A New General Superintendent: Cause For Celebration, Or Concern?

After many rounds of voting, the Church of the Nazarene has elected the first of two general Superintendents that are needed to replace two retiring Generals.  His name is David Busic.

Dr. David Busic, at the time of his election, was the president of Nazarene Theological Seminary, and professor of Preaching and Pastoral Theology.  He has an impressive resume, and seems like a nice guy.  But let us consider some issues that may be of great concern to many Christians.

Concern #1: Emergent Connection or Lack Of Discernment?

At his inaugural address, Dr. Busic made many references and quotes of Phylis Tickle, a major leader in the emergent church movement, of which she has coined the phrase “the great emergence.”  Tickle promotes contemplative spirituality.  Phylis Tickle likens heretic Brian McLaren to Martin Luther who helped bring about the Reformation.  She is probably correct, but this new current reformation is not a good thing.  Tickle receives high praise from emergent heretic Doug Pagitt, calling her “the best friend the emergent movement could ever have.”  Tickle is currently a Senior Fellow of Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral, which has a heavily interfaith message.

Quote: “Washington National Cathedral is a church for national purposes called to embody God’s love and to welcome people of all faiths and perspectives. A unique blend of the spiritual and the civic, this Episcopal Cathedral is a voice for generous-spirited Christianity and a catalyst for reconciliation and interfaith dialogue to promote respect and understanding. We invite all people to share in our commitment to create a more hopeful and just world.”

The Cathedral College also is known for its heavy promotion of all forms of contemplative prayer: centering prayer, silence, stillness.

Tickle is also on the editorial board of explorefaith.org, and the recommended spiritual experts on the site are a veritable who’s who of “Christian” mystics and non-Christian gurus such as Guru Ram Dass, Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hahn, the Sufi Muslim Rumi.

Finally, I give you a dubious quote from her book The Great Emergence:

The new Christianity of the Great Emergence must discover some authority base or delivery system and/or governing agency of its own. It must formulate—and soon—something other than Luther’s Sola Scriptura which, although used so well by the Great Reformation originally, is now seen as hopelessly outmoded or insufficient …(Phyllis Tickle, The Great Emergence, pg. 151)

Imagine that Luther’s Sola Scriptura, so critical within the Reformation movement, of which many left the persecution of the Catholic Church, some under pain of death, is no longer relevant according to Phylis Tickle.  What does this say of her regard for God’s word?  In fact, Phylis Tickle does not believe that the entire Bible is God’s word.

Conclusion: Why would a learned man such as David Busic want anything to do with Phylis Tickle, even if just to quote her and speak highly of her in his messages?  If a well respected man quotes someone favorably and praises them, would not most Bible believing Christians think that this person is a good source for them to go to?  I would like to find out what Dr. David Busic really thinks of Phylis Tickle, in the light of all the heretical things that she stands for.  Is it really wise that a church has just elected a General Superintendent who at the very least, seems to have some really impaired judgment and discernment?

Interfaith Connection?  Or Simply Carelessness?

The following is an excerpt from an email I wrote to Dr. Busic in 2011.  The entire article can be read here: http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/does-nazarene-theological-seminary-support-the-interfaith-movement/

11/18/2011

Dear Dr. Busic,

Congratulations on your appointment as President of NTS.  It is my prayer that God will guide you in leading NTS in upholding biblical truth at the school.  I and other Nazarenes have had concerns in the past regarding some things sponsored by, promoted by, or taught at the seminary.

I was concerned about something I ran into the other day, and wondering if you were aware of it. At the CRES website, the Seminary is listed favorably as a recommended institution friendly to the CRES organization.  My concern is that it is an interfaith group that works closely with practically any kind of religion in the world.

Here is the link to the site where it mentions NTS favorably:  http://www.cres.org/pubs/KCInterfaithOps.htm

On their vision statement page, they say this: “CRES values the contribution of each distinctive faith in healing the crises of our age — and finds it important to honor and preserve their distinctions. “These faiths include: Buddhists, Muslims, Native American religions, Hindu, Sufi, Unitarian Universalists, Taoism, Confucianism, Wiccans, and Zoroastrians!

They also say: “CRES envisions the greater Kansas City area as a model community honoring interfaith relationships where interfaith relationships are honored as a way of deepening one’s own tradition and spirituality, and
where the wisdom of the many religions successfully addresses the environmental,  personal, and social crises of our often fragmented, desacralized world.

Does NTS have any kind of real connection with CRES?  If so, on what basis?  And if not, would it not be prudent to ask this group to remove any reference to NTS as a good resource?  If this is not the type of group NTS wants to associate with, that would certainly remove any appearance of an endorsement of this organization.  If this is the kind of group that NTS wants to associate with, then I humbly will say that it would be a serious problem that all Nazarenes should be aware of.

I did not receive any response from Dr. Busic.

Does the Church of the Nazarene approve of the idea of working with interfaith groups on a regular basis?  Does not the word of God speak against that?  It is written in 2 Cor. 6:14-17:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

It is clear to me, a non-seminary educated man whose father always wanted him to be a pastor, that this scripture passage alone answers the question.  We are not be joining ourselves with those who are pagan and do not preach the Gospel of Christ.  And if these pagans are recommending us favorably, as if we also are favorable to them, it would do us good to have no connection at all with them, and no hint of any kind that we are aligned with their ungodly agenda.

There is only one right thing to do, and the president of NTS has not done it yet.  I call on him to do the right thing, remove the connection with this ungodly group, and make it clear that we do not stand with them in any way, no matter what “good” causes they may be involved in.

Conclusion: Is this a matter of discernment?  Is this a matter of lack of knowledge?  Dr. Busic never answered me.  Perhaps others can bring this egregious connection to his attention, and he will do the right thing.  If not, then we have a serious concern on our hands, with a man who has just been chosen to the highest office of a denomination of over 2 million people.  To be favorably and knowingly linked to such a group, which cannot even be called a Christian organization, is a clear indication of lack of discernment, or an indication of solidarity with their ideas.  Either way, it not good for the Church of the Nazarene.
We have elected David Busic.  The question is, was that the right decision?

Related articles:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/phylis-tickle-and-the-new-seminary-president/

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/does-nazarene-theological-seminary-support-the-interfaith-movement/

 

As of today, NTS is still listed favorably at the CRES site:

CRES note on NTS

Beware: Spiritual Disciplines (aka contemplative mysticism) Still Infiltrating Evangelical Christian Colleges

The following is from Lighthouse Trails Research, documenting the continuing trend of many Christian universities that are rejecting Biblical Christianity in exchange for Eastern mysticism.  Among them in this report is Olivet Nazarene University, although practically all Nazarene universities and the seminaries are on the spiritual formation bandwagon (aka contemplative spirituality), which is fast becoming a requirement for Christian schools to be accredited, and for future pastors in order to graduate.  Many of you know of this, but I want you to continue to be aware of one of the most deadly trends in Christian higher education today that is polluting the minds of many of our young people today.  The General Superintendents in the Nazarene denomination and other leaders seem to have either bought into this or refuse to do anything about it at this time.

