Nazarene Churches Emulate Catholic Tradition

A new post from my friend at exnazarene reminds us of the ever-increasing embrace of Roman Catholic practices within the Nazarene denomination, in our universities and churches.  The use of Stations of the Cross (or, for a softer emphasis, prayer stations) is becoming more common.  Of course, don’t forget all the others, such as prayer labyrinths and teaching our youth how to use prayer beads ( a softer way of saying praying the rosary?).
In addition to these is the ever-increasing use of books written by heretical Catholic mystics (Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton for example) for devotionals, spiritual growth, and resources for pastoral studies.  I’m not kidding, although one would think that we should have more than enough books and resources by not only Nazarenes but also from those of the Wesleyan tradition.  Don’t we have more than enough Nazarene resources (John Wesley for one!) and giants of the Christian faith, than to turn to these sources?

So what is going on with this trend, that we need to borrow from a religion that espouses so much false teaching?  See: Roman Catholicism And It’s Heresies.

Is this part of the road to Rome that other denominations are delving into also?  Is this a reflection of the new Nazarene holiness tradition?  Will we soon borrow from the traditions of the Mormons, or the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Just asking, and I would love to get some answers from our leadership on these questions, so I hope that you will seriously take the time to do that.

Nazarene Churches Emulate Catholic Tradition

March 31, 2010 by exnazarene

To answer the siren call for an ever hungry, insatiable appetite of feelings-based spirituality, Lake Houston Church of the Nazarene, and Flushing Community Church of the Nazarene (amid other Nazarene churches) have turned to the Catholic tradition of the Stations of the Cross.

Who needs to spend time and study in God’s Word when the new spiritual crack of ‘me-focused’ spiritual experiences can give one an euphoric feeling of being close to God instead?  Who better to turn to for these mystical experiences than the traditions of the Catholics?  Makes one wonder what could be next?  Nazarene nuns?  Trevecca has had the Abbey of Gethsemani monastery booked for retreats for the purpose of student spiritual formation for the past 40 years.  With the acceptance and endorsement of other Catholic traditions into the Nazarene denomination, it could happen.

For more in-depth reading on the dangers of Spiritual Disciplines and offering them as routine practices inside of the church, read and print off the following articles:

The Dangers of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Disciplines

Ancient-Future Spirituality

THIS WEEK | MARCH 30, 2010
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70 responses to “Nazarene Churches Emulate Catholic Tradition

  1. I believe our leaders will give you an answer when you give them a decent question and not one with a reformed/fundamentalist bent. the reason for that which you and little group (a little over 400 according to Facebook, but I’m sure the other thousands upon thousands just don’t have the internet) duck and dodge by simply calling false is because our great denomination and the theology of John Wesley himself flew in face of fundamentalism. our leadership will not answer because they see that your problem is not one of morals but of pride. the obvious solution would be for you to find another denomination with fundamentalist leanings (and there are great ones out there, don’t get me wrong) however you have said several times how you wont because of your duty and giving up, etc. but the only conclusion to come to sir, is your pride will not let you. you would rather stay and fight a losing battle than admit what every true Nazarene already sees and that is that you are wrong. i think the integrity of our leaders shines through more and more the more they don’t answer your petty, hate driven questions because they have eyes that can see them as such.

  2. Thank you for illustrating, again, how those who defend the indefensible cannot answer the questions. Instead they give excuses like yours.

  3. John your comment was an April fools joke right?
    400. where are you getting your numbers from.
    Yes 400 on facebook,
    Thousands who oppose false teaching in the Nazarene denomination.
    Tim

  4. John,

    You are greatly decieved!! The Word of God is the authority for Christians.There is no “bent” to any Christian.Unless you speak of people that Pauls speaks of in
    2Timothy 4:1-4-I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
    Now this of what you mean,maybe? Man made religion,not undefiled worship.Man made religion,which that is what emergent is,can not be associated with the worship of our Lord.That sir,is idolatry.
    Undefiled worship can only be obtained through the explicit teaching of the Word of God.Not going outside the Holy Scriptures.A Christian is a Christian because of the Jesus.If you add or take away from the Word of God…….the bible is very clear about this.Why are you so hateful in your defense of heretical teaching?This is troublesome indeed.
    John Wesley: ” I am a creature of a day. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God. I want to know one thing: the way to heaven. God himself has condescended to teach me the way. He has written it down in a book. Oh, give me that book! At any price give me the book of God. Let me be a man of one book”.–John Wesley
    You sir, are misguided.I urge you to read Gods Word.Read the whole counsel of God.The glorious Truth !!

  5. John,

    You say that every “true Nazarene” sees that this article is wrong? Well, I am a third generation Nazaraene and I definitly see major problems with oyr denoination. Does that make me not a true Nazaraene. No, that makes me like a Bereran. I really don’t look to my denomination to give me the final authority. The fnal authority is the Holy Word of God. Regardless of what is being said I will alawys weight it against what the Bible says. Please don’f follow blindly.

  6. I’m a Nazarene pastor in Texas, fifth generation. Blessings to each of you on this sacred Good Friday. May the crucifixion take on new meaning as you reflect on the sacrifice made by Jesus. On the salvation provided through the cross, we can all agree!

    Prayer labyrinths are nowhere mentioned in the Bible. That’s the reason no one can give you a biblical defense of prayer labyrinths. They didn’t exist in that culture. It’s like asking to give a biblical defense of the internet or the moon landing.

    The scripture certainly doesn’t forbid prayer labyrinths, though.

    The real question is :are we forbidden to do anything not mentioned in the scripture, or is there freedom where the canon is silent?

    This is not a new question. It comes up during every period of reformation in the church. The Anglicans and Luther felt that if scripture didn’t mention it, it was ok. The puritans and anabaptists said if it’s not in scripture, it’s forbidden. All of them contributed to the church we know today.

    I just wonder if it’s worth the damage being done to real people on both sides of this issue. Asking questions is fine. Attacking and name calling…the Bible actually has quite a lot to say about that (I’m speaking to myself first here.)

    In regards to stations of the cross – thousands of churches in hundreds of denominations follow this practice during lent and holy week. Are they all deceived? If you condemn the Catholics, you must surely condemn the Lutherans, Methodists, Wesleyans, Disciples of Christ, Orthodox, etc.

    The question then becomes – are fundamentalist evangelicals the only ones who are going to Heaven?

  7. In regards to no mention of the term ‘prayer labyrinths’ in the Bible……indeed, if you follow this logic, a myriad of other things are not mentioned in the Bible either, such as cocaine, hashish, and other drugs, so you imply that the Bible has no stance on these matters. For if specific practices are not specifically listed in ‘word form’ in the Bible, then we can do whatever tickles our desire (ears)

    However, the practice that is associated with the substance of prayer labyrinths IS mentioned in the Bible.
    1. Jesus said do not pray as the pagans do, for they think they made be heard for their many words. So, from that statement we learn that repeating words and phrases over and over was pagan in nature…..such as what is practiced with lectio divina.

    2. Jesus spoke out against those who practiced piety so as to be seen by others. The Catholic church, and other churches that promote feelings-based experiences as a form of getting closer to God would certainly come under this admonishment. The Catholic church has the piety market cornered when it comes to spiritual experiences……why copy a practice that is faulty, from a denomination that teaches its people that grace is dispensed unto them when they partake in The Stations of the Cross? Whereby, each time they participate in these practices, a deposit is made into a kind of ‘grace bank’ that will go to their account when they die?…..rendering their time in purgatory a little less?

    3. In the Old Testament, over and over, the Lord warned the Israelites NOT to take on the ways of the pagans in worship, or in lifestyle. Yet, the Israelites did not heed the call and every man did what was right in their own eyes……combining Baal worship in the high places with the worship of God? God was not honored and judged the Israelites for this.

