Posts Tagged ‘Nazarene Theological Seminary’

I  recently came upon a blog piece  from a former Nazarene pastor who left the Nazarene Church to assume the pastorate of a Unitarian Universalist Church. 


In his blog piece he states several reasons why he is leaving the Nazarene Church for a more liberal, Unitarian Universalist Church.   Of particular interest, take note of Reason #3:

3) I have come to see the Bible as many human-authored works, with its beautiful and horrible parts, rather than a divinely inspired mandate for life (which parts would I choose as patterns for my life? I certainly could not choose them all.). One cannot say both that God is love and that God once required the stoning of homosexuals and children who wouldn’t obey their parents. Our morals have evolved over time, and with them our concepts of who/what God is. This does not require outside intervention.


Now, be sure to read some of the comments, particularly, the comment from another Nazarene pastor, James Diggs.  Here is part of his response.

Point 3) I agree with you 100% about scripture! The scriptures are the work of human beings; and even if it is inspired by God it does not mean that it is “inerrant”. The Bible is NOT “the word of God”, Jesus Christ is the word of God, and he as he put it he came to make the written code “complete”. This implies that the written scripture is INCOMPLETE; it has limitations and is fallible.


This is what happens when the education institutions are given over to liberal professors.  The training up turns into a train wreck.  Students come out questioning their faith and questioning any trust in the Bible.   This is not to say that all theology professors are liberal.  It only takes a few to begin to dismantle the faith of some students, which later on, impacts the entire denomination. 


Just as Paul warned in Acts 20: 29-31

 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.   Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.   Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

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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.



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


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


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


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


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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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