1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
I was not sure exactly where to start with this, and it might take you about 10 minutes to read it all, but this is important. After you finish this, please come back and ponder these questions: Are these books the kind of reading material and teaching that I want to have as a Nazarene? Do these books reflect the holiness tradition of the Nazarene Church? Why in the world would anyone in the Nazarene church want to use books about Roman Catholic figures whose practices and teachings are clearly heretical and false? Is the Nazarene denomination proclaiming traditional holiness teaching “on paper”, while going in a totally different direction under the radar of most Nazarenes? Will I as a Nazarene just close my eyes to this since it’s not “affecting me” anyway? Do I care about what just might be happening in my local church, or do I care about all Christians who may be touched by false teaching? What is going on with our seminary that at least one professor is recommending this kind of reading material? What would our General Superintendents have to say about these books? If the practices of all these Roman Catholic mystics are so good, why are they not openly promoted at District Assemblies, or widely announced in places like our Holiness Today magazine, as something good for ALL Nazarenes? When did all this start coming into the Nazarene denomination, and why?
With that in mind, I have stumbled onto some really disturbing information that comes right out of the Windsor Hills Camp and Retreat Center in New Hampshire, in our New England District.
On their website, the Neilson Renewal Center is asking people to donate books to the The Hardy Library for Spiritual Formation. These books are being suggested by Dr. Doug Hardy, a graduate of ENC and currently professor of spiritual formation at our Nazarene Theological Seminary.
I downloaded the pdf file at the website with a list of books they are looking for, and when I opened the file, that is where my jaw figuratively dropped to the floor. I have already written two articles asking whether Roman Catholicism is being taught to Nazarene youth. I will now ask the same question here for adults: are Roman Catholicism mystical practices and ideology being promoted openly now to our pastors and adults? Apparently, it is at Windsor Hills Camp!
From reading the list of books that are being requested, a great majority of them are books written about or by Roman Catholic monks and mystics, or they are books written by modern day proponents of “spiritual formation”, which many Nazarenes are still not aware of what that term really means. Spiritual formation as it is being used now by the emergent and New Age crowd, is nothing more than the use of unbiblical contemplative spirituality practices and ancient Roman Catholic practices and rituals in order to supposedly experience God and become one with God.
So what books are being asked for, and why are they so bad? As a quick summary, a great many of the titles are books about such Roman Catholic monks, saints, and mystics as: St. John of the Cross; St. Theresa of Avila; Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity; St. Therese of Lisieux; Madeline de St. Joseph; Aelred of Riveulx; Catherine of Sienna; Richard Foster (the modern day father of spiritual formation), George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement; Bernard of Clairvaux; Ignatius of Loyola; Meister Eckhart; Julian of Norwich; Mother Teresa. There are some Wesleyan related books as well, but not much compared to these others. It is interesting to note that one of the goals for the library is for “the increased understanding of the scriptures”, but ironically, many of these mystics are the very people who have twisted the scriptures, or substituted their own warped thinking in place of the scriptures! The other goal is for “the spiritual encouragement/formation of God’s servants”. How?
I have a followup page (Mystics Who Are Being Promoted To Nazarenes) where I give some brief biographical data and highlight the false teachings and heresies of many of these mystics. Granted, there are some good books listed here, but there is no excuse for mixing in the bad ones! Ironically, the only Bible asked for here is the Spiritual Formation Bible, which came out of the Renovare project affiliated with… Richard Foster of course.
Let me just give two short descriptions of some of the mystics promoted by these books. Are these appealing to you as a Christian?:
Nouwen, Henri (1932-1996)
Roman Catholic monk who believed that there are many paths to God and each individual can claim their way to God. Was deeply into contemplative prayer, lectio divina. Has a vast influence within the emerging church and evangelicalism. He claimed that contemplative meditation is necessary for an intimacy with God. He taught that the use of a mantra could could take the practitioner into God’s presence. He said that mysticism and contemplative prayer can create ecumenical unity because Christian leaders learn to hear “the voice of love”. He combined the teaching of eastern gurus with ancient Catholic practices. He taught a form of universalism and panentheism (God is in all things). He claimed that every person who believes in a higher power and follows his vision of the future is of God and is building God’s kingdom. He also taught that God is only love, unconditional love (of course that also is contradictory to scripture) (Contemplative Mysticism, by David Cloud, pg. 317-321)
St. Teresa of Avila
She was part of the Carmelite order, which was devoted to Mary. She hated Protestants, and believed that they brought damnation to themselves by rejecting Rome and the Mass.
