- May 29, 2009
Biblical Nazarenes Rally to Rescue Denomination
from Eric Barger
I have just returned
from a five week ministry trip that took me literally from one coast of
North America to
the other and back again. Five weeks away from my family and our office
borders on excessive but it was indeed fruitful. Obviously, this would
be a great time to say that I'm tired and need a break. However, instead
I am embarking on writing the first of two books we have planned and
researched for. We hope to have them both in print by the end of
September. A lofty goal indeed - but one that I feel passionately about.
I would like to take the
time to write on several pertinent issues in this update and will
perhaps take a break from working on the first book to do so in coming
days. One real "praise the Lord" has been the recent airing of three
programs that I co-hosted on Southwest Radio Church. These programs have
helped to solidify support for Bible-believers inside the Church of the
Nazarene as they fight for the very soul of their denomination.
I so appreciate Dr. Noah
Hutchings, Dr. Larry Spargimino and our friends at Southwest Radio for
allowing me to spotlight the growing Emergent philosophy within Nazarene
circles and to interview several orthodox Nazarene pastors and laypeople
who are actively engaging this problem in their midst. These nationally
aired programs illustrated that the tide of Emergent thinking, Open
Theism and assorted heresies now encroaching on previously orthodox
churches, schools and seminaries is not going unnoticed. Though I am not
a member of the Church of the Nazarene, I am a concerned Christian
apologist and have been watching as this denomination goes through
dramatic changes. It has been a genuine blessing to know that our
efforts and these radio programs have served to further unite groups of
concerned, biblical Nazarenes from all over the country. Like never
before, these groups are now sharing research and resources and also
joining forces in trying to bring reform to this once-sound
denomination. Several biblical Nazarenes have written me saying that
until they heard the Southwest Radio programs they felt like they were
all alone - "voices crying the wilderness" - in their efforts to expose
and resist the assorted heresies that are being embraced as of late in
their churches. Praise the Lord, many are finding out that they are not
alone in this good fight.
(Want a copy of these three
important Southwest Radio Church programs? Click here!)
Some of those
perpetrating and defending Emergent ideas and practices have taken note
as well. I have become the proverbial lightning rod for Emergent
Nazarenes and have been wildly accused of numerous assorted things such
as "splitting churches." One Nazarene pastor, who is also a professor at
an increasingly liberal Bible college, even accused me of being a "liar."
He's even suggested that a respected Nazarene evangelist, with whom I am
to oppose the destruction of the Church of the Nazarene at the hands of
the "new" liberals, should possibly lose credentialing in the
denomination for her efforts! Of course, when asked for specifics of the
alleged lies I perpetrated, none were ever cited. The fact is that the
moment these folks and their ideas are confronted with the Bible they
quickly run for cover. It would appear that the best they can do is to
remind anyone who will listen that, since they are highly educated and
brainy intellectuals, they know better than everyone else and they must be listened to as the alleged "keepers of truth." In reality,
however, the education most of these folks seem to have acquired has
only served to destroy any resemblance of real spiritual smarts.
I believe that when
Paul warned Timothy about those in the last days who would possess a
"form of godliness but without the power thereof" and who were "ever
learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Tim.
3:5, 7) he was thinking about those with "PhD" behind their
name who think more highly of their own hypotheses than of the plain and
simple truths of God's inerrant Word. Because Emergents have little
orthodox biblical ground to stand on, the best these folks can do is
to cast aspersions from the shadows in hopes of demeaning their
opponents. This is the same unseemly tactic relied on by politicians who
have no valid arguments to make to their opposition: use accusations to
undermine the credibility of those they oppose in order to make them
appear to be without credibility. This group of Nazarene
"intellectuals" has even succeeded in intimidating at least one national
Nazarene leader who had previously shown support for the cause of
biblical-thinking Nazarenes. Regardless of all of the silly statements
made about me and the gross guilt-by-association accusations that some Emergent
Nazarenes have resorted to in an attempt to undermine our efforts, this
is exactly the kind of confrontation that is needed to expose heresy in
its breeding grounds - college campuses and denominational headquarters.
It would be a colossal
waste of time and energy to try and answer all of my critics. However,
going against my own long-standing policy, I have attempted some limited
dialog with a few Emergent Nazarenes but to no avail. Since I don't
think effective apologetics is always about being simply "bless God
right" on every issue and since reconciliation is indeed why the Lord
Himself came to earth, one always hopes the other side will have a
change of heart. But true reconciliation can never
occur at the expense of biblical truth. So, as has been stated on a popular social networking website, I would
embrace publically debating any of these Emergent thinkers
(Nazarene or otherwise) providing that the ground rules for such a
debate were simply to examine the merits of Emergent beliefs using the
Bible and the Bible alone as the literal interpreter of truth. Such a
debate would serve to illustrate how far removed Emergent thinking and
literature is from authentic Christianity - which is perhaps why thus
far there have been no takers.
