Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easter Greetings from the Nazarene General Superintendents

The Rev'd. Dr. David Graves, one of the six general superintendents (bishops) of the Church of the Nazarene, brings Easter greetings on behalf of the Board of General Superintendents.

Here, also, is a written Easter Greeting from the BGS:  "Celebrate the Resurrection."

2014 Annual Report of the Board of General Superintendents

For those who may have missed it (and who are interested!), the Rev'd. Dr. David Busic, general superintendent (bishop) in the Church of the Nazarene, on behalf of the Board of General Superintendents, presented their annual report to the General Board on February 23, 2014.  The report was titled, "For Such A Time As This," and it can be viewed, here.

Or, if one would prefer, you can listen to the audio of the report:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Every Bridge Is Burned Behind Me

I share the following refrain from one of the hymns that was a part of Morning Prayer, today:

Every Bridge Is Burned Behind Me
Strengthen all the ties that bind me
Closer, closer, Lord, to Thee.
Ev'ry bridge is burned behind me;
Thine I evermore will be
(Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922)

The National Association of Evangelicals Meet at Nazarene Global Ministry Center

The Nazarene Communications Network recently reported that the the National Association of Evangelicals recently held its spring meeting at the Church of the Nazarene's Global Ministry Center in Lenexa, Kansas.

"It was a tremendous privilege for us to host the NAE Board of Director meetings," said David P. Wilson, general secretary for the Church of the Nazarene. "We work very closely on issues relative to the evangelical church."

The NAE represents more than 45,000 churches from 40 denominations and serves a constituency of millions.*

"Historically, the Church of the Nazarene has played a significant role in the association," Wilson said. "People at the GMC put their best foot forward. The members that attended were impressed with the hospitality and with the facility."

Due to the size of the gathering, one of the plenary sessions was reportedly hosted by College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, Kansas.

During the meeting, Wilson gave an overview of the Church of the Nazarene. He was elected as a member-at-large and a member of the Executive Committee. As the current chair of the Board of General Superintendents, David W. Graves serves as the denominational representative.

Since 1942, the NAE has spoken as a united voice for millions of U.S. evangelicals who take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. According to the NAE website, the group brings together Calvinist, Arminian, Wesleyan, Anabaptist, and Charismatic traditions and holds "a commitment to dynamic unity that works toward a vision of all things made new, of all God's people reconciled, and of a lost world saved."

The Church of the Nazarene has been an NAE member since 1984.
--General Secretary's Office
* It was reported in the original article, which can be read, here, that "The Church of the Nazarene is the second largest denomination in the association."  However, I don't know how they are figuring that, unless we are using our international numbers compared to everyone else's nation numbers.  I believe that the Assemblies of God and the Church of God (Cleveland), both listed as NAE members, are larger than Nazarenes when comparing the national numbers of each (and when comparing our international numbers, as well).  The Foursquare Church, joins them in out-distancing us internationally.

New Regional Secretary for World Methodist Evangelism's Pacific Area

WME, Regional SEC, watson& fox - Copy

Bishop B. Michael Watson, President of World Methodist Evangelism, and World Director, Dr. H. Eddie Fox, announced and installed Dr. Richard Waugh as World Methodist Evangelism Regional Secretary in the Pacific area. Dr. Waugh joins the Regional Secretaries of World Methodist Evangelism in Africa, Europe, Asia, Pacific and the Americas.  Dr. Manase Tafea from Tonga previously served effectively for many years as Regional Secretary for the Pacific area.
The Regional Secretaries are key leaders in linking together the world-wide ministry of World Methodist Evangelism.  The World Methodist Council is unique among world communions in having an evangelism wing.
The Rev'd. Dr. Richard Waugh is the National Superintendent of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand (i.e., "The Wesleyan Church," for those in the U.S.) since 2002 and he is the current President of the denomination for the South Pacific Conference. He holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Auckland and a Doctor of Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary (where I received my D.Min., as well).  His award winning dissertation was titled "Discover Your Wesleyan DNA". He has been honored by Queen Elizabeth with a Queen’s Service Medal (QSM) for his extensive ecumenical, aviation and community work. Dr. Waugh chairs the National Church Leaders Meeting (all denominations) in New Zealand. He is married to Jane, an architect, and they have three young adult children.
During a gathering of the Methodist/Wesleyan Movement in New Zealand including leaders in the Methodist Church, The Wesleyan Church, and the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Fox and Bishop Watson gave thanks for the commitment to the vision of World Methodist Evangelism, and offered prayers for Dr. Waugh’s leadership as Regional Secretary in the region. They declared, "This is a time for the people called Methodist/Wesleyan to ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’ We are one family with one mission THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW JESUS CHRIST.”
The above article was taken from the April edition of the "First Friday Letter" of the World Methodist Council.  The original article can be read, here.  The entire letter, as well as previous letters, can be accessed, here.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Manual Available

According to the General Secretary of the Church of the Nazarene, the new Manual went into effect this past Saturday, March 15.  Unfortunately, the Manual was not yet available.  That issue has been resolved . . . at least by virtue of the online version.

It does not appear that the hard copy version of the Manual is yet available.  -  I have been waiting for my copy, and I am hoping that it will be ready, shipped, and will arrive before the end of the month.  -  I know, I know.  There are plenty of Nazarenes that joke about the Manual.  They joke about those who treat it like the Bible, and they, themselves, don't seem to consider it to be of much importance.