    Your last comment about all the other denominations that practice The Stations of the Cross, reminds me of a child that says…..”well, everyone else is doing it.”
    Therefore, if everyone else is doing it, then it must be right?

    Let’s see, the Lutherans ECLA recently have allowed homosexual clergy to be ordained, along with the Episcopalians, Methodists, and Anglicans, hmmm……so, if all those other denominations say it’s okay…….then, it must be so??

  8. My response to ex-nazarene –

    Opening paragraph: no, you are perverting my logic to say that, much like the fictional Jew of Romans 3 who accused Paul of saying “let us sin that grace may abound.” You’re taking my quite historical statement to an absurd conclusion.

    1. I have heard many, many extemporaneous prayers in church services and camp meetings in which it was clear that the person praying was clearly trying to impress those listening by flowery, repetitive phrases. This is true in ALL movements. In mainline churches, most prayers are said collectively so that the focus is on God rather than the person leading.

    2. You don’t see false piety practiced in the Church of the Nazarene? When I was a kid, you had to watch the ones who shouted the loudest on Sunday. They were the ones who would treat you like the devil on Monday. No Nazarene church practices Stations of the Cross to increase their “grace tank.” How could it be anything but helpful to reflect on the suffering of Jesus and it’s implications for His followers?

    3. I fail to see your point here. Have you ever observed Jewish worship? It is far more ritualistic than anything we do in the Nazarene church. Should this be our model? Perhaps we should worship on Saturdays?

    Second to last paragraph – again, you are perverting my logic. My question was – are all churches that practice Stations of the Cross in error, because more do than don’t.

    Last paragraph – Missouri Synod Lutherans are some of the most conservative folks you will ever meet. Anglicans in my part of Texas won’t even ordain women to the priesthood.

    The fact is if you knew anything about the liturgical church or had ever walked a prayer labyrinth or done the stations of the cross, you would know that it is 99% about praying the scriptures. I’ve read and said more scripture in an Episcopal service than in 10 Nazarene services put together. Usually it’s one verse and one pastoral prayer, then a lot of singing and preaching (which does not fit the biblical model of worship at all.)

    May God dwell in your heart richly on this Good Friday.

  9. Dave Pettigrew,

    I appreciate your logical biblical response. I don’t agree with all your premesies but I believe they were spoken in Christian love.

  10. Reformednazarene-

    Paul in Galatians 5:9 is referring to those who advocate for the circumcision of Gentile believers. I fail to see your point.

    But since you brought up yeast, Jesus had this to say:

    “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Matthew 13:33

    We as the church are able to transform the world exponentially more than they are able to transform us. Resurrection power leavens the world when we stop being so concerned about what “they” are doing, and take this power out of the boxes we have created and unleash it into the world.

    By the way, yeast in a negative connotation in the New Testament often refers to the errors of the religious establishment. (“yeast of the Pharisees”)

    I speak this out of a heart that has been greatly grieved by the “Concerned Nazarenes”. I pray for clarity, forgiveness, and Christ-like love for all of us.

    Grace and Peace.

  11. Thanks Lauren.

    What I pray for is this as you do:

    clarity, forgiveness, and Christ-like love for all of us.

    I also pray for the following:

    – The rebuking and removal of false teachers from our churches and Christian schools, so they no longer pollute the minds of our youth
    – That Christians are not deceived by the false ideology of the emergent church and its disrespect of God’s word
    – That Christians do not fall for the trap of man-centered worship practices and pagan rituals such as prayer labyrinths
    – For those who are trying to be faithful to the gospel, at the cost of being divorced from their churches because of emergent pastors who will not admit their own ideology, but rather try to sneak it in.
    – That those in leadership will finally take a stand, one way or the other, and let us know whether they support or reject the false teachings of the emergent movement.

    These are just a few of the things I pray for. I have been grieved for a long time, having seen and experienced first hand the deceptive practices of those who would preach “another gospel.”

    2 Tim 4:2-4
    Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

    In Christ,
    Manny

  12. Hopefully, through your praying, the Holy Spirit will guide you on how you should go about addressing those issues among God’s people. I also pray that you would allow the Holy Spirit to work in other people’s lives the way he sees fit.

    I feel that God looks down on some of this banter, sees his children fighting, and his heart is saddened. Much like a father or mother feel when their children argue. We serve the same almighty, powerful, loving God. I feel that we may lose sight of that fact in all of this arguing and fingerpointing.

    I pray that you would not lose sight of Christ’s death and resurrection for all who have sinned this Easter, and that you would experience His love and peace.

    Blessings.

  13. Manny, you and exNazarene have stated it well. It is
    hard to believe any Christian would accept this heresy
    that has come into the Church and especially those
    who would call themselves ministers and members in
    the Church of the Nazarene.
    It is strange how the heretical’s are moving in and are
    now asking those who have stayed true to Christ, the Church, and it’s doctrine, to go along with the heresy
    or get out.
    If only they could see that this is a satanic plan of
    deception that they have fallen for. By Gods grace and mercy may they repent and return to the word of God and stand against that which has divided and is destroying the Church of the Nazarene,
    Judgement Day is Coming! Oh may we be found in Him and standing for Truth.

  14. I agree with Will T. in that Manny and ExNazarene have articulated the position of the denomination clearly and precisely.

    As to Lauren’s comment, leaven also symbolizes intruders with false doctrine and its sinister influence.

  15. The things for which we pray,

    How long will “we” pray for the “removal of false teachers from our churches and schools?” Jesus said, that if we “remain in his words and his word remains in us” we could “ask whatever we would and it would be given to us.”

    You have prayed that certain folks be “removed” from their positions. Or perhaps you have prayed that all “false teachers” be removed from their positions. When will it be time to let God answer that prayer as He has promised in His word. And as God sees fit according to his perfect will.

    I am reminded of the person who prays all the way to Costco for a parking space close to the front door and then drives around praying for an hour waiting for one to open up. When they pull in they thank God for hearing their prayer, or maybe they just park and forget to say thanks.

    When do we surrender the desires of our hearts to God in prayer, telling God what we want, what we believe is right, and then let God work it out as God sees fit. Who knows, your prayer for the removal of “false teachers” from our churches and schools may have already been answered.

    Or do we just keep praying this prayer until these folks retire and then “pretend” that it was our prayers all along that made it happen?

    With Lauren I am called to return to a prayer for grace, forgiveness, hope, love, and the coming of God’s Kingdom.

    A blessed Easter to all, HE IS RISEN!

  16. I like some of what you say, Gene. Something I would add, however, is this:

    “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Eph. 5:11

    We are not commanded anywhere in scripture to leave everything totally up to God; we are to discern false teachers, and then EXPOSE them. Shun them if necessary. We all have a duty as Christians to do this.

    We are warned by Christ over and over, to beware of false prophets. It would be recklessly negligent of us to close our eyes to false teachings and hope and pray that God takes care of it all, without doing our part to discern and then give warning.

    May God bless all Christians on this specific day of remembrance. Christ is risen. May we all celebrate that fact every day of the year.

  17. Do I understand you to be limiting your prayer for God’s blessing on all Christians to “this specific day?”

    And do I understand you to be saying that you feel “commanded” by Christ to pursue the removal of those whom you believe to be “false” teachers even if God chooses not to “remove” them? Are you really saying that in matters of the heart, and of the judgment of the rightness or wrongness of a sister or brother we are not wise to “leave it all up to God?”

    1 Cor. 4:1-4 sounds like a very clear directive that we are to leave this kind of judgment to God who “knows the heart.”

    John Wesley, who, as you have said, had a profound respect for the authority of scripture was careful to draw a distinction between what he called “opinion” and “religion.” He allowed that many who had wrong “opinions” were still a part of the Kingdom of God and would enjoy an eternity in the presence of God (This was his perspective on what he called “Romanists” or Roman Catholics.) He “allowed” that, while many of their opinions were in error still they were brothers and sisters in Christ for their faith in Christ was true, though MANY of their opinions were wrong.

