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Posts Tagged ‘contemplative prayer’

IMMERSE is the latest publication to be introduced to the Nazarene youth masses by Chris Folmsbee of Barefoot Ministries.  If you examine the fabric of this publication, you quickly see that it clearly promotes  a leftist social gospel/contemplative/emergent agenda to those involved with youth.

Mike King of Youthfront was recently appointed as the executive editor of this publication.   Here are a few paragraphs from the most recent publication of IMMERSE that Mike wrote in his editorial introduction.

For many youth workers, the end of summer provides a tiny respite to catch one’s breath for a few days between all the summer activities and the beginning of a new school year with all the new church programs and events launched in September.  This summer we had nearly 5,000 young people attend Youthfront camps and our mission site in Croc, Mexico.  I also had the opportunity to engage in youth ministry in New Zealand, France and the UK.

In New Zealand I spoke to more than 1,000 youth workers on the North and South Islands.  I was blown away by the quality and passion of New Zealand youth workers.  They seem to be engaged with the same challenges and issues that youth workers from North America are dealing with.  Kiwis rule.

I made it back to Taize for the third time.  If you want to expand your thinking about spiritual transformation, put Taize on your must visit list. 

The Greenbelt Festival in England was also a highlight of the summer.  More than 20,000 (mostly young) people gathered for great fun but were also significantly challenged by deep issues.  There really is nothing like Greenbelt in the USA.  Maybe someday… 

Over the summer, the Barefoot team has been working diligently to bring fresh and innovative resources to youth workers.  We are excited about revealing great tools for youth workers in the days and months ahead.  We have also been developing great content for Immerse that we are excited for you to read and consider.

We have lots of great articles in this edition of Immerse.  Kurt Rietema’s perspective on the issue of immigration is very timely, given the focus on this issue during the current election season.  This is an important issue for youth workers to consider.  I’ve known Kurt for several years now and have seen him develop into a thoughtful and capable leader.  His article on immigration comes directly from a place of personal experience and deep passion for others.  Kurt is the director of Youthfront’s missional initiatives in Croc, Mexico, and in the Argentine neighborhoods of Kansas City.  Kurt is one of the key people in youth ministry today pushing all of us toward a more relevant and robust conversation on missional living.  I am confident that his article will help you engage complex topics, such as immigration, at a different level.

Also in this issue, Andrew Zirschky deals thoughtfully with the role communication technology–especially social media–plays in the lives of adolescents who desire to maintain connections in a disconnected society.  He examines the nature of their unique communications for the primary purpose of maintaining social and psychological contact.

In the article “Agape meets Eros,”  Jim Hampton boldy engages the idea of the interplay between sexuality and spirituality, challenging youth workers to reincorporate our sexuality with our spiritual identities.  While we must employ discernment in how to apply these ideas into our church communities, we can no longer ignore this issue.

Our hope is that Immerse will guide you into deep theological reflection on lots of important areas impacting the spiritual formation of young people and the life of the church.

May the Lord Jesus Christ immerse you in faith, hope and love.    (signed)  Mike King

 

Here are some things to consider after reading Mike King’s editorial from Immerse:

The contemplative practices are promoted via the Taize reference in his editorial, which he says we must put on our to do list!  There is an unfortunate trend within the Nazarene church to draw the youth back to Roman Catholic practices and mysticism.  Further down, Mike then writes glowingly of The Greenbelt Festival that he attended in England.  Upon further examination of THAT event, you will quickly see the extremely liberal agenda, and bizarre contemplative worship practices that were offered to the attendees.  Make sure you take some time clicking around on that site.  Bizarre, indeed.

Topics  included:  Negative views on capitalism, Equating eating meat with murdering the planet, end of life issues, down with Israel & pro-Palastinian issues.  Their About page states that the Festival is a family-friendly celebration, inclusive and accepting of all, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, background or belief.   

Mike King hopes that someday……The Greenbelt Festival will make its way to the USA??    

With the Nazarene Publishing House funding,  publishing, and promoting these types of liberal and (emergent) resources, IS IT ANY WONDER THE CHURCH IS IN THE STATE IT IS IN??  

Also note, Jim Hampton was one of the writers and signers of the emergent piece:  IS THERE ANY ROOM AT THE TABLE? 

 

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By W. E. McCumber       Article Source      Website 

 

The duty is simple.  The gurus and leaders of this emergent movement, conversation, dialogue—call it what they will—do not base their teachings and writings upon Scripture but upon their own opinions.  They do not submit to the authority of the Bible but seek to impose their authority upon the Bible.  They dismiss the clear witness of the Bible to itself as the inspired Word of God.  When this has been done the witness of the Bible to God, to Jesus Christ and to salvation from sin is rejected outright or dangerously distorted.

 

As a consequence, to them Jesus is no longer “the Way.”  He is “a Way,” and all ways lead ultimately to God and heaven.  Devotees of other religions are not to be converted to Christ. Instead, we should encourage them to blossom fully in the soil of religious beliefs they have already chosen.  Our goal is not to make them Christians, but to encourage them to be the best they can be within the structures of belief and behavior of their ancestral faith.  That is unscriptural and untrue, whoever says it.

