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Archive for the ‘Nazarene denomination’ Category

*UPDATE*  April 25, 2010 – Apparently, OKC 1st  Church of the Nazarene has removed it’s link on their main church website that showed their affiliation with the Industrial Areas Foundation.  However, another point of reference with their involvement via their Minister of Social Justice, Lance Schmitz, can be found HERE at a Social Holiness website that claims it operates as a Ministry of Oklahoma First Church of the Nazarene.  (I suggest people make copies of these pages before they also disappear.)

In addition, here is another news article that associates Minister of Social Justice, Lance Schmitz, as a committee member of an interfaith community coalition called the Oklahoma Sponsoring Committee, that is directly linked to the Industrial Areas Foundation.  The article can be accessed HERE.

The radical liberal agenda has enjoyed success in secular schools and organizations for several decades, and to a mild degree in some of the liberal denominations from the turn of the last century.

It makes sense that the next stronghold to assault would be to infiltrate the ranks of the conservative Christian schools and conservative denominations.  But through what method?

Enter the Emergent Church Movement and its’ emphasis on “social justice”. Here’s the strategy: 

  •  Re-package the primary mission of Jesus coming on the earth from being one of redemption of souls, to one of setting things right for the poor and marginalized in society.  Paint those (conservatives) who hold to a salvation message of personal repentance of sin, and faith and trust in Jesus as the only Way, Truth and Life , and re-cast them as Pharisee’s and mean-spirited fundamentalists who know nothing of compassion for the down and out. 
  • Promote the emergent church as the first to discover compassion for others and care about societal ills.   Do this under the catch phrase of “bringing in the kingdom” and/or being “missional” .
  •  Take a low view of scripture and introduce doubts as to its’ authority and reliability. 
  • Focus mainly on the “good works” of Jesus, while  avoiding  unpleasant topics such as sin, its consequences, personal responsibility, and above all else stay away from the subject of hell.     

 

The following link will take you to an article from The Tulsa Beacon entitled The Wolves Are At the Door The article was posted in April 2009. 

In the article you will read the connection between the Industrial Areas Foundation  , of which Oklahoma First Church of the Nazarene is a supporter, and Saul Alinsky  , who was a Communist sympathizer and socialist , and the term “social justice”.  Here is a quote from the article:

“Saul Alinsky used the poor to further a radical agenda, while ostensibly helping them. Although the IAF has disavowed some of Alinsky’s more extreme views, they still use his methods and seek to work within unsuspecting Catholic and Protestant congregations, and among other constituencies, to further a decidedly liberal agenda. From our research, you won’t ever see IAF working with its protégés to encourage conservative principles in public policy.”

Also of interest would be this interview given by the Minister of Social Justice of Oklahoma First Church of the Nazarene to Sojourner’s Magazine, which is a magazine with a radical liberal/progressive Leftist (chrisitan) agenda whose founder, Jim Wallis has ties to the Communist Party. 

It is also of interest, that it is common to find a link to Sojourner’s at emergent nazarene blogs, such as this one and this one

The people in the pews in the Nazarene Church need to wake up and start asking questions and demand answers from their leadership.  The only way to turn the Nazarene denomination around from this liberal agenda is for those in the pews to gather together and pray, repent from straying off course, fast, and create a grass roots movement of those that care about Biblical integrity and Biblical foundations that have been under assault from the Left.  The Nazarenes need to ask the question of the following from Psalm 11.

If the foundations are destroyed,  what can the righteous do?   Psalm 11:3    

 

 

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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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Feed My Sheep

 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”  He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”  He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

   He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”  He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”  He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

   He said to him the tird time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”  Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”  And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”        John 21:15-17 (NKJV)

   The instruction seems clear.  Jesus was commanding Peter, who loved the Lord with all his heart, to focus on feeding and caring for His young believers (lambs), older believers (sheep), and to look out for their welfare and protection (tend).   The primary means for feeding and tending the lambs and sheep was to be through the Word of God.

  That instruction has not changed for our shepherds today.  The pastors are to feed and tend believers (His lambs, His sheep)  through the Word of God. 

   Unfortunately, the trend has changed, and pastors have picked up too many leadership how-to books, and attended too many “how to be a large, relevant church” conference or seminar.  Many of these shepherds truly love the Lord, just like Peter….but, have lost the understanding of who their congregation is supposed to be comprised of (believers not unbelievers) and what they are supposed to do with their congregation (feed and tend via the Word of God).

   The push to be relevant and to create certain atmospheres that would appeal to the unregenerate have truly compromised, watered-down, and dumbed-down the “food” for the believers in these congregations. 

    The Word of God is not the primary food anymore to bring the sheep into maturity and to protect them from the world’s influence.  Instead, congregations of believers and unbelievers sit through life-enhancement gospel messages.  “Ask Jesus into your heart and He will make your life better.”  I’ve heard that over and over.  Tell that to someone who has to meet in secret with other believers in a communist or muslim country.  

