Nazarenes Standing Firm

Ac 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Joh 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

To God be the Glory!

Bill McCumber – click to visit site

Thank you Pastor

THE DUTY AND DANGER OF OPPOSING THE “EMERGENT” MOVEMENT

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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NORTHWEST NAZARENE UNIVERSITY JULY 27-30 –  Leonard Sweet plenary speaker

Dr. Leonard Sweet quotes:

Mysticism, once cast to the sidelines of the Christian tradition, is now situated in postmodernist culture near the center.… In the words of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century, Jesuit philosopher of religion/dogmatist Karl Rahner, “The Christian of tomorrow will be a mystic, one who has experienced something, or he will be nothing.” [Mysticism] is metaphysics arrived at through mindbody experiences. Mysticism begins in experience; it ends in theology.

(From p. 160, A Time of Departing, quoting Sweet from Quantum Spirituality, p. 76)

Blessed Earth

Serving God, …and Serving the Planet?

Christian Denominational Statements on Creation Care

The Green Bible

Green-Letter Edition: Verses and passages that speak to God’s care for creation highlighted in green

Contributions by Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, N. T. Wright, Desmond Tutu, and many others

A green Bible index and personal study guide Recycled paper, using soy-based ink with a cotton/linen cover

In Conjunction with The Green Bible:

Evangelical group leans left

Chad Groening – OneNewsNow – 10/21/2009 6:00:00 AM

Illegal aliens waiting for workA Protestant renewal organization is blasting the National Association of Evangelicals for its liberal stance on illegal immigration.

Earlier this month, the Board of Directors for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) passed a resolution endorsing so-called “comprehensive” immigration reform. Critics argue, however, that this is nothing more than support of amnesty for illegal aliens.

NAE president Leith Anderson testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security as part of a panel of religious leaders which advocated loosening immigration policies. Mark Tooley, president of The Institute on Religion & Democracy, says the NAE endorsement was appreciated by the head of that panel.

“New York Democrat [Senator] Chuck Schumer understandably greeted the evangelical testimony enthusiastically because, in effect, they were supporting his efforts to revive the idea of comprehensive immigration reform,” says Tooley, “which would, in essence, create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.”

Mark TooleyAccording to Tooley, this is not the first time the NAE has supported liberal causes.

“The NAE has in the recent past become outspoken on environmentalism and global warming, and then condemn[ed] the U.S. for what it calls ‘torture’ in its interrogation of terror detainees,” the IRD spokesman states. “And next, [the NAE] plans to adopt a petition regarding nuclear disarmament.”

Tooley says at least one member of the NAE — The Salvation Army — has publically disavowed the NAE immigration statement, saying it could not endorse such a political agenda.

Evangelical leaders ‘out on a limb’

Chad Groening – OneNewsNow – 5/13/2010 5:00:00 AM

pen in hand smallA Protestant renewal organization is questioning the decision of several prominent Christian leaders to sign on to a full-page ad calling for a path toward citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.

Last fall OneNewsNow reported that the National Association of Evangelicals passed a resolution calling for a path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally but want to embrace the responsibility and privileges of citizenship. Now the NAE has released a full-page ad in Roll Call trying to rally support for comprehensive immigration reform that “establishes a path toward legal status and/or citizenship for those who qualify and who wish to become permanent residents.”

Other evangelical leaders like Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention and Matt Staver of Liberty Counsel have also signed the ad. In comments to The Associated Press, Land described Arizona’s new controversial immigration law as “a symptom, not a solution,” and Staver said it is time to “forge a national concensus” on the issue.

But Alan Wisdom, vice president of research and programs at The Institute on Religion & Democracy, argues that those leaders are going against the majority of their constituents who oppose amnesty for illegal aliens.

Alan Wisdom (IRD)“They don’t have their constituency with them — and this is not a clear biblical mandate,” he contends. “The Bible does not tell us what our immigration policy should be.

“Now [the signers of the ad] protest that it’s not an amnesty,” Wisdom continues, “but the definition of amnesty is remitting the penalty that justly would be due for breaking the law — and [in this case] it’s deportation.”

He acknowledges that “hundreds of millions of people around the globe…would probably like to come to the United States if that were possible,” but argues that the U.S. simply cannot accept everyone who wants to enter the country.

“We can’t let everyone in,” he says bluntly. “There should be a strong distinction between folks who follow the proper immigration procedures and people who walk across the border illegally.”

Wisdom believes the evangelical leaders identified on the full-page ad are going out on a limb with their own political judgments without the support of most of their church members.

Immigration 2009 Resolution Endorsements

Below is the list of endorsements for the NAE Immigration 2009 Resolution.

Denominations

Assemblies of God
Brethren in Christ Church of North America
Church of the Nazarene
Christian Reformed Church in North America
Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.)
Elim Fellowship
Fellowship of Evangelical Churches
The Foursquare Church
Free Methodist Church of North America
Grace Communion International
International Pentecostal Holiness Church
Missionary Church
Vineyard USA
The Wesleyan Church

Organizations

The Bilingual Christian Fellowship
The Mission Exchange
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
World Relief

  Church of the Nazarene Stance on Immigration | Press Releases

Comprehensive immigration reform is advocated for as a non-partisan issue,

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Global Ministry Center

 

Office of  David P. Wilson General Secretary / Operations Officer

Church of the Nazarene – Global Ministry Center

Immigration Statement Response please click to view

Page 2

NORTHWEST NAZARENE UNIVERSITY JULY 27-30 –  Leonard Sweet plenary speaker –  Deep Ecumenism = Inter-Spirituality

Let Us Reason Ministries

The Issue of other Religious Practices
as Worship in the Church

The Emergent church began as a grassroots movement of those seeking to understand what the Christian Church should look like in the 21st century. Their concept is- because the culture and thoughts have changed- we must adapt.
“We must imagine and pursue the development of new ways of being followers of Jesus … new ways of doing theology and living biblically, new understandings of mission, new ways of expressing compassion and seeking justice, new kinds of faith communities, new approaches to worship and service, new integrations and conversations and convergences and dreams.” (www.emergentvillage.com)
Our Christian worldview should not change no matter what the culture does. We are not to be dictated by Culture but by the Word of God. Because God’s word does not change and is eternally the truth, it can speak to and be used for every generation. We can point to the one who is the truth and have anyone from anywhere understand the truth alongside whatever belief system they hold. But for it to affect the hearer it must be spoken and explained correctly without tainting it with the current philosophies of the day.
The Emerging church has become indicative to be the carrier of Contemplative prayer and integrating other spiritual practices. Many involved in contemplative and centering prayer find their influence and practices from eastern mystics and Roman Catholic mystics (monks). Their main sources are from Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and Morton Kelsey, Thomas Merton. Other men looked to are Henry Nouwen, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Ignatius Loyola, Henry Suso, Dorothy of Montau, Julian of Norwich, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Thomas Keating, and Basil Pennington who taught on Centering Prayer. Others associated with these same teachings Jacob Boehme and George Fox. They claim ‘Centering Prayer’ can be traced from the earliest centuries of Christianity (fourth), what they don’t tell you is that it was held on the outskirts of the Christian church (mostly monks away from civilization). We do not need to hear of bad arguments to justify non- biblical practices. If it goes beyond Scripture the apostle Paul tells us not to accept it (2 Corinthians 4:6).
When you adopt other spiritual practices to Christ’s teachings, you diminish and corrupt the truth. These practices are used to bring one into an experience, a knowing of God in a deeper way. Many of the young do not know what they are participating in but some of their leaders certainly do. What we see is a movement, a community of churches that are turning people into a group of free thinkers that do not look to the Bible (alone) as literal guide for their spiritual living. They are promoting spiritual experiences – which results in a Christianity without the Bible. Yet you cannot be a Christian without it. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Once you go outside the Scripture and its principles to live a spiritual life you are damaging your growth. One may wonder how equipped those of the next generation will be if all they know is this alternative spirituality being introduced to them.

Being open to other spiritual practices translates into a Synthesis of far more than the practices. Brian McLaren states, “Western Christianity has (for the last few centuries anyway) said relatively little about mindfulness and meditative practices, about which Zen Buddhism has said much. To talk about different things is not to contradict one another; it is, rather, to have much to offer one another, on occasion at least.” (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 255.)
McLaren is promoting an exchange of spiritual practices and this one of the common elements found in the Emergent church movement. Though he does not come off as someone who openly rejects the fundamentals of Christianity they are buried under the new teachings and practices of a new spirituality for their post- modern outreach.
McLaren (and others) admire Hindus, Buddhists and other ways to God. To do this one needs to reject, to some extent, the literal interpretation and inerrancy of the Scriptures (the Bible), make no mistake- what they are presenting is not the Christianity the apostles delivered. This concept of learning truth from other religions has long been a useful tool for amalgamation.
“Centering Prayer is a method of prayer, which prepares us to receive the gift of God’s presence.” “Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage, notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina, (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. It was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970’s by three Trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist Abbey, St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts” (www.contemplativeoutreach.org)
We read “In 1974, Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk and retreat master at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, Mass. found a dusty little book in the abbey library, The Cloud of Unknowing. As he read this anonymous 14th century book presented contemplative meditation as a spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God.
This form of meditation, recently known as ‘Centering Prayer’ (from a text of Thomas Merton) can be traced from and through the earliest centuries of Christianity. The Centering Prayer centers one on God. (reference from contemplative outreach website)
During a conference on contemplative prayer, Thomas Merton was asked the question: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: “We must tell them that they are already united with God.” Contemplative prayer is nothing other than coming into consciousness of what is already there (emphasis mine, A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen, p. 80). It becomes obvious that many do not know they are adopting spiritual practices that are not from Jesus nor will lead to Him.
Did Jesus or the apostles ever instruct us to pray this way? If not where did it come from?

You Don’t Always get What you See or Experience

They call it alternative worship. Those involved in the Emerging church make use of liturgies, prayer beads, icons, chants and practices from Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, the Anglicans and even eastern religious practices. They see this as a return to the ancient faith that will give them a richer spiritual experience-practicing sacramentalism. By making it their own experience many see this as privatization of their faith. Yet it was Jude and others who wrote of our commonness of the faith and salvation we all share together in the Lord. There is no mention of these practices in the Bible. Of course one may argue that not everything God told us for our spiritual practice is in the Bible, revealing their being influenced by this new thought spirituality. 2 Timothy 3:16 says otherwise.
Their worship does not just involve old style candles and crosses, and incense. They make use of multimedia- music, video projection screens etc. to bring one into a multisensory experience with “the divine.” They walk the labyrinth in the darkness lit by candles and have the fragrance of incense permeate the air as they stop and chant Christian words or contemplate their thoughts and prayers. They can also carry their portable CD players – it becomes a personal spiritual experience as each one enters into their own spiritual space. Unfortunately the Bible has nothing to say about worship, prayer or meditation of this sort; but other religions certainly do.
There is a movement in youth ministry that is taking us back to what some would call ancient spiritual practices, or different contemplative tools.” (Mark Oestreicher, President Youth Specialties)
For example: It’s Sunday just after 5 P.M.. in the youth room. Seven adults are sitting around a ‘Christ-candle’“ in the youth room. There is no talking, no laughter. For 10 minutes, the only noise is the sound of their breathing … now it’s 7 p.m. … one hour into the night’s youth group gathering. There are 18 senior highers and five adults sitting in a candlelit sanctuary. A gold cross stands on a table. They’re chanting the ‘Jesus Prayer’, an ancient meditative practice.”
(from the July/August 1999 issue of Group Magazine – a leading resource magazine for Christian youth leaders. quotes from http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com)
In the Dec. 3rd issue of Youth Worker. Disciplines, Mystics, and the Contemplative Life
by Mike Perschon: excerpt: “I built myself a prayer room, a tiny sanctuary in a basement closet filled with books on spiritual disciplines, contemplative prayer, and Christian mysticism. In that space I lit candles, burned incense, hung rosaries, and listened to tapes of Benedictine monks. I meditated for hours on words, images, and sounds. I reached the point of being able to achieve alpha brain patterns...” (November 2004)
They may call it a Christian prayer or use a sacred word (from the Bible), but it IS the same methods and practices used in eastern religions to achieve union with other gods. Saying certain phrases over and over: it does not matter whether the word is “Jesus” or “aum,” using this method you arrive at the same place. The mystics would instruct to “sound” the word silently or out loud; one can synchronize it with your breathing till it becomes part of you. You let go of all your feelings and thoughts that enter your mind and have only the sound of the word (but ignore the meaning of the word.) As it is repeated over, ones thinking diminishes, a new state of mind rises in the silence. One can have feelings of euphoria, oneness, your senses can be overwhelmed. They believe they have made a connection with something spiritual, sacred- God has broken through. The same state can be achieved with icons, mandalas; various other methods can be used to bring an alternate state of consciousness. How do I know this? I use to practice it when I was involved in other spiritual practices (the new age movement) before I became a Christian. It is non- compatible and not negotiable with the historic/orthodox Christian faith.
The Roman Catholic monk, William Johnston said: “In the mystical life one passes from one layer to the next in an inner or downward journey to the core of the personality where dwells the great mystery called God … This is the never-ending journey which is recognizable in the mysticism of all the great religions. It is a journey towards union because the consciousness gradually expands and integrates data from the so-called unconscious while the whole personality is absorbed into the great mystery of God” (The Inner Eye of Love: Mysticism and Religion p.127 (1981).

Deep Ecumenism = Inter-Spirituality

Matthew Fox is known for someone who has long crossed over the line and incorporated mysticism into Christianity. He among many wants to convince you that this is the right direction. In his book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ Fox contends that we should throw out any idea of a “historical Jesus” (p. 7). We should focus on the “Cosmic Christ” who is defined as “the pattern that connects” (p. 133). His experience shaped his new theology “The birthing of the Cosmic Christ is the purpose of the incarnation … Divinity wants to birth the Cosmic Christ in each and every individual” (p. 122) The Cosmic Christ connects every part of creation with every other part: heaven with earth, divinity with humanity (p. 134). There is nothing off limits to people like this that name Christ and have no connection to the Bible or basis for their faith.
In an article in Yoga Journal, titled- One Truth, Many Paths What other spiritual traditions tell us about meditation can illuminate our own tradition—and the era in which we live. Matthew Fox writes “Ours is a time of what I call “deep ecumenism”: religious pluralism and discovery of one another’s spiritual traditions and practices.
I’m reminded of a statement made by Griffiths (a Christian monk who truly did know his mystical tradition and practiced it in an ashram he directed for 40 years in Southern India): “If Christianity cannot recover its mystical tradition and teach it, it should simply fold up and go out of business.”
Douglas-Klotz’s vision is comforting and challenging at the same time… using primal breath sounds from the languages of these three Biblical faith traditions, thereby connecting practices of the great Western traditions with those of the East.

For example, he encourages us to “take a moment to breathe with the word adam….Inhale feeling the sound ‘ah’ as a breath from the Source of All Life. Exhale feeling the sound ‘dahm’ resonating in your heart, reminding you that your heart beats with the rhythm that began the cosmos.” (Yoga Journal, http://www.yogajournal.com/views/309_1.cfm)
In the PBS special on the emergent church we see the practice of yoga in the church. In Hinduism, Yoga is used to help one neutralize their karma, to find a way off the cycle of rebirth (reincarnation), it is a spiritual not just physical practice. How can this spiritual exercise be sanitized for Christian use. And for what reason would it be used? To relax! The Bible teaches God will “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3). One cannot make an excuse that they want to use it to experience peace and or the divine.
The idea of incorporating yoga, mantras and eastern type meditative practices should be appalling to any biblical Christian. The men [those] that promote this in the church (unknowingly) have no discernment, nor do they base their teachings or practices on what the Bible teaches; the way Jesus taught or how the apostles taught. However there are many who profess Christianity that have synthesized some of the teachings OF Jesus Christ (MOSTLY about love- they think is tolerance) with other religious practices, to intentionally change the church into something they have in their mind. the goal is to make us new and powerful in our age. Contrary to his statement of “Christianity recover its mystical tradition and teach it, it should simply fold up and go out of business.” We have entered an era of the danger zone for the church unlike any before. If we do not take a stand and be outspoken on yoga, meditation and the growing mysticism practiced inside the church we will watch the true church crumble before our eyes and be left with a transformation into a counterfeit. That’s how serious this all is.
We find certain leaders bringing in a hybrid form of Christianity. “I must add, though, that I don’t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu, or Jewish contexts.” (Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy).
This would be like sending a Mormon or a Jehovah Witness who has come to the truth of who Jesus actually is and the way of salvation back into their false religious system. Be assured they will be eaten up and spit out, the seed of truth will be ripped off. In the very least this is negligent to say, on the other hand it is a dangerous way to do ministry.
Leonard Sweet is a major leader in this Emerging church movement. Brian McLaren has become well known because of his statements and books that challenge the church to question her teachings (i.e. his book The Last Word and the word after that, urges Christians to reassess conventional views of hell PBS interview).
Though he makes the point, he does not speak for everyone in the Emerging church movement. However, the Emerging church’s most intellectual and influential thinker is Leonard Sweet.
Sweet calls the word an energy The Bible teaches that God is “spirit” or “energy” (p.64). What he describes is metaphysical concepts for Bible terms “Matter is the energy of Spirit. Ultimately, all that exists is spirit” (p.59-60). “I am spirit masquerading in matter’s form….I cherish the illusion of being substance, yet I am as much the spatial nothingness of atoms…” (Scientist/soldier/conservationist/aviator Charles A. Lindbergh). Those who hold to mysticism often describe God in this fashion, as Norman Vincent Peale explains, “God is energy. As you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy, you will be reenergized!” ( Norman Vincent Peale Plus the magazine of positive thinking vol.37, no.4 p.23 May 1986).
From what I have read in Quantum Spirituality Sweet does not begin with a Biblical basis for his philosophical expressions of reality (or the future reality we are converging on). Consider Leonard Sweets statements in his book “Quantum Spirituality” that describe a new consciousness surfacing and a synthesis of faith. “The emergence of this New Light apologetic is a harbinger and hope that anew, age-old world is aborning in the church, even that the church may now be on the edge of another awakening.” But this awakening he describes is not like any other- its emphasis is not a Biblical one. “New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “information” with other faiths…. One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.”
“A globalization of evangelism “in connection” with others, and a globally “in-formed” gospel, is capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim–people from other so called “new” religious traditions (“new” only to us)–without assumption of superiority and power. One Caribbean theologian has called this the “decolonization of theology.”~ It will take a decolonized theology for Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths, and to see and celebrate what is good, beautiful, and true in their beliefs without any illusions that down deep we all are believers in the same thing” (pp.130-131 emphasis mine)
Are we ALL believers in the same thing? I would more accurately call this a deconstruction of theology not decolonization (unless it means the same thing). Sweet then reconstructs- not inhibited to express the idea of inter-spirituality to his readers, because this is what the Emerging church is on board with. Hybrid religion is their answer to the changing church. It was Thomas Merton who uttered: “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity” ( quoted on p.12 of Quantum Spirituality)
Whether he is quoting other authors or coming to his own deductions they all lead to the same conclusion, the truth is not contained only in the Bible (showing disdain on fundamentalism). We must reach over the barriers of separateness and embrace each others truths. This is the essence of interfaith and the new inter-spirituality.
On the Living Spiritual Teachers Project website “It may well be that the meeting of spiritual paths — the assimilation not only of one’s personal spiritual heritage, but that of the human community as a whole” (Ewert Cousins, Professor of Theology, Fordham University).
Sweet agrees, he writes, “4. An absolute faith stance can be shown to be compatible with the notion that truth is relative? 30 In Philosophy of Religion Society founder Joseph Runzo’s words, “To believe that your faith is best, you need not believe that only the beliefs inherent in your faith can be right.” (Quantum Spirituality- my emphasis)
Here Sweet is endorsing what some have identified as the precept that All truth is God’s truth; that truth can be found not just in Christianity but nearly all religions. But there is only one faith- delivered to the Saints (Jude 1:3). He even tells us that we can still be faithful, that “Christians to appreciate the genuineness of others’ faiths.” No longer is Jesus THE Way but has become one of many, as in theosophy.
What we are hearing is a presentation of a Faith that does not come from the Word of God but can be practiced separate from it. Some even take the position that the word of God is not the Scripture but the Son of God, even though Jesus made it clear when refuting the Devil, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’” (Luke 4:4) quoting him the book of Deuteronomy. It is written is Jesus’ response of what man shall live by, as He further said to his disciples if you love me you will keep my words, my commandments.
Sweet seems to make the point of the logos (Jesus Christ) being just one of many metaphors for truth: “Every religion has a “root metaphor” that gives it depth and substance. For the Chinese it is Tao. For the Indians it is Dharma. For the Egyptians it is Ma’at. For the Jews it is Berith or Torah. For the Christians it is Logos” (Quantum Spirituality)
Under the topic of Coincidence, or connection? And how light affects us. “Leadership toward the light is the heart of what it means to be New Light,” he then quotes a medieval manuscript on the Trinity and proceeds to say the “feature of all the world’s religions is the language of light in communicating the divine and symbolizing the union of the human with the divine: Muhammed’s light-filled cave, Moses’ burning bush, Paul’s blinding light, Fox’s “inner light,” Krishna’s Lord of Light, Böhme’s light-filled cobbler shop, Plotinus’ fire experiences, Bodhisattvas with the flow of Kundalini’s fire erupting from their fontanelles, and so on.53 Light is the common thread that ties together near-death experiences as they occur in various cultures.(p.236 This is quoted from Ralph Metzner, Opening to Inner Light: The Transformations of Human Nature and Consciousness (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1986), who Sweet quotes numerous times).
Light is also the experience that binds the whole new age movement together. Though Sweet has some negative things to say about the NAM he continuously uses their language, concepts and authors to present his new spiritual transformation of the church. He conglomerates all experiences of light from different religious teachers as if they are all the same and from God. Muhammed, Krishna, Fox, Kundalini’s fire are not the same as Moses’ burning bush nor Paul’s conversion. The others had a very different revelation- that is not from God. For example George Fox converted a number of seekers of new spirituality to the Society of Friends that was called the Children of the Light. To them, Jesus Christ was the light within that everyone had the potential to experience this “light.” 2
As the church we “are connected to one another within the information network called the Christ consciousness (Quantum Spirituality, Page 122). Christ consciousness is a strict new age term (is used about 10 times in his book) and the concepts he is introducing throughout his book are decidedly not Christian. When you have professing Christians speaking the same language and promoting practices of the new age what does that make them? If you are promoting the same concepts in other spiritual practices you may not call yourself or even identify with the new age movement (new spirituality) but the fact remains, you have accepted its system
Sweet, who has corresponded with David Spangler quotes him several times (admittedly favorably) says this in his footnotes #86. I am grateful to David Spangler for his help in formulating this “new cell” understanding of New Light leadership.” New Light leadership obviously has everything to do with what the new age means by new light. Spangler wrote the book Emergence, the rebirth of the Sacred. He has a different Christ than the Scriptures. David Spangler states in his own book Reflections on the Christ, that “Christ is the same force as Lucifer… Lucifer prepares man for the experience of Christhood. (He is) the great initiator.”
This is a major deception. If you try to go through Lucifer-the light bearer- you will never come to the true Christ- Jesus of Nazareth who died for your sins. This is an initiation into the new age movement.
The Emergent movement is also ecological friendly. Many other spiritual practices are Christianized, it is not surprising to see Gaia Christianized as they leave the Christian religion for something new. After Sweet defines Pantheism and panentheism in his book Quantum Spirituality he writes, “New Light communities extend the sense of connectionalism to creation and see themselves as members of an ecological community encompassing the whole of creation. “This is my body” is not an anthropocentric metaphor. Theologian/feminist critic Sallie McFague has argued persuasively for seeing Earth, in a very real sense, as much as a part of the body of Christ as humans.” This is panentheism-plain and simple-he goes on to state we constitute together a cosmic body of Christ.
To become part of the body of Christ, you must receive salvation by the gospel, something the planet earth cannot do. Nor is the planet alive with consciousness as some surmise.
The Contention of Biblical Purists and the New Light spirituality
This is all about the word and a literal, biblical interpretation, make no mistake about it. This emergence is a liberal, mystical hybrid movement that is developing and growing before our eyes.
Sweet writes quoting “Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who used to warn us against Soviet totalitarianism. “Old Lights are revivalists of the old. Their movements are defensive in nature, often constituting classic examples of letting the dead bury the living. Old Lights include the resurgent fundamentalists in every religion who put a freeze on history and fortify their adherents against the “new dark age” in which they are forced to live.80 “Back to the Bible,” Old Lights shout; “back to the Koran,” Old Lights thunder. But not everything Old Lights say is wrong. Much is right. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, the old adage reminds us.”
Back to the Bible is what Jesus told the Pharisees, back to the Bible is what the apostles tell the church. “That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior” (2 Peter 3:2; Jude 1:17). One can say the same for his new light transformers, not everything they say is right either. In fact, I’d rather be right twice a day then not at all.
What really is Emerging? Unfortunately “Emergence” has been used as a New Age term and genre for over 25 years since the Tara center announced the new Messiah would be revealed to mankind. This Christ teaches the unity of all religions. He too is about experience, community and service. Some may know what they are introducing into the church, some may not- it really does not matter if it all leads to the same end. As stated in his book- “Quantum Spirituality is a hybrid work.
The similarity of statements by Maitreya the New Age Christ are disturbing and should make one stop and think of the various correlations of language, intent, and meaning. Maitreya: “Wherever I look today around the world, I see the shining points of Light of my people, those on whom I rely. These beacons of Light shall bring all men to me, and thus the Plan will unfold. May it be that you will gather yourselves around me in this way, that my Light may kindle your flame; and so together we can transform this world.” (Maitreya, message No. 85). These are the people of the new light.
Sweet quotes apostate Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “But there are moments when this impression of transformation becomes accentuated and is thus particularly justified.
Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke of a new mysticism and a universal Christ who … satisfies them all: that seems to me the only possible conversion of the world, and the only form in which a religion of the future can be conceived” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Christianity and Evolution (Collins, 1971), p. 130)
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in his book The Phenomena of Man (Sweet refers to) writes of formulating a Planetary Faith that explored his vision of the Omega Point and the evolution of consciousness. He said, “I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe.” Here is the new age experience and revelation of oneness which one can achieved by various means. It is apparent that a number of people already on the path of this movements agenda are bringing about a synthesis with the new age movement, the two streams have converged.
Sweet borrows extensively from philosophers and new agers, as well as some Christians of the past. “The Third Testament is thus no simple extrapolation of the First and Second Testaments into the future, but a divine inbreaking into the historical moment through which Alpha beginnings and Omega endings converge. The Third Testament is everything new about the old, old story. Or in Teilhard’s more mystical phrasings, a “descendent divine involution” combining with the “ascendent cosmic evolution.”35 (p.258)
“With the crooked lines of our lives God is wanting to write “a new account of everything old,” a Third Testament. This book has been breathed forth with the prayer that the crooked lines and cracks of New Light ministries, whatever they maybe, will become openings through which God’s light can shine. (p.259 emphasis mine). These quotes are only a fraction of what is said and proposed in his book Quantum spirituality.
This movement is not without its critics that notice that they have incorporated other religious practices and philosophy into the mainstay of their assembly. The emerging church cannot be categorized as just a movement – but a new way of thinking-which brings one to practice a new spirituality. It goes far beyond being a “new [kind of] Christian. They are practicing what they teach. What we are seeing is an intellectual – philosophical pursuit that stimulates the mind. A baptism into a new openness of spirituality powered by an experience that may even touch the recesses of the soul. But without the preaching of the cross it neglects the true spiritual condition and need of mankind. This is not leading people to the truth of their sin by being confronted by the gospel for salvation but instead pursuing a spiritual experience outside the parameters given by Jesus. This is all integrated in the church to reach the post- modern generation that does not see any one way more valid than another. It is opening the door to thousands to go another way. All this leads to is interfaith- accompanied with universalism. The Bible tells us there is a way that seems right to man but in the end it leads to death. It has been documented that 90% of the people who come to Christ do so in their teens. The youth are very susceptible to being influenced with other spiritual practices, many do not know any better. These are the people that are being drawn into the emerging church. They are Marketing a new spirituality to the youth in the church and it is working because so many are unfamiliar with THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT, THE OCCULT, and ALTERNATE SPIRITUAL PRACTICES found in other religions.
As Paul told young Timothy “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”(1 Timothy 4:16)
They are not questioning what they are doing, only what the majority of the OTHER (classified as traditional/evangelical) churches are doing wrong. There are no alarms going off, Their discernment is non- active.1 Cor. 2:11-14: “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Do not conform to this world means not only to resist worldly influences but forbids us to adopt other religious practices (Jesus said He was the way). Finding our spiritual needs and questions answered by the Bible should supercede any worldly reasoning. Without it we have words and beliefs without any spiritual substance. Jesus said, “My words are spirit and they are life,” not the words found in other religions. Some obviously do not believe this and think they can find spiritual life in most any religious practice. They are trying to reach an experience by the natural mans spirit; by various other spiritual ways that are not of Jesus Christ. But the Holy Spirit cannot honor such ways. The words of Jesus have not changed, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” We had better believe this and hold to it despite the world making the way wider. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1- the rest of the discourse is about those who hear only Jesus as their shepherd).
We have to adhere to the already revealed eternal truth, we are not to view these matters by the culture we live in, we must be the ones to bend and submit to what is PLAINLY written, not bend what is written to our “new interpretations” because the culture has changed.
If I were a new ager (which I’m NOT) where could I go to church to promote new age practices and tell everyone I’m a Christian and not have them suspect I’m bringing in the New Age practices or agenda? In a church that has NO discernment, that’s where…
This is what the new age movement is about and this is certainly what the new spirituality is in the emerging church. The Emerging church is the new age movement; I see little difference. Sometimes hard statements need to be said: Don’t call the emerging church, church, if you practice other spiritual ways found in the world’s religions.
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The Museum Idolatry  please click

Coming form Museum Idolatry please check out

The New Emergent “Translation” ***Updated**

Emergent leaders such as Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet ( Leonard Sweet will be the plenary speaker at Northwest U.S.A. Regional PALCON Hosted by Northwest Nazarene University 623 Holly Street Nampa, Idaho 83686 ) and Chris Seay who are sick of the being confined by the exacting language of the true scriptures have created their own slippery, ooohy gooohy, “translation” of the Bible that will finally set them free from doctrinal and theological restrictions. The name of this new ‘bible’ is called The Voice.

View video describing the Emergent ‘Translation’at…The Museum Idolatry  please click

If you’d like to experience just how badly the New Emergent ‘Translation’ mangles God’s word, click here to download a pdf of the Emergent version of the Gospel of John.

The Curator of the Museum of Idolatry holds a degree in Biblical languages. According to the Curator, “The New Emergent ‘Translation’ Bible is soooo bad it makes the Message Paraphrase look like a literal translation”.

