The emergent or emerging church is something members of our congregation became aware of individually, in different ways, and in varying time frames. A board member was shocked to hear from a Nazarene University student that the Genesis account of creation, and other portions of scripture, was being presented as mythical or simply allegorical. An NMI President was confused when she reviewed on-line coverage of the 2007 Missions Conference (M 7) and discovered Nazarene clergy telling seminar attendees—at sessions about emergent theology-- that they (the clergy) no longer knew for sure what they believed, but that they were pretty sure traditional teachings on the Gospel were incorrect.
One concerned member of our church shared his research regarding the emergent influence on the Church of the Nazarene with other members who began doing their own research. Information gained collectively indicated use of literature and conference presentations at Nazarene institutions of higher education that claim the church has been wrong about everything and that orthodox doctrine and theology should be trashed. We reached consensus among our membership that doctrinal clarification from the Board of General Superintendents was needed. As result, a layperson composed a letter and petition asking Nazarenes around the U.S. to do their own research, and sign a petition asking for doctrinal clarification at the general church level if they too were concerned. An email campaign was launched in October, 2008 – targeting approximately 150 Nazarene churches around the country. As the campaign continues, we are regularly contacted by equally concerned Nazarenes who desire doctrinal clarification. We are also routinely attacked by self-described, emergent Nazarenes who call us ignorant, cultish, idiots, and bigots. All we have done is ask for clarification.
Grace Church of the Nazarene
Many would argue that the emergent movement has both its negatives and positives. This is an argument I have often heard from those who would consider themselves “Emergent Nazarenes.” For this reason, they are quick to adopt the name, and seek for some common ground. However, we cannot forget the countless times that the Israelites suffered because of alliances with imposters in the land. Take for example, King Solomon’s unholy alliances by way of marriage. Though he may have justified these alliances because they would have served Israel’s political interests, he ignored God’s warning: “Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.”
(I Kings 11:2) Israel’s unwillingness to separate themselves completely from all ungodly people always led to disaster for the nation.
In the Nazarene denomination, we believe that as God’s people, we are to be “a holy people to the Lord our God; the Lord our God has chosen us to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6) For this reason, we cannot seek for mutual understanding with the enemy. Let me assure you, the “Emergentites” are in the land. Any endeavor to seek common ground with these apostates will serve to give the devil a foothold in our beloved denomination, and eventually, lead to its downfall: “Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods!"
- Pastor Joe Staniforth -