Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Mysticism and Pagan Practices

On its website promoting yet another retreat to a monastery, Treveccca Nazarene University states the following:

“In order to help students strengthen their Christian faith and establish spiritual disciplines, the school year at Trevecca includes times and events that focus on spiritual formation.” (Trevecca website)

Sounds good.  You might think it’s just another way of expressing how we ought to grow as Christians, and for me when I first heard of it, things came to mind such as regular prayer, Bible study, worship, and fasting, as ways to grow as a Christian, as prescribed to us in the Bible.  But beware, this is not what it means now in many Nazarene universities, or many other Christian schools for that matter.

Alarm bells should go off when you hear the term spiritual formation.  If you hear “spiritual formation” mentioned by your pastor, a preacher, or a professor, it would be advisable to ask them to explain what they mean, and to explain it completely and honestly.  However, it is clear to me that spiritual formation as practiced at Trevecca is not coming from a healthy biblical foundation.  In fact, this university seems to be the one that is most outrageous in its display of the “new spirituality” that is being promoted and touted as a must-have part of our lives if we are to grow as Christians and get closer to God.  Yet, is it helping students get closer to God, or it is helping them stray further away from the Bible as sole authority for our Christian faith and practice?

You see, Trevecca has a prayer labyrinth right on campus.  There is absolutely nothing scripturally warranted in the use of this clearly pagan practice, so why does a Nazarene university use this tool?  Thinking of sending your kids there?  You may want to write to President Dan Boone, or the theology department, and ask them if they can justify the use of labyrinths, and ask them to make sure that they can justify it according to scripture.  Otherwise, why is this being used on a Nazarene campus?

But let’s get to the upcoming issue at hand.  Yet again, Trevecca has scheduled another Spiritual Formation Retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky.  It’s called “Silence and Listening For the Voice of God”.  One of their comments regarding this retreat is the following:

“Union with God in prayer requires us to learn to quiet ourselves–yes, from the noises which surround us, but also from inward noises (restlessness, fears, our agenda’s, etc.)  It is this stillness and emptiness which allows us to be open to hearing the voice of God.” (Emphasis in red mine)

This stuff, if you are a discerning Christian, is right out of contemplative mysticism.  It is often justified by the misuse of Psalm 46:10, a sorry out of context reading of what is a passage that clearly teaches us not to go into any silence, but to relax and stop worrying so much about the turmoil in our life, because God is in control).

It is the seeking of silence, and worst still, of emptiness, that warning bells should be ringing for every Christian who reads this.  It is nothing more than a call to empty your mind, albeit masquerading as Christian spirituality.  Emptying the mind is the exact goal of transcendental meditation, and this is the very thing that spiritual formation subtly tries to promote.  Friends, if you empty your mind in some type of altered state of consciousness, can you guarantee that it is God’s voice you are hearing?  And where in the Bible are we ever directed to get into a state of “emptiness” and “silence” in the manner directed by mystics?  This is really just a resurrection of traditions created by the Desert Fathers.  However, tradition, as we should understand, does not necessarily equate to being biblically grounded.

They also categorize silence as one of the spiritual disciplines.  Really, where does the Bible teach us that?  This is nothing but adding to the word of God, which we are forbidden to do.  This is nothing more than Oprah Winfrey spirituality!

Sure, prayer and fasting, studying the scriptures, those can be called spiritual disciplines.  But not silence.  And certainly not labyrinths and prayer stations (a form of Stations of the Cross).  And not even things like journaling, which has become popular and often suggested as necessary for Christian growth.  When did we begin to forget that all that is sufficient for our daily Christian growth is faith in Christ, and trusting in His word which he has given to us? Anything else, and you are dangerously adding to the word of God, which according to scripture is a very serious offense!  And what about listening to God’s voice? If I told you the voice of God spoke to me last night (other than through His Word), how would I convince you that it was God’s voice, and not the voice of some other spirit that was not of God?

You also need to know that the Abbey of Gethsemani is a Roman Catholic monastery that is dedicated to Mary.  It is famously known as the spiritual home of Thomas Merton.  Their website has a page dedicated to him.   Remember this name, because it is becoming very popular amongst Nazarenes, along with such other monks as Henri Nouwen, who learned much from Merton and who believed that there are many paths to God, not just Jesus!  Spiritual formation programs and books rarely omit Thomas Merton as a resource, but instead he is looked at as a great spiritual source of wisdom for Christians.  There is no avoiding the influence of his teachings if you are going to a retreat at this monastery.

Merton was a Roman Catholic monk who was a mystic, and he experimented with Eastern religions mixed with Christianity, as many other monks such as Henri Nouwen did.  (Henri Nouwen has also become popular with Nazarene pastors as a “Christian” resource, which is unbelievably irresponsible and reckless). But as a professed Christian, Merton was a serious promoter of interspirituality.  He saw no problem between Christianity and Buddhism:

“I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity … I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.”  (David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969)

In the final year of his life, he spent time in various Eastern countries in search of the answers to spirituality (he could have searched the Bible).  He later visited a Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka, and described his visit as an experience of great illumination, a vision of “inner clearness.”
Six days later, he was accidentally electrocuted in a cottage in Bangkok by a faulty fan switch. (Contemplative Mysticism, David Cloud, p.315).

This kind of relationship Trevecca has with the teachings of folks such as Merton is unbiblical.  Will the prayer by Father Damien on opening night at the retreat involve praying to Mary or other saints as they normally do?  Do Trevecca’s leaders realize that praying to Mary, and participating in the Catholic Mass, is unbiblical and equates to idolatry?  Or do they think this is typical reflection of Nazarene doctrine and practice?

We are called to “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them” (Eph. 5:11).  It would seem to me that associations with folks who adhere to Merton’s philosophy qualifies for the category of fruitless deeds of darkness!  Or am I missing something here?  If someone could correct me with the scriptures, I will apologize for my error.  I doubt if that will happen, because this is not the first time I have asked these folks in leadership to correct me or those who are questioning these practices.  By the way, their recommended resources for spiritual formation reads like a who’s who of teachers such as Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster, Ruth Haley Barton, and several other usual suspects of the spiritual formation movement.

So Trevecca Nazarene University needs to openly explain clearly to all prospective students, and their parents, what is the biblical authority for participating in retreats such as this, and for participating in pagan rituals such as prayer labyrinths.  If not, perhaps feeling the pinch of the pocketbook, from less enrollments, and less donations, will draw their attention.  Just follow the money, it seems to be the order of the day, and if that is what will get some answers, perhaps we should do it.

(Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries explains prayer labyrinths and yoga)

Additional Resources on Trevecca’s plunge into Contemplative Spirituality:

Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Contemplative Spirituality in No Small Way

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185 responses to “Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Mysticism and Pagan Practices

  1. I have come to the conclusion that the experience of contemplative prayer as promoted by Henry Nouwan and found in the “lost” booklet “The Cloud of Unknowing” (author unknown) is real. However, it is not an experience peculiar to Christian Mystics. It can also be found in Sufism (Islam), Kabbalah (Jewish), Zen, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions of Mysticism. Quakers incorporate it into every worship gathering according to their tradition of seeking the “inner light” or “that of God in everyone.” I have even found that you can engage in meditation and reach the altered state of consciousness just by using a CD (The promise is that you won’t have to spend as much time getting into that state and you will still reap the full benefits of meditation as practiced by Zen Monks.). In the 60’s and 70’s we called it Transcendental Meditation – no religion necessary. L.B. Cowman (aka Mrs. Charles E. Cowman) also describes it in her devotional book “Streams in the Desert”, a popular daily devotional, on June 30.

    I am deeply troubled that so many “Christian” leaders are promoting a practice where one seeks the inner “light” through entering the “silence” by emptying their minds of all thought. If this “light” were truly “the light of God” then why would anyone other than a regenerate Christian be able to find it?

    2 Corinthians 11:14
    No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

    The word “angel” is not a true translation from the original word but more of an English version of the Greek word “angelo” which means messenger. To say that Satan disguises himself as an “angel of light” is to say that he disguises himself as a “messenger of light.”

    Matthew 6:23
    But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

  2. Tim, can you give me a call. I’d rather talk person to person. What you are attacking is not pagan or mystical or Catholic, but the Biblical practice of prayer by our students. The word labyrinth is no longer on our website. We have removed it to keep from offending you and your friends. We don’t mean the same thing you do when we use the word, but to keep from offending, we have decided to stop using it.
    Let me describe for you what actually happens in the prayer room. Leading up to revival, we always create a prayer room where our students can prepare themselves for revival. There are 5 prayer stations. At the first one, students read and meditate on the Psalm, “search me and know my heart, try me and know my ways….” At the second station, they pray for the entire campus to be open to the preaching of the word. At the third station, they pray for lost friends on the campus to be saved during the meeting. At the fourth station, they pray for our chaplain, the musicians, and the evangelist. And at the fifth station, they pray for their family and church back home. We learned to pray tis way from the scriptures. The practice of the OT people of God in the temple includes Psalms of individual confession of sin, thanksgiving, offering up sacrifice, and prayers for their nation and king. The practice of Jesus was to go into the mountains and pray with the Father. His followers were so moved by his practice that they asked to be taught to pray as he has prayed. In the Sermon on the Mount we are instructed to go into our prayer closet, close the door and pray to the Father in heaven. The epistles are full of instructions regarding the kind of prayers we are to pray. We learned to pray like this from the Bible.
    The fact that some of these forms were practiced by the Catholic Church is incidental. Given they were the only church for 1500 years after Christ, it would be expected that the church formed in the Protestant Reformation would do some of the things that Christians had been doing for 1500 years.
    I grew up in a church that had cottage prayer meetings, 48 hour continuous prayer at the church altar, and open altar times during the early morning. I learned this from people much older than me, not from emergent theologies or Catholics. And given the setting of a college campus, with 4 to 8 people living in a suite of rooms, it is hard for students to find space and place to pray alone. To set aside a room where they can pray is a very Biblical thing to do. For someone to grasp the word labyrinth and fill it with meaning that is pagan, and accuse us of those type practices, is either a gross misunderstanding or an intentional lie.
    Regarding the trip to the Abbey, it started in the late 1960’s with Dr. Bill Strickland, one of our now-retired religion professors. We choose the Abbey for our silent retreat for several reasons. It is affordable room and board for our students. The monks there run a retreat business that is highly hospitable. It is a beautiful setting for a retreat. It also is designed for minimal distractions – no TV’s or radios in rooms, no lobby music blaring, no fast food restaurants up and down the street. Students today live in the middle of noise all the time. We think it is important to teach them to practice the command – “Be still and know that I am God”. The monks neither teach nor participate in the retreat. We show them common Christian courtesy by inviting them to welcome the group and tell us about the Abbey requirements, much as would happen on any camp ground being leased. To leap from renting a retreat facility to embracing the Catholic theology or the works of Thomas Merton is like saying that someone who stays in a Marriott Hotel is practicing Mormonism (a Mormon family owns it)… or like accusing a church of being Satanic because they held their retreat in a hotel that hosted a Wiccan Convention last year. I am not approving Mormon teachings by renting a room at the Marriott Courtyard. This retreat is a model of what Jesus did – leaving the crowds and the noise to go into the mountains to pray, to get alone with God, to listen to the Father. The occurrence of the words “hear”, “listen”, “what the Father says”, and other similar phrases are all over the Bible. Jesus got away, quieted himself, and listened to the Father. I am shell-shocked that any Christian would attack us for teaching students to do this and providing the most affordable, hospitable, quiet place we could find that would be conducive to this experience. We’re raising up a new generation of praying college students. Being called pagan and Catholic and new age and heretical is just unreasonable. I still have a hard time understanding this type attack.
    The above article concerning Trevecca is based on a word (labyrinth) and a retreat place (the Abbey). We no longer use the word because we seek not to offend you, and the practices you have associated with the word never occurred. I’m not sure God is all that bothered what we call the place we pray – labyrinth, prayer room, prayer closet, bedside, church altar. I think it is more important that we pray.
    We’ll keep using the prayer retreat site because it is a good place for our students to get alone with God.
    As to complaints about silence as a practice int he presence of God, I think thta is also Biblical. “Be still and know that I am God.” Numerous Psalms that speak of quieting the heart. All the commands to listen and hear. The practice of Jesus getting alone with the Father – mountains, Gethsemane. John on the Island of Patmos. Paul praying in the prison. I just can’t believe God wants us to do all the talking. I’m sure God prefers that we get silent and listen. And we teach our studnents how to discernt he voice of God – what God says is in keeping with the written word of scripture, it is aligned with the character of Jesus, it is faithful to the doctrine that has been handed down to us by our Wesleyan-holiness fathers and mothers, it is confirmed by the common experiences of other believers, and it is reasonable… being that God is a God of order.
    If I were a parent, knowing what is happening in public universities these days, I’d do anything to get my child into a university that is serious about prayer, Bible, theology, and a Christian lifestyle. I wouldn’t be bashing a school devoted to doing these things. You have chosen the wrong enemy to fight, and God gets no glory in this kind of slander. Your stated “contention for the faith” is more like a witch hunt based on your assumption of personal inerrancy and your castigation of good, Godly people that you have never met or had a face-to-face conversation with. I am also wonded by your attack on the Catholics. I cannot find where God has asked us to do this. I do remember Wesley suggesting that we extend hands to those who claim Christ, and Jesus himself refusing to call down fire on the Samaritans as suggested by his disciples. If I remember correctly, he rebuked them.
    I stand ready to forgive the above mischaracterization and slander of Trevecca, and am praying that God will open your eyes to the significant harm you are doing to Christ. With the Apostle Paul, I am willing to fill up in my body the sufferings of Christ and thereby be identifed with Christ in his sufferings – I just didn’t think it would come from someone claiming to know Jesus…but then, it was the religious folk who crucified him.
    Blessings,
    Dan Boone

    PS If you post this, please respect the context of the entire email and do not cut and paste.

  3. Dan:
    ????
    I got the heads up on your reply to this article from Manny Silva.
    Are you addressing this article?
    On this website?
    If so you may want to direct your questions to the author of the article who is Manny Silva.
    Manny is also the owner of this website.
    I however am in agreement with Manny’s article.
    It is a very good article.
    I did not write it though.
    You already know where I stand through our emails in the past.
    You may want to bring this up with Manny who you have also had email correspondance with.

    Tim

  4. Dan you stated “The fact that some of these forms were practiced by the Catholic Church is incidental. Given they were the only church for 1500 years after Christ,”
    The Catholic Church was the only church for 1500 years after Christ?
    Dan thats not even close to being historically true.
    Im not sure where you get your facts from.
    But now what you state makes more sense to me.
    Even though its not based on historical fact.
    Praying for you
    Tim

  5. Trevecca is not the same school it was 20-30 years ago. I have seen how it has changed over the years personally. The old College Hill Church of the Nazarene associated with Trevecca in my younger days is now Trevecca Community Church of the Nazarene. Everytime I see the word “community” on a church sign I cringe.

    If my memory serves me correctly, I had a discussion with a relative of Dan Boone who is a pastor in my home town. In my attempt to get back into the Nazarene church, I wanted to make sure that the emergent church philosophy was not active in this church. I was told that Rob Bell’s books and videos were used within the church. Why would a pastor tell me that God has both male and female characteristics if he wasn’t being influenced by Rob Bell’s teachings?
    This is the exact reason why I will never step foot into another Nazarene church.

    I also agree with Tim on the issue about where did the idea come from that the Catholic Church was the “only” Church for 1500 years after Christ. Were the churches visited by Paul Catholic? Was John part of the Catholic Church when he wrote Revelation through God’s divine revealing of future events?

  6. The first church was written about in the Book of Acts.
    This was not the Catholic Church.
    Not by a stretch.
    Christ is the Head of the Church (Eph 5:23) not Peter, even though Peter was certainly one of the leaders in the early church.
    You can see throughout church history where there was a remnant, the ones called out, the ekklesia.
    To state the Catholic Church was the only church for 1500 years is a statement only the Catholic Church makes.
    FYI the term Catholic is interchangeable with Roman Catholic. The pope often refers to both so don’t be confused when John Wesley or any others would use the term catholic (small c) meaning universal.
    There have been attempts even to rewrite history as well as John Wesley’s own words or sermons concerning the catholic spirit (meaning universal spirit among believers).
    It is my opinion that rewriting Wesleyan history is an attempt and an excuse by some to embrace The Roman Catholic/Catholic Church and or its practices, or at least blur the lines and distinctives between Catholics and Christians.
    The official plan of salvation that is taught in the Catholic/Roman Catholic church is a different plan of salvation and is not biblically based.
    It is based on Christ plus works.
    If Christ’s sacrifice alone on the cross was not enough then you worship another Jesus and preach another gospel.

  7. Hey Manny: Are we also to understand that Trevecca has pulled the actual word labyrinth from the website but has not pulled the use of the labyrinth or the use of it?
    If thats so absurdity has been taken to a whole new level.
    Its almost as absurd as the following statement I found on another alleged Christian website.

    “No one will be called a heretic! Ideas may be heretical and if an idea falls within the definition of heresy then it is fair to call the idea heresy, however please refrain from calling the person a heretic.”

    If that wasnt such a sad statement it would almost be funny.

  8. That is my understanding, Tim, that the practice is still going on. Just because the word is removed from the website- along with the pictures- does not mean anything if the use of the labyrinth is still going on at the school!

  9. I have discovered that the Nazarene Church has now started to use Catholic terminology in its articles of belief. This is from First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville (My boyhood church). Notice the use of the word Eucharist and sacrament.

    XIII. The Lord’s Supper (Eucharist)

    We believe that the Memorial and Communion Supper instituted by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is essentially a New Testament sacrament, declarative of His sacrificial death. It is distinctively for those who are prepared for reverent appreciation of its significance, and by it they show forth the Lord’s death until He comes again.

    This is from the statement of belief from the church I attend.

    We recognize water baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the Scriptural ordinances of obedience for the church in this age (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41-42; 18:18; I Cor. 11:23-26).

    By changing the word ordinance to sacrament can change the entire meaning of what salvation is all about. Catholicism says works, e.g., participation in the sacraments are necessary for salvation.

    So, by attending a Catholic Abbey can send the same message to those who are not Biblically strong.

    Through the use of ecumenical ways, the foundation of a one world religion is being set and people are so blind to it. The Christian leaders who are advocating tolerance to the point of embracing apostasy are going to triumph in the near future, at least temporarily. The Bible makes that clear. Just as “one world” thought is dominating the political and economic scenes today, it has captivated the thinking of both Catholic and Protestant leaders regarding religion. In that regard, I think it is significant that in 1989 the Archbishop of the Anglican Church, Robert Runcie, called for all Christians to accept the Pope as “a common leader presiding in love.” Runcie made his appeal at an evening prayer service midway through his first official visit to the Vatican. “For the universal church, I renew the plea,” he said. “Could not all Christians come to reconsider the kind of primacy the bishop of Rome exercised with the early church, ‘a presiding in love’ for the sake of the unity of the churches in the diversity of their mission?”

    That kind of thinking is paving the way for the establishment of the one world government of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-10 KJV) which will be supported by the one world religious system of the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11-18 KJV).

    I believe the harlot church of Revelation 17 (KJV) will most likely be an amalgamation of the world’s pagan religions, including apostate Protestants, under the leadership of the Catholic Church.

  10. Tim, thanks for the correction on the authorship of the web article. I wasn’t sure who had written it. I am in a good conversation with Manny and look forward to further correspondence with him.

    And to other responders, the sentence regarding the 1500 years is meant to state that there were no Protestant denominations in existence – only the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches and a few smaller movements. I am talking about how the church organized in the first century following the completion of the canon, and the ongoing existence of the church in that form for the next 1500 years. I am not speaking about the church of Acts, Revelation, etc. That church was a fragile local expression just gaining foothold through the missionary leadership of Paul and others.

    I wish we could recover the missional fire of that early Biblical church today. The closest thing I’ve seen to it lately is the students of Trevecca. They preach the gospel to the poor under bridge overpasses, host the homeless on our campus and feed them, oppose human trafficking, tutor inner city children, move into poorer neighborhoods to embody the gospel of Jesus, travel to the poorest of places for work and witness, plow gardens for the elderly, visit prisons and hold services, and give sacrificially for the cause of Christ in the world. They find the attack on their college ludicrous. I tell them it is good practice in blessing those who persecute the righteous.

    One other note – having written on the Revelation, I actually believe the harlot church of Rev. 17 was the Roman Empire, which followed in the wake of Egypt and Babylon as other empires supported by the beast on whose back they rode. Any corporate power becomes the harlot when it does the work of evil. This is not so much a prediction of what might be coming, as a historical message to the people to whom the book was written. The idea that this is the church of the future misses the point that kings, merchants, and shipmasters were the ones invested in the harlot that fell. This sounds more to me like economies, governments, and power brokers than a form of religion. While Rome had its priests and enforcers supporting the temple guilds, the primary focal point was professional guilds and their role in building the empire. That’s why I’m working on issues like human trafficking, immigration law, prison reform, and poverty rather than yoga, who a retreat center hosts, and whether silence before God meets the stringent requirement of people who have never been in a Trevecca prayer room. You’ve got the wrong enemy. We are teaching students to love and serve the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to pray, to fast, to listen to God, to give to the poor, to bear witness to the faith. Come on guys, stop this silliness.

    There may be Christians being led astray somewhere by mystical practices and pagan connections, but not at Trevecca. I hope to find reasonable people in this reformed Nazarene movement. You are being drawn into an enemy-centered life and are imagining enemies where you actually have friends. I have taken a huge risk to step into a conversation that many of my friends say is unreasonable, one-way, highly judgmental, and useless. Reading the Bible makes me hopeful. I hope you will change your tone and stop doing damage to a Christian university. Our world needs schools like Trevecca.

