Nazarene Scholars Continue To Undermine Belief In God’s Word With Evolution’s Lie

“Theistic evolution is a concept being taught in many “evangelical” seminaries and colleges today. It is an idea that comes straight from the pit of hell. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Bible contains lies and myths, and that Adam and Eve were allegorical figures. If you teach and promote theistic evolution, you are calling God a liar. There is no middle ground here.”

This is my first article in almost two months, but I’m afraid things are just as bad as it was since my last post; the status quo in most of the evangelical denominations has not changed; and the Nazarene church is still in bad shape, notwithstanding any rosy reports from the General Superintendents or other leadership. Compromise seems to be the underlying principal for these religious leaders for quite some time now. Independent thought and true leadership is a thing of the past, as these General Superintendents continue to speak with one voice, or not speak at all, regardless of the truth.

In fact, the reluctance of the Generals to inform tithe-paying members about any details of the developing Nazarene Publishing House scandal, is a scandal and a moral and ethical failure in and of itself. I await further information before writing fully on this situation, but I can tell you that even those at NazNet (a Nazarene discussion site) who oppose us and disagree that there is a rebellion against God’s word within the church, are concerned and outraged at the continuing secrecy within the General Board regarding the financial debacle at the Publishing House. This link will take you to a discussion on NazNet that has broken all viewing records at that website, for any topic previously.

But let me alert you (again) to a further scandalous debacle that has been going on for a while now, and that is the promotion of theistic evolution in the church as an acceptable view of how we were created by God. The promotion of evolution by theology professors and other scholars, as well as by college and seminary presidents and district superintendents, goes to the heart of the problem in the Church of the Nazarene today. What is that problem? It is simply this: that men in the church are now standing on a foundation built on their wisdom and knowledge, rather than on the foundation of the teaching of God as written in His word. Selective belief in some scripture, while rejecting other parts, is the philosophy of these so-called “learned men and women”, even if they don’t state it overtly.

And now to show that it looks like the danger is worse than we thought. The group Nazarenes Exploring Evolution, lead by Tom Oord, professor of religion at Northwest Nazarene University, recently conducted an online survey. It involved the questioning of two demographics- a sampling of Nazarene laypeople, and a narrower sampling of Nazarene college scholars. Both results look pretty bad, and serves as a continued and even louder warning to parents who love their teenagers and want them to have a solid education that is grounded in truth. They will no longer be guaranteed to have that at any Nazarene university or college, including any of the seminaries.

Well known college presidents such as Dan Boone of Trevecca are fueling the advancement of the anti-biblical notion that man was created over millions of years of random evolutionary processes. Others pushing this godless idea which clearly contradicts the Biblical account include theological intellectuals like Al Truesdale, my former Greek New Testament professor; Scott Daniels, pastor of Pasadena First Church; retired professor Robert Branson; Kerry Fulcher and Mark Mann of Point Loma; Mark Winslow of Southern Nazarene; District Superintendent Stephen Borger; Carl Leth, Dean of Theology at Olivet Nazarene; Mark Maddix of Northwest Nazarene; Henry Spaulding, Mt. Vernon Nazarene President; theologian Rob Staples; and quite a few more “learned men and women”, who can be found at the Nazarenes Exploring Evolution site. These people are all responsible for helping indoctrinate countless students with theistic evolution, and their furtherance of this godless idea will lead to them being held accountable by God someday.  They need to repent, or they need to be removed from their positions of authority over our students.  Many of them have also been pushing the emergent church teachings. And do you wonder why so many young people are walking away from the church? Why wouldn’t they, when they are taught that they cannot trust God’s word?

In his article Poll Shows Nazarene Scholars Embracing Evolution, Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis summarizes the survey results:

Overwhelmingly, scholars at Nazarene institutions believe:

1) that the Bible does not require a belief in a young earth (nearly 95%)
2) that the Bible is compatible with evolutionary ideas (82%)
3) that science has established that the world is billions of years old (nearly 86%), 4) that human evolution is true (67%)
5) that the Nazarene church should consider theistic evolution as a valid alternative to biblical creation (87%).”

Those are very disturbing statistics, and the numbers for the first four questions, which were also posed to Nazarenes in general, were almost as ominous. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Bible contains lies and myths, and that Adam and Eve were allegorical figures. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that the Jesus was not truthful when he referred to Adam. To believe that human evolution is true is to say that sin and death did not come into the world through the disobedience of Adam, as written in Romans chapter 5.

So let’s be clear: if you teach and promote theistic evolution, you are calling God a liar. But it seems it will only get worse, and Bible-believing Christians will have to decide whether a secular college will be less dangerous to their children’s spiritual wellbeing than a “Christian” college or university. This whole bunch are some of the most dangerous people professing to be Christians today, and any parent sending their children to a Nazarene university or seminary today is literally gambling with their child’s spiritual health.

Dr. Ham, who has spoken out about and exposed these issues more than most Nazarenes have, went on to comment:

“This is clear evidence that a major denomination is teaching young people that they can’t trust the Bible when it comes to Genesis 1–11 and that fallible man can reinterpret God’s Word—thus man is the authority and not God.”

I agree. These men and women are a disgrace and not one of them should be in a position of authority that they are in, because they are misleading many.  The failure of the Nazarene General leadership in even attempting to right the ship makes them just as culpable, because they are allowing the erosion of Biblical standards by doing nothing- which seems to be all they are willing to do.

 

Addendum

What follows is the statistical report of both surveys, which are from the BioLogos website. (http://biologos.org/blog/nazarenes-on-evolution).   I found it very discouraging; you are free to make your own conclusions and decisions.

