By Eric Barger
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 NOT JUST 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.
How to Spot the Emergent Church (Flyer) - Take a Stand Ministries
The Emergent Church Could Submerge Yours! (Jan Markell) - Bible Prophecy Today
What's Wrong With The Emerging Church? - The Berean Call