    I guess I’m just looking for a blessing on all Christians for every day, and a willingness to recognize that, now matter how I may perceive the “opinions” of others I have no ability at all to know their heart.

    He is Risen Indeed!

  18. One more thought:

    Context is everything. You cite Eph 5:11 as if it is intended as direction for dealing with those whose theology if off. Clearly Paul is not talking about what we think or teach, but how we live. If you believe that there are persons in leadership in the Church of the Nazarene who are engaged in the practices listed in Eph. 5 you SHOULD expose them, and they should not be in positions of leadership.

    The passage you have cited simply, and clearly, doesn’t apply to the issue for which you are trying to use it. There’s something familiar about this.

  19. A constant thread in most comments that oppose the views on this blog are:

    1. In Christian love we over look heresy.
    2. Those who point out error with scripture are enemy fundamentalists.
    3. We don’t have any responsibility in these matters.

    These ideas are not consistent with scripture.

  20. I am saying, Gene, that we are commanded all over the scriptures to fight against and expose and rebuke false teachers. If you would like, I can give you about a dozen or so scriptures that clearly shows us that we do not just leave things up to God. let me know and I’ll give you those scriptures.

    I can also give you clear scripture references that warn us to stay from from practices like prayer labyrinths and other pagan practices.

    i assumed you would know these scriptures, but I’ll be glad to provide them for you.

    O the other hand, show me where God says to us that everything must be left up to Him, and we should not say anything about and against false teachers.

    (I’m sort of repeating some of what Pam summarized well in fewer words.

  21. Manny, not to be argumentative at all. I’d be happy to be directed to the scriptures of which you speak. but I would ask you to be careful with your exegesis. (The more we believe in the accuracy of scripture the more, it would seem, careful we would be to understand what it is actually saying).

    An example of my concern is your use of Eph 5:21 above. This is a very important scripture. It commands the church to live in a certain way with respect to those whose moral practices reflect the “old life” of sin. It simply does not speak to issues of theological interpretation. (I’d suggest that if Paul wanted to include praying in labyrinths in this fairly exhaustive list of “no-no’s” he would have done it.)

    Now, I’m not suggesting that the absence of this item from the list constitutes an endorsement of the practice. I am saying that it doesn’t address the practice. It addresses what it addresses, and that very plainly.

    I’d be happy to have you offer scripture references that clearly direct you to do the work of uncovering and exposing false teaching in the church. If nothing else it would be good for youto have the opportunity to review the texts you have shared before to be sure that they, like the Eph 5:21 passage are not talking about something else altogether.

    Anxious to receive your thoughts.

  22. Gene, you had better be careful with your exegesis!

    You failed to read the context.

    Eph 5:5 inheritance in the kingdom
    Eph 5:9 fruit of the Spirit
    Eph 5:11 unfruitful works

    Gal 5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
    Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (Moral practices!)

    Gal 5:20 heresies (Whoops, how did this get in!)

    Gal 5:21 inherit the kingdom
    Gal 5:22 fruit of the Spirit

    Keep going Manny! I’ll take care of your exegisis.

  23. Okay Gene, let me try my best. Although not a Bible scholar, I do not hold to the argument that I need to be one in order to be a discerning Christian. Some have made that argument; I hope you don’t. Besides, there are many Bible scholars who are on the same page as I am on these contemplative spirituality practices.

    I’m going to give you a multitude of scripture later that shows how we all are called to defend the faith, including exposing false teachers.
    For today, let me just give one of my arguments against Stations of the Cross since that was the post’s subject; as well as prayer labyrinths, centering prayer, Jesus prayer, meditating before icons, etc.

    THERE IS NO BIBLICAL AUTHORITY FOR THESE THINGS.

    1. Here are some passages that will give you an idea of how Paul taught and practiced prayer:
    Romans 1:8-10; Eph. 1:15-19; 6:18-20; Philippians 1:3-4, 8-11; 4:6-7; Col. 1:9-12; 2:1-2; 4:2-4; 1 Thess. 3:9-13; 5:17; 2 Thess. 1:11-12; 3:1-2; 1 Tim. 2:1-6.
    (Obviously, writing these in full would take up much space, and its fun to look them up anyway).

    Nothing about what Paul taught in these passages is mystical contemplation. According to Paul, prayer consists of supplications, intercessions, and giving of thanks. But, it is done always as verbal, conscious communicating with God; no repetitive prayer as Jesus condemned (vain repetitions).

    I believe it is a sad thing how contemplatives try to find a biblical basis for these practices. My favorite comes to mind: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I hope you would agree it is a terribly misread Psalm, or a poorly chosen excuse, and the entire chapter in context has absolutely NOTHING to do with contemplative prayer. Please tell me you agree with me, and not with those who use this pathetic excuse for contemplative prayer.

    They also use so many other poor excuses:
    A. Mary sitting at Jesus’s feet. Nothing about this scene had anything to do with the silence or thoughtless contemplation.
    B. Jesus arising early and going to a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35). The Bible says nothing at all that he went somewhere to do centering prayer or to chant a mantra or anything like that.
    C. They mention Psalm 62:1, “Truly mu soul waiteth upon God; from Him cometh my salvation”. This just means that the psalmist trusts the Lord. Nothing to do with meditating in silence.
    D. Also they use this: 1 Kings 19:11-12 (the still small voice). What? Elijah was NOT meditating in silence. He was not sitting in a cave doing some mindless chanting or mantras. God spoke to Elijah in a clear VOICE.

    Finally, the argument that there are examples of mystical experiences in the Bible does not hold water for the arguments of contemplatives, because every time these things happened- the difference was this: God initiated them according to what He wanted to do. He never taught anyone anywhere in the Bible, to seek experiences with God through anything close to the mystical practices that contemplatives use today.

    IT IS ALL UNSCRIPTURAL. It all ends up being about ME, not God, doing something extra biblical to get an EXPERIENCE with Him that otherwise i could not have, save for these practices. I could invent a few new ones myself, for that matter, and start teaching people how to get close to God using my techniques. What’s the difference?

    By the way, when we practice these things, it ignores Biblical warnings against associating with paganism.
    Some scripture references regarding that: Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Psalms 106:35-36; Isaiah 2:6Jeremiah 10:2; Matthew 6:7; Acts 20:29-31; Romans 16:17; 1 Cor. 10:14; 1 Cor. 15:33; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; Eph. 5:11; Phillipians 3:17-19; Colossians 2:8; 2 Tim. 3:5; 1 John 5:19-21; 2 John 10-11; Rev. 18:4.

    Oh, and never mind that these practices tend to lead people into the eastern religions; New Age practices. Yoga; AND… opens the mind up to spiritual delusion as well! That is dangerous also. I recall the warning by the great contemplative guru, Richard Foster (in Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home), to pray a prayer of protection before doing contemplative prayer. What? Who needs a prayer of protection if something is good for you?

    And finally (I think) all these practices deviate from or distracts us from the main thing: the authority and centrality of scripture in our lives. All we need is God’s infallible, inerrant word to give us direction and guidance for our faith and practice. I’m sure you believe in the infallibility of God’s word IN ALL THAT IT TEACHES?

    I cannot write any more tonight on this. I may refine this a bit and make it into a new post regarding the unscriptural nature of these pagan practices. Family needs attention, but I felt I needed to give you some explanations since I said I would. I would love to do this fulltime! I know some would dread that, but I truly pray that if that ever happens, God will let me do that.

    Next time, I will give you some powerful scriptural backup that shows that we are indeed obligated to follow the commands of Jesus and the apostles, to expose false teachers, to rebuke those who are in error, to reprove, and correct, and avoid them as well. Perhaps instead of a response here, I will just make a post out of it… when I have time in the next week or so.