**Update**

After learning that the NET Bible is a real, scholarly, and good translation of the Bible we’ve decided to stop referring to the New Emergent ‘Translation’ as the NET Bible.

We’re still looking for new acronyms for this apostate ‘bible’.

Coming from Berean Beacon

Former Catholic Priest Richard Bennett

Special Audio by Tony Bartolucci

Francis Beckwith is Analyzed 

January 21 2010

Francis Beckwith is Analyzed “Drowning in the Tiber” is a Response to Francis Beckwith’s Book, Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic” by Tony Bartolucci a former Catholic. Tony Bartolucci, pastor of Clarkson Community Church, Clarkson, New York, has made a 12-part sermon series discussing Francis Beckwith’s return to Catholicism. Beckwith was serving as president of the Evangelical Theological Society. Beckwith wrote Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic, which is a book defending his decision. Pastor Bartolucci addresses some vitally important questions concerning the theological incompatibilities between Catholicism and Evangelicalism. This is an important series. The MP3 Series and transcripts and outlines are on:
www.tonybartolucci.com/Sermons/TiberLight.htm
Please make it known to your family and friends. Thank you The MP3 bandwidth is suitable for Dial-Up Users.

Jay MacDaniel lecturing to a class at Northwest Nazarene University

Video below

It is my pray that some of the issues raised by “Concerned Nazarenes” will be helpful to Christians who simply believe Scripture. Our purpose is to point out the errors and false teachings of this “modern” approach used by “modern” Christian educators, teaching students, for example, to believe in PAN-EN-THEISM, GOD EXISTS IN BEINGS EVERYWHERE!  Let us with humble hearts examine the claims of Jesus Christ and his written word.

The attack is seemingly never ending; to discredit the written word of God.

.Jay McDaniel

IN PAN-EN-THEISM, GOD EXISTS IN BEINGS EVERYWHERE

Also go to Lighthouse Trails Research

Nazarene background NNU Thomas Jay Oord; Mr. Thomas Oord was present at the lecture. Mr. Oord gives opportunity to students to voice their questions at the end of the lecture.

Thomas Jay Oord

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Oord holds a PhD and MA from Claremont Graduate University, an MDiv from the Nazarene Theological Seminary and a BA from Northwest Nazarene University (NNU).[1] He was a youth pastor at Bloomington Church of the nazarene

Thomas Jay Oord (born 1965) is a Wesleyan theologian and philosopher who specializes in research related to love, relational thought (including relational theism), and science and religion.[1]

Oord is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene.

He has taught at Africa Nazarene University, Azusa Pacific University, Eastern Nazarene College, Harvard Divinity School, and Wesley Theological Seminary. He currently teaches in the School of Theology and Christian Ministries at Northwest Nazarene University. He was a youth pastor at Bridge church of the Nazare at Bridge Ca

Oord’s love studies begin with his own definition: to love is to act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others (including God), to promote overall well-being. He proposes this definition with the desire that it might be useful for research in science, religion, and philosophy.[citation needed]

Oord has also posited definitions of the classic love archetypes commonly referred to by philosophers and theologians:

  • agape: love that promotes overall well-being when confronted by that which generates ill-feeling (i.e., returning good for ill)
  • eros: love that promotes overall well-being by affirming the valuable or beautiful
  • philia: love that promotes overall well-being when cooperating with others, and that moreover gives humans authentic friendship[2]

As a relational theologian, Oord argues that the fundamental nature of all things existing is relational. What it means to exist is decided by the decisions made in response to the influence of others, including God. Oord says that God is also relational, and God and creatures mutually influence one another. While creatures influence God, God’s essence remains constant. But God’s influence precedes each moment of creaturely existence. This preceding divine influence is the inspiring and empowering of prevenient grace (See John Wesley).[citation needed]

Oord has been identified (rightly or wrongly) with a number of contemporary theological movements, including Holiness theology, Wesleyan theology, Open theology, Arminian theology, Process theology, Liberation theology, Evangelical, Postmodern, and Feminist theology. The driving force behind his theological interests, however, seems to be his intent to make sense of God as love and the great love commandments given by Jesus.[citation needed]

Oord’s contributions to science and religion research are varied. Oord argues that love and altruism are important spiritual and scientific categories for contemporary research. He adopts a form of theistic evolution, which requires a necessary place for both divine and creaturely action. Oord argues that the traditional doctrine of creation out of absolutely nothing argument does not make scientific, philosophic or biblical sense in light of the problem of evil and divine love relations.[3]

Thomas Jay Oord is currently a theological consultant for the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, has been academic correspondent and contributing editor to Science & Theology News, and is an officer in a variety of scholarly societies. Oord was the president of the Wesleyan Theological Society from 2008-2009[4] and was past president of the Wesleyan Philosophical Society. He leads the AAR Open and Relational Theologies group.

Jay McDaniel


by Dr. Jay McDaniel
reprinted on WildFaith.com by permission of the autho

Hendrix College Jay MacDaniel

Personal Statement:

Trained in the philosophy of religion and theology, my specialty is Process or Whiteheadian thought.  My Ph.D. dissertation was on Whitehead and Buddhism, with particular focus on whether and how, with help from Whitehead’s way of thinking, human beings might jointly awaken to the wisdom of Buddhist enlightenment and simultaneously live from faith in God.  Since writing the dissertation many years ago, I have had the privilege of teaching the religions of the world, and my interests have grown to include them all.  Even though all religious traditions are finite and none can be said to have all the truth, I am impressed with the various kinds of wisdom that each contains: wisdom that seems relevant not only to their adherents but also to the wider world.  I am simultaneously impressed by the need on the part of people in the many different traditions to develop forms of awareness that are sensitive to the value of the more-than-human world- that is, the plants and animals, the hills and rivers- and to engage in dialogue with one another for the sake of peace and mutual transformation.  Accordingly, I have written books on religion and ecology, religion and inter-religious dialogue, and spirituality in an age of consumerism.  My current interest is to see how these myriad concerns might unfold in China.  I have taken students to China several times and have made many good friends in China myself, thanks to the work of the China Project, which is based at the Center for Process Studies in Claremont, California.  In the summer of 2006 I taught the first annual “Whitehead Summer Academy” in China, taking three Hendrix students with me as teaching assistants.

My aim as a teacher at Hendrix is to help students understand how people live and think in different parts of the world when they are shaped by religious points of view.  It is also to help students develop “philosophies” and “theologies” of their own in dialogue with the many religions and also with people who are not interested in religion.  I think of myself as a “constructive theologian” and encourage my students to recognize that they, too, can be creative thinkers in their own right.  Understanding others and creatively responding to what one learns: these are the guiding ideals of my teaching.

Projects and Publications:

I have written five books and edited three.  These include With Roots and Wings: Christianity in an Age of Ecology and Dialogue; Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism; and Gandhi’s Hope: Learning from Other Religions as a Path to Peace.  My current project is to write a book that can be used in China and in the United States to facilitate cross-cultural interchange.  It uses the philosophy of Whitehead as a bridge by which people in the two cultures can communicate with one another and as a bridge by which people in both cultures, each in their own way, can move forward into the twenty-first century in ways that are socially just, ecologically sustainable, and spiritually satisfying.  I am also interested in taking students from Hendrix to China and helping others get to know Chinese people.  Toward that end I work closely with several universities in China and the United States.

For more on Biblical Panentheism, visit God in All Things by Jon Zuck.

Dr. Jay McDaniel lecturing to …

Religious Education Association (REA)

History of the Religious Education Association

Quote from webpage:  REA is rich with diversity; its membership includes those from the Baha’i, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and other traditions involved in all aspects of religious education

( The REA is a a member of North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) . Being associated with these organization should concern anyone who believes the Scriptures to be the truth.)

Please check out the of NAIN Members

ANOTHER SITE NAIN MEMBER

Interspirit Database of Interfaith Organizations

The Pluralism Project

ALLEON AND MISSIONAL

Dean G. Blevins of Nazarene Theological Seminary was voted president elect of the RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION:

The words” in the world but not of it”  come from the words of Jesus in His High Priestly prayer as recorded in John 17 verses 15-16: ” I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world just as I am not of the world.” Here Jesus is praying for His disciples, (and for us, for He says in verse 20″ I do not pray for these alone, but for all those who will believe in me through their word.”). This is a pray of protection from the evil one as Christians  take the Gospel into the world. Therefore we are in the world spreading the gospel hence not of the world. Jesus is not praying for isolation but rather insulation against the evil one.

Dean G. Blevins was voted president elect of the RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (REA).

Quote from (REA) wedsite: Mission

The mission of the Religious Education Association is to create opportunities for exploring and advancing the interconnected practices of scholarship, research, teaching, and leadership in faith communities, academic institutions, and the wider world community. The Association accomplishes its mission in four ways:  Through sharing, critiquing and encouraging publication of substantive research, probing scholarship and practical approaches to religious education (particularly through its journal Religious Education); Through ecumenical, inter-religious, and cross-cultural, interdisciplinary and inter-professional dialogue that stimulates members to recall and examine historic traditions and explore fresh visions of religious education for the diverse and ever-changing human family in our complex world community;

NTS professor (Dean G. Blevins) accepts new leadership roles in global education

Kansas City, Missouri

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dean G. Blevins, professor of Christian education and director of the master of arts in Christian education degree program at Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) recently accepted two new leadership roles that provide new responsibilities for the global church and greater influence within the academic discipline of Christian education.

On November 24, 2009, Blevins was voted president-elect of the Religious Education Association (REA), the oldest organization guiding professional research and academic teaching in global educational ministry. The mission of the REA is to create opportunities for exploring and advancing the interconnected practices of scholarship, research, teaching, and leadership in faith communities, academic institutions, and the wider world community.

Founded in 1903, REA now combines professional practitioners, academics, and research theorists from around the world. Blevins, who has been a member of the REA Board of Directors, will serve a three-year term that includes serving as program chair of the annual meeting in 2010 and officially taking the role of president in 2010-2011.

In addition to this position, the Church of the Nazarene’s Board of General Superintendents recently appointed Blevins as the USA regional education coordinator and consultant for the Church of the Nazarene. Under this new role, Blevins will serve as chair and resource for the USA Regional Course of Study Advisory Committee and also as the U.S. representative to several global committees, including the International Course of Study Advisory Committee (which oversees planning for ministry education around the world) and the International Board of Education. Working with Clergy Development, Blevins will resource educational institutions in planning ministry education, and be responsible for other program areas including the next Global Theology Conference.

Commenting on the two new positions Blevins stated, “It is gratifying to have the opportunity to influence the future of my academic field and also serve the general church at the same time. I am thankful to NTS for providing a context where academic passion and ministry dedication merge together. I am also grateful to an institution that allows me space to serve in these global positions. Undoubtedly the experiences I gain from these leadership roles will enrich students and ministry preparation at Nazarene Theological Seminary.”

Blevins has maintained an active role in several academic organizations including the North American Professors of Christian Education, and the Wesleyan Theological Society where he has chaired the practical theology section for nine years. He has also served the general church as a consultant to children, youth, and adult ministries; and recently contributed to a new denominational study concerning family ministry. In October 2009, Blevins was re-elected chairman of the Board of YouthFront, a regional youth ministry based in Kansas City with national education programming in youth ministry and youth spiritual formation.

WHAT DOES “YOUTHFRONT” BELIEVE? WHY IS “BAREFOOT MINISTRY” a partner with them?


Teachings “Youthfront”

Emerging “Youthfront”

Lighthouse Trails “Youthfront”

A NEW KIND OF YOUTH MINISTRY “Youthfront”

NTS

EMERGENT NAZARENE CONTRIBUTOR

FACEBOOK DEAN BLEVINS

From the NASV to the KJV By Frank Logsdon

BY LES GARRETT

Dr. Frank Logsdon: Co-founder, New American Standard Version

Audio of Frank Logsdon

Audio

S. Franklin Logsdon (1907-1987) was a respected evangelical pastor and popular Bible conference speaker. He pastored Moody Memorial Church in Chicago (from 1950 to 1952). Prior to that he pastored Central Baptist Church in London, Ontario (from 1942-50). He also pastored churches in Holland, Michigan (Immanuel Baptist from 1952-57), and Eerie, Pennsylvania. He taught at London Bible Institute in Ontario, Canada. He preached at Bible conferences (such as Moody Founder’s Week) with well-known evangelists and pastors such as Billy Graham and Paul Smith of People’s Church in Toronto.
In the 1950s Logsdon was invited by his businessman friend Franklin Dewey Lockman to prepare a feasibility study which led to the production of the New American Standard Version (NASV). He also helped interview some of the men who served as translators for this version. He wrote the Foreword which appears in the NASV.
As we see in the following testimony, in the later years of his life Logsdon publicly renounced his association with the modern versions and stood unhesitatingly for the King James Bible. In a letter dated June 9, 1977, Logsdon wrote to Cecil Carter of Prince George, British Columbia, “When questions began to reach me [pertaining to the NASV], at first I was quite offended. However, in attempting to answer, I began to sense that something was not right about the NASV. Upon investigation, I wrote my very dear friend, Mr. Lockman, explaining that I was forced to renounce all attachment to the NASV. … I can say that the project was produced by thoroughly sincere men who had the best of intentions. The product, however, is grievous to my heart and helps to complicate matters in these already troublous times.” Logsdon moved to Largo, Florida, in his senior years and died there August 13, 1987.

His Sermon

Two questions were handed me tonight which if I could answer them would take care of almost all the other questions:

“Please tell us why we should use the Authorized Version and why the New American Standard is not a good version, and the background from which it came.”

“What is your opinion of the 1881, 1901 and other variations of the Bible in relation to the Authorized Version?”

May I point out to you very specifically, not that you do not know but to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, we are in the end time. And this end time is characterized by a falling away, and of course that is apostasy. That is the meaning of the word: Falling away from truth. And when there is a falling away from truth, concurrently there is always confusion because they are sort of Siamese twins.

With confusion there is mental and heart disturbance, and people naturally come short of the high standard of the Lord. Everything we have or ever will have will be found here [in the Bible], as we have said so many times. All that God does for us, in us, with us, through us, to us must come by the way of this Word. It’s the only material the Spirit of God uses to produce life and to promote it. Name it, and it has to be here.

So you can understand why the archenemy of God and man would want to do something to destroy this book. I ought to whisper to you, and this is no compliment to the devil, but he knows it can’t be destroyed. He tried to destroy the Living Word. You don’t see this depicted on Christmas cards, but the night Jesus Christ was born the devil was there in that stable with one third of the fallen angels whom he had dragged down, to devour the manchild as soon as He was born. Rev. 12:5. Now he couldn’t do it. Just think. Satan was there when Jesus was born, with all of those cohorts, those fallen angels, for one purpose: to devour the manchild. He couldn’t do it. So failing to abort the Saviorhood of Jesus Christ both at the manger and at the cross–when he said come down from the cross, that is, before your work is finished come down–he is going to do what he knows is the next most effective thing, that is try to destroy the Written Word.

You understand, I am sure, there are places in this book where you can’t differentiate between the Living Word and the Written Word. You know that. John 14:6–“I am the life.” John 6:63–“My words are life.” Different life? The same life. You can’t differentiate because after all the Written Word is the breath, if you please, of God, and Jesus Christ is God made flesh or the Word that came to earth.

THE DEVIL’S ATTACK ON THE BIBLE

Nevertheless, getting back to this, the devil is too wise to try to destroy the Bible. He knows he can’t. He can’t destroy the Word of God. But he can do a lot of things to try to supplant it, or to corrupt it in the minds and hearts of God’s people.

Now he can only do it in one of two ways: either by adding to the Scriptures or by subtracting from the Scriptures. And you mark it down in your little red book: He’s too wise to add to because those who have been in the Word for a long time would say, “Wait a minute; this is not in the Bible.” So he subtracts from it. The deletions are absolutely frightening.
For instance, there are in the revisions (1881 and 1901), so we are told 5337 deletions, subtractions if you please. And here is the way it is done. It is done so subtly that very few would discover it. For instance, in the New American standard we are told that 16 times the word “Christ” is gone. When you are reading through you perhaps wouldn’t miss many of them. Some you might. And 10 or 12 times the word “Lord” is gone. For instance, if you were in a church when the pastor is speaking on the words of the Lord Jesus in his temptation, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” if you have a New American Standard you wouldn’t even find it. It’s not even in there. And there are so many such deletions.

So this is done in order to get around it and further blind the minds and hearts of people, even though it may be done conscientiously. There isn’t any worse kind of error than to have conscientious error. If you are conscientiously wrong it’s a terrible situation to be in.
Nevertheless, when there is an omission that might be observed, they put in the margin, “Not in the oldest manuscripts.” But they don’t tell you what those oldest manuscripts are. What oldest manuscripts? Or they say, “Not in the best manuscripts.” What are the best manuscripts? They don’t tell you. You see how subtle that is? The average man sees a little note in the margin which says “not in the better manuscripts” and he takes for granted they are scholars and they must know, and then he goes on. That’s how easily one can be deceived.

THE HISTORY OF THE CRITICAL GREEK TEXT

Let’s go back to say 352 A.D., when Constantine, the Old Pagan Wolf, as he was called, was concerned because his kingdom was threatened with a schism. There were those who held to the Babylon doctrine of the mother and child coming up through history, and there were others who held to the Roman doctrine of mother and child. In order to cement his kingdom, he felt he ought to bring about a Bible that would satisfy both sides which were threatening to destroy his kingdom. So he called upon Eusibius. (There were two men of that period called by this name, but I am referring to Eusibius the historian.)
Who was Eusibius? He was a protege of Origin. And who was Origin? Origin was one who believed that Christ was a created being, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, therefore he’s not divine. Now a man who studies under a teacher like that certainly would imbibe some of it. Nevertheless, Eusibius brought into being a Bible that would somehow or other not offend those who had the Babylonian doctrine or those who had the Roman doctrine of the mother and the child.

ROME IS THE CUSTODIAN OF THE CRITICAL TEXT

There are two copies of those Bibles in existence, A and B, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. And where are they? They are in the custodial care of Rome. Now almost all of our revisions, of recent years in particular, come through that stream. And that necessitates this comment: There is the false and the true streams of manuscripts. And either our manuscripts come through the false stream, or they come through the approved stream of manuscripts.

When people speak of the oldest manuscripts, they usually mean the A and the B, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus. But nobody has seen [Vaticanus. It has] been under lock and key in Rome. And the only copies we have are the copies that Rome decided to give to the outside world, and I don’t trust them one inch. Never, never, never! And I’ll tell you why in just a moment.

None of our scholars today have seen Codex B [Vaticanus], unless they’ve seen just a page or two through a glass case. But that’s not enough to get the feel of the whole thing, just to see a page that is open at one place. So here we have the stream of manuscripts and the stream of Greek texts coming down through the “custodial care” of Rome. And if it’s in the custodial care of Rome, I don’t want anything to do with it.
I’ve come to this place now: I can’t stand toe to toe with the scholars, with those who have delved into the manuscripts and textual criticism for years and years. I’ve had too many other things to do. And you haven’t been able to, either. So what do you do? I don’t argue with them anymore. I’m not going to argue with any of them. I’m just going to ask, On what manuscript or manuscripts is this version based? And if it’s based upon a manuscript that came down through this Roman stream, I don’t want anything to do with it.

ERASMUS

You say, How can we know? Well, when God was ready to tell the world through a converted monk that the just shall live by faith, he raised up a man–and I’m sure that God raised him up; couldn’t be otherwise–by the name of Erasmus. Erasmus is said by those who seem to know–scholars, we have to take their word for something–that he was the wisest man this side of Solomon that ever lived. It was said that he could do ten days work in one day. Brilliant. I forgot how many languages he spoke; they say he was at home in eighteen or twenty different languages as easily as we can move around in the English language.

He knew the manuscripts that were available, and he brought about a Greek text. Now he was so brilliant that the pope offered him–that is to keep him, I suppose, from doing this Greek text–offered him the position of a cardinal, which is a high-ranking position for those in the Catholic Church. I know a little bit about it because my father’s people were from Ireland and were Roman Catholic all the way back. I have three cousins in Chicago who are priests. I have a cousin in the Chicago area who is a nun. That was quite an offer to be offered the position of a cardinal, yet he refused it.

The British government, I am told, offered him one of the highest positions possible in the British commonwealth. And at his own price he turned it down. Germany did the same thing, but he turned it down because he felt God had called him to bring about the pure Greek text.
All of this goes off into so many areas. We have a friend in one of our Baptist churches, very delightful chap, very educated, and he speaks against Erasmus because he had some attachment to the Roman church. Even our friend Peter Ruckman speaks against Erasmus. But how could you speak against a man, claiming that he is Roman, when he turned down the offer of a cardinalship by the Catholic people?

And not only that, but listen to this: Do you know one of the reasons the Jesuits came into being under Loyola? Their main project was to supplant the Erasmus text, get it out of the way somehow, just undermine it. And this is their pledge. You can go to the library and get this directly, if you care. They said, `In order to supplant the Erasmus text we’ll send our men to Protestant seminaries, Protestant Bible schools; we’ll get them into teaching positions in seminaries; we’ll get them into pulpits of churches.’ To do what? The whole aim around the world is to destroy the Erasmus text, and the Authorized Version of course came from the Erasmus text.

Getting back to this one matter that really impresses me a great deal. When God was ready to tell the world that the just shall live by faith, he got hold of the heart of Luther and he tacked his thesis to the door–“the just shall live by faith”–and took all the persecution that comes to one who turns against the church of Rome. If the just shall live by faith, where do we get faith? Romans 10:17–“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” If they’re going to have pure faith they had to have the pure Word of God. Doesn’t that make sense? And so God raised up Erasmus to bring about what was called the pure Greek text, and had it completed when Luther came thundering forth “the just shall live by faith.” He had the Greek text of Erasmus to translate. Someone put it this way: Erasmus laid the egg and Luther hatched it. Just at the right time he had the text, and all he had to do was to translate it into German.

I think I mentioned the other night, since there is so much concern about these versions and paraphrases and so on, it is a marvelous opportunity for the devil to get in his strokes, you know. Through computerized procedures they have tried to determine the accuracy right down the line. You have lists of those in various books. The Authorized Version is right at the top. Friends, you can say the Authorized Version is absolutely correct. How correct? 100% correct! Because biblical correctness is predicated upon doctrinal accuracy, and not one enemy of this Book of God has ever proved a wrong doctrine in the Authorized Version. You’ve never heard of anyone’s intellect being thwarted because he believed this Authorized Version, have you? And you never will. You’ve never heard of anyone anytime going astray who embraced the precepts of the Authorized Version, and you never will.

I tell you, I used to laugh with others when a person would try to slander the intelligence, perhaps, of some who say, “Well, if the Authorized Version was good enough for Paul it’s good enough for me.” You get a lot of ha, ha’s. Say, that perhaps is true. If this is the Word of God, and Paul had the Word of God, then things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. We have the Book that Paul had! It’s true there could be, and perhaps should be, some few corrections of words that are archaic. And a few places where it could read just a little more freely.

But after all, as I said to the men this morning in the class, just think of the countless millions of dollars of God’s money spent on all these versions and translations which could have been spent on God’s service. There are 100 of them right now. Think of it.

There are places where I believe the Spirit of God led the translators of the Authorized Version. You read their biographies. They were mighty men of God; spent as much as five hours daily in prayer; and some of them knew twenty-some languages. And it was before modernism filled the air, and before their attention was diverted by so many other things, television and so on.

Actually, after I’ve listened in so many places to all these arguments and I’ve listened to the scholars and sat with the translators, to be honest with you I haven’t found anything seriously wrong anywhere with the Authorized Version. Really. Really! I personally don’t think the “thous” and the “thees” should not be changed. God’s thoughts are above our thoughts, higher than our thoughts, and these words are expression of His thoughts, and I like to see it a little different here and there from men’s ways and men’s thoughts.

THE 1881 ENGLISH REVISED VERSION

To begin with, the revisers for the 1881 weren’t to be revisers; they weren’t to bring out a new Book. They were revisers to bring some of the words up to date because the language had changed. They were to be revisers, but the fact is–and believe me, this can’t be refuted–there wasn’t enough in the Authorized Version to revise to make it worth the while, to cater to the ego of scholars.

So when they saw that there wasn’t much to revise, here they had their committee arranged. One was a Unitarian, a man by the name of Smith. That’s why you find on verses concerning the incarnation there’s something wrong. Such as 1 Timothy 3:16–“By common consent great is the mystery of godliness.” Don’t you believe that the mystery of godliness depends upon what man thinks, or his opinion. The verse continues in the 1881 version–“he who was manifest in the flesh.” You’ve been manifest in the flesh; I’ve been manifest; [that statement alone is meaningless]. It’s God who was manifest in the flesh. Do you see the Unitarian flavor there? He got in some blows somewhere, and that must be one of them.

But nevertheless, they didn’t have enough to revise. So what are they going to do? Well, two brilliant Cambridge scholars by the name of Dr. Hort and Dr. Westcott had been collaborating on a new Greek text built on the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus which they believed were the very best manuscripts, held by Rome. So they said to the committee when they saw there wasn’t enough to revise–I don’t know if they said these exact words, but they said, “We would suggest that we bring about a new version.” And they had those men pledge themselves to secrecy that they wouldn’t tell anybody about the text they were using until after the book was out. Afraid, I guess, that they would be curbed, that the King of England or somebody would prevent them.

Twice British royalty refused to have anything to do with the 1881 revision. But at any rate it was deception to begin with. Their own text hadn’t even been published yet, hadn’t stood the scrutiny of the public. So the 1881 was built upon that. And the only fundamentalist who stayed on the board was Dr. F.H.A. Scrivener, and before he died he felt he had to break his promise to this group of men, and he let the world know that they took advantage after advantage in the text. That’s where we’ve gotten the number of something like 5,337 deletions. [That was his count.] And he said, “Every time I raised an objection I was voted down, and they took liberties with God’s Word.” He was right there at almost every meeting, and he revealed that to the world before he died.

[Scrivener’s own words about this deception is available by ordering Scrivener’s The Authorized Edition of the English Bible. A reprint of this is available from Bible for Today, 900 Park Avenue, Collingswood, New Jersey 08108. Order Item # 1757. Which Bible, edited by David Otis Fuller, also contains information about Scrivener and his protests against the ERV. Scrivener is listed 20 times in the index to that volume. Now when the 1881 came out many people liked it because it said Jehovah instead of Lord in many places. Well, that’s minor; you can say that with the Authorized Version. But it was scarcely 10 years before it proved to be a failure. That is, it didn’t get anywhere.

THE 1901 AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION

Within 10 years they started communicating with spiritual leaders on this side of the water to work with them on another printing called the 1901 edition, feeling, I suppose, that if the Americans cooperated that they would have a wider sales range. Well, just think. When the 1901 came out it had gone 10 years when it was practically a failure, because in 1911 in the third centenary of the Authorized Version the publishers had 34 outstanding scholars to go over the Authorized Version and see what legitimate changes could be made here and there. You know, they took the 1901 edition and they could only take two out of every 100 corrections in that. Only two percent. And immediately they discovered that the 1901 was not trustworthy. And it didn’t go very long until it died out. In all of my pastorates I can only remember one person who ever owned one of those 1901 American Standard Version Bibles.

THE NEW AMERICAN STANDARD VERSION

Back in 1956-57 Mr. F. Dewey Lockman of the Lockman Foundation [contacted me. He was] one of the dearest friends we’ve ever had for 25 years, a big man, some 300 pounds, snow white hair, one of the most terrific businessmen I have ever met. I always said he was like Nehemiah; he was building a wall. You couldn’t get in his way when he had his mind on something; he went right to it; he couldn’t be daunted. I never saw anything like it; most unusual man. I spent weeks and weeks and weeks in their home, real close friends of the family.

Well, he discovered that the copyright [on the American Standard Version of 1901] was just as loose as a fumbled ball on a football field. Nobody wanted it. The publishers didn’t want it. It didn’t get anywhere. Mr. Lockman got in touch with me and said, “Would you and Ann come out and spend some weeks with us, and we’ll work on a feasibility report; I can pick up the copyright to the 1901 if it seems advisable.”
Well, up to that time I thought the Westcott and Hort was the text. You were intelligent if you believed the Westcott and Hort. Some of the finest people in the world believe in that Greek text, the finest leaders that we have today. You’d be surprised; if I told you you wouldn’t believe it. They haven’t gone into it just as I hadn’t gone into it; [they're] just taking it for granted.

At any rate we went out and started on a feasibility report, and I encouraged him to go ahead with it. I’m afraid I’m in trouble with the Lord, because I encouraged him to go ahead with it. We laid the groundwork; I wrote the format; I helped to interview some of the translators; I sat with the translators; I wrote the preface. When you see the preface to the New American Standard, those are my words.

I got one of the fifty deluxe copies which were printed; mine was number seven, with a light blue cover. But it was rather big and I couldn’t carry it with me, and I never really looked at it. I just took for granted that it was done as we started it, you know, until some of my friends across the country began to learn that I had some part in it and they started saying, “What about this; what about that?”
Dr. David Otis Fuller in Grand Rapids [Michigan]. I’ve known him for 35 years, and he would say (he would call me Frank; I’d call him Duke), “Frank, what about this? You had a part in it; what about this; what about that?” And at first I thought, Now, wait a minute; let’s don’t go overboard; let’s don’t be too critical. You know how you justify yourself the last minute.
But I finally got to the place where I said, “Ann, I’m in trouble; I can’t refute these arguments; it’s wrong; it’s terribly wrong; it’s frightfully wrong; and what am I going to do about it?” Well, I went through some real soul searching for about four months, and I sat down and wrote one of the most difficult letters of my life, I think.

I wrote to my friend Dewey, and I said, “Dewey, I don’t want to add to your problems,” (he had lost his wife some three years before; I was there for the funeral; also a doctor had made a mistake in operating on a cataract and he had lost the sight of one eye and had to have an operation on the other one; he had a slight heart attack; had sugar diabetes; a man seventy- four years of age) “but I can no longer ignore these criticisms I am hearing and I can’t refute them. The only thing I can do–and dear Brother, I haven’t a thing against you and I can witness at the judgment of Christ and before men wherever I go that you were 100% sincere,” (he wasn’t schooled in language or anything; he was just a business man; he did it for money; he did it conscientiously; he wanted it absolutely right and he thought it was right; I guess nobody pointed out some of these things to him) “I must under God renounce every attachment to the New American Standard.”

I have a copy of the letter. I have his letter. I’ve shown it to some people. The Roberts saw it; Mike saw it. He stated that he was bowled over; he was shocked beyond words. He said that was putting it mildly, but he said, “I will write you in three weeks, and I still love you. To me you’re going to be Franklin, my friend, throughout the course.” And he said, “I’ll write you in three weeks.”