I have written far more
on this than I intended an hour ago but I do want to ask that you
please pray specifically for the growing group of biblically-sound Nazarenes,
that their efforts open many eyes and that they make a truly monumental
impact as they come together at the
national conference of the Church of the Nazarene in Florida in late June.
One note: The Emergent
Church is not a problem for only the Church of the Nazarene. It is
throughout evangelical and denominational circles. One of the two
writing projects I am undertaking will address how the effects of the Emergent
Church, its teachers and its beliefs, are affecting nearly every
denomination. It will be a resource and a warning that Satan is surely
repeating the same tactic he used to theologically destroy the mainline
denominations in the late 19th and 20th centuries. More on that in
on the Emergent Church here.)
But for now, I need to
remind you that we are here, at work and on point. With the exception of
a few single-day speaking engagements, I am forced to stay "off the road"
during this season of writing, research and prayer. (I am writing
this book in the Pacific Northwest and have just four open weekends
available for services during June and July.
Please click here to
contact us for scheduling.) So, it is crucial that our friends
understand that the needs of the ministry continue even though our main
source of income (our seminars) is greatly reduced during this time. I
am depending on you to, first, pray for us and, second, to help support this
good cause that God has directed us to undertake. I believe that the
sacrifice of time and effort for these two writing projects will pay a
dividend of souls and will make an impact next fall and into 2010 and
I want to close by
repeating some thoughts that I shared in my special letter to our
regular donors this week. I hope these words will serve to encourage and
challenge. God bless you!
What will be the
As we study the Bible, verses
occasionally seem to leap off of the page and become particularly
meaningful. If you have been a Believer for long then you probably know
the sensation I am speaking about. One such passage for me recently has
been the beginning of Matthew 24.
In verse 3 the disciples questioned Jesus
asking "what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the
world?" Verse 4 tells us the Lord's reply: "And Jesus answered and said
unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you."
It is significant that Jesus didn't immediately begin with an overview
of conditions and calamities that the world would be experiencing just
before His Second Coming. Instead, He warns the very men who had watched
as He raised the dead, healed the lame and blind and who had seen and
experienced many mighty miracles to be watchful of one thing: that they
were not deceived! Stunningly, this paramount prophetic passage
indicates that the foremost concern in Jesus' mind was that His faithful
men - who had walked with Him for three years - be first cognizant of
religious deception before considering any other marker of the
end-times. Unquestionably, the premier sign of the eminent return of
Jesus Christ is that error will pervade and deception will be rampant -
inside what claims to be "the Church." Surely this is so today.
Thank you so much for helping us alert
those with ears to hear the truth that this "sign of signs" from Matthew
24 is upon us. Your faithful giving allows us to be a voice in refuting
the cultic and errant teachings of liberalism, Emergent and other
destructive heresies that are making their way toward center stage in
the Church today. Above all, your gifts help us present a constant
reminder that the only safe refuge is a deep, Scripturally-based abiding
walk with the King of Kings!
Donate and Request CDs of Southwest Radio Church Programs
Recent Ministry Updates:
April 14 - How to Spot the Emergent Church
April 2 - Looking for Truth in a Tattooed World
March 2009 - DVD Special
March 12 - Warren, Obama, The Shack, Emergent and more
February 6 - A Few Reasons to Pray for Obama
January 22 - More details on Rick Warren and Obama
January 22 - Just When I Thought I Could Say "Amen"...
January 17 - Let's Review - What was that about Rick Warren anyway?
December 30 - What You Said About Warren and Obama
December 27 - Rick Warren Should Have Rejected Obama's Offer
December 20 - Twenty-Five Years of "Taking A Stand!"
November 26 - "Bringing
out into the Son"
November 22 -
Death of Discernment - How The Shack
Became the #1 Bestseller in Christianity"
August 15 - "The Errors of the Emergent Church"
August 7 - "Evangelical Meltdown - Islam and Christianity at Yale"
powerful DVD message illustrates the desperate need for clear and decisive
biblical apologetics in the Church today. Find out why author and Christian
apologist, Eric Barger, believes that the popularity of William "Paul"
Young's emotionally charged story, The Shack,
signals an unprecedented lack of discernment from within Christianity.
the unbiblical, unorthodox theology contained in this runaway bestseller and
soon-to-be-released motion picture and how it threatens to deceive untold
numbers of both Christians and seekers in our midst.
Live Seminar Presentation
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Today, in an effort to
redefine Christianity, alarming numbers of popular yet apostate
“evangelical” leaders known as “The Emerging Church Movement” are abandoning
historic and biblical standards.
This unscriptural, even deadly movement is part of the predicted “great
falling away” of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as Emergent leaders now proclaim that
the Church has failed in its mission, that doctrine is irrelevant and that
the very basis of Christian thinking has always been faulty. In this seminar
Eric defines Emergent thinking and terms, concisely exposes the practical
and doctrinal errors of the Emergents and draws the striking parallels to
New Age thought.
Live Seminar Presentation
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