    Blessings, Dan

  11. President Boone,

    I firmly believe that the responsibility of the president and I assume pastor of a Christian university is first and foremost is to see that these children are saved and sanctified, seeking holiness and godliness. The Holy Spirit will direct their lives. He will lead them to preach the gospel and minister to the poor. He will lead them to stand against the evils of this world ( i.e. immigration law, human trafficking, poverty.).

    Teaching students to fight against these evils without the full armor of God (salvation and sanctification) is the same as any other secular university and their social justice groups.

    The second responsibility of a Christian university in the Holiness tradition should be to keep evil from these children, not expose them to useless culturally relevant ideas or religious practices that could lead away from God. Above all, flee from all evil.
    Please reconsider the furnishings of your prayer room, maybe a Bible, chair and a mourner’s bench.

    The third responsibility of a Christian university in the Holiness tradition is to teach them the commandments of the Lord. The university has been given charge of these children and they should be instructed in the manner of Deut. 6:6-9 as the Lord commanded parents. All students should be taught the beliefs of the Nazarene church. A requirement perhaps.

    Maybe the curriculum could suffer the loss of a psychology course or two to fit in a required course on biblical holiness. I am sorry to say I am the recipient of a Big Ten degree prior to salvation, however I do not see much difference in the course requirements of the holiness universities of the three major holiness churches. The holiness universities should hold to a higher standard. To be in the world but not of the world.

    In Christ,
    Beth

  12. The Babylonian system will actually be an extension of the revived Roman Empire which is composed of a religious, economic and governmental system combined as is spoken of in Revelation. It will be under the direct control of the Anti-Christ and False Prophet. Revelation is not only a book of historical facts (churches of time past), but also a book of the time to come (judgements of God). It is not a book of predictions.

    There is nothing wrong in my opinion giving warning over concerns to practices and relationships that are questionable in nature.

    What message are we sending to the world if our universities allow individuals such as Brian McLaren and others to appear as guest speakers to spread their heresies?

    I’m not calling anyone at Trevecca my enemy.

    Ephesians 6:12 KJV For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

  13. So Dan you are changing your statement you originally stated
    “The fact that some of these forms were practiced by the Catholic Church is incidental. Given they were the only church for 1500 years after Christ,”
    And now you state
    “the sentence regarding the 1500 years is meant to state that there were no Protestant denominations in existence – only the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches and a few smaller movements.”
    Two different statements but-I digress.
    Myself and other’s are very well aware of your low view of scripture and poor exegesis of scripture so no point in arguing scripture here.
    Dan you state-
    “There may be Christians being led astray somewhere by mystical practices and pagan connections, but not at Trevecca.”
    But in your previous statement you said
    “Regarding the trip to the Abbey, it started in the late 1960’s with Dr. Bill Strickland, one of our now-retired religion professors. We choose the Abbey for our silent retreat for several reasons.”
    You have also refered to Thomas Merton and Ignatius Loyola as spiritual giants. So inspite of you trying to side step and under play your field trips to the Abbey you have obviously bought into Thomas Merton’s teaching.
    Your own statements contradict each other.
    You also state-
    “That church was a fragile local expression just gaining foothold through the missionary leadership of Paul and others.
    Wow Dan what Bible do you read?
    The early church was strong not fragile at all plus it was Holy Spirit driven.Read Acts 2:41, Acts 6:7, O heck just read the entire Book of Acts, then perhaps read the Foxe Book of Martyrs the early church was hardly a fragile local expression.
    If the early church had been fragile it never would have made it past the first century.
    Poor choice of words Dan
    Many different groups do many good things.
    And for sure Christians should be feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
    The true church has been doing this since day one.
    My war is not against the students of Trevecca.”
    My battle is against false teachers and their false teachings.
    I pray that all who witness to the poor as well as everyone else remember always to share the true gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and dying world.
    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim

  14. in respect to beth lockwoods concern about curriculum and the similarities between that of holiness schools versus public universities, her beef is really with all liberal arts schools, they all must abide by the same standards of curriculum to meet the requirements for certain accreditation, she would probably be more satisfies with the curriculum of a bible college (such as NBC). they have a different accreditation, if any, and therefore can teach a curriculum absent of the usual general studies required with any degree from a liberal arts college (private or public; christian or secular) dont know if that warrants being published but thought it might help

  15. THANK YOU DAN BOONE. yes, I DO find this attack on my school COMPLETELY ludicrous. Have any of you ever even stepped foot on our campus?

  16. I cannot believe that this would actually be posted. I attend Trevecca, and I have also attended the silence retreat. That retreat was one of the times in my life I felt closest to God. We were allowed to practice worship in any way we wished. We were not forced to listen to Catholic beliefs, and the monks were incredibly hospitable while we were there. I am incredibly offended that anyone would speak so poorly of Trevecca. It is a wonderful school and I wouldn’t choose any other place to attend.

  17. Kathleen, I am not attacking your school or the students- I am against the practices I have mentioned. Could you possibly justify those biblically? Including use of a pagan form of worship- prayer labyrinths?

  18. Dear Appalled,

    On just two points I would ask you… where is the support in scripture for practicing the silence?

    And prayer labyrinths, which are derived from pagan religions and is forbidden by scripture

  19. Dear reformednazarene,

    Can you cite Scripture that gives you the authority to be the judge of someone else?

    As for your argument against labyrinths and silence I would say this: Jesus went away to pray (as Dr. Boone has already mentioned). That is what labyrinths and the retreat to the Gethsemane Monastery are designed to mimic. We are simply trying to live the way Jesus lived. Jesus didn’t have a New Testament to base what He did on, He simply followed the will of the Father, and that is what Trevecca Nazarene University is trying to do.

    Please, stop attacking a school that means so much to so many people.

  20. Todd,

    I take it that you are seriously asking the judgment question, and are not asking me to waste time writing. So here goes:

    A classic misuse of scripture, to prove that we should never judge, is Matthew 7:1, which is often taken out of context. Let’s look at the passage IN CONTEXT:

    1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    Note here in verse 3 that Jesus points out the person who is judging someone, and that same person has the fault himself. BUT THEN, he goes to say… Hey… get rid of that hypocrisy, so that you CAN judge righteously. Do you now understand that?

    And one other thing, we are commanded, as you probably know, by Jesus later in this very chapter to beware of false prophets. Question for you: how can I beware of false prophets UNLESS I am able to judge their fruits? Hmm?

    I hope this is enough. If you need more lesson on the many times we are justified in judging, see this link on blog on a great lesson called: Judge Not?

    http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/judge-not/

    After you respond to me on this, perhaps I will answer the labyrinth question. However, I need to know if I have taught you appropriately here on this first, before moving to the next point.

    (By the way, is it snowing in Nashville?)

    Blessings,

    Manny

  21. I would love to provide a few references in scripture supporting Trevecca’s “promotion” of silence and to address some of the other issues you have with Trevecca’s spiritual views.

    Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”

    The Bible urges us on multiple occasions to be still before the Lord. The Hebrew word meaning “to be still” comes from the word rapha which means “to sink or relax.” It seems that me that often times, in order to relax, one must become silent. The stillness in which we are called to is not just a physical stillness but one of mental stillness as well. We are too frequently distracted by our own worries, concerns, desires, and other selfish aspects of our lives that we lose sight of the fact that God is sovereign and that He is in control. (Isaiah 30:15 says that it is in “quietness and trust” we find our strength). It is by silencing our hearts that we become open to God’s will rather than focusing on our own (Romans 12 calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds).

    I understand that this can be accomplished through the reading of scripture, but the Word is not the only way in which God reveals Himself to us. If we do not quiet our hearts and empty ourselves of selfish desires, we do not allow room for the Holy Spirit to move in us. We are called to listen to the Lord. This is a very elementary example, but if you are eating lunch with a friend who is trying to communicate something to you, yet you are talking while they do so, you are not listening. Listening requires silence. I’m really not sure there needs to be any more evidence than that. Silence is not only Biblical, but it is also simply common sense.

    The issue of emptying is also Biblical, although I am not sure it is promoted in scripture verbally. Yet, self-emptying is an act of emulating our Savior Himself. Christ’s very life was one of becoming empty in order to fill others up. Mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, Christ was constantly emptying Himself. It is by His self-emptying that we are saved! To say that the act of emptying oneself is not Biblical is simply untrue. I would venture to say that self-emptying is at the very heart of who we are and also who God is. Unless we are emptied of ourselves, we cannot live in solidarity and compassion with others. As a Trevecca student, I consider myself blessed to have my eyes open to what it means to be a follower of Christ in this way. We are not called to live for ourselves but for the Lord who died for the world. I echo the words of John Wesley when I ask, if God loved humanity that much, should we not love each other as He did? We do this by living in solidarity with our neighbor just as Christ Himself did.

    I can understand your concern about the trip we take every year to a Catholic monastery. However, I disagree with your position. Just because a small percentage of our students spend one weekend a year at a monastery does not mean Trevecca is in any way promoting Roman Catholicism. Yet, I would like to think that Nazarenes would be gracious enough to accept Roman Catholics as brothers and sisters in Christ. While I realize it is the view of the Catholic church that they are the one true church and other members of Christ body are not permitted to take the Eucharist in their cathedrals, I would hope that we would be examples of the way in which God truly intends His body to live. What better way then to spend time amongst Roman Catholic monks? As you stated, the word catholic originally meant “universal.” To eliminate Roman Catholicism as members of ONE body, is to completely disregard the way in which the Lord desires for us to relate to one another.

    Dr. Boone is not manipulating Trevecca students by promoting “pagan” or “mystic” practices. Instead, he and other faculty members challenge us to live holistically. Currently, our chapel theme is “Journey into Wholeness.” Trevecca believes that our relationship with God should penetrate all aspects of who we are. Our body, mind, spirit, relationships, food intake, entertainment, and all other parts of our being should be influenced by our participation in the divine life of the Holy Trinity. Buddhism and Hinduism are not the only religions that call for reflection and meditation. The terminology is the same, but it means something different for Christians. It is vital to our faith that we spend quiet time with the Lord reflecting on His will for our lives and ask that He silence our hearts so that we may hear His voice.

    Ghandi once said that he did not have a problem with Christ, but rather with Christ’s followers. Even as a Christian, I often empathize with this statement. We are called to be united in Christ, and yet, here we are tearing each other down and arguing over the only thing that can unite us. It is my prayer that the Church would no longer be divided, but would come together despite its disagreements and become one in the knowledge of Christ’s love.

  22. I just read Todd’s message. Your response to his, and many other’s comments are very condescending. Are you sure you do not need to reread the scripture from Matthew you just quoted in context? What authority do you have to teach anyone anything? Jesus said “whoever is without sin may cast the first stone.” Correcting is one thing, but this should only be done in love. You probably do not mean to be representing yourself as an ignorant, judgmental person, but you certainly come across as such. You made a good point by quoting the passage in its entirety, but I think you need to examine your own heart before you claim that you are not a hypocrite.

  23. Dear confused,

    If I came across as condescending, I certainly apologize. Otherwise, it was a perfectly good lesson- short as it was- on judging. Is there anything wrong with what I said about judging?

    What authority do you have to teach, or anyone else for that matter?
    Are you saying I cannot teach anyone? Is there a prerequisite for that, biblically? My authority is the Bible.

    Sometimes I get a little harsh, but that does not mean I am not doing it out of love. Paul and even Jesus were harsh, very harsh at times. Are you saying that they were not doing it in love?

    So I assume that you agree with the lesson, even if you think I am a hypocrite, correct?

  24. Anonymous stated “The issue of emptying is also Biblical, although I am not sure it is promoted in scripture verbally. Yet, self-emptying is an act of emulating our Savior Himself.”
    You sound a little confused here. If its not in scripture verbally (or written) its of course cannot be stated as Biblical because you cant find it in the Bible.
    We are not talking about emptying self but emptying the mind which was promoted by the Desert Fathers as well as Thomas Merton.
    This practice did not originate in Christianity but was borrowed from the Eastern religions of Buddhism and Hinduism.
    That’s where the Desert Fathers borrowed the practice from.
    You cannot Christianize pagan practices by just using Christian words.
    The Lord Jesus told us not to pray using vain repetitions Matt 6:7.
    Using Christian words does not make it any less vain.
    Plus praying or saying a word over and over again will send you into a altered state of mind.
    No where is this practice promoted in the Bible.
    Again its origins are in eastern pagan religions which still practice this form of prayer today.
    here is a great article on this by my brother in the Lord Chris Lawson
    http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/f/ChristianLeadersContemplativePrayer.pdf

  25. Folks reading this-
    The information and biblical truth is out there if you care to hear what the Bible states about everything we are talking about here.
    Lighthouse Trails is a good source of solid biblical information.
    As well as all the linked websites here.
    You need to start and end with scripture alone.
    If not all comments are relavtive to the individual instead of Gods Word.
    And you have to start at the point where you believe that Gods Word is Gods Word.
    Withour error, dictated directly by the Holy Spirit to the human authors who wrote them down (with no agenda of their own except to dictate what the Holy Spirit told them).
    Check Romans 3:4, 2 Timothy 3:16, the inerrancy of Scripture can be inferred by premises that are themselves taught by Scripture.

    We read in Scripture that truth is an attribute of God (Jeremiah 10:10; John 1:14; 14:6; 17:3), and that God speaks truthfully – that is, He does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Titus 1:2; Romans 3:3-4).

    We also are told that Scripture is “breathed out” by God (2 Timothy 3:16).

    The Word of God, then, is true (John 17:14,17; cf. Psalm 119:142; 151; 160; Revelation 21:5; 22:6).Second Peter 1:21 tells us that “prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The word moved in this verse literally means to be “borne along” or “carried along.”

    Even though human beings were used in the process of writing down God’s Word, they were all literally “borne along” by the Holy Spirit.

    The human wills of the authors were not the originators or the carriers of God’s message….God did not permit the will of sinful man to divert, misdirect, or erroneously record His message.

    God moved and the prophet mouthed these truths; God revealed and man recorded His word.

    Jesus’ View of the Bible

    Divine Inspiration:

    Matthew 22:43

    Indestructibility:

    Matthew 5:17-18

    Infallibility:

    John 10:35

    Final Authority:

    Matthew 4:4,7,10

    Historicity:

    Matthew 12:40; 24:37

    Scientific Accuracy:

    Matthew 19:2-5

    Factual Inerrancy:

    John 17:17; Matthew 22:29

    Christ-Centered Unity:

    Luke 24:27; John 5:39

    Spiritual Clarity:

    Luke 24:25

    Faith and Life Sufficiency:

    Luke 16:31
    In 1 Corinthians 2:13 the apostle Paul said he spoke “not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

    In this passage Paul (who wrote a huge portion of the New Testament) affirms that his words were authoritative because they were rooted not in fallible man but infallible God (the Holy Spirit). The words were taught by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit here is the Spirit of truth who was promised to the apostles to teach and guide them into all the truth (see John 16:13).

    Scripture is the solid foundation where all this discussion must start and finish.

  26. Nazarenepsalm113,

    I’m sorry I did not articulate myself clearly. My point was that if and when we use the word “emptying,” it is not to signify this eastern mystic practice you’re speaking of. We simply mean that we are to be humbled before the Lord. I’m sure you have sung “You are the potter, I am the clay.” We are not seeking enlightenment that comes from within us. We simply pray that the Lord would mold us and shape us.

    When I said that self-emptying is Biblical, I was referring to the fact that the person of Christ is the model for this concept. Although I am not aware of any place in scripture that specifically stated that one must empty oneself, we follow the example of Christ in doing so. I think it can be said that following the way in which Christ lives, as we see in scripture, is Biblical.

    It seems to me that one of the biggest issues here is simply word choice. I do not see any reason why Trevecca should change it’s vernacular. We were created to become both creators and cultivators. While we are called to live radically different lives from the rest of the world, we are also able to utilize what good comes from outside cultures. In the case of the terminology we are using, such as “labyrinth,” “emptying,” and “silence,” we may be inspired by the spiritual seeking of other religions (which I’m not sure is really the case), but we are transforming those concepts into something beautiful and worthy of the Kingdom. This concept is certainly Biblical.

    I really did not intend to start an argument. I was simply trying to make the point that for the most part, this is an unecessary misunderstanding.

  27. I have made this offer to you before Tim and I will do it again and this applies to everyone who comments here or insist on having this Internet battle of words. I will more than welcome you on to my talk show at Trevecca Nazarene University and honestly and ernestly talk this out with you. There are a lot of students in all of the Nazarene schools and churches that are quite frustrated with the stance of these “concerned” Nazarenes. Also the fact that all of these conversations take place on the Internet and not face to face or in person in any way shape or form. If you truly believed in what you are saying I honestly believe that you would do these things in person. This offer is on the table and will always be on the table.

  28. Can we simply try to explain our positions by justifying them by the word of God? And in context?

    Anonymous Student, what does Habakkuk 2:20 have anything whatsoever to do with practicing the silence as the contemplatives now teach? How does Jesus going into the mountains to pray translate to “the silence?” What are you reading out of the scriptures that is not even there?

    With all due respect, you misinterpret scripture to justify what cannot be. I pray that there comes some real Bible learning at Trevecca, and not this fake spiritual formation teaching that is nothing but man made ways to get closer to God, and supposedly “hear” His voice.

    I will be praying for the Trevecca students, who are being misled by these false teachings. However, I will not argue continuously with them if they cannot use scripture properly to back up their positions. No reasonable, learned pastor will ever make the case that you did about Jesus going up to the mountains to pray, to mean that it was to be “in the silence”.

    Praying for all of our universities,

    Manny

  29. I pray that you learn how not to condemn other people for what they do or say. I also pray that your eyes will be opened so that you can see what you are doing is hurting other christian around you when we are to support them and lift them up in the name of God. I pray for everyone that reads they that they will not be lead astray by what you do or say.

  30. Hi Allison,

    I truly want to know from you with all sincerity- where is the biblical support for what you have said to me?

    I am trying to warn you and others that you are being led astray- we are strongly urged by Christ and the apostles themselves- that we are to beware of false teachings and warn others. I am doing just that.

    I will give support and love to any Christian who is seeking the truth; but I cannot stand by while Christians are being led astray.

    Sincerely praying for those students being led astray,

    Manny

  31. There is a complete breakdown of authority here. President Boone states “As a Wesleyan, I concur with the quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. This has guided the holiness movement across centuries.”

    This sentence doesn’t give a qualifying subject. Quadrilateral of What? He forgot the word AUTHORITY! The subject is Authority.

    This was not John Wesley’s position anymore than there were no “protesting” churches before Martin Luther (1500). To set the record straight, John Wesley, in his Journal in 1730 wrote “I began to be homo unius libri, to study comparatively no book but the Bible.” Also in regards to reason and tradition he confessed in 1738 he “bent the bow too far the other way” “making antiquity a co-ordinate rather than subordinate rule with Scripture.”

    John Wesley followed one authority not four.

    Only a beast has more than one head!

    “the beast had also four heads” (Dan 7:6)

    What Trevecca needs is four presidents to run the place from now on, all with so-called equal authority. To put all this educated nonsense to the test.

    Let’s examine the heads of this beast.

    The educators like H. Ray Dunning have destroyed scriptural authority and made it subject to themselves (professing themselves wise they became fools) just like the Catholics do in pretending they created the Bible. So in the game of semantics they will continue to use the word “scripture” when they don’t mean what they say. “Esse quam videri” The writings of men have more authority in classrooms.

    One down, three to go.

    Tradition is pitched for evolutionary progress and growth, allowing for a new age paradigm shift.
    “For the time will come when they will not endure…” 2Tim 4:3 The “they” in this verse is not talking about atheist, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, but Christians! Wouldn’t that be an education for these institutes of “higher learning” to exegete the “they” of 2 Tim 4:3 See also Acts 17:21, and judges 21:25 where decay starts right where all these opinions originate, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” Jud 21:25

    Two down, two to go.

    Experience should not even get an honorable mention when it comes to adjudicating the authority of truth. This is where the new generation is going to crash hard putting their feelings above truth. Peter said of his experiences and eye witness of Jesus to include walking on water and seeing Moses and hearing God’s literal voice (without going to a silent place, I might add.)

    “And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy. . .SCRIPTURE! 2 Peter 1:18-21 (Yes, I am yelling for the hearing impaired.)

    Three down, one to go.

    Now here comes the head of “Reason” which being interpreted means, my motives! As long as I am a good person and a devout ________, I can take any scripture out of context I want. I can even pray on a Prayer carpet because what is in my heart is all that matters. This is the “head” most people like to pet between the ears. It’s called justifying yourself in the real world. It allows for every form of ungodliness under the son. To include abortion, homosexuality, fornication, lying, cheating, and on and on. It is under girded by what everyone else is doing, with a reserve notion that a “little bit” won’t hurt. In all of human history man has not stopped inventing ways of justifying himself.

    Four down, and none to go.

    What is your authority?

    Does “abstain from all appearance of evil” mean anything to you?

    Are you following a four headed Beast? Do you concur with the quadrilateral beast?

    The reason that Manny and others see a Catholic connection is because there is one.

    The four headed beast is said to be “like a leopard” A Leopard is a cat. Catholic does not mean “universal.” And it is time that our “universities” stop mimicking “alma mater” virgin mother. The Church is supposed to follow one head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Dr. Boone it’s high time for you to lead and concur as “homo unius libri.” A house divided against itself cannot stand, and changing words changes nothing, it is actually an art called “catachresis” (note the first three letters of the word).

    1Ti 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
    1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

    And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

    That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

    Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate,
    the King of kings,
    and Lord of lords;
    1 Tim 6:14,15

    Those last few words are God’s words, and they are for all of us to hear, can you hear them?