Poll of Nazarenes on Evolution

Question 1: Genesis and other biblical texts require Christians to believe the earth was created less than 15 thousand years ago.

Q1a

Question 2: The Bible can properly be interpreted as compatible with the theory of biological evolution.

Q2a

Question 3: Geology, astronomy, and physics have established that world is billions of years old.

Q3a

Question 4: Humans likely became a species as God worked with the biological evolutionary process.

Q4a

Among other things, this poll suggests that more Nazarenes today feel comfortable with evolution.

 

Nazarene Scholars on God Creating through Evolution

Question 1: Genesis and other biblical texts require Christians to believe the earth was created less than 15 thousand years ago.

q1

Question 2: The Bible can properly be interpreted as compatible with the theory of biological evolution.

q2

Question 3: Geology, astronomy, and physics have established that the world is billions of years old.

q3

Question 4: Humans likely became a species as God worked with the evolutionary process.

q4

Question 5: The Church of the Nazarene should allow the theory that God creates through evolution as one acceptable view of creation among others.

q5

Dan Boone Goes After Bible Believers Again

[Dan Boone likens Bible believing Christians to Islamic fundamental “jihadists”; Dan Boone believes that parts of the Psalms were borrowed from the Pagans; Dan Boone promotes pagan prayer labyrinths, contemplative mysticism and false teachers; Dan Boone is an ecumenist who compromises with a false religion.]

Dan Boone: “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.”

Dan Boone: “I only argued with them in the first place because they were making false claims about Trevecca, and to expose them for who they really are—religious fundamentalists.   But you can’t have discussions with people whose minds are already made up… Rational conversation with them is not possible”

Dan Boone “Hinduism. I even reminded the writer that God’s people have often taken elements of other religions and sanctified them for Christian use—Canaanite songs became Jewish psalms, pagan feasts became Christian meals, and so on.” (email to a concerned Nazarene)

Dan Boone: “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.

Dan Boone: “My concern is that we have diminished God by elevating the Bible.” 

Dan Boone: “I believe that God is pained over the tenor of the discussion between the literalists of seven-day creation theories and the evolutionists of the slow creative-process theories. To prove either one correct is not a saving act. God is not wringing his hands hoping we defend the literal interpretation of Gen. 1.”

Dan Boone: “What I find more exciting and authoritative is the thought that the people of God were exiled in the pagan land of Babylon, listening to pagan stories about the origin of the universe, and the breath of God spoke through a prophet giving them a different understanding. They hijacked the Babylonian tale of creation and declared God to be the one who, in the beginning, created creation and came to take up residence with us in the cosmic temple. Now that’s authority” (from letter to area pastors in response to Sue and Don Butler’s article)

Somewhere in his Christian journey, I believe Dan Boone (and the many Nazarenes who believe the way he does) took a detour down the wrong path.  It is evident in his writings, and it is evident in what he believes, practices and defends.  Although we must continue to expose the lies of the emergent church, we must also pray for those who have been deceived by satan into believing the lies, such as Dr. Boone.  Remember that their primary goal in relation to us is not to educate us, but to shut us up.

When it comes to folks who challenge the things he teaches and believes, there is nothing charitable about Dan Boone.  In spite of suggesting a few years ago that people like me should be “stunned with our silence”, he just could not resist again.  President Boone of Trevecca Nazarene University wrote a book a few years ago called A Charitable Discourse, although the content is far from charitable.  Who can take the book seriously when the author suggests that fundamental Bible believing Christians are no better than fundamental Islamic jihadists?

 Now he has written an article in Holiness Today entitled The Screwtape Letters Meets A Charitable Discourse.  If you are not familiar with the fictional book by C.S. Lewis, it is a series of 31 letters written from the perspective of a senior demon, Screwtape, addressed to one of his underlings.  In the letters, Screwtape acts as a mentor to Wormwood, his nephew, giving advice and counsel on how best to lead to damnation a man referred to as “The Patient.”  It is a cleverly written series of letters which among other things, suggests that even intellectuals are susceptible to demonic enticement and trickery.

The article seems somewhat clever, and it never mentions anyone in particular, but to those of us that it is directed at, we understand.   In my opinion, it has no business being published in a magazine whose purpose was originally to write on holiness and other uplifting topics.  I wonder if the editor of HT would give equal time for someone to respond to yet another attack piece on Bible believers (remember Rev. Kevin Ulmet’s article?).

This is simply another old attempt to send a message to Bible believing Christians that we are the problem in the church, and that satan is using us to divide the body of Christ.  Perhaps Dan Boone has never given one thought to the possibility that satan is using him and others to divide the body of Christ, not us.  Keep in mind that the difference between many of us and the Dan Boones of the church is that we always point out the specific teaching or practice, and let the word of God condemn it or uphold it.  The strategy of folks such as Dan is to employ personal attack and unsupported accusations. This is their only viable weapon.

Here are a few excerpts from the article, which should be online now:

“By enticing them with the wonders of electronic media, you have whetted their appetites for religious blood in the water.”

The tactics of Dan, as well as that of Rev. Kevin Ulmet in his “loving” article in Holiness Today a few months ago, are exactly the same.  They practice the very “jihadist attacks” Dan mentions in his book, while at the same time promoting a “holy conversation.”  In his book, he talks about “speaking truthfully without fear of reprisal.”  Yet he compares Bible believers who dare to speak truthfully as nothing more than equivalent to “jihadists.”  I have now seen that this is the only reliable defense they have.