But he won’t write me now. He was to be married. He sent an invitation to come to the reception. Standing in the courtroom, in the county court by the desk, the clerk said, “What is your full name, Sir?” And he said, “Franklin Dewey…” And that is the last word he spoke on this earth. So he was buried two days before he was supposed to be married, and he’s with the Lord. And he loves the Lord. He knows different now.

I tell you, dear people, somebody is going to have to stand. If you must stand against everyone else, stand. Don’t get obnoxious; don’t argue. There’s no sense in arguing.

But nevertheless, that’s where the New American stands in connection with the Authorized Version.

I just jotted down what these versions, translations, and paraphrases are doing.

Consider:, they cause widespread confusion, because everywhere we go people say, What do you think of this; what do you think of that? What do young people think when they hear all of that?


One
, they cause widespread confusion, because everywhere we go people say, What do you think of this; what do you think of that? What do young people think when they hear all of that?

Two, they discourage memorization. Who’s going to memorize when each one has a different Bible, a different translation?

Three, they obviate the use of a concordance. Where are you going to find a concordance for the Good News for Modern Man and all these others? You aren’t going to find one. We’re going to have a concordance for every one; you’re going to have to have a lot of concordances.

Four, they provide opportunity for perverting the truth. There are all these translations and versions, each one trying to get a little different slant from the others. They must make it different, because if it isn’t different why have a new version? It makes a marvelous opportunity for the devil to slip in his perverting influence.

Five, these many translations make teaching of the Bible difficult. And I’m finding that more and more as I go around the country. I mentioned this thing the other night. How could a mathematics professor or instructor teach a certain problem in a class if the class had six or eight different textbooks? How about that? How could you do it?

Six, they elicit profitless argumentation. Because everywhere we go they say this one is more accurate. Which one is more accurate? How do they know? And this is not a reflection against those saying this, because I would have done this a few years ago.

Lest I forget, in one of these questions somebody said, “How can we know that we have the whole truth?” Well, just simply by believing God. And what do I mean by that? John 16:13–“When he the Spirit of Truth is come he will guide you into” how much? Tell me. Tell me, now. “All truth.” And if we don’t have all truth, the Holy Spirit isn’t doing His work. We have to have all truth for Him to lead us into all truth. And there are many, many other passages which teach this.

If we could hear His voice we would have no trouble learning His Word from the Authorized Version. Let me tell you this: You might not be able to answer the arguments, and you won’t be [able to]. I can’t answer some of them, either. Some of these university professors come along and say, What about this; what about that? They go into areas that I haven’t even had time to get into.

As I said to you a couple of minutes ago. You don’t need to defend yourself, and you don’t need to defend God’s Word. Don’t defend it; you don’t need to defend it; you don’t need to apologize for it. Just say, “Well, did this version or this translation come down through the Roman stream? If so, count me out. Whatever you say about Erasmus and Tyndale, that’s what I want.”

And besides this, we’ve had the AV for 362 years. It’s been tested as no other piece of literature has ever been tested. Word by word; syllable by syllable. And think even until this moment no one has ever found any wrong doctrine in it, and that’s the main thing. He that wills to do the will of God shall KNOW the doctrine.
Well, time is up. Let’s be people of the Book. It took my mother to heaven; and my dad, my grandfather, my grandmother. It was Moody’s Book; it was Livingstone’s Book. J.C. Studd gave up his fortune to take this Book to Africa. And I don’t feel ashamed to carry it the rest of my journey. It’s God’s Book.

“Our Father, we thank Thee and praise Thee for Thy Word. Help us to love it, and preach it, and teach it, and tell everybody we can the Good News through thy Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

CONCLUSION BY LES GARRETT

Logsdon moved to Largo, Florida, in his senior years and died there August 13, 1987. His widow, subsequently moved to Wheaton, Illinois. In the early 1980s an audio cassette of Logsdon’s testimony in regard to Bible versions was sent to me by Dr. David Otis Fuller, who passed away in 1988.

I have three witnesses to Logsdon’s involvement with the NASV. First, there is Logsdon’s own spoken testimony which we have on audio cassette. This has been authenticated by Christians who knew him. Second, we know that Logsdon’s widow in Wheaton, Illinois, has authenticated his testimony in regard to the NASV. Third, we have a copy of a letter from Logsdon to Cecil Carter of Prince George, British Columbia, June 9, 1977. I have known Brother Carter for many years. He is a faithful elder in a Brethren assembly and a respected member of his community. He said he was a friend of Lockman and as such was invited to come out to California and help launch the venture.

According to his own testimony and that of his widow, that is precisely what he did. Logsdon was a highly respected Bible teacher and author, and there is certainly no reason why he would have lied about these matters. He had nothing to gain thereby. To the contrary, he was considered a nut by many of his peers for taking a stand against the modern versions.

I have had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Frank Logsdon before he died, and was able to point out to him that Christ was taken out 52 times and the Lord 38 times and he was shocked. At the time that this was taped he said Christ was out 16 times and the Lord 10 times, well sadly as we have discovered it is much worse.

JOURNEY INTO WHOLENESS
40 Days of Reflection & Growth
(http://www.trevecca.edu/spiritualformation/40days.Fall09

Being taught at Trevecca Nazarene University.  1: Introduction below

  

Journey Into Wholeness or Journey Into Worldliness?
A comment on “40 Days of Reflection & Growth” (Spiritual Formation) being taught at Trevecca Nazarene University
by Sandy Simpson, 12/15/09


The teachings of “spiritual formation”, another term for the Emerging/Emergent/Emergence Church (EC) movement, are defined by Ray Yungen and others published by Lighthouse Trails as follows:

Spiritual Formation: A movement that has provided a platform and a channel through which contemplative prayer is entering the church. Find spiritual formation being used, and in nearly every case you will find contemplative spirituality. In fact, contemplative spirituality is the heartbeat of the spiritual formation movement. (Lighthouse Trails, Spiritual Formation? Another name for Contemplative Spirituality, 2009, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/spiritualformation.htm)

Those who promote these teachings in the EC go back to Richard Foster who brought the practices of Catholic mystics and New Age into the churches back in the mid 1970s.  Please get the new free “The Emerging Church” DVD where I talk about what Foster was up to then in a personal testimony.

http://www.concernednazarenes.org/page12.php

Foster apparently thinks that what he helped start in the EC is and “answer to the cry of multiplied thousands for spiritual direction”.

“By now enough water has gone under the Christian Spiritual Formation bridge that we can give some assessment of where we have come and what yet needs to be done. When I first began writing in the field in the late 70s and early 80s the term “Spiritual Formation” was hardly known, except for highly specialized references in relation to the Catholic orders. Today it is a rare person who has not heard the term. Seminary courses in Spiritual Formation proliferate like baby rabbits. Huge numbers are seeking to become certified as Spiritual Directors to answer the cry of multiplied thousands for spiritual direction. And more.” (Spiritual Formation, A Pastoral Letter by Richard Foster, 2009, cited in http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/spiritualformation.htm)

Foster’s boast, though completely erroneous with regard to actual “spiritual direction” is correct as you will see on the following lists of organizations that have bought into this stuff.

“From time to time God has raised up a parachurch movement to reemphasize a neglected purpose of the church… The Discipleship. Spiritual Formation Movement. A reemphasis on developing believers to full maturity has been the focus … authors such as … Richard Foster and Dallas Willard have underscored the importance of building up Christians and establishing personal spiritual disciplines…. [this] movement has a valid message for the church…[it] has given the body a wake-up call. (Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Church, p. 126.)

The clams of benefits from “spiritual formation” and the use of “spiritual disciplines”, as you will see, have nothing to do with spirituality at all but rather the soul and the flesh and paranormal formation.  Though Dallas Willard gives lip service to the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, he then launches into completely unbiblical territory.

“Sometimes we think of spiritual formation as formation by the Holy Spirit. Once again. That’s essential. We can’t evade it–formation by the Holy Spirit. But now I have to say something that may be challenging for you to think about: Spiritual formation is not all by the Holy Spirit. None without the Holy Spirit. But there’s always more involved. And here again we run into the problems of passivity over against activity. Here lies the deepest challenge to the very idea obedience to Christ in our times. We have to recognize that spiritual formation in us is something that is also done to us by those around us, by ourselves, and by activities which we voluntarily undertake …There has to be method.” (Spiritual Formation, What is it and How is it Done? by Dallas Willard)

The simple use of common sense, before we even go to the Bible for what God uses to form us spiritually, tells us that if these pragmatic methods pulled from psychology and the New Age work for Christians without the Holy Spirit, then they should also work for unbelievers.  That means that unbelievers can be built up spiritually by employing them and get closer to God.  This is exactly the claim of every Eastern mystic and many false religions out there.  But the fact is that we cannot be “formed” spiritually as Christians apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, our teacher, through the final revelation of the written Word of God.  That leaves unbelievers out of the picture of real spiritual formation.  If a Christian thinks they can use worldly methods to be molded into what God wants them to be, then it will not be too long before they return to the useless lump of clay they were before they claimed to have been born again.  Furthermore, any true believer who has the Spirit of Truth living in him/her will not use worldly methods like mantras, contemplative prayer, labyrinth, trances, visualization or any of the many New Age methods employed by false religions for the simple reason that they are false.  We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) but that does not involve a disconnect of the mind (1 Cor. 14:15).  We are to meditate (Ps. 119:11) but not on our belly buttons or on nothingness but on the written Word.  God “forms” us by (1) giving us the indwelling Holy Spirit at the new birth who is then our Counselor and Teacher (1 Jn. 2:27) and (2) God does this through the study of His Word (2 Tim. 2:15), which contains the very voice of God through His prophets and Apostles, not to mention His Son!  We are to study to show ourselves approved, not employ human methodology and zeal to run after things that have been imported into the churches from the New Age.  The fact that so many Christian organizations have been taken in by the false teachers of the EC is amazing to me.  Have they not used the brains the Lord gave them to see that none of these pragmatic tools help a person spiritually in the least?

This is a partial list of ministries that are now promoting Spiritual Formation.

Alpha Course, Bible.org, Focus on the Family, Awana Clubs, Tyndale Seminary (Canada), CMA (Christian Management Association), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Reformed Church in America, Biola University, Bethel Seminary, Salvation Army, Dallas Theological Seminary, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Dallas Willard, Renovare, Redeemer Presbyterian of New York City (Tim Keller), Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven, Vanguard Church, Presbyterian Church USA, Upper Room Ministries, Zondervan Publishers, Simpson University (Redding, CA), Kairos School of Spiritual Formation, Intervarsity Press, Willow Creek, Youth Specialties, Abilene Christian University, Mennonite USA, George Fox University, Tervecca Nazarene University, Nazarene Theological Seminary … (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/spiritualformationlist.htm)

For a more complete list of christian colleges that now promote EC/Spiritual Formation, go here:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/Colleges.htm

For a list of Christian publishers promoting EC/Spiritual Formation, go here:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/publishers.htm

For a list of EC/Spiritual Formation organizations by Richard Foster, go here:

http://www.renovare.org/

This “Journey Into Wholeness” course is taken from EC materials, clearly promoting “spiritual formation”. It is also using the 40-day motif of Rick Warren’s “purpose” books.  The fact is when you look closely at what is being taught it has little to do with the spirit and more to do with body and mind.  If we are to become mature in Christ, the Bible tells us that we must be formed into the image of Christ,

Ga 4:19  My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

The only way to be molded into the image of Christ is to allow the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who is our teacher, to teach us about God and about what He expects from us through the written Word.

1Jo 2:27  As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.
2 Tim. 3:16-17  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Following, in blue color, are the first set of teachings from this course.

JOURNEY INTO WHOLENESS
40 Days of Reflection & Growth
(http://www.trevecca.edu/spiritualformation/40days.Fall09)Week 1: Introduction 

WHOLENESS: Rather than our life being made up of a separate silo for our physical life, emotional life, intellectual life, relational life, and spiritual life—so that each area is separate from the others—we are whole people.  One aspect of our life is integrally related to the other.  Rather than our spiritual life being the center of a wheel and everything else being the spokes—so that if we just get our spiritual life together, then everything else will come along—our walk with God is the entire wheel.  Our walk with God IS our physical bodies, our emotions, our intellect, and our relationships! As we continue to make a journey together over the next 40 days, we will reflect in an honest and open way on our physical bodies, our emotions, our intellect, and our relationships.  We will explore aspects in each of these areas where we can grow and develop.  We will face our weaknesses and impediments in each of these areas honestly and openly.  We will dream and imagine of ways to “move on” beyond these weaknesses so that we can be whole, healthy, and growing people.  We will celebrate what it means for us to be made in God’s image in our entirety—body, emotions, intellect, and relationships.

It is noteworthy to notice that they start out talking about the spirit then jump into emphasis on the body, emotions, intellect and relationships.  All those aspects of humanity are encompassed by the body and soul.  They have left the spirit behind and are focusing the rest of the discussion on those two aspects without dealing with the spirit.  This is because they are coming from a perspective that there is only body and soul as opposed to what the Scripture teaches about humans: that they are tripartite beings (1 Thes. 5:23) created in the image of their Creator Who is a Triune being.

As to moving on beyond the weaknesses of human body and soul, you cannot do that by dreaming and imagining.  You can only do that when you realize that God is strong and you are weak, as Paul did.

2Co 12:9  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

But this is not what they are talking about.  This course is a way to somehow imagine your way to strength.  That is utter human folly.

Just to begin the thought processes…Can you think of a time or two in your journey, where one aspect of your life (your physical life, your emotions, your relationships, your intellect) began to affect other aspects of your life? Right now in your journey, which aspect of your life do you believe is the healthiest?  Which aspect do you believe is the weakest? Who is holding you accountable to make healthy choices in each aspect of your life? How have you seen God working in the various aspects of your life?

Week 2: Mind 

This week we reflect on the role that our mind has in our life and how we are nourishing our minds… Can you think of a time in your journey when you had one of those mental “a-ha” moments and came across a totally new way of thinking or even new information that you had not known before? How did you respond? When it comes to using your mind, how do you perceive yourself? Where did this self-perception of your mind come from? How does this self perception affect your ability to think and to learn? What occupies your mind and thought processes during most of the day? In a typical learning setting, do you tend to engage your mind or do you tend to put it more into “neutral”? Why? What do you consider to be the top two or three sources in your life for giving you ways to think? When you are seeking information, where do you tend to go first? When you are introduced to new thoughts or concepts, how do you tend to react? Are you receptive to new ideas? How do you evaluate and analyze those thoughts and concepts? In exercising your mind, what are the two greatest struggles you face? What are two strengths? How do you see the interrelationship between your mind and your physical life? Your emotions? Your relationships? How does your walk with God affect your mind and thought processes? How does your mind and thought processes affect your walk with God?

What is entirely missing in this section dealing with the mind is the most important thing Christians must do to “nourish” their minds: the study of God’s word.

Ps 119:11  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

If you are not filling your mind with the written Word then you will not be able to discern truth from error, which is the Biblical mark of a mature Christian.

Ro 12:2  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Heb 5:14  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Simply exploring the questions above will not yield results that will help the mind.  It is simply an intellectual exercise that would tend to make a person self-absorbed rather deny oneself and become more aware of God.

Lu 9:23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

In fact all this focus on self will cause a person to do the opposite of what God requires in following Him.  To know how God affects your mind and thought process you need to know about God and about His will for your life, and you will not find that out by doing mental and emotional exercises. It is a crying shame that they are teaching this stuff to “young minds full of mush” at Nazarene schools instead of what the Bible teaches.  This is more in line with psychology than Christian teaching.

Week 3: Body This week we reflect on the role that our physical body has in our life and how we are caring for our bodies…In taking care of your body, what are the two greatest struggles you face? What are two strengths? What does your daily diet look like? Are you aware of your calorie and fat intake? Do you attempt to eat foods that will provide healthy nourishment to your body? Why do you eat the way that you do? During a typical week, what type of exercise does your body get? What most often prohibits you from exercise and what can you do to overcome what prohibits you? On a regular basis, are you getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night? Can you think of examples where lack of sleep affected your mind, relationships, and emotions? What most often prohibits you from getting the sleep that your body needs in order to remain healthy? How do you handle stress? Do you have someone with whom you can talk to when you are dealing with significant stress? Do you spend at least 30 minutes a day engaging in something relaxing to your body and mind? Are there other practices in your life that affect your physical life in negative ways that you might begin to deal with? Do you monitor the health of your body by regular physical check-ups with a physician? How do you see the interrelationship between your physical body and your mind? Your emotions? Your relationships? How does your walk with God affect the way in which you care for your body? How does the health of your body affect your walk with God?

All good questions.  But how does the health of your body improve your walk with God, as opposed to your being sick, for instance?  God allowed Paul to be sick in order to remind Him often that Paul was only strong in the Lord, not because of physical health.  If we rely on our physical health it may cause us to be caught up in the pride of life instead of fully relying on the Lord.

1Jo 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

We are to be in the world but not of the world.  The pride of life is of the world.  Our boast must be in the Lord, not in our physical well or ill being.

Ga 6:14  May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which {Or whom} the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Jer 9:23-24  This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.

It was because of an illness that God left Paul with the Galatians for a longer time in order that Paul would be able to effectively preach the Gospel to them.

Ga 4:13  As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.

It is a good thing to take care of the body God created for us.  But we must always remember that there are more important things, like serving the Lord in sickness and in health, ultimately laying up treasure in heaven.  If I lack physical strength and wellness, will I not even more heavily rely on the Lord for my strength?

Week 4: Relationships This week we reflect on the role that our relationships have on our life and how we are caring for those relationships…In taking care of your relationships, what are the two greatest struggles you face?  What are two areas of relational strength? Are there relationships that need to be initiated, reconciled, or renewed? How do you know if your relationships are healthy? How healthy are your relationships with your family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, roommates, etc.? During a typical week, how much time are you investing in others? What ways are you investing in others? What most often prohibits you from being fully available to others? Are there any relationships in which you have become judgmental, exclusive or proud? What steps can you take towards resolving those issues? Do you have a relationship in which you are held accountable to the way you live your life? Are you able to be truly vulnerable and authentic with this person? In what ways do you practice hospitality towards others? How approachable are you by those that know you? How approachable are you by those who don’t know you? What qualities do you expect in a good friend? Do you possess these qualities? How do you see the interrelationship between your relationships and your mind? Your emotions? Your body? How does your walk with God affect the way in which you care for others?  How does the health of your relationships affect your walk with God?

All these questions are good ones and would help a person think about being less self-centered and more in tune with others.  However, in asking these questions the person is led to turn inward for the answers instead of asking the Holy Spirit for the answers in God’s Word.  A person can spend so much time psychoanalyzing themselves that they become inward focused and even if they have a desire to interact with others they are now spending all their time trying to figure out why they are not interacting with others, and it becomes a viscous cycle.  Better to ask God Who He wants you to witness to and disciple and then go do it.  That is the Biblical way, circumventing all this need for psycho babble.

Also, the main emphasis in this “relationships” section is on human  relationships and God is left out of the picture.  Should we not focus our lives on walking with God first, then loving our brother?

Lu 10:27  He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; {Deut. 6:5} and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” {Lev. 19:18}

If we look to ourselves first for the answers instead of to God, then we have it all backwards.  It is only from God through His Word that we can then learn to deny ourselves and effectively reach others for Christ.  You will notice that witness of the Gospel is completely left out of this course, which should be our first obligation.

Mr 16:15  He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Any “spiritual formation” that leaves out the Gospel will form nothing of eternal value. 

          Week 5: Walk with God

We also recognize that the intentional time we spend with God both personally and corporately is the “glue” which holds all of the various aspects of our life together. The disciplines that we practice become pathways in which God’s grace flows into our lives enabling us to become more and more Christ-like. This week we reflect on the role that spiritual disciplines have on our life and how we are nurturing our relationship with God.. How is your relationship with God? What are you basing this perception on.  During a typical week, how much time are you intentionally investing into your relationship with God? What most often prohibits you from being fully available to God? What spiritual disciplines (i.e. prayer, reading scripture, corporate worship, etc.) are you currently practicing? What are the fruit of these disciplines? Are there disciplines that you are not currently practicing that you want to start incorporating into your life? How can you begin to do that? Are there disciplines which you are not attracted to (i.e. fasting, silence, solitude, etc.), but might need in your life? Are you open to putting these into practice? How? What kind of accountability will you need in order to hold to these disciplines? Is there a person or a group that could provide this for you? Are you holding others accountable? How do you see the interrelationship between your walk with God and your mind? Your emotions? Your body? How does your walk with God affect the way you live?  How does the way you live affect your walk with God?

Now they finally get to something about relationship with God.  This should have come before anything else, yet is it relegated to point 5.  There is an obvious push to accept and practice what they are calling “spiritual disciplines”, lumping them together with true spiritual activities such as prayer, Bible study, worship, etc.  The new ones they want the student to add are things like “fasting, silence and solitude”.  Fasting is something Christians can do but is it not a command of Scripture nor is  it on a par Biblically with prayer, Bible study and corporate worship.  Silence and solitude are not even mentioned as spiritual disciplines in the Bible.  Jesus went to the wilderness in solitude but He did so to pray.  We can “be still” (Ps. 46:10) and know the He is God in order to listen to Him and see His mighty works if we are silencing the Lord by our words and activities, but this does not mean we are to empty our minds. Again we see no mention of the spirit here but only of the body and soul.  The whole focus of this section is to get the student to accept that fasting, silence and solitude are something they must do in order to be spiritual formed and they are encouraged to come under accountability to do it.  Is this not Pharisaical to the max?  Is this not adding the same kind of spiritual requirements to have a relationship with God that the Catholic Church has done for centuries?  This is no different than adding requirements such as baptismal regeneration, circumcision, prayers to Mary, sacraments, and other requirements to either be saved or grow in the Faith.  This type of legalism is called an abomination by Paul.

Week 6: EmotionsThis week we reflect on the role that our emotions have on our life and how we are staying emotionally healthy…How in touch are you with your emotions? Are you emotionally healthy? What are you basing this self-diagnosis on? What in your life gives you joy?  What is discouraging you? When your emotions get out of control, how do you respond (e.g. suppress, express, mask with an addiction, etc.)? Are you carrying emotional baggage from your past which still hinders you from living life to the fullest? What is it? How can you begin to let it go? Are you concerned about the emotional health of others? Is there a relationship in which you are causing emotional damage? How can you begin to restore this relationship? Do you have someone with whom you can talk to when you are under emotional duress? Do you spend at least 30 minutes a day engaging in something which relaxes you? Are there other things in your life that affect your emotions in negative ways that you might begin to deal with? Do you monitor the health of your emotions through regular appointments with a counselor? How do you see the interrelationship between your emotions and your mind? Your body? Your relationships? How does your walk with God affect you emotionally?  How do your emotions affect your walk with God?

What a stupid question!  “How in touch are you with your emotions”?  You can only be out of touch with your emotions if you are physically dead.  Otherwise your emotions are part of you makeup.  A better question would be “How much do you allow God to be in control of your emotions”?   The language in this section clearly shows that it is taken directly out of a psychology book.  If you are under emotional stress, those “30 minutes a day” should be spent in prayer and in Bible study if you want to solve that problem.  Taking a vacation from stress is only a temporary solution, such as relaxation, drugs, etc.  In claiming to promote a Godly solution to emotional problem, they not only use worldly methods but they are actually suggesting another temporary fix.  Who says that a person needs to “monitor they health of their emotions through regular appointments with a counselor”?  This sounds like an advertisement.  Should our emotions effect our relationship with God?  No.  Why not say that if your emotions are adversely affecting your relationship with God then you need to get your heart right with Him by asking the Lord to give you wisdom through His Word?  Why not tell them to read 1 & 2 Corinthians where Paul struggles with this subject?

The bottom line is that this EC type of questionnaire gets the student to look within themselves for the answer instead of to the written Word.  This can only lead to more confusion and will certainly not lead to spiritual formation.


What about the Nazarene Denomination? Coming from a Nazarene background what is your response to the article? Are we teaching the lie?

Knowing Christ Jesus in the Gospel

The Invincible Gospel and the Modern Evangelical lie

By Richard M. Bennett

By far the most dramatic episode in my life was the accident I had in 1972 in Port of Spain. I fell down the steps of the home of a family that I knew, and I fell in such a way as to damage my spine. I was unconscious and close to death for three days in the hospital. When I did regain consciousness, I was in great pain. A neurologist explained the cause of the pain to me one month later while I was recuperating in a nursing home. He told me that I had damaged some sections of my spine, thereby disturbing the whole me-tabolism of my nervous system. Three months later, I was released from the nursing home. It was at this point in my life that I began to really search in the Scriptures for the message of salvation.

I boasted at the time that I was not conscious of any mortal sin in my life, yet, had I died on that eventful day, I did not have any assurance that I would have been with the Lord. While I had always been quite devout in all my religious exercises, I had no distinct peace with God. The next fourteen years I spent searching the Scriptures to understand how man is made right with God. I compared Catholic teaching to the Scriptures and I listened to some famous Evangelists on both short-wave radio and medium wave radio sta-tions. I sent to England and the United States for some of tracts by Evangelists. This aspect of my search was quite frustrating. What I found in many radio messages and pamphlets was quite similar to what I al-ready knew in the Catholic Church. I read the Bible, however, in a personal way each day in search for an answer to the question: how is one right before the all Holy God? I made some quite interesting discoveries that I want share with you. They came as a great surprise to me because what I found in the Scriptures, I nei-ther heard on the radio nor found in the Evangelistic tracts. The tracts, for the most part, told me the amount of dedication or commitment I needed in order to make a decision for Christ. In a similar way, the evangel-ists on the radio told me about dedication and “how to accept Jesus into my heart”.

Wrestling for the answer

After an agonizing search of many years, I discovered that the first thing that must be understood biblically about the Gospel is that it is “concerning Jesus Christ our Lord.”1 While the Gospel is proclaimed to all, it is not about us or about anything that happens in us. It concerns what Jesus Christ did and His death and resurrectio

I found out also that the Gospel is an historic fact. Biblical faith is not concerned with recommending techniques, whether mystical or ethical. Rather, the Bible proclaims the fact that God has, in concrete his-torical fact, saved all His people from destruction. The Gospel “by which ye are saved”2 is regarding the fin-ished and complete work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The God before whom we are saved

What seemed to be totally missing from modern Evangelical circles was “the knowledge of the Holy”. The Bible defines knowledge as the awareness of All Holy One, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.”3 “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”4

How could I begin to see that I even needed to be put right with God until I asked the question, “who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy.”5 I saw that unless one under-

1 Romans 1:3

2 I Corinthians 15:1-4

3 Proverbs 9:10

4 I John 1:5 ness.

stands something of God’s holiness, there is no reason to desire the perfect righteousness of Christ in salva-tion. One verse in particular really challenged my heart to continue to seek, “who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”6 God can no more stop being holy than He can cease to be! As His Word proclaims, “the LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works”7 and “Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne.”8 Con-sider for a moment this essential character of God—for unless we come to terms with God as holy, we can never have any peace with Him, and our religion is meaningless.

5 Revelation 15:4

6 Exodus 15:11

7 Psalm 145:17

8 Psalm 97:2

9 Romans 4:5-8, II Corinthians 5:19-21, Romans 3:21-28, Titus 3:5-7, Ephesians 1:7, I Corinthians 1:30-31, Romans 5:17-19

10 Romans 5:18

11 I spent much time also studying Ephesians, Philippians and Isaiah 53.

12 Romans 3:21

13 Romans 3:22 There are several passages in which faithfulness of the Lord is mentioned. In each case, the name of Jesus Christ is in the genitive case indicating that faithfulness is a character quality that He possesses. Galatians 2:16 is an example of this us-age, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith[fulness] of Jesus Christ.” Knowing that the law must be fulfilled for God to declare a person righteous, the faithfulness of Christ must be also understood as applying specifically to this context.

14 Isaiah 61:10

The finale of my years of searching

After fourteen years of searching, I discovered that right standing is God’s gift to the believer, which is cred-ited to him based on Christ’s finished work on the Cross.9 I saw that right standing is God’s righteous judg-ment of the believer, declaring him both guiltless in regard to sin, and righteous in regard to his moral stand-ing in Christ before the Holy God. This judgment by God is legally possible because of Christ’s vicarious perfect life and sacrifice. Right standing is first and foremost God’s legal judgment of the believer, in the words of the Apostle, “therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto right standing of life.”10 How I un-derstood this truth was especially in studying the chapter three of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.11

Right standing is in Christ’s faithfulness

The Apostle Paul loudly proclaims, “but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.”12 Righteousness of God is that perfect faithfulness to the law of God in heart and life, which the holiness of God requires. This, the Apostle enthusiastically announces, is now established—for Christ’s faithfulness is revealed! Before God’s all holy nature, sin had to be punished and true righteousness established. This has been accomplished in the faithful obedience of the Lord Christ Jesus to live perfectly under the law, which includes His perfect sacrifice on the cross. The Apostle contin-ues, “even the righteousness of God which is by [the] faith[fulness] Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe.”13 The great news is that this absolute faithfulness of Christ Jesus under the Law now rests upon the believer. He actually possesses it, wearing it as a robe, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD…for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteous14

Authorized identification between Christ and His people

Romans 3:21-22 is showing in legal terms how exactly the true believer is identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. God has provided Christ’s righteousness to sinners who believe. Thus, when one understands that

24

15 Ephesians 2:8-9

16 John 1:16

17 Romans 3:10-11

18 Ephesians 2:1

19 Romans 3:23

20 Vatican II Documents No. 64, Gaudium et Spes, 7 Dec 1965 in Documents of Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Do-cuments, Austin P. Flannery, Ed. New Revised Edition, 2 Vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975, 1984) Vol. I, Sec. 14, p. 915 All Vatican Council II documents are taken from this source unless otherwise stated.