    I’ll take that radio invitation if nobody wants it.

    In Charity,
    Steve

  32. As a Trevecca student, I am astonished that someone trying so hard to restore the Nazarene church would be so hateful towards one of his own schools.
    “Sometimes I get a little harsh, but that does not mean I am not doing it out of love. Paul and even Jesus were harsh, very harsh at times. Are you saying that they were not doing it in love?”
    Come on, man. How could you even compare yourself to Paul and Jesus to justify your rude, condescending, and self-righteous attitude?
    It is quite apparent to me that this article and your comments in response are written out of anything but love.
    And man, just saying, you’re totally missing it; you’re missing everything. This is not what Christianity is about. This is not what life is about. All of your critiques and attacks are not in any way helping anyone. You’re destoying the very thing you’re trying to restore.

  33. Hi Monica,
    From one imperfect person to another- I may not say things as kindly as I could sometimes- but it does not negate the validity of my arguments.

    We are trying to warn Nazarenes of a denomination that is turning away from God with unbiblical practices. But I am certainly not comparing myself with Paul and Jesus- just noting the examples of what they showed in dealing with such serious things as false teachings. They had little tolerance and kindness towards it.
    My point was that no one would call Jesus and the apostles hateful just because they were using harsh words to attack those who would change the gospel.

    Christians cannot and should not stand by when being confronted by another gospel. I pray that the students in all Nazarene schools not fall for this stuff.

    Sincerely,
    Manny

  34. Dear Mr Boone,

    I mean no disrespect to you but unfortunately most of your positions and choice of words are vague and confusing.

    You said: “The word labyrinth is no longer on our website. We have removed it to keep from offending you and your friends.” If that practice was in fact biblical, why not keep it. By not offending some people you may end up offending God (Luke 9:26). Some Biblical verses about not offending a person never meant not honoring God. Some verses spoke about offenses applied to customs or traditions about eating (I Cor 8:13).

    You also said that: “At the first one, students read and meditate on the Psalm, “search me and know my heart, try me and know my ways….” Are students required to follow these instructions in order to complete a specific task? Is there freedom in the Spirit, or is this first station a methodical way where students expect God to come and search them. Can this practice become repetitious ritual? (2 Cor 3:17)

    We should all agree that the Bible must be read cautiously. If we literally start practicing things done in the OT as you said it: “The practice of the OT people of God in the temple includes Psalms of individual confession of sin, thanksgiving, offering up sacrifice, and prayers for their nation and king”, then, why would Jesus give us a New Covenant (Heb 12:24; 8:13)? Are we also supposed to confess to a priest today and make animal sacrifice?

    Your point of view in the practice of prayer also seemed confused. You said: “The practice of Jesus was to go into the mountains and pray with the Father”. Well, that was Jesus’ practice, and if you are to take that also literally, then, why go into places for prayer that do not resemble a mountain? Jesus’ own words instructed us that our room could be enough, and that is a New Testament advice.

    What did you really mean with: “it is hard for students to find space and place to pray alone?” Can’t the Nazarene Church provide such a place if necessary? We are also commanded to “Avoid every kind of evil” (I Tess 5:22). In particular, I like a Portuguese version of the same verse which says: “to avoid any appearance of evil”.

    The Bible does teach us enough about how to know God’s way. To say: “I’m not sure God is all that bothered what we call the place we pray – labyrinth, prayer room, prayer closet, bedside, church altar”, is wrong! God demands everything be done in a fitting and orderly way (I Cor 14:40), and especially important, no addition to his vocabulary (Rev 22:18). Reflect about this last verse,

    I could go on. But just to finish, you again used a poor example about choosing a place for prayer. You mentioned “Paul praying in the prison” as an example of a quiet place for prayer. Paul did not pick this place to have a quiet moment with Jesus. If he could have chosen a place, there is a good chance he would have chosen to be with his brethren whom he always missed so much due to his missionary trips and persecutions.

    May God Bless you.

  35. Manny, are you more concern about carrying out the Nazarene doctrine or carrying out the gospel? If you answer carrying out the gospel, could you please change your groups name to concerned Christians? I don’t care if a person is baptist, Nazarene or spends their time of worship at waffle house with other believers, as long as they are doing everything they can to strenghten their relationship with Christ, and live out a life like Christ.

  36. Will these unbiblical practices you mention damn me to hell? If I fall for the lure and trap of a prayer labyrinth or a weekend retreat of silent mediation, do I also lose my salvation? Does the act of doing heretical things make me a heretic?

    I need to know if I can still call myself a Christian. As I understand it, there really isn’t much room for partial believers.

    Are the accusations made here intended to warn the Christians at Trevecca who are engaged and in-support of these practices of their risks? Or is this a strict condemnation and labeling of heresy? As you understand it, is Dan Boone going to hell for leading this school astray?

    My apologies for the number of questions, but I’m sure you understand due to the weight of the matter.

  37. Hi Steve: You can of course run with Brad’s invite if you wish I’ll pass.
    I’ve debated in the past and its like debating in a circle and always ends up at the same place.

    THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE.

    Well Gods Word is either true cover to cover-or its not.
    And the scripture itself states it is-see my above post.
    We do not force any student here to accept anything we say as gospel, instead we tell people to search the scriptures for themselves.

    I will say that again.

    Search the scriptures and see if what we are saying is true.

    I have no need to talk these things through.
    I have already done that over the years and I am firm in what the scriptures state about the various topics and doctrine we discuss.
    A lot of what I see here is just a lot of rhetoric here with very little scripture used at all.
    So it ends up all sounding like that little gingerbread man in Shrek screaming “Your a monster”
    Sorry that’s the word picture that comes to my head when I read the various posts by some students.
    Again we don’t hate Trevecca or the students there.
    Our battle is not with them it is against false teaching.
    I don’t see how we can make it any plainer.
    Could this perhaps be the great falling away and the great delusion that the scriptures talk about in 2 Thess 2.
    If so everyone needs to really step back and check the scriptures on this.
    Scripture is very clear “11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”
    There will be no turning back at this point.
    So you had better be sure where you stand.

    P.S. I always do these posts in person I do not use a ghost writer or executive secretary.

    That’s just for the record.

    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim

  38. One thing that I think is important to note is that Jesus Himself used the written Word to battle and counter and correct satan in the wilderness.
    Jesus could have said anything because what ever He stated would have instantly became the Word because of who Jesus is.
    Instead though Jesus choose to rely on Gods already written Word.
    Thats all we are doing here.
    And for the record we are not calling Dan Boone,Trevecca or any person or student satan.
    But what we are stating is many of the pagan practices we point out do not have its origins in Christianity but in paganism which would of course originate with satan.
    There are others that are trying to blur the lines here and make pagan ritual and practices Christian when they in fact have originated in the enemies camp.
    It has been stated (and we quote this on our Concerned Nazarenes website)
    that
    “In an interesting way, we are doing what the Old Testament saints did in moving into Canaan – taking their Canaanite forms and terms and using them in a God-honoring way. The Hebrew creation account is a re-telling of the Babylonian tale. Their Hebrew feast days are re-interpretations of the Canaanite days. The Royal Psalms in the collection of Psalms were once Canaanite songs.”
    link to page
    http://www.concernednazarenes.org/page13.php

    If you believe this then you would have to believe that the scriptures themselves ( in many cases) did not originate with the Holy Spirit but with pagan practices.

    And that is stating that the scriptures could not possibly be true because they did not originate with God The Holy Spirit.

    Good luck with that one
    And again it would give you no grounds to have a conversation with us on scripture because we come from a whole different mind set.

    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim

  39. Here is a prime example of why so many are mislead and misunderstanding of the facts.

    Anonymous Student says: I would love to provide a few references in scripture supporting Trevecca’s “promotion” of silence and to address some of the other issues you have with Trevecca’s spiritual views. Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”

    These words are not set in a context of worship of God by His people. The call to silence is not an invitation to worship, but a command to reflect on the terrible state of all who fall into the hands of the angry God. These following verses are related to the contextual meaning of (Hak 2:20 KJV But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.)

    (Zeph. 1:7 JKV Hold they peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.) This prophetic call for silence was for solemn preparation for the horror of divine wrath.

    (Zech 2:13 KJV has to say: Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.) Be silent was not an anticipation of worship, but calls for terror at the judgment that was about to be unleashed from God’s glory.

    Any time you try to apply scripture to yourself, or others around you which is not directly written to you, that is misapplication of scripture, and is not handling the Word honestly. The intentions and motivation may seem right, but the result is not edifying of the Saints.

    2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
    Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth.

    Manny, it is or was snowing in Nashville.

    Brad

  40. To Kathleen Dunn’s comment of “Have any of you ever even stepped foot on our campus?”

    I probably stepped foot on the campus of Trevecca before you were born. I have seen the changes over the years.

    To those who say Manny and others are judging, (John 7:24 KJV Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.) Jesus demanded the exercise of moral and theological discernment and this is exactly what they are doing.
    This is not condemning individuals as Allison thinks, but bringing to light dangerous and questionable practices existing within the denomination.

  41. Hey Steve Sumner,
    Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your comments, they could have been a separate post by themselves.

    Perhaps Trevecca will take you up on that radio interview- that would be great. Thanks for the lesson.
    Blessings,
    Manny

  42. Where in the Bible does it say that it is okay to use blogs on the internet to discuss our faith? Where does it even say in the Bible that using the internet is okay? Are we all going to hell for using the same type of media source where others will look at pornography? Do I sound ridiculous yet? As you can tell reformednazarenes, times change, which means things that were done in the biblical times, in the 1500′s, and in the early years of the Nazarene church might look a little different now. Change isn’t a bad thing, especially if it has the same purpose, and if someone wants to get away from the madness of the world and go into a room where they can reflect on what God is doing in their life, what is wrong with that?

    As a side note, you said earlier in this conversation that there have been people that have left the Nazarene church because of the new emergent practices that were being taught in our churches. Well, can I just say that I have been attending a non-denominational church for the last 5 years, because of people like y’all who focus on such petty things like whether or not someone can lift their legs over their head in a “yoga” class, or if someone walks through prayer stations. Focus more on something else, like the millions of people who don’t have a relationship with Christ, and less on the ones that do, but don’t do it the exact same way as you.

  43. Ty,

    How far are you willing to go to add to the word of God? We are warned not to change or add anything to God’s word, with severe consequences if we do?
    Okay, you say yoga is fine. Alright, what if I started introducing santaria as part of Nazarene worship? Would that be okay, since it could be considered just another new way to worship God? Is sacrificing chickens in a worship service okay with you? That is an extreme example, but serves to make my point that we are not to invent new ways of prayer techniques or worship, that serve nothing but to get the focus away from God, and brings the focus to what “you are doing”. It is a form of man-centered worship that diminishes what Christ has done for us, and that His word and trusting in Him is all sufficient for our Christian faith and practice.

    “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Rev . 22:18-19

    My prayer is that we not lose sight of that fact- that all we need is Jesus, and to pray to Him as he prescribed. Not through labyrinths, breath prayers, centering prayer. Not through prayer stations. Not through speaking in tongues that is not intelligible to anyone. Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross is all sufficient for us, and we don’t need any kind of phoney mystical methods to “hear from God.” That is going outside if scripture, and therefore you are adding to His word. I pray you do not play with that kind of fire, it will severely burn you if you change God’s word.

    Finally, I try to focus on two kinds of people:

    1. Witnessing to the lost, those who don’t know Christ;
    2. To Christians- to warn them to beware of false teachings, and to those Christians who are being deceived by the contemplative spirituality movement of today. They deserve to be warned, and we are commanded in scripture to defend the gospel. Would you not agree we are to do that, regardless of whether you think I am or not?

    Sincerely praying for all who have been convinced of this false gospel,

    Manny

  44. Manny, could you answer my questions please? I think it will help many here better understand where you are coming from.

  45. This is Paul’s word to the people of Galatia.

    Galatians 2:19-21
    What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him.. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. It is clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, the Christ died unnecessarily.”

    This is the Message REMIX, so I hope you take it seriously.

    Thank you for your concern with my spiritual well-being, but I will continue seeking God in the way that i have been doing. Hopefully God will truly know my heart.

    And by you saying that they were using yoga as a form of worship is like me saying that by letting students play intramural basketball is like worshiping Lebron James.
    Dan said, it wasn’t even something that the University, or its students did, so i am sorry, but your yoga argument is a tad bit irrelevant. IT

  46. Hi Patrick,

    Lost of activity here! Sorry it took a little time to respond.

    So how far will you go to risk your salvation by making up your own “rules” and way of worship, which contradict the word of God? Can you still call yourself a Christian if you disobey continuously Christ’s commands? What does Christ say?

    John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments”

    John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

    John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

    We are saved by grace alone, by trusting in Christ alone, but the fruits of the true disciple is to keep Christ’s commandments.

    On the other hand, Christ gave some serious warnings:

    Matthew 17:15-22 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

    21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

    To answer the question, anyone doing those things which go against the commandments of Christ, which add or subtract from the Holy Book, are putting themselves at great risk.

    Blessings,

    Manny

  47. Hello Ty,

    No disrespect intended but I reject completely the use of The Message as a biblical source. It is a papraphrase, and not even a translation. And it is written by Eugene Peterson, who is a heavy promoter of contemplative spirituality, the very practice that we are against today! It has lots of corrupted changes from the superior, real translations such as the KJV or NKJV, the only ones I prefer to use today. That being said, let’s look at the KJV of the same scripture reference:

    19For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

    20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

    Are you trying to say that this passage means that we should throw out all doctrine and “rules”, as the Message seems to imply? Does that mean we keep sinning, so that grace may abound, as Paul also says? No, not at all! Sure we should not focus on rules keeping as the means by which we attain salvation, but that does not mean we throw out al the doctrines and guidelines Christ and the disciples gave to us!

    I do not in any way want to suggest that I am superior to you; I am not. But by the grace of God, I intend to follow the doctrine, the gospel, that was once for all given to the saints.” I pray that you also do the same, and that you have not decided to follow Christ in the way that you think you should, but in the way that He wants us to, including not adding or subtracting one single thing from His holy word.

    Finally, removing the labyrinth picture does not remove the fact that the students were, and are still practicing this technique at the campus. Or has the labyrinth been removed from the campus also, and the students no longer participate in this practice?

    Blessings,

    Manny

  48. I’ve been following this rift in the Nazarene world from day one. As many people know, I am a Nazarene turned Catholic. As a matter of fact, I was a fifth generation Nazarene and my family before that were Methodist. Before that the Methodists in my family were Anglican. (we have traced our roots to the 1300s) Guess what else? Before they were Anglicans they were Catholics. Since Henry VIII couldn’t keep his fly buttoned, he decided to start his own “church.” But the people within the “church of England” still considered themselves Catholic and still do. John Wesley had his critiques about the Catholic Church, but if you will read his “Letter to a Roman Catholic,” I’m sure you will find that he wanted to work with the Catholics and not against them. I don’t know much about Phineas F. Bresee, but I know he was a good man, as are many people in the Church of the Nazarene and don’t think he would be working against the Catholic Church either. We all have been commissioned to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Holy Scripture in our hands and on our lips.

    I was at TNU from 2000-2006. My conversion story to Catholicism wasn’t a rejection of living a life of holiness. It was a fulfillment, for me. As a matter of fact, I spoke with two professors in the religion department on various occasions about me becoming Catholic and they did a good job of explaining that I needed to do God’s will and whatever that was, God would put me where I needed to be. They also expressed their personal desires to see me stay with the Nazarenes. I will attest to this, I was never encouraged to be a Catholic at Trevecca, in fact, people (mainly the student body) discouraged me from becoming Catholic. Ultimately, becoming Catholic is not dependent upon whether Tim Green or Dan Boone had the pope over to breakfast (they didn’t, by the way) but that I stood before God on Easter of 2006 and was baptized and confirmed as a Catholic in the Church founded by Jesus Christ and his Apostles. God will judge me and others at TNU for our actions and I ask each and every one of you to pray for me and the Catholic Church that we always do the will of God regardless of what others wish. I need all the help I can get.

    I am glad you are concerned for TNU, I am concerned for TNU. I went to school there and love and care about the people on the hill. I’m not too sure that you haven’t gotten yourselves worried about things that aren’t worth worrying about. Going to a monastery to pray can’t possibly be more scandalous than dining with sinners and interacting with Samaritans.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Andy Forsythe

  49. Yeah, I like to use translations not taken from the original source and approved by a secular king of England too…. Waaaaaaaiiitt

  50. 2 Peter 2:10-12. I can play the old Russian roullette prooftext game too. This argument is ludicrous. You are out of your minds, concerned nazarenes!

  51. Andy,

    In the end, it does not matter what we call ourselves- but whether we are obeying all of Christ’s commandments and keeping with the same doctrine handed down to us by Him and the apostles. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Thank you for sharing your story. And as far as the last sentence you wrote- I would admit that going to a monastery in and of itself does not necessarily mean you or I are being disobedient to God. I would hope that if I did go to one, and perhaps I might someday, I would have to opportunity to preach the gospel to the folks there.

    I would only challenge you to compare all teachings to scripture- whether those teachings are of the RCC, the Nazarene church, the Episcopal church or any other. I have some issues with some Nazarene official teachings as well- but that’s another battle for another time.

    Since you are a Roman Catholic, I would ask you to ponder whether the following official teachings of the RCC are in line with what Jesus and the apostles taught:

    1. Praying directly to Mary and the saints
    2. Acknowledging Mary as the co-redemptrix with Jesus
    3. The bread and wine in communion actually becoming the body and blood of Jesus
    4. Salvation can be attained by baptism, and by good works; grace is not enough
    5. Church tradition and papal authority are given equal authority as the scriptures

    I am not trying to throw these in your face to agitate you. I am asking any Roman Catholic to justify these things, by way of scripture- which is our ONLY authority for our faith and practice. It is the word of God, given to us by God, and Jesus’s commandments and what the apostles taught us should be obeyed, not changed according to what we think it should be.

    If we do the will of God, we will be naturally obeying all that He has given to us in His word, which is the only true authority and measuring stick for us to compare to.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Manny

  52. Hello, ‘Concerned About the Concerned’

    Where is the misuse of scripture from any of the concerned Nazarenes here?

    You threw out this passage, but for what purpose? How does not negate anything I or others here have said about the practices at TNU and other universities?

    2 Peter 2:10-12 (New King James Version)

    10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.
    Depravity of False Teachers

    12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,

  53. Manny,

    Let me ask you this, in the Bible, we see so many times where God spoke to people telling them to do something. I do not know about you, but I believe the God that I serve can work the same now as he did then. So by saying that, do you think God could speak to someone, knowing the way our world is now, with all the distractions that we are faced with, guide them to a new way of worshiping Him. Do you think God STILL works in peoples lives, or do we have to live through the lives of others before us? I want YOUR answer to THIS question. Your words, and your words only. “Can God still speak to people now, like he did then, presenting to us, new ways of worshiping Him?”

    This is not me arguing, just someone trying to figure out whether or not God can move in my life, and show me things, the way he did in Paul’s or anyone else in the early church. What if God told me that a way for me to seek him would be to go through different steps that focus on different things, that help me in my personal relationship with Christ? Would that be foolish? I truly hope God can work in myself, as well as you, the same way he did with the early Christians.

    Also, have you ever read the original Hebrew and Greek text before? If we are going to get technical about translations aren’t those the only ones that could be considered the only “real translations.” Are you even aware of how many translations were used before the KJV and NIV?

  54. Ty,

    To answer your question “Can God still speak to people now, like he did then, presenting to us, new ways of worshiping Him?”
    The answer to that is, no. We have a closed canon of scripture which is the only reliable and infallible guide for our lives. Our feelings, our emotions, intuition, all these can fail us. The question should then be, if I believe I should do something because I “feel” that God is leading me to do it, how do I know that is God, and not some other spirit leading me?
    That is why much of what we do must be done through prayer, prayer, and studying God’s word, to make sure that what we think is God’s will, does not contradict God’s word. If it does (contradict God’s word), it is not the will of God, but my will.

    I don’t see any evidence that God speaks to people the same way now. Just as I believe that we no longer are in the age of miracles that occurred during certain OT times, or during Jesus’s time. Which is why many of us reject the “signs and wonders” movements, the slaying of the Spirit, and extreme charismatic practices.

    Yes, God can move me, can move you, in our lives- but we better be sure it is His will we are following, and that we are not creating extra-biblical ways of worshipping, praying, or “divining” what He wants for us. We must be very careful and listen to God, and the only prescribed way to listen to Him is through prayer and the faithful reading of His word, and the Holy Spirit will guide us into truth as we do that faithfully.

    As far as Hebrew- had none of that- wish I did. Regarding the Greek text, I had two straight semesters in Greek New Testament and averaged 99 for both semesters. Of course, I had a D in chemistry!

    And I understand there have been many, many translations- but the question for me is, which translation has been the most faithful in strictly translating, and not adding some subtle meaning, or as in the case of The Message, ripping it apart and twisting and watering down so many verses! Did you know that in the Lord’s prayer, Eugene Peterson uses an occultic phrase: “as above, so below”?
    Instead of “on earth as it is in heaven”?
    Much more of this paraphrase is very damaging to the original. Where do we stop? Should you or I make up our own paraphrase and put it out there and call it the Bible also? I prefer to use what is the closest and most faithful translations, and I believe those are the KJV first, and then KNJV. But I would certainly stay away from the Message as anything serious for Bible study.

    Blessings,

    Manny

  55. Manny,

    I wish you the best in your search for answers, but I have decided to not give you the time of day anymore since that is all you want. An argument. Based on the jokes you and your friends crack on facebook, it is obvious you could careless about me or any student at Trevecca, or any person really. For example, this is from your facebook page.

