It is my sad duty to announce the end of Emergent Nazarenes, not just the blog, but the end of The Church of the Nazarene’s tolerance for any Nazarene that has leaned one way or the other into the emergent conversation. I have been instructed by the denomination to renounce my association with the emergent church movement or I will lose my credentials.
It seems that over the past year a petition has made its rounds asking the General Superintendents to answer for “how our general church reconciles Emergent Church theology and practice with the concept of the Bible as the inerrant word of God.” When I first saw this I originally thought it was absurd because the Church of the Nazarene does not speak of inerrancy in terms of what scripture IS, but only as to what it DOES; saying that scripture “inerrantly reveals the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation”. But, I was wrong and now the denomination will be changing this article of faith to better reflect a confession of inerrancy which they are now convinced is necessary for our salvation.
The petition further demandeds that they “want assurance that advocates of the Emergent Church will not be allowed further access to any forum within the Church of the Nazarene.” The denomination is taking this seriously too, which is why they have demanded that I shut down or radically change this blog to comply with their new standards. They say they hold all rights to the name “Nazarene” and my “unauthorized” use of it is a “copyright infringement.” So, I am changing the blog to meet their demands. Other Nazarenes will be greatly effected as well, including many in our educational institutions, many Pastors, and even one General Superintendent. More on that in a moment.
Also during the last few months, another group known as “Concerned Nazarenes” has sent out information to churches all over the country warning them of the dangerous of the emergent church. It seems that these documents provided the final nail in the coffin for any emergent Nazarene and convinced the General Superintendents. The arguments in these documents against the evils of “Contemplative Spirituality”, “Lectio Divina’s” and all things too “Catholic” combined with their scripture references proved to be too much for the General Superintendents to be able to continue to justify what they are now calling the “conversation of demons” in regards to the emergent church.
Because of this, the General Superintendents have enacted a little known provision in our polity known as the “J.P. Widney Rule”, which enables the Generals to protect the integrity of the name of the Church of the Nazarene at any cost. In other words, they have declared Marshal Law; though they would never call it this. Perhaps they might call it “General Law”.
I have to confess I am shocked, but not half as shocked as Dr. Jesse C. Middendorf who has been removed as General Superintendent by the other five Generals because of his documented sympathies with the emergent church according to Tim Wirth of Concerned Nazarenes and his 15 other websites on the same topic. You can see one of many of his articles about the Middendorfs HERE.
Though Middendorf is the highest to go, he is not the only one. Jesse’s son Jon has also been removed of his duties as a Pastor (again because of the amazing journalistic prowess of Tim Wirth) along with many other Pastors in our church that refused to comply with the new standards that ban all things emergent.
Dr Dean Blevins of Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City was also dismissed after Tim Wirth posted his papers on his Concerned Nazarenes website. Dr. Dennis Bratcher, who has served as an educator in the Church of the Nazarene for over 25 years, has been stripped of his PHD after Tim Wirth revealed how Mr. Bratcher has been “saying dumb things” and having a “problem with the authority of scripture concerning the scriptures being inerrant.” Again you can read the article that exposed Dennis Bratcher at the website called Psalm 11:3, another one of Tim Wirth’s Concerned Nazarene sites.
The pruning away all things that even hints of emergent is not stopping with these individuals, the General are also investigating all the Nazarene Colleges and Universities that have had Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, Tony Jones and Tony Campolo speak at their chapel service. There is some rumbling that the Generals may pull funds for these schools and send our Nazarene educational funds to Liberty University instead. I have heard that there is a chance that these Nazarene colleges might retain funding if the college Presidents repent. Unfortunately, there is currently an investigation into one Nazarene University President who endorsed Yoga on campus; it is felt that he has transgressed beyond the ability to repent. You can read what prompted this investigation HERE.
The Generals also acted swiftly to excommunicate any Nazarene who had signed the late Robert Webber’s “call to an ancient evangelical future”. The names of Nazarenes on the list had been hidden, scattered among the great number of signers, until recently when the ExNazarene blog found their names and posted them. The General’s have since dealt swiftly to deal with those listed below who signed such a heretical document.
- Rev. Ken Balch, Mission Director, Mid-Atlantic COTN, Crofton MD
- Sam S. Barber, Senior Pastor, Troy COTN, Troy, OH
- Dan Boone, President, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN
- Daron B. Brown, Pastor, COTN, Waverly, TN
- Rev. James B. Chapman, Sonlight COTN, Minneapolis, MN
- Eric Frey, Toronto First COTN, Toronto, OH
- Timothy Green
- Dr. Sam Green, Associate Professor of Music, Chair of the Division of Music, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN
- Chad A. Harvey, Pastor, Little Sandy COTN, Bruceton Mills, WV
- Rich Mark, Pastor to Families with Children, Nashville First COTN, TN
- Scott Marshall, Pastor of Fellowship & Discipleship, Southside COTN, Chesterfield, VA
- Rev. Harlan Moore, Minister of Worship Arts, Bethany First COTN, Bethany, OK
- Brian M. Niece, Pastor, Grace Community COTN, Brusnwick, GA
- Dr. Charles Nienkirchen, Prof. of Christian History & Spirituality, Alliance University College/Nazarene University College, Calgary, AB, Canada
- Rev. Brent Peterson, Pastor, Chicago Northside COTN, Chicago, IL
- Rev. Brian K. Postlewait, Spiritual Director, Community of Hope, Inc., Washington D.C.
- John D. Prichard II, Lead Pastor, Butler COTN, Butler, MO
- Dr. Keith Schwanz, Assistant Dean, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO
- Rev. Todd A. Stepp, O.S.L., Pastor, COTN, Greencastle, IN
- Rev. A. Blake Teston, Lead Pastor, Blackwell First COTN, Blackwell, OK
- Rev. Brian R. Thomas, Sr. Pastor, Wasilla Lake COTN, Wasilla, AK
- Rev. Greg Voiles, COTN, Elder, Ph.D. Preparation Historical Theology & Christian Spirituality (Fall 2007), Allardt, TN
- Michael Wiebe, Minister of Worship & Music, First COTN, Nampa ID
So, it with a heavy heart, that today, April 1, 2009, we say goodbye to our little emergent Nazarene Blog. It seems so ironic that just last year to the day we were talking about putting the emergent church in the Nazarene Manual. What a difference a year can make. I should have known it would end badly for me when Tim Wirth posted THIS about my Corridor church community. He found me out, he found us all out, and now we are no more.