 

It is true that some who form the listening audience when these emergent leaders are paid (by our institutions with our tithes and offerings) to expatiate upon their concept of truth do not accept all they offer.  They insist that they are putting an orthodox spin upon it all, and clinging to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, insisting upon salvation through Jesus alone, and giving lip service to the unique authority of Scripture for faith and life.  Why in the world should we pay someone to voice opinions we then have to caution against and recast in order to use?

 

These who listen to the emergent gurus claim to be mining the emergent movement for structures of thought and strategies of engagement that will help them reach increasing numbers of people for Christ.  If you keep tabs on them, however, you will find that the longer they preach and teach the closer they come to the beliefs of those gurus who want to dismantle historic, Bible-based Christian doctrines.

 

Leaders of the emergent movement claim to have no interest in theology or doctrine.  They try to sell themselves as men and women concerned only, or at least mainly, with discovering ways and means of gaining attention to and involvement in genuine Christianity.   Despite their disclaimers the emergent movement is creating theology and disseminating doctrines and making converts to their re-interpreted and inoffensive Christ.

 

The duty of opposing them arises out of their rejection of the authority of the Bible.

 

The danger in opposing them is more subtle.  I’ve spent over 30 years as a pastor and another nine as a college teacher.  I know that in our denomination there is a strong and stubborn streak of anti-intellectualism.  Some of our people, including some of our preachers, seem to think that ignorance is a fruit of the Spirit.

 

The same God who created us as emotional beings also created us as rational beings.  To go to church and unscrew your head in order to have some acute feel-good experience is to slander true worship.

 

The danger is that we shall allow our opposition to heresy to be voiced only or chiefly by leather-lunged fanatics instead of informed and reasonable proponents of what John Wesley called “good old Bible religion.”  We cannot effectively oppose false teaching by merely turning up the volume.  Noise level, even happy noise level, is no substitute for “reasonable service.”

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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 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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The following is a letter sent to me that reads like many other letters that I’m seeing these days from those in the church who see something amiss and try to alert those in authority only to be dismissed as divisive.

 

 

If you haven’t read Jeremiah 23 and Ezekiel 34 in awhile, now would be a good time to read it again.  This is what is taking place today in the church.  The sheep are being scattered.  People are leaving their churches, who have embraced the latest fads that appeal to the world, to find spiritual nourishment at other churches who still hold to a high standard of Biblical teaching and a believer’s church philosophy.

  

 

I am sharing this story with my fellow Nazarenes not to be divisive or cause disunity (is that a word?). . . but to open peoples’ eyes to what they may be occurring in their own church.  I am changing my name, my husband’s name and the church’s name because it is not my desire to cause any problems for anyone involved.

 

I and my husband were raised in the Nazarene church, went to a Nazarene college and my father-in-law was a Nazarene pastor.  We have always been fairly open-minded. . . We like hymns, but sing choruses just as well. . . don’t mind drums and guitar. . . have attended churches that double as gymnasiums. . . no problem.

 

When we started attending “X Church of the Nazarene” (XCN) we were immediately drawn in.  We became very involved, built very, very strong friendships and really felt like we were “growing spiritually”.  This seemed to me like just about the most amazing, alive, growing church I had ever been a part of.  The pastor was wonderful.  We had him VERY high on a pedestal and felt very cheated when we missed his sermons.

 

We attended that church for maybe a year and a half all together, I guess.  We told everyone we knew how wonderful this church was, how wonderful the people were and how full of love the pastor was . . . and meant every word completely.  We secretly gave . . . gave to the pastor when he had financial need, gave to friends who were in need, gave whenever there was a need, tithed over and above.  The pastor called us “one of the pillars of the church”.  He said something to the effect that we were the unofficial leaders of the young adults.

 

Things changed, however, with three situations:

 

One was when we started being introduced to the teachings of a pastor named Rob Bell.  His series “Nooma” (which is a phonetical spelling of “pneuma”, meaning breath. . . you’ll understand as you read further) started being used in morning worship.  On the surface, these teachings sounded biblically sound and were deep and thought-provoking.  One couple that we were very good friends with at XCN encouraged us to read his book, “Velvet Elvis”.  She (the wife, who was also on the church board) said that the pastor asked the church board to read this book.  They had apparently read it and been crazy about it.  (More about this later.) 

 

The second was when my husband was at the mens’ Bible study at XCN (he had just started going to this) and they were asked to close their eyes and start meditating.  Now we do believe that the Bible says to meditate on God’s Word, but we never understood it to mean clearing your mind and closing your eyes in a group, etc.  This concerned my husband, along with a particular “Nooma” that stated that Peter sank in the water because he didn’t have faith in himself not Jesus.  I really scoffed at my husband’s concerns. . . after all this is a NAZARENE CHURCH we are talking about, not Jehovah’s Witness or a cult!!  When you are born and raised in a denomination, you are much less likely to question its teachings.

 

The third was when another couple, our close friends, who were new Christians told us that our pastor told them during membership class that the Nazarene denomination did not have a problem with drinking alcohol. 