    Manny Silva
    Hmmm… they must really miss talking with you. I write the article, but then you get all the shots fired at you? LOL! I don’t get it.
    Let’s keep touching those nerves- it’s like the dentist who has to do his work… yeah. The tooth has to come out sometime, or the infection gets much worse later.

    Is your concern about touching nerves, or about peoples walk with Christ. I’m sure Jesus did things only to touch nerves. May God Bless you.

  56. Ty,

    Sorry you took those things so personally.

    First, I care greatly for the students and Trevecca. It is not obvious from my jokes, perhaps your sense of humor is different.

    Secondly, t is much truth in that humor. I take this stuff very seriously, and some days, we lighten it up a little just to get through the pain of knowing that many are being misled. Some of these being misled I know personally. Sorry if it annoyed you, not my intention.

    As you see from the analogy of the tooth, that is very true. The cancer of contemplative spirituality is spreading, and if that “tooth” is not removed, it will get worse for the body. That is what I meant, sorry you did not understand it.

    It is my intention to keep touching those nerves- that was not just simply as a joke- I plan to keep doing it until more people wake up to the false teachings being indoctrinated in those students- yes, I do care about them- more than you’ll know. That is why I care about a person’s walk with God- it needs to be a walk that is in obedience to His word.

    Peace and blessings

    manny

  57. Manny,
    The subtleties of Catholicism are not easily explained in online forums, but through much dialogue and a giant dose of charity on the part of those involved in the discussion. I will offer a few simple answers to your questions/challenges/concerns. Please keep in mind that I hope you don’t think I am sidestepping your questions or avoiding any of them. I reiterate that fully founded answers are given with multiple layers of apologetics including reasoning with Holy Scripture and following its instructions. I will probably refer you to a few websites (for the sake of time) that have the answers to these questions. These are all common questions that we Catholics get all the time. Regrettably, we don’t always answer them as well as we should. Those things being said, I will take a stab at these.

    1. Praying directly to Mary and the saints

    Here is my definition of prayer, please tell me if that’s not what your definition is.
    Prayer- Communication with heaven in thought, word, and deed.

    I often ask my grandmother to pray for me. If God already knows what I need, then why does Grandma need to be involved? Paul tells us we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. What are they witnessing and what does it matter that they are witnessing?

    I was once told the greatest thing you could do for someone (besides dying for them) is to pray for them. We must consider intercessory prayer to be one of the greatest goods we can possibly do. When you and I get to heaven (God-willing) we will be in the presence of the Eternal Good (that being the Triune God) and the Son will be there intercessing at the right hand of the Father. If heaven is the place where the ultimate good exists and we are in it, why would we not pray for those here on earth. Would you have interests in forgetting them or choosing to not continue to do this good action for them? Can you choose a lesser good or think of something better to do? Jesus has not forgotten those he left here, why should we?

    He tells us in John 8 that “Abraham rejoiced to see my day.” Abraham had the ability to know what was going on here on earth. We also must consider the Transfiguration. Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus. Moses and Elijah are saints and Jesus was talking to them while he was here in the flesh. There is obviously nothing evil about this.

    I hope that answers your question. If you have others about this, let me know.

    2. Acknowledging Mary as the co-redemptrix with Jesus
    Co-redemptrix. What a fun one to chat about! One thing I must let you know (and if I expound upon it, it will turn into a three page lecture) is that Mary as the co-redemptrix is not an official teaching of the Catholic church. I am a professional theologian in the Church and I have my own critiques of this. Basically, what the term attempts to describe is the truth that Mary experienced the sorrow of the cross and it was a fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy that a “Sword shall pierce your own heart.” It tries to explain that Mary experienced, in a unique way, the redemptive suffering that Christ experienced on the cross. Co-redemptrix is a poor choice of word. My good buddy Jeff Whiting (another Nazarene turned Catholic) had a long discussion about this with a few theologians once. All to say, Mary as the co-redemptrix is not officially a Catholic thing anymore than a statue that bleeds is. (And sometimes the statues are for real!)

    What I believe is that Mary experienced redemptive suffering in a unique way according to what Simeon prophesied in Holy Scripture and the fact that she was at the foot of the Cross with John.

    3. The bread and wine in communion actually becoming the body and blood of Jesus

    This is a discussion that needs a phone call. I tell people the following very often about the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine. I can give you a stack of books to the ceiling explaining this and how it is what He said it was and I can give you a stack of books denying it. Ultimately, God will have to show you what the Eucharist really is. I will be happy to explain this further through a phone call or separate email. Here’s a quick snippet for you:

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Christ_in_the_Eucharist.asp

    4. Salvation can be attained by baptism, and by good works; grace is not enough

    This is not Catholic teaching. Your question implies that grace and baptism do not contain the same substance. Perhaps you don’t believe in the efficaciousness of “one Baptism for the remission of sins.” Baptism is grace because it is from God and everything from God is grace.

    About good works. I would like to challenge your belief about the works of merit by referring you to Scripture in the following parable.

    41″Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44″They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45″He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46″Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    It is apparent to me, through these words of Jesus, that our salvation is dependent upon the grace God gives us to do good works. If we don’t do them, we shall be cast into hell. Am I rightly interpreting this Scripture.

    Also, we are constantly told to love one another as God has loved us. If these didn’t affect our salvation, why would it be such an issue to work on?

    Justification is another phone call conversation that will take lots of time.

    5. Church tradition and papal authority are given equal authority as the scriptures

    Goodness gracious, you have cut to the chase. This is also something that would take a very long time for me to explain via computer. Here is a nutshell glimpse of these thoughts. Papal authority functions like the power of the Vice President in the Senate. When there needs to be a “tie-breaker” he steps in and makes the call in communion with the bishops of the Church. I have posted a link on Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. Keep in mind that we have traditions (lower case t) and Tradition (Capital T). Here are a few traditions:
    Christmas Trees
    going on pilgrimages
    lighting candles for vigilance in prayer
    music

    Here are some Traditions (which also have their roots in Scripture, Scripture, by the way, has its roots in Holy Tradition) The Church is older than the New Testament:
    Trinity
    Incarnation
    Apostolic Authority
    Creeds
    Councils

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Scripture_and_Tradition.asp

    Now let me ask you some questions about the Nazarene viewpoint of this question you make.

    According to the historical statement of the Nazarene manual. It states that they accept the Creeds up until the first five centuries. I understand you, Manny, to be a baptized christian who confesses the faith in the Triune God, the Trinity. It was the Catholic Church that penned those Creeds that the Nazarenes accept. Do you think that God guided them through the Holy Spirit to do this or they just came up with some things to believe about God or what they thought about God?

    It is commonly accepted that the Holy Spirit was guiding the Church at the councils that adopted the Creeds. After all, Jesus told the Apostles he would send them his Holy Spirit. Where, in Scripture, did Jesus ever say that the Holy Spirit would leave? According to the Church of the Nazarene, the Holy Spirit left the Church in the Fifth to Sixth century because they accept no further teaching. This raises serious questions about Nazarene adherence to Holy Scripture.

    I have no issue with the KJV in regards to using it in dialogue and feel free to use it when we discuss. It is a pretty good translation of the books it contains.

    You say you have issues with some official teachings of the Church of the Nazarene. Brother, that’s something you need to seriously pray about. I became Cathoilc and dove into it head first. In the words of the martyr Humphrey Prichard:

    “I believe all that the Holy Roman Church believes, and what I cannot explain by mouth, I am ready and prepared to explain and testify to you at the cost of my blood.”

    I hope that I have the guts to truly live that statement one day should it ever come to me that I die for the Faith. Prichard lost his head under the rule of Henry VIII or Elizabeth because is was illegal to be Catholic. (can’t remember which monarch it was, like Father like Daughter right?)

    Anyway, if you have a beef with the teachings of the Nazarenes, I would suggest you ask the Lord to change these things or to change you. I am sold out on being a Catholic, I’m abandoned to communion with the Holy Roman Church. My life has not been the same since and I think you will find satisfaction in Christ when you find the place of rest He would have for you.

    I hope that my explanations are satisfactory for now. I also hope that you have not gotten the impression that Catholicism is a bowl of cherries. It’s not. It has been a cross since day one. I, for one, have not been disillusioned by this. After all, it was Our Lord who told us to take up his cross. St. Simon of Cyrene was the name I chose to take on for my confirmation. He carried the Lord’s cross and I hope to be able to carry mine.

    God’s Peace Be With You,

    Andy Forsythe
    423-413-2734

    p.s.-your statement that you hope to “preach the Gospel to the folks there” in the monastery can be taken as offensive. However, we are all called to preach the Gospel so I would encourage you to do that. I am reminded of a quote by St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel at all times- if necessary, use words.”

  58. Dear Reformed Nazarene,

    Nobody needs Scripture to tell them that practicing Silence is a virtuous thing. We have two ears and one mouth, do the Math.

    Also, I believe we can find in Holy Scripture the following.

    The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him. We are on earth aren’t we? The Scripture is saying God is alive in his temple and that is an opportunity for us to stand in awe of Him. Is it not saying that?

    In Christ,
    Andy Forsythe

  59. What an exchange! Wow! I am so thankful. As a university president, I love to find opportunities to teach our students about important issues. Religious fundamentalism is one of the hot topics in the world today and this website has given me the best model, other than Islamic fundamentalism, to demonstrate to students how religious fundamentalism works. Let me be clear, I think these folk are good American citizens and despise, as we all do, the terrorist attacks on America. But the strategies and tactics of religious fundamentalism are pretty consistent across the board. A small group of people declare themselves the authority in interpreting some ‘holy’ text, they create litmus tests of orthodoxy, they name the enemies who will not bow to their demands nor confess under their accusations, they seek the largest targets they can find to gain the greatest attention (like a university or denomination- or a Twin Towers if they are Islamic) , and then they attack. Because they bow to no authority, other than their own interpretation of God, they are inerrant. Because they themselves operate no church, denomination, university , or government, they can freely snipe at those who do.

    This is wonderfully educational.
    This is what happens when religions have no accountability. I am accountable at many layers for my walk, talk, and leadership as a minister in the Church of the Nazarene. The sponsors of this blog are free of accountability – other than “God”, I’m guessing they will say. But when your “God” already believes your opinions, is this really the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ or is it a god made in their own image? Friends, this is exactly how fundamentalism works.

    Now, I must confess a sin. I did not listen to some friends who told me that I would not find a rational conversation here. I am most likely viewing these websites for the last time and would urge all thinking Christians to join me in the exit. Maybe we can stun them with our silence. In the meantime, I am working on a book called “A Charitable Discourse on the Things that Divide Us”. I’ll discuss Jihad in the church. Trevecca will soon post an open letter to the Reformed/Concerned Nazarenes.

    I am proud of our university and wish to let everyone know that if your cup of tea is the kind of “Christianity” posted here, Trevecca probably isn’t for you. We won’t be trying to conform to these folk, nor soft-pedaling around them. But if you are looking for a Wesleyan-rooted, Biblical, hospitable, spiritual-formation teaching, servant-oriented, prayerful, serious-about-changing the world national research university of the highest calibre – check us out. We’re open for business and loving life on the hill.

    Blessings to all, Dan Boone

  60. Andy all the Creeds affirmed was what was already in Gods Written word.

    As for sacrificing Jesus over and over again (as the Catholic Church practices) you really need to read the book of Hebrews to check that out.

    Catholics believe in transubstantiation
    The Catholic understanding of these words, from the Patristic authors onward, has emphasized their roots in the covenantal history of the Old Testament.
    Again thats based on the old covenent not the new covenant.
    And again read the book of Hebrews and get over that false doctrine.
    The early church again did not start with Peter who was never a pope. This would conflict with Catholic doctrine because Peter was married (historical and biblical fact).
    Jesus Christ is the head of the Church Eph 5:23.
    And it was not the Catholic Church who was the book of Acts Church but the early Christian Church.
    The Roman Catholic/Catholic Church started to take root after Constantine even though some of the early church fathers did contribute to some Roman Catholic thought and tradition.
    There was not even any popes before Constantine the Catholic Dictionary admits: “For a long time there was no such thing as a cardinal bishop…” It claims the first such men were named in 304 AD. Finally, a council in 1059 AD “decreed that Popes should henceforth be elected on the judgment of the six cardinal bishops…” (p. 118).
    Andy states The Church is older than the New Testament:”
    No its not again read the book of Hebrews.
    The largest point of error with Catholic doctrine is that they wrongly choose to mix the Old Covenant with the New Covenant both with biblical roots of course but again read the book of Hebrews.
    Andy stated “I tell people the following very often about the Real Presence of Christ in the bread and wine. I can give you a stack of books to the ceiling explaining this and how it is what He said it was and I can give you a stack of books denying it.”
    Dont mean to sound arrogant Andy but I really dont care about stacks of books affirming or denying transubstantiation.
    The scriptures are very plain in this teaching that communion represents the Body and Blood of Christ but it is only symbolic.

    I for one am glad you told your story here and it reveals a lot.
    Now I understand why Jon Middendorf and some of his congregation would be comfortable with taking communion with a Catholic Church.
    As well as Trevecca’s being comfortable with taking students to Thomas Mertons old abbey.
    If thats the road they choose to follow thats ok with me.
    Its a different road that I follow though.
    The narrow road.
    Thank you for telling your story.
    Tim

  61. THE TESTIMONY OF A FORMER IRISH PRIEST
    BY: Richard Peter Bennett

    Richard P. Bennett was a Roman Catholic priest for 22 years until 1985. In 1986, Richard Bennett experienced the new birth in Jesus Christ at the age of 48. This is an excerpt from his article.

    What Paul said about his fellow Jews I say about my dearly loved Catholic brothers: my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Catholics is that they may be saved. I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based in God’s Word but in their church tradition. If you understand the devotion and agony that some of our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and South America have put into their religion, you may understand my heart’s cry: “Lord, give us a compassion to understand the pain and torment of the search our brothers and sisters have made to please You. In understanding pain inside the Catholic hearts, we will have the desire to show them the Good News of Christ’s finished work on the Cross.”

    My testimony shows how difficult it was for me as a Catholic to give up Church tradition, but when the Lord demands it in His Word, we must do it. The “form of godliness” that the Roman Catholic Church has makes it most difficult for a Catholic to see where the real problem lies. Everyone must determine by what authority we know truth. Rome claims that it is only by her own authority that truth is known. In her own words, Cannon 212, Section 1, “The Christian faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound by Christian obedience to follow what the sacred pastors, as representatives of Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or determine as leaders of the Church.” (Vatican Council II based, Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John-Paul II, 1983).

    Yet according to the Bible, it is God’s Word itself which is the authority by which truth is known. It was man-made traditions which caused the Reformers to demand “the Bible only, faith only, grace only, in Christ only, and to God only be the glory.”

    This is a link that better explains why we have to be discerning with the Catholic faith.

    http://www.thebereancall.org/node/5800

  62. Thanks Brad for that. I had not thought of Richard Bennett’s story right away, he has a great ministry.

  63. Andy,

    You are misinterpreting Habakkuk 2:20.

    The call to silence is not an invitation to worship, but a command to reflect on the terrible state of all who fall into the hands of the angry God.

    Brad

  64. Dan thanks for your diatribe.
    Since you cannot possibly defend your comments with scripture you choose instead to take the low road.
    Your last comments are very revealing and very typical.
    When you can’t defend your practices with scripture instead you choose to compare peace loving bible believers with Islamic fundamentalism.

    Time after time we have stated that we are not enemies of Trevecca.
    We are however enemies of false teaching so you choose the low road.

    You call us good American citizens out of one side of your mouth and then with the other side of your mouth you state “hey seek the largest targets they can find to gain the greatest attention (like a university or denomination- or a Twin Towers if they are Islamic) , and then they attack.”

    Pretty consistent with your inconsistent statements.

    James 3:11″ Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”

    Folks you will have to decide whether we are serving up sweet water or bitter.
    But one thing is for sure we are consistent.
    We don’t speak out of both sides of our mouth.
    Search the scriptures and if what we say is not true and does not agree with scripture-reject it totally.

    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim

  65. I pray for everyone who is involved on both parties. I know you have good in your intentions, but i can rest assured in knowing my ultimate judgment is with God and not with man. Continue to love.

  66. Dr. Boone,
    If that’s you on here and not somebody posing as you, I commend your courage. I will probably not remain silent on this topic because these folks have a problem with my alma mater and the Faith. I believe my perspective as a Nazarene turned Catholic is perhaps something that can help this rift.

    Which Creeds do you speak of Tim? Do you speak of the Athanasian Creed or the first Nicene Creed of the Nicene Constantinopolitan Creed? Do you speak of the Apostles Creed? or of another one?

    The pope is (and always has been the bishop of Rome) I have seen the graves of many of the early martyrs who were popes. Bishops have the final say in their dioceses. It was a development of doctrine and reference to Peter’s primacy in the Scripture. Take note that the Lord teaches the crowds in the “barque of Peter” in Luke 5:3. This is a term used for a long time describing the Church and her function. Through the confession of Peter that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, we find ourselves given the Faith. Cardinal, by the way, is an honorary term. It is not necessary for one to be a cardinal to be the Bishop of Rome.

    As far as taking communion in the Catholic church, those who are Christians but not in communion with the Bishop of Rome are encouraged to abide by the following:(From the guidelines for reception of Holy Communion)

    For our fellow Christians

    We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).

    Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 § 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 § 3).

    Dan Boone is correct in asserting that people become their own popes and bishops when they have no higher authority to hold them accountable.

    Tim, your history is skewed and loosely founded. I honestly did not want to respond to you at all. I thought this was going to be a dialogue in charity but you have joined the discussion with guns blazing. I’m not sure if you and I can continue in discourse.

    In Christ,
    Andy Forsythe

  67. As far as this testimony of a “former” Irish priest goes. He’s still a priest, he’s eternally a priest. He is merely in denial, I hope that he has not denied the Faith to the point of apostasy and will pray for him. This eternal priesthood is perhaps referenced in Revelation 14:4. I believe that can be argued one way or another.

    This Irish priest’s story is not new, it was told about another man named Judas, who betrayed our Lord and delivered him into the hands of the Jews and Romans. Surprise, Father! You can join the ranks of all those Judas types before you! I have little charity and tolerance for Catholics who deny the Faith.

    His story holds as much water to me as (apparently) mine does to you.

    In Christ,
    Andy Forsythe

  68. One more question Tim and others.

    If we are only supposed to believe what the Bible says (Sola Scriptura), that must mean that the Scriptures taught you this teaching. Would you please show me that particular teaching in Scripture? Remember, if the belief of a Christian is not in Scripture, then it’s not true and is false according to you.

    Again, I ask, where, in the bible, are we told to believe only what the bible says?

    Manny, you have not given the tone of hostility in your writings, I appreciate that.

    In Christ,
    Andy Forsythe

  69. Brad,
    You are misinterpreting Habakkuk. It says to keep silence. So there.
    I can play this game too.

    Andy

  70. Thank you Dr. Boone for some very informed responses to all of this. As an alumnus of Trevecca I am proud to know that you are our University President and I’m proud of the way you have handled yourself in this discussion. I agree with you that we need to stun this group with our silence unfortunately I fear they will just continue to spout their misinformation and overall dislike for anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their specific set of beliefs. As a serving Pastor in the Nazarene Church I do hope that our leadership on the General level will at some point address this group and end the discussions once and for all.

  71. Thank you for your response also Jason. I see that you also did not answer anything that we have presented here with scriptural defense- and instead go on a kind of diatribe as well. I’m sorry to say it that way, but what have you brought to the table here? A wish that we could be silenced? Are you that threatened that you would call on our leadership to silence us?

    Why not instead ask our leadership to speak their opinion on:
    - prayer labyrinths
    - centering prayer
    -lectio divina
    -ecumenical trips to monasteries
    -speakers like Brian McLaren at Nazarene universities putting doubt into the minds of students
    -professors at NNU teaching that God does not know the future
    -Emergents who doubt that the word of God is fully trustworthy
    -Recommendation of books by misguided authors such as Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster
    -Speakers such as Dr. Jay McDaniel who are sympathizers to universalism and panentheism, and who believe that Buddhists can go to heaven without ever acknowledging Christ as Savior.

    Would you care to give your biblical arguments for or against these issues, or will you continue to just say your opinion and not base it on scripture?

    I for one will continue to speak out, and we will not be silenced or intimidated, as we seek to expose the wolves in sheep’s clothing in our beloved denomination.

  72. Andy, dialog in charity?

    “This Irish priest’s story is not new, it was told about another man named Judas, who betrayed our Lord and delivered him into the hands of the Jews and Romans. Surprise, Father! You can join the ranks of all those Judas types before you! I have little charity and tolerance for Catholics who deny the Faith.”

    Saved Christians are all priests; 2 Peter 2:9 “9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”

    Thanks again for your story and comments.
    And thank you for your charitable discourse.

    Tim

  73. Andy stated” If we are only supposed to believe what the Bible says (Sola Scriptura), that must mean that the Scriptures taught you this teaching. Would you please show me that particular teaching in Scripture?”
    Easy thats very basic according to Gods Word.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 (King James Version)

    16-All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    17-That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
    Thats the end of the debate with you Andy.

    Again thank you for all your comments and input.
    Tim

  74. Tim, you are correct in asserting that there is a priesthood of all believers. But the Scriptures show that there is one who is ordained to the presbyterate. This is a priest in the order of Melchizedek, as the book of Hebrews references. Melchizedek that offered gifts of bread and wine.

    Your Scripture reference to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 does not answer my question. The Scripture is true and it does not say “Only” scripture is given by inspiration of God. It says “all” scripture is given by inspiration of God.