“As the dominant conversation of their gathering centers on the trivial…”

Perhaps Dr. Boone is complaining that focusing on such things as his promotion of prayer labyrinths, mysticism, and re-writing of plain Scriptural teachings, will reveal the falsehoods that he so tenaciously clings to in spite of clear Biblical teaching to the contrary.  But if anyone thinks I am picking on just Dan Boone, let me be clear.  He is just one of the upfront spokesmen for a movement which many church leaders, pastors, and district leaders have wholeheartedly bought into.  He speaks for them, and so what is written here is just as much about them as it is about Dan Boone.

Let’s take a look at some of his beliefs again:

Dan Boone believes that parts of the Psalms were borrowed from the Pagans

Dr. Boone believes that the Psalms were just different renderings of Babylonian myths, and that parts of the Bible were just the Israelites copying what they heard the pagans say.  Here is what he sent in an email to a concerned Nazarene:

“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.”

If that is the case, then Dr. Boone clearly does not believe that the scriptures are wholly inspired by God, but that some parts come from pagan traditions!  Who else believes this stuff?  Has Dan Boone ever shown us through the word of God that what he says here is true?

Dan Boone promotes pagan prayer labyrinths, contemplative mysticism and false teachers

Trevecca Nazarene University has had a prayer labyrinth on campus for years.  After we brought that to light, he changed the name of it to “prayer walk.”  It’s still a pagan practice, yet Dan Boone and others think that Christians can “redeem” these pagan practices for their own use.  Trevecca also allowed the advertising of a yoga class on their campus, and part of Dr. Boone’s response to me was that he had no opinion about yoga.

Dr. Boone promotes one of the leading teachers of contemplative mysticism, false teacher Richard Foster (see the attached letter to pastors).  See also the article Richard Foster: Evangelicalism’s Mystical Sparkplug, and decide if his teachings reflect sound Biblical doctrine.  Foster, for instance, makes the amazing claim that non-believers can also practice the Christian spiritual disciplines: “We need not be well advanced in matters of theology to practice the Disciplines. Recent converts–for that matter people who have yet to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ–can and should practice them” (Celebration of Discipline, 1978, p. 2).

In the same letter,  he called both Thomas Merton and Ignatius of Loyola spiritual giants.  Merton was not a spiritual giant- he was a monk who said that he was “deeply impregnated with Sufism” because he believed that Eastern mysticism was compatible with and could be incorporated into Christianity.  He placed Mary high on a level equal to Jesus, he prayed to many catholic saints.  He was influenced by Aldous Huxley, who found enlightenment through hallucinogenic drugs.  Quote: “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity. The future of Zen is in the West. I INTEND TO BECOME AS GOOD A BUDDHIST AS I CAN” (Source: Way of LifeYet, Dan Boone calls him a spiritual giant.

Ignatius of Loyola was no wiser, and as the founder of the Jesuits he brutally persecuted Christians and swore complete submission to the pope.  As most Roman Catholics do, he venerated Mary.  He practiced extreme asceticism, living in a cave for a year and never bathing.  He also promoted and taught visualization prayers, breath prayers, and other unbiblical practices (Source: Way of Life).  Yet, Dan Boone calls him a spiritual giant.

Also, in his profile at Nazarene Theological Seminary, which is no longer posted, he said the following:

“…I am deepening in the mystical forms of prayer..”

Can anyone point me to any Biblical instruction on the mystical forms of prayer?

Dan Boone is an Ecumenist Who Compromises With A False Religion

In a Letter to Pastors he wrote in 2009  he not only erroneously claimed that the Roman Catholic church was the only church for 1500 years after Christ, but he also exposed more error along with his ecumenical get along with everyone philosophy.  How is it that we can “be one” with the Roman Catholic Church?

“While Nazarenes are different from Catholics in very significant ways, we believe that we will share eternity with them in the presence of the Christ who prayed that we might be one.”  

And for years Trevecca has sponsored a trip for students to the Abby of Gethsemani, a monastery in Kentucky which was home to Thomas Merton.  They openly promote practicing the silence, which Dr. Boone has erroneously justified by twisting the meaning of Psalm 46:10 totally out of context.  (Read article here)

So could it be that Dan Boone and his intellectual friends have succumbed to demonic enticement and trickery, to the point that they are blinded to the truth and now believe a lie?  Has he been duped by another Wormwood into believing a lie?  Or is it that myself and other Christians who are opposed to his ideology and the practices he promotes, are the ones who have succumbed to demonic lies?  For you see, it is either the one, or the other.  Dan Boone cannot be right, and at the same time, we who oppose his philosophy cannot also be right.  Truth is truth, and the rest is doctrines of demons.

I just ask again for anyone to contrast with Scripture, and make up your mind.

Related Articles:

 

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/conversation-with-a-university-president/

http://sadnazarene.wordpress.com/category/dan-boone/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/a-charitable-discourse-or-compromise/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/a-response-to-dan-boones-report-on-soulforce/

Dan Boone sermons at College Church of the Nazarene:

Gods That Must Be Carried (9/18/2012)

Revival Chapel (9/18/2012)

The Neighbors (9/19/2012)

Overwhelmed (9/19/2012)

Overprotected (9/20/2012)

A Response to Dan Boone’s Report on SoulForce

by John Henderson

SOURCE: http://trevechoesonline.com/2012/03/15/trevecca-president-dan-boones-written-response-to-the-soulforce-visit/

The same thing is missing from Dr. Boone’s report that was missing from the MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU) response as reported in Holiness Today.  There was no presenting the claims of Christ upon the lost, there was no use of the Scriptures with them (as indicated by this response) nor in the response itself except by an inapplicable reference to having been like Egypt, and there was no prayer for the wayward.