21 http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/atma.htm 02/12/2

the faithfulness of Christ is vicariously applied to the sinner by a one time gracious act of God alone15, he realizes that Christ satisfied the law on his behalf. The Scriptures teach that Christ was, in a strict and exact sense, the representative Substitute for His people. By divine appointment and of His own free will, Christ assumed all His peoples’ liabilities, and bestowed on them all of His perfection. In the wonderful words of the Apostle John, “of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.”16

The Basis for the Gospel

The huge difficulty for me, and for so many “good Catholics”, was to accept the premise that Paul had al-ready laid out—“There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.”17 According to my human nature and all that I had been taught, I saw myself as a fairly good person, and therefore a candidate for salvation. Paul, however, started with a totally different premise, as he made clear in his letter to the Ephesians, “you who were dead in trespasses and sins.”18 In the present passage, he summarized it by saying, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”19 I struggled for many years to reach the position whereby I could accept before the All Holy God that I was spiritually dead and capable of doing nothing to merit right standing. A big part of my difficulty was the teaching of Vatican Council II, which was popular at the same time that I was searching the Scriptures. The Council taught that man was simply incapacitated or wounded by sin, and that one could decide one’s own destiny in the sight of God. Vatican Council II states,

“. . . Nevertheless man has been wounded by sin. He finds by experience that his body is in revolt. His very dignity therefore requires that he should glorify God in his body, and not allow it to serve the evil inclinations of his heart. . . . When he is drawn to think about his real self he turns to those deep recesses of his being where God who probes the heart awaits him, and where he himself de-cides his own destiny in the sight of God.”20

The Council has here built upon the idea that there is within the human heart an essential goodness, which, in turn, gives one the capacity to make a dignified decision regarding one’s own destiny. This really appealed to me; but it also worried me that such teaching was quite like Hinduism. I had written a paper on Hinduism in my final year of philosophy, and knew what the Hindu pundits in Trinidad taught, (and what Hinduism still teaches), “The intrinsic and real nature of all beings is their soul, which is goodness. All is in perfect balance. There are changes, and they may appear evil, but there is no intrinsic evil. Aum.”21 I had come to realice that the Hindu idea of intrinsic ability within the human heart, like the traditional good works to make ourselves holy and righteous, leads only to more and more in personal pride. How could I break out of the deadly goodness-pride circle? I fell back gain on the straight word of Scripture for my guide. By the grace of God, I saw that I was worse than “dead in the water”. I was, as the Apostle expressed it, “dead in tres-passes and sins.” It was only from studying the Scripture that I could get past the false teaching of Vatican Council II and Hinduism. When by God’s grace I came to accept the truth of the Scripture—that there was no essential goodness in me and therefore I could decide nothing regarding my own destiny—I was free from my bondage to a lie, which in the beginning I had, as a sinner, loved. This is of utmost importance because God only saves sinners!

25

22 Romans 3:24

23 Ephesians 2:7-9

24 Daniel 9:24

25 Colossians 2:10

26 Jonah 2:9

27 The concept in Christ (in the Beloved, in Him, in Whom etc.) occurs eighteen times in Ephesians Ch 1 and 2.

28 Romans 3:28

29 Philippians 3:8-9

The Inquiry and the Solution

I still needed to know how could I have peace and assurance before God. How could I personally have the righteousness of Christ? The answer was in the passage, as the Apostle continued, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”22 Here, the matter of right standing is explained. The moving cause of right standing is the free grace of God. Grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God. The design of God is highlighted by the adverb “freely”. This excludes all consideration of anything in or from man that should be the cause or condition of right standing. The highest expression of the loving kind-ness of God is grace. Grace freely given denotes the very nature of God. Therefore, the Scripture insists, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness toward us, through Jesus Christ. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”23 Salvation, then, issues forth from the sheer goodness of God!

The meritorious cause of justification is the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. Such redemption pre-supposes a former state of captivity to sin, “dead in trespasses and sins”, mentioned above. It is through Christ’s payment alone that the believer is justified. The vitalizing message I eventually heard and received was that Christ Jesus had indeed purchased “everlasting righteousness”24 and that I was “complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power.”25

Biblical right standing, therefore, is perfect and a finished work of God, “salvation is of the Lord.”26 Right standing is God’s work alone. It reveals His righteousness and the fact that He alone saves. Once God has justified any person, He views that person “in Christ”,27 for God, having forgiven the sinner, reckons to his account Christ’s righteousness. Thus, right standing is by faith alone “without the deeds of the law.”28

In the Lord Jesus, the believer has a righteousness without spot or blemish, perfect and all glorious. It is a righteousness that has not only covered all that individual’s sins, but also satisfied every requirement of the law’s precepts. It is not a transfusion of Christ’s righteousness unto those who are to be justified so that they could thereby be inherently righteous. Rather, it is a divine and legal right to eternal life and the title to an everlasting inheritance. The believer can claim with the assurance of the Apostle to “be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith[fulness] of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”29

Questions

What has been presented here might appear quite new. One might easily ask if this understanding of the Gospel is something that has been just recently discovered. Then the reader will remember that I began the whole topic of the Gospel by explaining that I had listened to many evangelists on the radio and had read their pamphlets and tracts. By implication, therefore, I have said that modern Evangelicals do not teach what I have laid out. Two things must be considered. First, is the Gospel is something recently discovered, and second, why is it that modern Evangelicals present a Gospel message that is quite different?

26

30 Jeremiah 23:6

31 John 17: 6

32 Ephesians 1:4

33 Isaiah 53:10-11

34 John 6:39

35 Psalm 89:34

36 Psalm 111:5

37 Luke 1:72,“and show faithful love to our ancestors, and so keep in mind his holy covenant.”

38 This is fully documented in Evangelicalism Divided by Iain Murray (Banner of Truth Trust, 2000).

The Gospel message from Eternity

The Gospel message is not something new. It has been known in the New Testament for the last two thou-sand years. It was known to the early church and is found through all of Christian history. It was lost centu-ries ago in Catholic and the Orthodox churches, for the most part, with a few notable exceptions. The Gos-pel itself is presented and was known to the believers in the Old Testament. Many of the most beautiful ex-pressions of Christ’s righteousness resting on the believer are, in fact, from the Old Testament. “This is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord Our Righteousness.”30

Most encouraging, however, is the fact that the Gospel predated even the existence of the world. The Gospel was an agreement from eternity between the Father and the Son. “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,”31 is the way that the Lord Himself explained the accord in His prayer to the Father. The reference was to the Father’s choice of true believers before the creation of the world, “according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.”32

The Interchange between the Father and the Son

The believer is given to Christ by way of reward as explained in the Scripture, “when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”33 The believer was also given to Christ Jesus that He should take care of him, “and this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”34

The covenant made between the Father and the Son regarding the application of Christ’s redemption to those who are His own is not something that could ever be broken. In the words of the Father, my cove-nant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”35 The pact between Father and Son is the surety for the believer. The agreement of God from all eternity is the believer’s assurance. God’s verac-ity is eternally promised for the fulfillment of every iota of the grand charter between Father, and the Son. Therefore, not a promise can fail; not one chosen vessel of grace will be cast out. There can be no failure, for nothing is left to depend on the creature. As the Scripture declares, “He will ever be mindful of his cove-nant.”36 Here indeed is security. God will not change His mind, revoke His choice, or violate His pledge. Therefore, the believer can boldly affirm that there can be no failure in the divine design concerning his faith in Christ. The Father verifies His promise based on His most solemn oath.37

Evangelicals and the Gospel

Evangelicals, for the most part, have known and presented the Gospel since the time of the Reformation. In recent times, however, there has been a great falling away.38 What I had experienced about thirty years ago is even more prevalent today. Many modern Evangelicals give what they call “the Gospel” in such words as, “Accept Jesus into your heart.” “Give Jesus control of your life to be saved” and “Give your life to Jesus to be saved.” This is quite similar to Catholicism in so much as it looks for salvation in the human heart, and is

27

39 Revelation 3:20-21

40 Revelation 3:19

41 Mark 7:20-23

42 I John 5:11

43 II Corinthians 5:17

44 Ephesians 1:6, Colossians 2:10

45 Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:15-18, 6:23

brought about by man’s own decision. It is necessary, therefore, to examine these messages of modern Evangelicals.

“Accept Jesus into your heart”

It is unscriptural to think that salvation begins by Christ first coming into the sinful heart of a man. The dead and ungodly person can be made acceptable to God only as he is “in Christ”, as the New Testament makes so clear. According to the biblical concept, salvation is being made accepted in Christ. The whole theme of Ephesians chapters one and two is summarized by verse 6 of Chapter one, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Compared to this, the terminology “accept Jesus into your heart” is literally backward. It assumes that the human heart is a fitting place for Christ to dwell and it takes for granted that the human person initiates salvation. Often we will hear such as the following, “Accept Jesus into your heart, as He Himself asks you in His Word, ‘behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’”39 To misuse this text to imply that salvation does in fact begin in the human heart is a serious decep-tion. The invitation expressed in Revelation 3:20-21 comes after the Lord had given a list of disgusting and offensive sins committed in the church of Laodicea, and then warned them of His chastement and judgement. They were then commanded to repent, “I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”40 Fellow-ship with the Lord presupposes repentance and faith in the Lord. So to misuse the text by totally ignoring this vital groundwork of repentance and faith in the Lord, is soul damning.

A person’s only hope lies outside of himself, and in Christ Jesus by His worth and power. Christ Je-sus Himself proclaimed the spiritual deadness and wickedness of the human heart. He said, “that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blas-phemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.’”41 In the Scripture, salvation is seen consistently to be in Christ. In all of the letters of the Apostle Paul, salvation is always ex-pressed as being in Christ. In a similar way in the Apostle John’s writing, eternal life is in Christ, “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”42 Salvation is given as individuals are made acceptable in Christ before the All Holy God, “therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new crea-ture: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”43 Until one realizes the condition of man’s heart as being spiritually dead before the All Holy God, one will never properly appreciate God’s grace and the security that comes with being, “accepted in the Beloved” and “complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”44 The all Holy Lord Christ Jesus stands not waiting on any man, He commands all men everywhere to repent and believe on Him.

“Give your life to Jesus to be saved.”

This teaching is error for two reasons. First, man in his natural condition is “dead in trespasses and sin”. Sin is what separates a man from God. Only God Himself can bestow forgiveness and eternal life. Eternal life is a gift.45 A person does not give anything for a gift. God gives this gift to a person when He places that person in Christ Jesus. With the gift of salvation also comes the gift of faith to believe that this is what

28 29

46 See also John 5:24-25.

47 Galatians 1:4

48 Acts 5:31

49 John 6 29

50 Luke 18:13

51 Romans 10:13

52 Psalm 51:17

53 I Peter 1:18-19

God has done.46 Second, such phrases as “give your life to Jesus” wrongly presume that a person has some-thing worthy of God to give. Spiritually dead people cannot give anything that will save them from their sins. Because man is dead in sin, Christ Jesus gave His life for the sins of His people, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Fa-ther.”47 There is no Bible verse that says or teaches that a lost, spiritually dead person gives anything, not even his life, in order to be saved.

When a lost person is taught to “give his life to Jesus” to be saved, he may think that he has to give his service, time, works, money, etc., to be saved. This may lead the lost person into a “works gospel”, which can never save. Being right with God is not some sort of a “trade-in” by which a person gives some-thing to Jesus to be saved. A person is saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and nothing else. Repentance is also a God-given change of mind that comes as a consequence of the work of the Holy Spirit and not a human “trade-in” item; “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”48

There are other humanistic ways, too, in which modern Evangelists give a so-called gospel. The two examples given here are just cases in point to illustrate the wholesale departure from the true Gospel that is taking place in the modern world.

The Right Attitude to the Gospel

The Gospel is so serious that Christ Jesus called it “the work of God”, showing that it is necessary to believe on Him alone. His own words imply both commandment to believe, and the grace to do it, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”49 How one is to come to God as a sinner is made abun-dantly clear in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. The man who cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner,”50 went back to his house justified. For true assurance and peace with God, stand on the Lord’s promises, “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”51 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”52

There is only One who can furnish right standing and peace with God. Repent of all else and rest on the faithfulness of Christ Jesus alone, “forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”53 ♦

Richard Bennett of “Berean Beacon” WebPage: http://www.bereanbeacon.org

Permission is given by the author to copy this article if it is done in its entirety without any changes.

Trading Truth for Solidarity - Part 4Deeds, Creeds, and Mother Teresa’s DespairBy Berit Kjos – August 2007Background information: Church Youth Trained for UNESCO’s Culture of PeaceSkip down to Dom Bede Griffiths Part 1Part 2Part 3 Emphasis added belowHome

”We all belong to the same family. Hindus, Muslims and all peoples are our brothers and sisters. They too are the children of God.”[1, p.35]  Mother Teresa, Words to Love By

“We are supposed to preach without preaching, not by words, but by our example, by our actions.”[1, p.72] Mother Teresa

“The first Reformation… was about creeds; this one’s going to be about our deeds. The first one divided the church; this time it will unify the church.”[2] Rick Warren

“What do I labor for? If there be no God — there can be no soul — if there is no Soul then Jesus — You also are not true.”[3] One of Teresa’s many agonizing prayers.


It seems so good! Who could question such sacrificial love? From the world’s perspective, few have deserved the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize more than Mother Teresa. Ministering to the “poorest of the poor,” she and her “sisters” — the devoted Missionaries of Charity — renounced all Western comforts to give themselves fully to the poor, sick and dying.

Yet Mother Teresa’s amazing ministry brings a sobering warning, for it illustrates the Church’s growing tolerance — even appreciation — for interfaith compromise. Her compassionate pluralism fits both the “emerging church” movement and the UN vision for spiritual oneness. In fact, her work provides a perfect model for UNESCO’s 1994 Declaration on the Role of Religion. Compare its standards with today’s drive for deeds rather than creeds:

  • “We must… cultivate a spirituality which manifests itself in action…”
  • “Religions must be a source of helpful energy.”
  • “We will favor peace by countering the tendencies of individuals and communities to assume or even to teach that they are inherently superior to others.”
  • “We will promote dialogue and harmony between and within religions….
  • “…listen to the cries of the victims….
  • We call upon the different religious and cultural traditions to join hands… and to cooperate with us.”[4]

The true Gospel clashes with this world system. That’s why Chinese and Burmese Christians are persecuted for their faith. That’s why Pakistani and Indian converts may reap torture or death — never a Nobel Peace Price — for their loving service to the poor! We are fast approaching a time when caring Christian missions will be equated with “intolerance” and “hate.”

A new ecumenical project to create a “common code for religious conversions” would speed this transformation. The World Evangelical Alliance, the Vatican, and the World Council of Churches have joined together to establish a code of conduct that would “ease tensions with Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups that fear losing adherents….” Some participating leaders call for “dialogical evangelism.” They want “preachers… to be told that no religion has a monopoly on the truth… there are many ways to find salvation.”  What’s more, it should “establish what all the partners agree needs to be banned when it comes to Christian mission.”[5]

Would obedience to such a code pacify Hindu and Muslim radicals? Would it end the persecution of faithful Christians? Not unless these collaborating church leaders could muzzle missionaries, modify the gospel, and follow Mother Teresa’s guidelines:

“We never try to convert those who receive [our aid] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied.”[6]

Good Deeds

Unlike evangelism, humanitarian service (good deeds without Christian creeds) is welcome everywhere. “Christians, Muslims, Hindus, believers and nonbelievers have the opportunity with us to do works of love,” wrote Mother Teresa in Words to Love By. Thus “Hindus become better Hindus….” [1, p. 359]

Mother Teresa was born in Yugoslavia in 1910. At eighteen, she joined the Loreto nuns in Ireland. A year later she was sent to India for her novitiate. For the next two decades, she taught at a Catholic school in Calcutta. Then, “I heard the call to give up all,” she wrote, “and to follow him into the slums and to serve among the poorest of the poor.” The introduction to her book, Words to Love By, describes the start of her selfless ministry:  

“In 1952 she came across an abandoned woman, dying in the street and being consumed by rats and ants. She picked the woman up and took her to a hospital, but the hospital couldn’t help…. A health official took her to a building located next to a temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Intended as a hostel for pilgrims visiting the temple, the building was not being used. He offered her the use of it….

“Over the years she expanded her work enormously to minister to almost every type of suffering she encountered—providing shelter and finding homes for orphans, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, running family-planning clinics and mobile dispensaries, and caring for thousands of lepers. She founded the Missionaries of Charity which now has more than 3000 members working in 52 countries….

“She goes barefoot whenever possible and sleeps on the floor of an open dormitory with other sisters and novices. She eats lightly and uses only cold water from a pump. Like all Missionaries of Charity she owns only two white cotton saris and washes her own laundry and dishes….  ‘No money that is given to the poor,’ she explains, ‘should be wasted on our electricity.’”

“‘Do what you do with a happy heart,’ she admonishes. The dying man in the gutter is Jesus in distressing disguise. ‘Whenever you meet Jesus, smile at him.'”[1]

Universal Creeds

 In 1978, Mother Teresa wrote a letter to Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai. It included this strange reference to an interfaith deity:

“Are you not afraid of God? You call him Ishwar, some call him Allah, some simply God, but we all have to acknowledge that it is He who made us for greater things: to love and to be loved. Who are we to prevent our people from finding this God who has made them — who loves them — to whom they have to return?”[7]

Did Teresa really believe that Ishwar — a Hindu term for a universal “God” (includes Brahman, Shiva, bloodthirsty Kali, Divine Mother…) — could be linked to our holy God? Was Allah simply another name for our Lord to her?

One of Mother Teresa’s biographers, Kathryn Spink, mentioned an ashram established “on the banks of the sacred Cauvery River” by Dom Bede Griffiths, a close friend of C. S. Lewis. In its temple…

“Christian worship was expressed in forms and symbols meaningful to the Indian culture and potentially enriching to Christianity itself. The ashram had become a centre of prayer and meditation to many who sought the universal and eternal truth at the heart of all religions. Mother Teresa sometimes sent her sisters there for brief retreats.”[7]

It’s not surprising that Teresa would recommend such a retreat. Her writings are full of unbiblical references to universalism, pantheism, monism, and salvation by human effort rather than through the cross:

“There is only one God and He is God to all… everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim…. I have never found a problem with people from different religions praying together.”[8]

“God is not separate from the Church as He is everywhere and in everything and we are all His children — Hindu, Muslim, or Christians.”[8]

“Death is nothing but a continuation of life….

Every religion has got eternity — another life…. If it was properly explained that death was nothing but going home to God, then there would be no fear. … We live… so that they may go home according to what is written in the book, be it written according to Hindu, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Catholic, or Protestant or any other belief.”[9]

Another biographer, Naveen Chawla, asked her bluntly, “Do you convert?”

“Of course I convert,” she replied. “I convert you to be a better Hindu or a better Muslim or a better Protestant. Once you’ve found God, it’s up to you to decide how to worship him.”[10]

That’s not what Jesus taught us. He said,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” John 14:6

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:9-10

But Mother Teresa apparently didn’t see Jesus as the only “door” to God’s Kingdom. Nor did she acknowledge the need for the cross or the gospel. Their own religions were adequate. Human efforts could do the rest:

“We ask those who are about to die in the Home for the Dying if they want a blessing by which their sins will be forgiven and they will see God [Ishwar]. If they say yes, we give them the blessing. We help them all die in peace with God. And everybody knows that we give them a ticket for St. Peter.”[1, p.70]

Dark night of the soul

In December of 1979, Mother Teresa traveled to Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. A recent Time Magazine article compares her joyful acceptance speech with her inner darkness:

“…she suggested that the upcoming Christmas holiday should remind the world ‘that radiating joy is real’ because Christ is everywhere — ‘Christ in our hearts, Christ in the poor we meet, Christ in the smile we give and in the smile that we receive.’

“Yet less than three months earlier, in a letter to a spiritual confidant… she wrote with weary familiarity of a different Christ, an absent one. ‘…the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see. Listen and do not hear…'”[3]

This disturbing contrast was exposed through a book titled Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. It consists of letters between Teresa and her many confessors. As the editor indicated, she felt no presence of God whatsoever, “neither in her heart or in the eucharist.” Time magazine explains,

“That absence seems to have started at almost precisely the time she began tending the poor and dying in Calcutta, and — except for a five-week break in 1959 — never abated. Although perpetually cheery in public, the Teresa of the letters lived in a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain…. She compares the experience to hell and at one point says it has driven her to doubt the existence of heaven and even of God.

“She is acutely aware of the discrepancy between her inner state and her public demeanor. ‘The smile,’ she writes, is ‘a mask’ or ‘a cloak that covers everything.‘ Similarly, she wonders whether she is engaged in verbal deception. ‘I spoke as if my very heart was in love with God — tender, personal love,’ she remarks to an adviser. ‘If you were [there], you would have said, ‘What hypocrisy.'”[3]

While her ministry grew, “Teresa progressed from confessor to confessor the way some patients move through their psychoanalysts.” One of her confessors encouraged her to explore her despair by addressing Jesus in prayer. So she wrote:

“Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me? … I call, I cling, I want and there is no One to answer…. Where is my Faith… there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness… I have no Faith. I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart & make me suffer untold agony.

“So many unanswered questions live within me. [I am] afraid to uncover them because of the blasphemy. If there be God — please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven — there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives…. I am told God loves me — and yet the reality of darkness & coldness & emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”[3]

The 26-year-old Teresa had heard “God” back in 1946. “Come,” he supposedly said during a train ride from Calcutta to a Catholic retreat in the Himalayan foothills. “Carry Me into the holes of the poor. Come be My light.”

She had visions. She conversed with Christ on the Cross. And one of her early confessors assured her that these “mystical experiences were genuine.” Soon after that, she started her ministry to the poor, and “Jesus took himself away….”[3]  

“Why did Teresa’s communication with Jesus… evaporate so suddenly?” asks Time. One of it’s hollow answers comes from the atheist Christopher Hitchens. He simply denied the reality of God.

Could Teresa’s heart-breaking message be the tragic result of total surrender and service to a forbidden “god?” Remember, our Biblical God allows no pluralistic compromise. As the first commandment tells us, “You shall have no other gods….” Exodus 20:3.

From beginning to end, the Bible shows us the consequences of believing the world’s deceptive deities:

“… their gods shall be a snare to you.”  Judges 2:3

“….these men have set up their idols in their hearts…. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?” Ezekiel 14:3

“…you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hand. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.”  Judges 10:12-14

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders…. because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11

God calls us to love and surrender to Him alone. Then, by His life in us, we can serve each other — giving Him all the credit! Such service includes sharing the gospel, for without God’s saving Word there can’t be lasting fruit.

SO SEND I YOU to take to souls in bondage
the Word of Truth that sets the captives free,
to break the bonds of sin, to loose death’s fetters,
So send I you to bring the lost to me.

SO SEND I YOU My strength to know in weakness,
My joy in grief, My perfect peace in pain,
To prove My power, My Grace, My promised presence,
So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.[11]


See also The Indigenous Peoples Movement | Heresy in high places

Outside link: Religious Indifferentism


Endnotes:

1. Mother Teresa, Words to Live By (Ave Maria Press, 1983).

2. Ken Camp, “Second Reformation’ will unify church, Warren tells Dallas GDOP,” 2005. www.pastors.com/article.asp?ArtID=8280

3. David Van Biema, “Mother Teresa’s Crisis of Faith,” Time, September 3, 2007. www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1655415,00.html

4. UNESCO’s 1994 Declaration on the Role of Religion… in a Culture of Peace at www.crossroad.to/Quotes/globalism/declaration-on-religion.htm

5. “Christian code of conduct on religious conversion wins broader backing,” WWC, 8-15-07www.oikoumene.org/en/news/news-management/all-news-english/display-single-english-news/article/1637/christian-code-of-conduct.html

6. Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations, and Prayers, pp. 81-82

7. Kathryn Spink, Mother Teresa: A Complete Authorized Biography ( Harper/Collins, 1997); pages 154, 155-156.

8. Mother Teresa: A Simple Path (Ballantine Books, 1995). Compiled by Lucinda Yardey; pages 31-32, 59, xix.   
9. Desmond Doig, Mother Teresa: Her people and Her Work (Fount Paperbacks, 1978, pages 140-141.

10. “Mother Teresa touched other faiths,” Associated Press, Sept. 7, 1997. http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/rickwarren-judgenot.html

11. See “So send I you” at http://www.crossroad.to/Victory/poems/so-send.htm


Home | Articles | Victor

God’s purpose is substituted by man’s success

The Adulation of Man in The Purpose Driven Life

By Richard Bennett

website

Degrading the nature of God to the level of a doting person who craves for a relationship with sinful mankind is part of what one finds in Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life movement. Reading the Bible is displaced by the advice to “gather a small group of friends and form a Purpose-Driven Life Reading Group to review these chapters on a weekly basis.”1 “The last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study.”2 Most serious of all, in place of the Gospel, Warren merely formulates a whispered prayer and urges one to find one’s “true self.” What is appearing before our eyes is that through this movement, Warren is opening up another access point to perdition—about which the Lord Jesus Christ clearly spoke. He said, in distinction to Himself who is the strait gate, that “wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.”3 As pastors and Christian workers, we must show empathy and concern for the countless thousands of people who have been taken up in this movement; and in the power, precision, and light of the true Gospel of the Lord Christ Jesus, we must expose a widespread, humanistic movement that is afflicting many souls.

Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life “is more than a bestseller, it’s become a movement.”4 In the words of the author himself, his megachurch program is a:

“Revival awakening or miracle…Over 12,000 churches from all 50 states and 19 countries have now participated in 40 Days of Purpose. Many of these churches have reported that it was the most transforming event in their congregation’s history.”5

For example, at this time registration of churches is taking place for the November 2009 Australian 40 Days of Purpose national campaign. Church registration closed on July 31, 2009,6 because each campaign is highly organized and meant to draw together under a plan of tightening control by the Warren group, churches that enlist in the campaign. This November 2009 campaign follows the August 2009 campaign scheduled to start in early August and run through early September.

Warren is also the founder of Pastors.com. This is a global, Internet community that serves to mentor pastors. Thus, hundreds of thousands of pastors worldwide subscribe to “Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox.” For example, he states,

“As pastors, we’re good at ministering to those in need. But there are also times when we need support. In this issue, we’ll look at the importance of building friendships with other pastors who understand what you’re going through. One way to start is by checking out the

1 The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002) p 307

2 The Purpose Driven Life, p. 231

3 Matthew 7:13

4 Bruce Ryskamp, president of Zondervan http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/s03110083.htm as posted on 10/22/04

5 http://www.purposedrivenlife.com/thebook.aspx This link was available in 2004 before a commitment had to be made.

6 http://www.purposedriven.com.au/pd_40dop_Overview.asp 4/8/2009

new Pastors.com – a place to hang out with ministry leaders, start your own blog, see other people’s postings, join groups, and more.”7

7 http://www.pastors.com/blogs/ministrytoolbox/pages/issue-379.aspx 5/28/2009

8 http://www.pastors.com/aboutus/ This link was in 2004 before a commitment had to be made

9 http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/?id=74&artid=3099&expand This link was in 2004 before a commitment had to be made

10 http://www.forbes.com/2003/09/17/cz_lk_0917megachurch.html 10/22/04

11 Philippians 2:11

On this Webpage Warren stated,

“Our Purpose is to encourage pastors, ministers, and church leaders with tools and resources for growing healthy churches…. Every resource you purchase helps provide free resources to the over 1.5 million pastors and lay pastors in third world countries. God has allowed us through your support to reach over 117 different countries on all 7 continents.”8

The movement is becoming a global empire. Warren asserted,

“God is a global God…Much of [the] world already thinks globally. The largest media and business conglomerates are all multi-national…Get a globe or map and pray for nations by name. The Bible says, ‘If you ask me, I will give you the nations; all the people on earth will be yours.’”9

Yet Warren has overlooked the fact that this promise in Psalm 2 was made uniquely to Christ Jesus, and not to pastors and churches. However, even the corporate world is commenting on Warren’s business prowess. The well-known business magazine, Forbes, on its website carried the headline, “Christian Capitalism Megachurches, Megabusinesses.” It stated,

“Maybe churches aren’t so different from corporations…Pastor Rick Warren, who founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., in 1980, has deftly used technology as well as marketing to spread his message…. No doubt, churches have learned some valuable lessons from corporations. Now maybe they can teach businesses a thing or two. Companies would certainly appreciate having the armies of nonpaid, loyal volunteers.”10

The “empire of influence” of which Warren boasts is attested to by thousands of pastors and Christian leaders around the world. At least eighteen million copies of his book have been sold since its release in September 2002. It is now selling in many translations. Literally thousands of churches have used the book and the materials that accompany it during special campaigns called “40 Days of Purpose.” The book is divided into forty chapters purporting to explain in 40 days the five purposes of one’s life. The premise or principal idea of the book is found on p. 136,

“He [God] created the church to meet your five deepest needs: a purpose to live for, people to live with, principles to live by, a profession to live out, and power to live on. There is no other place on earth where you can find all five of these benefits in one place.”

This is a fabrication. God created the church in the words of Scripture “that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”11 It is Christ Jesus’ righteousness alone that God will accept as a propitiation for man’s sin and his sin nature. This primary need of man is constantly shown in the Bible, but Warren does not even mention this foundational truth in his list of “deepest needs.” Warren’s quick switch from God’s purpose to man’s methods falls under the first temptation ever recorded in the Bible. Satan offered to Eve the forbidden fruit as the way of achieving a spiritual purpose, “in the day ye eat thereof, then

2

12 Genesis 3:5

13 Catechism, Para. 181 Emphasis not in original.

14 Romans 3:19

15 Ephesians 2:3

16 Luke 18:8

17 Genesis 4:12-14

your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”12 Warren teaches that God “created the church to meet your five deepest needs” just as the Roman Catholic Church says, “The Church is the mother of all believers.”13 Warren, like Papal Rome, has switched from obedience to the Word and Person of the Living God to teaching and instituting submission to a church to achieve one’s needs. It is the oldest and cleverest temptation known to man.

Warren Exchanges the Gospel of Christ for a Lie

The Apostle Paul showed the need for the Gospel by the fact that the whole world is guilty before God; he declared, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”14 All are “by nature children of wrath.”15 Guilt before God shows the need for the Gospel and, as such, is the basis for the Gospel. Conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit drives the sinner to truly trust on Christ Jesus alone, as demonstrated in the parable told by the Lord when the publican cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”16 With Warren, this conviction of guilt by the Holy Spirit is replaced by a psychological condition of “unconsciously punishing of oneself.” Thus he states,

“Many people are driven by guilt…. Guilt-driven people are manipulated by memories. They allow their past to control their future. They often unconsciously punish themselves by sabotaging their own success. When Cain sinned, his guilt disconnected him from God’s presence, and God said, ‘You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.’ That describes most people today—wandering through life without a purpose.” (pp. 27-28)

Cain never showed any conviction of guilt, only a regret of his punishment.17 Rather than sin being shown to be an evil of infinite significance because it is committed against the infinite Holy God, Warren’s pop psychology defines sin as acts of people “sabotaging their own success.” He continues,

“God won’t ask about your religious background or doctrinal views. The only thing that will matter is, did you accept what Jesus did for you and did you learn to love and trust him?” (p. 34)

“If you learn to love and trust God’s Son, Jesus, you will be invited to spend the rest of eternity with him. On the other hand, if you reject his love, forgiveness, and salvation, you will spend eternity apart from God forever.” (p. 37)

Biblically speaking, it is absolute folly to tell an un-convicted sinner merely to “learn to love and trust God’s Son, Jesus, in order to spend eternity with Him.” The Bible does not base an invitation into heaven on the requirement that sinners first learn to love and trust Jesus. Rather, the Bible teaches that no one can be saved without recognition of his own sin personally against Holy God, and without repenting from that sin. So, while it is true that it is important to learn to love and trust Jesus, this love and trust is impossible unless the Holy Spirit has convicted a person that he is a depraved sinner without any hope of doing anything for his salvation.

