“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Mat. 15:14
Our Christian college students are being introduced to contemplative or centering prayer practices, which are all part of the new spirituality. Instead of the word of God, experience and mysticism is the new way.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.“
“Well, just 90 more to go and I’ll reach the minimum required repetitive prayers as prescribed by Sister Frederica. I am so happy to have found this new way of getting closer to God. Boy, did my parents miss out on this, and they were Nazarenes for over 50 years! I’d better do it right, and not make a mistake, or it could interfere with my getting closer to God. I’m glad Frederica suggests to always use my prayer rope, so I can go to the next notch on the rope each time I repeat the prayer, and I won’t lose count. Maybe as I advance I can repeat the prayer 200 or 300 times! Double the blessing! But hey, I’m only a novice.
But you know, I’ll make it work even better when I build my little corner altar at home with all the icons as Sr. Frederica also suggests. I’ll pray to them, I’ll kiss them too, and I’ll pray to the dead saints and ask them to intervene for me before God. After all, I can’t keep track of all my prayer needs anyway, so who better to send them to God but the old dead saints!
Wow, this is awesome. Why didn’t the Nazarene church think of this years ago? I could not even find this in the manual!”
Before you think I’m making light of anything, let me reassure you, this is serious. It made my blood boil, as many other stories have lately from our “Christian” universities. I ask again, to what extent will Nazarene universities go? It is clear again to to me that those in leadership at our universities, and some in national, district, and local leadership, are either aiding and abetting a concerted effort to bring us “back to Rome”, or they are just as complicit in this effort by turning the other way and doing nothing. So, what is it that made my blood boil?
Teaching Students To Pray A Mantra (A Hindu/Buddhist Manner of Prayer)
What made me upset again is a speaker that Point Loma Nazarene University invited to come on Oct. 28-29 to conduct a two day retreat, and speak in chapel as well. That guest is Frederica Matthews-Greene of the Orthodox Church. The name of the retreat? Jesus Prayer Retreat. Registrations are already closed, so it must be very popular.
In my fictional conversation at the beginning, it basically describes what the Jesus Prayer is. It’s a short prayer, a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church and other similar groups, that is repeated over and over again. In other words, it is a mantra. It most likely originated amongst the Desert Fathers in the 5th century. It is the use of an Eastern mystical practice, except you insert Christian phrases in it. For what purpose? According to Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, the late patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church:
But do we really need to, or should we, repeat a prayer over and over in order to attain a better relationship with God? The Jesus Prayer, as opposed to a simple prayer, helps us to “stand in God’s presence?” Friends, this is all derived from pagan practices. The original goal of a mantra is to get your mind in an altered state of consciousness. Besides Hindus and Buddhists, it is even practiced by those who are part of Islamic Sufism. Yet we see this foolishness more and more introduced to our youth by undiscerning leaders who should resign or repent from doing these things. However, the most important thing is that prayers such as this violate Holy Scripture’s command not to pray with vain repetitions. (Mat. 6:7)
What else does Frederica Teach?
I have listened to over three hours of some of her podcasts. Frederica also writes regularly for the multifaith web magazine Beliefnet.com. Her husband is the founding pastor of Holy Cross Orthodox Church. Feel free to go and listen to the podcasts at Ancient Faith Radio. Here are some of the things she believes and teaches, and therefore, potentially will be taught to vulnerable students at PLNU.
Praying to icons
Praying to or for the dead
Veneration of Mary
The Orthodox Church practically believes all the same heresies of the Roman Catholic Church, with some exceptions, so I’m sure I can find more problems, but is this not enough? Frederica is probably a very nice lady, and she herself is not the main issue. In fact, I greatly respect her stance to protect the unborn. The issue and question is, why is a Nazarene school such as PLNU allowing her to speak and thus expose the students to the heretical beliefs that she brings with her? What happened to the doctrine of separation, that we ought not to hold hands and fellowship with those who teach another gospel? What is going on with the leaders at this school? What is their justification for this? Are vain repetitions of a prayer now considered within the norm of evangelical Christianity, and Nazarene doctrine? But this is not a one time mistake. PLNU has a history of dubious and heretical speakers at their chapel services, which I will be posting on soon.
For instance, the school last year had the heretic Brennan Manning speak in chapel twice (Jan. 13 and 15, 2010), as well as way back in 2002. And remember Rob Bell as the main speaker at the Pastor’s retreat? He also spoke at chapel on Feb. 18, 2011. Radical Michael Eric Dyson spoke in chapel, as did Gabriel Salguerro, who was a speaker at the heretical and blasphemous Wildgoose Festival. And there was Jim Ball, who spoke on Creation Care madness on Sept. 12. There was Shane Claiborne, who was also at the Wildgoose Festival, and creation denier Karl Giberson. Emergent Philip Yancey has spoken there, as well as mystic/emergent Tony Campolo, and also emergent author Donald Miller. Another speaker was Doug Hardy of NTS, who promotes interspirituality and Celtic mysticism at our very own seminary. Emergent pastor Scott Daniels (who denies he is emergent and who thinks emergent is dead) has been a speaker in chapel. I had to go back to around 1968 to see some solid Nazarene voices who spoke at chapel, including the late Dr. William McCumber, who spoke out against the emergent church movement. And let’s not forget the debacle over the homosexual affirming group that was being allowed to conduct meetings on campus, albeit at the Point Loma Nazarene Church.
I could go on and on. These people either have no shame, or have no ounce of discernment, which should disqualify them from leading this university! They need to repent of what they are doing to this “Christian” school, including putting the souls of many students in danger.
What Happened To Separation?
We are commanded over and over in scripture to stay away from, avoid, have no fellowship with those who teach another gospel.
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
So why is Frederica Matthews-Greene coming to Point Loma? Would anyone concerned like to ask the leaders at the school this question?
What Happened To Depending On Jesus Alone?
Now we need to pray the Jesus prayer and use prayer beads? I choose to rely solely on Jesus Christ and place my faith and trust in Him alone! According to Scripture, this practice is clearly unbiblical, and thus straight from the pit of hell. I would certainly like to get the opinion of our General Board leaders, since they are charged with interpreting the doctrines of the church. Am I wrong in objecting to this?
What Happened To Our Leaders?
Mary Paul is vice president for Spiritual Development. I don’t have her email, but the school number is (619) 849-2200
Bob Brower is President, and his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Carter is the school chaplain and I have already documented some of his mystical leanings in an article here: Point Loma Welcomes Brian McLaren and Embraces Contemplative Spirituality.
The email address for our General Superintendents is: email@example.com
The General with current jurisdiction over PLNU is J.K. Warrick.
(Friends, in spite of all that is happening, let’s not forget that there are students and faculty at Point Loma Nazarene University who are standing up against this stuff. They need our prayers and support).
Addendum: You will be able to listen to Frederica speak at the PLNU chapel service Friday morning, Oct. 28, at 9:45 am Pacific Time (12:45 pm Eastern Time)