Be that as it may, I suppose Dan Boone’s remarks should receive an evangelical-Scriptural response..

I begin with the knowledge (based on a published sermon) that Dr. Boone considers homosexual behavior and homosexual orientation as not being the same in terms of sin.  He says that the behavior is sin and the orientation is not.  He has also publically expressed sympathy and support in the past for those who are “oriented” and are “struggling” with being ostracized, condemned, etc.  This is in line with the Board of General Superintendents’ published position on the same issue.

A simple answer on such matters is never comprehensive and sufficient, but I must settle for that.  My immediate response is that such a position is not in harmony with the Word of God.  It is nowhere taught or implied in the Scriptures that a propensity to any particular sin is unrelated to the act itself.  If anything, the Bible is crystal clear that sin comes out of the inclination.  It actually begins there and, as such, is always sin even in the incubation stages.  As an unborn baby is always a baby, unborn sin is just as much sin as when it emerges into action.  Charles Wesley penned the phrase, “Take away our bent to sinning,” and we Wesleyans should understand that this is exactly what he meant.  While the possibility to sin is always present, the “bent to sinning” (carnality) should not remain and is “crucified with Christ” at the moment of entire sanctification.  This may be explained differently according to various doctrinal opinions, but it all comes to this conclusion.  The former homosexual who is born again has the great privilege and call to holiness so that the “orientation” is no longer a problem.  If being filled the Holy Spirit does not free us from that, then we are preaching a false doctrine and should immediately abandon it and resign ourselves to our own personal rudiments of bondage.

I commend Dr. Boone for not banging the SoulForce people on the head.  That is what they were looking for so they could point accusing fingers at those homophobic Nazarenes.  He didn’t fall into that trap and that is good.  His answers to each issue were fine as far as they went.  However, they came up far short of the opportunity to win them to Christ according to the Scriptures.  It seems that he was content to settle for dialog, conversation, and understanding and let them depart feeling better about their position.  That is tragic because, as Uncle Pek (Richard Gunn) said in one of his poems:  “Out there in the dark, a soul is lost I might have won.”

It is not the calling of the Church to “offer a narrative of life that could be lived out in rich community.”  Getting along and being friendly with one’s fellow creatures is commendable but that is not the salvation mission.

I know of no evidence where any significant groups of Christians are engaged in “bullying” homosexuals.  No committed Christian I know of is engaged in diminishing the personal dignity of homosexuals.  I certainly did not as a practicing Christian psychotherapist in dealing with homosexuals.  I gave them clear and understandable guidelines from the Bible.

Are homosexuals (practicing and non-practicing) lost?  Yes!  There is no difference between the desire and the behavior in God’s sight.  Therefore, they need to be saved, not coddled.  One might as well throw a drowning man an anchor as to tell him he is okay and all he needs to do is talk about it.  He needs to repent, not hug the anchor.

There is one more comment by Dr. Boone I want to address.  It is: “As Christians, we are taught by our own story to care specifically for the marginalized, the forgotten, the minority. In the words of Deuteronomy…’because you were once such a people in Egypt’”.

That sounds really good—on the surface—but does not address the problem.  There is no legitimacy in equating the marginalized, the forgotten, and the minority with self-imposed conditions of the homosexual “community.”  They marginalized themselves and demand that we step over onto that margin and embrace them as mainstream by abandoning every value we have on the matter.  They are certainly not forgotten or overlooked.  Even the Word of God has clearly identified homosexuality as receiving the same judgment as all other rebellious sins against God and they are offered the same opportunity to repent, or else perish.. Also, they make sure we don’t forget they are there.  They might be a minority but that is only because the majority of us are repulsed by homosexuality in its various forms (orientation or behavior)—forms that they admittedly represent in SoulForce:  gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, and “queer.”  By the way, in case no one noticed, Biblical Christianity is more of a minority in this world than they are.

It should be noted that SoulForce has not distinguished orientation from behavior.  That distinction has been ours.  I am fully convinced that whenever a homosexual gloms onto the term orientation it is only to distract and intimidate you and me into submission to their way of thinking.  They don’t actually see a difference but demand that we “see” it by turning a blind eye to clear Scriptures on the matter.

If I may be plain, it is past time that we stop fiddling with this thing and go Scriptural.  It is the gospel they need—desperately need—and we are handing them devilish drivel.

 

John Henderson

A Charitable Discourse, Or Compromise?

[Updated Aug.31, 8:30 pm, added comments in red, contributed by John Henderson]

There is a pastor’s conference scheduled for September to be held at Trevecca Nazarene University.  Upon reading the agenda for the conference, and being familiar with some of the views of Dr. Dan Boone, I thought I might help some pastors who are considering attending.  I believe I can save them some money at the same time, and save time away from family and congregation. Instead of spending $150, plus travel and hotel and other expenses, I will provide the answers to the questions listed below, and I suggest a donation of $10 to Stand For Truth Ministries, which will go towards the production and distribution of resource DVDs to Christians who are standing against and exposing false teachings.  Below is a portion of the press release, followed by my answers to these questions:

Trevecca offers new conference for pastors

Trevecca Nazarene University offers pastors an opportunity to discuss with TNU President Dan Boone those “thorny” issues that can divide congregations at its September conference.

During “A Charitable Discourse: Forming Mature Congregations in a Contentious Culture” September 19-21 pastors can grapple with the issues that can divide congregations…

Boone will define what is at stake in these issues and will provide resources to help pastors guide their own charitable discourses with congregants and communities.