3

18 John 1:13

19 Romans 9:15-16

The Fraudulent Message Persists

Warren’s deceitful message gets worse as he proceeds in the book. He assures his readers,

“Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. The Bible promises, ‘To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.’ Will you accept God’s offer?” (p.58)

What Warren has neglected in his teaching of John 1:12 is in the following verse, verse thirteen. Verse 13 explains how a person is born again: “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Warren has completely ignored the fact that to receive and believe is not of the will of man, but of God. It is the grace of God alone that makes a person willing to believe, because the heart is changed by God’s power alone. Leaving out this essential point alters the focus from God to man. Such a change of focus from God to man is lethal to salvation because there is no power within man to change himself. This grace must come from God alone. If, however, Warren were to teach his readers to look to God for His grace alone, he would not have a worldwide, ready-made message that is marketable and profit making. But Warren has deemed it profitable to leave out “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”18 By deleting this essential factor of the Gospel, he is in fact able to teach as doctrinal truth the very thing that this verse of Scripture absolutely rules out! For Warren, “Real life begins by committing yourself… .” In Scripture, real life begins by the will of God, which is shown in His love and grace. The Lord proclaims in His Word, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”19 Eternal life is bestowed on a person not because he begins by committing himself, or by attempting to learn to love and trust Jesus, but because God gives salvation out of His mercy and grace. Such is the written purpose of God. Warren’s written purpose is just the opposite. Warren advances in his counterfeit message. He writes,

“First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.

“Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: ‘Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.’ Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!” (p. 58-59).

According to Warren’s teaching, it is this prayer that one whispers that changes a person for eternity. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, Warren says, “Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you.” With one broad sweeping, sweet lie he attempts to wipe out all the teaching of the prophets of the Old Testament, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Apostles of the New Testament. Consistently, the Bible teaches God’s abhorrence of sin and a person’s need of repentance. Warren merely gives a whispered prayer in place of the Gospel. It is difficult to envisage a greater insult to the Lord Jesus Christ, whose perfect life and perfect sacrifice are the basis of genuine salvation. Before

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20 Romans 3:24

21 Matthew 23:13

22 Galatians 1:8

23 Ephesians 2:1

24 Atman and Brahman as explained on http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/GLOSSARY/BRAHMAN.HTM

God granted mercy and forgiveness, sin had to be punished and true righteousness established. God’s holiness demanded the perfect life and perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus to satisfy His wrath against sin. But for Warren, as we have seen, guilt over one’s sin is said to be “sabotaging [your own] success.” The whole concept of sin having to be punished and true righteousness being established, is totally missing from Warren. This omission makes it possible to delete the concept of grace as the means of obtaining that perfect righteousness. According to Warren’s imaginary salvation, one need only, “Bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity.” In Scripture, salvation is God’s action based on Christ’s finished work on the cross that is credited to the true believer, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”20 God’s direct action shows His grace so that our eyes are fixed on Him in faith.

Understanding Warren’s counterfeit message, and outrageously presumptuous “welcome to the family of God,” fits as an example under the words of the Lord Jesus, “woe unto you…for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men.”21 Warren exchanges the Gospel for a lie. He deletes repentance and inserts a whispered prayer, which insults the meaning and application of redemption. This replacement of Warren’s purpose for God’s purpose has dreadful consequences. As the Apostle Paul warned, “though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”22 Christ Jesus the Lord and His Gospel cannot be insulted with impun

Self-worth in the Adulation of Man

Basic to Warren’s program is the strong appeal of promised, instantaneous results in the enhancement of one’s self-worth. What is completely ignored is the solemn fact that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, “dead in trespasses and sins.”23 Man’s only hope is outside of himself and in Christ Jesus alone. Although Warren states that the book is “not about you” (p. 17), the main focus is persistently on building up one’s “self-worth.” He continually appeals to the reader’s self-interests. The following are some examples,

“The way you see your life shapes your life. How you define life determines your destiny” (p. 41).

“You are a bundle of incredible abilities, an amazing creation of God. Part of the church’s responsibility is to identify and release your abilities for serving God” (p. 242).

“The best use of your life is to serve God out of your shape. To do this you must discover your shape, learn to accept and enjoy it, and then develop it to its fullest potential” (p. 249).

This equates exactly with Hinduism in its teaching, “By understanding your true Self, by coming to know one’s own undying soul, one then arrives at the knowledge of Brahman itself…”24 While his teaching is comparable with Hinduism, Warren’s teaching is more aligned with the psychology of Carl Jung. Discovering one’s “power of the inner voice” or one’s fullest potential is what Jung taught. Jung wrote, “Only the man who can consciously assent to the power of the

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25 The Development of Personality Collected Works 17 as quoted on: http://www.sacredsandwich.com/warren_jung_chart.htm 11/18/04 We recommend this webpage for a detailed explanation of how Warren’s teaching is like Carl Jung’s.

26 Vatican 11 Documents Gaudium et Spes, 7 Dec. 1965, in Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, Editor (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Co, 1975) Vol. I, Sec. 14, p. 915

27 Jeremiah 17:9

28 Jeremiah 17:5

29 http://sozluk.sourtimes.org/show.asp?t=ill+never+break+your+heart 11/16/04

inner voice becomes a personality.”25 What is more serious is that Warren’s teaching has the same basic premise as Roman Catholicism. The Vatican’s official foundational starting point is man himself. Rome states,

“When he [man] is drawn to think about his real self he turns to those deep recesses of his being where God who probes the heart awaits him, and where he himself decides his own destiny in the sight of God.”26

Warren’s statement, “…you must discover your shape, learn to accept and enjoy it, and then develop it to its fullest potential” is the same basic theory, not only of the Church of Rome and of Hinduism as we have already seen, but also Islam and Buddhism. All of these false religions have their foundational point the basic goodness of mankind. Warren summarizes this basic foundation in the following words,

“If you are that important to God, and he considers you valuable enough to keep with him for eternity, what greater significance could you have?” (p. 63)

The Scriptures, however, depict no such value (or goodness) within man. Rather the Holy Spirit teaches that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?”27 “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.”28

The craze of finding your “true self” and one’s “true worth” were the hallmarks of the 1960 hippy culture. Now in Rick Warren’ glorification of man, these hallmarks are popularized across the world in a debased form of Christianity.

Human Worth Given as the Purpose of Christ’s Sacrifice

Warren teaches this same glorification of man in many different ways.

“You only bring him [God] enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God’s wisdom and sovereignty in creating you” (p. 75).

“When you are sleeping, God gazes at you with love, because you were his idea. He loves you as if you were the only person on earth.” (p. 75)

But Warren does not stop here with his adulation of man. The height of his glorification of man is found in the statement that makes the personal worth of the reader the purpose of Christ’s death on the cross. In doing so, “self-worth” is pushed to the point not only of perverting the Gospel but also of insulting the Lord Himself. Warren states,

“If you want to know how much you matter to God, look at Christ with his arms outstretched on the cross, saying, ‘I love you this much! I’d rather die than live without you’.” (p. 79)

These words “I’d rather die than live without you” are part of a lyric of The Backsteet Boys.29 These words, put into the mouth of the Lord Christ Jesus by Warren, are utter blasphemy. Christ Jesus, the God-man, does not have a love that is dependant on man. If he had such a dependancy, He would not be God. To teach such a deficient love of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Warren has, is both an insult and irreverence. It exalts sinful man to a position of controlling and

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30 Revelation 13:6

31 Romans 3:26

32 Ephesians 2:8-9

33 James 1:18

34 Philippians 2:13

35 Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…

36 Ps. 110:3 “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power…

37 John 5:25

fulfilling the imagined needs of the eternal Son of God. Such an imagination is profanity, the same as that recorded in Scripture, “He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name.”30 In Scripture, Christ’s love and sacrifice were to demonstrate that God is, in the words of Scripture, “just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”31 Nevertheless, Warren’s teaching attempts to make the adulation of man the centerpiece of God’s purpose.

In Scripture, the focus of God’s purpose was the demonstration of His justice and holiness in the Person and sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Sinful man was included in this great manifestation of the righteousness of God as a recipient by grace of the redemption paid. Warren’s grandiose glorification of sinful man to the extent that Christ Jesus would rather die than to live without him totally reverses the biblical message that God does all for His own glory. All is of Him and from Him and, therefore, all is to Him and for Him. He made all creation according to His will and for His praise. The Lord God Almighty’s purpose exposes the ridicule, vainglory, and even blasphemy of Rick Warren.

Fallen man is depraved in every part of his nature and being, and it is not within his power to undo his depravity, to save or rescue himself. To try to aggrandize fallen man, as Warren does, is futile because there is no moral salvation in man’s worth. A person’s only hope lies outside of himself in Divine worth and power. Human nature, as such, is dead in trespasses and sins. Water, under its own power and without aid of any kind, cannot flow uphill, nor can the natural man under his own power, with or without aid of any kind, act contrary to his corrupt nature. All human beings are destitute of the principles and powers of spiritual life. They are cut off from God, the Fountain of life. They are spiritually dead, even as a condemned criminal waiting execution is said to be a dead man. If the principle of self-worth and the ability to choose Christ were true, the conclusion would inevitably follow that those who used their ability to choose Christ could lawfully boast of their active participation in their salvation. But the truth is that faith itself is God’s gift, “for by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”32 Until one realizes his personal condition of being spiritually dead before the All Holy God, one will never properly appreciate God’s grace. Salvation begins not in self-worth and self-movement but by divine power. Scripture is utterly clear on this matter: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”33 “For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”34 God gives life to the spiritually dead will of man, not by “offering” His grace, but by “giving” His grace. When chosen by God unto salvation,35 the power of the Holy Spirit overcomes the pride of the natural man, so that one is ready to come to Christ to receive life. 36 In the Lord’s own words, “the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”37 As the Lord also explained, “It is written in the prophets, and they shall be all

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38 John 6:45

39 Romans 5:21

40 Romans 3:10

41 http://www.saddleback.com/flash/s_PDFs/ChicagoTribuneLivingwithpurpose42504.pdf 11/13/04

42 http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/?ID=71 This link was in 2004 before a commitment had to be made

43 See our article on The Mystic Plague on our WebPage: http://www.bereanbeacon.org

taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes unto me.”38

“Self-salvation” promoted on the basis of human worth and dignity is ingrained in human nature. It is found in all man-made religions. It is pivotal to the message of Warren’s book and movement. Warren’s teachings deny the biblical truth that man is totally depraved. Subsequently, whether he knows it or not, he denies the absolute necessity of God’s grace. The relationship between spiritual death and grace is graphically given in Scripture, “that as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”39 Without emphasizing the total depravity of those to whom the Gospel is given, the Gospel will remain a dead letter. In leaving out the biblical truth that “there is none righteous, no, not one”40 and substituting for it the self-worth of man, Warren’s arrogance has reached such a level that one must ask, “Is there no fear of God in his eyes?”

Involvement with the Catholic Church

Since Warren’s policy is to implement church growth without respect to biblical doctrine, it is no wonder that Catholic churches, Mormon churches, and women preachers are now enthusiastically joining in the Warren church growth program.41 Besides this, Warren endorses Catholic mystics. He quotes from Catholic mystic Brother Lawrence, endorsing his Catholic contemplative prayer techniques, which he says are “helpful ideas.” Brother Lawrence was not only traditionally Roman Catholic, but he also disseminated teachings that have similarities with Hinduism in the Bhagavad-Gita, and with many New Age writers. Warren endorses him and goes on later to recommend “breath prayers.” He teaches,

“Many Christians use ‘Breath Prayers’ throughout their day. You choose a brief sentence, or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath: ‘You are with me.’ ‘I receive your grace.’ ‘I’m depending on you.’ ‘I want to know you.’ ‘I belong to you.’”42

For centuries, Catholic mystics have practiced “breath prayers” such as these. They are simply the Catholic form of old Greek mysticism and are akin to the mantras of Hindus. In his book, Warren approvingly cites the well known Catholic mystic Madame Guyon (p. 193). He also approves of St. John of the Cross (p. 108), and the Catholic priest, mystic, psychologist, and ecumenist, Henri Nouwen (pp. 269- 270). He warmly agrees with Mother Teresa (pp. 125, 231). Warren thus propagates these Catholic mystics and their hazardous techniques. Yet biblical truth remains: there is no experiential consciousness of the Lord God possible apart from the Person, unique life, and sacrifice of Christ Jesus.43 Warren, however, presents a deceitful, mystical agenda, which the world loves and accepts, but which is an abomination before the Lord God.

Conclusion and Consequences

The “40 Days of Purpose” campaign, i.e., of purpose and community, is distinct from other movements that have arisen in recent times. Warren asks pastors to devote their church and their people to an intensive forty days of reprogramming their understanding of God, Christ, and how

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44 Acts 20:28

45 Hebrews 8:20-21

one becomes a Christian. He promises at the end of forty days that the church will be transformed. Through his book and the agenda laid out, he teaches for forty days on nearly every aspect of church life. This type of interference in the running of a local church opens the way for an insidious takeover of that church. In Scripture, the function of local pastors is to teach and be watchmen and guardians of the flock the Lord has given to each of them. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.”44 For local pastors and elders to hand over their position before the Lord to another, who will for seven weeks teach his own doctrinal messages based on a multitude of flawed paraphrases of Scripture, is utterly unbiblical. It is their duty to keep out all such debased ideas that would infiltrate every important area of the church life.

The true Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. That is where we solidly stand and what we solidly proclaim. “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”45 ♦

Nazarene Denomination News

GOOD NEWS: 75% of Evangelical Member Denominations DON’T Sign NAE’s Pro-Amnesty Document

BAD NEWS: NAZARENE DENOMINATION SIGNS

By Roy Beck, Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 4:40 PM EST – posted on NumbersUSA

Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) attempt to claim overwhelming evangelical Christian support for his pending amnesty legislation has crumbled. His master plan was to use the staff and leadership of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) to give the impression of near unanimity.

But now it turns out that 75% of the NAE’s member denomination will not sign up for the pro-amnesty crusade.

NAE & SEN. SCHUMER TRIED TO CREATE IMAGE OF SOLID EVANGELICAL AMNESTY SUPPORT

Early this month, the NAE tried its best to help Schumer in its Senate testimony and press releases to give the appearance of evangelical unanimity.

But after the members in the pews erupted, only 11 of the 42 NAE member denominations have been willing to sign on to endorse the NAE resolution that the NAE president presented in support of Schumer’s “comprehensive immigration reform” agenda.

The NAE’s plunge into the amnesty debate stirred an immediate torrent of phone calls, faxes, emails and letters to the NAE member denominations. Many of the denominations have already posted disavowals on their websites, stating that they did not sign on to the NAE immigration document that was presented to the U.S. Senate by the NAE president, and that they have no intention of getting involved in the political amnesty debate.

However, some of the signers of the NAE document have come out swinging in defense of their actions.

HERE ARE THE SIGNERS OF THE PRO-AMNESTY ENDORSEMENT

According to the NAE website, the signers of the document are these:

In addition, there is the:

  • Brethren in Christ Church – Phone: 717-697-2634 — Fax: 717-697-7714 — Email: bic@bic-church.org

While not showing up as a signer, the Brethren’s website proudly trumpets the denomination as voting for the pro-amnesty document.  Like the websites of several of the signers, it erroneously says the NAE denominations were unanimous in support.

I don’t know when 25% became unanimous!

Please feel free to contact all of the above churches to ask them why they believe that the illegal aliens holding 7 million U.S. jobs have more right to those incomes than the 7 million mostly less-educated Americans (disproportionately Black and Hispanic Americans) who unsuccessfully are seeking jobs in those same occupations.

  • According to leaders of those denominations who have posted defenses of their actions on their websites, the Bible’s commands to be welcoming and loving toward sojourners/aliens/foreigners/strangers is a requirement to provide U.S. citizenship to those illegal aliens who have not committed violent crimes and are willing to pay a fine.
  • According to the leaders of those 11 denominations, the United States continues to suffer labor shortages throughout its economy, causing foreign workers to illegally enter this country to keep our economy humming.
  • And they call for not only permanent work visas for the 7 million illegal foreign workers but also for great increases in the legal importation of foreign workers.

It is as if the leaders of these 11 denominations have not heard of the jobs depression that has swept the United States, or as if the people in their churches have been untouched by it. The federal U-6 Unemployment Rate is nearly 20% (people actively looking for jobs, discouraged workers who recently gave up looking, and people seeking full-time jobs who have had to settle for part-time work).

A BLOW TO SEN. SCHUMER’S MASTER PLAN

This business about what evangelical denominations are doing is far bigger than just a religion story.  This is about Sen. Schumer’s master plan to pass an amnesty.

When Sen. Schumer took over as Senate leader of the pro-amnesty movement from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, he made it clear he was going to do some things differently.

After all, Kennedy — after winning 7 amnesties from 1986 through 2000 — had failed every year from 2001 to 2009 to pass the amnesty he was seeking.

Schumer this summer made clear three ways he was going to be different and attempt to win on amnesty:

  • He would convince the public that he saw illegal immigration like they did — as a problem. He started calling the “undocumented workers” by the name of “illegal aliens.”
  • He would in some ways appear to want to be tougher for enforcement than most of us in the anti-amnesty groups. He started talking about a national bio-metric ID card.
  • And he began talking about bringing on an entirely new group of amnesty promoters as pro-amnesty partners —  evangelical Christians.

When I testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last summer, Schumer surprised me by using his time for questions talking about all the support he was getting from major evangelical leaders. He clearly has been putting a lot of hope in what the evangelicals could do for passing amnesty this time.

So, we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the NumbersUSA members who happen to be evangelical who have helped their denominations to avoid being used by Schumer for such destructive purposes.

HERE ARE NAE DENOMINATIONS WHO DID NOT SIGN PRO-AMNESTY DOCUMENT

Anglican Mission in America
Christ Community Church

Christian Union
Churches of Christ In Christian Union
Conservative Congregational Christian Conference

Conservative Lutheran Association
Converge Worldwide
Evangelical Assembly of Presbyterian Churches

Evangelical Congregational Church
Evangelical Friends Church International
Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Evangelical Free Church of America
Every Nation Churches
Fellowship of Evangelical Churches

Free Methodist Church of North America
General Association of General Baptist
Great Commission Churches

International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies
International Pentecostal Church of Christ
Open Bible Churches

Presbyterian Church in America
Primitive Methodist Church USA
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America

The Brethren Church
The Christian & Missionary Alliance
The Evangelical Church

The Salvation Army
Transformation Ministries
United Brethren in Christ

US Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches

For those of you who members of one of these denominations, we at NumbersUSA need a couple of things:

  • Please let us know if you see any sign of the denomination moving toward supporting amnesty.
  • Give your leaders a pat on the back but warn them that the NAE leaders are not doing them any favors in the PR department.

A DELIBERATE ATTEMPT TO DECEIVE?

A northeast radio host asked me today if the NAE president was just plain lying when he testified before the Senate. My answer was that the Rev. Leith Anderson didn’t lie but probably got caught up in the presence of political power and devised his answer to be as pleasing to Sen. Schumer as possible.

After Rev. Anderson introduced himself as representing 40 evangelical denominations, Sen. Schumer asked him how much support there was for the NAE call to turn most illegal aliens into U.S. citizens. Rev. Anderson gave the strong impression that the 40 denominations were unanimous when he answered: “We actually had a vote today on this resolution with leaders in the National Association of Evangelicals and there was no dissent . . . On the board, there are 75 who represent the heads of denominations.”

As it turns out, denominations that don’t like a resolution tend to not dissent but just abstain. NAE positions are never supported by all the denominations automatically but only by those that wish to sign.

I’m not sure if I were a member of the NAE I would think this is a good system — because the public is going to tend to think that any NAE document represents at least the majority of the denominations.

The NAE staff seemed really intent on helping Schumer with his plan, contributing to the image of evangelical unanimity with a press release to the nation’s media that began: “The Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), representing 40 denominations, scores of evangelical organizations and millions of American evangelicals, today approved a resolution calling for action on immigration reform.”

As a result of all that, major news organizations have been reporting that the “nation’s largest evangelical organization”  has “unanimously” approved the call to legalize the illegal population.

(I hope all of you will consider contacting any reporter or publication that spreads that untruth.  Remind them that 25% is not the definition of “unanimous.”)

EVANGELICAL CHURCHES THAT DON’T SUPPORT AMNESTY ARE NOT HARD-HEARTED

I see no evidence that the majority of denominations that don’t support Schumer and amnesty are any less humanitarian toward illegal aliens than the pro-amnesty denominations.

Most of them are quite explicit that they encourage their churches to be hospitable and charitable to needy illegal aliens.

In contradiction of the attack on American Christians implied in the NAE document, the vast majority of U.S. Christians oppose amnesty NOT because they are unwelcoming but because they recognize complex ethical problems.

Historically high levels of immigration (legal and illegal) are contributing to great economic injustice against our most vulnerable citizens (by flooding various labor occupations). And the numbers are driving massive U.S. population growth, making it impossible to create an environmentally sustainable America (with grave consequences for the rest of the world).

When reasonable people wrestle with those economic and environmental issues honestly, they either agree with groups like NumbersUSA that there is a moral imperative to reduce immigration, or they recognize that they must choose the “good” of humanitarian concern for foreign citizens wanting to enter this country over the “good” of caring for the most vulnerable parts of our own society (disproportionately Black and Hispanic Americans, and the plants and animals entrusted in our nation’s stewardship). But they have to acknowledge that there are trade offs.

I believe most American Christians agree with NumbersUSA that increasing foreign labor importation and giving permanent work permits to illegal aliens is working against jobless Americans, mainly Americans who are less-educated and seeking jobs in exactly the same occupations that are daily engorged by arrivals of mostly less-educated immigrants (legal and illegal).

Hard and unavoidable numbers are at the heart of the immigration issues — not whether U.S. Christians like or love immigrants.

Whenever Americans’ concerns about immigration veer into demonizing by word and deed the immigrants themselves, all of us are right in trying to correct that reaction.

Most of the denominations distancing themselves from the NAE position are clear that they will continue to provide pastoral and other help to illegal aliens but do not see a biblical mandate to make them U.S. citizens.

That is not the gospel according to Chuck Schumer, but it does reflect most American Christians’ understanding of what the Gospel requires of them.

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA.  He has a background of more than a decade of teaching Sunday school and 20 years of leading youth mission trips to help poor Americans with housing needs. A survey of NumbersUSA members found them proportionately spread throughout every denomination, every religious faith and the large category of Americans who have no religious affiliation.

An Open Letter Concerning
the Authority of Scriptures
by Scott MacDonald

Now includes a response and rebuttal

Rebuttal from: Jim Abram Bethany Church of the Nazarene Rumford, RI

Scott MacDonald:

To those saints who call themselves the Church of the Nazarene and to those called of God who also desire Christian holiness in theology and practice:

Let me preface this article by saying that I have many friends and acquaintances within the Church of the Nazarene denomination. I truly believe that numerous people in Nazarene pews have limited or no knowledge of this problem, and I hope that they will be as troubled as I was when I discovered this false teaching. I also hold that many leaders and pastors within the denomination have not sensed this as well. I seek not to condemn the denomination, but to call it to awareness. The Church of the Nazarene must confront this seed of heresy before it takes root in coming generations. This is of incredible importance. In all love, I ask and plead that you will hear my words for the sake of the purity of the Bride.

One day in February 2006, I was searching the internet for the Church of the Nazarene’s statement of belief. Along the way, I found this on the Southern Nazarene University’s website. This is a statement of what they desire to teach in their theology department.

The Christian Scriptures

(1) We introduce students to the Old and New Testaments.

(2) We try to lead them into a love for the Scriptures. Through our classes we present a comprehensive picture of the biblical narrative.

(3) We introduce students to the structure of the Bible so that they will not be lost in or discouraged by the Bible’s size and complexity.

(4) The doctrine of the Scriptures that the Church of the Nazarene embraces is our norm.

(5) We teach that the Old and New Testaments inerrantly reveal the will of God in all things necessary for our salvation. They are authoritative in all things that relate to faith and Christian practice.

(6) “Whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith” We pay attention to the diverse contexts in which the various writings of Scripture emerged, and to the unique ways in which individual writers bore witness to divine revelation.

(7) For us, the authority of the Scriptures is soteriological (salvation). The realm in which the Scriptures are authoritative concerns our salvation.

(8) Salvation, of course, includes both Christian faith and practice. Hence, where the Scriptures speak on matters of ethics–how the life of Christ is manifest in the Church and His disciples– they are authoritative. 1 (Line numbers added)

This paragraph astounded me for numerous reasons. In this article, I wish to logically analyze it using Scripture, history, and reason. Before I state my disagreements with it, I must say there are areas in which I overwhelmingly agree with it. First, I desire that all people would come to know and love the Scriptures (Lines 1-2). This whole article would be pointless if I disagreed. Second, it is essential in Biblical studies to be introduced to the framework of Scripture (Line 3). This aids young and old believers by helping them avoid troublesome context issues. Third, I agree that whatever is not contained in Scripture should not be considered as an article of faith. If we begin to include extraneous teachings into our statement of beliefs, we have returned to one of the Roman Catholic errors that we still protest. Now I will attempt to kindly address the areas in which I find myself to be in opposition.

In this fallen world, the church is under constant scrutiny and attack. Whether it is from societies, governments, or even so-called Christians; we, the “salt of earth,” must be firm and decisive on certain essential points of doctrine. If we are not, we must question whether we deserve to even bear the name of Christ. Why be called Christians when we contradict a basic part of the faith? I have known the Church of the Nazarene to be sound in the basics of Christianity; however, this came into question when I read, “We teach that the Old and New Testaments inerrantly reveal the will of God in all things necessary for our salvation. They are authoritative in all things that relate to faith and Christian practice.” I, too, believe in the plenary inspiration of Scriptures, and therefore, I must believe that God’s Word is inerrant in all things concerning our salvation. Though I agree with this statement, I still find it to be weak in nature. God’s Word is not limited to “inerrancy” only in salvation. If we honestly believe the following verses, we must maintain that Scripture (in its original texts) is veracious in every aspect.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASU)

2 Peter 1:20-21

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NASU)

God inspired the Scriptures entirely, and we must hold fast to the principle that God is perfect in all His works, in regards to anything. He did not even allow a man’s interpretation, will, or opinion to enter His Word. Jesus and the apostles were shown to be quoting Scripture on numerous occasions, each time as being authoritative. Why shouldn’t they quote Scriptures? They are perfect as its Author is perfect. Consider God’s goodness and perfection from His Word!

Matthew 5:48

Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”‘ (NASU)

Psalms 19:7-8

The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. (NASU)

James 1:17-18

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (NASU)

Deuteronomy 32:4

The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.” (NASU)

If we truly believe that God is perfect in His nature, we must contend that His works are unquestionably perfect. It is insane to suggest that the Perfect would do something imperfect. For this reason, we must conclude that God’s Word is the inerrant truth in every aspect. There can be no compromise or middle ground. This leaves the University’s statement in a weak and possibly troublesome position. This is not their fault entirely; the denomination has allowed this through the weakness of their own statement of beliefs. Examine the Church of the Nazarene’s statement for yourself.

These are the beliefs Nazarenes hold to be true. They are common to Christians world-wide:

We believe in one God-the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living.

We believe that man is born with a fallen nature, and is, therefore, inclined to evil, and that continually.

We believe that the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost.

We believe that the atonement through Jesus Christ is for the whole human race; and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin.

We believe that believers are to be sanctified wholly, subsequent to regeneration, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the new birth, and also to the entire sanctification of believers.

We believe that our Lord will return, the dead will be raised, and the final judgment will take place. 2 (Emphasis added)

By omission, both of these statements allow for gross misinterpretations. Holding to them, I could decide to believe that the Scriptures do not contain truth outside of faith and practice. As much as this statement makes Christian unity easy, we stand to lose much more if this error creeps into any church. In an issue this important, we must be specific in our beliefs in order dispel even the shadows and whispers of trouble.

This brings me to the heart of my disagreement; my concern lies in the text of lines 7-8.

For us, the authority of the Scriptures is soteriological (salvation). The realm in which the Scriptures are authoritative concerns our salvation. Salvation, of course, includes both Christian faith and practice. Hence, where the Scriptures speak on matters of ethics–how the life of Christ is manifest in the Church and His disciples– they are authoritative. 1

Again, I agree that the Scripture has authority in soteriology, but we cannot risk error by limiting statements to salvation alone. For when we leave the door open, the heresy creeps in. The error takes its form in this paragraph as the word “realm.” How can the Nazarene denomination claim to believe in the “plenary inspiration” of Scripture then say that it is only “authoritative” regarding the “realm” of salvation? This appears to be a glaring contradiction. Let us suppose for the sake of argument that God’s Holy Word revealed in the sixty-six books of the Bible is only authoritative concerning soteriological applications. I could never trust the historical aspects of Scripture. It would become easy for me to believe that the story of the creation was fiction. Did all those kings of Israel and Judah actually exist? Probably not. Why should I believe that the story of Ehud is authentic? It seems incredible and unlikely. Scientifically speaking, the Bible would be outdated at best, useless at worst.

If we believe that God is God, then God’s Word must be the perfect authority in every realm. The Bible is not a reflection of God’s truth (which some Presbyterians have been lured into) nor does it merely contain God’s truth (as many of the Pagans erroneously suggest). The Scripture was, is, and will always be the truth. What I am saying is not new! The fathers of the Church of the Nazarene agree entirely with my dissertation. Jacob Arminius, a pillar of the Wesleyan tradition predating John Wesley, said this in his book, Disputations.

Disputation 6 – On the Authority and Certainty of The Holy Scriptures

The authority of the word of God, which is comprised in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, lies both in the veracity of the whole narration, and of all the declarations, whether they be those about things past, about things present, or about those which are to come, and in the power of the commands and prohibitions, which are contained in the divine word. 3

At what point did people in the Nazarene denomination drift away from such sound doctrine? This makes a clear statement for the veracity of Scripture – in every aspect.

John Wesley crafted the Twenty-Five Articles of Religion (originally 1784, expanded 1804). This is the man the Church of the Nazarene proudly states as a great forefather of their faith. The Twenty-Five Articles of Religion contain numerous statements on basic Christianity. Let us see for ourselves what Wesley’s words say concerning Scripture!

V. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation

The Holy Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary for salvation… 4

This statement is in unison with the Church of the Nazarene’s basic statement of faith. I still stand firm in my position that this is a weak statement (though I find myself in agreement). However, John Wesley clarifies his position on this issue. In the following sermon, he is preaching against those men who twist and alter the Word of God for their own purposes. Along the way, he makes a solid declaration on what a good preacher should be. More importantly, Wesley quotes the same Scripture I did to back up His beliefs.

