Biblical Nazarenes Rally to Rescue Denomination

June 2, 2009

Ministry Update – 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.
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 working 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 future updates. (Find info 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 beyond.

What will be the Sign?
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.


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