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook – Christian Organizations, Seminaries, and Ministry Leaders Incorporate This Mystical Primer into Christian Education (source, Lighthouse Trails Research)

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun is a primer on contemplative mysticism, bursting with contemplative meditation instruction along with references and quotes by some of the movement’s most prolific mystics on the scene today. It’s a book one might expect to find on the shelves of a Catholic monastery, a New Age bookstore, or in an emerging church coffee house; while it probably is in those types of places, the book has become a common textbook in many spiritual formation classes and has found a growing audience with evangelical pastors, seminary professors, and Christian ministry leaders. In fact, many of those in ministry are eagerly flocking to this book, and in so doing pointing potentially millions of Christians to the book’s message. While we have made mention of this book in several articles over the past decade, we feel it is time to present a more focused critique of Calhoun’s book and her message.

 

 

Who is promoting Calhoun’s handbook? First of all, a major advocate of the book for a number of years is Rick Warren. You can find the book on his resource website, where Saddleback gives a hearty recommendation for the book. Willow Creek also recommends the book in their Establishing Life Giving Rhythms class. In a course at Reformed Theological Seminary, the book is being used as “required reading.” In Olivet Nazarene University’s Spiritual Formation and Personal Development course, the book is listed in the “Suggested Reading” section. In Biola’s online course, Introduction to Spiritual Formation, the book is “Recommended Reading.” Assemblies of God Theological Seminary’s course, Renewing the Spiritual Leader includes Calhoun’s book in a list for required reading. Moody Bible Institute’s Midday Connection radio program had Calhoun as a guest speaker in November 2011, and Midday Connection host Anita Lustrea talks about Calhoun in her own book, What Women Tell Me. Lustrea, tells how she met Calhoun during a course called Growing Your Soul and how Calhoun taught her some of the contemplative “spiritual disciplines” (p. 125). On the Wesleyan denomination’s website, in a Spiritual Formation course, Calhoun’s book is listed in a Bibliography on Spiritual Formation. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) had Calhoun as one of the speakers at their 2011 MOPS International Convention. On the book’s publisher’s website (InterVarsity Press), you will find an endorsement for the book by the popular pastor Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian of NYC, who says of Calhoun’s handbook:

I have long profited from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun’s gifts in the field of spiritual development, and I am delighted that she has compiled her experience with spiritual disciplines into book form. I highly recommend it and I look forward to using it as a resource at our church.

These are just a few instances of many more where evangelical Christians or organizations are turning to Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook for spiritual direction (see below this article for more who use the book). Now let us examine this book and see why it is so troubling to know it is being used in so many Christian venues.

As we stated above, Calhoun’s book is permeated with references of and quotes by some of the most prolific contemplative mystics today. But she doesn’t just quote and reference these mystics – in her book, she reveals that these teachers are her ”spiritual tutors.” She states:

I would be remiss not to mention the spiritual tutors that I know only through books: Dorothy Bass, Eugene Peterson, Gerald May, M. Basil Pennington, Dallas Willard, Phyllis Tickle, Fredrick Buechner, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, Jonathan Edwards [not a contemplative], Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Ignatius Loyola, St. Benedict, Julian of Norwich and many more. Their ideas, voices and examples have shaped my own words and experience of the disciplines. (Acknowledgment’s page)

For those who have spent time on the Lighthouse Trails website or read A Time of Departing and Faith Undone, most of these names above will be familiar to you. You will know that the late Gerald May was the co-founder of the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation in Washington DC., and as Ray Yungen points out, May adhered to “Eastern metaphysical views,” which can be seen in many of his writings, including his book The Awakened Heart where he discusses the “cosmic presence” “pervading ourselves and all creation” (ATOD, p. 67). Yungen points out that “there can be no mistaking [May’s] theological underpinnings” when May says:

It is revealed in the Hindu greetings jai bhagwan and namaste that reverence the divinity that both resides within and embraces us all. (The Awakened Heart, pp. 179-180)

Gerald May makes it very clear in that statement where he is coming from. This panentheistic, God-in-everybody view, which May embraced is the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality and is why we are so persistent in warning about this spiritual outlook that has entered the Christian church. Think about it, Adele Calhoun sees Gerald May as a spiritual tutor, and now she is presenting the beliefs of these tutors to untold numbers of Christians via her book. Let’s look at another tutor whom she turns to – Basil Pennington. In a book written by Pennington and Thomas Keating (who, by the way, Calhoun also recommends), the two Catholic monks write:

We should not hesitate to take the fruit of the age-old wisdom of the East and “capture” it for Christ. Indeed, those of us who are in ministry should make the necessary effort to acquaint ourselves with as many of these Eastern techniques as possible.

Many Christians who take their prayer life seriously have been greatly helped by Yoga, Zen, TM and similar practices, especially where they have been initiated by reliable teachers and have a solidly developed Christian faith to find inner form and meaning to the resulting experiences. (Finding Grace at the Center, pp. 5-6)

Calhoun would agree with Pennington and Keating on their views of “Eastern techniques.” She talks about these kinds of practices in her book, such as in the chapter she titles “Centering Prayer” where she instructs readers to focus on a “sacred word,” or in the chapter she titles “Breath Prayer,” where she encourages “short repetitive prayer[s],” or in her chapter titled Devotional Reading, where she talks about lectio divina and picking out one word from a passage of Scripture, a word which becomes the focus for meditation, or in her chapter titled “The Labyrinth Prayer,” where one is taught how to walk through a labyrinth while doing contemplative meditation. She also tells readers to “Explore the practice of liturgical prayer through using the book The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle, or The Daily Office of the Catholic church” (Kindle Edition, Locations 2861-2862). For those of you who may not know who Phyllis Tickle is, she has been the darling and a favorite mentor of emerging church leaders. It is Tickle who likened atonement-rejector Brian McLaren to another Luther, saying he could be instrumental in bringing about a “new reformation.”