She was greatly influenced by books on mystical asceticism. She believed in works salvation. She was devoted to Mary, other saints, and especially to Joseph. She believed that the consecrated wafer in the Mass is Christ. She believed in purgatory. She inflicted tortures on herself and practiced extreme asceticism. She practiced mindless meditation and often went into ecstatic “raptures.” She often feared that she was possessed or influenced by the devil. She alleged to have seen Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father. She also claimed to have seen many demons, and that the most effective thing against them was holy water. She claimed to have seen and talked with many dead people. (Contemplative Mysticism, by David Cloud, pg. 374-384)
Following is the original list as published at the Camp website.
I highlighted the more troublesome authors and titles in red, that I know of. My comments are in green.
There are a couple of links you can go to to see what some of these are about, but I will have a more complete summary of most of these people on my blog… go to Lack of Discernment From Our Seminary.
The Wesleyan resources were listed last.
From the website of Windsor Hills:
Send us a book! Buy us a periodical subscription! Here’s how and why . . .
The Nielson Renewal Center will include the Hardy Library for Spiritual Formation. It is our dream to create a library that will encourage and support pastors, while providing resources for the tasks that are theirs. We also want this library to resource spiritual formation events that take place on the campground.
While we do have some money set aside for book purchases, we can maximize our funds if we also receive donations to the library. All material in this library must meet an important test. These books are for (1) the spiritual encouragement/formation of God’s servants or (2) for increased understanding of the scriptures.
If you would like to donate any of the works listed below, please mail them to Dan Whitney.
If you decide to purchase any of these books at Amazon.com, please access Amazon through the Reynolds Institute (www.reynoldsinstitute.org) website, so that the district can get credit for these purchases.
In addition to the books listed below, we would love to receive donations of any biblical commentaries published after 1980. We will keep a list of books received. You may want to call ahead to make sure you are not purchasing a duplicate.
We thank you for this investment in the life of our ministers and their families.
Suggestions for a Spiritual Formation Library
Windsor Hills Renewal Center
New England District Church of the Nazarene
Compiled by Dr. Doug Hardy, Nazarene Theological Seminary
Spiritual Life: A Journal of Contemporary Spirituality. Published by the Discalced Carmelites. www.spiritual-life.org
A publication of the Carmelite Friars. Among other pursuits, it focuses on “examining the meaning of the lives and writings of St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Edith Stein.
Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality. Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.
http://muse.jhu.edu/journal/scs (This link seems to be missing)
Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life. Published by Upper Room Ministries.
Benson Sr., Bob & Michael W. Benson. Disciplines for the Inner Life. Henderson, TN: Deeper Life, 1989.
deSilva, David A. Praying with John Wesley. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2001.
Job, Ruben P. A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader. Nashville: Abingdon, 1998.
Job, Rueben P. & Norman Shawchuck. A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People. Nashville: Upper Room,1990.
The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church). New York: Seabury, 1979.
The Book of Common Prayer is the common title of a number of prayer books of the Church of England and of other Anglican churches, used throughout the Anglican Communion.
Basic Reference Works
The Spiritual Formation Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999.
Isn’t this something? The one Bible recommended, and it is the Renovare version of the Bible, right out of Richard Foster’s Renovare Institute. Not KJV or NKJV, but Foster.
Series: Christian Spirituality, Vols. 1-3 (Volumes 16-18 of the series, World Spirituality: An
Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest). New York: Crossroad, 1987-1990.
Beasley-Topliffe, Keith. The Upper Room Dictionary of Christian Spiritual Formation. Nashville: Upper Room, 2003.
