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Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Nazarene Minister in Florida Faces Church Trial Over LGBTQ Advocacy

By Jeffrey Walton
thomas jay oord nazarene
Church of the Nazarene clergyman Thomas Jay Oord speaks out about his church hearing. (Video screengrab)

A Church of the Nazarene minister advocating for “full queer inclusion” has been brought up on charges and faces an upcoming ecclesiastical trial that could result in removal of his credentials as an ordained minister.

Thomas Jay Oord has been charged with teaching doctrines contrary to the Church of the Nazarene and with conduct unbecoming of a minister for his efforts to move the denomination to affirm same-sex behavior.

The charges are the latest indication that human sexuality disputes that have divided mainline Protestant denominations are also surfacing in Wesleyan-Holiness churches.

Oord currently serves as Professor of Theology at Northwind Theological Seminary, an ecumenical, online interdenominational seminary with roots in the Wesleyan tradition. He is co-editor of Why the Church of the Nazarene should be Fully LGBTQ+ Affirming, a volume published in 2023.

“In early August of 2023, Nazarene [Intermountain] District Superintendent Scott Shaw gave me a document with two charges,” Oord recounted in a video made available on his YouTube channel. “Both of these charges pertain to the fact that I’m a straight, cisgender male who fully affirms and supports queer people and who wants the Church of the Nazarene to do the same. For my views on queer inclusion I have been charged first with teaching doctrines contrary to the Church of Nazarene statement on human sexuality and, secondly, I’m charged with Conduct Unbecoming of a Minister for advocating for queer people and their allies.”

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nazarene oord
Thomas Jay Oord lectures at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas, California. (Photo: Facebook)

Oord alleges in the video that unnamed denominational leaders have tried to silence him and threatened to make additional charges if he speaks publicly about the trial.

“The fundamental issue at stake here is whether the Church of the Nazarene will love queer people by affirming their identities, their orientations, and their healthy sexual behaviors,” Oord insists. “The Church of the Nazarene statement on human sexuality does not reflect love well.”

The Church of the Nazarene Manual prohibits sexual activity between people of the same sex, alongside polygamy, unmarried sexual intercourse, and adultery. The denomination’s Board of General Superintendents ruled in 2023 that the church’s Statement on Human Sexuality and Marriage is among “essential statements of the doctrine.”

The statement reads, in part:

“Because we believe that it is God’s intention for our sexuality to be lived out in the covenantal union between one woman and one man, we believe the practice of same-sex sexual intimacy is contrary to God’s will for human sexuality. While a person’s homosexual or bi-sexual attraction may have complex and differing origins, and the implication of this call to sexual purity is costly, we believe the grace of God is sufficient for such a calling. We recognize the shared responsibility of the body of Christ to be a welcoming, forgiving, and loving community where hospitality, encouragement, transformation, and accountability are available to all.”

The statement in the Manual was overwhelmingly passed at the General Assembly, the denomination’s governing convention.

church of the nazarene
Promotional image for Church of the Nazarene General Assembly (Screengrab)

Dissent by theological revisionists is not being tolerated among leaders and academics within the Church. Recent examples include the dismissal of Selden “Dee” Kelley from San Diego First Church of the Nazarene (including revocation of his ministerial credentials) and Dean of Theology and Christian Ministry Mark Maddix from Point Loma Nazarene University, who lost his Nazarene credentials after aligning with an “affirming” United Methodist church in California.

Yet the denomination has been slow to discipline Oord, especially given his outspoken opposition to Nazarene doctrine and practice.

Oord could be regarded as an outlier within an otherwise overwhelmingly conservative denomination. He has been a controversial figure for at least a decade, including for his embrace of open theism, the view that God does not know the future. He departed Northwest Nazarene University, where he was a tenured professor, in 2018 following the elimination of his position.

The seminary professor is active within an LGBTQ-affirming Facebook group, Loving Nazarenes, and is soliciting donations for a crowd-sourced publicity campaign calling upon the Church of the Nazarene to replace the Statement on Human Sexuality with an LGBTQ-affirming one.

The Church of the Nazarene is within the Wesleyan–Holiness tradition. It reports 2,724,006 members and 30,747 congregations globally. Within the United States and Canada, the denomination lists 600,000 members in 5,100 congregations.

“The doctrine that distinguishes the Church of the Nazarene and other Wesleyan denominations from most other Christian denominations is that of entire sanctification,” reads a statement on the denomination’s website. “Nazarenes believe that God calls Christians to a life of holy living that is marked by an act of God, cleansing the heart from original sin and filling the individual with love for God and humankind.”

This article was originally published at Juicy Ecumenism and has been reprinted with permission. 

Jeffrey Walton is Communications Manager and Anglican Program Director for the Institute on Religion & Democracy.

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14 Responses

  1. Thank you for this article. Restoring the church cannot be done apart from biblical fidelity. This wolf in the pulpit has no business as a minister of the gospel.