Below are some of the questions they will “grapple” with, and my answers which do not require a one hour discussion:

1.  How does a pastor preach the gospel to a congregation with deeply-held, diverse opinions?

Answer: Boldly, uncompromisingly, without regard for who will like him, or which side he should take, or how many he can retain in his congregation, or whose feelings he might hurt, or whether the world will be pleased with him.  The truth is all that matters, not diverse opinions.

Further Questions:  Define “deeply-held, diverse opinions.”  In terms of what:  biblical vs. non-biblical? biblical prayer vs. mysticism-based prayer? Scriptural inerrancy vs. “inerrant as it relates only to salvation”

2.  How are believers formed in a church of differing political persuasions?

Answer: Through the preaching of the gospel without any personal and extra-biblical views inserted, such as the liberal and social gospel views of the post-modern church of today.  Just “preach the gospel once delivered to the saints.”  That is sufficient.

Further questions:  What do political persuasions matter?  Do those who listen to Rush have different religious opinions than those who listen to Obama?  If so, what are they?  Also, what examples do you have that political opinions do or ever have impacted on Christians together in the same church?  Has there ever been a church split between Democrats and Republicans?  Have they not more likely been over what color of carpet to install?
3. How does a pastor survive the pressure of competing demands from opposite ends of the creation debate?

Answer: “Survival” is not the concern.  A pastor must boldly and clearly teach that the Bible is the inerrant, infallible word of God, and therefore there is no need for debate as to whether God spoke the truth when He inspired Moses to write down the creation account.  The only pressure a pastor should feel is the pressure to be 100% faithful to God’s word, without concern for the pressures of man’s opinion.  Even so, it should not even be “pressure”; it ought to be a love for God’s truth that motivates him.

Further Questions:  What opposite ends of the creation debate?  The Church of the Nazarenes and other evangelical/fundamental churches have traditionally held to a literal creation as described in Genesis and restated throughout the entire Bible.  The only “debate” has been whether the six days were literally 24-hours each or some other longer period, but never about whether it was literal.  Evolutionism never had a chance in that discussion.

4. How will the church respond to homosexuality?

Answer: Like any other sin.  Homosexuality is disobedience to God, and the scriptures teach that those who deliberately rebel against God, regardless of the sin, are choosing a path of destruction.  The church should not condone any sin including homosexuality, and should not water down sin, by differentiating between “orientation” and the actual practice of homosexuality.  If a man has desires for another woman, yet does not sleep with her, is that okay?  Why then treat homosexuality any different or more special than any other sin, whether of thought, or of deed?  There is no “conversation” needed here, the question is settled.

Further Questions:  What do the Scriptures say about homosexuality every time it is mentioned or referenced?  Should that not be as far as you go with it?  If the official statement of a denomination contradicts the Scriptures, which is to be believed?

Those of us who are determined to stay the course and advance uncompromising biblical truth believe that what is at stake in these issues (as Dr. Boone plans to define at the conference) is simply the following:

The true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is at stake, and souls are at stake.

It would also seem that Dr. Boone believes the following:

A. That those who disagree with him are religious jihadists.

B. That unless you support a strictly liberal progressive ticket (which he did publically despite declaring he voted otherwise), you are on the wrong side of the issues.

C. That the “scientific” data on the side of evolution is more accurate than the fable of creation in Genesis.

D. That we should apologize to homosexuals for the hard time they have had getting accepted as homosexuals and that as long as they think it (orientation) and don’t do it (you can imagine that for yourself), they are without guilt or sin.  Never mind those pesky Bible passages that say things like, “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

I realize Dr. Boone and many others in Nazarene higher education have more educational and religious credentials than I and others have.  Does that make them automatically more qualified to discern truth and error than us?  Of course not!  Do their credentials allow them to promote open theism, process theology, limited scriptural inerrancy, and evolution without being challenged?  No, since other men of equal credentials have already challenged them on these and other positions.  I wonder, does he consider them extreme fundamentalists?

Dr. Boone has a very popular following in the Nazarene schools today, but he is being challenged by some on his positions regarding many biblical issues today.  He has urged others to “stun them with our silence”, yet he continues on in his book “Charitable Discourse”, (which it is not) to be amazingly uncharitable towards those that he considers are “fundamental Christian Nazarenes.”

I am one of those who are challenging him and many other leaders today, as evidenced by our back and forth on several issues a couple of years ago.  I don’t believe Dr. Boone is qualified to lead this conference, based on statements he has made that are very suspect at best, and his beliefs.

Dr. Boone believes, for instance, that the Psalms were just different renderings of Babylonian myths, and that parts of the Bible were just the Israelites copying what they heard the pagans say.  If that is the case, then Dr. Boone clearly does not believe that the scriptures are wholly inspired by God, but that some parts come from pagan traditions!  Here is the quote I refer to, which he sent in an email to a concerned Nazarene:

“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.”

Dr. Boone has also referred to both Thomas Merton and Ignatius of Loyola as spiritual giants, so it is erroneous logic for him to state: “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 being Mormonized.” (This was in response to my critique of sending students to the Abby of Gethsemani every year for retreats.  Included in the activities was participation in “practicing the silence”, and ecumenical activities with the monks.)

We find that statement to be absurd–you don’t get Gethsemani without getting Merton. It isn’t benign like staying in a hotel; keep in mind as well that he has referred to Thomas Merton as a spiritual giant.  Yet, Thomas Merton was a blatant universalist who mixed Eastern religions with Christianity!  But Dr. Boone calls him a spiritual giant?