Cunningham, Lawrence S. & Keith J. Egan. Christian Spirituality: Themes from the Tradition. New York: Paulist Press, 1996.
Downey, Michael. Understanding Christian Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 1997.
Holmes, Urban T. A History of Christian Spirituality. Seabury Press, 1980.
Holt, Bradley P. Thirsty for God: A Brief History of Christian Spirituality. Augsburg, 1993.
Wicks, Robert J. (ed.). Handbook of Spirituality for Ministers (vol. 1 and 2). Paulist Press, 1995.
Classic Spiritual Readings
Series: The Classics of Western Spirituality: A Library of the Great Spiritual Masters. New York: Paulist Press. Includes writings by the Catholic mystic Madeleine de Saint-Joseph
Series: Upper Room Spiritual Classics. Nashville: Upper Room
Includes John Wesley, but also has writings by Theresa of Avila- Catholic mystic! and John Cassian also!
Aelred of Riveaulx. Spiritual Friendship, tr. by Mary Eugenia Laker. Cistercian Publications, 1974.
He was Abbot of Rievaulx in England, homilist and historian (1109-66), became a Cistercian monk. This is a link related to Aelred: http://www.glbtq.com/literature/aelred.html
Asbury, Francis. Journals and Letters, ed. by Elmer E. Clark, J. Manning Potts, and Jacob S. Payton. (3
vols.) Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1958. (1821)
Augustine. Confessions. New York: Penguin, 1961. (387)
____. The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Love. Chicago, IL: Regnery Gateway, 1961. (d. 430)
Baillie, John. A Diary of Private Prayer. New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1949. (1936)
Barclay, William. William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975. (1971)
Baxter, Richard. A Call to the Unconverted to Turn and Live. Baker Book House, 1976. (d. 1691)
Bernard of Clairvaux. The Steps of Humility. tr. by George B. Burch. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1940. (d. 1153)
Another Roman Catholic monk and mystic.
Bonaventure. The Soul’s Journey Into God,The Tree of Life, and The Life of St. Francis, tr. by Ewert Cousins. New York: Paulist Press, 1978. (1259)
A Franciscan Friar, venerated Mary, promoted mysticism.
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Letters and Papers from Prison. New York: Macmillan, 1972. (1951)
Calvin, John. A Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1982. (1550)
Caternia da Genova. Purgation and Purgatory: The Spiritual Dialogue. tr. by Serge Hughes. New York: Paulist Press, 1979 (Classics of Western Spirituality). (1551)
A Roman Catholic saint.
Catherine of Siena. The Dialogue, tr. by Suzanne Noftke. New York: Paulist Press, 1980 (Classics of Western Spirituality). (1377-1378)
Another Roman Catholic mystic!
Gregory of Nyssa. From Glory to Glory, tr. & ed. by Henry Musurillo. New York: Scribner’s, 1961. (d. 394)
A Roman Catholic saint from around 400 A.D.
Fenelon, Francois de Salignac de La Mothe. Let Go, Springdale, PA: Whitaker House, 1973. (c. 1600’s)
French Roman Catholic theologian. One of the main advocates of quietism, a philosophy with much influence on many mystics.
Foster, Richard J. and Smith, James Bryan (eds.) Devotional Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups, Harper San Francisco, 1993.
Foster, Richard J. and Griffin, Emilie (eds.) Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines, Harper San Francisco, 2000.
The “godfather” of spiritual formation. Some quotes from his book Prayer:
“Contemplatives sometimes speak of their union with God by the analogy of a log in a fire: the glowing log is so united with the fire that it is fire …”
“What is the goal of Contemplative Prayer? … union with God…. our final goal is union with God, which is a pure relationship where we see nothing.”
“Christians … have developed two fundamental expressions of Unceasing Prayer. The first … is usually called aspiratory prayer or breath prayer. The most famous of the breath prayers is the Jesus Prayer. It is also possible to discover your own individual breath prayer…. Begin praying your breath prayer as often as possible.”
