Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The book "180" by the House Studio just went "The Wrong Way!

The book “180” by the House Studios (a new publishing arm of the Church of the Nazarene) is a recent publication being promoted to Nazarene pastors.

I read the book as I was asked by a NPH representative to review it, since I objected to how it was being marketed.

The book was more shocking than I expected. After careful review of the book I would say a more accurate title might be, “The cultural effects of 30 years on a Holiness Church: Stories of people who changed their values from conservative to liberal”.

The book is made up of 34 easy to read short testimonies of how men and women of various backgrounds and Christian heritages changed their minds and perspectives and became more tolerant.

The stories seldom quote scripture and none of the stories seemed to reflect Holy Spirit’s conviction of heart, but rather the change of mind from life impacting moments.

The book was something I would never expect to read from a “Christian Holiness Publishing House”. The reader will find testimonies of people changing their own minds on various topics, but nothing reflecting a move of God in the writers’ hearts leading to a life of holiness.

Many write about the bible, doctrine and ethics in a questioning mode verses an affirmative fashion. Just as the serpent in the garden in Genesis 3:1 proposed a Question "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'? So in like manner many write questioning their own original fundamental values and convictions and end up with a more tolerant open-minded world view and set of values.

This is the type of book that will create damage among younger growing Christians as it really gives validity to humanistic thinking, heretical understanding of the fundamentals of the faith.

Tolerance, evolution, hell and celibacy are embraced in this book as they would not have been a generation ago. Tolerance is lifted high as a virtue. Evolution is embraced as an acceptable value which one can have and maintain as a Christian. Hell is liberalized and narrowed as to who might actually go there. Celibacy and the Catholic Church are lifted to a place of favor as one writer shares growing up protestant and becoming celibate on the way to the priesthood. The validity of Scripture and moral absolutes are questioned and even denied. Doubt is recognized as a gift and open-mindedness and inclusiveness as a healthy viewpoint to hold.

Not every story is controversial or doctrinally heretical, but the ones that are ruin the book for its full impact. One quote from a writer left my wife and I wondering how this book got published from a holiness Church was, “why boobs had their magical draw”. Even if this was the language and comment of a life before it was changed, that kind of coarse comment is not necessary and would not be the kind of speech becoming of a person of holiness.

Where are the stories of people who were changed 180degrees from darkness to light? Where are the inspirational stories of lives God touched in a radical way? I believe the Nazarene Church should be encouraging readers to pursue holiness of heart rather than confusion of the mind. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Most of these stories and opinions are very confused – the inevitable result of denying the authority of Scripture.

This was a most unfruitful book and left me dismayed at the direction of the publishing house that this book was even published.


The Christian Conservative Mom said...

Thank you for this post. I tried to get a free copy when they were giving them out, but I was never contacted, which I was sure would be the case since I attended church with someone at the House Studio and she knew I was not a fan of anything emergent.

As soon as I read the summary for the book, I knew it was going to be controversial. Almost everything out of the House so far has been-with the exception, I think of "The Kingdom project" which I liked the concept a lot, but found it to be almost too simple, but then again, that might be part of it's allure....

Anyway, I was told by this gal that this book was not meant to be marketed to Nazarenes. We were in the middle of a heated discussion so I forgot to ask exactly who it WAS to be marketed to, but my guess would be; people who are tired of Christianity and are looking for something with a more worldly theme.

It really is sad what is happening to the Nazarene church. I grew up in it and loved it and it was heart wrenching to leave. I prayed about it for over a year and tried to be as open as possible, but it got the point where I knew I was casting my pearls before swine and as rude as that sounds, it's just that people in this emergent ideology do not want to hear what you have to say. You either go along or you are judgmental, arrogant, rude, prideful, ANYTHING but biblical. Even now, when I see posts from one of the emergent pastors there, he accuses everyone that doesn't go along with being judgmental. I suppose you have to if you are defending something un-biblical.

As time went on, it became clear to our entire family that it was time to move on. Even our teenage son could sense that something was just not right there after a discussion one night in youth group while studying a book by Rob Bell. He was an 8th grader at the time and not the strongest Christian, but still the Holy Spirit revealed to him that this wasn't right. (After leaving, he completely changed his life after the first night at our new church.)

I don't see the House studio changing their tune anytime soon. I have been to the house, am familiar with some of the people there and while they may have good intentions and are nice people-they have certainly veered off the track and I don't see them coming back. I guess we can only pray....

NazChapDWD said...

Wow. You would think you could trust books put out by an arm of NPH! I have bought books for my boys from the House Studio, assuming they'd be OK; I guess I need to read them first (or not buy them at all)!