One can also see how Calhoun resonates with Pennington and Keating when she favorably says that “three Cistercian monks, Thomas Keating, Basil Pennington and William Meninger, sought to revive this ancient form of meditative prayer.” (Kindle Edition, Locations 2460-2461). By the way, Calhoun recommends (Kindle Edition, Location 2498) Keating’s book, Open Mind, Open Heart, another ”textbook” on contemplative and centering prayer. In that book, Keating says this:

Centering prayer is a discipline designed to reduce the obstacles … choose a sacred word [to repeat] … Twenty to thirty minutes is the minimum amount of time necessary for most people to establish interior silence. (pp. 18, 21, 23 as quoted from Faith Undone, p. 81)

The repeating of a word or phrase is how contemplative prayer is practiced. This in turn begins to make the practitioner feel a oneness with God, humanity, creation, and with everything. This oneness is the whole crux of the matter. After awhile, the contemplative meditator begins to take on a different spiritual outlook. It’s what caused Thomas Merton (another mystic you will find in Calhoun’s book) to say “I see no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity . . . I intend to become as good a Buddhist as I can.” (from David Steindl-Rast, “Recollection of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West” (Monastic Studies, 7:10, 1969). Or what caused Henri Nouwen (another Calhoun “tutor”) to say at the end of his life after years of meditating:

Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.(From Sabbatical Journey, Henri Nouwen’s last book page 51, 1998 Hardcover Edition)

In addition to the tutors Adele Calhoun lists in her Acknowledgements page, she also includes other names in the book that are important to point out here: David Steindl-Rast, Marjorie Thompson (author of Soul Feast), Brian C. Taylor, Kathleen Norris (a Catholic contemplative nun), Karen Mains, Tilden Edwards, Ruth Haley Barton, and Esther De Waal. Between her “tutors” and these other names along with the practices and ideas Calhoun espouses in Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, the heart of the contemplative prayer movement is clearly and no doubtedly manifested in her book.

The following quotes by some of the people in Calhoun’s book are the focal point of our concerns. These aren’t minor points we’re dealing with. The essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at risk to those who are being exposed to this. The spirituality that Calhoun and her tutors embrace leads to interspirituality (i.e., all paths lead to God). “Christian mysticism” resonates with Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim mysticism, which means it’s not Christian at all; but practitioners become blinded to that – this is how Henri Nouwen came to call these mystical spiritual practices “treasures for the spiritual life of the Christian.” See now for yourself if you come to the same conclusions we have when you read these quotes:

The God he [Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in their enlightenment. – Brian C. Taylor (Setting the Gospel Free, p. 76 -What Taylor means by this book title is getting rid of the biblical Gospel).

These [Christian] contemplatives also recognize their soul mates in other traditions, as did Thomas Merton in his pilgrimage to Buddhist Asia. This is because they have passed beyond the confines of religion as a closed system to an open awareness of God-in-life. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free

The enlightenment you seek in our religions has been present in Christianity from the beginning – from the back cover of Richard Rohr’s book, The Naked Now

[New Ager] Ken Wilber is really the best teacher today . . . to give us an “integral spirituality.” Pick any book of his that fascinates you, and you will know why I, as a Christian, recommend him. – Richard Rohr, The Naked Now, p. 153 (Wilber’s “integral spirituality” include yoga, zen, TM, kabbalah, tantric sex, kundalini, and centering prayer.)

This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality. – Tilden Edwards, Spiritual Friend, p. 18

The practice of contemplative prayer might give a Christian ground for constructive dialogue with a meditating Buddhist. – Marjorie Thompson, Soul Feast, Prologue

Skeptics may say, well these quotes are not in Calhoun’s book. That’s true, but anyone can see that Calhoun is encouraging her readers to turn to these mystics by calling them her tutors, quoting from them extensively, and recommending their books.

If you want to know what the end result of practicing contemplative spirituality is, the following quote by David Steindl Rast (who is in Calhoun’s book) sums it up – drop the Cross of Christ! There’s no need for it once the world religions come together under the common denominator of mystical realms:

Unfortunately, over the course of the centuries, this [Christianity] has come to be presented in almost legal language, as if it were some sort of transaction, a deal with God; there was this gap between us and God, somebody had to make up for it—all that business. We can drop that. The legal metaphor seems to have helped other generations. Fine. Anything that helps is fine. But once it gets in the way, as it does today, we should drop it.David Steindl-Rast, talking to a Buddhist (Robert Aitken & Steindl Rast, The Ground We Share, p. 45, emphasis added)

We must choose one, dear Christian – contemplative spirituality or the Cross of Jesus Christ – we cannot have them both.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

Other Instances Where Spiritual Disciplines Handbook is Being Used:

Anaheim Vineyard – Pastoral Staff Recommends list

Rockbridge Seminary (where Rick Warren is an “advisor”) – Master of Divinity, Master of Ministry Leadership

Eastern Mennonite University“Highly recommended” list

Northpark Theological University - “Highly recommended” list

Nazarene Theological SeminaryBibliography used

LeTourneau University

Trevecca Nazarene University – Formational Resources

 

First: An Unwavering Commitment To Biblical Truth

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.  2 Cor. 6:14-17

To The General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene,

You recently put out a statement regarding the Nazarene Theological Seminary and Nazarene Bible College, following a meeting you had with the presidents of the two schools.  I noted this statement:

 “The Board of General Superintendents is deeply and unwaveringly committed to NTS and NBC. They are worthy of the confidence of the entire denomination.”  (Online source)

Does your unwavering commitment to these two schools include unwavering endorsement of the following?

1.     The teaching of Celtic Spirituality at NTS.  Celtic spirituality involves to some extent communication with departed spirits, and the attainment of what is called the “thin place.”  It is shamanism and occultism frankly.  The Celtic way is one of mysticism and pagan practices.  Is this course within the bounds of “Wesleyan” theology, and more importantly, does this course fit within the bounds of Scripture?

2.      The promotion of contemplative spirituality to adults and even to pre-teens.  Specifically, NTS promoted the use of prayer ropes and “silence” to pre-teens, and sponsored a spiritual formation retreat at a Roman Catholic site that emphasized contemplative prayer practices.  Nazarene Bible College uses an instruction book by a Roman Catholic Benedictine monk to teach lectio divina.  How does this type of instruction align with Biblical instruction on prayer?  Where is silence as a form of prayer taught in Holy Scripture?

3.     Collaboration and association with interfaith and ecumenical groups.  I refer to the apparent association of NTS with an interfaith group in Kansas City, called CRES.  This group promotes interfaith dialog and cooperation with all sorts of false religions, and it was appalling and shameful to see NTS listed as a recommended organization.  So far I have received no answer from the president of NTS as to whether he is aware of this or not.
But that’s not all.  Professor Doug Hardy of NTS is a member of a highly ecumenical and interfaith group called Spiritual Directors International which promotes prayer labyrinths among other unbiblical ideas.  Dr. Dean Blevins of NTS is vice-president (and past-president) of the Religious Education Association, which is a member of the North American Interfaith Association!  If you look at all the groups associated with NAIN, it’s just as bad as the CRES group.  I’m beginning to see that it may not be an accident that NTS is listed on the CRES site, because Dr. Blevins, as vice-president of the REA and also an adjunct professor at NBC, also has no problem consorting with a group that includes all sorts of unbiblical religions.  And the REA clearly states that it promote ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue.  Go to these sites, you’ll see it right there.  This is not made up information, this is not rumor or innuendo, this is not a witchhunt, this is fact; and all I would like to know is if you approve of this or not.    Nowhere on these sites will you find any kind of statements about evangelizing the lost and those who practice these false religions.  You won’t find that there because that is not their purpose!  No, instead they promote the idea that each and every false religion represented is an equal and valid expression of faith!  Are we not commanded in Scripture (2 Cor. 6:14-17)  to stay away from unbelievers, other than to evangelize them?


