Open Letter to Pastor Kevin Seymour

Pastor Kevin Seymour,

I pray that you and your family enjoyed Christmas. Please give my love to your family and those who I continue to love and pray for at Hope Community Church of the Nazarene (HC). 

I feel it is necessary to address the allegations you made about me in your recent sermon, “Recognizing and Overcoming Personal Attacks.” Although I was not mentioned by name, it is clear to all those in attendance that I am the individual you were referring to. These accusations you made about my character and actions are serious in nature, and as a Christian, it is my duty to confront my accuser and clear up any misunderstandings you may have caused.

I will be focusing on the comments made between 1:05:15 – 1:08:40 in the sermon video (attached above) for the majority of this letter. For your convenience, I have transcribed this specific section of the sermon for reference:

“We’re going to have a little family talk here and family talks are good. I know that some of you have heard that I’m a part of what’s called the NAR, the National Apostolic Reformation (*the correct name is the New Apostolic Reformation – my addition*). And, um, I’ve never heard of that till just a couple months ago. Those three words “National Apostolic Reformation”, though the words are not threatening, there was one here at our church who just attended for a short while who accused me of being a part of the NAR, even though I had never heard of it. I told that individual I had never heard of it and he said that I was lying about that, which I wasn’t. I had never heard of the NAR until he told me what the NAR was. And a small handful of our family at Hope Community, just a small handful, we like to think it’s huge but a small handful of our people, they had been giving their ear to this one person that came for a while and it’s caused confusion and it’s caused division, which is always Satan’s weapon that he uses. He always uses confusion. He’s the author of confusion and he always causes division when he is doing his work, and it caused that division and separation for some people. It was disappointing. It does surprise me if I can just be honest with you, that some who knew this individual for only six or less months, they allowed him to negate the preaching, and counsel, and the teaching that has come from this pulpit for nearly eight years. They allowed six months of whatever he was saying to completely wipe out what had been taught from this pulpit. And because of that, some took the divisive false leaven that was being murmured about, and leaven, you just need a little bit to get into the dough before the whole batch will rise up from it. They took it and it’s caused them to make decisions based on this new revelation that they received from these false accusations. They took that revelation and said that I don’t want any longer to be a part of this movement. Allow me to say this one more time, I never sweep things under the rug or anything like that. I just believe we’re family and families ought to talk to each other, shouldn’t we? Families ought to be able to hear from their pastor when it comes to matters like that. Just allow me to say one final time, I am not a part of a group called the NAR. Period. Never heard of it before a few months ago and it’s not even a real thing if you do check it out. It’s not even a real thing. It’s a blanket. People got thrown under the blanket. ‘Oh, they’re a part of that!’ It’s like saying you’re all guilty because you’re Republicans for what took place on January 6th, you got thrown under the blanket. It’s the same thing. I’m a Christian by profession. I’m a Nazarene by conviction and I’m not a part of any other group. Never have been, never will be.”

It is clear to those familiar with the situation that the transcript bears little resemblance to reality. While you claimed to speak out against division, slander, and lies in your sermon, I see no evidence of you avoiding these actions yourself. The transcript alone completely distorts the events of the past year, portrays me as an agent of Satan, and portrays you as an orthodox Nazarene preacher with no prior knowledge, leanings, or associations with the NAR. This is a sermon where you’ve strategically manipulated reality in an attempt to explain why almost half the board and staff left within the last 90 days. 

It is unfortunate that much of your sermon could be challenged theologically and historically. However, I will primarily focus on the above transcript, as it directly pertains to your public accusations about me and my influence on those who left, as well as your claims about your personal knowledge of the NAR. I hope that you are open-minded and honest enough to consider my perspective with an open heart.

Did you ever hear of the NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) before our meeting?

As the transcript indicates, you claim that you had never heard of the NAR before our meeting on May 29, 2022, where I presented my concerns about your NAR leanings and affiliations. There is credible evidence to suggest that you lied to HC from the pulpit about this claim.

Let me explain these reasons in detail:

1) Your daughter, one of your sons, and your wife attended Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM), which is known as a major hub for the NAR movement in America. This institution is known for targeting young, impressionable individuals and manipulating their emotions while exploiting their lack of theological knowledge and biblical literacy. The Passion Translation (TPT), a theologically sectarian translation (read more about TPT here), is used at BSSM and was translated by self-proclaimed “Apostle” Brian Simmons, with a foreword written by “Apostle” Bill Johnson. You also encouraged members of HC to give a “love offering” to support an HC member’s attendance at BSSM, where they would be exposed to NAR propaganda and potentially stunt their theological development and maturity.