    Again, you haven’t answered my question and you won’t be able to because there is not a single statement in the bible that says believe “only” what the bible says. Your belief that it does is a false doctrine.

    As for the Irish priest, I stand by my statements.

  75. Okay folks, this is getting a bit to much now, looking at some of the comments I have not approved to this point. I will start moderating a little more, and not approve any comments that are very long personal diatribes, without any basis in scripture whatsoever. I know, I know… is Manny the arbiter of what has any basis in scripture, I hear someone thinking that now.

    What I am saying is, we believe in the infallible word of God, we believe it is the SOLE authority for our faith and practice- and if you don’t, that’s fine with me. But don’t think you can continue a long discussion on that here- that is a non-starter for me.
    If you don’t believe in the inerrancy of scripture, fine. But arguments against it here are a waste of time… sorry.

    But at least if you are going to defend the practices that have been criticized here, try to defend it based on scriptural authority- nothing else.

    Manny

  76. diatribe-noun: a bitter, sharply abusive denunciation, attack, or criticism

    I’m not trying to be snarky here, but are you meaning what you say by calling these discussions “diatribes?” I hope you didn’t think I was A: Bitter, B: Sharply abusive in denunciation, C: Attacking, or D: criticizing with an intent of deconstruction.

    In Christ,
    Andy Forsythe
    423-413-2734

  77. Not at all Andy. I am not talking about you and your posts at this point. It’s just that there have too many comments submitted that truly go over the line for me and most reasonable people, and if they think I will allow anything and everything, I just wanted to make it clear that not everything will not get through. I know some people allow 100% of what is submitted, but that’s not my rules.

    I will also insist that someone repeatedly posting here eventually try to use some scriptural support for their positions.

  78. Manny,
    Did you get a chance to read all of my responses to you. Just in case I seem confused in them in regards to who I am addressing, I just now realized that your screen name is reformednazarene. I think I might have thought you were two different people. By the way, I requested to be your friend on facebook this past summer.

    Andy

  79. Andy,

    Scripture only if you want truth!

    “Preach the word”. . . (Not the church fathers)

    . . .”saying none other things” than those which the prophets and Moses did say. . .

    “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

    “The word of God is quick and powerful”. . .

    (The word of God is living. Let the dead bury their dead)

    Man shall not live by bread alone, “but” by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

    (the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63)

    Other verses to numerous to list condemns:

    Man’s wisdom, man’s ways, science falsely so called, false teachers, angels of light, spiritual wickedness in high places, the flesh, the world system, spiritual pretenders, false prophets, the blind leading the blind, those who corrupt the word of God, those who hold it in unrighteousness, the willfully ignorant, High degrees, stupidity, Bible correctors, demon possessed, teachers of gain and pretense, false religions, other gods, other Christ’s, mistakes, misinterpretations, vain babblings, the rudiments of the world, wives fables, doctrines of devils, divisions and flatteries.

    The church was founded on the scriptures, and only a usurper of authority would pretend otherwise.

    Once again, this time with verses attached.
    Catholics read the bible with CATaracts so the hard to read words I will capitalize.

    1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was NOT WITH ENTICING WORDS OF MAN’S WISDOM, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

    1Co 2:5 THAT YOUR FAITH SHOULD NOT STAND IN THE WISDOM OF MEN, but in the power of God.

    1Co 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet NOT THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD, NOR OF THE PRINCES OF THIS WORLD, that come to nought:

    1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so THE THINGS OF GOD KNOWETH NO MAN, but the Spirit of God.

    Andy if you want to know God you need only one book.

    Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate:
    Isa 34:16

    In charity,
    Steve

  80. Hey everyone!

    I heard there was a party going on over here, and I wanted to make an appearance, maybe make a few people nervous!

    This conversation is quite interesting, and I agree with the premise of the Reformed/Concerned Nazarenes – we must fight heresies that threaten the Gospel, sword in hand (Eph. 6:11, Rom. 13:12). God bless all of you who are honestly seeking and presenting the Truth.

    Pax,

    Chad

  81. If a former priest is called Judas within the Catholic faith, couldn’t that be the same thing as a Protestant converting to the Catholic faith?

    Jesus came to give sight to the blind because a veil of spiritual blindness covers every man’s heart. However there is one condition that must be met: Paul declares: “whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Cor. 3:16). This means turning from fallible men and their traditions and turning to Christ and His infallible word!

    This is what the saved former Irish priest did.

  82. Brad, sure, you can call me a Judas. I don’t mind the fact that I left the communion of Nazarenes for the Church founded by Jesus Christ except that I had to separate from my family in a sense.

    Steve, I almost didn’t respond to Tim’s post, I refuse to respond to that tone of writing in any substantial way. I am attempting to dialogue with those of you who don’t see things my way. I’m not asking you to be Catholic, but I am concerned that some people are concerned that TNU is making people Catholic. I was a TNU Nazarene that became Catholic so I figure I have some insight into all of this back and forth. By the way, your references to the scripture still don’t answer the question of where in the bible does it specifically say that “only” the word of God is to be believed for the Christian. I’ll bet (if you are a nazarene) that you have prayed at an “altar” (this is known as a mourner’s bench in some communities). Where is praying on the wooden bench down front in the sanctuary at in the bible? Where are altar calls in the bible?

    By the way, I don’t see in my writing where you think I changed the subject.

    In Christ,
    Andy Forsythe

  83. Steve,

    I’m not sure what you mean about that comment about Dr. Boone stretching prayer stations to prayer beads. I hope it wasn’t a diatribe. Manny, I thought you were moderating against diatribes?

    In Christ,
    Andy

  84. 14Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    15Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    16Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

    17Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

    Um, what do we do with verse 15 fellas? Any thoughts? My CATaracts must be hindering my cognitive understanding, but I think that we are being told by this passage to keep traditions from the Bible and by oral passing on. Am I blind?

    AF

  85. Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

    Once for all is the key here. We cannot change the gospel given to us by Christ and the apostles, whether in the modernist period, or in post-modernism, or whatever in the future.

    Goodnight until tomorrow.

  86. Once for all is the key here. We cannot change the gospel given to us by Christ and the apostles, whether in the modernist period, or in post-modernism, or whatever in the future.

    Goodnight until tomorrow.

    Preach it Manny, I agree. Don’t change it, do it just the way Jesus left it to his Apostles to do it. That’s rock solid stuff. Modernity is evil.

    I am being serious. Pope St. Pius X wrote this encyclical against modernity:

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_x/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_19070908_pascendi-dominici-gregis_en.html

    Andy

  87. You said, “Thank you for your response also Jason. I see that you also did not answer anything that we have presented here with scriptural defense- and instead go on a kind of diatribe as well. I’m sorry to say it that way, but what have you brought to the table here? A wish that we could be silenced? Are you that threatened that you would call on our leadership to silence us?”

    Actually, no I’m not threatened at all by you. And why would I bother getting into a scriptural battle with you when you and I both know that we can pull scriptures from here and there and make them say whatever we want to further our own agenda. What I would like to see is our Generals take a serious look at what is going on here with your group and respond. I have a pretty good hunch that if they would just jump into the dialogue you just might be sorely disappointed with their response. Whatever the case at least we would have a concrete view from the top explaining just where we stand on this whole post modern debate as a denomination. On another note I will certainly enjoy worshipping with you in heaven as we stand there with Catholics, Methodists, Nazarenes, Baptists, Episcopals, Lutherans and the many other Christian denominations. When it’s all said and done shouldn’t that be what its really about instead of petty arguments over who’s theology is right and who’s is wrong.

  88. Manny you said it so well, the Nazarenes across America seeing this Roman Catholicism being promoted in our schools will not be silenced. God will not permit us to be, while the souls of our youth are at stake.
    God has called us to send out a wake up call to the Nazarenes and those who are doing their own home work, are appalled at the state of apostasy our Universities and Nazarene Theolgical Seminary are in.

    Manny, when the Lord was able to reveal to me what was being taught through “Spiritual Formation Classes” in our schools, I was terrified!
    Is there a genuine concern with those Nazarenes who say they are concerned. I can speak for those I know and for myself. It is through weeping, prayer and fasting for the Church we love and the innocent young lives being destroyed that we are genuinely concerned about.

    Sorry Dan Boone we are not a small group, but are made up of hundreds of Nazarenes from not only here in America but now Nazarenes from other countries, as they too are voicing their concerns.
    We are seeing students coming from our schools going out to pastor and because of a new gospel they have been educated in, they themselves are either destroyed or the Churches they are called to end up divided or destroyed.
    This condition was not created by concerned Nazarenes but by the Wolves in sheep’s clothing in our schools.

    Dan you said you must confess a sin. The sin you need to confess is your part in this “Great Day of Apostasy” that you are a part in. You are blind by choice or by ignorance. I have prayed for you that you will repent and help in cleaning house there at Trevecca or for the sake of the souls of our youth the school will be closed.
    Dan you said you would do anything to get your child into a University that is serious about prayer, Bible, Theology and a Christian life style. Sir this is what you
    ain’t. Trevecca is not true to the Word of God nor to the doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene. I judge only on the basis of what is going on at the school you are over and your defense of it.
    My prayer is wake up or get out. You owe it to the Church of the Nazarene and the souls of our youth the Church has entrusted you with.

  89. Ok I will summarize a little bit here (for myself)
    Andy here makes our case for us on why we disagree with what Trevecca is promoting and teaching.
    Andy you don’t answer my questions or counter my points not because of my tone, but because you can’t.
    Let me try to explain 2 Tim 3:16-17 once more.
    God is infallible.
    Without error.
    God spoke to man through the Holy Spirit in order to write scripture.
    Which is without error.
    The canon closed.

    Meaning man could no longer write with infallibility because nothing is to be added to or taken from scripture which is closed.

    Believe infallible God. Or believe fallible man.

    Now you may choose to bring up papal infallibility which was not even asserted dogmatically into your faith until the first Vatican Council in 1870.
    Papal infallibility in ex cathedra is heresy because it came from man not God.

    This does differ from Unam sanctum which is used when the pope issues a papal bull.
    Which of course is a lot of Bull (capitol B here folks) because the pope is still a fallible man.
    A papal bull is used when the pope exercises his self given power and authority over the entire world.
    If that doesn’t creep you out I don’t know what will.

    Now I am also aware that the magisterium ( the teaching arm of the Catholic Church) believes itself to be infallible which is also heresy because the magisterium mixes sacred tradition (not really sacred just the traditions of fallible men) and scripture (their version of scripture).
    I’m an ex Catholic who almost became a Vincentian priest that’s my background chum and I know what the Catholic Church teaches.
    Again Andy I think you should keep talking.

    Andy goes to Trevecca.
    Andy converts to the Roman Catholic/Catholic church.
    People wonder why we have taken Trevecca to task?
    Duhh
    Any more questions?

    Andy, sincerely enjoying your posts..
    Also I am not a Catholic hater. I have many relatives who are wonderful people.
    I pray they read their Bibles and get saved.
    I also believe that there could be saved Catholics.
    Why they would stay in their church is beyond me (and many do not).
    Perhaps God keeps them in there to lead others to Christ and lead them away from the Catholic Church.
    But I digress because I am a fallible man who trusts alone in the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth.

    Tim

  90. Jason,

    For your information, I for one have been practically begging the Generals to give a response, to give their opinion of those questions I listed for you that you do not want to answer scripturally-

    there is no Nazarene defense for things such as believing that God does not know the future- is there? No Christian defense for that matter.

    So we are looking for answers from our leadership. We are not hiding from them. They know I’m here. They have heard from many of us. Many Nazarenes deserve an answer, don’t you think?
    We want to know if our leadership supports or rejects those items I mentioned to you, and many more.

  91. Compare the two comments, the first by Dan Boone and the other by Rick Warren. They both sound like they were cut from the same cloth. Similarities are indisputable in their language.

    Dan Boone says, “Religious fundamentalism is one of the hot topics in the world today and this website has given me the best model, other than Islamic fundamentalism, to demonstrate to students how religious fundamentalism works. But the strategies and tactics of religious fundamentalism are pretty consistent across the board. A small group of people declare themselves the authority in interpreting some ‘holy’ text, they create litmus tests of orthodoxy, they name the enemies who will not bow to their demands nor confess under their accusations, they seek the largest targets they can find to gain the greatest attention (like a university or denomination- or a Twin Towers if they are Islamic) , and then they attack.”

    Rick Warren’s chief apologist (and we were told, a staff member at Saddleback) recently posted an article on the Internet that said ministries that defend the faith (he referenced Lighthouse Trails) were like mentally unstable cultists, “who are not normal people, average complainers, critics and typical dissidents who are generally unhappy about life itself . . . they are deadly.” (Please contact Saddleback Church if you wish to verify this: (949) 609-8000.)

    Dan you call us a small group, I think the White House administration tried to down play the size of the Tea Party too. So what you call small, is actually larger then you think when it comes to defending the Word of God.

    I just wonder how many Nazarene churches in the Nashville area would like to get a hold of these words spoken by Dan Boone? It would be interesting to find out if all the congregations consider themselves out of touch fundamentalists, or are they true believers who love and respect the Word of God.

    I really like how Dan calls the Word of God and I quote, some ‘holy’ text. That really tells me a lot about the type of respect you hold for the Word of God. The Word of God is taken literally and is not interpreted either Dan.

  92. Manny, Tim & Others,

    Your treatment of Dan Boone is a clear violation of scripture. Let scripture speak for itself:

    Paul said to Timothy, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly , but exhort him as if he were your father” 1 Timothy 5:1

    Yours & Tim’s response to an elder in the Church of the Nazarene is absent respect, gentleness and honor.

    Your words are very harsh and judgmental toward a man who has been approved by the Church to serve in its largest Churches and lead a University. He is trying to do his best to give answer to you concerns and do so according to scripture.

    I don’t believe you have treated him as a Father of the faith. He deserves the benefit of the doubt. The treatment he has received here has afforded him none. Scripture requires a gentle rebuke, if one is in order and I don’t believe it is, but the Bible clearly speaks to gentleness as to how we should conduct ourselves (Phi. 4:5, 1 Peter 3:15, Col. 3:12, 2 Cor. 12:1)

  93. With all due respect, Bob, I find it strange that you are now quoting scripture here to make this one point, yet you do not (as far as I know) hold to the doctrine of inerrancy, and you do not believe that the Bible in its entirety IS the word of God, do you? So you and I have very little to start here with. How can you trust what that passage says, when you can’t trust the whole Book? How can you be sure this passage is true and means what you say it means? Is that not the argument emergents give all the time? That we cannot know for sure what the scriptures mean- that it’s a mystery, as McLaren and Bell would say?

    But as far as “an older man”, I’ve seen pictures of Dr. Boone, and he does not look so much older to me; he very well could be younger than me- or perhaps Tim, or “others”. If that’s the case, perhaps he can treat us with the same deference that you insist we should be.

    What benefit of the doubt? All we are challenging is the practices at Trevecca that are being promoted, and asking if these are biblical or not.

    Perhaps you could address those things we have been questioning and justify them by only using one standard- the Bible, and nothing else. Not tradition, not reason. Just the Bible- the infallible and inerrant word of God.

    Perhaps you’ll find that these things I have mentioned are a “clear violation of scripture.”

    I’ll list the ones I mentioned again, however I already know your position on most of them:

    - prayer labyrinths
    - centering prayer
    -lectio divina
    -ecumenical trips to monasteries
    -speakers like Brian McLaren at Nazarene universities putting doubt into the minds of students
    -professors at NNU teaching that God does not know the future
    -Emergents who doubt that the word of God is fully trustworthy
    -Recommendation of books by misguided authors such as Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster
    -Speakers such as Dr. Jay McDaniel who are sympathizers to universalism and panentheism, and who believe that Buddhists can go to heaven without ever acknowledging Christ as Savior.

  94. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

    Proverbs 6:23

  95. “Perhaps you could address those things we have been questioning and justify them by only using one standard- the Bible, and nothing else. Not tradition, not reason. Just the Bible- the infallible and inerrant word of God.”-Manny

    This is not the teaching of the Church of the Nazarene. We look to the revelation of the Holy Spirit through tradition, reason, and experience as well. We are Wesleyan in other words. It seems a futile mission to attempt to change the foundations of this denomination. Perhaps it would be better for one to seek a tradition/denomination that will suit ones fundamental/Calvinist sensibilities.

    We (Nazarenes) also do not assert that the word of God is inerrant. See Article 4 and note the strategic placement of the word “inerrant.”

    “The Word of God is taken literally and is not interpreted either Dan.”-mr white,

    This is impossible. One cannot read, hear, see anything without doing interpretation. This blog is evidence. One cannot use a passage of scripture to defend one’s view without interpreting its meaning. If we could read and understand scripture at face value than perhaps we would not have these issues. We would have an entire different set of problems. (which are also illustrated in this blog) But, even saying that we must “understand” denotes that we must also interpret. There is no getting around this. The word must be interpreted. The fact that it is written in other languages proves this. The essential act of translation is interpretation.

  96. If I can add one more comment on the biblical way of reproach, when Christ’s Church has been infiltrated by Pharisees, it may be time for some in the Church of the Nazarene to start flipping some tables and running the spiritual thieves out, perhaps grab some millstones as we chase them to the sea. It would be better for them. (Lk. 17:2)

    Folks, this is serious stuff; souls are at stake. I may be new around this blog (thanks, Manny and others, for shedding so much light on the problems facing the Church of the Nazarene), but I have been quite alarmed and concerned about these issues for a while.

  97. Tara,

    Is it my understanding then, that you do not believe and trust in the Bible completely in all that it teaches?

    Are you saying that the Bible has errors- a Book that is inspired by God? If so, can you specify those things in the Bible that are in error? Would that include that Adam and Eve were only allegories?

    And do you support the teaching that God does not know all of the future?

    These are the questions we are asking, and the final authority for any church manual should be the Bible- nothing else. That is my point. If the church manual is in error, let’s fix it.

    But let’s stop talking about what the Manual, or what the church teaches officially- let’s get some straight answers to these questions.

    As far as interpretation, can any person interpret the following verse easily without having a theology degree?

    “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

    Will you concede, at least for this verse, there is only one “interpretation?” Is this easily understandable at “face value” as you say? Or is there some subtle and foggy meaning in this that we can never know for sure? It’s a mystery, as Brian McLaren claims that scripture is.

    Bottom line is this: the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God, regardless of the words we use in our church manuals. If you don’t believe that, that’s your choice. I trust in the Bible completely. I pray you will also.
    Blessings,
    Manny

  98. Tim!

    You have spilled the beans. I thought I smelled a Catholic in you
    somewhere. :)
    What would your mother say at all of these strong statements you made against the Faith your were raised in? How often did you go to Mass growing up? Tell the truth. I digress. I’m going to issue a few responses here for clarification. I believe you have misunderstood some things about Catholicism again.

    I have been accused, by Tim, that I am avoiding the questions he raises. Tim, which specific questions are you talking about. I can’t be accused of avoiding questions, I answered Manny’s. Perhaps his were more organized and I didn’t just see them as a rant. I made it very clear to everyone that if you wanted more information, I would be glad to converse with you over the telephone. 423-413-2734 I’m not too interested in hiding behind the internet to explain my beliefs and to critique others.

    The year I became Catholic at Trevecca, I took the following classes. *it was my last year Speech Communications, Critical Reading and Writing, World Literature (took it at Mizzou online) Intro to English (or whatever it was called) and Music Theory II. Obviously a Trevecca breeding ground for Catholicism.

    Now, back to the Theology.

    Unam Sanctam is the name of a specific papal bull. You referencing it as if it were a doctrine that we use to explain papal teaching, well, it makes me think of your own statement “which of course is a lot of Bull (capital B here folks)”

    Your argument about papal infallibility being inserted in the first Vatican council doesn’t hold any water. The Church is the most reactive body ever in the history of man. When something goes wrong with Catholic teaching in the world, the Church reacts by councils, bulls, etc. You certainly have experience being in a reactive body. You and others think Trevecca folk need to get saved because something is wrong there and so you have begun to issue your own words (backing them with Scriptures of your own choosing) and asserting your authority to those who you feel need to hear it. That’s not a new model, Tim, it’s in the bible and it’s in the Catholic Church.

    You and I and the pope both know that if the pope were to walk out on the balcony at St. Peter’s square and say that picking your nose is necessary for salvation that we could say he was full of [it] and gone crazy. Papal teaching is only infallible when it is used as a clarification of that which has always been taught according to the Faith in accordance with Holy Scripture and Tradition. He can’t just go and tell people “Jesus said to be fishers of men so go down to the bait shop and get some worms and see if you can catch one.” Joseph Ratzinger is a man who sins, who needs God, and who leads the Church that Christ left to His Apostles. The Apostles, who, according to your assertions, then did exactly the opposite of what Christ instructed when they told the Church Fathers how to operate and teach. What a believable argument! (smell the sarcasm)

    Magisterial and papal infallibility are only legitimate when they are speaking on faith and morals. When a dogmatic council is convened, the documents that are approved (not discussed) become official teaching of the Church. For instance, the Nicene Creed, which confesses faith in the Trinity, which isn’t, by the way, mentioned in the bible. By the way Tim, the Nazarenes have a similar ecclesial model. They even have a council (Gen. Assembly) every four years whether they need it or not and it is presided over by General Superintendents. Where in the world did they get that idea?