   The history of the Nazarene church was that it would be a believer’s church and that the believer’s would be discipled and exhorted through His Word to go out and witness to others and the marginalized in society.  They were to do good works but also share the gospel.    Today the trend in Nazarene churches is to be “missional” which means to do good works, live among the people, but not necessarily share the gospel or written Word of God.  Some may argue with me about “missional”….but, primarily it means living among the people, witnessing by action, not by words, do good works, and getting people to think well of you.

   What is the gospel?  We are sinners in need of a Savior.  We have transgressed His laws and will have no fellowship with Him in eternity, but deserve hell.  However, God sent His Son to be born, live, suffer and die on the cross, shed His innocent blood on our behalf, and have victory over death and the grave so that we could have our fine paid and put our faith and trust in Him when we repented of our sins.     When was the last time you heard all of that in a Nazarene church?  (Note:  I realize there are some Nazarene churches that haven’t bought into the whole seeker or emergent ideologies, but they are few and far between.) 

  When we left the Nazarene church which we had been a part of for 24 years, we had left empty and starving to be fed.  In fact, I remember going to Sunday School class on our last Sunday at that church, and the class leader spent the whole time making light of, and jokes about, potentially changing the class name.   We never had a lesson….but it didn’t matter I suppose, because we were taught primarily from books written from authors, rarely did we go through a book of the Bible.  Learning from books written by authors seemed to be how 50 percent of the Sunday School classes were taught.  (Correction:  they are no longer called Sunday School classes, but Journey Groups, more on that at a later date.) 

   God guided us to a Baptist church near our home.  We were astonished how much we learned week after week.  The Bible was opened and taught in Sunday School class, taught from the pulpit, and was the primary focus in ALL the ministries from the very youngest (lambs) to the oldest (sheep).    It is a church that disciples the believer’s and exhorts them to witness to others.  It is an equipping church and provides teaching on ‘how to witness’.  It is a church that teaches with conviction and is not afraid to address issues of sin.  It is a church that reaches out to the marginalized and buses young people to church every Sunday morning to hear the Word of God taught in Sunday School class.  It is a church that offers several Vacation Bible School’s in various neighborhoods, and school parking lots, not just in their nice building.  It is a church that allows missionaries to speak frequently to the congregation about their work.  It is a church that not only feeds the believers, but, equips them to do good works and share the gospel.   My family is growing in the Lord now.  I have seen good changes taken place with my youngest children and my spouse.  It’s the Word of God and the conviction that it places on our heart that is helping us grow in holiness. 

   I pray for the Nazarene denomination on a daily basis.  I pray for the leadership to open its eyes and to stand and do what is right.   I pray for the university presidents to clean house of all the liberal teachers and speakers they have allowed to prey on the lambs.

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Why We Left

I left the Nazarene denomination after 24 years of being in active ministry. I served in several leadership positions within a large church.   (Formerly, I was a practicing Catholic for 27 yrs.)

In 2005, I began to see some changes being incrementally brought into my church  that began to concern me.   New phrases, and different words were being introduced into the everyday jargon.   

Sermons began to focus on community, community, community, and being on a journey with God instead of a walk with God.   We had a whole sermon series on The Foyer Environments (which came from an Andy Stanley sermon series).  Other sermons focused on the 5 (supposed) signs of a “healthy” church, by Rick Warren.   The new cry from the pulpit was…”Love God….Love People”.  Relationships with each other and with unbelievers was emphasized as being all important.  We needed to be relevant!

The Board structure was overhauled to include all staff and Board members, and as a result, the board became compromised as a result of the constant presence of the staff…..which, has turned the church into a staff led church.   We were then introduced to a method in which newcomers to the church would be taken through a “processing system”.   Okay….we now had a diaprax system in place for the board members, and visitors would now be looked upon as a unit to be processed into the church body.  We were certainly using  marketing philosophies sans the Holy Spirit.    

At the same time, I had 2 children enrolled in two separate Nazarene universities, and became concerned at some of the required reading, chapel speakers, and prayer techniques that were taking place on their campuses.

I also had 2 children enrolled in a secondary Chrisitan school….and a parent had alerted me to some strange teachings being presented at the high school.

Thus, began my crash course, and hours upon hours of research into the Market-Driven Seeker Movement,  also known as the Church Growth Movement, Emergent Church or Dominion Movement, and Spiritual Formation Movement.

Over the next weeks and months I will write on these things and how much entrenched I have found them in the Nazarene denomination.  After trying to share my concerns with many, many people in authority in the Nazarene church, I left after one year of getting no where.   I couldn’t justify putting my next 2 children through the Youth Program and certainly was no longer considering a Nazarene university education for them, nor do I recommend the universities to my peers as they begin to research colleges for their children.  Personally, we just couldn’t justify giving money to our church knowing that a portion would be sent to the seminary, and university assigned to our district. 

Though, my daughter and her husband remain an active part of a different Nazarene church, my spouse, who was very active, myself, and my other 3 children have left the denomination.   

 May God open the eyes of the leaders. 

More later…..

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