Given the extensive exposure you have had to the literature of “Apostle” Bill Johnson and your family’s involvement with Bethel and BSSM, it is clear that you have been exposed to the teachings of the NAR through Johnson for many years prior to my arrival at HC in November 2021. However, there are multiple other reasons beyond Johnson’s influence that lead me to believe that you were already aware of the NAR before our conversation.

It is clear that your best friend Rob McCorkle and theological mentor Dan Bohi have had a significant influence on your theology. During our meeting on May 29, 2022, I mentioned my concerns about both of these individuals and their NAR beliefs, as expressed in their book “Holiness and Healing,” which you endorsed. For reference, please review your endorsement below:

“I have had the privilege of being Rob McCorkle’s best friend for over thirty years. During this time I have watched him hunger for holiness and long for a continual heart transformation. I’m convinced that God has honored his hunger by allowing him to experience and then write the words of this book. He truly demonstrates what the life of a Christian looks like when they long to live with Power and Purity.

My friendship with Dan Bohi has impacted my life in eternal ways. Having traveled with Dan for weeks at a time has shown me the heart and passion of one who feeds himself on God’s Word. I’ve personally witnessed the love and power of my heavenly Father through the ministry of Dan Bohi. The thoughts, revelation, and truth that they share in this book will mark me for the rest of my life. I encourage anyone that has a hunger for Christlikeness to invest the time to ingest the truths, challenges, and experiences that Dan and Rob share in these pages.” (emphasis mine)

Since you did not mention this in your sermon, I will include a brief excerpt from my resignation letter that describes your response when I asked why you would endorse a book that promotes NAR theology,

“Pastor Kevin denied endorsing the book but admitted to endorsing McCorkle and Bohi. This is not how book endorsements work, and that’s not how it worked here. Nobody would read this endorsement and reasonably conclude that Kevin didn’t read the book. Pastor Kevin was not forthcoming with me, but I’ll have everyone judge for themselves based on the verbiage of his endorsement whether he condones the NAR teachings contained therein.” 

I urge you to conduct your due diligence as the lead pastor of HC by reading my thorough review (click here) of the book with an open and prayerful heart.

Given Bohi’s NAR theology and your apparent support for it, I could not continue in a leadership role if your judgment was so flawed and your commitment to sound biblical doctrine was non-existent. Scheduling Bohi for a full weekend “revival” sent the message that my concerns were ignored and you were willing to invite a wolf in sheep’s clothing into the church, regardless of Bohi’s false teachings. I attended the “revival” weekend to ensure that I was not acting rashly or unfairly evaluating Bohi’s theology. The events of that weekend only confirmed my suspicions that he was not just a false teacher/prophet/apostle, but an outright heretic.

Lastly, and arguably the most distressing, is your history with Covenant Fellowship Church of the Nazarene (CF) in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Your brief time at this church was cut short due to theological differences with many congregants. My investigation with those at CF discovered that you held and promoted NAR theology, which greatly troubled many members and resulted in your departure. While you assert that the separation was caused by a “couple of hyper-cessationist families” and an “unsupportive DS,” the events at HC and CF are too similar to be a coincidence.

Did I call you a “liar”?

To quote your sermon directly, “I told that individual I had never heard of it and he said that I was lying about that, which I wasn’t.” You and I both know that I did not accuse you of lying during our meeting on May 29, 2022, as you suggested in your sermon. That statement is a lie. When it comes to your knowledge of the NAR and whether you held NAR-aligned beliefs before our meeting, there is strong evidence to suggest that you were either not forthcoming or outright lying. 

“One Person” and “Six Months or Less”

There is a recurring theme in this portion of your sermon where you repeatedly refer to me as “one person” and emphasize that I was at HC for only “six months or less.” By the time you were addressing this issue to HC, it was already common knowledge who the “one person” was, making the mention unnecessary. As you are attempting to mend a divided church, your lack of directness during your attempt to have a “family conversation” does not convey strong leadership.

