I mentioned earlier this week the recently released statement from the Board of General Superintendents on the relationship of the Church of the Nazarene to the “emergent” church. I have linked here back to it if you’d like to read the specific statement. Here are some of my reactions/thoughts to it:
1. I’m glad they released this and talked about the need for “conversation” around this issue. For a long time I’ve felt that there are many who feel that to even raise these issues would be seen as heretical and who were “secretly emergent” which usually lead to a parting of ways with the Nazarene church or even worse the church altogether. We who believe that Christ is the truth should not be afraid of questions about the truth.
2. While opening the door, this is a missed opportunity to truly embrace the missional aspect of the Nazarene church in its history, its foundation and perhaps its future. Why not lean into the roots of the Nazarene church (not just Wesley) that have been trying to live and bring the gospel in all places? Why not talk about the need to contextualize in this new culture/world, just as they embrace contextualizing “overseas” in mission? Not only should we make room for this conversation, we should be leaning into it!
3. The mention of diversity in the movement shows awareness and is important. It helps keep it at a conversation level. I really appreciate their attempt here to make room for Christian conversation and their awareness that the “conversation” has not been Christian too much.
4. While I’m not 100% sure what is meant by “young Nazarenes”, why just “engage in conversations” with young Nazarenes? Why not encourage, protect, embrace, resource? If this is a missional fit shouldn’t we be doing more than talking with them? I guess I feel that just making room for conversation at this point is a help for some, but others are already doing new things, new ministry expressions that are attempting to be faithful to the heritage of Wesley and Nazarenes and also effectively engage the culture in love. These ministries may appreciate the conversations, but they need more than words. Can we protect them some how from those that are less than generous? Can we call them brothers and sisters and treat them as such?
I’d love to hear your reactions…