As a result of various blog and Facebook items I have written recently concerning compromise of God’s Word (particularly in Genesis) in the church, a person in the Nazarene denomination was alarmed at the quotes I gave from two professors at Nazarene universities (Darrel Falk and Karl Giberson—see previous blogs).
This person then wrote the following email to the head office of the Nazarene Church (by the way, the person who wrote gave us their blessing to make these emails public):
Being a member of the Church of the Nazarene I know of our beliefs of the six day creation as stated in the Book of Genesis. What I do not understand is why the church permits professors from their universities to teach against church doctrine as evolution is how man was created and the six day creation never occurred From what I have read, a Professor Darrell Falk of the Point Loma Nazarene University is also the President of a very liberal evolution and Bible undermining .organization, and is curious why does the church even permit this type of educator with his beliefs that are clearly contradictory to the church's?The response from the church office was as follows:
Thank you for your email of concern sent recently to the Global Ministry Center, Church of the Nazarene. Please pardon the delay in responding to your inquiry. We concluded the 2011 International Board of Education and General Board meeting last week.Being concerned at this response, the enquirer asked more specific questions. (By the way, increasingly we have to get very specific with our questions if we really want to discern what a Christian college, denomination, etc. really believes concerning such matters).
I trust that you have corresponded with the presidents of the Nazarene schools with your concern. If not, I encourage you to do so in the spirit of Matthew 18.
The Manual statement on Creation 903.9 states, “The Church of the Nazarene believes in the biblical account of creation (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…”—Genesis 1:1). We oppose any godless interpretation of the origin of the universe and of humankind (Hebrews 11:3).
It is our strong belief that each faculty member embraces the Church of the Nazarene Articles of Faith, Core Values and Covenant of Christian Character and Conduct statements. When faculty members are found to be at variance with the affirmations of the denomination, appropriate action is taken following Board of Trustee approved institutional handbooks and bylaws documents.
During my 18 years as president of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, I had numerous conversations with our science faculty members who loved the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind, and were devout Christian leaders in their homes, local churches and at the university. Some embraced the “young life” theory of creation while others had deeply held beliefs that embraced the “older life” theory of creation. However, all of these faculty members embraced wholeheartedly the Manual statement and were faithful to teach within the parameters of the Manual.
Thank-you for the reply. Please forgive me for wanting an exact view of our church regarding what is stated in the manual regarding what is stated in the Book of Genesis. I would very much like to know does the statement in the manual mean the Nazarene Church stands on a belief in: 1. six literal twenty four hours of creation 2. A young (around 6000 years old) earth 3. That God did not use evolution, and a Christian cannot consistent hold to such positions as Theistic Evolution etc 4. That the Flood of Noah's Day was a global (not local) event The reason I am asking is that I have been getting conflicting stories on what the Nazarene Church stands on this issue, and I would really like to know.Now the response (from the General Secretary’s Office) begins to get more specific, and now we do start to get the real details of where the heads of the denomination see the stand of their church on Genesis:
Thank you for your additional questions. The Church of the Nazarene has a position that is both informed by Scripture and at the same time faithful to personal convictions prompted by the Holy Spirit. We do not, however, hold position statements based on the criteria you listed in your email. First, the term for "day" used in Genesis is of indeterminate length. There is no way beyond a personal conviction to support belief in a literal 24-day.Sadly, this sort of compromise (or even much worse) is rife in church denominations, Christian colleges and seminaries, etc. across the nation (and around the world).
Second, there is also no way from Scripture alone to date the age of the earth apart from imposing interpretative theories upon the Scripture. Hence, we do not have a position statement in this regard.
Third, we agree that any theory regarding the origins of the earth or humankind that leaves out God is untenable. However, we do not know how God creates. To exclude any methodology goes beyond our MANUAL statements.
Finally, Christians are divided with regard to whether the flood described in the Old Testament was localized to the region where humans existed at that time, or if it was a global flood. The Church of the Nazarene leaves room for personal conviction.
It is important to understand that the Church of the Nazarene values personal conscience in matters of personal conviction. While some may be interested in establishing litmus tests, we have from the days of founder Phineas Bresee emphasized the statement: "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity."
Our new book Already Compromised (which will be available May 1) is going to shock the Christian world concerning compromise in Christian colleges.
Yes, there is a culture war happening in our nation, but there is a much greater battle that needs to be fought—a battle to call the church back to an uncompromising position on the authority of the Word of God.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,