It is true that I am the “one person” referred to in your sermon. However, I would like to clarify that I was a member of the board at HC, which means I had more responsibilities in the church than a typical churchgoer. This is not meant to elevate my status, but simply to provide context for my involvement at HC. Additionally, while I resigned from the board after six months, I had been attending HC for 11 months prior to my departure. These details were conveniently left out in your sermon, which would have provided a more complete understanding of the situation. If you are sincere about having difficult “family conversations” from the pulpit, you should be willing to discuss details openly and hold the appropriate people accountable. By being evasive, you create ambiguity and a convenient way to avoid accountability. As a pastor, your priority should always be to guide people towards the truth, even if that means accepting responsibility for your errors.

Did I “Murmur”?

In your sermon, you publicly claim that Satan used me as a tool to create division and conflict through slanderous allegations and that a “small handful…gave their ear” to me, leading to the departure of three board members and three staff members. I had already published my research findings on the NAR and Dan Bohi before I resigned. Every time I published an article, I shared it on Facebook and my theological views were publicly available for discussion. I was approached by long-time members of HC about my thoughts on Dan Bohi and, as a board member, I always provided an honest and Biblically-based response to the best of my ability. Given my extensive research on Bohi, I was able to provide a thorough and accurate theological summary. My responses were based on his teachings and contained no personal attacks, which do not qualify as “murmuring,” “slandering,” or “gossiping.” As a board member, it is my role to provide truthful and Biblical responses to members who seek the truth.

Secondly, you attempt to use scripture such as 1 Corinthians 10:7-10 (found at 1:13:40) to justify silencing those who may simply want to discuss theological issues among themselves or with a trusted confidant, board member, or staff pastor. This is not the same as “murmuring,” “slandering,” “gossiping,” or “fault-finding.” It is not Biblically required for individuals with questions or concerns about theology to immediately go to the lead pastor. This would overwhelm any pastor with an excessive number of questions after every Sunday service. This is an example of using a prooftext to support a personal agenda. I will also address why false teaching is not just a sin against an individual Christian, but a corporate sin against the church, and provide Biblical justification for publicly exposing and condemning such corporate sin.

Thirdly, you reference Matthew 18:15-17 in your sermon. While this verse may be applicable if you are addressing sin between Christian brothers and sisters, you use it in the context of accusing me of being a “murmurer” who caused division and strife through slander. It is essential for the members of HC to understand the true events and the appropriate use of scripture in this situation. I hope to provide clarity on the matter and show that my actions and reasons for resigning were in line with Biblical models for handling corporate sin

I left HC due to two main reasons, both related to false teaching:

1) Your theology has been significantly influenced by the NAR, as evidenced by your close relationships with NAR pastors like Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Dan Bohi, Rob McCorkle, and Dan Mohler. You have even referenced the TPT from the pulpit, which was “translated” by NAR “Apostle” Brian Simmons. Given your extensive connections to these individuals and their teachings over the years, it is difficult to believe that you were unaware of NAR theology.

2) I made the difficult decision to resign from the board of HC due to concerns about the influence of the NAR on your theology. Your close relationships with NAR pastors such as Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, Dan Bohi, Rob McCorkle, and Dan Mohler, as well as your use of the TPT, which was “translated” by NAR “Apostle” Brian Simmons, made it clear to me that your rejection of knowledge about NAR theology was not credible. After our meeting on May 29, 2022, I expressed my concern that I may need to resign if these theological issues were not addressed. Despite giving you the benefit of the doubt for several months, I ultimately decided to resign when you invited Dan Bohi for a weekend “revival.” Upon further review of “Holiness and Healing,” a book which you enthusiastically endorsed, I knew that I could not stay on the board without compromising my commitment to upholding the Word and my responsibility to serve the members of HC. I, therefore, published a review condemning the false teachings in the book and strongly discouraged pastors from inviting Dan Bohi to speak at their churches. It was a difficult decision, but I knew it was necessary to prevent being complicit in the spread of false doctrine.

As Christians, we are called to defend the truth of the Gospel and protect the flock from false teachings that can lead people astray. The New Testament contains numerous examples of false teachers being publicly exposed and condemned by early church leaders and Jesus himself. This is because the spread of false doctrine can have serious consequences, leading people away from the truth of the Gospel and causing divisions within the church. Therefore, it is important for Christians to be vigilant in identifying and exposing false teachings, and to stand firm in the truth of the Word of God.

Please review some scriptural examples of how false teachers/apostles/prophets are addressed in the New Testament:

1) Jesus himself condemned false teachers and prophets in Matthew 7:15, warning his followers to “beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

2) Paul publicly rebuked Peter for his inconsistency in Galatians 2:11-14, showing that even leaders are not above being held accountable for their teachings.