Fox, George. Journal of George Fox. London: J. M. Dent & Sons, LTD, 1924. (d. 1691)
Founder of the Quaker movement. A universalist, here are a few statements by him to illustrate how he thought:
“Walk cheerfully over the world, answering that of God in everyone.”
“The Light shines through all.”
“There is that of divinity in all things.”
Hugh of St. Victor. Selected Spiritual Writings. New York: Harper & Row, 1962. (d. 1141)
Mystic philosopher from around 1000 A.D.
John of the Cross. Dark Night of the Soul, tr. by Allison Peers. Doubleday, 1959. (d. 1591)
Again, another Catholic mystic!
Julian of Norwich. Showings, tr. by Edmund Colledge and James Walsh. New York: Paulist Press, 1978, (Classics of Western Spirituality). (d. 1443)
Again, another Catholic mystic from England, thought to be one of the greatest!
Kempis, Thomas A. The Imitation of Christ, paraphrased by Donald E. Demaray. Grand Rapids MI: Baker Book House, 1982. (1471)
German Augustinian monk. This book is filled with Roman Catholic heresies.
Kierkegaard, Soren. Purity of Heart, tr. by Douglas V. Steere. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1938. (d. 1855)
Law, William. A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life and The Spirit of Love, ed. by Paul G.
Standwood. New York: Paulist Press, 1978 (Classics of Western Spirituality). (1728)
Leech, Kenneth. Experiencing God: Theology as Spirituality. San Fransico, CA: Harper and Row Publishing, 1985.
Loyola, Ignatius. The Spiritual Exercises, tr. by Louis J. Puhl. Loyola, 1981. (1521)
Another Catholic mystic! He wrote mystical heresy which can be found in the Barefoot Ministries book! This same book is actually recommended and quoted in one of the Barefoot books.
Luther, Martin. Letters of Spiritual Counsel, ed. by Theodore G. Tappert. Westminster, 1955. (d. 1546)
Meister, Eckhart. A Modern Translation, tr. by Raymond B. Bla. New York: Harper, 1941. (d. 1328)
A German Dominican priest. Taught that man at his highest level is one with God.
Murray, Andrew. The Inner Life. Whitaker House, 1984. (d. 1917)
Muto, Susan Annette. John of The Cross For Today: The Dark Night. Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 1994.
____. John of The Cross For Today: The Ascent. Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 1991.
Pascal, Blaise. Thoughts, ed. by Thomas S. Kepler. Cleveland: World Pub. Co., 1955. (d. 1662)
Philo of Alexandria. The Contemplative Life, tr. by David Winston. New York: Paulist Press, 1981 (Classics of Western Spirituality). (c. 50)
Rahner, Karl. Theological Investigations, Vol 3: The Theology of the Spiritual Life. London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1967.
Sales, Francis de. Introduction to the Devout Life, tr. by John K. Ryan. Harper, 1950. (1608)
Scupoli, Lorenzo. The Spiritual Combat, tr. & rev. by William Lester and Robert Mohan. Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1945. (1589)
Roman Catholic priest and writer
Steere, Douglas V. Doors Into Life: Through Five Devotional Classics. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948.
____. (ed) Quaker Spirituality: Selected Writings. New York: Paulist Press, 1984 (Classics of Western Spirituality).
Steere is a Quaker. Among other things, Quakers teach that all Christians have a special “Inner Light”. Also, that God is IN ALL human beings. Many of them believe in universalism.
Here is a quote from their UK website:
“Quakers share a way of life, not a set of beliefs. We base our faith on silent worship, and our own experiences of the divine.”
Teresa of Avila. The Interior Castle, tr. by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otiho Rodriguez. New York: Paulist Press (Classics of Western Spirituality). (1577)
Roman Catholic mystic, practiced a lot of heresy including scourging herself daily.
Mother Teresa. A Simple Path: Compiled by Lucina Vardey. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995.
Roman Catholic nun, who led many astray by mixing Christianity with all religions as being equal.
Walsh, James (ed). The Cloud of Unknowing. New York: Paulist Press, 1981 (Classics of Western Spirituality).