I suppose I am one of those about whom they joke.  Certainly, I don't consider it to be anywhere near as important as the Bible.  Nevertheless, I do hold it in high esteem.  It is the book of doctrine and discipline for the denomination through which I serve.  And, I have spent much time and effort working on various resolutions which have been incorporated into the Manual over the last few quadrenniums.  -  Then, again, we live in a time when people, even within the Church, have little regard for authority, despite the biblical call for us to submit ourselves to such.  This, of course, is not an attitude unique to Nazarenes.  I have found the same attitude among United Methodists concerning their own Book of Discipline.

Nevertheless, I'm excited about the release of the new Manual!  (I would be really excited if any reader of this blog had a 1911 version of the Manual they would be willing to sell.  That would complete my collection!)  -  Anyway, for those who are interested, to go to the online version of the 2013-2017 Manual, click here.

I have added the new link to the sidebar, as well.  (However, we'll have to wait for on online image of the new Manual, before I can replace the 2009-2013 image.)

Monday, March 17, 2014

The First Four Ecumenical Councils

While perusing various Anglican websites, I ran across the following information on the website of The Reformed Episcopal Church.  I am reproducing it here as a good (and brief) explication of the Anglican take on the ecumenical councils, especially as it concerns their general acceptance of the first four councils (over against Rome's insistence of the seven councils).

While my denomination (the Church of the Nazarene) does not make specific reference to the ecumenical councils in its Manual, it does state that "It receives the ecumenical creeds of the first five Christian centuries as expressions of its own faith."  Thus, it expresses a continuity with its Anglican heritage, concerning the councils.

The following can be accessed on the REC's website, here.


The historic Anglican position maintains that no council of the Church- general or otherwise - can claim immunity from error or corruption, and indeed that all councils "may err, and sometimes have erred, even in things pertaining to God."The historic Articles of Religion of the Church of England go on to affirm that all churches and councils of the church are subject to the scrutiny of Holy Scripture, so that"besides the same ought not [the Church] to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of salvation." (Cf. Article 21, 1662 BCP).

For these reasons, Anglicans have been manifestly reluctant to definitively enumerate those general or ecumenical councils claimed to have universal affirmation, though the first four ecumenical councils have always been held in special regard within historic Anglicanism. The following are brief summaries of the ecumenical councils of the undivided church.


Nicea I (325)

Summoned by the Emperor Constantine, Nicea was the first ecumenical council of the whole Church and was summoned primarily to deal with the rise of the heresy of Arius (priest of Alexandria, d. 336) who denied the consubstantiality of God the Son with God the Father. The council condemned Arianism and defined that the Son was "begotten, not made," and thus was of the "same substance" (i.e., homo-ousion) as the Father. The crowning achievement of this council was the production of a creed which would form the basis of our "Nicene Creed." This council also fixed the date of Easter.


Constantinople I (381)

This council was summoned to address a number of heresies inflicting the early Church at that time, including persistent vestiges of Arianism and semi-Arianism which suffered definitive defeat in this council's reaffirmation of the faith of Nicea (325). This council also condemned the heresies of Sabellius (who rejected the Persons of the Trinity), and Apollinarius (who denied the full humanity of Christ). But perhaps most significantly this council condemned the Macedonian heresy by clearly defining the Divinity of the Holy Spirit in the final affirmations added by this council to the creed of Nicea (i.e. the Spirit's Divine Lordship, His procession from the Father, and the equal worship and glory due to all three Persons of the Trinity).


Ephesus (431)

Called by the Eastern Emperor, Theodosius II, this council condemned the heresy of Nestorius by declaring that the Virgin Mary (i.e. Theotokos - "God-bearer") bore "in the flesh...the Word of God made flesh" (i.e. incarnate). Hence the council defined the unipersonality of Christ in its affirmation of two natures (Divine and Human) cohering in one Divine Person, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Nestorius was thus deposed as Bishop of Constantinople. This council also affirmed the condemnation of Pelagianism (condemned at the Council of Carthage, A.D. 416), a heresy that rejected original sin and taught that man contributes to his own salvation through good works.


Chalcedon (451)

The largest of the ecumenical councils, Chalcedon was summoned by Emperor Marcian to deal with the heresy of the Abbot Eutyches - Monophysitism - which claimed that there existed only "one nature" (the Divine) in Christ from the incarnation onwards, thus denying the humanity of Christ. The council reaffirmed both the Nicene Creed and the condemnation of Nestorianism by the Council of Ephesus, and in its own Definition (largely based on the famous Tome of Leo the Great), declared the final word on the Hypostatic Union of the Divine and Human natures of Christ, being fully God and fully Man with no diminution or commingling of either nature. Chalcedon represents the definitive victory over the Christological heresies plaguing the early Church.


Constantinople II (553), Constantinople III (681), Nicea II (787)

Anglicans generally acknowledge the fifth and sixth ecumenical councils (both held in Constantinople) to be consistent with, though adding nothing to, the substance of dogma defined by the first four councils. Largely disciplinary in character, Constantinople II (553) condemned a collection of writings allegedly supporting Nestorianism known as the "Three Chapters," while at the same time the council upheld the Definition of Chalcedon. Constantinople III (681) condemned the heresy of the Monothelitism, a contrived Christological model intended to appease the Monophysites by attributing only one will or operation to Christ (the Divine), instead of two (Divine and Human). Nicea II (787), the so-called seventh ecumenical council, is disputed in respect of its ecumenicity and application, though in principle its condemnation of Iconoclasm is conceded to be orthodox.

From Appendix A of the Reformed Episcopal Constitution & Canons (2005)