    Blessings,

    Manny

  24. steve, I don’t get it. How do any of these partial verses address what I thought might be a productive conversation between Manny and I?

    Your reference to Galatians 5:20 is an example of precisely the kind of “use” of scripture that causes so much of the misunderstanding around these important issues.

    When you suggest that the passage deals with “heresies” I have to assume that you are referencing the word “witchcraft.”

    No accepted definition of “heresy” that I’ve ever seen would consider “witchcraft” to be a heresy. It is a pagan practice. The verse has nothing at all to do with variant interpretation of Christian doctrine (those items contained in the historic creeds of the church.) No one (that I know of is arguing for witchcraft.

    What am I missing here?

    Steve, I don’t mean to be unkind, really, but I hope Manny has someone else a bit better prepared to “take care of his exegesis”

    Manny, perhaps it would be more productive for you and I to conduct correspondence via email. I’m happy to share and learn in any setting, but having folks lob comments from the sidelines doesn’t seem like it’s going to be helpful.

  25. Gene, You are a typical heritic. You most certainly meant to be unkind.

    2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be

    false teachers (not Witches) among you, who privily shall bring in

    damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, (example of heresy-denial)

    2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways;
    (Not Witchcraft)

    I didn’t suggest anything I lined up the context of the same writer to two different Churches on the same topic. To show you you are not very astute when it comes to the word of God.

    Witchcraft has nothing to do with it!

    Tit 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
    Tit 3:11 Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

  26. Manny, this might have been a productive conversation. I’m sorry it went this direction. May the peace of Christ be with you, my brother. You have my email address, or you can find it. I won’t be back. No need to post this unless you believe it would be of value.

  27. Well, Gene,

    I guess I’ll just have to see if others are convinced- not by me- but by the word of God which I have laid out in my repudiation of contemplative prayer.

    I still plan to do a post on explaining why Christians are under obligation- from Jesus and His apostles- to do what we are doing. We may not all do it the same way (writing blogs, articles, speaking at seminars), but every Christian has a duty to expose false teachers, defend the faith.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t know whether you agree with the comments that I made about contemplative prayer, but feel free to post here and let us know.

  28. gene,
    save your breath. you are trying to find peace where it is not wanted. the only exegesis this group cares about is a literalist view of scripture. “scripture interprets scripture” as if that makes any sense. you will only find a “christian” response like that of steve by simple childish name calling such as “heretic” which is the primary insult of this group with is totally “biblical” if you proof text enough. you are here to educate but you forget, this group already knows “everything”.

  29. Hello Ash,

    I would encourage you to correct me biblically on anything I have written.
    Otherwise what you have said here is not much at all- unless you can explain to me what you mean. How would you refute- with scriptural support- what I have written about Stations of the Cross and prayer labyrinths?

    Manny

  30. Ash,

    Wow.

    Lauren,

    Lauren said, “I feel that God looks down on some of this banter, sees his children fighting, and his heart is saddened. Much like a father or mother feel when their children argue. We serve the same almighty, powerful, loving God. I feel that we may lose sight of that fact in all of this arguing and fingerpointing.”

    If these things were petty issues I would agree with you. In most cases I would agree with these statements Lauren. These matters are too important to let slide another ten years.

  31. It seems that what is being said by some is that if something is done in the Catholic Church than the fact that it is a Catholic practice makes it wrong. Is it true that some to the teachings & practices in the Catholic Church are false? I would say yes. Are all of the teachings and practices in the Catholic Church false? I would say no.

    When I was a young girl we use to go the the City of Ontario in California at Christmas where they had a display of scenes in the middle of town depicting scenes from Jesus life. From His birth to His Death on the Cross and His resurection . I’m sure that there were people who used these scenes as prayer stations. Was it wrong? Would God find it displeasing? I don’t think so. Every year the ACLU sues the City of Ontario for the removal of this display. I’m not sure if they have been successful yet but I suppose those of you who are against Stations of the Cross would be on the side of the ACLU in this one.

  32. Glenda,
    Can you give a biblical justification for Stations of the Cross, that refutes the scriptural reasons I gave?

  33. After Steve’s “rebuke” (which made clear implication that he both knew me and knew my theological perspective, neither of which is likely accurate) I “signed off’ and said I wouldn’t be back.

    I’m back, Manny, because of the gentle and genuine character of your response to my request to talk about the scriptures that you believe to be relevant to this discussion. While I understand that lots of folks will read this I will think of it as a conversation between you and I. Your post above seems divisible into two general topics, and since the response is longer than I would have liked I’ll focus on the first only (the issue of contemplative prayer).

    Manny,
    The Pauline passages that you cite offer a beautiful picture of the heart of the apostle turned toward the establishment of the Kingdom of God and the spiritual growth of “his” people. I think it’s important to keep in mind that simply telling someone what we do pray for or even what they believe should be prayed for isn’t the same as telling someone what they should not pray or how they should not pray. I didn’t find anything in these passages that said, “don’t pray like this.”
    In order to be faithful to the text I think it’s important to accept what Paul has said at face value and not make inferences where he is silent.
    Two of the passages you cite raise interesting questions in light of our “conversation” In one of Paul simply says, “pray continually.” One wonders what the content of “continual prayer” might be. In the other, Eph 6:18-20, Paul instructs his readers to “pray in the spirit with all kinds of prayers and requests” Our charismatic brothers and sisters are quick to point out that when Paul talks about “praying in the spirit” he has a particular kind of prayer in mind. This makes we good Nazarene folk nervous, but there does seem to be textual support for the idea. Beyond that, in Paul’s own words he seems to understand some sort of distinction between prayer as “request” when he says, “all kinds of prayers and requests.”
    This might be an interesting point to explore. What does Paul mean by “all kinds of prayers,” keeping in mind that he follows that statement with “and requests” which would seem to indicate that “all kinds” means something other than “requests.”
    It is a valid point that when Paul writes about prayer he always (in these examples) connects prayer with some specific content, either thanksgiving, invocation, intercession, or the larger issue of the Kingdom of God.
    Certainly nothing in the examples indicates what might be called “contemplative” prayer. Paul certainly does understand the idea of “mystery.” He realizes that Christ is, by nature, “mysterious.” He prays on more than one occasion that believers would come to understand the “mystery of God” which is Christ and in whom are “hidden knowledge and wisdom.”
    My concern about what you have given me thus far is that, while it is clearly an indication of how Paul prayed, there is very little here that seems to have been intended by Paul as instruction in acceptable means of prayer. Paul is simply saying, “these are the things I’m praying for and about.” And, particularly in the Philippian letter, “These are some of the things you should pray about.”
    I know of no “contemplatives” who speak negatively about any of the forms of prayer used by Paul. Those who I know and whom I have read also pray “for things” and for people.
    In short, I’m going to keep reading, but I have yet to see anything that looks like a “prohibition” against contemplative prayer. (Please don’t hear me saying that this endorses all forms of prayer.)

    You said,
    “Nothing about what Paul taught in these passages is mystical contemplation. According to Paul, prayer consists of supplications, intercessions, and giving of thanks. But, it is done always as verbal, conscious communicating with God; no repetitive prayer as Jesus condemned (vain repetitions).”

    With the exception of what Paul has to say about “praying in the Spirit” Perhaps this is a completely different issue.

    You said,
    “I believe it is a sad thing how contemplatives try to find a biblical basis for these practices. My favorite comes to mind: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I hope you would agree it is a terribly misread Psalm, or a poorly chosen excuse, and the entire chapter in context has absolutely NOTHING to do with contemplative prayer. Please tell me you agree with me, and not with those who use this pathetic excuse for contemplative prayer.”