  2. On 04/27/2024 Christopher Yuan shared during a 6 hour seminar held at Antioch Covenant Church in Woodstock Virignia his conversion experience in a prison cell, as he had reached into the trashcan there for a discarded Gideon Bible and had begun reading it. Prior to his incarceration, he had been a drug dealer and sodomite (having been arrested by 12 federal agents, 2 police officers and two K-Nine officials at the door of his home in Atlanta, Georgia with 9.1 ton of marijuana in his possession) and had just been diagnosed in the prison infirmary with AIDS. It was during that first year, as YHWH began to speak to Christopher about his spiritual condition and he had begun reading the Scriptures, that the prison chaplain handed him a book, falsely explaining to him that he had the ability to live a life as a Christian and also to live as a practicing homosexual, sodomite, together. For one year Christopher says he read the book from the chaplain regarding “gay Christian sexuality” – having the book in one hand and the Bible in the other, asking His Savior if it were possible for the two to co-exist. He heard: No! It was after that struggle during that first year that he accepted Yahshua as his Messiah and Savior and was radically, completely and FOREVER changed into a new creation! He was released after just 3 years in the prison. This is real. May Truth always proceed from the mouths of those who profess to know YHWH and have His power to overcome sin in all areas of one’s Life! AMEN

    1. Praising God that He saves to the uttermost! Christopher Yuan continues to share his testimony around the world. God Is faithful – saving his mom and his dad and Christopher. May God find us faithful in prayer for the lost in our families that they become sons and daughters of God.

  3. Instead of trying to cause division within the Church of the Nazarene, Dr. Oord should change denominations. I wonder why he doesn’t move to the United Methodist Church? Scripture is not vague when it comes to sexuality. I’m not surprised at the controversy though. I am a Nazarene pastor and took a workshop of his. I still cannot wrap my head around the concept of “God Can’t”. I sincerely hope that the Church of the Nazarene nips this in the bud and dismisses him. He clearly does not agree with our doctrine. Given this, he should move on in peace.

    1. Because being enemies of Christ and sound doctrine the wolves don’t want to move to another hen house where the chickens are already on their own side. They want to corrupt the chickens who are not on their side and con them into accepting false doctrine along with them. The thief is there to steal, not play with those of his kind.

    2. I thought the same thing but he is an activist minister. The liberals will never be satisfied until they make the world into THEIR image and shut down all dissent, disagreement, organizations that have different values and cancel individuals who are supposed to have God given rights to freedom of search, freedom to assemble, freedom to worship as they choose.

  4. And people still don’t believe/see that satan infiltrated the church. Woe to those doing evil in the name of Christ.

  5. Let’s get a few facts out here. Alexa Oord self-identifies as queer. She claims she left the Nazarene church somewhere around high school or college age. She says she is no longer religious or spiritual and doesn’t hold any of the same beliefs. With all of that in mind, what gives her any standing to change Nazarene doctrine about sexuality? I’ve seen a sad pattern in some Christian families when a child comes out as LGBTQ+. Often the parents jump on the LGBTQ+ bandwagon mistakenly thinking they are supporting and helping their child. Instead of lovingly, patiently holding on to Biblical truth about sexuality, these parents make a false either/or decision and Biblical truth gets kicked to the curb in the name of “love”. That would be love defined culturally as identity politics, not Biblically. Parents, you can lovingly reject a child’s unbiblical lifestyle choices without rejecting them. They may not see it that way because the LGBTQ+ propaganda tells them the lie that you are rejecting them. Keegan Osinski in the podcast below would ironically and unlovingly call such Christians homophobic Adam-Henrys. Jesus saw this day coming when he said in Luke 14:26, If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. (NASB) The Nazarenes are out of options here. Uphold Biblical standards about sexuality or let popular culture, people’s emotions, experiences, and identity issues become the standard. Alexa Oord’s views can be found here: https://brewtheology.podbean.com/e/episode-198-keegan-osinski-and-alexa-oord-why-the-nazarenes-should-be-lgbtq-affirming/

  6. Dr. J. Vernon Magee preached many years ago that in the last days the organized church would become Apostate.

    1. How does holding a different view of sexuality make one an apostate? Is same sex attraction mentioned in any of the creeds? Many of the same denominations that have rejected same sex orientation and identity on the grounds that it is unbiblical allow for divorced persons to be ordained or continue in ministry, in spite of the fact that Jesus was abundantly clear on that subject, while saying nothing about same sex attraction. Are all those who accept divorce for reasons other than what Jesus himself decreed apostate? It is quite possible for someone to have an affirming position on same sex attraction and still believe all the basic doctrines of the creeds. And since the denomination that is in question is part of the Wesleyan family tree, may I remind them of the words of John Wesley himself: “as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let think.” Prove to me that different understandings of human sexuality “strike at the root of Christianity,” and are not simply (not to say unimportant) differences of interpretation held by fellow followers of Jesus.

      1. Tom, since you are an LGBTQ+ affirming pastor in the UMC, I’m confident you are quite familiar with the non-affirming position and have found the arguments unpersuasive. I am quite familiar with the arguments from the affirming side and I don’t find them persuasive. At that point we must respectfully agree to disagree. Jesus’ statements concerning divorce found in Luke 16:18 and Mark 10:11 have been interpreted in several different, conflicting ways. Those passages taken in their cultural and historical context refer to men who sought to issue a “get” for the purpose of marrying a paramour. Later on in the Mishnah (Sotah5.1), Jewish sages declare that a woman who is divorced because of an adulterous relationship is not permitted to marry her paramour. This explanation is found in Brad H. Young’s book, Jesus the Jewish Theologian, pages 113-117. The typical interpretation you cite would put Jesus in the position of adding to the Torah since the Torah was still in force at the time. That act would violate the strict rules about not adding to the Torah (Deuteronomy 4:2). The Torah does allow remarriage after divorce and makes no conditional statements about the reason(s) for the divorce. The typical interpretation puts Jesus in the position of imposing a harsher, stricter rule than even the Torah.

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