    Tim, I figured you probably know a lot about what the Church teaches, but it’s apparent to me (see your above confusion about “Unam Sanctam”) that you don’t know everything that the Church teaches. I’m not interested in entering a [boxing] match with you about who’s more Catholic. However, I did pick up a Masters in Theology at a Catholic school, I had the standard four religion classes at TNU, and I am currently enrolled at Nazarene Theological College in Manchester working on my M.A. in hopes of the Ph. D. afterward. So I guess you can say that I know what it means to be a Nazarene thoroughly and to be a Catholic thoroughly. I often teach Nazarenes what they believe because they never took the time to look it up. I do the same for Catholics and Catholics who have left the Church. I taught in Catholic school for a year and a half and now I am a music director in a Catholic Church. I read Catholic news every day and have several Catholic websites that I browse often. For you to imply that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that you do because you almost considered the Vincentian fathers is plainly absurd.

    You said,

    “The Canon is closed. ”

    Which canon do you speak of? Who closed it? (I’ll answer this one for you, God) Which books does this canon include?

    In Christ,

    Andy Forsythe

  99. Tara,

    The problem arises when people misapply Scripture and do not rightly divide it to the proper time of events. Case in point is below from “Anonymous Student”.

    I would love to provide a few references in scripture supporting Trevecca’s “promotion” of silence and to address some of the other issues you have with Trevecca’s spiritual views.

    Habakkuk 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”

    You have to understand history and what were the events of the day when these prophets wrote these words.

    Another example:

    This is be taken literally, but do you need interpretation to understand it Tara?

    Luke 1 :31-33: KJV
    “31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. ”

    “32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of his father, David.

    “33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end:”

    We (Nazarenes) also do not assert that the word of God is inerrant. See Article 4 and note the strategic placement of the word “inerrant.”–Tara Sweeney

    I spent 20+ years of my life at 510 Woodline Street where First Church of the Nazarene resides and I was always taught that (We Nazarenes) always take the word of God as inerrant.

    Dan Boone made this comment: We’re open for business and loving life on the hill.

    Is this the hill on Murfreesboro Road or the seven hills of Rome?

    I say this out of Christian love and for concern of the events that is developing around us.

    Brad

  100. Brad, that’s 510 Woodland Street.

    Did you know I once saw a man in priestly garb at Trevecca? You can see the picture on the Facebook group, “Trevecca Catholic Tradition.”

    AF

  101. So we are not in disagreement then. We must “interpret” scripture. It was very recently and wonderfully put by someone (not myself) that we understand and interpret scripture in our own language. This is not limited to the language we speak but also our world view. I am a Southerner, born and raised Nazarene Christian. The way in which I interpret scripture is not the same as the way an Israelite during the post exilic era would interpret Torah or the way a Christian in present day India will interpret scripture. I absolutely believe in Truth. So please, do not misunderstand my statements to suggest a purely relative approach to interpreting scripture. It is crucial for us as Christians to keep open the dialogue regarding what is True. The church has seen the importance of this from the very beginning.(tradition) Early on there were issues arising concerning the humanity and divinity of Jesus. Thus, the establishment (for lack of a better word) of the Creeds. All this to say, the manual/catechism of the Church is vital for unity. I do not elevate the Nazarene manual above the bible but this does bring up an important issue. Perhaps we should be very cautious of the means by which we speak/type about the bible. After all we do not worship God’s word. We worship God’s Word. (Jesus)

    Manny: “As far as interpretation, can any person interpret the following verse easily without having a theology degree?”

    A beautiful aspect of God’s Church is its communal nature. As a body, we interpret scripture. It is dangerous to interpret for oneself without the democracy of the Church for this could lead to relativism. Again, this is why tradition is a vital hermeneutic.

    Brad: perhaps we know one another…I too have attended NFCN for 20 plus years. When did you leave?

    Also, we cannot just say “this is to be taken literal.” That is not sufficient for understanding who was/is Jesus as revealed in Scripture. There are many paradoxes, contradictions…etc. We must continues to pray, study, DIALOGUE, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in order that we may be a light/blessing to others in regards to interpretation. And we must do this as a unified body. Tearing one another down in “the name of God” severely discourages this. :)

  102. In conclusion (in my part)
    Thanks for all the help in promoting our DVD.
    I am now out and have had to forward all DVD orders to Don and Sue.
    The orders are coming in from all over the world.
    So thanks to Dan Boone and all the students who weighed in.
    Thanks to Andy for making our point in all this.
    PS Andy I am a ex-Catholic I totally reject the Roman Catholic/Catholic church.
    But I had 12 years of Catholic school and I did go to mass every Sunday Unless I was sick as well as a altar boy (even when the mass was still in Latin).
    I do know what the Catholic Church teaches by the way -just a little fyi.
    I choose Christ and the scriptures alone.
    Thanks to Manny,Brad, Steve and all others who have defended the faith according to the scriptures.
    Bob -Dan Boone is not my father in the faith.
    Im not sure what faith Dan profess’s I confess.
    Thanks to all that are in this battle.
    Thanks to Dan for at least showing us all where his head is at.
    I appreciate Dan’s comments.
    They were very revealing.
    Now people can search the scripture’s and decide which camp they will be in.
    There are two different camps here.
    Just a side note-Richard Abanes is Rick Warrens apoligist and I have debated him before.
    PS Bob I echo Mannys comments-How can you be sure the scripture you quoted was correct since you do not believe the the scriptures are without error.
    Or are they only without error when you quote them?
    PS Don and Sue-
    We may need to make some more DVD’s.

    Manny congrats on all the hits I pray most of all people will search the scriptures to see if what we are saying is true.
    And again folks if what we state on the rituals and practices does not add up to what scripture teaches reject our teaching totally.
    The authority of Gods Holy Word in scripture is all that counts here!

    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim

  103. Andy thanks for the street correction. I live on Woodline now and Woodland is right off of Shelby Ave.

  104. And Tara, regarding what you said here:

    “And we must do this as a unified body. Tearing one another down in “the name of God” severely discourages this.”

    We CANNOT AND MUST NOT be unified with those who preach a different gospel. We cannot be unified with false teachers. Don’t you understand that from the scriptures? True unity is with those who keep all of Christ’s commandments, and who do not invent a new gospel. We must be separated, Tara, from the wolves in sheep’s clothing! There can never be unity with them- rather we must expose them.

    Tara, and all others reading this, Jesus Christ Himself said He came to divide! He said brothers and sisters will go against each other, because of the truth!
    I implore you to stop this foolish idea that we all can be united, even when some of us are going against the Lord’s teachings. This is false, and this is destructive to the body of Christ. It is these people who are dividing the church- not those who are fighting to defend the truth- to defend the inerrancy of scripture. Something that Bob Hunter and others apparently do not believe.

    How can I trust in God and pray to Him for help in my life, if I believe he does not know the future? How can an Open Theist ever pray confidently to God? How?

    Unity for the sake of unity comes with a price: compromise of the gospel. I will never do that, and if I have to pay the price of losing friends and family, I have already said I am willing to do that.

    Here are just a few of the many scriptures that tell us that we must not compromise, but rather reject those who preach a false gospel (and there is no proof-texting here):

    2 Tim 4: 1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

    Galatians 1:6-10 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 him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    Titus 3:10-11 “After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions, since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.

    Ephesians 5:6-11 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

    Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

    Romans 16:17-18 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.

  105. Andy,

    Is that picture really at Trevecca? It looks like the window says “Catholic Tradition,” so how can it be at Trevecca? Looks to me like something a group of students created, and that picture was probably taken at one of their Catholic churches.

  106. “We CANNOT AND MUST NOT be unified with those who preach a different gospel. We cannot be unified with false teachers…”

    “Jesus Christ Himself said He came to divide! He said brothers and sisters will go against each other, because of the truth!
    I implore you to stop this foolish idea that we all can be united, even when some of us are going against the Lord’s teachings. This is false, and this is destructive to the body of Christ…”

    I just read this, and I wanted to add a “hear, hear!” Very well put, Manny.

    Tara, it takes tough love to point this out, but some here are going against the Lord’s teachings. I pray that you can see this, and I pray that the Lord will soften all hearts that are in error, that they may heed his Word and obey His commands.

  107. Tara,

    I left First Church entirely in 1993.

    And you said, Also, we cannot just say “this is to be taken literal.” That is not sufficient for understanding who was/is Jesus as revealed in Scripture.

    Are you saying that all the epistles of Paul are meaningless and tell us nothing of the true nature of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour? The four gospels are not sufficient enough to literally explain who Jesus Christ is?

    Where does this type of thinking come from?

  108. Manny, should I understand you to be saying “the truth” is the inerrancy of scripture? John 14:6 says Jesus is the truth. Are Jesus and the bible one in the same?

    For the sake of argument I will say that I cannot interpret John 14:6 for myself. What does Jesus mean when he says “way”? Should we understand this to mean that Jesus intercedes for us to the Father? Do we understand this to mean that we must confess him as Savior to “get” to God who is in Heaven? Can we say that God is “in heaven”? Because, if God is “in heaven” that is suggesting he is occupying a created space somewhere? Perhaps I can get there without Jesus then….:) I am trying to demonstrate that even verses such as John 14:6 need interpretation. Isolating them from the rest of the text and on a broader scale, the rest of the biblical narrative removes them from context. I cannot rely on myself alone to interpret scripture. After all, we are not Christians on our own but we are intricately bound as the body of Christ. There is power in numbers. (Tradition)

  109. I am so sorry to see this kind of response from you, Tara. I suppose I should pity the person who lives all alone, away from everyone, and who stumbles on a Bible.

    Do you think that through the power of God’s word, and His Holy Spirit working, that no one can come to know the truth, except in a corporate setting?

    If you cannot understand John 14:6, I don’t know what else to tell you. I pray that you will understand it someday. I assume you are a Christian. if so, how did you become a Christian? Was it the convincing logic of fallible men, which has no power? Or was it the power of God’s word- His infallible word- working in you to convict you of sin, and your need for repentance?

    I am asking this sincerely, since I am baffled that you cannot even understand John 14:6.

    I leave you with this verse, perhaps you will understand what it means:

    Acts 4:12
    “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

    You do understand that that name is Jesus?

    May you find full trust and confidence in God’s word someday.
    Blessings,
    Manny

  110. Brad, I think we are misunderstanding one another. I believe the scriptures “contain all things necessary to our salvation.” And, of course the epistles of Paul and the Gospels reveal truths about the nature of Jesus. Do you believe in the doctrine of the Trinity Brad? Though it is not specified in the scriptures as such, we (Christians) believe this to be true. My point was and still is: We must interpret scripture to understand these truths. Scripture has revealed truths about the nature of the God we serve even though it is not “literally” written “Jesus, the second person of the trinity is the perfect Word of God. The love between them, the Holy Spirit, guides the Church.”

    Manny, Brad, Chad…are you all Trinitarian?

  111. Can someone tell me how i’m supposed to interpret scripture? I’m trying to follow this thread, but it’s very confusing…so much scripture is being thrown around. Where can i go for a good interpretation?

  112. Tara, yes, I believe in the Trinity, because that is what the Bible teaches- even though that word is not in the Bible.
    We believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, because it is revealed to us in the Bible, not because we came to a decision that it must be so. That is the difference.

    I would hope that you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved and go to heaven?

  113. Terry, the concerned chrisitians would have you read the good book and understand every word through your own personal lens. Basically, they want to promote relative truth since that is the only outcome of this type of hermeneutic.

    I would suggest that you allow the ecclesia to do so. We are promised that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church so one must trust that the Church will also not lead astray when it comes to interpreting scripture and should we stray due to our fallen state, the Holy Spirit will bring us back again.

    Manny, should I understand you to be saying “the truth” is the inerrancy of scripture? John 14:6 says Jesus is the truth. Are Jesus and the bible one in the same?

  114. The scriptures plainly explain the Trinity. There is no interpretation needed.

    John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

    John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

    Is that sarcasm Terry?!?!?!?! Don’t need an interpretation for that.

  115. To be clear, I am not arguing for or against a prayer labyrinth. That said, if we are to apply your (Manny and friends) logic here we would have ourselves a conundrum. We have “institutionalized” the doctrine of the Trinity though the word “trinity” is not present in scripture. But, Genesis, John, the epistles…etc all reveal this type of thinking. Therefore, we would have had to EXEGETE scripture to “produce” this doctrine. In the same way, the biblical narrative never specifically introduces the “prayer labyrinth” literally but there are verses and such that suggest that this attitude of prayer is acceptable?…

  116. Tara, I am a Christian before I am a Trinitarian.

    Terry G.D., Jr., you don’t have to interpret the Bible; you should accept the Truth as it is clearly revealed.

  117. Dr. Boone, After reading this blog I just want to say thank you for standing up for Trevecca. I believe in the way God is working here on this campus and I thank you for standing up for it when others are trying to put it down it is greatly appreciated.

  118. Brad, your previous post is most certainly an interpretation. You have taken a text that was translated from another language. You have given it meaning by saying that these verses speak of the “Trinity?” Where did you learn of this Trinitarian talk? Was this a discovery you made yourself one day while pouring over scripture or were you taught this by…say..the Church? Hmm…This sounds traditional to me.

  119. Tara,

    Don’t try to change the conversation with your Catholic volcabulary. And the Church didn’t teach me anything….the Holy Ghost has led my ways all my Christian life.

    Brad

  120. Tara, could I ask you this again?

    Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation?

  121. Tara said:

    I would suggest that you allow the ecclesia to do so. We are promised that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church so one must trust that the Church will also not lead astray when it comes to interpreting scripture and should we stray due to our fallen state, the Holy Spirit will bring us back again.

    That’s too much infallible talk for a Nazarene. Maybe you reformed Nazarenes are on to something I wasn’t aware of. Just sayin’

  122. Brad,
    I am sorry that you have learned nothing from the Church. That is a tragedy indeed. I am being completely serious.

    Manny,

    I believe that Jesus forgives sins. I believe that the Christian Church is the chosen avenue by which God reveals himself to the world. To be very candid with you Manny, I struggle with the idea of salvation being a means to an end….that end being heaven. So, with this uncertainty in mind…I cannot answer your question.(because I do not know, not because I am skirting around it.)

    I have come to terms with my uncertainties and have learned through prayer, study, discernment, and dialogue I may come to understand these foundational, life questions…I may not. Either way, God is still God.

    Chad,

    I believe that would make you unitarian universalist

  123. Manny, now that I have answered your question will you answer mine?

    Should I understand you to be saying “the truth” is the inerrancy of scripture? John 14:6 says Jesus is the truth. Are Jesus and the bible one in the same?

  124. Tara,
    I don’t mean to sound rude, but what kind of a question is this? Do you really want me to answer? OK…

    Jesus is the Truth, but the Bible is the word of God, and that is truth also. Don’t you understand that? Of course, Jesus is not the same as the Bible. He is the Word. But the Bible is the word of God. Are you receiving direct revelation from Jesus, Tara? Does He speak to you when you “listen in silence” as those at the monastery do? And if He does, are you sure it’s His voice?

    Or do you trust in the Bible COMPLETELY, because that is the word of God (Jesus) that was given to us for our savation, edification, and our guide for our lives.

    What kind of a word game are you playing here, is this the stuff you are taught? I’ve heard this argument before. Soon, are you going to accuse me of “bibliolatry”, like some misguided emergent Nazarene pastors have said. Where is the respect for the infallible word of God, Tara?

  125. Manny, I have never been to a monastery, nor have I participated in a prayer labyrinth, nor am I anywhere near as prayerful a Christian as I should be. I wish I were receiving direct revelation from Jesus…I am not.

    I am simply challenging your logic. This is not done with ill intent. I meant my previous statements about unity. In an ideal church, we would all agree I suppose. Since we do not agree, it is important to have charitable discourse. Brad has been a poor example of this. He exhibits no charity and speaks as a child would. I am open to what you are saying and open to the concerns you present. I agree that they are legitimate concerns. Keep the dialogue open. Perhaps this gap may be bridged.

    When you speak of the Word of God and the word of God you are taking these concepts from scripture. You are well versed in greek I assume? Which “word” is God’s logos? How should we interpret this?

  126. Tara,
    I did not become a Christian through logic. I became a Christian when God’s Holy Spirit convinced me of my sin and my need to repent and turn to Christ in faith and obedience.

    Do you ever doubt your faith in Christ? Do you ever think that he may just be a fictional character, or that He was not really God as He claimed?

    I thought I was pretty smart. Perhaps you are even smarter, more intellectual, but I don’t need that to trust in the One who saved me from eternity in hell. Yeah, I did real well in Greek New Testament studies, but that did not save me. Jesus did, but I don;t need an advanced degree, or someone to logically show me the way. His word does that for me.

    All I know is that I trust in Jesus completely; I trust in His word that He gave to us. What else is there for me to do? I don;t have to go to seminary; I don’t need anything else but my faith and trust in Jesus, and His word.

    Blessings,
    manny

  127. Dr. Boone,
    your comments on the litmus tests and actions of the “concerned” or “reformed” leaders in this blog are right on.

    Tara,
    Nashville First did not fail to teach us that Christ is Lord and that the Christian faith is wonderfully complex and simple at the same time. Complex in the way traditions, experiences, and reason interweave upwards as tree branches, and simple as they all stem from one root or source (the logos) the Bible and ultimately Jesus Christ -da word Word.
    Nashville First truly lifts up Jesus Christ in spite of her problems and failures.
    May I remind you of your earlier comments concerning Nazarenes and a Wesleyan faith. You get that we include reason, tradition, and experience in our conversation (even though we start with scripture and I would add end with scripture). You are trying to have a conversation with folk who want to not include all in the conversation. In our language tradition and experience serve as vowels. You are being asked to converse and write english without vowels. It will prove frustrating and impossible.

    Reformed and Brad White,
    Please see my lengthy posts under conversations with university presidente! I addresss what I gather is the chief concern of those concerned. The COTN is being led astray due to ignoring the scriptures and to removing their authority. You claim this is prominent in American Nazarene colleges and universities. TNU is taken lots of fire in this line. In my lengthy post I share my TNU experience and argue that TNU’s teachings on scripture were instrumental to my faith, my world view, my theology, and my ability to reason within the academy, and to contend for the orthodox faith (which includes creeds in addition to the bible). I love Jesus way more than I love being a Nazarene or even dear ole TNU. However, I think it needs to be clarified that TNU has not abandoned scripture and it does not a Roman Catholic factory in spite of the fear that certain liturgical practices on campus have released.

    Andy,
    I too am a student at the University of Manchester-Nazarene Theological College -workin on Ph.D. Thesis Title: Working with God: Exploring the theology behind John Wesley’s practice of works of mercy. I think Wesley would care a lot more about what TNU students are doing in terms of mercy and what real problems the COTN are facing than debates emerging (woops bad word -no pun intended i promise) from practices that Christians have resurrected from the past. Wesley was a master fisherman; for souls, but he also fished in streams and in the deep sea for practices from the OT to Jesus to the apostles to the fathers & mothers to his present time. I can see him responding to these blogs with passion and arguing that he was a man of one book even though he used other books for pillows and rarely rode cross England without reading other books. Check out his “Christian Library”. To be a man of one book he certainly reccomended a lot of books (traditions) for his ministers.

    All,
    Thanks for letting me jump in this conversation. Please see my lengthier testimony under the Conversation with University President.

  128. Tara,

    Like Manny says, he puts his trust in Jesus completely just like I do.

    Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV
    5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
    6 In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.
    7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.

    Proverbs 30:5 KJV
    5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

    You, Tara, have stayed on one word “interpretation” and your comment of my so called childishness is your wrong “interpretation” of my point. It has to do with compromising.

    Compromise: An amicable agreement between parties in controversy, to settle their differences by mutual concession. A concession to something that is harmful or depreciative.

    Conviction: A fixed or strong belief.

    Unity: The state or quality of being in accord; harmony. Singleness of purpose or action; continuity.

    The United States Constitution and has been called “a bundle of compromises”. Compromise in man’s relationships with each other is a necessary means of living together in an imperfect society. Concessions are made every day by all of us, and we are admonished in the word of God to make them. The Scripture instructs us in Romans 12:18

    “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

    That means giving in to get along. So, what is all this about compromise in the church? Well, while compromise is a necessary evil that we all must live with while we live among each other, there is one person in the universe with whom we cannot compromise. God Almighty will not compromise with you or with anyone else. Real compromise is always at the expense of something one desires to do, or what one believes. In the case of Christians, there is the matter of convictions: A fixed or strong belief. We are being asked to give up convictions and to compromise for the sake of unity;

    We hear among believers today the catch-phrase “doctrine divides”. Jesus said,

    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34.

    He was totally uncompromising with those of his time. It was either his way, or not at all. What a narrow minded bigot! How could anyone say

    I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.

    He is God. His doctrine was divisive. He was uncompromising and got himself crucified for it. It is unpopular. Doctrine divides! Is then doctrine important, or should it give way to believers all getting together under the banner of “love”? Let’s see what the Scripture says:

    Luke 4:32 “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” Christ’s doctrine astonished those of his day, not only because it was delivered in power, but because it was radically different than the “status quo” of the religious world.

    John 7:16 “Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” He stated flatly that the doctrine he preached was from above. With him there was no room to compromise. He was not interested in “getting along” with his religious contemporaries. He was interested in pleasing his Father.

    1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Paul’s admonition to young Timothy was to give attention to doctrine. Yes, that horrible item was an absolute essential for Timothy in his ministry.

    John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. It is clear that in order to do God’s will, it is essential to learn sound doctrine.

    1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. These elders were honored because they laboured in the Word and doctrine. They refused to compromise in this most important arena.

    2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Here we discover that one of the purposes of God inspiring the Holy Scriptures was to profit us with his doctrine. It is PROFITABLE!

    2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. The word of God is to be preached and doctrine is its cornerstone.

    2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    Aha! Have we discovered anything yet? We live in the time spoken of. Men will not endure sound doctrine. They (get it!) HEAP to themselves teachers. How is this done? They are instructed to disregard doctrine. They are told to emphasize the things they have in common.

    Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. Sound doctrine is necessary to exhort or teach.

    Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: Last, but not least, there should be doctrine, and it should be “sound”. Sound as in: “free from defect, decay or damage; deserving confidence, trustworthy.”1

    A unity based on compromising strong belief is a shallow, fragile and ungodly unity. Believers (if they are really true believers at all) are selling God out (compromise) for the sake of an unscriptural unity. In the sixties and seventies, the ecumenical movement paved the way for the present-day fountain of all compromise. Those involved may be truly born again Christians. They may be sincere. They view the divisions among Christians as an evidence of Satan’s work. This unholy alliance will eventually be responsible for damning the souls of millions, as members of the Roman Catholic Church are accepted in the “Evangelical” community as true believers. Their unscriptural doctrines and false gospel will not bring them safely home to God, but will lead them down to hell. Revelation, chapter 17 discloses a city harboring a religious system that deceives the whole world! The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:17,18 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” John the human author of the book of Revelation says in Revelation 18:4,5 “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.”

    This present day church is pictured for us in Revelation 3:14. Read it carefully. “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

    What is he saying (not interpreting)? He is standing at the door of his Church, the present 20th century apostate church, and asking if there is anyone there who desires truth, holiness and godliness. If you will open the door he will come and fellowship with you in spite of the wickedness of the remainder of his saints. Will you?

    Compromise is the great wickedness of the present day church. I have not written the above to pretend I am any better than anyone else. I am a simple sinner saved by the grace of Almighty God, with a great desire to lead God’s people out of the apostasy of these wicked times into a sweeter fellowship with Christ, based on obedience to the truths revealed in his Holy Word.

    Because of all this compromising, I’ve left the Nazarene denomination and now have a Christ centered fellowship with a small group of true Bible believing Christians that will not compromise their beliefs.

  129. Hunter,
    You speak well, your words sound good… but where is the scriptural authority for all this? No one seems to be able to do that- because there is none. They just talk with their reasoning- not with the authority of scripture. It’s the same old thing we get here and everywhere else we are fighting this. Man’s intellect battling against God’s wisdom.

    I pray for those students coming with you to TNU- and the TNU students- and all students being indoctrinated with this mystical non-biblical ideology.

    And don’t forget Open Theism- I don’t worship a God who does not know the future or makes mistakes. I pray that you don’t. I can guarantee that some of those students will be deceived into not trusting God anymore if they are exposed to this. God help them, and God help those who facilitate this distrust.

  130. Everyone keeps talking about the Authority of Scripture. Where does the Authority that is in scripture come from? Who said it was there in the first place? Can someone answer this for me please…

    In Christ

  131. Hi Terry,

    “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
    2 Tim. 3:16-17

    Are you a Christian?

    If so, what is your authority in life if you are a Christian? If it is Jesus, do you talk to Him directly now, or do you trust what He has given us in the Bible?

    If the Bible is not authoritative, what is? How do we trust the word of God if it is not authoritative?

    If you have doubts about the word of God, trust in Jesus and His word, because he is God, and He gave the word by which we can know His Truth.

    I leave you with this, Terry, Psalm 119: 1-11
    I suggest you spend a little time on the entire chapter; it is a great testimony to God’s word.

    Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
    Who walk in the law of the LORD!
    2 Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
    Who seek Him with the whole heart!
    3 They also do no iniquity;
    They walk in His ways.
    4 You have commanded us
    To keep Your precepts diligently.
    5 Oh, that my ways were directed
    To keep Your statutes!
    6 Then I would not be ashamed,
    When I look into all Your commandments.
    7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart,
    When I learn Your righteous judgments.
    8 I will keep Your statutes;
    Oh, do not forsake me utterly!

    9 How can a young man cleanse his way?
    By taking heed according to Your word.
    10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
    Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
    11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
    That I might not sin against You.

  132. Hunter,
    One other thing: you said you were impressed by Dr. Boone’s loving responses?

    Do you mean the ones that compared Concerned Nazarenes to jihadists and Muslim terrorists flying into buildings? Was it that loving response that you are referencing?

    Here’s another loving response, in case you missed it:

    “Now, I must confess a sin. I did not listen to some friends who told me that I would not find a rational conversation here. I am most likely viewing these websites for the last time and would urge all thinking Christians to join me in the exit. ”

    So, we are not rational, and we are not thinking. Loving response?

    And I guess he has slammed many, many Nazarenes who consider themselves fundamentalists, because he does not like fundamentalists.

    Oh, and here is how he respects the Bible:

    “A small group of people declare themselves the authority in interpreting some ‘holy’ text,”

    “SOME HOLY TEXT” is what he references the Bible with.

    These are his loving words. You can read the rest of what he posted if you like.

  133. Reformednarazene:

    Thanks for the response. You see, herein lies the problem: I ask for some kind of Authority behind scripture, and you have quoted to me scripture. Like, what scripture is 2nd Timothy talking about? About itself? About the Old Testament scriptures? About scriptures that had not even been written yet? Who decided that 2nd Timothy was scripture “given by inspiration of God” for reproof, and doctrine, and correction, and instruction in righteousness?
    Whoever decided THAT, that’s the person or persons I need to get to the bottom of, because they are the ones who I am trusting by even picking up the Bible…
    —————————–

    Tara:

    Thanks for your earlier response. I had missed it before, but i was reading back over the responses. Your answer seems to be more satisfactory to me. The Church is the one who we should trust….ok, so you’re saying it was the Church who decided what was Scripture and what wasn’t? If so, when did they decide this and what was this “church” like at that time? Was it the nazarene church? How did this “church” understand ITSELF when it decided the scriptures? If i’m going to accept the Bible as God’s Word, it seems like I should also accept those persons, or as you say, the “ecclesia” that recognized the Scriptures as the Word of God. That makes sense to me, although i’m not quite sold on the whole thing yet…

    In Christ,

    Terry G.D., Jr.

  134. Reformednazarene:

    To follow up on your questions from above:

    1. “Are you a Christian?”
    ——- Yes

    2. “If so, what is your authority in life if you are a Christian?”: ——–First i ask what kind of authority are we talking about? There are many different ways that authority is exercised in my life. God is the ultimate authority, because he is the author of all creation, right? But the U.S. government is also an authority in my life, whether i like it or not. It seems reasonable to me that God would communicate himself to his creation if he loved his creation, so i accept that there can be Revelation from God. And i guess here is where it gets tricky. I grew up accepting the Bible because my parents accepted the Bible and they read it to me. But then i grew up and realized that Muslim parents read the Qu’ran to their children and their children accept them as the Word of God too. So is it just my parents versus their parents? Who is ultimately standing behind these scriptures on both sides. If i were to judge whether or not to have faith in Islam, i’d have to answer that question and go from there. If i am to have an adult faith in Christ, i would likewise have to answer that question about the Bible and go from there. That’s what i’m attempting to do.

    3. “If it is Jesus, do you talk to Him directly now, or do you trust what He has given us in the Bible?”
    ———-I trust Jesus in a kind of natural way because i was raised to do that. But how do i know that what i know about him is even true? That is to say, how do i know that the scriptures speak the truth about Jesus. Is there some other witness to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that can be brought to bear beside the Bible? Who, when they first read the scriptures said “yes, this is the truth about Jesus; therefore these scriptures will be held as true” ; furthermore lots of things are true but not necessarily inspired infallibly by God. Who guaranteed the scriptures were just that? If Jesus gave us what is in the Bible, as you said above, what was the mechanism for this giving?

    4. “If the Bible is not authoritative, what is?”
    —————You seem to be asking the same question I am asking. I’m not saying that the Bible is necessarily un-authoritative. There clearly is some authorship behind it. Even a child can see that. How am I going to put my whole trust in this life on a Book (and i’m saying ANY book, not just the Bible)? Because that book says i should? Guess what, there are a number of books that say that kind of thing. It just seems to me that if in fact the Bible is the Word of God, and the Word is God, that this same Word, God, would have left me with a way to trace this Book back to His very Self. I’m attempting to trace the Bible back to Jesus…what is the connection? Is it his Apostles? Did his Apostles write the New Testament? Was there a time before the New Testament was written and decided upon as scripture but after Jesus ascended to Heaven? During that time, who was to be trusted concerning this Jesus? Those are the people I am concerning with trusting too. It seems like it was possible at one time to be a Christian and not have a New Testament…these are the kinds of questions I am interested in having answered. Thank you for your responses.

    and your last question:
    5. “How do we trust the word of God if it is not authoritative?”
    ————-The short answer: If it is not authoritative we DON’T trust it. I guess the question you are asking is “How do we trust the word of God if it is not the word of God?” Doesn’t its being the word of God lead to its being authoritative? When the Christians were first presented with the writings that are in the Bible, what led them to trust those writings? Were all early Christians literate? Or were they trusting someone who read these writings to them? Who were these people reading these writings to them, proclaiming this Christ?… Again, thank you for your responses.

    In Christ,

    Terry G.D., Jr.

  135. reformednazarene:

    I apologize for my presumption in this matter…

    I should have quoted scripture…

    “in Christ” (Acts 24:24),

    Terry G.D., Jr.

  136. Terry,
    With all due respect, looking at your answers you just posted, I find it hard to believe that you are truly born again and are a Christian.

    Perhaps you can explain what exactly you mean when you say you are a Christian, because your words here do not reflect that. You seem to have so many doubts about God/s word.

  137. I suppose that if i choose to defend my Alma mater, and the President of the school while i attended there I couldn’t do so because I have no biblical references to do so.

    Of all the criticisms I’ve read in this blog on Trevecca or Dr. Boone, it seems as though nobody really knows the campus or Dr. Boone. Yes, the picture of “Trevecca Catholic Tradition” on Facebook is at Trevecca (you’d know this if you knew ANYTHING at the school itself). Someone else referred to seeing “pictures” of Dr. Boone once. How can someone completely analyze a person from a response they leave on a blog such as this? I’ve heard him speak many times, and have spoken to him many times. I know for a fact (because he lives it) that he very much lives and teaches from the bible, and refuse to take anyone’s critique that says otherwise (unless “they’ve seen pictures” of course… are you kidding me?)

    Nashville is in Tennessee. Tennessee has been known for sometime (alltime) for being “hill country”. Go figure, Trevecca is built on one such hill. Also, we refer to the school as a community, or something of comfort for those who attend there. Therefore, it is loosely been titled “the hill”, for none other than geographical reasons or school pride reasons.

    Romans 14:13
    “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. ”

    We are all people of Christ, I suggest you know the man/University you are so quick to judge a little better before doing so.

  138. Manny,

    I look forward to your (or anyone else’s) responses to my questions. They are questions I am seeking answers to.

    As to your comments, I have been born again through water and the spirit into the life of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I used to be a regular Nazarene, but now i’m a reformed Nazarene. I’m seeking a deeper understanding of why the Scriptures have been, are being, and will continue to be accepted as the Authoritative Word of God. If you require any further Christian credentials i’ll be happy to provide them.

    Your perception of my doubt would probably better be described as a reasonable reflection upon my own Christian Faith: whence it comes and how it comes. I always have striven to find answers to my questions about the Christian Faith. I’m glad your blog has helped in this regard.

    Terry G.D., Jr.

  139. Thanks for clarifying Terry.

    May God bless you in seeking all the answers to all of your questions.

    I suppose I could give you my answers, and perhaps I’ll work those in sometime soon, but I think if you continue to search the scriptures, God will speak to you through them, and you will find the answers.

    Manny

  140. The N.T. Writings were probably being authored as early as 50CE and as late as the mid 70′s CE(this is all debatable) Jesus was most likely born between 6 and 4 BC and most likely died in the early part of the 30′sCE. Paul was writing his first letters some ten to fifteen years after the death of Christ. The first gospel (commonly considered Mark, other scholarship suggests John) was written around twenty years after the death of Jesus. So you see Terry, a first century Jew had the Hebrew Bible. What we call the N.T. Was compiled and canonized beginning in the latter part of the second century and ending in the fourth century. There were particular books that the councils were questioning as to whether or not they would be included in the NT. Those books were Philemon, Hebrews, John, Revelation and a few others…some that actually did not make it in. The gospel of Thomas was one of them. Andy, does the RCC accept the Gospel of Thomas as canon?

    Up until 323(?) the early Christians were under severe persecution. The apostles had been killed off by the 70′s. And, up until the destruction of the temple, the Christians were still considered Jews though this was rapidly changing. Skipping ahead again. Constantine instituted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire. The early Christians were giving their lives right and left for the kingdom…some say they were lining up to be martyred. This is a very different picture than todays Christian.

    I am sorry but I will have to go back over some reading to tell you when the Christians started calling themselves the Church. My memory is failing me. I want to say third century. Manny, can you help me out here?

    Terry, the early Christians/the ancient Church understood the Holy Spirit to be guiding them while they had to decide which books were to be canonical and which were not. This was a slow process. They were also formulating creeds and combatting heretics.

    The Church understood itself to be apostolic. (think of the Olympic torch being passed on) What we have as scripture today was not fully formed in their time. The early Christians were looking to the lives of the apostles who looked to the life of Jesus. In turn, the early Christians would re-present this witness to others who would re-present this witness to others…so on and so on.

    This is a bit choppy so I apologize but I hope I am painting an adequate picture for you Terry.

    What is important to note is this: The body of Christ(as they understood themselves) communally decided upon the canonical scripture we use today.

  141. Hi Jarod,

    Regarding the reference to someone seeing pictures of Dr. Boone, that was probably me. In context, it was in response to Bob Hunter, when he was making a reference to “an older man”. So I said that I have seen pictures of Dr. Boone, and he looked pretty young, and perhaps he might even be younger than me.

    That’s all. Not a big deal there, and perhaps a compliment even.

    Secondly, one does not have to set foot at every school and walk around and talk to people there, to find that there is false teaching going on. That is the question.

    What has been clearly presented in this post, are some activities or practices that are clearly occurring at Trevecca, and then an opinion that these practices are wrong according to scripture.

    If you think these practices are scriptural, so be it, that is what you want to believe then. But those Christians who see these things as wrong, have a duty to expose them and challenge those who practice them.

    Dr. Boone, and the students who have come here to defend Trevecca, have a right to do that. But they have yet to make a biblical argument that stands, in defending what they are doing.

    Finally, you quoted this:

    Romans 14:13
    “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. ”

    Paul in the full context is talking about the law of liberty, how if someone wants to eat meat, or worship on a different day, another does not, then let’s not compromise them by doing what we prefer, in front of them.

    On the other hand, I have spoken here many times about our RESPONSIBILITY to judge- but to judge righteously. I won’t repeat it here, but I give you this link on a post about “Judge Not?” http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/judge-not/

    Blessings,
    Manny

  142. Manny,

    I think you will find that most of my questions are not answered in Scripture. The simple question: “Where did the Bible come from?” is not answered in Scripture.They are in fact, pre-scriptural questions: that is, why do i accept the scriptures? Because i want to? Because the Holy Spirit tells me to? What about the Gospel of Thomas…what if the Holy Spirit told me to accept that book? Is it simply that they have an inner coherency via the Holy Spirit that i’m supposed to plug into, and then ignore my questions concerning who determined/ determines their Authority.

    Do born again Christians ever ask these questions? Or is their faith supposed to be a blind faith in a book? I do not desire a blind faith; I do however desire a faith informed and guided by my reason, my logos, which i have been given by my creator who himself is THE logos.

    Terry G.D., Jr.

  143. Jarod,

    I was born and raised in Nashville. I attended First Church of the Nazarene from ’72 to ’93 and before that my parents took us to Donelson Church of the Nazarene ’63 to ’72. I’ve played church league basketball at Trevecca. I know all the geographical characteristics of the area. I have seen how College Hill (emphasis Hill) has changed its name to Trevecca Community. I have concerns with some new practices that are questionable at Trevecca. I only have the best interest of my younger nieces and nephews at hand if they decide to attend Trevecca.

    I know how the emergent philosophy changes the way Christianity is viewed. I am fighting for the future doctrinal integrity that will be faced by the younger members of my family.

    It would be nice to know the opinions of Pastor Reed and Pastor Morish (predecessor of Pastor Reed) on things like the visit to the Abbey or the labyrinth.

    Brad

  144. A clarification for discussion.

    The Gospel of Thomas is not canon in the Catholic Church.

    Furthermore, I would like to inform everyone that calling Catholics “Roman Catholics” is not what we are to be called. Roman Catholic was an insult(in their eyes) construed by the Anglicans to distinguish their brand of Catholicism from ours. Also, there are more Catholics in communion with Rome than just Roman Rite Catholics. There are Eastern Rite Catholics as well, Ambrosian Rite Catholics, Dominican Rite Catholics. There are about 25 different rites. The Roman Rite is the largest branch. So, if you choose to call us Romans, please give respect to our Eastern brothers and sisters by calling us Roman “Rite” Catholics. There is no such thing as a Roman Catholic. That’s like calling every football team in the NFL the Dallas Cowboys.

    Thanks,

    Andy Forsythe

  145. Tara,

    Thank you so much for your lengthy and informative response! Now these are the kinds of answers i can sink my teeth into. I have included some of your responses with questions of my own attached to them…thank you for all the time you have taken to answer these…

    “So you see Terry, a first century Jew had the Hebrew Bible. What we call the N.T. Was compiled and canonized beginning in the latter part of the second century and ending in the fourth century.”
    —–What did this canonization process look like?

    “There were particular books that the councils were questioning as to whether or not they would be included in the NT.”
    ——What would these councils have been like. How many people were there? Who were these people and where did they come from? What were their claims to authority in making these council decisions, and furthermore why would the Church then bind itself to those decisions?

    “Constantine instituted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman empire. ”
    ———-I did a wikipedia on this and they are claiming that Constantine issued the edict of toleration (edict of milan) in 313, which gave protection to religious groups, but that Christianity didn’t become the official religion of the Empire until 380 with the Edict of Thessalonica by emperors Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius. At any rate, i see the point.

    “The Church understood itself to be apostolic. (think of the Olympic torch being passed on).”
    ———See i keep running into this idea of apostolicity in those articles on Constantine and such. Bishops and Patriarchs and such. What did all this mean. Why were these early Christians following these Bishops…they seem to be claiming an Apostolic Authority, as if the Apostles handed on some important ministry to them. This stuff sounds really “catholic” to me all of a sudden, or have the catholics just rewritten history to make it sound like what they have?

    “What we have as scripture today was not fully formed in their time. The early Christians were looking to the lives of the apostles who looked to the life of Jesus. In turn, the early Christians would re-present this witness to others who would re-present this witness to others…so on and so on.”
    ———So the Apostles went around preaching teaching and baptizing, and then there were people like this St. Ignatius of Antioch guy (who they call an Apostolic Father) and he wrote this: [translation from greek] “Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church.” Letter to the Smyrneans, ~c.110 A.D. Was this guy just usurping power within the Church? I mean why was he writing these letters to other communities…what did he have to do with the Smyrneans? How did they let him do that? Also if they weren’t preaching from the New Testament (if it hadn’t been compiled and stuff) what WERE they preaching from? Did they only say the actual words that are in scripture now…that can’t be. It seems to me like when the Holy Spirit descended upon Mary and the Apostles in the upper room, God’s “ecclesia” was filled with the Word and then these Apostles went to the corners of the world to die and give witness to this Word which they carried within them and the communities they established…

    ” The body of Christ(as they understood themselves) communally decided upon the canonical scripture we use today.”
    ———-Tara, you brought up a good point, one that i asked earlier which was concerning how the body of Christ understood itself at that time. This is a lot for me to process right now and i’ve clearly inserted myself in a deeply historical question. I’m going to continue to try to do some research on all this stuff. What is particularly fascinating to me is this Bishop thing and how those communities seemed to be following these guys and seeing them as spokespersons for all the Church…how could they make those kinds of claims?? Anyway, i have much reading to do now. Thanks a lot. I’m just afraid that if i accept the authority of those Bishops like the early Christians seemed to, and then that’s my justification for accepting the scriptures, then i’ve got a lot of sorting out to do to figure out what went wrong and when the Bishops ceased to have that Authority, and how we can prove that. Thanks again!

    Terry G.D., Jr.

  146. Folks, I appreciate all the discussion- but we’re getting too far away from what this post is about. This post is talking about practices at Trevecca that we believe to be pagan and mystical in nature.

    I encourage everyone to please talk about that- and how you think these specific things like prayer labyrinths are biblical- and going to retreats at Catholic monasteries.

    And if you do defend these things, and all the contemplative spirituality practices of the emergent church, please defend them as best as possible with scriptural authority.

  147. Manny,

    I wish you luck in your endeavors. It is impossible for me to speak about a prayer labyrinth and defend it strictly on the basis of scriptural authority. The Church gives scripture its authority. Scripture itself does not give itself authority. Scripture did not canonize itself. Scripture did not even write itself.

    I do not deny that it is God inspired or that it reveals his Word to us.

    These differences of opinion should not be the cause of division among us. These are simply things we should continue to discuss. Just because I find many of the Calvinistic ideas in opposition to my own, I do not write them off as false teachings. Things are not always cut and dry but instead of that being a thorn in our flesh we can accept it as one of the many beautiful mysterious of our Creator.

    Tara

  148. Thus far I’ve remained aloof from this discussion. But, now I’d like to make a couple remarks (and, as requested, with Scriptural reference):

    1) I have no argument with Manny over prayer labyrinths, so I won’t speak to that. I agree that following the labyrinth is a dangerous and neo-pagan practice.

    But, on another issue,

    2) Manny repeatedly asks for direct, Biblical justification for Nazarenes to pray with Catholic, Trappist monks. I think his plea amounts to a red herring because I suspect he isn’t interested in a Biblical reason to practice the Rule of St. Benedict, he just wants people to be distracted by the lack of a direct, Biblical commandment to participate in a monastic rule.