    I would agree that Ps. 46 is not about contemplative prayer, either “pro” or “con.”
    I’ve always thought about Ps. 46 as the O.T. equivalent of Jesus sleeping in the bow of the boat during the storm. In the midst of the conflicts of life God speaks peace and invites us to “be still” to stop worrying. In that regard, every now and then I hear someone praying “cognitively” or “actively” in a way that sounds more like “worry” than trust

    I’m more inclined to look to the 15 or so Psalms (Including Ps. 1:2) in which the Psalmist “meditates” all day long. The thing I find interesting in these passages is that they include, but certainly are not limited to scripture. The Psalmist meditates on the law, to be sure, but he also meditates on God’s unfailing love, on the wonders of creation, and on God’s mighty deeds.

    This bears a very close resemblance to what I know of Christian contemplative prayer. Certainly the focus of our meditation is central to this whole discussion. The psalmist seems to have understood this and found plenty both inside and outside of scripture on which to meditate.

    In reference to your points B, D, and D.

    Manny, you are saying a very important thing over and over, but I wonder if you are hearing it. These passages have nothing to do with issues of contemplative prayer. They clearly do not promote it, and I would be concerned about the interpretive position of persons who try to use these verses to “support” the practice. By the same token, they should not be used to prohibit it. As you, yourself have said, these passages say nothing at all about silence, or contemplation, one way or the other.

    You said,
    “IT IS ALL UNSCRIPTURAL. It all ends up being about ME,”

    Not sure how to respond here. I’ve heard so much “prayer” that is not “silent” or “contemplative” but that is certainly “all about me.” We pray that our path will be straight, we pray that our health will be good, we pray that the people we love will be successful, we pray that our church will be blessed. We pray that our army will win the fight, never thinking that we are praying for the death of another of God’s children who is on the “other side.” We pray that this or that specific thing will happen. Far less often to we pray the words that Jesus taught (some would say ‘commaneded’ us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

    So much “active prayer” degenerates into prayer that is “all about me.”

    My reading in the area of Christian contemplative prayer indicates that it is quite the opposite of this. Prayer that seeks an experience is not contemplative prayer. I would heartily support what you are saying here, and in other places about the danger seeking this or that kind of “experience” with God through any process at all, contemplative or otherwise. True Christian contemplative prayer, as I understand it, does not seek any such experience. It seeks to simply be in the presence of God for God’s sake. Any prayer practice that has an experience as its aim is simply not Christian prayer.

    I want to carefully read the scriptures that you have offered to me. I’ll work on that and offer a response on the issue of “other practices” tomorrow or the next day.

    Manny, I want to thank you for permitting my perspective to be shared on your site. I appreciate the spirit in which I sense it is received.

  34. Amazes me how people get riled when scripture is to be taken literal. Example is Gene’s comment.

    Scripture must be taken literally or else it is not divinely inspired. It’s an all or nothing thing. This does not mean there are not parts that are not literal. In such cases the Bible tells us, such as this:

    Mt:13:3: And he spake many things unto them in parables…
    Mt:21:33: Hear another parable…
    Mt:22:1: And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
    Mk:3:23: And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables…
    Mk:4:2: And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
    Mk:12:1: And he began to speak unto them by parables…
    Lk:5:36: And he spake also a parable unto them…
    Lk:6:39: And he spake a parable unto them…
    Lk:8:4: … he spake by a parable:
    Lk:12:16: And he spake a parable unto them, saying…
    Lk:13:6: He spake also this parable…
    Lk:14:7: And he put forth a parable…
    Lk:15:3: And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
    Lk:18:1: And he spake a parable…
    Lk:19:11: … he added and spake a parable…
    Lk:20:9: Then began he to speak to the people this parable…
    Lk:21:29: And he spake to them a parable…
    Jn:10:6: This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.

    Why do people have such a hard time accepting the Bible for literal and ultimate TRUTH.

    Brad

  35. Brad,

    You read my mind, if folks only knew how much of the Bible is a shadow, type, or similtude.

    What is not acceptable is that it is all “Literally True” and must be rightly divided.

    For example, how many Nazarenes that seek sinless perfection sell everything and give it to the poor. It is this type of thing that makes most people reject the term “literal.”

    That only leaves an exegete, to attempt to take out of the bible what God was trying to say.

    But when someone cannot even find the word heresies in their version we are way past fixing anything!

    Steve

  36. The scriptures have revealed to me the unbiblical nature of contemplative prayer, prayer labyrinths,lectio divina, etc. So in that case, I don’t see any other thing that would change my mind.

  37. HUH? Which comment? And of what is it an example?

    I know I said that I’d proceed “as if” this were a private conversation between Manny and I but I find Brad’s post confusing, and at one point really troubling.

    I know lots of people who affirm the complete inerrancy of scripture who understand that significant portions of are not intended to be “taken literally.”

    Portions of Daniel, many passages of the Revelation of St. John, images used by the prophets to describe the blessing and curse of God on the nation of Israel.

    Jesus doesn’t use the “parable” disclaimer when he says, “Oh Jerusalem how I have longed to gather you to myself as a hen gathers her chicks” I believe that Jesus “literally” said this, but not that he intended us to “take it literally”

    But I have no idea how this relates to what I have written above. It seems to me that, if anything, I’m appealing for a more literal reading of Paul and of the Psalms, not less. I’m asking us to take what Paul is saying at face value, and not “imagine” words that aren’t there. Paul literally says, “when i pray, I pray for this and that.” or “When you pray, you should pray this or that.” He never says, in the verses cited above, “don’t pray like this.”

    This, it seems to me, is in keeping with a literal reading of Paul.

    And now for the thing that really troubles me. You have said, “Scripture must be taken literally or else it is not divinely inspired.” Brad, Scripture IS divinely inspired. This reality does not depend on you, or I, or anyone else “taking it” in any way at all. If I “take it” as false, it is still true. If I “take it” as myth, it is still the inspired word of God. If you had said, “Since it is divinely inspired it must be taken literally” we could have had a conversation about that statement. I would likely not agree completely with the statement since I don’t see the words “literal” and “true” synonyms, but I would not be “troubled” by the comment. Perhaps this is what you meant. I am, after all, limited in my response to what you actually, literally said. I am not free to imagine what I think, or hope, you might have meant to say.

    I should try harder to keep my original commitment keep this conversation on track.

    For what it’s worth.

  38. Manny,

    Which scriptures have revealed these things to you? I’ll carefully read the rest of the scriptures that you offered, and I am more than open to finding the answers there, and get back to you. The source of such revelation is, as I have indicated in my response, not clearly apparent in the scriptures offered in the first part of your post. I’m really trying to stay with the plain meaning of these passages.

  39. Steve,

    So, it’s about the “version.” It took a while, but I finally got to the KJV and found the word “heresies” as you said I would. (Yes, I do own a KJV, though I don’t use it often.

    The term, in the greek, has been translated as “factions” in both the NASB and NIV (The NASB likely being the most literal translation of the whole verse). I suggested, clearly in error, that you word you had in mind was “Witchcraft” because it was the closest thing to “wrong belief” present in that translation. I stand corrected.

    Interesting thing about the use of the term “heretic” in Paul’s writing. While it contained the meaning of “different doctrine” it also retained much of the root meaning of the word which had more to do with the breaking of fellowship.

    There were lots of different opinions in the early church. When one group was no longer willing to fellowship with another (became a “faction”) it was labeled “heretical.”

    It turns out that these issues were really significant, the divinity of Jesus, the necessity of circumcision for salvation, the truth of the resurrection of Christ . . .

    I wonder which of these you are suggesting I have embraced (and how you would know that) since you seem fairly certain that I’m “one of them.”

    I do appreciate the correction, Typically, I see the NASB as a more reliable translation of the oldest manuscripts which I think we all would acknowledge are closer to the words originally “delivered” to the writers.

    I hope we’re not going to descend into an argument about the KJV being the “version” that’s inerrant.

