Nazarene Church Welcoming Contemplative Spirituality?

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
” Galatians 1:8-10

** UPDATE** FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2009

Regarding the Pre-Assembly Spiritual Retreat, Dr. Alden Sproul is no longer listed on any of the websites any longer (NNU, NTS, or the general website).  He is apparently no longer part of the leadership team that is going to beleading the Spiritual Retreat.  No explanation as to why has been given.  His withdrawal in no way settles this matter, and questions still need to be asked as to why this retreat is still be offered to Nazarenes around the world.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is with sadness that I post this article from Lighthouse Trails Research, as I myself am a Nazarene, like many of you. I had resolved last year, when I first started to discover the infiltration of contemplative spirituality practices into our universities and seminaries, that I would uphold truth no matter what the cost.  Loyalty to a person, group, church, or denomination must not take precedence over faithfulness to Jesus Christ and to the authority of His Word.  I pray that the Lord will reveal the light of truth to those who are teaching these unbiblical practices, and that they will repent.  Let’s return to the Bible as our final and only 100% reliable authority; let us remove these dangerous teachings that do not line up with God’s Word; and let us not waver in standing for the true gospel and for God’s Word.

Nazarene General Assembly Welcomes Contemplative Spirituality–Nazarene Pastors WorldWide Invited

Source:  Editors at Lighthouse Trails

Contemplative spirituality has been coming into the Nazarene denomination for some time through their seminaries and universities. But this summer, the mystical-based spirituality will be taking a giant step into the Nazarene Church at large. The Nazarene Theological Seminary will be presenting a contemplative retreat to pastors and leaders from around the world who will be attending the 2009 General Assembly & Conventions in June.

The conference, which will take place in Orlando, Florida, is open to pastors, leaders, and lay people within the Nazarene Church. A staff member in the Nazarene General Assembly conference office told Lighthouse Trails on March 16th that they are expecting from 15,000 to 25,000 attendees from around the world, some of whom will be non-Nazarenes as all are welcome.

The General Assembly Spiritual Formation Retreat will be held at San Pedro Center, a Franciscan retreat center the day before the opening session of the General Assembly conference. And while concerns over having a Nazarene retreat at a Catholic contemplative location should stir concern, this report is focusing on one of the six people who will be leading the retreat, Dr. Alden Sproull. Sproull is founder and director of the Kairos Center for Spiritual Formation based in Redlands, California.

Dr. Alden SproullAccording to his website* (see below), Alden Sproull has “worked in Contemplative Spiritual Practices for 30 years.” The Kairos Center is “a unique center for spirituality.” The website also states:

Kairos is not a religion, but people from a variety of traditions benefit from the spiritual programs at Kairos that are not available at traditional religious institutions.

Under “Spiritual Practices,” on Sproull’s website, he states: “We need to open ourselves to the presence of God through regular spiritual practices. In stillness we can feel unity with God.” Sproull says that examples of these spiritual practices can be found on the “Center for Contemplative Mind in Society” website, which he links to from his site. An extensive “tree” of mystical practices are listed, some of which include: centering prayer, yoga, labyrinth walking, contemplative prayer, building altars, the Jesus Prayer, lectio divina, mantra meditation, visualization, and chanting. This site has a lengthy list of Recommended Reading, too many to list in this report. A few of the titles will illustrate the nature of the site: Breakfast with Buddha, Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind: The Life and Letters of an Irish Zen Saint, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, Lighting the Lamp of Wisdom: A Week inside a Yoga Ashram, and Waking Up: A Week inside a Zen Monastery.

Alden Sproull would not link to this site, if he did not agree with its overall message, and what Nazarene’s may fail to understand is the underlying interfaith, interspiritual connections that are brought out clearly in his linking to that site.

While Nazarene universities and seminaries have been embracing contemplative spirituality for a long time, many of the denomination’s pastors and church members may not have yet been introduced to contemplative. But with the upcoming contemplative retreat, that may all change. Clearly, a message is being sent to Nazarenes worldwide that says, “Contemplative is a worthwhile spirituality that should be welcomed.” As Lighthouse Trails has tried to show through articles and books, contemplative prayer is a route to mystical interspirituality, which in its very nature denies the Cross and the Gospel message. We believe the apostle Paul’s admonition in II Thessalonians 2 relates to the growing interest and adherence to contemplative spirituality within the walls of Christianity: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [Christ’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first.”

  • Alden Sproull’s website, Kairos Center for Spiritual Formation is often offline and cannot be readily accessed. This link, however, will show a cached file of the site.

Related Articles:

Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Contemplative Spirituality in No Small Way

Nazarene Superintendent Praises “A Time of Departing” But Denomination’s Schools Sinking into Contemplative

Nazarene Universities Welcome Brian McLaren

Contemplative Spirituality and the Emerging Church Come to Kansas Through YouthFront and MNU

This article or excerpt was posted on March 16, 2009@ 7:24 pm .


7 responses to “Nazarene Church Welcoming Contemplative Spirituality?

  1. Reading this was painful, but it must be all the more so for you. Ron Gleason and I recently edited the book, ‘Reforming or Conforming?’ that Crossway published earlier this year that sought to expose the true natural this kind of stuff. It is really toxic.

  2. Yes, it is painful and toxic. I have been researching this problem for months, and this post is the first really clear message to my local congregation about the emergent invasion in the Nazarene church itself (I have an email list as well that I send these out to).
    Pray for our denomination, and that as I start warning individual people, they will see what this is and reject unbiblical practices such as this.
    I will look up that book, and perhaps it will be very useful in educating and helping others become more discerning about these false teachings.
    There are many others trying to fight this thing.

  3. During the description of the event, I kept wondering if it was a promotion for “The Secret” or some other New Age thing. I didn’t realize it was for people who claimed to be Christians. I’m saddened by this, but it’s going to get worse. Jesus Himself said it would.

  4. Yes Brother Yemi. It will get worse. The sad thing is most of my congregation does not know about these things, but I have started the process of alerting all who will listen, God willing. There are many Nazarenes fighting this. Pray for the Nazarene church, and for all other denominations that have fallen for this deception.

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