This contemplative mysticism book is by an unknown Catholic mystic from medieval times, but is popular with emergents and pastors alike. It is considered a classic in contemplative mysticism.
The Way of a Pilgrim, tr. by R. M. French. Harper, 1952.
Weil, Simone. Waiting for God, tr. by Emma Crawford. Harper Torchbooks. (d. 1943)
Wesley, Charles. The Journal of Charles Wesley. Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City (1980), 2 vols. (1736-1756)
Wesley, John. The Journal of Rev. John Wesley, ed. by Nehemiah Curnock. London: Epworth Press, 1938. (1790)
Whaling, Frank (ed.) John and Charles Wesley: Selected Writings and Hymns. New York: Paulist Press, 1981 (Classics of Western Spirituality).
Woolman, John. The Journal of John Woolman. Seacaucus, NJ: Citadel Press, 1972. (d. 1772)
Resources for Guided Retreats
Job, Rueben P. A Guide to Retreat for All God’s Shepherds. Abingdon Press, 1994.
Payne, Joseph A. Befriending: A Self-Guided Retreat for Busy People. New York: Paulist, 1993.
Rupp, Joyce. Meeting God in our Transition Times: A Five-Part Group or Person Guided Retreat (Audio tape & book). Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria, 1995.
You can check out her homepage here: Rupp, Joyce
Spiritual Formation of the Pastor
Harbaugh, Gary L. Pastor as Person. Augsburg, 1984.
Hinson, Glenn E. Spiritual Preparation for Christian Leaders. Nashville: Upper Room, 1999.
Holmes, Urban T. Spirituality for Ministry. Seabury Press, 1982.
Job, Rueben P. A Guide to Retreat for All God’s Shepherds. Abingdon Press, 1994.
Nouwen, Henri. The Wounded Healer. Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1972.
You remember him perhaps. Roman Catholic monk who believed that there are many paths to God. Was deeply into contemplative prayer, lectio divina.
Peterson, Eugene H. Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity. William B. Eerdmans, 1987.
Author of The Message- a very corrupted “paraphrase of the Bible even Peterson does not consider it a true translation.
He has lots of New Age / occultic ties and influences.
A sample corrupted version from the Lord’s Prayer: instead of “on earth as it is in heaven”, he writes “as above, so below”, an exact quote of an occultic phrase!
____. Subversive Spirituality. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994.
____. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 2nd Ed. Downers Grove, IL : InterVarsity Press, 2000.
Rice, Howard. The Pastor as Spiritual Guide. Nashville: Upper Room, 1998.
Series: The Works of John Wesley. Nashville: Abingdon.
Chilcote, Paul. Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit: 52 Prayers for Today. Nashville: Upper Room, 2001.
Clapper, Gregory S. As if the Heart Mattered: A Wesleyan Spirituality. Nashville: Upper Room, 1997.
deSilva, David A. Praying with John Wesley. Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2001.
Dunnam, Maxie. The Christian Way: A Wesleyan View of our Spiritual Journey. Zondervan, 1987.
Dunning, H. Ray. Grace, Faith, and Holiness. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1988.
Greathouse, William M. Wholeness in Christ: Toward a Biblical Theology of Holiness. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 1998.
Harper, Steve. Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition. Nashville, TN: The Upper Room, 1983.
Harper, Steve. Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition: A Workbook. Nashville, TN: The Upper Room, 1995.
Harmon, Mark A. The Warmed Heart : 30 Days In The Company Of John Wesley. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 1995.
Job, Ruben P. A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1998.
Langford, Thomas. Practical Divinity: Theology in the Wesleyan Tradition. Abingdon, 1983.
Maas, Robin. Crucified Love: The Practice of Christian Perfection. Abingdon Press, 1989.
Matthaei, Sondra H. Fatih Formation in the Wesleyan Tradition. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2000.
Tracy, Wesley D., E. Dee Freeborn, Janine Tartaglia, and Morris A. Weigelt The Upward Call. Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1994.
Wynkoop, Mildred A Theology of Love. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 1972.
END OF LIST —————————————————————————————
May God help the Nazarene denomination.
Sincerely in Christ,