Roman Catholicism Is Being Taught To Nazarene Youth (Part 2)

(This article and most of those I have been posting are relevant for any denomination, not just Nazarene.  Take heed and beware of what is being taught at your child’s university or in your youth groups, and use discernment).

In the previous post, I discussed the Barefoot Ministries book for youth, Sacred Life.  Although not all of the book’s chapters were discussed, I wanted to touch on a few other points I had not made.  I will then follow with a review of the second book I read, called Sacred Space.

In Sacred Life, I discussed the use of material from St. Ignatius and his work, Spiritual Exercises, and how he was deeply into mysticism, asceticism, and other spiritual practices which are unscriptural.  We also talked about the practice of the Jesus Prayer, which is simply “vain repetition” as forbidden in the scriptures, and the use of prayer ropes to aid in such type prayers.  In other words, praying the rosary is what is being taught in this book for Nazarene youth!  To have gone into some of the other methods, which were mentioned, would have made the article three times as long, but I covered enough ground to come to the conclusion that this is not recommended for any Christian youth to use as a guide for faith and practice.

Pilgrimages to Interspiritual Communities?
However, I will mention one more item from Sacred Life, before moving on.  There is the chapter on pilgrimages.  Someday I would love to go to the Holy Land and see it all.  I think most Christians would jump at that opportunity if they could.  But what does Mike King recommend as one of the pilgrimages to go on?  First, he states “in addition to the most common pilgrimage destinations connected to biblical places (Israel, Palestine, Rome, …”…“here are some other pilgrimage ideas”.  He goes on to specify seven locations, but the one that caught my eye was his recommendation to go to the Taize (pronounced teh-zay) prayer community in France.  Well, he calls it a prayer community, and that sounds all good and well, but again, a little more detail in description from Mr. King would have discerning Christians shocked, amazed, dumbfounded, appalled.

The Taize community is more than “just a prayer community”.  It is a hotbed of contemplative mysticism and interspirituality!  Lighthouse Trails Research describes it as this: “”Taize is an ecumenical prayer service designed to achieve a contemplative state through music, song and silence.”   Taize worshippers practice the silence with icons, candles, incense and prayer stations, and the description from Lighthouse says the same sentiment that King says, that it is attracting youth from all over the world.  David Cloud, in his excellent book documenting contemplative heresies, describes it like this: The Taizé services are non-dogmatic and non-authoritative.  There is no preaching” (Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, pg. 9).

And this description: “It does not dictate what people must believe.  No confessions of faith are required.  No sermons are given.  No emotional, evangelical-style testimonials are expected.  Clergy are not required” (“Taizé,” Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, Sept 20, 2002).
For the details on this outrageously non-Christian community, go to their own website: http://www.taize.fr/en.  Mr.  King, what were you thinking when you recommended this?  You are either ignorant of what this is all about, or you know what it is, and you obviously embrace this interspiritual, universalistic type of ideology.  And this is where you recommend Nazarene youth take a pilgrimage to?

Pagan Practices in the Nazarene Community

On to Sacred Places.  This book is essentially two things, and I could argue, one thing in different forms.  It is mostly about walking through prayer stations in various situations and places, and secondly, it gives instructions on how to use a prayer labyrinth, which is another way of “doing” prayer stations.

In the opening instructions, it says: “Sacred Space… is your guide to an ancient practice for drawing closer to God.  It involves prayer and meditation using prayer journeys.  A prayer journey is a meditation that is done by moving through different stations, concentrating on a different aspect of the meditation at each station.” (p.7).  Okay, already on page 7, I’m a little suspect.  Where in the scriptures is this ancient practice described?  Does Psalms perhaps instruct us on how to meditate on God’s word by using different prayer stations?  No, certainly not.  I agree, these are ancient practices, but they are NOT ancient Christian practices, that withstand the scrutiny of scripture!  Further on, it says: “the traditional meditations are generally used on a prayer path or prayer labyrinth, but they can be used just about anywhere” (p. 7).  Traditional, yes.  Scriptural, no.