  40. Pam,

    Petty or not, God is saddened by His children fighting-and we are all His children. My prayer for you is the same that I prayed for Manny- that the Holy Spirit will guide you on how you should go about addressing those issues among God’s people. I also pray that you would allow the Holy Spirit to work in other people’s lives the way the Spirit sees fit.

    May God have mercy on us. I look forward to seeing you one day in Heaven, Pam. There all of this questioning will be of no use because we will be with our Lord and Savior and we will see clearly.

  41. Gene, I mistyped and added your name when I meant to address Josh due to his demeaning comment on “scripture interprets scripture”. My apologies for that misunderstanding.

    I do feel that you are twisting my words though. I also said previously, “This does not mean there are not parts that are not literal. In such cases the Bible tells us, such as this: “.

    When it comes to gleaning the truths of Scripture, I am a firm believer that the Word interprets itself when one allows it to do so. It is a feature of many parts of the Bible that it is written in figurative and/or metaphorical language which makes the plain understanding hard to elucidate by times. The Book of Revelation is the best example of this. For God has chosen to write this book in such a way that many of its secrets and mysteries have remained just that, almost two thousand years after it was penned. And that is God’s prerogative.

    “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: But the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” Proverbs 25:2

    So it is in the matter of the Serpent of Genesis 3. It is our contention that the word ‘serpent’ is a figure of speech referring to Satan, who, Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 11:3, beguiled or deceived Eve. ‘And no marvel’, Paul continues, ‘for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’.

    To present an illustration of how figures of speech can hide the true identity of the personages being referred to, we go to a difficult passage in Revelation chapter 9 which speaks of a time in the near coming Apocalypse when the Abyss will reveal its contents:

    “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

    And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit as the smoke of a great furnace and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

    And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth; and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.” Rev. 9:1-3

    The question here is; what are these locusts and scorpions? No doubt many folks believe that these are literal locusts and literal scorpions, just as many believe that the serpent in Genesis 3 is a literal snake. But we shall now endeavour to show that this is indeed, not the case. One should always first look at where similar usages of words or phrases are used before, when trying to establish exactly what they mean. We turn to Luke 10 and the record of the 70 returning after Jesus had sent them out two by two into every town that he was going to visit. He sent them with this charge:

    “Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.” Luke 10:3

    So immediately here He is using figures of ‘lambs’ and ‘wolves’ to describe the disciples and something else. Upon their triumphant return they proclaim:

    “And the seventy returned again with joy saying, ‘Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name’.

    And He said unto them, ‘I beheld Satan as lightening fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

    Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:17-20

    Now let’s back up the truck for a moment and examine this more carefully. In these few verses we have several figures of speech using animalistic and insect names to refer to some other truth. We have lambs, wolves, serpents, and scorpions. To this you might add in the ‘locusts’ of Rev. 9. And what is the whole context of the above passage? It speaks of ‘devils’, of Satan ‘falling from heaven’, of ‘the power of the enemy’, it tells of ‘the spirits that are subject unto you’.

    From this we can deduce that Jesus is speaking here of the Devil and his agents. Through His name the devils are subject to the disciples of Jesus. He gives us the power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy. Further, He informs us that these devils and scorpions and serpents are spirits (‘rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you’).

    Back to Luke 10 and we have wolves, devils, serpents, Satan, the enemy, scorpions and the spirits, all referring to Satan and his evil spirit comrades, the fallen angels, and the power they wield on this earth. And you can add in the locusts of Revelation 9 to this list. For it is patently obvious to anyone with eyes to see, that all these terms are figures of speech which refer to the Devil and his angels who are the spirits, scorpions, locusts and serpents.

  42. I ran out of space, but wanted to include that like Manny said, the scriptures do reveal unbiblical practices that would involve prayer stations, contemplative prayer and other practices like these.

  43. No, Gene it is not about the “Versions.” It’s about you wrongly telling Manny to correctly exegete a scripture that you were wrong about.

    Your exact quote about Eph 5:11:

    “It simply does not speak to issues of theological interpretation.”

    When matter of factly it does. I gave partial verses to narrow the context , I have no other way to draw ephasis, and then you lost your sanctification. Like a typical heretic.

    I didn’t rebuke first, I reproved.

  44. Brad,

    Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

    Check out the number of times the word “as” or “like” is used just in Rev. 9 alone. It is simply God reveling the invisible but people write it off as things that cannot be known. However, even the Godhead can be clearly seen “being understood by the things that are made.”

    The best text book I ever read about the pastorate was a book written by a shepherd on “How to Raise Sheep” So when Jesus says to “feed my sheep” it would do well for ignorant pastors to take him litterally as far as the metaphor is concerned. God who created everything knows exactly what he is talking about when he says “this” is like “that!”

    Thanks for picking up on the silly things that came from “Ash” whoever that is?

    Steve

  45. [quote=reformednazarene, on April 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm Said:

    Glenda,
    Can you give a biblical justification for Stations of the Cross, that refutes the scriptural reasons I gave?=quote]

    Manny,

    I first read about Stations of the Cross on your website. I became curious and asked some of my Catholic friends what it was and I googled it and read various discriptions of it. I actually wanted to attend one to see what all the fuss was about but was unable to.

    From what I read Stations of the Cross has several displays depicting the road to the cross with various scenes from the Bible. 8 to be exact. At each station there is a suggested Bible reading and a prayer. I did not see anything in any of these Bible readings or prayers that was unbiblical or that I could find fault with.

    My sons fiance who was raised Catholic said that when she was a child the teachers would take the class to each scene and tell the Bible story that it was about. Not much different than the types of illustrations that Sunday Schools in most evangelical Churches use to tell children Bible stories.

    While none of the scriptures you posted mentioned Stations of the Cross, there was also nothing that suggested that this was a heretical practice or unchristian practice.

  46. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God”

    Is there a difference between contemplative prayer and sitting quietly and letting God speak to us?

    In the Nazarene Church I grew up in a lot of time in Sunday School was spent memorizing scriptures. We were told that it was for the purpose of instilling the word of God into our hearts and so that we would be able to remember the scriptures at times in our lives when we needed the word of God to guide us. My understanding of contemplative prayer is that scripture is recited to help the person become focused on God and that silence is for the purpose of listening to God.

    I have not been to a Church that practices Prayer Labryiths, Stations of the Cross or Lectio Divino. What I am reading on wikipedia and on websites describing these practices does not fit in with the dangers that you are warning people about.

  47. The Psalms talk quite a bit about meditation. The passages talk about meditating on His law, on His love, on His works, on His precepts, on His wonders and on His promises.

    Psalms 1:2, 19:14, 48:9, 77:12, 104:34, 119: 15,27,97,& 148, and Psalms 145:5

    I don’t see much difference between what these scriptures are talking about and the centering that is talked about in contemplative prayer. Most of what I have read talks about centering on a scripture or passage from the Bible. I just can’t see anything wrong with this.

