2009.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/special-judicial-resolutions.pdf

Thank you Southwest Indiana District for putting this Resolution forward.

 

You can download the Bob DeWaay interview onto your ipod, and/or order CD copies directly from Crosstalk.  Order several CD copies to give to church members and board members.

Also, be in prayer about the Resolution on Inerrancy being passed.  Find out who your delegates are and urge them to vote YES on its passage.

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The following letter was sent to me by a friend  who shares my concerns.  I contacted the writer of this letter and received her permission to post it for all of you to read.

 

Good Morning Tim,

I just wanted you to know that I got such a blessing and answer to prayer last night.   It was at the Central Ohio District Assembly this week.

Dr. Diehl our G.S. spoke.  I was not able to attend except for last night when we had the Ordination service.   It was my first.   Our youth pastor was being ordained and felt I needed to be there.   The Lord impressed on me to go but I didn’t know why, other than to support our youth pastor and his wife.   Well, as Dr. Diehl began to speak he used the same passage that our pastor had used this past week.   My jaw dropped, the cat was out of the bag.   I have been having a hard time with having to keep what I know about what is happening in the church to myself.   I wanted to get my facts straight and give my pastor the time to research also.   Besides who would I tell?   Then it would get back to the person who is helping bring it into our church.   I was going to meet with my pastor and see if we could get a plan together to educate our church on this.

Dr. Diehl beat me to it.   He spoke on it last night using the passage in First Corinthians 16:13-14:  Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.   Do everything in love.

He spoke against the emergent church movement in the Nazarene Church;  he even used the words new age.   He spoke it with passion.   My pastor was up front and I was in the back.   This is at Grove City, a big church.   I think he could hear me.  I had tears in my eyes the whole time he spoke.   My pastor knows for sure now that the battle is real

We need to pray for General Assembly.   I am so grateful that Dr. Diehl is so against this.   I am going to try to share what is going on in our church with my Sunday School class tomorrow. Our teacher may not know about it.  

Thank you for all you do.   I will keep you posted on how it is going.   Now to deal with the Walk to Emmaus also.   The Catholic Church just keeps coming in.   I wish they were not the church that had started all of this, but I must keep fighting.   I will not compromise the Word of God at any cost!   As Dr. Diehl put it last night, I will die first.

Feel free to share this story.   We will have someone fighting for us at General Assembly.   I wish I could be there. 
VADA LYNNE ROSS
 HAVE A BLESSED DAY!

end of letter

 

I am glad that Dr. Diehl has the backbone to stand up and speak out about what is happening to the Nazarene denomination.  May the Lord enlarge his camp! 

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