3) In Titus 1:10-16, Paul instructs Titus to “rebuke them sharply” in regards to false teachers.

4) In Revelation 2:2, Jesus commends the church in Ephesus for “putting to the test those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.”

5) Jude 1:3-4 – “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord.”

6) Matthew 24:11, 24 – “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray…For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.”

7) Mark 13:22 – “For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.”

8) Acts 20:29-30 – “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

9) Romans 16:17-18 – “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

10) 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 – “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

11) 2 Peter 2:1-3: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.”

12) Galatians 1:6-9: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”

As a Christian leader, it is my responsibility to defend and promote sound doctrine, and to expose false teaching whenever I encounter it. The Bible is clear in its warnings against false teachers, and I take these warnings seriously. In my efforts to expose false teaching and protect the church, I have not engaged in “murmuring,” but have simply shared my theological views openly and transparently. If you have any concerns about my theology, I encourage you to take the time to read through my content and identify any areas where my beliefs may conflict with Christian orthodoxy or Nazarene doctrine.

“Small Handful of People”

In order to fully understand the context of this quote, I’ll include it here::

“And a small handful of our family at Hope Community, just a small handful,…they had been giving their ear to this one person that came for a while, and its caused confusion and its caused division, which is always Satan’s weapon that he uses. He always uses confusion. He’s the author of confusion and he always causes division when he is doing his work, and it caused that division and separation for some people.”

It was disheartening to see that during your sermon, you seemed to downplay the fact that six respected members of our church community – three board members and three staff members – all long-time members except for my wife and I, had resigned due to our own unique and shared concerns about your NAR theology and leadership. Instead of acknowledging and addressing these valid concerns, you chose to deflect blame onto me and my supposed “murmuring” and “slander,” while conveniently ignoring the full extent of our reasons for leaving. It was a disappointing choice to try and simplify our departures by placing the blame exclusively on me, rather than addressing the broader issues at play within HC.

You acknowledge that Satan’s weapon for causing division is confusion. Considering the confusion you’ve caused, it’s worth asking if you are being used by Satan in this situation, as your actions include omitting important facts, misrepresenting scripture, twisting timelines, maligning others, and refusing to take any responsibility for the departures. All of these actions align with Satan’s tactics, not those of a faithful pastor.

Next, you defensively and reactionarily complained, 

“It does surprise me if I can just be honest with you, that some who knew this individual for only six or less months, they allowed him to negate the preaching, and counsel, and the teaching that has come from this pulpit for nearly eight years. They allowed six months of whatever he was saying to completely wipe out what had been taught from this pulpit…They took it and it’s caused them to make decisions based on this new revelation that they received from these false accusations.”

It seems that you’re implying that these HC members were not capable of making their own decisions and were entirely swayed by me. This must be easier for you to believe than to confront the fact that your leadership and theology were not aligned with scripture, which ultimately led these members to leave as well. While I take responsibility for my resignation and bringing attention to your theological misconduct, I strongly suggest that you take an honest look at yourself to see what you could have done differently to achieve a different result.

The NAR Does Not Exist?

Honestly, I couldn’t believe you would publicly make this claim. Please review the quote,

“Never heard of it before a few months ago and it’s not even a real thing if you do check it out. It’s not even a real thing. It’s a blanket. People got thrown under the blanket. ‘Oh they’re a part of that!’ It’s like saying you’re all guilty because you’re Republicans for what took place on January 6th, you got thrown under the blanket. It’s the same thing.”

If you’re truly committed to seeking the truth and understanding the dangers of the NAR movement, I recommend reading some of the most informative and influential books on the topic. R. Douglas Geivett and Holly Pivec have written extensively on the subject, with titles such as “God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement,” “A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement,” and “Counterfeit Kingdom: The Dangers of New Revelation, New Prophets, and New Age Practices in the Church.” With your close associations to Bethel Church, BSSM, “Apostle” Bill Johnson, Rob McCorkle, Dan Bohi, and Dan Mohler, it’s important to ensure that your theological understanding is well-rounded and balanced. I encourage you to take the time to read these books and consider their perspectives on the NAR movement.