A Bad Dream?  I Wish It Were

Are we Nazarenes living in some kind of terrible nightmare that we will wake up to some day in a cold sweat and say, “wow, what a bad dream?”  No, this is happening for real; it’s happening right under your watch; and I’d like to know (as many, many other Nazarenes) what do you intend to do or say about this?
It is outrageous to have these things going on in any Christian university, and in our case, a holiness based school.  You have been entrusted with being the watchmen for this denomination, and if you are silent and let this continue, I would ask you to read the words of Ezekiel 33.  I believe his words apply today as seriously as they applied in his time.

I know hundreds of Nazarenes who will emphatically say that these schools DO NOT have their full confidence.   For every one of these people, I am sure they represent many other Nazarenes who believe that these schools are NOT worthy of our confidence.  Why?  We are called as a people of God to be separated from the corrupting influences of the world, and the world includes the false religions that comprise these interfaith groups.

I recall again what the church manual says regarding your responsibilities:


317.1.1  “To provide supervision of the international Church of the Nazarene. The Board of General Superintendents shall provide appropriate attention to leadership, guidance, motivation…”

318. “The Board of General Superintendents shall be the authority for the interpretation of the law and doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene…”

More importantly is the fact that you and I, and all other Christians, are under obligation before God for speaking the truth as Scripture teaches us.

• What is the point of these directives in the manual if we don’t seem to be getting leadership, guidance, and motivation regarding these unanswered questions?

• If somehow, you cannot or will not interpret the law and doctrine of the Church and give specific, definitive answers that we can understand, and take appropriate action to protect the flock, who will?  Is it being left up to us to determine what is acceptable based on what each of us likes?

• Why are those who are questioning the emergent (aka missional) church movement being portrayed by some of our “leaders” as divisive for daring to ask for answers, when the emergent church proponents rarely seem to be viewed as being divisive?  Of course, my contention is that depending on what is doing the “dividing”, that according to Scripture is a good thing.

There is clearly division, disruption in the church, but it is being caused by those who are attempting to bring false teachings in, and those who are cooperating with and having fellowship with the enemies of Christ.  And make no mistake about it, the members of these interfaith groups are the enemies of Christ.

I highly recommend that before an unwavering commitment to any of our schools, that first comes an unwavering commitment to biblical truth.

Manny Silva

Does Nazarene Theological Seminary Support The Interfaith Movement?

Buddhists, Muslims, Native American religions, Hindu, Sufi, Unitarian Universalists, Taoism, Confucianism, Wiccans, and Zoroastrians. 

Would you or your church be comfortable with working closely with these religions as part of an interfaith group whose goal is unity with all religions?  Well, the center for Religious Experience And Study (CRES) is based in Kansas City, KS, states the following on their website:

“Beyond superstition, narcissism, sef-righteousness and violence, we uplift the wisdom of the world’s faiths to heal the three great crises of our desacralized culture- in the environment, in personhood, in society.…  “CRES envisions the greater Kansas City area as a model community honoring interfaith relationships
•  where interfaith relationships are honored as a way of deepening one’s own tradition and spirituality, and
•  where the wisdom of the many religions successfully addresses the • environmental, • personal, and • social crises of our often fragmented, desacralized world.


When you read through much of the website, you will see it is a love fest in ecumenicalism and interreligious and pluralistic cooperation, with the idea that only working together with other religions can we bring healing to the world’s problems.  One would think any Bible believing Christian school or denomination would stay far away from associating with this kind of thinking and philosophy.  We are commanded in Scripture:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”  (2 Cor. 6:14).  And we are also told to: “… have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Eph. 5:11


We are not told anywhere in Scripture to come together and hold hands and “dialogue” with other religions, and rightly so, because all other religions are lies, and thus their origin is from Satan, the father of lies.  Yet here on this list of recommended groups and universities is Nazarene Theological Seminary.  I also noted that the site goes out of its way to make sure we know that Midwestern
Baptist Theological Seminary is to be avoided… “as its approach to non-Christian faiths is unreliable and hostile.”  As I suspected, after looking at what MBTS stands for, it seems that it might be the only Christian school worthy of recommending to Bible believers in that area.  I was particularly impressed by their clear, unambiguous statement that the school will reflect AND teach the core biblical principles of their sponsoring denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, including teaching biblical inerrancy.  Would that our schools could only be so bold to do the same!

The question now we ask is, why?  Why is Nazarene Theological Seminary listed as part of a group of approved organizations that CRES has on their website?  That is a question I asked Dr. David Busic last month, in an email to him dated Nov 18.  He is the newly installed President of the seminary, and I thought surely he will correct this error and ask CRES to remove NTS from the approved list.  Furthermore, I would hope that not only would he ask for NTS to be removed from the list, but also that he would clearly distance the seminary from any kind of association and promotion of interfaith or ecumenical gatherings, in accordance with God’s standards as written in Holy Scripture.  I have yet to hear from Dr. Busic, and because of the history of NTS in recent years, I am concerned, and perhaps you should be too.  Perhaps the email got lost, or perhaps he is working on this now.  Perhaps you can send him an alert regarding what could be a misunderstanding.  That is why I am re-sending this to him, in hopes of getting an answer.

I am also concerned about NTS because of what it has promoted in the past.  The previous NTS president, Dr. Ron Benefiel, is directly connected with a group that promotes ecumenical “dialogue.”  The Christian Research/Voice Institute states: “While representing a particular theological tradition (Wesleyan), the goal of CRI/Voice is ecumenical and global.”  The Executive Director is Professor Dennis Bratcher, formerly from Point Loma Nazarene University and a proponent of Open Theism and Process Theology.  Dr. Benefiel is now at Point Loma and head of the Theology School.  Dr. Roger Hahn, a theology professor at NTS, is also on the board of this ecumenical group.