  48. Ok I need to weigh in here-
    I was a Roman Catholic for 12 years (just an fyi) so I think we are missing the point on the practices here.
    First point- The Stations of the Cross contain both biblical fact and legend mixing truth with error.
    Second point- this practice was founded in The Dark Ages by the Franciscans as a way to explain both scripture and legend (not proven fact) to the masses.
    Why? Because this was the Dark Ages and you were not even allowed to own a Bible and could be killed or tortured if you were found with one by the Roman Catholic Church. Stained glass windows had the same purpose.
    And yes I realize that some of the population could not read but still the facts remain you were not allowed to own a Bible unless you were clergy.
    Things like Lectio Divina (a practice that was banned even by the Catholic Church in past history because you were not supposed to have your own Bible at times in history with these religion).
    Contemplative prayer , labyrinths etc.. were all gleaned from eastern religions, that’s a simple matter of history by the Desert Fathers.
    Plus again being promoted during the Dark Ages.
    The thing I think many of us are missing here is the whole monastic lifestyle.
    Where in scripture does it promote this?
    Get away in the desert for 40 days to pray?
    Maybe but that’s 40 days and that was a one time thing Jesus did to prepare for His ministry.
    No where in scripture does it promote the monastic lifestyle.
    So again we need to start from there.
    Thomas Merton was a interspiritualist who promoted Buddism and its lifestyle as well as other eastern faiths.
    This too is a matter of history.
    I have read Merton since the 60’s; if a red flag doesn’t come up with Merton I suggest you check your walk.
    Again some are promoting stuff that had its origins in the Dark Ages (why did they call these the Dark Ages?… big hmmmmn there).
    Last time I checked I can still go out and not only purchase a Bible but read it to.
    Wooo Hooo
    I would suggest some here shut their mouths and go read their Bibles.
    Sincerely in Christ
    Tim

  49. Glenda,
    I’m glad Tim responded because my brain had been getting weary of saying the same things again, or pointing people yet again to the many posts here and there, that essentially say what Tim has said- again.

    I would echo the suggestion by Tim to stick to scripture- which you did not even use at all in your last comments, other than quoting Ps. 46:10 at the start. Surely you don’t believe that it tells us to sit in silence and “listen” for the voice of God, do you?

    How do you sit quietly and let God speak to you? How does that work for you, Glenda? For me, He speaks to me through scripture, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit- but He certainly does not speak to me in a clear, loud voice. Do you actually hear God speak to you that way?

  50. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

    When I read that someone used Wikipedia for his or her research, I just sit in amazement wondering how that person can be so gullible.

    Brad

  51. Manny,

    When I was 13 I suffered from severe suicidal depression. Depression had been part of my life since early childhood but from age 11 to 13 it was deep that I did not see a way out. The depression controlled me.One day God stopped me in my tracks and spoke to me. He kept me from ending my life. I don’t talk about it very often because people don’t understand how God can talk to a person and it is not something I understand myself. While not verbal it was very definate and very real. It was more than just a feeling.

    This was in the sixties so back then there was not a lot of information on childhood depression. I never went to a counselor. The one time I tried to talk to my pastor about he dismissed it as something minor. For several years after that God was my counselor. I spent much time in silent prayer letting God speak to my heart. I also spent time reading scripture and Christian books. God revealed things to me about myself and he pulled me out of my depression. I don’t actually have this kind of communication with God in my life now, I miss it.

    When you say that God doesn’t speak to us any other way but through His word and that it is wrong to sit in silence and wait on God you are dismissing what God did my life.
    I do believe that it was God intervening in my life and I won’t believe otherwise.

    Brad,

    I am simply looking up resources from various places and trying to find out how people who actually practice Stations of the Cross see it. I’m trying to find out what Stations of the Cross actually is. I would never take just one persons word on it. There is not anything in scriptures that address the Stations of the Cross. The scriptures quoted by those who are opposed to Stations of the Cross are basing it on the idea that they think it is a pagan practice. I’m not going to get on the bandwagon and call it a pagan practice without
    first finding out what is involved in the practice. I really resent you calling me gullible, it was uncalled for.

  52. Glenda,

    God can handle children and even adults as new believers with incredible grace that in certain exceptions even goes against the rules (orthodoxy.) Such as the woman who partook as a dog the scraps that fell from the masters table. The Bible even tells a believer not to ask about meat that may have been offered to idols which such knowledge changes the rules.

    See the following scriptures with comments:

    If any of them that believe not (unbelievers will invite you to their stuff) bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed (having no known reason not to) to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. (It’s too late to ask now)
    But if any man say unto you, (like Manny or Tim) This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it (For them), and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: (Even though the last time you did you received nourishment.)
    Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? (In Christ you’re at liberty to make a station at the mailbox if you like and quote Est 3:13)
    For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of (Because you look like one of them) for that for which I give thanks?
    Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or WHATSOEVER (Prayer Stations) ye do, do all to the glory of God.
    1Cor 10:27-31

    Unto the pure all things are pure: (like an 11 year old) but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
    They (pagans et al) profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. Tit 1:15,16

    It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor ANY THING (Prayer Stations) whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
    Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. Rom 14:21,22

    1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    Glenda, facts are facts to include the help you got as a child. The issue here is the bringing in of pagan practices where they do not belong. Obviously, they are not going to start with the most damaging first. These things seem innocent but simply are a counterfeit to any thing biblical.

    Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

    If you Pray for wisdom, read the Bible, do what it says and meditate (think about what you read), Go to a good Bible preaching Church you will never need a pagan practice for spiritual enlightenment. It may be the wrong spirit.

    Steve

  53. Steve I attend a Bible Believing Church that is actually pretty fundamental in it’s teachings.. I just don’t buy the idea that because something is Catholic it is pagan. Inserting the words Prayer Stations into scriptures does not make the scriptures say that Prayer Stations are wrong. I probably would not have become curious about the practice of Stations of the Cross if it were not for this web site. We have altar calls at our Church and there is a Cross above the altar. Could this be a prayer station. At Wed. night Bible Study they place pictures of the various missionaries on the table for us to pray for. What about Christmas Trees and Easter Eggs? There some that would argue that these are pagan traditions. There some Church of Christ Churches that do not have a cross on their steeple or in their Church. They also do not have musical instruments in their Church. They use scripture to back up their reasons. I would have to see what Stations of the Cross actually is before I condemn it as pagan or unscriptural.

    Growing up in the Nazarene Church I remember Christmas Cantatas and programs that used symbolism.

  54. Sorry, I thought I had deleted the last sentence. I went a different direction with my thoughts.

  55. [ quote=I would echo the suggestion by Tim to stick to scripture- which you did not even use at all in your last comments, other than quoting Ps. 46:10 at the start. Surely you don’t believe that it tells us to sit in silence and “listen” for the voice of God, do you?=quote]

    Actually, Manny I do believe that this passage and others I sited are telling us to be still and listen.

  56. Glenda,
    It seems that your understanding of Psalm 46 is totally off. It does not mean anything close to what you are suggesting. Please read the whole Psalm in context.

  57. Manny,

    Do you truly believe that it is wrong to read scripture and than quietly savor it and meditate on it and let God speak to you and teach you through the words the you have read. What about reciting, memorizing scripture, and repeating out loud? Was the responsive reading that was practiced in Nazarene Churches years ago wrong? I know you probably don’t consider these things to be contemplative prayer, or prayer stations but it is the kind of things that some people are doing when they refer to meditating, centering prayer, or contemplative prayer.

  58. [quote=I would echo the suggestion by Tim to stick to scripture- which you did not even use at all in your last comments, other than quoting Ps. 46:10 at the start=quote] Manny Silva

    I actually sited 10 scriptures.

  59. Glenda, you are taking Ps 46:10 out of complete context. Hope the notes below will help you see the verse used in its proper contextual meaning.

    v.1-2 Because God is my refuge and strength, I won’t fear any calamity that might befall me.

    v.4-5 The people in the Old Testament were looking forward to the city of God (Ezekiel 47:1; Revelation 22).

    v.6 This verse speaks of the tribulation period before the Kingdom Age.

    v.7 A reference to the God of the vast angelic host might seem remote and impersonal. So the psalmist lowers the scope to the God of Jacob.

    v.8 The “desolations” are the results of the Tribulation period. I believe that part of the Kingdom Age will include the rebuilding of the earth.

    v.9 No more wars or weapons of battle. What a glorious anticipation we have of the Kingdom Age! (Isaiah 2:4).

    v.10 Be still and know that God will work His purposes.

    Brad

  60. I am going to step away from this conversation. It is not constructive at this point. I believe that the essentials to Christianity are belief in : The Trinity
    The Virgin Birth
    The Diety of Christ
    Salvation through Christ.