 

Anyway, I decided to read the book “Velvet Elvis” for myself.  What I read was very shocking (and I sincerely hope and pray that you don’t subject yourself to reading this . . . it is a dangerous lie that will eat away your faith.  It took my several months to recover my ability to read my Bible without seeing it through the “eyes” of Velvet Elvis)  It reminded me of Satan in the garden when he said to Eve “Did God really tell you not to eat from the tree of life?” and went on to reshape her mind.

 

In my opinion, the whole premise of Velvet Elvis is that truth is not something you can be certain of. . . including the truth of the Bible, the truth of the story of Jesus (he may have just been a regular guy that got elevated to a tall tale.)  If you have seen the movie, The Da Vinci Code (which, by the way, was recommended by the pastor of XCN and, consequently, I watched.), you will understand what I am talking about.

 

ANYWAY, because our close friend who was on the board told us that

 

1)     The pastor called Rob Bell “HIS pastor”. . . in other words, the person he looks to for spiritual guidance. 

2)     They said that he listens to the sermons of this pastor online every week and that he wanted to be on Rob Bell’s staff.  And I myself had heard him singing the praises of Rob Bell. 

3)     I was told (can’t remember who by) that Velvet Elvis was recommended reading for the District.  I never confirmed this either way.

 

I decided that it was necessary for me to research this Rob Bell, because this was the direction where I saw my church heading. 

 

What I found were sermons that twisted the Word of God into CONTRADICTIONS of the Word of God by going back to the original Hebrew or Greek and then using an alternate meaning of that word.  In this way, he (for example) stated that Romans 8:16 “The Spirit Himself (A)testifies with our spirit that we are (B)children of God” was interpreted to mean that the Holy Spirit is attained by our spirit, which he took back to the original Hebrew (or Greek?) to mean “breath”.  He went on to say that if we need more of the Hol

Holy Spirit, we needed to do more deep breathing.  He actually taught breathing techniques during this sermon and he and the congregation participated in this for several minutes!  This sermon has been taken off of Rob Bell’s church site, but I do have a link that may still work.  He has also invited Directors of “spiritual centers” to come in and teach techniques to the congregation.

 

Anyone who is grounded in the Word of God and prayerfully prepares themselves can go to the Mars Hill website (this is the name of his church) and listen to several of his sermons.  It takes a discerning ear and the knowledge of the context of the scriptures he quotes to catch the subtle twists of scripture.  He is extremely skilled at making his point sound biblical when, in fact, it is contrary to scripture if read with full knowledge of the scripture.  (Most in his congregation are new/atypical “Christians” who have very little knowledge of the Bible.) 

 

All of the above was what led us to leave the church.  We first met with the pastor and discussed our concern about “Velvet Elvis”.  We were first told that this was recommended to the board in the same way you might recommend a book about Muslims, etc.  That it was to gain a defense against the ideas in the book. 

 

I asked the pastor to read my critique of the book and give me his thoughts on the same ideas.  He agreed and we set a date to meet again. 

 

In the meantime, I did the above research on Rob Bell and became increasingly concerned.  We emailed back and forth and talked on the phone.  What concerned me the most was that I found an outline of a series of sermons of Rob Bell’s and it was nearly IDENTICAL to an outline our pastor emailed to me during this time regarding the direction XCN was heading.  I took this as God’s confirmation to me that this was a serious problem and that it was not just my imagination.  Also in my research, I began to see a pattern of sermon imitation.  I noticed phrases, ideas and quotes of Rob Bell that were identical to what I had heard preached from the pulpit. 

 

Our pastor was concerned about his credentials (though I never thought of taking this above him).  He was also worried that we would take many of the young people with us if we left.  What we were hoping for is that he would just see something he had missed about Velvet Elvis and renounce it.  We did NOT want to leave our church.  We just wanted to open our pastor’s eyes about the dangerous path we were on. 

 

Unfortunately, when we met the second time (this time with a former D.S. at the pastor’s request so there would be a mediator (and in our case, a witness. . . someone of high respect in the church to help our pastor see the error). . . our pastor took a different stand.  He defended Rob Bell completely and let us know in no uncertain terms that we were wrong.  The former D.S. at first defended our pastor. . . but after we played the “Spirit” sermon I mentioned above, he became very concerned as well. 

 

If our pastor had shown us that night that he saw that Rob Bell was not someone he should look to for leadership and direction, we might still be at that church.   

 

We sorrowfully left that church.  I compared it to a horrible divorce.  We loved those people very deeply and miss them still. 

 

I want to be clear about one thing. . . there is nothing wrong with change.  There is nothing (in my opinion) wrong with music with a beat.  I believe that people who go into a church LOOKING for evil will find it in some form or other.  We are all human and we ALL have failures.  I am not writing this so people will go out and try to sniff out evil in their church. 

 

I am writing so that people won’t just take everything that is presented to them as truth. . . that you will be fully grounded, yourself, in the Bible. . . that you will have your eyes open to what direction your church is heading (and hopefully head it off at the pass if it goes this direction) and most of all, that you won’t be deceived by the lies that are so rampant in the Emergent Church movement and similar movements and books.    

End of letter

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