I obtained a copy of a letter (from 2009)  to pastors warning them about certain concerned Nazarenes.  In it, Dr. Boone erroneously claimed that the Roman Catholic church was the only church for 1500 years after Christ.  That is clearly not the fact, although he continued to insist that it is accurate.  In the same letter, he states that “While Nazarenes are different from Catholics in very significant ways, we believe that we will share eternity with them in the presence of the Christ who prayed that we might be one.”   I wonder if Dr. Boone feels the same way about Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who also claim to know Christ.  And does he not know that officially, the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize Nazarenes and other denominations as true Christians?  This is compromise with anyone who claims the name of Jesus, but that is not the kind of unity Jesus prayed for.

Dr. Boone has also allowed the practice of the prayer labyrinth at Trevecca, and when this was exposed, changed the name to prayer walk.  It’s still the same pagan practice, yet he believes apparently that we can take pagan practices and use them in a Christianized way to worship God.  And he shows his support for the contemplative mysticism he denies, by favorably quoting and reading such authors as Richard Foster, who is the leading contemporary promoter of contemplative mysticism.

He also has a very erroneous understanding of Psalm 46, which many use as an excuse to justify “practicing the silence”, which is nothing more than contemplative prayer, one of the Christianized versions of transcendental meditation.  Read Psalm 46, and you wonder how he and so many others get this passage wrong!  Dr. Boone is in denial that mystical practices are being encouraged at his school, while at the same time proving it with his approval of mystics such as Merton and Foster!

Dr. Boone also discusses jihad in the church, and apparently that is a reference to folks like us who dare to challenge his views that we believe are damaging the church.  Not very charitable, is that?  I quote him:

“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.”

He goes on to qualify that, but that is a typical thing that is done: attack, then soften the statement, but the accusation sticks anyway.  Finally, he says also:

“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.”

Again, not very charitable.  Dr. Boone does not seem to practice what he preaches.

Dr. Boone is not an exception.  Our Nazarene schools have many leaders who are now allowing the promotion of just about anything without question, and that should not be so.  I have pointed them out many times, and will continue to do so.  Dr. Boone and others can call us jihadists or extreme fundamentalists all they want, but we will continue exposing their dangerous ideologies to Christians who do not believe that ANY man should go unquestioned, just because they have a bunch of degrees and honors.  I challenge Dr. Boone and all others to accept the word of God as what it is: inerrant and infallible, and the only authority for our faith and practice.

Some would say I am not being charitable in my words.  But we are to call out those who are in error, are we not?  Dr. Boone is no exception.  He is just one of many of our leaders who have been in error for a long time.  Popularity notwithstanding, I will continue to call them out.  I’ll conclude with quotes from his book.  You can make up your own mind:

From chapter 5:

“Hinduism. I even reminded the writer that God’s people have often taken elements of other religions and sanctified them for Christian use—Canaanite songs became Jewish psalms, pagan feasts became Christian meals, and so on.”

 

From chapter 6:

“My concern is that we have diminished God by elevating the Bible.”  (???)

“I believe that God is pained over the tenor of the discussion between the literalists of seven-day creation theories and the evolutionists of the slow creative-process theories. To prove either one correct is not a saving act. God is not wringing his hands hoping we defend the literal interpretation of Gen. 1.”

“What I find more exciting and authoritative is the thought that the people of God were exiled in the pagan land of Babylon, listening to pagan stories about the origin of the universe, and the breath of God spoke through a prophet giving them a different understanding. They hijacked the Babylonian tale of creation and declared God to be the one who, in the beginning, created creation and came to take up residence with us in the cosmic temple. Now that’s authority”

Links:

A Charitable (To People Who Think Like Me) Discourse:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/concernednazarenes/doc/10150247210044588/

 

Dan Boone’s Comments on Trevecca:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/emergent-church-what-is-it/dr-boones-comments-on-trevecca/

Thomas Merton: http://www.facebook.com/groups/concernednazarenes/doc/10150260163134

 

Conversation With A University President

As they say on Fox News, “we report, you decide.”  I have been in a back and forth dialogue with the President of Trevecca Nazarene University, Dr. Dan Boone, since I posted my article, Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Mysticism and Pagan Practices.  We have had a cordial conversation, in spite of the harsh criticism of Trevecca that I have given in my article.  In fact, this is the first real “conversation” of substance that I have had with anyone in Nazarene leadership in the past year and a half, and that is greatly appreciated, because dialogue is what concerned Nazarenes have been looking to have for a long time.  All we have been asking for is direct answers to the questions we have about some things that have been troubling us in the past several years.

So I am posting an exchange between Dr. Boone and me (he has given me permission to share them). Here are the emails, unedited and uncensored.  Dr. Boone’s words are in blue text, my original words are on black, and my added comments are in red).

Brothers and sisters, please read this carefully and judge for yourself but only in the light of scripture.

————————————————

From:            Boone, Dan
Sent:            Tue 2/02/10 10:04 PM

Dear Manny,

Greetings friend. I just got home from a campus revival service. Over 500 students gathered for great worship. The song Be Thou My Vision captivated us in worship and praise. The preacher has been walking us through the Lord’s Prayer. (Monday night) – Hallowed name = the sanctification of the name of God in his people remaking us in the image and likeness of God. (Tuesday morning) – Kingdom come/will be done = the deliverance from self-rule and self-sovereignty for a life of obedience to God and his mission in the world. (Tonight) Give us bread = to be human is to be needy before the provision of God and humble enough to receive it. About 100 were at the altar praying tonight.