Finally, they ask the question of why we should pray this way?  The answer: “currently there is a hunger for authenticity and a desire to embrace the mystery of life. As you read this, ask yourself if you have hungered for authenticity and the mystery of God.  This ancient tool allows you to have both.”  Really?  I thought that most Christians have a desire to embrace the teachings of the Lord Jesus and the apostles, as revealed in scripture.  The things that Jesus has revealed to us are not mysteries.  And have you ever woken up one morning and felt that you “hunger for authenticity?”
That is just another emergent buzzword that is thrown around as part of their vernacular, and it really is a smokescreen to divert Christians into thinking that for 2,000 years, we have not had true authenticity, and now here is the way to be authentic, and at the same time, embrace the mystery of God.  In other words, let’s get mystical, because that is how you can really get to know God, in a way you never thought possible.  Friends, we get to know God by studying His word diligently, and with a clear mind that is thinking on His word and learning the meaning of God’s instruction through proper biblical study.

The prayer stations are just another form of doing what is called in Roman Catholicism, Stations of the Cross.  The chapters give instructions on how to do prayer stations in the following situations: in a public park, at the mall, on a campus, in the outdoors, and on a mission trip.  At the mall, for instance, the identified stations could be: the entrance, a candle store, an expensive jewelry store, a store window, a trendy clothing store, people passing by, the toy store, and the mall exit.

As an example of how to focus, when at the expensive jewelry store you are asked to:

  • “Spend a moment browsing through the jewelry store. Pick out your favorite item, a watch, a ring, or a necklace.  A store employee will probably ask if you need help.  Note how they treat you if they find out you are just looking and not buying….”

It goes on like this at other stations, with recommended scriptures, AND specific prayers for you to recite.  Enough said, you will need to perhaps read the entire book to understand how this plays out, but what it is, is is step by step guidelines that if followed correctly will bring some type of new experience with God that you would not have otherwise, like simply reading scripture to understand it.

Using A Pagan Ritual: The Labyrinth
Finally, there is the prayer labyrinth. At the end of the book are instructions on how to make a prayer labyrinth.  Again, the writers go out of their way to say “meditating at stations along a path is an ancient tradition”  (p. 123).  Again, I ask, but is it scriptural?  Far from it!  Let me tell you where the prayer labyrinth came from.  It is not a Christian tradition, although it is ancient; in fact, its much older than Christianity. The labyrinth’s roots come from pagan religions, including Greek mythology, centuries before the time of Christ. In mystical Judaism it is called the Kabala.  It is not found anywhere in the Bible!

David Cloud says about the labyrinth that “it was Christianized by the Roman Catholic Church as part of its desperate search for spirituality apart from the Bible” (Contemplative Mysticism: A Powerful Ecumenical Bond, pg. 89).  This statement very simply describes what the contemplative prayer and spiritual formation movement is all about: searching for spirituality apart from scripture.  What Richard Foster promotes is no different from what the “ancients” promoted and practiced: mystical and occultic systems of worship that take the focus away from proper scriptural teachings and instruction.

In his book, A Time of Departing, Ray Yungen states: “Those walking the labyrinth will generally engage in centering prayer or contemplative prayer by repeating a chosen word or phrase while they walk, with the hope that when they reach the center of the labyrinth, they will have also centered down and reached the divinity within” (A Time of Departing, p. 179).

Yet the writers give instructions on how to set a labyrinth up, and even proudly tell you to go to the Barefoot Ministries website to get detailed instructions and facilitator’s guidelines!

Bottom line: these things are extra-biblical.  The Bible warns us against ritualism.  (Matthew 6:5–8).  We do not need any new revelation from practices such as these; all that we need is found in scripture, and is sufficient for our faith and practice.

  • and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.(2 Tim. 3:15–17 NKJV)

All we need is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  He is the only Way, Truth, and Life.  Rituals such as these diminish the sacrifice that He gave on the cross.

But now the emergent church is promoting these practices, and right inside the Nazarene church and other denominations.  Look at the labyrinth at Trevecca Nazarene University.  Look at the labyrinth used in a church’s District Assembly report.  I could go on and on.  They are appearing everywhere.

(Apparently some of us have touched a few nerves in the Nazarene hierarchy: at the NMI website, the word Emerging has been replaced with Developing!  (http://www.nazarenemissions.org/10002/story.aspx).  I have no doubt the emergent ideology along with its focus on contemplative mysticism and “ancient” and “traditional” practices has been embraced by many Nazarenes, yet countless “average” Nazarenes are not aware of it- yet.  What will you decide to do, accept or reject it?  If you accept, what is your basis for accepting?