    Now, it is true that Holy Writ does not explicitly and specifically command monastic prayer. But, that doesn’t prove anything. Holy writ doesn’t command the practice of Bible studies, 45-minute praise and worship sessions, camp meeting revivals or anything else commonly associated with the Holiness milieu. Should we gather by Manny’s own criterion that the practices of his communion are ‘unbiblical’? Of course we don’t, and I highly doubt Manny himself would be impressed by such a feeble critique. But, that is exactly what his objection to Nazarene students praying with Catholic monks amounts to!

    The long and short of it is that Manny doesn’t like Catholics and doesn’t like Nazarenes praying with them. Okay, fair enough. But, it does go to show that his contention that praying with Trappists is ‘unbiblical’ is little more than a pretense.

    Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way lets move along to the accusation of monastic prayer itself being ‘unbiblical’:

    St. Paul teaches in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “pray without ceasing”, and the life of the monk aims to do exactly that. His every activity is meant to conform to the evangelical counsels of chastity (Matthew 19:10-12), poverty (Matthew 19:21) and obedience (Mark 10:29) that Christ taught. St. Paul also teaches in Colossians 3:2-3 to “set your mind on things above” and the entire life of the Trappist monk is supposed to conform to this principle by following the Rule of St. Benedict – a discipline saturated with the study and memorization of Scripture! Indeed, were it not for the monastics we would not have such available access to Holy Writ that we take for granted today.

    Is it Manny’s wish to discourage Nazarene youth from seeing a form of God’s life of grace, sanctification and holiness? I doubt it.

    Manny’s objections about the Bible and praying with Trappists monks just doesn’t hold water. Again, I suspect its really very simple: he just doesn’t like Catholics and doesn’t like Nazarenes praying with them. However, I welcome him to prove me wrong.

  149. Ah Jeffrey,
    You force me to respond. I was hoping someone else would, and maybe they will, but your comment about me not liking Catholics cannot go by without challenge!

    Let me make it clear: I LIKE ALL PEOPLE! I don’t care what religion, what denomination. I don’t even care if they like the Yankees!
    Hope that clears it up. How can I prove that I do like them? I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.

    However, I object to fellowshiping with Trappist monks the same way I would object to fellowshiping with Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses, who as you know, worship another Jesus. The Trappist monks believe in a whole array of unbiblical teachings, including contemplative mysticism, and therefore we are to avoid fellowship with them on that basis. I will not go into a re-explanation again, because there is plenty of documentation on this site, and others, that explains it. I do leave you with a few verses that tell us that we should not be “mixing it up” with the monks at Gethsemani.

    “1 Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

    Then one of the most sober warning about those who would pervert the gospel with a different one:

    “Galatians 1:6-8 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 him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”

    I’m sorry to say it this way, but the Roman Catholic Church leaders have perverted the gospel of Jesus Christ, and are teaching a false gospel. It is a hard truth to say, and some will call me mean-spirited, but it needs to be said.

  150. Manny, by your own words you must see that you have created a dilemma:

    You ask for ‘biblical’ reasons to practice or participate in a Catholic monastic rule while simultaneously adhering to an a priori proposition that whatever the Catholic Church teaches is a ‘false gospel’.

    Again, I repeat my previous complaint: you’ve made up your mind not to like Catholics (or, at least, what Catholics believe) so any attempt to defend their teachings and practices is automatically ‘unbiblical’.

    At this point we aren’t discussing or debating, but merely asserting. It wouldn’t matter what myself or anyone else said or what Scriptures we supply, it would all be ‘unbiblical’ or ‘misinterpreted’ just by virtue of the fact it favors Catholicism.

    Do you not see this?

  151. Jeffrey,
    I did not know you had god-like abilities to read my motives. So you know for a fact that, in your words, “Manny has made up his mind not to like Catholics”. I see. I thought only God had the ability to know what my motives are- and we are to judge each other’s actions only- not what drives our actions. I do agree that I do not like a lot of what Catholics believe- not all. See here:

    http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/roman-catholicism-and-its-heresies/

    I do not judge your motives- but I certainly can judge the things you do, as being biblical or not. That is called discernment- and discernment is based on whether our actions and deeds line up with the word of God. Even Paul commended the Bereans for checking out what he taught and making sure it was true.

    I would be very careful about judging motives, only God knows our hearts. I have only judged what is taught at Trevecca, and then stated that those things are wrong if practiced- I cannot judge what is in the hearts of the students and Dr. Boone. But I can say that the practices are wrong, according to scripture.

    And at the risk of sounding a bit cliche, I have a lot of Catholic friends who are dear to me, and I DO LIKE them. I have a universalist friend at work who is one of the nicest people around, but I have told her my testimony, and I continue to witness to her as well, that her way is not the way.

  152. Jeffery,

    I have not met Manny personally, but he has offered a welcoming friendship to me. It’s not because we share the same concerns, but because he has an openness to hear the different opinions of others without judging them.

    Taking personal jabs at individuals only weakens your point of view and shows your true character.

    He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.” 1 John 2:9

    Brad

  153. Sorry I cant resist this one -
    Just for clarification-
    Andy you are not correct, the term “Roman rite” refers to liturgy and or ritual, not to denomination or branch.
    The Roman rite is not the largest branch since your terminology is not correct here.
    Your just wrong and misinformed on your information.
    The Roman Catholic/Catholic term is interchangeable.
    The pope himself uses both terms to refer to his believers.
    Anyway…

    Tim

  154. Manny, look, I’m not presuming to know your intentions. And, unlike some commentators here I’m highly skeptical of the suggestion you or your co-belligerents are going to be flying planes into buildings any time soon.

    However, I’m making an observation that you will not consider any defense of Catholic teachings or practices – with Scripture or not – just because they are Catholic!

    An example: you beat the war drum against contemplative prayer and mysticism. But how would you respond to a claim from Scripture that these practices have at least some legitimate place in Christian life?

    St. Paul seemed to think they did.

    2 Corinthians 12:2–4: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.”

    Contemplative prayer and mysticism has a long history in the Christian Church and I think you rejecting it just for its proximity to Catholicism and refusing any defenses for that reason.

    Prove me wrong here, Manny, but you aren’t leaving me much else to go on.

  155. ReformedNazarene,

    I will ask again since you elected to not reply or even post my question from last night. Do you believe that because I have a different theological belief, I am therefore not a Christian? It seems by your comments earlier to Terry about not being a Christian that this is your belief. I’m looking for some clarification here. I sincerely want to know if you think those who have different theological beliefs are Christians. It seems to me that if the answer is no, then the quote unquote “reformed nazarenes” are the only ones worthy enough to go to heaven.

    If the answer is yes it seems like maybe we should drop this whole argument, agree to disagree, and get on with doing the things of Christ like caring for the sick, hungry, poor and that sort of thing. The reality in all of this is that no man can be sure that his interpretation of the bible or his theology is 100% accurate. If we could understand God to that degree He certainly wouldn’t be worth following or worshiping. At this point all of this seems like petty theological squabbling that gets in the way of the body being Christ here on Earth.

  156. Jeffrey,
    No need to call me belligerent now! C’mon, I’m really a nice guy- ask my wife.

    Look, what you quoted from Paul is not a justification for contemplative mysticism. Are you saying I should believe the incredible stories that Benny Hinn has told his gullible audiences also?

    The fact that it has a long history in any church does not make it right.
    So has praying to Mary- so has serving the Eucharist as the actual body and blood of Christ- belief in purgatory- works based salvation-
    forms of asceticism- and on and on. Tradition does not necessarily legitimize a practice- it must hold up to scriptural authority.

    I don;t care if Catholics or Nazarenes practice these things, they are unbiblical. That is what we are trying to make as a point- not that they are specifically of Catholic origin.

  157. Jason,

    I know some people get peeved at me for using scripture, but I will answer your question with what scripture says:

    Galatians 1:6-10 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 him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    2 Peter 3:17-18 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

    I could give you more solid references also, including the scripture that says that those who obey Christ are those who are His true followers. The question is: are you obeying Christ in all His commands and all His teachings, and the doctrines established through the apostles.

  158. Tim,
    I tried to post a link backing up my information about the label “Roman Catholic” but Manny didn’t publish it. (Manny, I guess you overlooked it)

    If the pope uses the term he is wrong.

    See, we don’t have to agree with everything the pope says or does. By the way, where or when did you hear the pope call us “Roman Catholics?”

    Andy Forsythe

  159. Reformed Nazarene,

    You did nothing at all to answer my fair question to you. I’m not peeved by you using scripture, but I’m a little bothered that you can’t answer a simple question with a yes or no. You asked me if I am obeying Christ in all His commands and all His teachings and the doctrines established through the apostles. My answer to you would be a resounding YES. However, you and I read scripture and interpret it substantially different. Now, I could go and pull a bunch of scriptures out to respond, but I don’t see the point in that. You and I both no that we can play that game till we’re blue in the face and both of us will be able to find scriptures that say exactly what we want them to say whether in context or not. The Jehovah’s Witness’ and Mormans have based entire religions on doing this and I’d rather not subscribe to their way of doing things.

    Now I firmly believe that you have good intent and that you are a God fearing, bible believing person and I’m thankful for that. What I don’t know is if you are at a point in your life where you believe you’re right, everyone else is wrong and that is just the way it is. So I’ll ask again, do you believe I am a Christian? Do you believe that Catholics, Lutherans, Episcopals, Baptists, etc. go to heaven. I would really like to know. Again, if the answer is yes, doesn’t this whole argument start to look and feel a little petty?

  160. Jason,
    If you believe you are obeying all of Christ’s commands, that’s between you and Christ. Again you talk about interpretation, as if every single verse needs some serious debate and discussion. I could not get a straight answer from some folks here when I asked does John 14:6 mean that Jesus Christ is the only way to God? That He is the ONLY plan of salvation.

    It’s not a matter of Catholics, Lutherans, or anything. I would put it this way:
    If you believe truly that it is biblical to pray to Mary or the saints, are you obeying Christ?

  161. “If you believe you are obeying all of Christ’s commands, that’s between you and Christ. ”

    Manny,
    Should I understand that you are suggesting relative truth? How can one’s Christian walk be isolated to a relationship between a person and Christ? To whom is one accountable if this relationship is simply bilateral?

    Jason, if you are obeying Christ’s commandments, that is between you, the Church, and God. You are never a Christian on your own. That statement is meant to be encouraging not threatening.

  162. No I don’t believe in relative truth, and you misunderstand what I meant.

    Only Christ knows you completely like no one else can, is what I meant to say.

    You can either be:
    1. Misled and deceived, and therefore sincerely believe a lie,
    2. Knowing of and believing a false teaching, but knowingly rebelling,
    3. Believing in what Jesus and the apostles taught correctly.

    Hope that helps, but I certainly don’t plan to go on and on about every single question that is thrown my way- got a family to take care of. Perhaps other will help carry the load, as long as can stick to the original matter pertaining to this post.

    I wish you the best in finding the truth according to God, and you will find in in His holy word.

  163. Reformed Nazarene,

    Sure. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and that he is the only plan of salvation. Romans 10:9 puts it very clear, “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” Doesn’t get much clearer than that. However we’re not talking about salvation here are we? We’re talking about issues concerning prayer labyrinths or paths and a group of students praying at a monestary. I fail to see why these things cause so much concern. I’m not able to locate scripture that tells me I can’t have meditative prayer. I can’t find scripture that tells me that I can’t use a monestary to pray at. These issues again seem so incredibly petty to me. I’m far more concerned that the students of Trevecca confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. If they pray in a closet or at a retreat center or whatever is of little concern to me. I do care that they go about into the world telling people about the love of Jesus and showing them His love through their acts of service. It just seems like there are far greater fish to fry than this.

    I do believe that the Generals will at some point be forced to issue a statement on the whole emergent scene. My question to you is, when they do, if they suggest that this is much ado about nothing, will you continue to fight them? Will you find another church? What is your plan? My guess is that this will occur sooner rather than later. Hopefully this will at least put somewhat of a hush on this absurd debate.

    As for Catholics praying to Mary, I’m not a Catholic and I don’t understand it. The way I understand it, is that it is an intercessory thing, but I can’t speak into that. What I can speak into is the fact that I know many Catholics who confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. Seems to me that that is the important part of the puzzle. I look forward to seeing them in heaven. Quite frankly when we get there, I’d love to sit down with say Pope John Paul, Martin Luther, John Wesley, and John Calvin to see what they finally figured out once they got to the other side of glory, but my guess is that we’ll all be too busy worshipping the creator of all things to even care.

    Finally, the interpretation thing. Yes, I believe we have to interpret the Bible. We don’t have original texts to read and the very fact that that it has been interpreted from other languages makes it difficult to be sure of it’s accuracy not to mention that while it was inspired by God it was still written by man. We also have to take into consideration that it was written and then assembled later in very different cultures then ours.

    All I am trying to get at here is that there are much bigger hills worth dying on. Satan loves this kind of discourse. Instead of focussing on what we are called to do we’re here arguing over petty issues that don’t matter because they don’t effect salvation. You and I are never going to agree on some theological issues, thats OK. What I hope you and I agree with is that there is a lost and dying world in need of a Savior. Maybe if we both put down the theological swords we carry around and focus more on serving God’s children this world could be a better place. That would be my hope. May God continue to bless you. See ya on the other side!

  164. I am reposting these…I guess they didn’t get through for some reason:

    Andy, I apologize. That was ignorant of me. I did not consider the other Rites.

    Terry,

    I am moved by your eagerness to learn. This may seem to be a TON of information but I have full confidence in your ability to comprehend. You are asking all the right questions.

    You ask:
    “if they weren’t preaching from the New Testament (if it hadn’t been compiled and stuff) what WERE they preaching from?”

    The apostles were spreading the message of Jesus and his death and resurrection throughout the land. These were the guys that followed Jesus around. They dinned with him. He taught them to pray. Jesus appeared to them after his death on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

    While spreading the message of Jesus and appointing leaders of congregations, they were also appointing others to take up this task as well. So, when the first generation of apostles had died, a second generation was ready to go. They did not have the NT as we today but were committed to re-presenting Jesus by “instituting” traditions and telling the good news.

    —–What did this canonization process look like?
    I will take a stab at this one. I wish we could time travel. Bishops, laity, scholars, and politicians would assemble (this was not a one day affair) and grapple with this process of canonization. These assemblies were called Councils or Synods. That is the best I can do for now. Perhaps Manny, Tim or Andy could elaborate.

  165. Tara,

    I in no way found your statement to be threatening. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading your posts. Here’s to a better day when we put down the petty arguments of theology and instead work towards a better future here on Earth serving God’s children. God bless you!

  166. Jason,
    Fatigue is setting in- I need to take a break from a lot of writing lately.

    But let me answer a couple of quick points:

    1. I remind you of Paul’s admonition, that if anyone preaches another gospel other than what was given originally, they are to be eternally condemned- accursed in the KJV. Strong words, serious warning.
    I don’t subscribe to the thought that as long as we confess that Jesus is Lord, we are okay. It takes more than that to be a believer. Jesus said, “not everyone who says Lord, Lord, will come into His Kingdom”

    2. If the Generals today made a statement that they support the ideology of the emerging church movement with all its mystical practices, I would continue to warn as many of my fellow Nazarenes as possible of the dangers of this movement. I currently attend a non-Nazarene church for now, but I am still a Nazarene. I guess you could say I am in transition.

    3. Yes, I agree- Satan loves to see us fight. But I can tell you, he hates to see Christians fight for the truth of the gospel- for the purity of the gospel that the Lord and His apostles handed down to us. I refuse to stop fighting for that purity. I will not add or subtract anything from God’s word. That would be a serious offense, as is told in Revelations.

    I am not perfect- but my desire is to seek perfection, and to protect the gospel of Jesus Christ from being perverted by false doctrines, which we are warned will arise, and I believe has arisen, when we get closer to the end times.

    In Christ,

    Manny

  167. Manny,

    You’ve proven my point perfectly. I used a scripture like that found in Romans. You then come back with scriptures that seemingly contradict. So then I can answer back with another scripture like that in Joel where it says “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Do you see what I’m getting at. Scripture can say whatever it is we want it to say. These are ridiculous arguments and in the grand scheme of things don’t amount to much other than varrying interpretations of scripture. It doesn’t effect salvation which is what we should be concerned about. With that I will retire for the night but not before I let you know that I’m a little bothered by your not so veiled insinuation that I am preaching some other gospel and therefore will be eternally condemned- accursed. If that wasn’t your intent I apologize but that is how it was read and my suggestion would be that you chose your words a little more carefully so that I don’t interpret you meaning incorrectly. Good night and God bless.

  168. Oh, one more thing, enjoy your evening with your family. They are a precious gift from God and silly debates like this one should not distract us from the priority that is our families.

  169. To All,

    Again, I will reiterate that there is a complete absence of authority in this debate or whatever you might call it. The Bible says:

    How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? Job 6:25

    It is a Bible verse in English. No, it does not need to be exegeted. It is a simple question and a good one at that. Sometimes it is hard to find the right words, words that convey your heart, your motive, your sincerity to the cause, to the facts as they are know or perceived. Some here have done their best for and against the issues at hand.

    However, most of it is just arguing! The primary stated Bible verse for the retreat and prayer stations have been given they were verse that admonished believers to be separate, or even to abstain from all “appearance” of evil. If you feel so inclined to retranslate “appearance” or check the originals “which nobody has” help your self but that’s it!

    You cannot prove to Manny or others that Labyrinths are fine by arguing mourners benches.

    When it comes to Authority, by that I mean the final say, there is none.

    To some it is scripture to some it is tradition to some it is reason, and to others it is their personal experiences. And then there are the super spirituals that adhere to all four.

    Manny’s stated “Authority” is the Bible; he has even stated emphatically the KJV or the NKJV. How hard is it to deal with a man on his own level? Just as soon as somebody wants a bible verse for the bible, the argument it is changed to the fact there is no “trinity” in the Bible. That arguing soul then turns out to be a “traditionalist” in which the bible is a perfect “traditional” venue for truth. What nonsense!

    Manny is very kind in his forum and plane in his issues. Some like to muddy the waters. Manny has been no less than a perfect gentleman and Christian to all involved here. And it seems to me “yes I have an opinion too” is that those against Manny although more eloquent, are no less condescending. The comments about Muslims was over the top, those are not “right words” but “fighting words.”

    It is a shame that no Christian knows what is right. When it comes to “scripture” everyone has a fit. The Bible does not always have to be properly exegeted to guide the saints and I could prove that in 5 seconds. The original languages do not have to be invoked. And in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
    There is no need for “interpretation” the verses say what they say, and should only be left in a context where they are truly applicable to the issue, It is not rocket science.

    There are more verses on being weary and watchful than not and it only seems to be the leadership that takes these verses without exegetical authority, and genuineness. Again that is how it seems from the outside looking in and as a former NBC student even from the inside.

    Manny has not attacked anyone personally and rarely even challenges their salvation. The issue is plainly the right walk! In my personal opinion Manny is still caught in the middle, I have been there. When you take the doctrines of the COTN to heart, sanctification and perfection, have deep rooted sentiment, that go far beyond feeding the poor. Allowing heretical teaching is no less a sin. A lot of Nazarenes ground themselves in the book of Mathew and never realize that Matt. 7:21 does not easily reconcile with other passages, because the Kingdom of Heaven in the verse is not the Kingdom of God. Jesus said ye do err not knowing the scriptures. We all have a lot of learning to do, and it would be nice to operate from an even playing field. And Manny himself is the first to humbly admitt his shortcomings and needs.

    The example of the passing of the Baton was a great analogy and one I hope all will take to heart. But in no way negates the biblical warnings that are to follow every runner.

    How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?
    Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? Job 6

    Steve
    PS, I can’t wait to get to heaven!

  170. Posting this for Andy, it did not get through somehow:

    FROM ANDY FORSYTHE:

    http://www.ewtn.org/faith/teachings/churb3.htm

    By the way, I am really confused about Tim saying the pope uses this term as he rarely speaks in English. Our current pope mainly speaks Italian, though he is German. Roman Catholic is used (as you will find in the article) in the English speaking world and practically no other culture.

    Andy Forsythe

  171. Thanks Manny! It seems like things are wrapping up here. Good discussion. Steve, we can’t wait for you to get to heaven either! I hope we all make it, God willing.

    Peace be to all of you,

    Andy Forsythe

  172. TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED,
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENTS, WHETHER FOR OR AGAINST THE STANCE THAT WAS TAKEN HERE. ALTHOUGH THE ARTICLE WAS MY RESPONSIBILITY, MOST CONCERNED NAZARENES SUPPORT THE PREMISE OF MY ARGUMENT HERE.

    We believe that Trevecca is not alone in what it is practicing, and that other Nazarene universities are going done the same path- that of contemplative spirituality practices which have no basis in scripture. We will continue to attack that position, as well as many other ideologies such as Open Theism, and continue to expose these things.

    This is being done not out of hate for anyone or any belief system. we do not hate Catholics, as some have insinuated, but we oppose the heretical teachings of the Roman Catholic church, and how those teachings are slowly infiltrating our denomination.

    Our fight is being done for one reason: love. We love the Lord first and foremost, but we also care and love our Nazarene university students, and do not want to see them deceived and going down the road of apostasy. If one student has awakened to this apostasy from the posting of this article, I will consider it worthwhile.

    We will continue to pray for all the universities. We will continue to ask the Lord for protection for those who are being exposed to these teachings. And if possible, we pray that those who are promoting these unbiblical ideologies will be removed from their positions of authority, for the sake of our student’s souls.

    May God open the eyes of many,

    Peace and blessings,

    Manny

    2 Tim 2:14 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

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