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. Two years ago we called this a prayer labyrinth. This identification bothered some people because of the association with pagan labyrinths. So we stopped calling it that. But the Concerned Nazarenes have never explained what we were doing, nor stopped hammering us about being pagan/emergent/liberal/and any other bad names they can come up with. I have answered this hundreds of times. I wish they would stop taking one word, filling it with deceptive suggestion, and labeling us. It is beneath the dignity of holiness folk.

You’ve probably also seen the accusation that we force students to take yoga as a way of introducing them to Hindu spirituality. For the record, in 110 years, Trevecca has never had a yoga class. A campus visitor saw an ad for a yoga class on our intercampus TV network. It was sponsored by Trevecca Towers, an independent HUD housing project for the elderly. They have a yoga class to increase the mobility of their residents. Most of the folk in the class are over 65 and many of them are retired Nazarene pastors and missionaries. We haven’t lost any to Hinduism that I know of.

I regret the pain you have experienced in your church and I wish you God’s healing. I can assure you that those who are targeting Trevecca as anti-Christian will not bring you much peace. They are full of fear and anxiety. I pray for them and stand ready to forgive.

Blessings,

Dan Boone


From:   Boone, Dan
Sent:    Fri 2/05/10 11:38 AM

To:       Manny Silva

Good morning Manny. Please call me Dan.

It is a joy to reply to you. I’ve regretted that 98% of the concerned Nazarenes/reformed Nazarenes communication has felt like a drive-by shooting – with the exception of one email, no one except you has even called or written me.

I am thankful for your concerns that the church be rooted in the scriptures, and also that our Wesleyan heritage be valued. As a Wesleyan, I concur with the quadrilateral of scripture, tradition, experience, and reason. This has guided the holiness movement across centuries.

In your email below I have tried to respond to the objections you have raised. Also, please note my closing note to you at the end of your letter.

From: Manny Silva
Sent: Thursday, February 04, 2010 7:53 AM

To: Boone, Dan

Dear Dr. Boone,

Thanks for getting in touch with me, although I should have sent the article to you right away. I appreciate the response, as many of us have been seeking answers from leadership to questions about the emerging/emergent church, contemplative spirituality practices, Roman Catholic works-based rituals, Open Theism, and other teachings that have caused us to be concerned, and not just simply a few of us who are “officially” connected to Concerned Nazarenes.  Please understand that I and others are equal opportunity critics, and have been also raising questions about practices and teachings at such schools as Northwest Nazarene, Point Loma, and Eastern Nazarene College, where I attended for several years.

Thank you for the thought regarding my experience at my church, but sadly, it is but one of many similar stories of faithful Nazarenes being forced out of their churches because of this emergent ideology.  It is not an isolated incident, and I keep receiving more and more of these stories from folks around the country.  Did you know that many people are leaving the Nazarene denomination, sometimes starting their own church instead of putting up with pastors who don’t completely trust the Bible?  Much of it is due to the contemplative spirituality, emergent philosophy, and introduction of Roman Catholic practices and rituals to students and churches.  Why are these things being welcomed into our holiness denomination?   To be holy is to be set apart, yet we seem to be going the other way.

Regarding the prayer stations you mentioned, I object to those and see them as inappropriate for Christians.  Nowhere is something like it found in the Bible, and they are simply a man made ritual originating from old Roman Catholic traditions similar to the Stations of the Cross.  The same goes for prayer labyrinths, of which the school prominently displays on the website.  Prayer labyrinths are in use now in Nazarene churches as well, and it is a practice borrowed from pagan religions which has absolutely no biblical justification for its use, and certainly is not part of our wonderful Nazarene heritage.  If I am wrong on both of these, I still wait for men much more learned than me, to justify the use of these with the scriptures.

Dan Boone: I think things like this actually are found in the Bible. The practice of the OT people of God in the temple includes Psalms of individual confession of sin, thanksgiving, offering up sacrifice, 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. Please read these words from my earlier email as a model of this kind of praying – “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 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 same things they did.

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 theologians 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.

I also believe that the trip to the Abbey at Gethsemani is wrong and should not be allowed to happen.  Students all over the country seem to be getting introduced to Roman Catholic practices and monastic rituals on a regular basis, and I ask again, why?  Why are Nazarene students going to this monastery to “fellowship” with those whose basis for salvation is works based, and not by faith alone in Jesus alone.  Why is it that your university, along with others, is increasingly promoting these events, as well as promoting the use of books by such authors as Thomas Merton, a man who equated Buddhism with Christianity, and Henri Nouwen, who was a universalist.  Do you embrace the official teachings of Roman Catholicism as being  par with our Wesleyan heritage?  I have a love for Roman Catholics, but I want to present the true gospel to them, not fellowship with them and thereby give our tacit approval to their heretical teachings by associating with them in such a manner.  I have seen the agenda for this retreat, and it is disturbing.

Dan Boone: The trip to the Abbey started in the late 1960’s with Dr. Bill Strickland, one of our 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.

(* Clarification: The opening prayer is scheduled to be delivered by a monk, and the students are given options to participate in some of the regular hours of prayer that the monks participate in).

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 being Mormonized. A Mormon family, or maybe it’s a Latter Day Saints family, owns Marriott. I actually like to stay there because I get a good room rate and they are clean. I am not approving their teachings by renting a room from them. 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.

Manny, 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.

I was not really aware of the yoga story you mentioned, but (with all due respect) I question the discernment of Nazarene pastors and missionaries who would participate in yoga, of which there is nothing Christian about it.  It is again, the incorporation of a pagan religious practice, and that cannot be separated from it.

Dan Boone: I don’t even have a dog in this hunt.