Sermon 136 – On Corrupting The Word Of God (2 Cor. 2:17)

…In the next place, they (Sound preachers) are as cautious of taking from, as of adding to, the word they preach. They dare no more, considering in whose sight they stand, say less, than [or] more, than He has assigned them. They must publish, as proper occasions offer, all that is contained in the oracles of God; whether smooth or otherwise, it matters nothing, since it is unquestionably true, and useful too: “For all Scripture is given by inspiration of God; and is profitable either for doctrine, or reproof, or correction, or instruction in righteousness,” — either to teach us what we are to believe or practise, or for conviction of error, reformation of vice. They know that there is nothing superfluous in it, relating either to faith or practice; and therefore they preach all parts of it, though those more frequently and particularly which are more particularly wanted where they are. 5 (Emphasis added)

Notice how Wesley makes it obvious that the Word of God is entirely true, for every part of it has to do with our faith and practice. Therefore, if we set this alongside his previous statement concerning Scripture, we see the reason for why the Bible contains “all things necessary to salvation.” It is because he firmly believes that all Scripture is veracious and relates to our salvation. In my eyes, I see Wesley as sound on this issue. However, this statement from the Southern Nazarene University does not seem to incorporate in its statement that all Scripture relates to our faith. Instead, it gives an impression just the opposite. This impression comes through fiercely in line 8 which reads, “Salvation, of course, includes both Christian faith and practice. Hence, where the Scriptures speak on matters of ethics–how the life of Christ is manifest in the Church and His disciples– they are authoritative.” See, this allows and teaches us to have a divisive view of Scriptures – that parts that don’t directly speak about ethics and faith somehow have a lesser level of validity. This is not the stand of Arminius, Wesley, or myself. Instead, we desire to have an entire view of Scriptures – where Scripture is inerrent in salvation because all of the Word is about salvation. Using this line of reasoning, if some person were to stand up and say that Abraham might not necessarily have been a real person, I would quickly object for they are depriving us of the truth of Abraham which most surely relates to soteriology. This can be said of every verse in the Bible. Consider this logic; since the Bible is entirely true for all of it relates to salvation, it is most certainly veracious concerning history, science, and any other realm.

As you have probably already deduced, I am not a member of the Church of the Nazarene. Do not discard this article for this reason, but examine it even more closely. Remember the ages past when Welsey and Whitfield worked together for the cause of Christ! It is in that spirit that I write this. I am not writing to tangle with a sideline debate, but instead I write to call for clarity on an essential doctrine. I can love and fellowship with Nazarene brothers and sisters, but not with any who would pervert the authority of Scriptures! I am deeply troubled by this, and I hope you are as well. I also will admit that this problem is by no means limited to your denomination. It is now becoming a popular idea as our faith is being battered by our humanistic Western society. Christianity is now becoming a religion based on how we feel and what we want. Many churches want peace at the price of purity and doctrine. This false teaching, limiting the Bible, is a step in the wrong direction. Eventually, the church will find itself in control of a religion of its own invention, and it will no longer be Christianity. In that day, those heretics will determine what is veracious; they will choose what suits their warped desires. May this never be – in any denomination, in any church!

I hope for the sake of the Church and especially your youth that you prayerfully consider the clarity of your doctrine. May I propose and offer the following statement, which is my own declaration logically based on the Word of God:

“Scripture, being found as eternally inerrent and inspired of God, is veracious and authoritative concerning every aspect of physical and spiritual existence. The Bible has been provided as our only completely truthful standard of theology, ethics, science, history, and every other realm into which its limitless grasp extends.”

For God’s Glory,

Scott MacDonald

[1] Southern Nazarene University, Theology Department. http://www.snu.edu

[2] The Church of the Nazarene, Statement of Beliefs. http://www.nazarene.org

[3] Disputations of Arminius, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc.

[4] Leith, John H., Creeds of the Churches, John Knox Press, Atlanta, Page 355.

[5] Sermons of John Wesley, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © by Biblesoft, Inc.

Written by Scott MacDonald and assigned to Lion Tracks Ministries. (c) 2006
Duplication permitted as long as the source is cited.

The following public response was given by a Nazarene pastor, in 2009, to Scott’s original open letter as published above. The paragraph immediately below, before his actual letter, was also forwarded to us as part of the response from pastor Jim Abrams. This paragraph was responding to the individual who brought Scott’s article to his attention.

I apologize in advance for any difficult wording which does more to confuse than clarify. As a pastor with one leg in the deep history of our church and the other in the contemporary congregation I do not agree with the following assessment “authority and reliability of scripture, is probably the crucial issue in our church today, and if we drift towards believing that the Bible is not infallible (is this a double negative?), we are in serious trouble.” I believe our denomination has been strategically placed by God and is ready to continue and advance his redemptive ministry in these difficult and changing times. I believe it would be detrimental for us to forfeit or compromise our position on the scriptures in favor of one like has been suggested by brother Scott.

Dear Scott,

Thank you for your deep concern for our denomination. We will appreciate any prayers you feel lead to offer on our behalf.

In the church of the Nazarene we hold to 16 foundational articles of faith hammered out in great debate after many years of prayer and deep thought. These 16 articles have served us well over the past 100 years of our denomination (most are not unique to us Nazarenes). They have provided us the ability to work hand in hand and heart to heart with fellow Christians around the world in a combined effort to be use of God to reach the lost, sanctify the believer and nurture the disciple in holiness. At the same time these articles have defined us in a way that is distinctively Wesleyan-holiness. Your letter circulated among some of our denomination chips away at one of our articles in an attempt to undermine our confidence in how we understand the role and function of the Scriptures. Whether that was your intent, I won’t say.

As Wesleyans we understand the primary purpose of the text is stereological [sic]. In that the first and primary question answered by the text is this, what must I do to be saved? We boldly state that the Scriptures are completely reliable in their ability to accomplish their purpose. This strikes at the heart of what we believe to be the purpose of the Scriptures. We believe that God breaths life (1Tim. 3:16) into His Story for the purpose of bringing us into right relationship with Him and others. The purpose of the text is to bring about holiness of heart and life. The Bible is given to us as divine revelation to create a holy people and incorporate them into a holy community, where we are equipped and sent out to participate in his redemptive mission to our world. You see, the lifelong pursuit of holiness is the essence of what it means to be a Nazarene. To this end we boldly state the Scriptures are sufficient and free of error.

We do not hold that the first and primary purpose of the text is to define the locus of ultimate authority. We know that Jesus Christ is Lord. All authority has been given to Him (Matt. 28:18), the living Word. He is Lord of the Scripture. We do not believe that the Bible is a divinely inspired science book. We do not believe that the Bible is God’s divinely inspired Art of War. We do not believe that the Bible is God’s divinely inspired song book, poetry book, cook book or history book. Yes, the bible uses science, war, song, poetry, history, sermon, food, humor, and a host of other disciplines to communicate His message, but they do not represent its purpose. Therefore, we have no need to overuse words like veracity, authority, and infallible, except when they apply to the purpose of the text. Our article about the Holy Scriptures helps us to stay focused and on point and helps guard us against participating in “foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” (2 Tim. 2:23).

What you perceive as a weakness is actually one of our greatest strengths. This article has served us well for generations and I have full confidence that it will continue to do so. You see, there is no need to be alarmed over the stability of our denomination so long as we continue to minister while grounded upon our 16 foundational articles of faith that have proven more than reliable over the life of our denomination and some others as well.

If there is a danger to be addressed here, and a cause for Nazarenes to be concerned, it lies in allowing a Calvinistic – fundamentalist approach to the scriptures to influence our reading of the Bible. For us to approach the text in the way you suggest will lead us to draw conclusions that are not consistent with our understanding of Scripture, tradition, reason or experience. It will impact how we understand important issues like: the role of women in ministry, how and why we do mission, our understanding of eternal security, how and why we pray and a host of other important subjects. For us to even come close to approaching the text the way you suggested will be a denial of our God given purpose and cause us to dishonor those who have spent their lives in faithful service to pass down to us our faithful heritage. In short, it would be sin.

I have chosen to frame my response in a way that states our Wesley-holiness position and not criticize the positions of others. I believe that in the great diversity of God’s creative design He is able to use and bless multiple Christian movements to His glory and for His purpose. I pray that God will bless you, Scott and your church as you faithfully follow him. In your studies, if you have the time, I suggest you look deeper into both Wesley and Arminius. As someone who has spent a few years studying their lives, impact, and theology, I believe with further learning you will find that the two do not readily support your claim.

In Christ,

Pastor Jim Abrams

Having received the letter above from the Nazarene pastor Jim Abrams, Scott wrote the following reponse and rebuttal (2009).

Dear Jim,

As a pastor blessed with more years of experience than I, I thank you for giving me the time for a response. I have not spoken on this issue of authority and inerrancy in a great while. This letter, written years ago, has suddenly been pushed to the forefront.

It is fitting to first respond with a refocusing on the Biblical text whenever we seek to speak rationally concerning its nature and authority. Let us recall the words of the psalmist.

Psalm 119:160 The sum of Thy word is truth, And every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting. (NASB)

Let me be succinct. I finished your letter, and I was disappointed by your response. Instead of seeking to engage my position and debate its Biblical and historical validity, you mostly gave your position and stated the unacceptable outcomes that would be attained by adhering to my “approach.”

You essentially professed that the authority of Scripture is only concerning salvation (faith and practice). Your primary argument in response was one of experience, and I will address that later. A core issue lies in your response that must not go unaddressed.

When we state that the Bible is not necessarily inerrant or authoritative historically while maintaining the same passage’s spiritual and soteriological validity, we near a dangerous fission. How can something simultaneously be soteriologically true yet historically flawed? This divide has philosophically existed and flourished for a while. Its inherent to post-Enlightenment German theology. Under their care, the history of the Bible was completely discounted, but occasionally, the spiritual value was still maintained.

Sir, the question simply is, “Is the Bible true?” And how do you believe that it is true? Is it only true in certain senses? Or will you concede that truth is necessarily comprehensive? I profess the inerrancy of the Scripture in all that it asserts, whether it be historical, soteriological, etc.

No doubt that you must concede the Bible’s historical, scientific, and spiritual authority is some cases. Let us utilize the example of John 9. Jesus miraculously heals a man who had been born blind. The ramifications are plentiful.

  1. This was a real historical event with Jesus, Pharisees, and a blind man. These are all temporally bound.
  2. This was an act of spiritual and soteriological worth. This act and the study of it ought to drive us to worship our Lord, Saviour, and Healer.
  3. This account is scientifically unusual to say the least. This text trumps all known medical practices.

If any aspect of the historical, scientific, or spiritual validity is removed from this text; it is not a miracle any longer. Indeed, you probably believe in miracles. But your statement allows for the dismissal of the Bible’s historical and scientific validity! The application of this dismissal is subjective. At least Liberalism and Existentialism are more consistent in that most, if not all, Biblical history is discarded as “true” myth.

So let me take this discussion one step further. You raised a question. “Where is the locus of authority?” Where is yours, Sir? Let’s reexamine a few of your statements.

“These 16 articles have served us well over the past 100 years of our denomination…”

“They (16 articles) have provided us the ability to work hand in hand and heart to heart with fellow Christians…”

“This article has served us well for generations…”

“…We continue to minister while grounded upon our 16 foundational articles of faith that have proven more than reliable over the life of our denomination…”

Sir, you have dismissed my arguments primarily for this sake. You attribute a soteriological authority to the text because of this: your heritage, your experience, your past. Indeed, all men are influenced by this. But how pragmatic is your approach to this discussion? You refuse my arguments because your approach has served you well? You also complain that,

“It will impact how we understand important issues like: the role of women in ministry, how and why we do mission, our understanding of eternal security, how and why we pray and a host of other important subjects.”

“For us to even come close to approaching the text the way you suggested will be a denial of our God given purpose and cause us to dishonor those who have spent their lives in faithful service to pass down to us our faithful heritage. In short, it would be sin.”

You cannot take my position for it would change your understanding! Indeed, it would. But that is the point, Sir. Will I refuse to reconsider an issue because what I have works and benefits my life? If that is the case, my locus of authority is planted in err. You said the locus of authority is Christ. Granted. He is the ultimate revelation of the Father, God incarnate. He unfortunately does not dwell with us at this time in corporeal form. Where do we look for authority? Not to a vicar on a throne, indeed we are not papists. As Protestants, we claim the Bible and hold it high. Of course, the Bible’s primary purpose is for salvation and edification. But to limit its authority and infallibility to simply that arena undermines the whole purpose. It is true in all it asserts. Since the text maintains that Methuselah died at 969 years old, I believe it. But by limiting the authority of Scripture to only salvation, that fact comes into question. Perhaps all those old stories were myths that God gave as helpful guides for our soteriological benefit. How far down this road can we go? Is there a historical Christ? Did he rise from the dead? Are the narratives just stories? See, when we assert Christ as Saviour, we maintain the Bible’s historical validity as well. Christ was a real person living in a real period of time, and that timing was absolutely crucial (Galatians 4:4). The historical accuracy of the Gospels is important.

Overall, this argument is Biblical and logical, and perhaps that is why your denomination’s affinity to this doctrine of merely soteriological authority is creating a fair deal of angst among your people.

Regardless of our disagreement, know that you and your denomination are in my prayers.

In Christ,

Scott MacDonald

Lighthouse Trails

This article needs to be read by all Nazarenes!

October 3rd, 2009 | Author: Free-Lance Writers

 by Phil Gray
Free-Lance Writer

“Training Today’s Leaders for Tomorrow’s Churches” is the motto for New Church Specialties, a Christian consulting organization that largely reaches Nazarenes. But New Church Specialties and the affiliated New Church University (where pastors and leaders are mentored and trained) are a conduit for the new spirituality, and their G12 Master’s Plan could potentially expose thousands of Nazarenes to contemplative spirituality and the emerging church.

While New Church Specialties does mentor and train leaders from various denominations, a 2008 Annual Ministry Report reveals that 62% of NCS’s 2008 income came from Nazarene churches with Salvation Army, Wesleyan, and other denominations covering the rest. The report says that NCS’s vision is “changing the way churches communicate,” and its mission is to “assist the starting and strengthening of churches worldwide.” But evidence shows that this changing and strengthening of churches is going to be done using, at least in part, contemplative/emerging authors.

New Church Specialties is offering to their followers books by New Age sympathizers Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, and Ken Blanchard for instruction and guidance. 1 Leonard Sweet, author of Quantum Spirituality, has worked on a number of occasions with Rick Warren to bring about what he refers to as a “new spirituality.” 2 A well-documented expose on Sweet’s beliefs can be found in Warren Smith’s new book, A “Wonderful” Deception. Smith shows that Sweet has been influenced by major New Age proponents such as Matthew Fox, David Spangler, and a number of others. One of the most, if not the most, outstanding figures for New Age spirituality, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, is said by Sweet to be “Twentieth-century Christianity’s major voice” (see p. 118, AWD). Such a misconception – de Chardin is perhaps the New Age’s “major voice” but certainly not true Christianity’s.

Ken Blanchard, also used by NCS, has been promoting and endorsing and writing forewords for New Age meditation authors for many years. From Deepak Chopra (7 Spiritual Laws of Success) to Gay Hendricks (The Corporate Mystic) to Anthony Robbins (Unlimited Power) to Jim Ballard (Mind Like Water), and others, Blanchard has been consistent in showing his affinity with New Age meditation teachers. All of these books just mentioned teach and/or promote eastern-style mysticism. In a book titled, What Would Buddha Do At Work?, Blanchard states in the foreword: “Buddha points to the path and invites us to begin our journey to enlightenment. I … invite you to begin your journey to enlightened work.” In 2007, Blanchard wrote the foreword to Jim Ballard’s book, Little Wave and Old Swell, a book in which the front cover says it is inspired by Paramahansa Yogananda, a Hindu guru (the book is kind of A Course in Miracles for children – god in all).3

The book New Church Specialties is using by Leonard Sweet, The Church in Emerging Culture, is a compilation of five authors including emerging church/futurist/mystic proponent Erwin McManus and atonement denier/emergent leader Brian McLaren. McManus has an interesting way of viewing Christianity. He states: “My goal is to destroy Christianity as a world religion and be a recatalyst for the movement of Jesus Christ” and “Some people are upset with me because it sounds like I’m anti-Christian. I think they might be right” (see link above for sources). He admits that his popular book, The Barbarian Way (a book that David Jeremiah advocates) has a core of mysticism in its foundation.4

A 2008 Lighthouse Trails article, “Is General Baptist Ministries Going Toward Contemplative?,” discusses New Church Specialties and its founder Larry McKain. Sadly, that article points out that Church of the Nazarene General Superintendent Dr. Jim Diehl endorses the work at NCS. Lighthouse Trails explains that when Ray Yungen’s book A Time of Departing first was released in 2002, Jim Diehl read that book and contacted Lighthouse Trails by phone to say he wholeheartedly agreed with its message. Other endorsements of NCS include an array of denominational leaders. 5

How is New Church Specialties going to be able to impact thousands of Nazarenes and other Christians? New Church Specialties has implemented a program that can potentially serve as a catalyst to bring the spirituality of Sweet, McLaren and Blanchard to countless unsuspecting Christians. This program is best known as G12 (Government of 12). NCS refers to this as “The Master’s Plan.” In short, this is a church-growth technique adapted partly from Korean pastor David Cho and Colombian pastor Cesar Castellanos, which promises substantial church growth. The Master’s Plan proposes that true church growth can only come about through a CELL structure where a leader will vigorously train 12 people, who will train 12 people, who will train 12 people. While numbers often grow with this structure, there are disturbing testimonies of abuse and discipline if one does not follow implicitly the CELL leader over him or her. An overview of NCS’s Master Plan (written by a Nazarene pastor in Anaheim, California) lays out The Master’s Plan in more depth, acknowledging that a “disciple” will need to meet with his 11 brothers and sisters up to three times a week and remain committed to them for “life.” The Encounter Weekend Retreats provide further training to disciples, including the very problematic (occult in origin from Agnes Sanford) “inner healing.”

In view of how extremely pervasive mystical contemplative spirituality is throughout most of Christianity today (and in view of NCS’s promotion of contemplative advocates), this G12 structure could literally cause contemplative to explode in thousands of lives very rapidly.

As with most false teachings, there is an element of hiding the truth regarding NCS’s G12 implementation. In the overview, it states: “Avoid the use of the phrase ‘G12′ in your public discussions. Call it The Master’s Plan or The Discipleship Model or some other generic name. For some reason, some people get worked up over the phrase ‘G12.’” The Master’s Plan hopes to eradicate traditional programs like Sunday School from existence: “Existing ministries will either move over to The Master’s Plan or they will wither in time and die of their own natural causes” (p. 29).

New Church Specialties’ coupling of contemplative/emerging authors with the G12 Master’s Plan could have major affects on so many and could bring to fruition Leonard Sweet’s comments about the christ consciousness: “The power of small groups is in their ability to develop the discipline to get people ‘in-phase’ with the Christ consciousness and connected with one another” (p. 147, Quantum Spirituality), but this is not the Christ of the Bible, but as Paul warned is a “another gospel” and “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4). Nazarenes should take note not to implement New Church Specialties into their own local churches but rather to cling to the truth of God’s Word, which rejects the panentheistic, interspiritual nature of contemplative spirituality.

For those who don’t quite understand or who may even be skeptical, consider the following: New Age author Marilyn Ferguson, who wrote the classic book The Aquarian Conspiracy, said that 31% of all people who are involved in New Age spirituality entered it through the catalyst of Christian mysticism (i.e., contemplative). This is not surprising when you hear what mystic Richard Kirby said: “The meditation of advanced occultists is identical with the prayer of advanced mystics” (see A Time of Departing). Anyone who realizes the truth of this has to be motivated to take a stand on one side or another. Neutrality in this case is not an option.

Religious Tolerance.org

“Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT):

Click to read entire article

Nazarene Denomination?

The roots of the ECT movement date back to a meeting in 1985 of Christian leaders. Charles Colson of the Prison Fellowship Ministries organized the meeting. Rev. Richard Neuhaus of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, and Carl Henry, editor and founder of Christianity Today addressed the group. “There was a common acceptance the Christian culture was no longer an influence on modern society, that envy, greed and hatred rules people’s lives and that crime without conscience has caused violence to increase to alarming proportions. To add to this, religion had become an irrelevancy to the majority of people.” Many at the meeting felt that a cooperative effort by the two largest and most conservative wings of Christianity in North America — Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity — was needed. 8

A group of leading American Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants joined together in 1992-SEP to seek unity between their two groups. They decided this step as “essential for continued missionary expansion into the third millennium.” They acknowledged that past conflicts were seen as crippling the progress of the Gospel. “Involving, as it did, both evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders, it was truly a monumental statement…it was an ecumenical document of supreme importance since it represented a combined effort by leading spokesmen to ‘bury the hatchet’…and work together as ‘teammates’ instead of antagonists…It laments the division between them and proposes a moratorium on Catholic / evangelical conflict.” 1

There were 21 Evangelicals and 20 Roman Catholic participants. The group included:

  Mr. Charles Colson Prison Fellowship;
  Fr. Juan Diaz-Vilar S.J. Catholic Hispanic Ministries;
  Fr. Avery Dulles S.J. Fordham University;
  Bishop Francis George OMI Diocese of Yakima, Washington;
  000——–Dr. Kent Hill Eastern Nazarene College;——000
  Dr. Richard Land Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention;
  Dr. Larry Lewis Home Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention;
  Dr. Jesse Miranda Assemblies of God;
  Msgr. William Murphy Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Boston;
  Fr. Richard John Neuhaus Institute on Religion and Public Life;
  Mr. Brian O’Connell World Evangelical Fellowship;
  Mr. Herbert Schlossberg Fieldstead Foundation;
  Archbishop Francis Stafford Archdiocese of Denver;
  Mr. George Wiegel Ethics and Public Policy Center;
  Dr. John White Geneva College and the National Association of Evangelical    

 

 
 
 

 
 

 

Could this explain why catholic practices being taught to our youth. Is this document representing the Denomination or Mr.Kent Hill? These  questions  must be addressed to clarify what we as a Denomination believe. Brothers and Sisters we need to band together, before we find ourselves excepting a different Gospel. The walls are being destroyed and we are to sound the  alarm!

Many differences, one faith!

http://www.enc.edu/index.htm

Green Grant http://www.enc.edu/news/2009/green-grant.html

Biography of Kent Hill

Mount Vernon Nazarene University

 Eastern Nazarene University

 Kent Hill (Wikipedia)


Berean Beacon

Former Catholic Priest Richard Bennett

Read Richard’s Testimony

The Lord Jesus Christ is personally All Holy; yet as the substitute for the believer’s sin, He rendered Himself legally responsible to the wrath of God. The consequence of Christ’s faithfulness in all that He did, culminating in His death on the cross, is that His righteousness is credited to the believer. It was God who legally constituted Christ to be “sin for us.” He was “made sin” because the sins of His people were transferred to Him, and in like manner, the believer is made “the righteousness of God in Him” by God’s crediting to the believer Christ’s faithfulness to the precepts of the law. Quite clearly, therefore, justification is a judicial and gracious act of God whereby a believing sinner has legal right standing in Christ. Without this perfect righteousness of Christ Jesus credited to you, you are spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) This – the Gospel of Christ Jesus – is explained in most of Berean Beacon articles and presentations.

The Mindset of Catholicism Permeating Evangelicalism

By Richard Bennett

Many Evangelicals in our day know little of what the true Gospel really means.  As a result, many New Evangelicals have embraced Roman Catholic ways of thinking.  On May 30, 2004, the New York Times carried news of the alliance called “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” (ECT) showing it as a movement that is changing the face of Christianity.  Timothy George, a former leading Reformed man of the Southern Baptist Founders Movement, fully endorsed ECT.  He has also written about ECT and has endeavored to implement its theology.  His influence was especially seen after a conference he gave for John Armstrong for what had been a well-known magazine and Website called “Reformation and Revival.”  The outcome of the conference was a total change in the theological position of John Armstrong’s Reformation and Revival magazine and website.  It has now espoused the mindset of Papal Rome.  The ministry also has a new name; it is called “ACT 3.”[1] The name is explained as, “Advancing the Christian Tradition in the Third Millennium.”  The Website states, “From the Beginning we have emphasized equipping leadership for the Church that is faithful to Scripture and tradition and rooted in piety and grace.”[2] This is a primary statement showing the mindset of Papal Rome.  The Vatican does not accept Scripture as final authority in all matters of faith and morals.  Rather Papal Rome decrees, “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are bound closely together and communicate one with the other.”[3] This frame of mind is permeating other movements such as “Christian Churches Together,” the “New Perspective,” “The Coming Home Network,” and “The Emerging Church movement.”  Since in Scripture there is only one basis of truth for the Lord’s people, this foundational mindset of Catholicism, together with other of their basic beliefs, must be analyzed.

 

Rome’s Mindset on the Basis of Truth

The first and foundational mindset of Papal Rome is the acceptance of their tradition as being equivalent to Scripture.  Officially, the Vatican states, “Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”[4] In practice, more and more new evangelical churches work from a similar basis.  These churches are flooded with strategies borrowed from tenets of psychology and methods of the business world to make up for what they see as an insufficiency of Scripture.  Thus, the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture is undermined by the presupposition that the Bible is insufficient in our postmodern culture.  In these churches, experience is treasured over the absolute truth of Scripture.  Assent is given to belief in the Scripture; however, the New Evangelical standard line that doctrine is not necessary because it is divisive negates this belief.  The traditions of new evangelical churches are different than Rome’s.  The mindset, however, is basically the same.  To answer both, we proclaim what the Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared, “the Scripture cannot be broken,” “Sanctify them by thy truth: Thy word is truth.”[5] God’s Word not only contains the truth but also is truth itself.  This is consistent with the declarations throughout the Old Testament in which the Holy Spirit continually proclaimed that the revelation from God is truth.  The Lord Himself identified truth with the written Word.  There is no source other than written Scripture alone to which the statement, “thy word is truth.” can apply.  On that source alone, the Scripture is the believer’s standard of truth.

Rome’s Mindset on the Moral Status of Man

The mindset especially evident in Catholicism is its teaching on the moral condition of the individual needing reconciliation with God.  Papal Rome officially teaches,

“ … Nevertheless man has been wounded by sin.  He finds by experience that his body is in revolt.  His very dignity therefore requires that he should glorify God in his body, and not allow it to serve the evil inclinations of his heart… When he is drawn to think about his real self he turns to those deep recesses of his being where God who probes the heart awaits him, and where he himself decides his own destiny in the sight of God.”[6]

The Vatican stresses it is due to an individual’s own human dignity that one comes to decide one’s own destiny in the sight of God.  This mindset is now common with New Evangelicals.  For them, man is free and able to obey, repent, and believe. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association expresses it in the following words, “Man is in sin, rebellion, and separation from God, yet he is still able to obey, repent, believe, and invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life.”[7] Also the evangelistic organization called NavPress, a division of The Navigators, states the same claim in the words, “Everyone must decide individually whether to receive Christ.”[8] How this is lived out is repeatedly seen.  For example, Charisma magazine reported, “Since February 2007, the pastor of Revival Ministries International…has taken his Great Awakening Tour…mobilizing churchgoers to evangelize their communities.  So far, the ministry has registered more than 950,000 decisions for Christ.”[9] Thus New Evangelicals, presupposing the moral capability of a person to choose Christ for salvation, keep statistics just like in the sports world where statisticians count goals, home runs, and touchdowns.  New Evangelicals have a fascination to count and make known the number of so-called free-will decisions for Christ.

In contrast, the Scripture states clearly the moral condition of a person before conversion, “and you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”[10] Because of Adam’s sin, mankind is born spiritually dead.  Scripture unequivocally lays bare the unsaved person’s heart, “As it is written, ‘there is none righteous, no, not one:  there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.”[11] This is totally opposite to the mindset of Papal Rome and of modern evangelistic associations.  If we are genuine Christians, it is because God chose us in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world.[12] He freely chose us, not because He foresaw that we would believe, but because it pleased Him to so choose.  Thus, all the glory and praise belong to Him alone.  We have no ground for boasting about free-will decisions because all who believe have “believed through grace.”[13] Our coming to faith in Jesus Christ is solely by grace “otherwise grace is no more grace.”[14]

Rome’s Mindset Denying Justification by Faith Alone and Baptismal Regeneration

The mindset of Papal Rome on Baptismal Regeneration has recently begun to permeate Evangelicalism.  The Roman Church officially teaches, “Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life… Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God…‘Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.’”[15] This concept is now evident in the Reformed and Presbyterian world with a well-known pastor, Doug Wilson, who leads a movement called the Auburn Avenue Theology.[16] He is joined by other influential Presbyterian pastors, such as Steve Wilkins and Steve Schlissel, who advocate the new birth in Christ Jesus by means of the waters of baptism.  Thus, Doug Wilson states, “Baptism is our introduction to union with Him,”[17] and “while we do not take the connection between water baptism and grace and salvation as an absolute, we do take it as the norm.”[18] In the New Testament there is an absolute connection between the Spirit and the Word of God but not between physical water and grace.  Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”[19] Coming to new birth in the New Testament is by the Holy Spirit through the instrument of God’s Word.  Thus, the Apostle Peter proclaims, Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”[20] Consistently, and absolutely, in the teaching of Christ Jesus and the Apostles, sinful people receive the Spirit simply by the hearing of faith.  By this hearing of faith we are brought into union with Christ.  But Steve Wilkins of the Auburn Avenue movement teaches a conditional union with Christ based on the believer’s own faithfulness.  He states, “The elect are those who are faithful in Christ Jesus.  If they later reject the Savior, they are no longer elect.”[21]

What we document is just the top of the iceberg of what is now a massive movement both inside Presbyterian Reformed circles and beyond in what is called “The New Perspective on Paul.”  This movement requires articles, and even books, to explain its many ramifications.[22] However, in a nutshell, it holds that the believer’s faithfulness in living his faith is an essential part of his justification before God.  The most notable proponent of the New Perspective is the U. K. scholar N.T. Wright, the Bishop of Durham.  Wright denies the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer.  He writes, “If we use the language of the law court, it makes no sense whatever to say that the judge imputes, imparts, bequeaths, conveys or otherwise transfers his righteousness to either the plaintiff or defendant.”[23] In Wright’s view, “righteousness” is covenant membership, so justification is simply God’s declaration that certain people are within the covenant.  “Faith” for Wright is the believer’s faithfulness to Jesus Christ as Lord, leading to a final justification in the future.  This analysis of justification by the believer’s faithfulness does not demand sacramentalism, but it is compatible with it.  In fact, Wright writes that this view of justification is “a doctrine which Catholic[s] and Protestant[s] might just be able to agree on, as a result of hard ecumenical endeavor.”[24] He further writes, “Because what matters is believing in Jesus, detailed agreement on justification itself, properly conceived, isn’t the thing which should determine eucharistic fellowship.”[25] This redefinition of justification, then, can be compatible with Catholicism and has become more and more attractive to the nominally Reformed.

