In the October 17, 2011, edition of The New York Times, Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens, two professors from Eastern Nazarene College, published an op-ed called "The Evangelical Rejection of Reason." It should have been titled "Why The Bible Isn't True." (Read Here)
If you're not aware of the attack on the validity and authority of the Bible that's underway inside allegedly "evangelical" denominations, and in particular in the classrooms of once-trustworthy seminaries and bible colleges, then wake yourself and get a load of what these two "evangelicals" are proclaiming. Before you think that this is a phenomena unique to The Church of the Nazarene, think again. This is actually a problem throughout the evangelical world as more and more leaders and teachers choose to accept the wisdom of men instead of that of God. In the message "Hath God Said? - Holding Onto the Bible in Troubled Times" I explain the reason our colleges and teachers are abandoning inerrancy. It is actually quite simple: They have sacrificed God's Word to be intellectually accepted by their peers. They have traded God's wisdom for the "foolishness of this world" (I Cor. 3:19). This, my friends, is what you call being corrupted by the world. Not having a spiritual leg to stand on, Giberson and Stephens have chosen to attack the messengers who reject their positions, such as Ken Ham, David Barton, and Dr. James Dobson.
This isn't the first foray into these waters by the likes of Giiberson and Stephens. One wonders how it is that those who have so boldly attacked the authority of the Scriptures could have been trusted for so long and without challenge by Nazarene leadership. Perhaps, as in the theological fall of the old mainline denominations more than 100 years ago, the answer is that the Nazarene hierarchy agrees with Giberson, Stephens, and other bible doubters. Like many quasi-evangelicals, those in charge of formulating the doctrinal statements that represent today's Nazarene Church do indeed use words like "infallible" and "inerrant" when discussing the Bible. But listen to how these buzz words are employed.
Concerning the Holy Scrpitures, the Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene states, "We believe in the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, by which we understand the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, given by divine inspiration, inerrantly revealing the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation, so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined as an article of faith." Whoever constructed this statement obviously desired to use the words "inspiration" and "inerrancy" but only concerning "all things necessary to our salvation." Nowhere does the current Nazarene statement of faith declare that the Bible as a whole is inspired or inerrant.
Thank the Lord that there are still many Bible-believing Nazarenes who love the Lord and are dedicated to uphold and defend everything in His Word. Unlike the two ENC professors, they believe in the six-day Genesis account of creation; they believe that God completely knows everything about the future; they understand that homosexuality is a sin; and, though the official Nazarene position on the Bible does not uphold Scriptural authority, they view God's Word as the bottom line. Many Nazarene lay people are unaware that the supreme tester of truth (i.e., The Bible) has been relegated to a much lower status than they perceive by Nazarene intellectuals. (Honestly, it's tough to call those who have demoted God's Word to a lesser status "intellectuals.") Working under cover and behind the scenes, this move away from the Bible has taken place without publicity, fanfare, or even much opposition. I personally believe that the abandoning of the Bible is directly responsible for the fact that the Emergent Church philosophy has become so accepted and is rampant inside the Church of the Nazarene today. True to Emergent thinking, if Giberson, Stephens, and other heretics have their way, the next generation of Nazarene pastor won't give inerrancy any consideration, which will lead to the spiritual demise and eternal doom of countless souls. Again, it's just not the Nazarenes' folks. But where the Nazarenes are going is where Satan will take any and every Evangelical should we fail to understand the importance of defending God's holy and precious Word - no matter how unintellectual it may appear to those around us.
Dr. David Reagan responds
The October 17th New York Times editorial elicited a fabulous response from my friend, Dr. David Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries and the international TV broadcast "Christ in Prophecy." Below is Dr. Reagan's letter to Randall Stephens and my comments back to Dr. Reagan.
From: Dr. David R. Reagan
Sent: Friday, October 21, 2011 9:34 AM
Subject: Your New York Times Article
Your recent Opinion article in the New York Times about the Evangelical rejection of reason is a perfect example of why the term, Evangelical, has completely lost its meaning. How can it have any meaning when you claim to be an Evangelical and yet reject what the Bible teaches about Creation, the origin of Man, and homosexuality?
I was also turned off by your arrogance in dismissing those who disagree with you as being persons who have rejected reason. I happen to have a doctorate in International Law and Politics from a Harvard graduate school. The vice chairman of the board of trustees of the ministry I represent is a research scientist who is a graduate of Cal Tech and holds a doctorate in nuclear physics from Stanford. Yet, he believes in a 6,000 year earth and totally rejects the concept of evolution. In fact, he was an atheist when he entered Stanford University and became a Christian because he concluded that the best explanation of what he could observe in the natural universe was special creation.
I do not understand how anyone who claims to operate from reason could conclude that life evolved. It's like standing in front of Mount Rushmore and exclaiming, "Wow! Isn't it amazing what can be created accidently from erosion!"
You are welcome to your unbiblical viewpoints, but don't have the audacity to call yourself an "Evangelical." And don't be so arrogant as to write off those who disagree with you as being Neanderthals who have rejected reason.
Yours in Jesus,
Dr. David R. Reagan
Lamb & Lion Ministries
P.O. Box 919
McKinney, TX 75070
Wow! Great retort. As I read your response to these two "evangelical" imposters, I can just hear your voice actually saying this to these guys, which makes your letter even sweeter to my "ears."
I don't know Dr. Stephens, but I have known about Giberson's theology for some time. He's one of the three most prominent advocates of "Open Theism" in the world (i.e., God does not know the future). Apparently, he's leaving Eastern Nazarene, but with the shape the denomination is in, it is likely that his seat will be filled with someone with theology as bad or worse than his.
I was just in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts last week, having been brought there by two former Nazarenes who were given the left foot of fellowship because they made stands concerning creationism and biblical authority/inerrancy. They told me that it appears that hope for a turnaround for the Nazarenes is fading as Emergent philosophy is now the norm and the national leaders seem either unwilling or unable to rein in the renegade professors and intellectuals in their schools and seminary. The real issue is that these heretics are leading the next generation of Nazarene pastors and lay people down the garden path to their own demise and that of anyone who follows them. There are still some Bible-believing Nazarene pastors in the denomination who have planted their flag firmly on the Scriptures. Some are trying to warn others and have labored to stand against Emergent teaching, evolution, Open Theism, and Process Theology but they are being marginalized and picked off and systematically defrocked for insubordination. I think the only hope for the Nazarenes (and others) is to see the lay people stand and demand truth from their leadership. As Walter Martin said about liberalism's deceptive leaders many years ago, "If the people in the pews really understood the corruption at the top they would throw the devils out!"
I'll be in Texas the end of next week but I believe you'll be in Israel. I regret missing the opportunity to see you. Please keep in touch and have a great trip.
Many blessings and thanks!