In a recent post (Phyllis Tickle and The New Seminary President), I pointed out how Dr. Busic referred to extensive material from Phyllis Tickle of emergence Christianity fame, in part of his inauguration message.  It is very troubling when you read about her ideology, and when you listen to her in this dialogue with false teacher Tony Jones at Fuller Theological Seminary.  (She starts at around the 27:00 minute mark).
Then there is the seminary’s promotion of contemplative spirituality and ecumenism, not only to adults (pre-General Assembly retreat) but also to young children of middle school age.  Then there is the occultic course being taught by Doug Hardy (Celtic Spirituality), and Dr. Hardy also is heavily involved with another interfaith group, Spiritual Directors International, where he is listed as a “spiritual director”, and is on the editorial board of the Presence Journal.  His bio says that Doug’s fundamental calling is to come alongside others to help facilitate their alignment with God.”  Not to preach the gospel, but alignment with God, whatever that means.
(Note also that the first person on the list is Lauren Artress, who was instrumental in popularizing prayer labyrinths in the United States.)  Oh, but who really cares about all this?

I could go on, but there seems to be a troubling trend at our top Nazarene seminary of promoting interfaith dialogue, ecumenism, emergent church ideology, and contemplative mysticism.  Is this the new face of the main seminary which is training perhaps your future pastor?  How will that bode for you and your congregation?  And what do our General Superintendents (our denomination’s spiritual leaders and interpreters of our doctrine) say about these issues?  Well, in a recent meeting on Dec. 8 with the leaders of NTS and Nazarene Bible College, I quote the article: “in the meeting, the general superintendents expressed their confidence in [Presidents] Busic and Graves and assured them of their unwavering support for the schools.”  The Generals also made the following statement:


“The Board of General Superintendents is deeply and unwaveringly committed to NTS and NBC. They are worthy of the confidence of the entire denomination.”


Unwavering?  Worthy of confidence?  Was this statement made with the knowledge of all these things going on at NTS?  Do the Generals support interfaith dialogue, and contemplative mysticism, and the teaching of occultism?  They have clearly have been informed of these troubling trends at both seminaries and are silent at this point.  One can make a strong case that the Board of General Superintendents may be supporting the very things I mentioned which run contrary to God’s word.  I pray that they will prove me (and others) wrong, but at this point, neither of these seminaries are worthy of the confidence of the entire denomination, that’s for sure.

Manny Silva


——–


Addendum: 
EMAIL TO DR. DAVID BUSIC, PRESIDENT OF NAZARENE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY:

Below is my email to Dr. Busic.  It seems he has a lot on his hands.  Does Dr. Busic accept or tolerate these things?  Either view would be wrong.  I will FOLLOWUP as these trends develop, and let you know if NTS continues to be listed on the CRES website.  So far, it is not encouraging to see the road that this Nazarene seminary is going down, and I do not at this time recommend future pastors going to the seminary, nor do I recommend any church to consider for pastor anyone graduating from NTS unless they are thoroughly scrutinized and questioned as to their ideology.


11/18/2011

Dear Dr. Busic,

Congratulations on your appointment as President of NTS.  It is my prayer that God will guide you in leading NTS in upholding biblical truth at the school.  I and other Nazarenes have had concerns in the past regarding some things sponsored by, promoted by, or taught at the seminary.

I was concerned about something I ran into the other day, and wondering if you were aware of it.
At the CRES website, the Seminary is listed favorably as a recommended institution friendly to the CRES organization.  My concern is that it is an interfaith group that works closely with practically any kind of religion in the world.

Here is the link to the site where it mentions NTS favorably:  http://www.cres.org/pubs/KCInterfaithOps.htm

Just an observation, I thought that it was really strange that they said this about another school: “We cannot recommend Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as its approach to non-Christian faiths is unreliable and hostile.”  Funny, I went to their website and so far have not seen anything about this Baptist school which would be over the top, unless they have a very consistent biblical approach that CRES cannot accept.  I am not Baptist, but certainly do agree with the core values as stated by that school, so I wonder why CRES would not recommend them.  I’ll have to ask CRES of course, not you.

On their vision statement page, they say this:
CRES values the contribution of each distinctive faith in healing the crises of our age — and finds it important to honor and preserve their distinctions. “  These faiths include: Buddhists, Muslims, Native American religions, Hindu, Sufi, Unitarian Universalists, Taoism, Confucianism, Wiccans, and Zoroastrians!

They also say: “CRES envisions the greater Kansas City area as a model community honoring interfaith relationships
•  where interfaith relationships are honored as a way of deepening one’s own tradition and spirituality, and
•  where the wisdom of the many religions successfully addresses the • environmental, • personal, and • social crises of our often fragmented, desacralized world.

Does NTS have any kind of real connection with CRES?  If so, on what basis?  And if not, would it not be prudent to ask this group to remove any reference to NTS as a good resource?  If this is not the type of group NTS wants to associate with, that would certainly remove any appearance of an endorsement of this organization.  If this is the kind of group that NTS wants to associate with, then I humbly will say that it would be a serious problem that all Nazarenes should be aware of.

Looking forward to your response.  I have CC’d this to a few close friends so they are aware of the same issue regarding CRES and the reference to NTS.

Sincerely in Christ,

Manny Silva

Phylis Tickle and The New Seminary President

Phyllis Tickle is one of the well known leaders in the emergent church movement.  She is particularly known for coining or popularizing the phrase “Emergence Christianity.”  She wrote a book called The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing And Why, in which her main point is that great changes always occur in the church every 500 years, and that we are in the midst of such a time again.  She compares this time to such other movements as the Protestant Reformation, among other movements in history.  According to Tickle. the emerging church is now playing a pivotal role in yet again redefining the future of Christianity.  Her premise is that a new and “more vital” form of Christianity is emerging.  If this is true, we in trouble.

In chapter one of the book, she likens this supposed great new change to a rummage sale, where old things are cleaned out and discarded, and replaced with new fresh ideas and approaches to Christianity.  This is exactly what the emergent church is all about.  It’s really the same concept that false teacher Brian McLaren promotes, that of a “New Kind Of Christianity”, and as he states in the title of one of his books, “everything must change.”  And he really means it, and I’m sure Phyllis Tickle also agrees with him.

In his post Who Is Phyllis Tickle?, Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries points out that she receives high praise for her emergence concepts from false teacher and emergent church leader Doug Pagitt, who promotes “Christian yoga”, denies the concept of original sin, and seems to support a kind of “Christian universalism.”   Pastor Silva also brings out another association:

…at her website we read the following endorsement from an apostate Episcopal “Bishop and Primate”:

“Phyllis Tickle offers a creative and provocative overview of multiple social and cultural changes in our era, their relation to previous major paradigm shifts, and their particular impact on North American Christianity. This is an immensely important contribution to the current conversation about new and emerging forms of Christianity in a post-modern environment—and a delight to read!”
—The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori,
Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church

Bishop Schori is clearly an apostate.  She has stated in a message to the Episcopal General Conference that individual salvation is the greatest heresy in the church today, and that there is only a collective salvation.