But Guy Prentiss Waters, who has written carefully against the arguments of the proponents of the New Perspective on Paul says, “If we examine their arguments carefully we see that what they are really and increasingly saying is that Luther and Calvin were mistaken, and that Trent was right.”[26] The thesis of the New Perspective on Paul, denying imputation of Christ’s righteousness, and emphasizing covenant faithfulness leading to final justification, removes the truth of the Gospel and leads to the embracing of Roman Catholicism.  This claimed believer’s faithfulness to Jesus Christ as Lord, leading to justification, is the same as the “merit” that Papal Rome teaches within the same context of grace and justification.  Rome states, “We can have merit in God’s sight only because of God’s free plan to associate man with the work of his grace.”[27] Both deny the imputation of Christ’s righteousness by faith alone; namely, (1) the New Perspective thesis explicitly as we saw with N.T. Wright, and (2) Rome also overtly, as justification is claimed to make us inwardly just by the sacrament of baptism.  Thus, the Catholic Church officially states, “Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.  It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy.”[28]

In total contrast, the absolute word of God consistently proclaims that justification is solely by God’s grace.  Through God’s power, every individual who is saved is “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”[29] Justification is imputed, counted, or reckoned as one believes on Christ, as Scripture states, “to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”[30] Justification is “not of works, lest any man should boast.”[31] Similarly, when the Jews asked Jesus what they should do to work the works of God, He responded, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”[32] Due to The New Perspective and its Auburn Avenue Theology offshoot there are many who denied the imputation of Christ’s righteousness by faith alone.[33] Auburn Avenue Theology and its followers even embrace Papal Rome’s teaching of baptismal regeneration.  Thus, again the mindset of Papal Rome is being infused into Evangelicalism.

Rome’s Mindset on Internal Righteousness

On being right with God, the Vatican teaches that justification is internal, that is, within the heart of the individual.  Thus, as we have seen, she teaches, “Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith.  It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy.”[34]

Papal Rome’s teaching that a person is “inwardly just” is the opposite of what Scripture consistently teaches.  Scripture teaches that a believer’s justification is solely in Jesus Christ.[35] For example, the Apostle Paul declared, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”[36] Nonetheless, many New Evangelicals have accepted the mindset of Papal Rome that our right standing with God is within ourselves.  The New Evangelicals hold this presupposition because they believe that salvation is a result of an individual’s self-initiated, personal decision and desire to invite Jesus Christ to come into his or her heart.  In 2004 the Billy Graham website stated it this way,

“Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20).  Jesus Christ wants to have a personal relationship with you.  Picture, if you will, Jesus Christ standing at the door of your heart (the door of your emotions, intellect and will).  Invite Him in; He is waiting for you to receive Him into your heart and life.”[37]

Another well-known evangelistic ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ International, claims that “New Birth” comes into a person’s life by invitation.  They state, “When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation.  [Christ speaking] ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.’”[38] However, new birth in Scripture is totally the work of the Holy Spirit and not by the invitation of a person.

The Lord Himself proclaimed, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.[39] What He calls “born again He explains as, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”[40] True believers are, “…born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”[41] The Spirit of God’s unique work in applying Christ’s redemption to the sinner is utterly clear and profound.  In spite of the clarity of Scripture, that “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing,”[42] Papal Rome and much of the evangelistic world believe in sacraments and empty rituals.  The “new birth” is called the turning point in the evangelistic ritual.  However, in most cases in the evangelistic world, there is no real difference morally before and after the experience.  In much of the New Evangelical world, the term “carnal Christian” is applied to those who have completed the procedure or ritualistic invitation but whose lives have not changed.  Here the New Evangelicals go a bit beyond the Catholics, for it is claimed that “carnal Christians” have simply made Christ their Savior and need not make Him their Lord.  This rationale is absurd, as no one makes Christ either Savior or Lord!

The location of salvation for Catholics is in their good works starting with infant baptism, balanced against their bad deeds.  The location of the New Evangelicals’ salvation is in their own good works, starting with their invitational rituals.  In contrast the location of a believer’s salvation is totally secure and totally glorious; it is in Christ, the Beloved.  “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved.”[43] The supreme and conclusive purpose is immediately added, that all is to the glorious praise of His abundant grace.  In having scorned God’s grace, the mindset of the Catholic Church and her evangelistic followers endeavors to rob the glory of salvation from the Lord God Almighty.  All that is necessary to secure our salvation is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.  There is a completion in Him that leaves nothing wanting; as Scripture proclaims, “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”[44]

Rome’s Influential Mindset on Use of Images

The Church of Rome encourages both the making and the using of images.  Idolatry was taken very seriously during the history of the Christian Church.  There were very few images in the Church before the fourth century.  The debate on images became prominent in the “iconoclastic controversy” of the eighth century, resulting in the Second Council of Nicea, which approved of pictures being kissed and honored in churches (787 A.D.).  The Second Council of Nicea is reaffirmed in the present day Catechism of the Catholic Church. Officially the Vatican states,

“The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols.[45] Indeed, the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype, and whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.  The honor paid to sacred images is a ‘respectful veneration,’ not the adoration due to God alone.”[46]

They have clearly stated that God now approves image worship because the honor rendered to the image passed to its prototype.  Indeed, in the same passage the Catechism states,

“Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnateThe movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.”

The basis for the Roman Catholic Church’s claim that idol worship does not countermand the commandment on idolatry is that, “…in the old Testament, God ordained or permitted the making of images that pointed symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word:  so it was with the bronze serpent, the ark of the covenant, and the cherubim.”[47] In citing the bronze serpent, the Ark of the Covenant, and the cherubim, the Catholic Church has made a serious error—for these items were neither images of God nor touted to be so.  Since the Second Commandment was in force, clearly the Israelites were not to use the bronze serpent as an object of idolatrous worship, which later generations did, and for this reason God destroyed it.[48]

The Catechism, however, continues to expand on the idea that images of “Jesus” point “symbolically toward salvation by the incarnate Word.”  But their argument fails to comprehend that God does not contradict Himself, so that making and bowing down—which means essentially rendering honor or “veneration”—to images of the Divine is still forbidden.  Under the rubric of an historical authority for their position, they state, “Basing itself on the mystery of the incarnate Word, the seventh ecumenical council at Nicea (787) justifiedthe veneration of icons—of Christ, but also of the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints.  By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new ‘economy’ of images.”[49] This paragraph of the Catechism stands in direct opposition to the Apostle Paul’s preaching to the Athenians on Mars Hill on the very issue of idolatry—an incident that happened years after the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Apostle stated, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent….”[50] These post-Incarnation idolaters were commanded to repent of their idolatry and believe the Gospel.  However, the Catholic authorities count their human rationalization of greater authority than God’s written Word.

The same Apostle also explained how idolatry corrupts a man when he foolishly starts using images to stand for God, in fact, describing how idolaters, including the idol-makers, have corrupted the world,

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.  Amen.”[51]

The Apostles went everywhere preaching that God sent His Son to save the world from sin, including from idolatry and its consequences.  The Apostle Paul states very clearly that the Lord Jesus Christ is now no more known after the flesh.[52] The Apostles, although having seen the Lord Jesus, never described what He looked like.  They proclaimed what He said and what He did.  They emphasized His death and resurrection, explaining what those events mean and how we must believe on His death and resurrection to be saved.  They taught people that Christ Jesus Himself is the image of God in heaven.  This is because God is only bodily portrayed in Christ Jesus the Lord, who is “the express image of his person.”[53] The entire nature and character of God is shown forth perfectly in the Lord Christ Jesus.  This is made clear by what the Apostles taught the Church.

Idolatry Paraded as Christian

In spite of the clarity of Scripture, the evangelical camp, to a very great extent, accepts Papal Rome’s mindset on the use of idolatry.  Images of Christ are widely used in some evangelical circles.  In promoting expression of subjective experience rather than sound teaching of Biblical doctrine, new modes of teaching are required.  Pictures communicate the message that Christ is other than the Biblical God Who cannot be pictured.  Some evangelical churches base evangelism, education, and worship upon those forbidden pictures, i.e., the “JESUS” film, flannel graph storytelling techniques, etcetera.  Sunday school curricula associate a man-made picture of “Christ” with the Lord.  The pictures become accepted as a portrayal of Christ; they become the Christ de facto.  Doctrine is subverted, authority is silently wrested from the Bible.  Thus almost any concept of Christ becomes acceptable.  This has laid the groundwork for an unbiblical, ecumenical church in which anyone who has accepted any type of imagined christ is purportedly a Christian.  For example, “The Jesus Film Project,” a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, states the following,

“Since 1979 the ‘Jesus’ film has been viewed by several billion people all across the globe, and has resulted in more than 225 million men, women and children indicating decisions to follow Jesus.  Based on the Gospel of Luke, the ‘Jesus’ film has now been translated into more than 1,050 languages, with a new language being added nearly every week.  This brings God’s Word to people in more than 220 countries in languages they know and understand.”[54]

Besides this, in so-called Christian bookstores and across the Internet, pictures and photographs of Jesus and Mary are marketed.  For example, you read,

“In this website you will find many photographs depicting Jesus and the Virgin Mary.  They were collected on the web and they’re allegedly authentic, it is a miraculous phenomenon occurring worldwide.  Every photograph is accompanied by a brief description and the link to the source site where it was found.  Click on photographs to bring up a larger version.”[55]

Many Evangelicals demonstrate an ignorance of the meaning of the Second Commandment, which forbids using images to represent God.[56] This commandment prohibits the creation and use of graven images.  It essentially brings to mind that God is a Spirit, not to be conceived of or fashioned in man’s image, or any other creature’s.  In the book of Deuteronomy the Second Commandment is further explained, “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice… Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female….”[57] What is forbidden is to make a similitude of God Himself.  No similitude of the Divine was given to the people and none was to be made.  In the New Testament we see that no “similitude” of Christ Jesus was given and none is to be made.  The commandment must remain unabridged.  Any similitude or image of Father, Son, or Holy Spirit is sinful and insulting to the majesty of the Lord God.  Many Evangelicals are on the Roman road of idolatry, oblivious to the fact that it lies parallel to the Greek Orthodox route.[58] The Scripture clearly shows that it is a transgression of God’s law to make a “representation” or “semblance” of anything in heaven, or upon the earth, to delineate God.  He calls those who break this commandment “those who hate me,”[59] and those who keep the commandment, “those who love me.”[60] Punishment for iniquity is promised to the transgressors.  He declares, “for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”[61]

Our Response

Many of the major evangelical institutions have openly joined in company with the Roman Catholic Church in false ecumenical movements such as “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.”  It appears that the Lord is now abandoning much of the evangelical leadership to the consequences of their corrupt and anti-biblical opinions.  Modern evangelicals, at ease in Zion, have neglected to read the overtures of false ecumenism propagated by Vatican Council II documents.  They have preferred to have fellowship with “the unfruitful works of darkness,”[62] which is being unmistakably manifested in ecumenical apostasy.  Continued dialogue and discourse with the Roman Catholic Church is becoming their undoing.[63] In sanctioning the Roman Catholic system as “Christian,” and accepting her major mindsets, they have publicly denied the distinctive character of salvation in, service to, and worship of the one true and living God of the Bible.  Now, sadly, this false ecumenism is rapidly advancing even though there are a few fearless Christian leaders who are strongly taking a stand against it.  In this regard, we urge you to make your voice heard through preaching and teaching, as well as across the Internet.

In our own time, it can be shown quite easily that most church attendees in evangelical churches cannot state correctly what the biblical doctrine of “justification by faith” means.  This appalling lack of biblical knowledge and understanding makes one very concerned for the salvation of many.  Therefore, we have the need for this conference on “Reviving the Lost Art of Evangelistic Proclamation.”  As mindset of Papal Rome permeates Evangelicalism we have reached a watershed period of time.  Those who truly adhere to the Gospel of Christ must hold that the Gospel not only is the power of God unto salvation, but that, as such, it cannot be contaminated with any other gospel.[64] Therefore, those who truly are truly Christian must separate themselves, not only from the Church of Rome and her ways of thinking, but also must separate themselves from so-called Evangelicals who have accepted her mindsets and who work out of similar bases themselves.  It is for us to fear the All Holy God and obey his commandment to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.[65]

The world in our day is as the Apostle John wrote, “in the power of the evil one.”[66] Timothy George, John Armstrong, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Campus Crusade for Christ, Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins are just a few of the prominent Evangelicals persons and groups that have publicly denied the Gospel by endorsing the terms and erroneous doctrinal concepts of the Church of Rome.  The Holy Spirit strongly warns of the apocalyptic consequences of these deceptions and of the judgment of those who promote lies in the name of God.[67] The Lord will search out and try the visible Church.  He will discover and detect those who say they are Evangelical believers and are not, but who carry on with the mind and convictions of Papal Rome.  He who punished the sinners in Zion with great severity warns the believers of the New Testament times that He will be even more severe. [68]

What we must remember is that, for the Lord God, the sanctification of His People is His first priority.  Only a gracious outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our time, to turn the hearts of His people back to Him, will be a sufficient remedy.  Pray then that the Lord may be pleased in mercy to heal the spiritual blindness that plagues the contemporary Evangelical Church rather than to permit it run further into darkness.  It is mercy for which we are praying.  Given the pattern of stubborn and sinful rebellion manifest in these last years it is certain that the Evangelical Church deserves nothing but a severe punishment from His hand.  This is no time to presume on the grace of God, but rather to pray urgently for it!  The Lord’s Glory, the Gospel, and His promises are at stake! Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire.”[69] ¨

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[1] http://www.act3online.com

[2] http://ww.act3online.com/passionforthechurch.asp Emphasis not in original

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), Para 80

[4] Catechism, Para 82

[5] John 10:35; John 17:17

[6] Vatican Council II Document No. 64, Gaudium et Spes,  in Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, Editor (Northport, NY: Costello Publishing Co, 1975) Vol. I, Sec. 14, p. 915  Emphasis not in original.

[7] “Steps to Peace with God” pamphlet, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

[8] “Bridge to Life” pamphlet by NavPress 1969.  NavPress is a division of The Navigators.

[9] http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/20728-nearly-1-million-saved-in-great-awakening-tour

[10] Ephesians 2:1

[11] Romans 3:10-11

[12] Ephesians 1:4

[13] Acts 18:27

[14] Romans 11:6

[15] Catechism, Para. 1213

[16] Going back the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church (PCA) conference in 2002 when Steve Schlissel, Doug Wilson, Steve Wilkins, and John Barach sought to redefine reformed doctrine.

[17] Douglas Wilson, Reformed is Not Enough (Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003) p 168.

[18] Ibid., p. 105

[19] John 6:63

[20] I Peter 1:23

[21] Steve Wilkins & Duane Garner, The Federal Vision (Monroe, LA:  Athanasius Press, 2004) Ch. II,Covenant, Baptism, and Salvation”, pp. 56-58

[22] A summary is given on our article and DVD called “Evangelicals Embark to Papal Rome”

[23] N.T. Wright, What Saint Paul Really Said (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 1997) p. 98

[24] Ibid., p. 158

[25] Ibid., p. 159

[26] Guy Prentiss Waters, Justification and the New Perspectives on Paul (Phillipsburg, N.J.:  P &R Publishing, 2004) p. 212

[27] Catechism, under the general heading “Grace and Justification”, Para. 2025.

[28] Catechism, Para. 1992

[29] Romans 3:24 Romans 4:5

[30] Romans 4:5 see also Romans 4:9, 4:11, 4-22-25, and Psalm 106

[31] Ephesians 2:9

[32] John 6:29

[33] These are also lead by men such as E.P. Sanders, a professor now at Duke University, who wrote Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977) and James D. G. Dunn of Durham University, England, who coined the term, “the New Perspective,” and incorporated into his commentary on Romans that Augustine and Luther had misread Paul.

[34] Catechism, Para. 1992  Emphasis not in original.

[35] Psalm 32:2, 71:15-16, 130:3; Isaiah 45:24-25, 54:17, 61:10; Jeremiah 23:6, 33:16, 51:10; Daniel 9:24; Luke 18:14; Romans 1:17, 3:21-22, 4:6, 11, 5:18-19; I Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:6; Colossians 2:10, 3:3; II Peter 1:1, and elsewhere.

[36] II Corinthians 5:21

[37] From, “How to Know That Christ Is in Your Life” posted on the Billy Graham Website in 2004

[38] http://www.ccci.org/wij/index.aspx 6/9/2009  The text further states that you receive Christ by faith, an act of your will.

[39] John 3:3

[40] John 3:6

[41] John 1:13

[42] John 6:63

[43] Ephesians 1:6

[44] Colossians 2:10

[45] The Catholic Church puts the first two commandments of the Decalogue together but splits the commandment on covetousness into two parts.

[46] Catechism, Para. 2132  Emphasis not in original.

[47] Catechism, Para. 2130

[48] II Kings 18:3-4 They use the same logic regarding the Ark of the Covenant and the cherubim.

[49] Catechism, Para. 2131  Emphasis not in original.

[50] Acts 17:29-30

[51] Romans 1:22-25

[52] II Corinthians 5:15-16

[53] Hebrews 1:3 “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

[54] http://www.jesusfilm.org/ 6/10/2009  Emphasis not in original.

[55] http://jesusphotos.altervista.org/ 6/10/2009  Emphasis not in original.

[56]Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” Exodus 20:4-6

[57] Deuteronomy 4:12-16

[58] The Greek Orthodox honor and kiss icons.  These are pictures and not statues.  They state “use of icons was defended and upheld at the Seventh Ecumenical Council.  The end of that council is still celebrated as the ‘Triumph of Orthodoxy’ in today, and icons remain a central part of Orthodox faith and practice.”

http://www.fact-index.com/e/ea/eastern_orthodoxy.html

[59] Exodus 20:5

[60] Exodus 20:6

[61] Exodus 20:5

[62] Ephesians 5:11

[63] See “The Alignment of New Evangelicals with Apostasy” by Richard Bennett.  http://www.bereanbeacon.org

[64] Galatians 1:8-9

[65] Philippians 1:27.

[66] I John 5:19

[67] II Thessalonians.2: 5-12.

[68] Hebrews 10:30, 31

[69] Hebrews 12:28, 29

A modern day Pharisee

Far too often today the word Pharisee is us used as derogatory term by children of belial to describe the true saved born again Christian who loves God and does everything in their power to live holy and righteously in this present world. Often times they are said to be intolerant and insensitive of others who claim to be a born again Christian yet live a life wholly given to sin and wickedness. I recently had a discussion with a man that said that “he” had personally led his friend and his family to Christ, yet said of that man that he has never been able to get that man into church, hes never been baptized, he never reads his bible, and every time he talks with him about church or the Lord the man gets irritated, or changes the subject. Well, excuse me Mr. Great and Mighty soul winner. Why didn’t you just say YOU had personally led him and his to Christ. Just because someone repeats a prayer, cries and boohoos, shakes, trembles, etc. that does not mean he believed with his heart unto eternal life. So for the record, let me just frankly say, no matter what you think or what your opinion might be, this man(as described above) has not believed unto eternal life, he is NOT born again, no way no how. That type of belief is not even scriptural. The bible doesn’t teach it and none, I say again none, of the great men of God anywhere, believed or taught that kind of garbage, and if you doubt anything I’m saying just research for yourself what men like Charles Spurgeon, Booth, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Moody, Jones, Norris, and a host of others taught concerning saving faith. The idiotic thought that just because you had a man repeat a prayer he receives eternal life is utterly ridiculous, and that moron that I was talking to was so ate up with pride in himself he couldn’t see he had made that man and his family a two-fold more child of hell than himself. Now just to be absolutely clear, I’m not advocating sinless perfection. I realize it is very possible for Christians to sin, and the scriptures clearly teach that a person who says they have no sin is a liar and the truth is not in them (1 JN 1:8). We read throughout the bible written testimony of the facts that Christians do commit sin. We find Moses was a murderer, David was a liar, murderer, and an adulterer. We find Peter cursing and denying Christ, Paul being disobedient to the Holy Spirit, and on and on, but the thing that must be realized if we are to see the difference between someone who has believed unto eternal life and someone who has not is the fact that although these men did these things, they did not live lives wholly given to and dominated by sin. There is a war in their members, and every saved born again child of God has this war going on in their members (Rom 7:22-23, Gal 5:17). In every war there are battles, some won and some lost, and this is true of the Christian life. Although inwardly we desire to please and serve God, as we travel through this life we will unfortunately lose some battles. But if there are no battles, and there is no opposing force to combat the other, there cannot be war. So this is the case of the professor and not the possessor. There is no war because all they have is the old nature and they are wholly dominated by it. If all else fails, these children of belial will say something to the fact that well just because fellowship is broken that doesn’t mean you are not a son. And I say to this, that this is true, but no son is out of fellowship from birth, that normally takes a few years (naturally speaking). This is the difference between being born again and being still born. Their still dead in their sins. So what does the bible, not some child of the devil, say a Pharisee is? Well, the Pharisees were religious leaders of the Jews. And what these Pharisees did according to Jesus was take the law and pervert it so as to give them the right to sin under the guise of being the religious elite (Matt 15:3-9). This is what the average so-called bible believing church has become today. They have taken the gospel of Grace and turned it into a free license for so-called Christians to sin. Their idea of saving grace is that it only saves one from hell, and that we are here in this world destined to live in constant failure and wickedness and that for the Christian this is the norm. This is an outright lie of the devil. Dr. Ruckman says that the Philadelphian church age was the age that received the greatest blessings for the church. To this I totally agree. He also says that they kept the word of God, and again I agree. Doesn’t it not seem strange to any one that none of the men I mentioned earlier (Charles Spurgeon, Booth, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Moody, Jones, Norris, etc.), most of whom lived in this age by the way, believed in salvation without regeneration? Please, as Dr. Ruckman says so often, don’t take my word for it, look it up! All these and more believed that regeneration followed salvation, yet this could be farther from the truth in regards to modern fundamental Christianity. The age we are currently in is called the Laodician Church age. It is a lukewarm church that God said He would spew out of His mouth. We have lukewarm churches, with lukewarm bibles, and a lukewarm gospel message. Gen William Booth said, “I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.” So just In case there is still any doubt in your mind as to what I say, look at the message Jeremiah was sent to preach to Judah Israels southern kingdom just prior to them going into Babylonian captivity. Jer 7:8-11 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; 10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? 11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. Sound familiar to you? Now look at the what John the baptist said concerning the Pharisees and Sadducees Mat 3:7-8 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. Notice also here what the Lord Jesus Christ says to the multitudes leading up to His crucifixion. Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? As Dr. Ruckman would say, “Now ain’t that a coincidink!” So is it no wonder that here in the end of our age prior to the church being called out that again this same perverted message is being preached? May God help those who love Him to get back to proclaiming the truth to this lost and dying world the way Charles Spurgeon, Booth, Wesley, Whitefield, Edwards, Moody, and Jones did for every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. All the fruit of the modern gospel is wicked, and the bible says by their fruits ye shall know them.

In Christ,
Mike

(comments welcome)

Written by a friend,
God Bless

Sermon Series Resource

 Jon Middendorf is the pastor at Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene.

This sermon series comes from Pastor Middendorf’s church site. Sandy Simpson comments after reading the series.We have provided for you the site below, please check it out.

Sermon Series Resource please click

Sandy Simpson has a discernment ministry which averages over a million hits a month. For pertinent information concerning the times in which we live, please check it out.   Deception in the Church

Sandy Simpson comment’s in red

August 9

“Tongue Twister”

Romans 7:14-25

As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:

- Paul, formerly Saul and formerly a legalistic religious fanatic, once persecuted Christians until confronted by Christ Himself.  BTW, Paul was baptized and changed, completely.
– In Paul’s original work, there were no chapter and verse numbers. Thoughts are divided that weren’t originally divided.
– For Paul, the ultimate goal or hope of Christianity included an individual’s eternal destination, but it never stopped there.  Paul understood Christianity to be the means whereby a person (or a group of people) could recover the “image of God” -marred or confused or covered up by sin, and as a result recover his/her (their) divinely assigned role(s) or vocation(s) as God’s partner(s) in mission and ministry.

Nothing in Romans about “recovering the image of God”.  God does not need His image recovered.  We do have the weight of glory in us, as referenced in 2 Cor. but that is about our responsibility to obey the Lord and preach the Gospel.  Our image is not “marred or confused or covered up by sin” it is utterly wicked until we are convicted by the Holy Spirit and believe in Jesus Christ, repenting of our sins (Jer. 17:9).  This sounds like a form of Pelegianism.  We cannot recover what we never had.  God has to change us from sinners destined for judgment.  When we are born again that is when God shows us what His will is for our lives.  This is a faulty if not dangerous way to present what human nature is all about.

Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius (AD 354 – AD 420/440). It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid. Thus, Adams sin was “to set a bad example” for his progeny, but his actions did not have the other consequences imputed to Original Sin. (Wikipedia)

Key Words and Phrases:

The Law – (the Torah) given as a gift of God’s grace for the purpose of sketching out the dream of God for all of Life (including my own life). The Law then measures our attempts and efforts to live out His dream.

 The Law was not given “for the purpose of sketching out the dream of God for all of life.”  Three fallacies in this statement.  (1) The Law was given to show that we are sinners without any hope of being justified with God based on our works.

 Ro 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. Ro 5:20 The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

 (2) God does not sleep therefore God does not dream. (Ps. 121:4) If he is talking about God’s plans that would be one thing, but God need not dream about anything as what He wills He does.

(3) God’s salvation is open to all but few will accept it. (Mt. 7:14

“I” – Paul uses this term to refer not only to himself, but also to his people, the Jews.Sanctification – the provision, given by God in Christ, for rescue and recovery.

 

August 2“Splish Splash”Romans 6:1-14
As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:- Paul, formerly Saul and formerly a legalistic religious fanatic, once persecuted Christians until confronted by Christ Himself.- In Paul’s original work, there were no chapter and verse numbers. Thoughts are divided that weren’t originally divided.- Paul wrote Romans more for the gathered believers in Rome than for the individual believers.- For Paul, the ultimate goal or hope of Christianity included an individual’s eternal destination, but it never stopped there.  Paul understood Christianity to be the means whereby a person (or a group of people) could recover the “image of God” -marred or confused or covered up by sin, and as a result recover his/her (their) divinely assigned role(s) or vocation(s) as God’s partner(s) in mission and ministry.  (Repeat of the above.  Running out of material?) Sin - Choosing against the dream of God for all of Life (including my own life), opting instead for an alternative dream or Kingdom.Sin is not just a choice, it is what we are born into (Rom. 5:12, 8:3).  Satan’s kingdom is no dream.  It is a stark reality.  God’s Kingdom, today in the hearts of men, ultimately in the Millennium, is not a dream.  It will be reality because God spoke it through the prophets and Jesus Christ.  This is completely misleading as to the nature of God and His Word.
 

Baptism - sacred moment at which everything changes about you: your allegiance, your status, your condition, your identity and your place of belonging

The point where everything changes is repentance and belief, when a person is born again.  Baptism is a picture of the baptism of the Holy Spirit at conversion, but he is talking about water baptism.  Water baptism is a sign of what has already happened in the spiritual and is a confession of Faith before the Church and world.
 

Old Self - your pre-baptized self, with its old allegiance, old status, old identity.

Old sin.

 Instruments - literally “weapons” because of Paul’s understanding of the current battle
Grace - God’s total commitment of Himself and His inexhaustible resources to fallen humanity in Christ.

More than that it is the outworking of His mercy, unmerited favor, through His Son Jesus Christ to us.

 Key Words and Phrases:



  Same again.  Apparently he thinks these statements are so remarkable they have to be repeated again and again, a diaprax technique. Key Words and Phrases:Grace – God’s unmerited favor, i.e., a gift.Death –  an unwelcome intrusion into the dream of God.  It Includes physical death, but speaks of a “deathliness” that reaches beyond.

What is that?  There is only the first death and the second death (Rev. 21:80) if you an unbeliever.

Dominion – supreme authority

Trying to inject stuff about the Church taking dominion into this chapter where that word is not used.  BTW the word “dominion” in the New Testament always refers to Satan’s kingdom (1 Cor. 15:24. Eph. 21, Col. 1:13).  Satan has to take dominion.  God will reclaim what was always His.  The Church is not to take control of things.  Jesus Christ will do that in His Theocracy to come in the Millennial Kingdom.

July 26“Adam and Jesus”Romans 5:12-21
As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:- For Paul the ultimate goal or hope of Christianity included an individual’s eternal destination, but it never stopped there. Paul understood Christianity to be the means whereby a person (or group of people) could recover the “image of God” – marred or confused or covered up by sin, and as a result recover his, her (their) divinely assigned role(s) or vocation(s) as God’s partner(s) in mission and ministry.- Paul, formerly Saul and formerly a legalistic religious fanatic, once persecuted Christians until confronted by Christ Himself.



July 19“Peace, Patience and HOPE!”Romans 5:1-11
As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:- What you are hearing from me in this series is not new, but it is Wesleyan
– In Paul’s original work, there were no chapter and verse numbers. Thoughts are divided that weren’t originally divided.
– Paul’s desire was to unify Gentile and Jewish Christians for life and missionKey Words and Phrases:Justification - God’s activity and my response that results in my being seen by God as being in “good standing” or in a saving relationship with Him.

This is confusing justification with sanctification.

Peace with God - Not subjective feelings, but an objective reality: We are no longer God’s enemies, but His friends.

Hope - “faith oriented to the future” (Rudolf Bultmann)

Reconciliation - peace with God, accomplished by Christ’s ultimate display of love and covenant- the cross.



July 12“Reckoned as Righteousness”Romans 4:16-25
As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:- Paul, formerly Saul and formerly a legalistic religious fanatic, once persecuted Christians until confronted by Christ Himself.- Paul writes in the manner of someone unfolding a map stage by stage so that each new piece offers both a fresh vision and a sense of having been contained within what had gone before.- Paul’s desire was to unify Gentile and Jewish Christians for life and mission.Key Words and Phrases:The Promise- God’s commitment that he would bring about salvation (Salvation – to be saved, salvaged or rescued from one kingdom or trajectory to another.)Faith – the capacity to see (or at least the willingness to see) the dream of God for all of Life (including my own life).  This is not the definition of faith.  Faith is belief and commitment to Jesus Christ.  It is not committing to a dream but to the object of our faith, the Lord.
 

 

The Law – (the Torah) given as a gift of God’s grace for the purpose of sketching out the dream of God for all of Life (including my own life). The Law then measures our attempts and efforts to live out His dream.