Dr. Boone, there are many of us who will not let up in asking for answers and for accountability.

Dan Boone: have hereby accounted for what we are doing, defending it as Biblical, Wesleyan, reasonable, and rooted in a common Christian experience of generations of Nazarenes. I have also included Judge Charles Davis on the email as the Chair of our Board of Trustees, to whom I as President am accountable for my leadership of Trevecca. I also am fully aware that I stand accountable to the church and have included the two General Superintendents that you have been corresponding with, along with the GS in Jurisdiction of Trevecca. Above and beyond this, I am accountable to God and am fully at peace that we are following the ways of Jesus and seeking to live as holy servants.

All we are doing is really… to try to warn you about a serious danger to the church.  We love our denomination too much to ignore what is spreading throughout the Christian world like cancer. We are in no way hateful Nazarenes, or mean-spirited, although admitting we are not perfect.  I would disagree with one of your comments, and would say that it would be beneath our dignity, not to say anything and speak out.  We are dedicated to one thing right now, and that is to preserve the purity of the gospel, which was “once for all entrusted to the saints.”

May I also offer a warning? The doctrine of Holy Love, entire sanctification is being muddied by unfounded accusations, insinuations of evil intent where there is none; and all this (with the exception of you and one other) is being done on a public website rather than person to person. It 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 associated with the word  never occurred. We’ll keep using the prayer retreat site because it is a good place for our students to get alone with God.

(*If the word labyrinth is not being used anymore, is the practice still happening?  Because it is the practice or ritual which we find wrong, not whatever it is called).

What we are seeking is answers to questions such as these, and perhaps you or someone from the theology department can answer these questions:

1. Is the use of prayer labyrinths justified by scripture?  If so, please show me.

Dan Boone: We’ve stopped using the word, please stop beating us over the head with it.

(* See: The Labyrinth: A Walk to Life or A Walk To Death?)

2. Are prayer stations biblically justified?

Dan Boone: I really don’t know. I actually don’t care whether you call the place you pray a prayer station, a prayer closet, an altar, a bedside, or a quiet retreat place. But I am absolutely certain that providing places to pray, confess, intercede for others is Biblically justified.

3. If it’s okay to fellowship with Roman Catholic monks at a monastery, is it also okay to fellowship with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, who also say they believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior?

Dan Boone: If you believe all Catholics to be lost and unsaved (which I don’t), this would make them sinners. I recall that Jesus was accused of fellowshipping with sinners quite frequently. I guess I am guilty. I actually think God wants us to be with them.

(*Clarification from Manny: I do not believe all Catholics are lost.  I do believe the institution of the RCC does teach heretical doctrines, such as: praying to Mary or the saints; purgatory; the communion wafer and wine being the actual body and blood of Christ; works-base salvation. Therefore, creating a doctrine contrary to the gospel is in direct disobedience to Jesus Christ and His command to obey Him in everything).
** Further clarification: A Catholic who believes in the same heretical dooctrines as the RCC teaches, and believes in works-based salvation- well, that Catholic could not be saved, because that would be believing in another Jesus.  Same goes for Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  These folks are not truly saved).

4. Is practicing the silence (as advertised for in the retreat) a spiritual discipline, and if so, where is that taught in the Bible?

Dan Boone: “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 can’t believe God wants us to do all the talking. I’m sure God prefers that we get silent and listen.

(* Note from Manny: See my post regarding Psalm 46:10, which is used as the main reason to practice contemplative prayer).

5. Is there such a thing as Christian yoga, and should Christians incorporate this into their lives as a good thing?

Dan Boone: I have no opinion on this. I do think exercise is good for the body. You are more than free to make your case against yoga. I just have other things that I see as more valuable to oppose – human trafficking, alcohol destruction, hunger, etc. I am not suggesting that you don’t care about things like this, but the websites I see attacking us don’t mention these kinds of issues – only yoga, labyrinths, Catholics, and other stuff.

6. So if I listen long enough, I can hear the voice of God?  How do I know that what I hear is really the voice of God?

Dan Boone: What God says is in keeping with the written word of God, 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.

I have so many other questions to all of the universities and even to our General Superintendents, for example: how can I trust God if I believe that God makes mistakes?  (Open Theism).  But that can be another day I guess.  There are many Nazarenes who truly believe that there has be a serious correction, a repentance, throughout our universities and churches, by those who are pushing the emergent/contemplative/Roman Catholic practices in the Nazarene denomination, or serious judgment will come because of a failure to recognize and respond to this crisis.  We love our church.  Why would we otherwise pay such a price that we have paid, for what we have stood for?  Either we are confused and are disobeying God, or it is the result of faithfulness to God, and an indication of what was promised in 1 Tim 3:12:  “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

I sincerely am praying that this event will be canceled.  I understand that many were at the altar praying at that revival, but I would rather see one contrite person who has responded to the true gospel, than see 100 people praying, of which some perhaps are putting their trust in man made practices and rituals that have no basis in scripture.

Sincerely in Christ,

Manny Silva

Dan Boone: I respect your right to question these practices. I hope my response has been helpful to your understanding of the truth. One of the things I try to do when I disagree with someone is to look for signals that God may be blessing what they are doing. The fruit of Godly living, Christian service, and holy witness being borne by the students and faculty of Trevecca is easy to see. Come visit us. I wish you continued healing in your life.

Blessings,

Dan

YOUR COMMENTS ARE  WELCOME.  PLEASE DEFEND YOUR POSITION BASED ON SCRIPTURE, NO MATTER WHICH POSITION YOU DEFEND.