    If someone professes these things I am not going to question their method of prayer and worship. In the Old Testament when other religions practiced animal sacrifices it was a pagan act. When the Israelites practiced animal sacrifice it was pleasing to God.

    It is Who is being worshiped that makes the difference.

    I leave you with this scripture.

    Psalm 131

    My eyes are not proud, O Lord
    my eyes are not haufhty.
    I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
    But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
    like a weaned child with its mother,
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

    O Israel, put your hope in the Lord
    both now and forevermore.

  61. Glenda,
    The essentials in Christianity is to obey ALL that the Lord Jesus Christ commands us, and all that the apostles were inspired by God to teach us.
    I will pray that you will understand that. It is not just enough to believe in only those few “essentials” you mentioned. That would give you license to disobey many other things that are commanded by the Lord Himself.

  62. This statement has the potential of becoming very legalistic and judgemental. God works in peoples lives to bring them into obedience. If a person had to understand and obey all of Gods commands before coming to Christ no one would be saved.

    As long as a person is professing the essentials I mentioned I am not going to question how God is working their life. The scriptures that have been sited by you and others are not specifically talking about Prayer Stations, Stations of the Cross or contemplative prayer. You are making the judgement that these things are pagan practices and using these scriptures to say that these practices are against Gods commands. I’m not going to jump on that bandwagon without more research. You haven’t convinced me at this point that these are pagan practices. What you are saying these things are are different than what the people who practice them are saying. Right now it is your word against theirs as far I am concerned. This is why the conversation on this board is no longer productive to me.

  63. Glenda,
    I don’t know if you wish to continue answering, but maybe someone else will who is of like mind as you are on this issue.

    First, it is not me that convinces you of anything- it is the Holy Spirit who guides us into truth, through the reading of God’s word. That is where my conclusions came from, not someone’s opinion. AND: I WAS SPEAKING OF THE CHRISTIAN- not of any requirement before you become a Christian. Big difference.

    Secondly, if you only want to obey the “essentials” that you mentioned, and only them what do you do with commands like the following? Decide that they are optional, and ignore them? You won’t question someone if you clearly know they are ignoring scriptural teachings? This has nothing to do with legalism- it has to do with obeying and following all of Christ’s and the apostles’ clear commands to us in the gospel.

    JUST A FEW OF THE MANY THINGS WE ARE COMMANDED TO DO:
    Jude 3-4 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.

    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.

    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.

    2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness.

    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.

    Colossians 2:8-12 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

    1 John 4:1-3 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

    1 Thessalonians 5:6-11 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

    I wish you well on your research- may it include a lot of reading in the Bible- the best source for research for the Christian.
    Blessings,
    Manny

  64. Manny,

    The scriptures you quoted are about discernment, not being yoked with unbelievers, defending the faith, etc. 1 John 4: 1-3 is one that I use quite frequently myself. There is nothing in any of these scriptures about contemplative prayer, Stations of the Cross, or Prayer Stations. You keep saying to go to scripture but you know that there are no scriptures that definitively talk about these practices on either side of the argument.

    Tim did attempt to go into History and prove that these practices were ancient mystical practices and therefore wrong but he didn’t actually describe what these practices are now and how they are used in this current age.

    I gave a list of scriptures from Psalms earlier which I assume you missed because you said in a post afterward that I had not sited any scripture and you did not address what I did post. I will post it again an actually type out the passages this time.

    Ps 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

    Ps 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your site.

    Ps 77:12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all of your mighty deeds.

    Ps 104:34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.

    Ps 119: 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.

    Ps 119: 27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.

    Ps 119: 97 Oh, how I love your law I will meditate on it day and night.

    Ps 119: 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate day and night.

    Ps 145: 5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

    I realize that you can come back and say that these scriptures are not actually about meditating or about contemplative prayer and prayer stations but it has more to do with the subject than the scriptures you quoted. These scriptures are telling us to meditate on the things of God.

    In Biblical times God spoke to individuals. There are accounts of Moses, Abraham, Jesus and others going into the deserts, the mountains, by streams and listening to Gods voice. I believe that God still speaks to individuals today but we are too busy and too inundated with media and technology to listen.

    Have you ever sat by a lake, in the forest or at the Ocean and just savored Gods creation and quieted yourself in prayer or meditated on his scripture and listened to what he was trying to teach you? I get the impression that this is what people who practice contemplative prayer are attempting to take time out of their busy schedules to do. Everything that I have read from those who encourage the practice says to focus on scripture or on things of God. This is biblical and until someone shows me that this is not what they are doing I cannot find fault with it.

    2 Timothy 23 – 26 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. The Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to knowledge of the truth, and they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

    Manny, Contemplative Prayer, and Stations of the Cross are simply religious practices. They are not Theology or Doctrine. Like other things that have come and gone in Churches and youth groups they will probably pass on their own.

    You feel called to defend the faith but this is not where you should be spending your time. There are other more important issues for you to deal with. I don’t think we agree theologically in certain areas (you never did answer a question I posted in another discussion about whether or not you believe in free will) but I do think you are sincere in your beliefs and in what you feel that God has called you to do.

  65. Glenda,

    You said: “These scriptures are telling us to meditate on the things of God.”

    How do we do that? By reading God’s word, and actively, consciously thinking about His word, and pondering on what it means, and perhaps pondering on how to apply it to our lives. But certainly NOT to sit there mindlessly wasting away without any mental activity.

    You also said: “…quieted yourself in prayer or meditated on his scripture and listened to what he was trying to teach you?”

    I never sat in prayer by “listening” for God’s voice. I meditated, however, actively in my mind- about what He was trying to teach me- through His word! Are you telling me that you sit there in silence and wait until God “speaks” personally to you? How do you confirm that it is God, if you do hear a voice?

    Again you said: “Everything that I have read from those who encourage the practice says to focus on scripture or on things of God.”

    I have no problem focusing n scripture. Contemplatives “focus” on scripture unbiblically. Jesus says to us, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. Yet Rick Warren, Rob Bell, and others, recommend repetitive words and rituals. That is NOT scriptural. There is a big difference that you seem to not understand, or you don’t want to see is the difference.

    How can you truly pray when your mind is not thinking of anything? It’s not possible. This is right out of the occult, and mystical practices of the heathen. You pray in one way: actively, consciously to God, being aware of what you are praying or reading at all times. Otherwise, it is not true prayer, and it is not true biblical meditation.

    You said also: “Manny, Contemplative Prayer, and Stations of the Cross are simply religious practices.”

    Yes, they are religious practices. So are prayer labyrinths and many other rituals. But, they are unbiblical religious practices. We cannot and should not invent any kind of religious practice. That is adding to God’s word. We should focus on only those practices and principles taught in scripture. Sure, labyrinths are not mentioned in scripture; but scripture clearly condemns the use of pagan practices by those who worship the living God of the Bible.

    I encourage you to read the scriptures. I have given you so much that clearly proves from the Bible these things are wrong. I don’t know what else to tell you. I believe you are sincere, but with all due respect, those who believe in these practices are sincerely wrong.

    “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” -Matthew 6:7

    How can someone know without thinking? Or by using repetitious words over and over again which really has no meaning in doing so? We can only really know God as He makes Himself know to us, through His word. Not by emptying our minds.

    In Christ,

    Manny

  66. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” -Matthew 6:7

    Finally a scripture that actually addresses the subject. This I will think and pray on and read further . Thank you.

    You will have to admit though that there are many things that we traditionally do in our Church services that are not mentioned in the Bible. So simply saying that we are not supposed to do something because the Bible doesn’t tell us to specifically do so is not enough.

  67. I would hope this was not the first scripture you have read, Glenda. I hope you read much more here and other places where there is a great amount of scripture that refutes contemplative prayer.

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