[Link] Why I Left the Church of the Nazarene

As a person who loves the Church of the Nazarene (COTN), it hurts when I run across stories like this one. But this is a well written and graceful account that needs to be shared. It’s by a former Nazarene pastor named Ric Shewell, who now serves in the UMC.

Link here: Why I Left the Church of the Nazarene

He rightly points out that his experience was unique, however, he mentions something that I have also noticed: Among COTN members and some pastors, there is growing distrust of Nazarene colleges, and a fear that those institutions have become “liberal”. I don’t think that distrust is warranted, and it makes me sad. I don’t always agree with Nazarene theologians and professors, but I have never doubted their love for the Lord, and their love for the students they teach. In fact, several of the professors wrote replies to the blog and apologized.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “[Link] Why I Left the Church of the Nazarene

  1. I think sometimes, in higher education, some students have difficulty recognizing between a teaching congruent with the COTN and a teaching to know more about varieties of beliefs.

    As homeschoolers, we taught our children a variety of beliefs (secular & christian), allowed them to analyze them for themselves and then discussed together. They both went to a Nazarene University and were not upset when they were instructed to come up with reasons that one might give about a particular COTN teaching being false. They recognized it as simply an academic exercise and not an opportunity to undermine their faith and/or the teaching of the COTN.

    I think this is important in academia, being able to fully understand an opposing position but not necessarily adopting it.

    • I think you’re right Dale. Good Christian higher education requires being challenged, just as we are challenged in the world. It’s better that it takes place in an environment with caring Christian professors than somewhere else. Good parenting requires the same thing. Some students do give up their faith while at a Christian school. And the school (often unfairly) gets blamed in those cases.

      I’ve tried to do the same thing with my kids that you describe. I try to make sure that they have a good grasp and understand the essentials of the faith, while at the same time exposing them to different views, particularly on non-essentials of faith. For example the strengths and weaknesses of a literal 7 day creation, old earth creationism, and theistic evolution. And unfortunately they can’t be completely sheltered from the world. For example, I have a cousin who is lesbian, and we had to explain to the kids what homosexuality is (at a younger age than I would have preferred). But that’s the reality of our world.

  2. I was disappointed when Dr. Vic Reasoner sent out books to every Nazarene pastor and received numerous negative replies for his book as being outdated. I fear that many Nazarene pastors are buying into liberalism and rejecting the inerrancy of the Bible.

    • Hey Roy,

      Nazarenes have never been fundamentalists. For example, Nazarenes have ordained women since the beginning. My local church has a lead women pastor (who is also a prayer warrior with a heart after God).

      We lean theologically conservative, and we hold that the Bible is inerrant in all matters pertaining to salvation, but we don’t take inerrancy positions on tangential issues (like the age of the earth, form of baptism, etc). This is nothing new, the Articles of Faith have been basically the same in this area for many years, and early Naz theologian H.Orton Wiley was involved in their creation.

      I haven’t read Dr. Reaonser’s book, so I can’t speak to that issue.

      • I would love to see Arminian denominations such as the Nazarenes or the Assemblies of God fully embrace inerrancy. The issue is going to hit a head at some point. Both denominations are facing trials in their schools where their “scholars” are rejecting full inerrancy in favor of say theistic evolution. This, of course, leads to other issues. I pray that men like Dr. Reasoner are heard.

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