 

Again, the law shows us we are hopeless sinners, the Spirit gives life and the law of Christ, which is love.Ga 3:19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.Ga 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” {Deut. 21:23}
 

 

Justification – God’s activity and my response that results in my being seen by God as being in “good standing” or in a saving relationship with Him.

 



July 5Guest Speaker: Rev. Jim Williams
  June 28“Constancy and Newness”Romans 3:21-26
As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:- “Romans is neither a systematic theology nor a summary of Paul’s lifework, but it is by common consent his masterpiece” (N.T. Wright).- Romans can be likened to a symphonic composition: “Themes are stated and developed (often in counterpoint with each other), recapitulated in different keys, anticipated in previous movements and echoed in subsequent ones” (N.T. Wright).- Be careful in relying too heavily on the headings in your Bible. These are later editorial additions. In Romans Paul does not write in way that lends itself to such easy compartmentalization. Rather, he was far more likely, in individual sentences, paragraphs and sections, to state a point in a condensed fashion and then steadily to unpack it, in the manner of someone unfolding a map stage by stage so that each new piece offers both a fresh vision and a sense of having been contained within what had gone before. (N.T. Wright).Key Words and Phrases:Faith - yet another aspect of faith in Paul is as a response to proclamation, i.e., a response to the Gospel message. One summative way of expressing faith is trust. To trust is to commit oneself and to reconfigure oneself in relationship. It also implies confession or deliberate avowal. “Calling Christians ‘believers’ is really shorthand, for they are not persons who major in believing. Rather, they are persons who believe what the gospel says and whom it proclaims, and who entrust themselves to it deliberately” (Leander E. Keck).
 (Christians are defined by believing in Jesus Christ. They don’t just believe what the Gospel says, they believe in the person who the Gospel is about.) Grace – God’s unmerited favor, i.e., a gift.

Atonement – in this context the expiation or removal of sin, having in view the Jewish sacrificial system. But the implication of the removal is being one with God, quite literally “at-one-ment.”

 

Redemption – redeemed, bought at a price, brought back into relationship.




June 21“No Excuses”Romans 2:1-16
As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:- In Paul’s original work, there were no chapter and verse numbers. Thoughts are divided that weren’t originally divided.- Paul’s desire was to unify Gentile and Jewish Christians for life and Mission.- Paul, formerly Saul and formerly a legalistic religious fanatic, once persecuted Christians until confronted by Christ Himself.Key Words and Phrases:Faith – the capacity to see (or at least the willingness to see) the dream of God for all of Life (including my own life).

God does not dream.

Sin – Choosing against the dream of God for all of Life (including my own life), opting instead for an alternative dream or Kingdom.

There is no dream of God, only the reality of Who God is.

The Law – (the Torah) given as a gift of God’s grace for the purpose of sketching out the dream of God for all of Life (including my own life). The Law then measures our attempts and efforts to live out His dream.

Justification – God’s activity and my response that results in my being seen by God as being in “good standing” or in a saving relationship with Him.

June 14“Righteousness of God Revealed”Romans 1:16-25
As you read Romans, keep these things in mind:- Paul didn’t start the church in Rome, nor did he visit it.- Paul wrote Romans more for the gathered believers in Rome than for the individual believers.- Paul’s hope was to unify the church in Rome.Key Words and Phrases:Salvation - to be saved, salvaged or rescued from one kingdom (or trajectory) to another.
Gospel - The Story of Hope and Redemption God is telling through Christ and now us!
Righteousness of God - God’s faithfulness to His promise of RELATIONSHIP with us!
(Faithfulness is but one aspect of God’s righteousness.  There are many other attributes that make God holy.)

 

“First for the Jews…” - This is not a statement of priority; it is a statement of chronology.  God, in his passion to reach the world for redemption and renewal, first chose Israel to embody that passion.
Gentiles - non-Jews

 

 

God Bless


Doug Hardy

Dr. Douglas Hardy, Professor of Spiritual Formation, Nazarene Theological Seminary.

Please take time to listen to the audio at the end of this article. The audio will be one of Mr. Hardy teaching at Oxford Church of the Nazarene. “Spiritual Formation”

Ge 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die Ge 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty,so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Does “Spiritual Formation” Line up with God’s Word?

Spiritual Formation is common in our churches now. What exactly is it? The definition can vary from church to church. From research, I believe it is meant to push people to have a deeper spiritual life while emphasizing holiness. This in itself is not a bad goal. The problem is that it takes its direction from unholy roots. Some would claim that the roots lie in Wesleyan theology, but I could not find this. Holiness, yes.  Labyrinths, prayer beads, breathing exercises, cannot be found with Wesley, but rather in Catholicism and eastern religions. Spiritual formation contains many good attributes, such as self-examination and encouraging the practice of prayer and holiness. But where it strays and becomes a snare is when it entangles ancient heathen practices and ritualism in its teachings. In Jeremiah 10:2, Israel is commanded,” Learn not the way of the heathen…”and v.3 says, “For the customs of the people are vain…” By adding traditions that are used primarily in unholy religions, the will and work of the Holy Ghost is not aided. The Holy Spirit will always lead you plainly and clearly to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

The fruits of the teaching of “Spiritual Formation” in our churches are many. I would address a few here. First, I believe it has resulted in spiritual relationships with people who are not saved. We are not to bond with unsaved people, religious or not. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 clearly tells us to “Come out and be separate.” We cannot study with the Catholics, who believe Mary is superior to Jesus and pray to idols, and be right with God. We cannot, in good faith. practice prayer meditation in the same manner the Buddhists do, and expect to please the God of Israel. Remember in the Old Testament how God got very angry when his people did not tear down the groves that the heathen had used for prayer. Surely, they could have prayed there, but God wanted them to have no part in even the appearance of evil. In I Kings 14:22-24, the Lord deals with this. In 2 Chon.19: 3, God blesses them for removing the groves.

This brings me to my second point; we are engaging in practices that we have learned from the ancient Easter religions. Such as meditations, centering prayer, lectio divina practices, among others. Christianity has always stood apart from such mystical practices. Now we are teaching it in our Sunday School curriculum!! Another result from this emphasis on “Spiritual Formation” is our inclusion of those who do not worship Christ. “Spiritual Formation” always leads people to ultimately define God for themselves. In other words, I could pray to the God of Isaac, while you might pray to a “higher power”, or “Allah.” Follow the writings of those who are leading us in this movement. They start out pretty ordinary, but as they progress in the movement it always leads to the joining of saved people with those who may not even acknowledge His blood sacrifice for salvation. I believe this is an abomination in the sight of God.

2 Tim. 2:15,16,17a  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker:”

One last fruit of this movement, which I would like to draw your attention to is this: Watered down preaching. This movement encourages a therapy couch type preaching. Where we read and you tell me how it makes you feel and I tell you how it makes me feel. The pastor asks, “What do you think it means?” Instead of the Bible, the pastor reads from manmade lesson plans that incorporate, at best, the opinion and quotes of saved and unsaved alike!! What are you being fed at the house of God? Is it similar to watching a Dr. Phil show??? Pastors are to preach the WORD! They are to exhort us to live holy, God fearing lives. Not by teaching us how to walk a labyrinth, but by teaching the unblemished Bible!

In conclusion, I say we do not need to go to the heathen to learn how to worship or become holier. We just need to go to the Bible. It will teach you the difference between the holy and profane. And, if you are sitting under a pastor who does not preach the Word and you feel like you are starving to death, please, pray for wisdom. Ask God to lead you to the right pastor who can instruct you in righteousness, not in only a “form of godliness.”

2 Timothy 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” V.7 “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Oxford Nazarene Church.
Speaker: Dr. Douglas Hardy, Professor of Spiritual Formation, Nazarene Theological Seminary.

You can hear this in entirety at : Practicing Holiness: Spiritual Formation in every day life.

Ourmedia click— Doug Hardy“Spiritual Formation in Everyday Life”

God Bless

To our shock, extreme sorrow and disbelief, We have found that the heretical and dangerous spiritually Taught in Spiritual Formation has infiltrated every denomination. Brothers and Sisters this includes the Nazarene Denomination. Thousands of hours have I and others invested in searching out this pertinent information. We have put together this site as to make ease for the Nazarene who will for the love of our Saviour check out these claims. In our culture where both Dad and Mom work we know physically they don’t have the time or the energy to search for the facts. Times are hard on the family that’s exactly why God provides a way for the average folk and He sends some to sound the alarm, GOD cares for his sheep and His sheep hear His voice! Its times like this, we need to ask questions. Start asking your Pastor the definitions of words that are being used, such as Spiritual Formation or Missional. Do these words mean what you like they mean? What about Lectio Divina or labyrinths? …what would the LORD JESUS CHRIST have me do?”…God commands us to study.

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do in your study of these claims.
All we want is the truth.

John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

Doug S. Hardy

Nazarene Theological Seminary and Northwest Nazarene University have announced a collaborative spiritual formation retreat that will precede the 2009 Nazarene General Assembly in Orlando, Florida. This event begins with dinner at 5pm on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, at the San Pedro Center, a Franciscan retreat center that is located about a dozen miles from the Orlando International Airport. The retreat concludes with dinner at 5pm on Wednesday evening, prior to the initial worship service that marks the opening of the 2009 Nazarene General Assembly.

Please click on this link to view the invitation given for this event:  http://www.nts.edu/general-assembly-spiritual-formation-retreat

IS THIS EVENT OF GOD?

DOES THIS EVENT REFLECT THE BELIEFS OF NAZARENE CONGREGATIONS AT LARGE?

Here is a list of the people who will be leading the retreat:

The retreat is being held at the San Pedro Center, a Catholic Franciscan retreat center.     http://www.sanpedrocenter.org/index.php

Examining the Speakers at this event:

DOUG STEVE HARDY

NTS inducts Dr. Doug Hardy as Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation
Dr. Douglas S. Hardy, Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation, was inducted into the faculty of Nazarene Theological Seminary on November 8, 2002 by the faculty and President Ron Benefiel.

Born near Boston and raised in Eastern Canada, Hardy is a graduate of Eastern Nazarene College (B.A.), Northeastern University (M.Ed.), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.A.), and Boston University (Ph.D.). He most recently served as Associate Professor of Psychology at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Massachusetts. Hardy’s ministry includes pastorates in Berkeley and Glendale, California, and service as a spiritual director in the Boston area since1994. His professional activities and accomplishments reflect a wide range of interests in spiritual formation. An ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene, Hardy has written extensively in such professional journals as Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Research News & Opportunities in Science and Theology, and Religious Studies Review.
–NTS

Dr. Hardy is one of several leading the Spiritual Formation Movement in our denomination. When you click on his link at the NTS directory and look at his vitae this is included under

Spiritual Formation/Direction Training

Participate in Ignatian Spirituality Book Discussion Group, Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO (2003 – present)

Participate in Kansas City area Group-in-Formation for Transformative Spirituality (2004 – present)

Participated in a Peer Supervision Group of Boston-area Spiritual Directors that met monthly for case study review and support (February, 1995 – June, 2002)

Participated in a 24-week Ignatian Spirituality in Everyday Life Prayer Retreat at Boston College (November, 1999 – May, 2000)

Workshop for spiritual directors: Supervision, Ignatian Spiritual Ministries Professional Day, Jesuit Urban Center, Boston (March 22, 2000)

Graduate-level, year-long course: Supervised Practicum in Spiritual Direction, Weston Jesuit School of Theology (September, 1993 – May, 1994)

Graduate-level class: Spiritual Formation & Discipleship, Nazarene Theological Seminary (January, 1993)

Please notice that as early as 1999 he became involved in the spiritual practices of St.Ignatius. This is a Catholic saint. Dr. Hardy has only become more and more involved with the Catholic teachings and teachers. WE ARE NOT CATHOLICS!

Today he regularly takes Nazarene students to a monastery and encourages fellowship with the sisters there. He was quoted on a Catholic website: http://www.mountosb.org/publications/thresholdw04/ministers.html

The Nazarene Theological Seminary discovered the Mount through their professor of spiritual formation. When Dr. Doug Hardy moved to Kansas City from Boston, he intentionally searched for a monastic community and retreat center for his own spiritual renewal. He speaks highly of Sophia Center and the whole Mount community, saying “You provide the hospitable space I need for regular time of prayer and renewal.”

He continues, “Sophia Center has become a helpful place for our students to actualize their intentions to pray. In addition to assisting them with their personal devotion, the Sophia Center staff helps educate them about contemplative spirituality.” The students he brings learn about and practice centering prayer, meditation, silence and lectio. Spiritual direction with one of the sisters is also available. These are ways that help “build constructive bridges between Protestant and Catholic Christians.”

In addition, Dr. Hardy applauds the Mount for its “witness as a community of women committed to Christian vocation.” This is especially helpful for the Nazarene female students, a third of the seminary population, who find partnership encouraging and inspiring.

The problem with his background in Spiritual Formation is that it stems from associations with people who do not believe as we Nazarenes do concerning many things. Such as salvation through the Blood of Christ, not by works. Ephesians 2:8,9

Remember that we belong to the Protestant group because the Roman Catholic Church worships idols and took the Bible out of the hands of the laypeople.

We find that Dr. Hardy is replacing the Word of God with methods that in his own words are, “from all of the centuries of the Christian Church. And across all different cultures of Christians. So we want to draw broadly and widely. Doug goes on to say. “It’s not a matter of if you are using the Bible, but how; there are many different ways.”

You can hear this in entirety at : Practicing Holiness: Spiritual Formation in every day life.Doug Hardy“Spiritual Formation in Everyday Life”Ourmedia  click

Please check out –  Naznet.com - Contemplative Spirituality / Lectio Divina = Transcendantal Meditation?

What is Contemplative Prayer and Why Should Nazarenes Care?

Taken from “My Denomination does not promote new age spirituality through Spiritual Formation!

Seminary students and graduates, of every doctrinal persuasion, are being trained in ever increasing numbers to introduce certain spiritual disciplines into the lives and prayer habits of those within their spheres of influence. When the term “spiritual discipline” is used, it is almost always referring to the incorporating of “contemplative prayer” into the lives of church members. Many churches are even introducing contemplative prayer into their children’s programs.Contemplative prayer is, by far, the main practice promoted by the Spiritual Directors who lead church members onto the slippery slopes of spiritual formation. It is also called soaking or centering prayer. The terms spiritual formation and contemplative prayer are practically synonymous.The most widely accepted and pervasive of the two movements within the evangelical church is the Spiritual Formation movement. Pentecostals, Charismatics, and non-Pentecostals alike are being influenced, through almost identical Spiritual Formation programs that promote this unbiblical form of prayer. Contemplative prayer is actually not prayer at all, but rather a “Christianized” form of unbiblical, eastern meditation. Most of us know it by the name, transcendental meditation (TM). It is rightly associated with Hinduism and New Age Spirituality. Webster’s dictionary defines a contemplative as one who practices contemplation. To contemplate means to ponder, to meditate upon. So what’s wrong with that?Well, nothing is wrong with pondering or meditating upon things—as long as they are the right things, and as long as the pondering and meditating does not become obsessive. The only thing upon which we can appropriately meditate on obsessively is the Written Word of God. Psalm one instructs us to do that. So how do we apply Webster’s definition of contemplate to what is known today as contemplative prayer? Can we apply it at all? No, we cannot. The term “contemplative prayer,” is an oxymoron. The two words, contemplate and prayer, are contradictory, and mutually exclusive one from the other. How does one ponder and meditate upon something while at the same time communicate with God about it? It cannot be done. The two may be closely related but are definitely separate activities.Add to that, the contemplative’s practice of eastern meditation (transcendental meditation [TM]), which is “clear your mind of all thought,” and we have yet another contradiction. How does anyone meditate on something with a blank mind? The answer to that is—they don’t. They can’t. It is simply not possible.Eastern meditation and contemplative prayer both mandate clearing all thoughts from the mind, and opening the spirit to receive the thoughts of someone or something else. New Agers are not ashamed to admit that when they are in that thoughtless state, they are essentially at the mercy of any number of spirit beings. The goal is reaching a place of no thought whatsoever. That state is called, among other things, entering into the silence—also referred to by Christians as, “The Secret Place.” The term contemplative prayer is not only oxymoronic, as the one automatically cancels out the other, but it is also a very deceptive and erroneous term. Contemplative prayer traces its roots to a group of monks called, The Desert Fathers. The Desert Fathers taught that it didn’t matter what method you used to seek God—all were good, and they unashamedly sought and implemented non-Christian, eastern, methods of meditation into their spiritual practices.  Scripture commands us not only to meditate upon something—the Written Word of God (Psalm 1:2), but also to refrain from learning the way of the heathen (Jeremiah 10:2). Without going any deeper into the subject of contemplative prayer, we see that it is derived from Hinduism (Christian contemplatives do not even try to deny this) and is diabolically opposed to the scriptural form of meditation prescribed in Psalms chapter one verse two.  There is little argument that spiritual formation programs and contemplative prayer go hand in hand. In addition to contemplative prayer, the spiritual disciplines include, but are not limited to, yoga and labyrinth walking. The latter are widely promoted within more liberal evangelical congregations. Just because your local congregation may not, as yet, be familiar with any of these things is no reason for assuming that your denomination has not already jumped on the contemplative bandwagon. Take a look at the list of denominations which have instituted these programs in their theological seminaries and key churches:

Andover Newton Theological School

Assemblies of God (AG Theological Seminary)

Baptist (Baylor University & Dallas Theological Seminary)

Church of God (Mount Paran)

Methodist (Dubuque Theological Seminary)

Moody Bible Institute

Nazarene Theological Seminaries

Presbyterian Theological Seminaries

Wheaton College

Evangelist Harold Frodge Church of the Nazarene

Audio presented by Harold Frodge lecturing on the NIV Bible
This is fascinating information coming from this man of God, I am positive that the LORD was pleased with the work put forth by Harold Frodge

Ps 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea,

I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Rev Harold Frodge- NIV

This is a 45-minute dissertation on the subject, “The NIV Bible and its connection to Catholicism.” Harold Frodge was a commissioned evangelist for the Church of the Nazarene for over 40 years. Mr. Frodge fought for the King James Bible within the Nazarene Denomination. This discussion starts out with a verse-by-verse study of missing verses in the NIV. Then Mr. Frodge presents evidence from the translators and editors about the roots and basis of the NIV, as well as its connection to the Catholic Church. It is of utmost importance to Christians who believe in the Bible to educate themselves on the problems with the newer translations, specifically the NIV, which is, used much in our Nazarene churches. This audio has very detailed information that will equip the layman to know the truth about his Bible. As well, you can see how the influence of replacing our King James Bibles with the NIV, has added to the degradation of our denomination. This audio paints a dramatic picture of the history of the Bible, the NIV, the Nazarenes and Catholic Church. Are we Catholic? Or are we Protestant? The blood that was shed to free us from Catholic rule many centuries ago cries out for us to take a stand. Mr. Frodge went to be with the LORD in 2007, still standing for the truths presented in this audio.  This issue means a lot to me, as I personally carried the NIV for many years. I sometimes questioned some of the readings, but chalked up my misgivings to not having enough knowledge and understanding to comprehend certain things. Sad to say, I could never get answers from my elderly pastor. He was a good country preacher, but did not expound in his teaching. This has all changed, thanks be to our Great GOD! I am grateful that I now see that my biggest problem has been with the Bible I carried. By His grace, I find myself changing ever more to the conformity of our LORD, and I believe this due to the KJB. Most of the Nazarenes I know carry anything other than the KJB, so this is a subject matter which causes great confusion among brethren. Within our denomination or for that matter any denomination to approach the Bible issue calls for wisdom. If you are going to speak on the Bible debate, educate yourself.  I hope your search for the truth is aided by this audio presentation of Mr. Frodge.

Ps 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Enjoy

Rev Harold Frodge- NIV

From John Wesley notes: Therefore as we have opportunity-At whatever time or place, and in whatever manner we can.  The opportunity in general is our lifetime; but there are also many particular opportunities.  Satan is quickened in doing hurt, by the shortness of the time, Re 12:12. By the same consideration let us be quickened in doing good. Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time
Let us do good-In every possible kind, and in every possible degree.
Unto all men-Neighbours or strangers, good or evil, friends or enemies.
But especially to them who are of the household of faith. For all believers are but one family.
Ps 119:34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea,
I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Brothers and Sisters,

God Bless

 

 

 

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

“Emerging Theology” Is An Oxymoron

Just Click above to go to the Nazarene site to listen to the break out session held at the Missional Conference in 2007.

Comments on Jon Middendorf’s “Emerging Theology” 2007 Missional Conference Session Audio

by Sandy Simpson, 5/8/09

Article by Sandy Simpson

It is very important to start this article by pointing out that (1) the term “Emerging

Theology” is oxymoronic and (2) a better term for what Middendorf is repeating from the

teachings of Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Eddie Gibbs, Ryan Bolger and many other

Emergents should have been called “Emerging Beliefs” or “Emerging Orthopraxy”.

The reason the term “Emerging Theology” is an oxymoron is that true Biblical Theology

is not “emerging” but continuing. The true body of Christ is not making up new

“theologies” to suit the times or postmodern thought. Postmodernism has its origins in a

Satanic worldview practiced by the devil himself. In fact we need to reeducate people to

think Biblically, objectively and to believe in objective truth. The Church is to hold to

the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostles and Prophets in the written Word of God (2

Thes. 2:15), which makes up true Theology. We are not to add (Pr. 30:6), subtract (Rev.

22:18-19), go beyond (1 Cor. 4:6) or run ahead of the written Word (2 John 1:9). But

that is exactly what Emerging Church (EC) leaders are doing, including Middendorf.

Read my article on how the Emerging Church is teaching against some of the core

doctrines of the Church and adding things that the Bible does not teach or promote.

Middendorf bought into the EC paradigm and recommends a number of their materials in

this session. So right from the outset, beginning with the title of Middendorf’s 2007 Missional

session, his teaching is unbiblical.

Synopsis: There was no theology presented in this lecture, per se. The overriding theme

was that the EC wants to help Christians “find God in the world” and for them to “look

like Jesus”. Sounds good but what does that mean? Does that mean going back to

Roman Catholic liturgy and the Eucharist which Middendorf promotes? Does it mean

incorporating mystical and New Age practices into the churches? Does that look like

Jesus? I think not.

The tactic of any cultic groups is to isolate and indoctrinate. Middendorf is using both

those techniques to secure followers in the Nazarene denomination for the Emerging

Church. He uses isolation in two major ways. He first isolates by not allowing true

“conversation” even though that is the stated goal of the EC. He does not want to listen

to true criticism of the movement and subtly, and not so subtly, puts dissenters down by

using terms like those with “ugly questions” and those who “carve and manipulate”

people. It is clear, from his teachings in this session and others, that he is not able to

argue his case with clarity and in fact claims in this session “it feels funny to be the

person up here trying to nail down then what we mean when we say emerging or

emergent theology”. Maybe because he never really defines any theology in this session

and the EC has no real definitions on where they stand because that would necessarily

alienate people. He further isolates people by getting them involved in a close

relationship with another EC church and the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), which is not

even Biblical Christianity at all. So all the people following the Middendorf model are

put in close personal contact with others who are exchanging the same views over and

over again while claiming they are having an open conversation. But if dissent is not

allowed then it can never be a true conversation but rather indoctrination. This is what is

interesting because while the EC advocates claim their movement is about orthopraxy it

is really about repeating the same tired teachings of the EC over and over again until

people accept the false ideas, which is classic brainwashing. So while claiming to not

have an emphasis on doctrine, it is just the opposite. The emphasis is always on the false

teachings of the movement restated, and when you try to change the belief system of

people you are teaching doctrine, pure and simple, no matter what you call it. No, they

are not about Biblical doctrine; they are about repeating false doctrines endlessly.

2Pe 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will

be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies,

even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on

themselves.

1 Tim. 6: 3-5 If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound

instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and

understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels

about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant

friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who

think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

Middendorf is not being a watchman for the sheep of the Nazarene denomination but is

instead guiding false teachers and false doctrines into the Nazarene churches and making

excuses for them while pretending it will do no harm.

Ga 2:4-5 This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our

ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We

did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might

remain with you.

ze 33:6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the

trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them,

that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman

accountable for his blood.’

Article by Sandy Simpson click

Following is the full transcript of the 2007 Missional session with commentary by Sandy Simpson.

The text that is indented and in italics is the transcript. My comments are not indented

and are in normal text. Again, this transcript is from Jon Middendorf’s “Emerging

Theology” 2007 Missional Conference Session Audio on “An Official Site of the Church Of The

Nazarene site , http://www.m7conference.org/ResurrectionStories/tabid/181/Default.aspx

click

Article by Sandy Simpson

click

What is Absolute Truth?

“The Written Word of God”

2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Nazarenes believe in the authority of Scripture. ( “Sola Scriptura”), that the Bible is the literal Word of God, that the Bible alone is the sole source of God’s special revelation to mankind, and teaches all that is necessary for salvation from sin, and the Bible is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured. (My Nazarene Brothers and Sisters which are faithfully attending local Nazarene Churches Sunday after Sunday to my knowledge believe in the literal Word of God!)

Absolute Truth – Inflexible Reality
“Absolute truth” is defined as inflexible reality: fixed, invariable, unalterable facts. For example, it is a fixed, invariable, unalterable fact that there are absolutely no square circles and there are absolutely no round squares.

Absolute Truth vs. Relativism
While absolute truth is a logical necessity, there are some religious orientations (atheistic humanists, for example) who argue against the existence of absolute truth. Humanism’s exclusion of God necessitates moral relativism. Humanist John Dewey (1859-1952), co-author and signer of the Humanist Manifesto 1 (1933), declared, “There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.” Humanists believe one should do, as one feels is right.

Absolute Truth – A Logical Necessity
You can’t logically argue against the existence of absolute truth. To argue against something is to establish that a truth exists. You cannot argue against absolute truth unless an absolute truth is the basis of your argument. Consider a few of the classic arguments and declarations made by those who seek to argue against the existence of absolute truth…

“There are no absolutes.” First of all, the relativist is declaring there are absolutely no absolutes. That is an absolute statement. The statement is logically contradictory. If the statement is true, there is, in fact, an absolute – there are absolutely no absolutes.

“Truth is relative.” Again, this is an absolute statement implying truth is absolutely relative. Besides positing an absolute, suppose the statement was true and “truth is relative.” Everything including that statement would be relative. If a statement is relative, it is not always true. If “truth is relative” is not always true, sometimes truth is not relative. This means there are absolutes, which means the above statement is false. When you follow the logic, relativist arguments will always contradict themselves.

“Who knows what the truth is, right?” In the same sentence the speaker declares that no one knows what the truth is, then he turns around and asks those who are listening to affirm the truth of his statement.

“No one knows what the truth is.” The speaker obviously believes his statement is true.

There are philosophers who actually spend countless hours toiling over thick volumes written on the “meaninglessness” of everything. We can assume they think the text is meaningful! Then there are those philosophy teachers who teach their students, “No one’s opinion is superior to anyone else’s. There is no hierarchy of truth or values. Anyone’s viewpoint is just as valid as anyone else’s viewpoint. We all have our own truth.” Then they turn around and grade the papers!

Please read the article, to educate yourself, be prepared for the days ahead. God said his people perish for lack of knowledge. Jesus warns us to continue to learn of HIM.

God Bless

Dear Nazarene Christians

My name is Sue Butler and for the last 13 years I have been a member, along with my husband at Albany Grace Church of the Nazarene. I as a young child was bussed to a Nazarene Church in Valdosta, GA. Over the years, we have been very active in our local church.
Recently, we came across some terrible information when we researched some of the teachings that were showing up in our literature, as well as terms that were cropping up, that were similar to Catholic terms. Then, we discovered the “Emergent Church” folks and were alarmed at how our schools and seminaries have opened the doors to them and their heresies, especially in programs such as Youth Specialties, Youth front, etc., which have wholeheartedly gone the way of this “new conversation”.
Of particular interest, is the influence of Brian McLaren. After careful research, we were deeply appalled at his foundational beliefs.
Another alarming influence in our denomination is that of Jon Middendorf. He has adopted the “emergent” viewpoint from all the indications we have found. I spoke with Jon Middendorf about some of the teachings, which are not found in the Bible. Jon was very polite and kind, but we were not able to come to any agreement on Biblical Authority. Please check out the dialogue between him and Greg Horton.
Other things being taught such as, Lectio Divina, Contemplative Prayer, Icons, Labyrinths, and the uplifting of Catholics such as Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, St. John of the Cross and “St. Ignatius of Loyola” which our own Nazarene Publishing House puts out a book for our youth promoting him as a great Christian! This man was part of the Counter Reformation. This literature is unacceptable.
The biggest heresy, in our opinion, is the praying method being called Contemplative Prayer / Centering Prayer (known as mysticism). Where is the scripture for such New Age stuff? When you research this type of prayer the alarm starts to go off.
Dr. Daniel Boone.” Says, in the Alumni spotlight. “I find myself deepening in the practices of spiritual formation that have shaped the saints of the ages, Lectio Divina, fasting, Sabbath observance, care for the poor, journaling, and contemplative prayer.” What exactly is contemplative prayer? If we go to Richard Foster, he will point us to Thomas Merton, which was known to be one of the greatest leaders in contemplative prayer/centering prayer (mysticism). Henri Nouwen is one of Dr. Daniel Boone’s spiritual guides; if we find out who Henri Nouwen looked to we will find Thomas Merton. In an interview with Christianbook.com Dr. Daniel Boone states Henri Nouwen has served as a spiritual guide. Eugene Peterson has been a distant mentor through his writings and Bill Hybels is mentioned, along with Barbara Brown Taylor. The material we have included will help you to see their unbiblical practices. Concerned Nazarene’s have spoken with Dr. Daniel Boone; we would like him to openly help us understand these practices.
When we went to our pastor with these concerns, they were dismissed at first. Then, it was admitted that he was already aware of these teachings in Seminary and seen nothing wrong with these teachings. We are truly brokenhearted over the danger facing our denomination. We want all to be awakened and join us as we fight to alert our brothers and sisters in Christ of the dangers of engaging in these mystical practices.
To that end, we are asking you, as people who love the LORD JESUS CHRIST to please examine what the claims that are being presented. If you also find it troubling, pray about what God would have you do. I hope that the solid people in leadership positions will take note and purge out the leaders who are taking us down the road to destruction. We are building a website to house information pertinent to this cause. Will you stand in the gap and be counted for the LORD?? If you disagree with us, I welcome your comments.

Please take the time to examine these claims. The Bible exhorts us to study for ourselves and also to examine ourselves, repeatedly. Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayers are that our denomination might once again glorify Jesus Christ in all we say and do.

Sincerely,
Sue Butler

1.    Re: Dr. Daniel Boone-

http://www.nts/edu/alumni-spotlight–dr-dan-boone-winter-2007/

Concerned Nazarenes.net

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