By dismissing the NAR as “not even a real thing,” you are failing to educate the members of HC about a significant and growing movement within Christianity. The literature on the NAR has expanded significantly in recent years due to the NAR’s increasing influence and spread of false doctrine globally. The NAR is a real movement, and to deny its existence is to leave your congregation uninformed about its dangers. Given your background as a pastor, your connections to NAR pastors and evangelists, and your involvement with BSSM/Bethel Church, your denial of the NAR raises several important questions:

1) After this many years leading a church, how could you be ignorant of this movement, and the dangers that follow, especially being tied to so many pastors, evangelists, and institutions that have openly embraced NAR theology?

2) Following from 1, in the slimmest chance that you went through your entire pastoral career escaping the knowledge of the NAR’s existence, what conclusions can I derive from your theological ignorance? Have you sufficiently acquired the capacity to discern and make reliable Biblical judgments to the degree that you’re competent enough to lead any church? When someone does present a legitimate theological red flag to you, such as NAR theology, can you critically and objectively review the theological implications of that red flag in a Christ-centered and Biblically orthodox way?

3) Assuming that 2 is false (i.e. you didn’t know about the NAR) and you covertly embrace NAR theology, your character is called into question because you publicly denied knowing about the NAR and mischaracterized the NAR as not a “real thing” from the pulpit. How can the church trust you to lead them if you’re not honest about your theological convictions? 

More Deception and Character Concerns

In a separate sermon, I discovered that you communicated another falsehood to the church from the pulpit. On December 18, 2022, in a sermon titled ‘Who is My Neighbor?’ (video here starting at 13:24 – 13:56), you blessed three members of HC for their acts of self-sacrifice. It’s appropriate to honor them, and I applaud you for doing so. In doing so, however, you wedded yourself to even more deception. Since the audio is of poor quality, I’ll transcribe the quote in question, 

But Heather has really been carrying the water for our teen ministry since, ah, really Andrew L has left.”

It’s disheartening to learn that you have distorted the truth about Heather’s role in the teen ministry. As the parents of teenagers who were part of the ministry can confirm, Heather was not the one “carrying the water” for the two months after Andrew L left. I exclusively led the teen ministry during that time. By mischaracterizing Heather’s involvement, you not only diminish her contributions, but you also undermine the genuine efforts she made to support the teens after I left. I urge you to consider the importance of offering an apology to Heather for using her involvement in the ministry as a way to erase my name from the church’s memory. Christians deserve recognition for their true efforts, and I have great respect for Heather’s character and actions.

Conclusion

As I mentioned at the start of this letter, I am mainly addressing the transcribed portion of your sermon because that is where the most concerning and public claims were made. It is scripturally appropriate to confront my accuser (2 Timothy 2:23-26), especially when they are making public accusations about my character and actions. My hope is that through this letter, God will provide clarity and understanding to all who read it, and encourage them to carefully consider both sides of this matter for themselves. I have been open and honest throughout this ordeal with everyone involved, and I pray that you will adopt this approach as well.

It may be difficult to hear, but I speak these words out of love for you and your family, as well as for HC. As much as it would be easier to simply tell you what you want to hear, it would also mean enabling your misguided doctrine and associations with those who promote false teachings. How could I not speak up if I see you leading your church down a dangerous path, straying from a sound understanding of the Bible and inviting a heretic to speak to your members? To remain silent would be an act of cowardice and a lack of love and respect for you. I do not want to see you continue down this path with the NAR, nor do I want to see you influencing others at HC to align with their teachings. I want the best for you and those at HC, and that means speaking the truth, even if it may be uncomfortable to hear.

I hope that you’ve taken the time to read this letter and are considering its content with an open and reflective mind. In it, I’ve provided a thorough and well-researched response to your claims, drawing on scriptural support and historical accuracy. While I trust that God will ultimately bring justice in His own time, I pray that this letter serves as a means for Him to communicate His truth to you, or that it may shed light on any false claims for HC to see and inspire positive change. My peace comes from knowing that I have faithfully shared the truth with everyone to the best of my ability.

I sincerely pray that HC will deepen its relationship with the Lord through consistent prayer and a strong foundation in sound doctrine and scripture. I realize that my actions, like writing a letter or article, do not determine God’s ultimate plan. My role is to listen and respond to the guidance of His Word and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Like everyone, I am imperfect and don’t always get things right. However, I hold a deep reverence for the truth and strive to share it without fear or hesitation, even if it may not be received well. The truth is eternal and unaffected by emotions. While I may speak with boldness and directness, it is out of love for HC, the Nazarene denomination, and all my fellow believers in Christ.

May God be with you,

Alan Anderson

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