From Tickle’s website, her About section says that she:

is currently a Senior Fellow of Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral… A lay eucharistic minister and lector in the Episcopal Church.

 At the WNC website:

Washington National Cathedral is a church for national purposes called to embody God’s love and to welcome people of all faiths and perspectives. A unique blend of the spiritual and the civic, this Episcopal Cathedral is a voice for generous-spirited Christianity and a catalyst for reconciliation and interfaith dialogue to promote respect and understanding. We invite all people to share in our commitment to create a more hopeful and just world.


Ken then points out that she is on the board of advisors of the Mary Baker Eddy Library.  Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science cultic religion.

As you dig deeper, the Cathedral promotes contemplative prayer, including centering prayer and practicing the silence.  I suggest you read the full post by Pastor Silva in order to get an even better look at the very dubious associations that Tickle has with apostate groups and false religions.

You’ll hear her in this conversation with emergent proponent Peter Rollins as he “tickles her ears” while discussing emergence Christianity.  Tickle is also a proponent of mysticism, as is her friend Rob Bell.  From the Museum of Idolatry website, you can hear a clip of her speaking at Rob Bell’s church, where she was invited to speak about the ‘feminine attributes’ of the Holy Spirit.  At the 8:11 mark, she claims that when we take communion we are “FEEDING THE “GOD” WITHIN US”.

Finally, a dialogue at Fuller Theological Seminary with Tony Jones and Lauren Winner (who was a guest speaker at Eastern Nazarene College as well as Point Loma) will astound you.  I was amazed at the contempt for the Bible coming from Tickle and her two colleagues that day, and how they were so enthralled with each other.  Here is the video: Emerging Spiritualities In The American Church.  She is also proud of her affinity for large amounts of hard liquor.

Here is one quote from that dialogue at Fuller:


“Any good emergence Christian worth his or her salt will tell you that there is an incredible arrogance in thinking that we can reduce God Almighty to a set of words that we understand.  Yes the scripture is given to us, yes it is in words, but the scripture is written in a way that we can have it, but we cannot entirely understand it.  It is beyond us in every way.”
34:58-35:30

She goes on to talk about “where we exist as lovers of Jesus in the fullest and most erotic sense.”  There is quite a bit more nonsense in this three way dialogue, but I’ll let you be the judge, don’t take my word for it.

Her presentation starts at the 27 minute mark, if you wish to skip Lauren Winner.  But it is well worth listening to all three of these speakers truly tickle each other’s ears, to get a real good idea of the warped and twisted self loving humanism that comes from such folks as these in the emergent/emerging/emergence movement.

What’s The Connection With NTS?

What does this have to do with the new Seminary president?  Dr. David Busic recently gave his inaugural message as the newest president of Nazarene Theological Seminary.  Here is the transcript of the message: Inaugural Address President David Busic October 28 2011-1

Here is the video link: http://vimeo.com/32479319

In attendance was at least one General Superintendent.  I believe there are questions of discernment or perhaps at best a lack of understanding as to what Phyllis Tickle represents.

At the start of his references to Tickle, Dr. Busic says the following:  “While some have questioned the veracity of her reading of history, and certainly not all would agree with her assessment, few would argue that we are living in a time of rapid and disruptive change. And so for the sake of argument let’s hear what she has to say.”

He then continues to go into detail about her idea of every 500 years of a great change occurring in Christendom.   He later also wonders whether Tickle’s reading of history is correct, but I can’t help but believe that Dr. Busic likes what she has to say.  He clearly has nothing unfavorable to say about her, nor any warning whatsoever of her emergent ideology.   It is also interesting that he quotes the president of Fuller Theological Seminary, one of the top seminaries in the country, but which has gone down the road of apostasy with its promotion of contemplative spirituality, ecumenism, and downright rejection of God’s infallible word.

I am now even more worried about the future of  Nazarene Theological Seminary.  Why would Dr. Busic use material attributed to a promoter of contemplative spirituality, and someone who promotes the emergent church movement and all its heresies?  That is a question others besides me will have to ask Dr. Busic over the coming months.  I have other concerns that have been addressed to Dr. Busic in an email I sent a few weeks ago, and I hope to get an answer to those questions.  Yet at this point I am troubled, because under the previous president, Dr. Ron Benefiel, there was a whole lot of error being promoted and allowed to be taught at what is the flagship seminary of a denomination that proclaims and preaches holiness.  Will there be significant and promising changes under Dr. Busic, or will it be the same old thing continuing on?


For me, these are just some of the  lingering questions:
– Will Doug Hardy stop teaching an occultic Celtic Spirituality course?  Will he renounce his involvement with the highly ecumenical and interfaith group at Spiritual Directors International?
– Will NTS stop promoting contemplative spirituality, to both its students and even to middle school age children?
– Will NTS stop promoting Roman Catholic practices?
– Will NTS cancel any plans for another Spiritual Formation Retreat at the next General Assembly?
– Will Mike King stop promoting contemplative spirituality to youth, and stop being involved with heretical youth festivals such as Wildgoose?
– What will Dr. David Busic do as leader of NTS to stop some of the ungodly trends at the major seminary of the Nazarene denomnation.

I believe we will have a good idea of the future direction of this seminary very soon, one way or the other.

 

 Addendum:

Here are a few previous posts about Nazarene Theological Seminary and its errors

 

Promotion of a retreat at Roman Catholic center and teaching of contemplative spirituality:
http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/nazarene-church-welcoming-contemplative-spirituality/

 

Promotion of a spiritual formation retreat with Alden Sproul and Doug Hardy: http://www.lillenas.com/nphweb/html/ht/printerFriendly.jsp?id=2719&sid=10000013


Promotion of contemplative spirituality and ecumenism:  http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/nazarene-schools-drifting-away-from-biblical-soundness/

 

Teaching of occultic Celtic spirituality by Dr. Doug Hardy: http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/occult-coming-to-nazarene-theological-seminary/

 

Mike King, a professor at NTS, and  national Nazarene youth leader speaks at heretical festival:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/mike-king-and-friends-leading-youth-to-spiritual-death/

 

 Doug Hardy’s book recommendations for Windsor Hills Camp in New Hampshire.  Most of the books were written by or about Roman Catholic mystics or promoters of contemplative mysticism:

http://reformednazarene.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/windsor-hills-camp-promotes-error-filled-books-to-nazarenes/

National Youth Leaders Are Lacking In Sound Biblical Judgment And Discernment

“There is a sad lack of serious and strong biblical leadership from those who are supposed to lead the flock as undershepherds of the Great Shepherd.”