We need to raise our voices and speak out against these practices, for if we keep quiet or look the other way, it will be a very shameful thing we do if we allow another gospel to come in and destroy the faith of our youth.

  • “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
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4 responses to “Roman Catholicism Is Being Taught To Nazarene Youth (Part 2)

  1. Manny,

    Do you feel that the embracing of Catholic rituals within the Nazarene church is part of a more underlying problem within in the whole Church family?

    I honestly feel that the emergent group movement is welcoming the Catholic practices because the Catholic Church is trying to be all inclusive with every religion.

    This being said, the all inclusive environment by the emergent group movement and the Catholic Church opens up the door to Bible prophecy relating to the one world religion.

    I Peter 5:8 KJV
    Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour

  2. I think it is evident in the writings and books of many of the emergent leaders. This is not limited to the Nazarene church, but is happening in all denominations to some degree or other.
    I believe that it is exactly what we are seeing: a move towards universalism and one world religion. The emphasis of contemplative prayer is mystical in nature, and it is a way of seeking to “experience” God, and since this type of prayer can be practiced by anyone, in any religious context, well then, we can all share in the same experience together, regardless of religion. We have seen the extreme liberalism which has infected the mainline churches over the last 30-40 years, including the open acceptance of ordained gays in the priesthood, in the Episcopal church, and others. Let’s embrace and except everything, regardless of what the scriptures say!

    All this liberalism is part of the move to accept almost anything within what is considered orthodoxy, so that we can all be united. The ecumenical movement is already in our denomination, it’s just creeping in slowly, but it is there. So it is in many other evangelical denominations. Rick Warren is a big proponent of ecumenical coming together with just about any religion, and he has this delusion that we can wipe out hunger and poverty by our own human efforts. Tony Campolo thinks we perhaps see the same God as the Muslims do. Brian Mclaren and others are practically shouting out that they believe in universalism, and that Jesus can be found in any religion. We could go on and on, but all this “new” spirituality has that theme running through it. So I agree with you, as many others who are looking at these trends, that there is a deliberate, concerted effort to bring all of us someday into full unity with all religions. Big mistake! Watch out for the wolves in your midst!

    1 Tim 4: 1-2 NKJV Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

    2 Corinthians 11:12-15 NKJV But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

  3. The article below should help readers understand the underlying dangers of the Catholic Church in our beloved Nazarene denomination and other denominations that are now being influenced by Catholic practices.

    VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict called on Tuesday for a “world political authority” to manage the global economy and for more government regulation of national economies to pull the world out of the current crisis and avoid a repeat.

    The pope made his call for a re-think of the way the world economy was run in a new encyclical which touched on a number of social issues but whose main connecting thread was how the current crisis has affected both rich and poor nations.

    Parts of the encyclical, titled “Charity in Truth,” seemed bound to upset free marketers because of its underlying rejection of unbridled capitalism and unregulated market forces, which he said had led to “thoroughly destructive” abuse of the system and “grave deviations and failures.”

    An encyclical is the highest form of papal writing and gives the clearest indication to the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics — and to non-Catholics — of what the pope and the Vatican think about specific social and moral issues.

    The pope said every economic decision had a moral consequence and called for “forms of redistribution” of wealth overseen by governments to help those most affected by crises.

    Benedict said “there is an urgent need of a true world political authority” whose task would be “to manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result.”

    Such an authority would have to be “regulated by law” and “would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights.”

    “Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the coordinated measures adopted in various international forums,” he said.

    Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ this article pinpoints exactly where we are in time according to Bible prophecy.

    This call for universalism by the Pope is a very scary moment in time. He is advocating for a one world economy and the Catholic Church is subtly moving into evangical chruches and spreading false doctrine. This doctrine will lead to an universal and all inclusive religion. As followers of Jesus Christ we are to separate ourselves from these false and misleading doctrines. We need to protect our younger generations with sound Biblical teachings and not subject them to questionable practices that offer a newer way to experience God. When in the end, these newer practices are nothing more then ancient pagan rituals.

    Philippians 3:17-19 KJV
    17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample
    18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
    19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

    I John 4:5-6 KJV
    5 They are of the world; therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
    6 We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth us not. Hereby know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

  4. Pretty scary stuff. One of the problems is to get more Christians to actually pay attention to this kind of news, and not just shrug it off and say “oh, it’ll never happen”.

    Just give it time…. it will.
    Thanks.

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