(See Acts 20:17-38; 1 Peter 5:1-4, 2 Timothy 4:1-5)

My intent last week was not to single out House Studio as a unique aberration occurring within an otherwise strong denomination.  Rather, it was to show that it is yet another symbol of the many institutions within the Nazarene denomination whose leaders are failing miserably in their responsibility to maintain a strong biblical basis for what they do.  Whether it is Nazarene Publishing House, Barefoot Ministries, YouthFront, Nazarene Theological Seminary, or some other Nazarene universities, districts and churches around the country, there has been a serious breakdown of leadership, and those in leadership will be held more accountable by God than those who are not.  There also seems to be a total reluctance to name false teachers no matter who they are, and when some of us do call them out, we are labeled as “hateful”, “unloving”, “unChristlike.”  But worst, there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing right within our own walls; they are masquerading as angels of light; and they will be exposed by the light of truth.  The only other possibility is that these leaders, in spite of their Master’s degrees in theology, are utterly bankrupt in their biblical understanding and need to get into the word of God.

In my last post, I answered Chris Folmsbee’s question, “So, tell me, why should I care about this controversy?”  The controversy he was referring to was regarding the new book by Rob Bell, Love Wins, and I posted my entire response on his blog.  Since then, after 42 comments from various people, both for and against the new book, the blog moderator decided it was time to terminate the “conversation”, which of course he has a right to do.  He/she said:

“Looks like we’ve passed any potential for this to continue being a constructive discussion. Thanks all for participating!”

Well okay, House Studio.  End the conversation that you and your emergent friends always proudly state is what you seek to have all the time.  It is disappointing once again, to see another group that promotes emergent ideology and mysticism back off when we ask questions that are looking for specific answers that are not shaded in mystery.  We have exposed your agenda in the past, and we will continue to expose it to as many Christians as possible.  After all, you are playing around with the minds of youth, and that is a heavy responsibility.  My suggestion for resignation is still something Mr. Folmsbee ought to consider.

Well, now it seems Mr. Folmsbee’s colleague, Mike King, President of YouthFront, has weighed in regarding the Rob Bell “controversy.”  Apparently, Mr. King cannot spot a false teacher as well, and would not want to call them out if he did.  Here are his words from his latest blog post:

IS Jesus Christ Lord? Love Wins…

Without wading into the Love Wins conversation too deeply (a conversation that has been going on for two thousand years, by the way) I will add a thought about the context of what I see.

I have watched with a sense of sadness at the labeling and demonization of each other around this issue.  I was sitting in church yesterday thinking about what is going on.  If one confesses “Jesus Christ is Lord” we (those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord) should, despite our differences in theology and doctrine, at least acknowledge each other as sisters and brothers.  Yes, let us have disagreements, but please do it without labeling, dismissing and demonizing the other.

To me this feels like two fans of the Kansas City Chiefs hating each other because one fan believes the offense is the key to a future Super Bowl Championship and the other fan believes that the defense is the key.  To declare the other “not a true fan of the Chiefs” would be absurd.

Of course, I am not saying these issues being discussed around “Love Wins” are trivial and don’t really matter.  They matter immensely, but let us learn how to seek first to understand before being understood.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive.

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Amen.

END QUOTE

This is utterly ridiculous.  I understand Mr. King is an adjunct professor at Nazarene Theological Seminary and a graduate.  Is this the best biblical analysis he can do, that one only needs to proclaim that Jesus is Lord, and everything else is fair game?  So I can therefore say “Jesus is Lord”, but go on doing anything I want, even if it is in direct contradiction to Jesus and the apostles’ doctrine?  I am amazed he would say that, and surely he does not really mean it, does he?  This is the typical disdain for scripture and doctrine that the emergent church crowd has, and instead, they love the touchy feely, emotion driven, let’s all get along theology that has no origins in scripture, but from somewhere else, and from someone else.

It’s also interesting that he uses a football analogy, because he simply looked into that old worn out emergent playbook, and all he could come up with is a play that is frankly getting rather old, useless, and predictable.  It only plays well to the choir which I’m sure is cheering and posting congratulations on Mr. King’s blog, but it does not play well with Bible believing Christians.

The playbook’s favorite moves go something like this:

  1. Use emotion and accuse those who expose false teachers of being hateful, or demonizing, or unChristlike,
  2. Twist scripture out of context to lecture us that we should be “loving”, or going about the business of “the Kingdom”,
  3. And finally, don’t use scripture to back up your argument, but instead tell us how you “feel” about it, or give us your own intellectual reasoning that has no basis in the Bible, but in the new spirituality.

For Mr. King and Mr. Folmsbee, and even many of the leadership at Nazarene Theological Seminary, to apparently not see what is going on, is very sad.  They are clearly promoting contemplative spirituality in their alliance with Barefoot Ministries.  NTS has even promoted CS to middle grade students.  This all is happening with the blessing of the president of the school, Professor Dean Blevins, and others, unless they do not know, although that does not seem possible.  Dean Blevins happens to be the Chairman of the Board of YouthFront, how would he not know?  He is also President of the highly ecumenical Religious Education Association. President of NTS Dr. Ron Benefiel must know what they are doing in promoting this contemplative spirituality.   Why, even a class this Spring that teaches future pastors on the practice of Celtic Spirituality, which is rooted in occultism, is acceptable!

It is clear that these leaders are promoting this new spirituality which has no basis in Nazarene Wesleyan theology, and most importantly, no basis in scripture.  It is even ironic, yet not a surprise, that the prayer Mike King quoted is one that is ascribed to St. Francis of Assisi.  St. Francis was well liked by many, but he taught and practiced many heresies, spent much time in solitude and contemplative practices, and the veneration of Mary.  And did you know that he received the blessing of Pope Innocent III to head up the Inquisition, which as we know led to the brutal persecution and murders of many Bible believing Christians?  Yet, Mike King cannot quote anyone else but a Roman Catholic who had no respect for religious freedom?  But it makes sense because the emergent church is bringing in Roman Catholicism to the Nazarene church, including the latest offering of a book that promotes the ritual of ashes to the forehead.

Mr. King, and Mr. Folmsbee, please turn away from these false teachings you are promoting.  If not, please resign your positions, and let someone else take over YouthFront and Barefoot Ministries, someone who will have the Bible as the foundation for all of its activities and programs, not man’s religion.

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

Symptoms Of A Great Apostasy In Our Christian Schools And Seminaries

Acts 20:28-31 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

There are still some good Christian colleges out there, you just need to search hard, find them, and verify what they profess to stand for.  You cannot simply trust the fact that a school labels itself Christian anymore.  This has been obvious to me in my last two years of investigation, and the facts are appalling and shameful.  We need to stop being a little less polite or politically corrent, and be more honest and upfront about the dangers facing our youth today.  Souls are at risk!

I just cannot see myself sending my son to a “Christian” university someday simply because it claims to be a Christian school.  Some folks say that they would rather send their child to any “Christian” school rather than a secular school. Imagine the horror, however, if your child goes to a “Christian” school, and after four years, comes home having learned and incorporated all sorts of pagan practices and unbiblical ideas into his life, or doubting the truthfulness of the Bible, after you entrusted him into the hands of supposedly solid Christian teachers and administrators.  My friends, many of these schools are all marching down the road of one-worldism, and ecumenical false unity, and an the incorporation of personal mystical experiences over the sufficiency of the word of God. And I have noticed over the last few years that many Christians are either not aware of, or just don’t care about, the signs of a great apostasy invading our Christian schools.

There is hardly a Christian university around anymore that can be trusted with your son or daughter’s spiritual well-being.  It is getting harder to recommend a school that you can be confident has a strong biblical foundation.  With the usual lame excuse of offering a “healthy liberal arts education”, this problem is showing up in all denominations, and in my particular denomination, the Nazarenes, it is a horrendous problem that I never dreamed would happen.  But it is, and it is a nightmare of “biblical proportions.”  And many Nazarenes are still stubbornly refusing to acknowledge this problem and deal with it according to scripture.  But deal with it we must.

One of the nightmares for instance is occurring at Point Loma Nazarene University.  I do not advise parents to send their children there at all. Point Loma proudly welcomed heretical emergent leader Brian McLaren- again- to speak there in February of 2009.  McLaren is a false teacher who considers the Cross like false advertising for God; who as a pastor does not understand what scripture clearly teaches about homosexuality; who cannot come to say that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.  Yet, Point Loma’s leaders either have no clue, or have bought into the lies and are deceived.  Students are being led like lambs to the slaughter, spiritually, at this school.  And having heard from alumni and concerned parents, these leaders have done nothing as of yet, as far as I know.

Point Loma has been promoting mysticism for a while now.  They have no problem bringing in Richard Foster to their school, to teach our young people the ways of occultic mysticism.  And they have shown their continued lack of discernment by hosting a bizarre conference called Nurturing The Prophetic Imagination.  Here, in this video, Dr. Peter Jones describes this conference as well as the school’s connection with Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, an occultic organization.  Dr. Jones also mentions how several feminist professors at Point Loma are promoting a radical blurring of male-female roles that is unbiblical, as well as the radical social justice that is plaguing many Nazarene colleges.  One of their professors, Dennis Bratcher, teaches process theology, a heresy that says that God learns from His mistakes.  And Professor Darrel Falk is a leading member of BioLogos and is a promoter of evolution as being compatible with the Bible.

Then there is Northwest Nazarene University, which is just about as bad as Point Loma. I would also strongly advise against sending your child to this school without investigating.  The classic example I have on my blog is the horrendously pagan lecture given by Dr. Jay McDaniel in front of NNU students, with the approval of leadership and faculty, including Dr. Tom Oord.  What a disturbing display of pagan and universalistic thinking that was indoctrinating our college Christian students, with not a word of protest from those who are teachers of our young people.  To this day, we have heard only excuses and pitiful explanations for this sad exhibition.  And there’s more of course, as NNU also hosted Brian McLaren and his ridiculous worship of mother earth and mis-translation of John 3:16 as meaning that Jesus came to save planet earth (see Eric Barger’s video).  Their theology curriculums are filled with books by mystics and emergent heretical authors.  Many (not all) of their teachers reject the Bible as the infallible word of God, and consider much of it as only myths.

Trevecca Nazarene University is in bad shape as well.  They have been going on field trips every year now to the Abby of Gethsemane, home to the late mystic Thomas Merton.  They have been indulging in the pagan practice of the prayer labyrinth, and when they were exposed, they changed the name of this practice to “prayer walk.”  They promote books by emergent church leaders, heretical mystics and contemplative spirituality proponents to their students.  In practice, this school is rejecting solid biblical principles by bringing in the ways of Roman Catholic monastic mysticism and emergent church heresy.

My own alma mater, Eastern Nazarene College, is exhibiting many signs of poor judgment.  The school is now also getting onto the social justice bandwagon.  They have a new social justice program with connections to a Marxist.  Can we also remember the hosting of Tony Campolo, in spite of my warnings to the leadership a few months before?  Campolo did not fail us in our expectations, as he promoted his occultic mysticism to a chapel full of young students, and perhaps more sadly, to also a good number of Nazarene pastors and leaders that day.  How sad that as far as I know, none have spoken out against this travesty. ENC is also home to Karl Giberson, a professor who does not believe the entire Bible, but insists that we came from evolutionary processes.  And he also promotes the heresy of open theism (God cannot know the future).  Their bookstore is full of books by heretical emergent leaders, and also promotes Roman Catholic bibles, including one with a prayer rosary inside.  In February, they will be hosting a speaker, Rachel Held Evans, who will be taking part in the Big Tent Christianity Conference and apparently has no problem associating with heretical speakers such as Marcus Borg and Brian McLaren.    A quote of her latest blog post gives us some insight into her thinking (emphasis mine) :  My tradition teaches that all non-Christians will be damned to hell for eternity, which can be supported with some interpretations of Scripture, but which violates every compassionate instinct God gave me as a human being and follower of Jesus.”

It seems that discernment has disappeared at my old school.  I would not recommend it at this time for any discerning parent to send their child.

Just because I did not mention the other Nazarene schools, does not necessarily mean they don’t have problems.  Nazarene Theological Seminary is frankly no better.  It is shamelessly promoting mysticism, including a Spring course taught by Dr. Doug Hardy called Celtic Spirituality, an occultic belief system that is nothing but paganism pretending to be Christian!  They have even promoted mystical and Roman Catholic practices to our young children of middle school age!  I dread to think of what future pastors will be preaching and promoting, as many of them buy into the unbiblical teachings that are being taught at our top seminary.

Oh, there are others schools besides Nazarene.  You will need to do some serious homework and ask some hard questions while demanding clear answers, before deciding where to send your child.  There are many universities once trusted for years, but no longer.  Fuller Theological Seminary is more aptly now called a cemetery.  Baylor University, Biola University (known for its apologetics!); Dallas Theological Seminary, George Fox University, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and many more, are delving into contemplative spirituality, emergent church ideology, social justice tinged with Marxism, worship of the creation, and post-modern theological ramblings that go nowhere but to confuse already confused young people.

Am I crazy that I don’t want my son to go to a “Christian” school where the theology professors don’t even believe in the inerrant, infallible word of God?  Am I crazy that I don’t want my son to be taught that you can have “an experience” with God, unlike anything taught in the Bible?  Or that he is going to have a social justice ideology rammed down his throat at the expense of solid biblical foundations?  Or that he is being introduced to Roman Catholic mysticism, prayer beads, and mantra style prayer?

Apostasy is here in our Christian universities and seminaries.  Some of us just need to stop being in denial.