2 Peter 3:17-18 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
We are under obligation by our Lord Jesus Christ to expose, as often as it happens, the errors of lawless men who continue to teach another gospel. It matters not one bit how well liked or famous they are, how many degrees they have, and how many awards they receive every year. The wolves that have crept into our Christian universities are leading countless youth down an attractively wide path of destruction, while they continue to receive the plaudits of their colleagues who are more interested in their academic freedom rather than the truth of God’s word. Under the oft-used “we are a liberal arts school” excuse, they expose students to doctrines of demons. At the very least, we must shine the light of truth on them, in order to rescue at least one student from their unbiblical ideology.
And so, under the leadership of President Dan Boone, Trevecca Nazarene University has continued in the same error filled ways. Once again, they have scheduled a Spiritual Formation Retreat, in February 2012. The only good news I see is that they are limiting the retreat to only 25 students. This time it will not be at the Abbey of Gethsemani (spiritual home of the late Trappist monk Thomas Merton, one of the modern day fathers of contemplative spirituality who mixed Buddhism with Christianity). (Here is the new retreat site: http://www.lorettocommunity.org/who-we-are/loretto-motherhouse/) But the influence of Merton, Henri Nouwen and other mystics are just the same. Moving the venue does not change a thing. Here’s just a little bit about a monk who is very popular now amongst the emergent church crowd, and continues to influence Nazarene pastors and university leaders after his death.
In his description of Thomas Merton, David Cloud says:
Thomas Merton (1915-68), was a Roman Catholic Trappist monk whose writings are influential within Catholicism, the New Age movement, the peace movement, as well as the centering prayer movement that lies at the heart of the emerging church and that is permeating evangelicalism.
How influential was he? Here’s what Ray Yungen says:
“What Martin Luther King was to the civil rights movement and what Henry Ford was to the automobile, Thomas Merton is to contemplative prayer. Although this prayer movement existed centuries before he came along, Merton took it out of its monastic setting and made it available to and popular with the masses” (A Time of Departing, p. 58).
From David Cloud’s article on Merton, we learn how he died. He was in Bangkok, Thailand, participating in an interfaith dialogue of contemplatives. The conference began with a welcoming address from the Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhism (Living with Wisdom, p. 235). In the final talk of his life, Merton said:
“I believe that by openness to Buddhism, to Hinduism, and to these great Asian traditions, we stand a wonderful chance of learning more about the potentiality of our own [Christian] traditions, because they have gone, from the natural point of view, so much deeper into this than we have. … Now I will disappear from view, and we can all go have a Coke or something” (Merton: A Film Biography, 1984).
He then went to his cottage and was electrocuted by a faulty fan switch.
Thomas Merton’s influence on Trevecca leadership continues. The contact for the retreat is Brent Tallman, Director of Campus Spiritual Formation. But he’s not the only one who has bought into the unbiblical practice of “the silence.” Trevecca President Dan Boone is just as responsible for this, and all the others who are complicit in allowing this yearly retreat to occur. Oh, but it’s so much more than simply another retreat that is the problem at Trevecca and other Nazarene schools.
Here is what Trevecca’s website says as it promotes what is basically a “Christianizing” of pagan practices, which Dan Boone believes is okay:
How does one learn about silence? By being silent.
How does one hear the voice of God? By listening.
Scripture says that, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom. 10:17
What is being promoted in this retreat is not a focus on hearing the voice of God through His word, but to become silent and somehow have God speak to you directly. But if someone tells you that he heard God’s voice, how would you know if it was not actually a demonic voice? They also say this:
So the goal of this retreat will be to help us minimize distractions and noise, so that we might gain a better understanding of how to be silent and how to truly listen for the voice of God.
So what they are saying here is, to truly listen to the voice of God, we must be silent. Is this how we are taught to listen to God? Where is the biblical basis for this? Is this the technique Neal Donald Walsch used before he wrote his book, Conversations With God, in which he claims he actually had conversations with God? How does one believe him, and not me, or someone else?
Union with God in prayer requires us to learn to quiet ourselves–yes, from the noises which surround us, but also from inward noises (restlessness, fears, our agenda’s, etc.) It is this stillness and emptiness which allows us to be open to hearing the voice of God.
Union with God? Stillness? Emptiness? Emptiness allows us to be open to the word of God?? Where is this remotely taught in scripture? I can tell you, it is not. Dan Boone and the emergent church people try justifying practicing the silence by quoting Psalm 46:10. (“Be still, and know that I am God”). He needs to read all of Psalm 46 in context, and he should know that it has nothing to do with practicing the silence. Why do so many ordained elders in the Christian church today twist scripture for their own agenda?
This is a consistent promotion of not only mysticism and pagan prayer methods invented by man and not found anywhere in scripture, but also an encouragement of ecumenism and fellowship with those who practice a false works-based religion. Instead of rescuing their students from the clutches of the false system of Rome, these leaders are recklessly sending our students directly back to what those from the Reformation were rejecting, year after year now.
In a response to one of my previous posts, Dr. Boone suggested to his followers that they should just “stun them with our silence” (that is, those Nazarenes who reject his ideology). How ironic that he does not practice what he suggests, and instead rips into “fundamentalist Christians”, equating them with jihadists. Dr. Boone also has claimed that we have made false statements about Trevecca, yet he has never substantiated that claim. In a Trevecca student blog post, Dr. Boone said: “I only argued with them in the first place because they were making false claims about Trevecca, and to expose them for who they really are—religious fundamentalists,” Boone said. “But you can’t have discussions with people whose minds are already made up.”
Dr. Boone has never shown us what the false claims he purports we have made. If only Dr. Boone and others would make their minds up instead of blowing around like the wind every which way and never “coming to the knowledge of the truth”.
Dr. Boone and those in leadership who are with him on this ought to be ashamed of what they are doing, and I call on them to repent. If not, the board of trustees of Trevecca ought to dismiss Dr. Boone and all who are supporting this nonsense. If not, then is there any reason for continued financial support of this school, and others as well? To continue peddling false doctrines to the youth at Trevecca and expect our money is wrong. Dr. Boone has said that Henri Nouwen is a spiritual guide for him. Henri Nouwen was a universalist who also mixed Eastern religion with Christianity. And who did Henri Nouwen look to for guidance? Thomas Merton.
In his alumni spotlight page at Nazarene Theological Seminary (which for some reason has vanished), Dr Boone said: “I find myself deepening in the practices of spiritual formation that have shaped the saints of the ages, Lectio Divina, fasting, Sabbath observance, care for the poor, journaling, and contemplative prayer.” Perhaps Dr. Boone never thought anyone would ever make such a fuss about all this.
Years ago, it would have been unthinkable to me that a Nazarene university would be led by such blind guides into such apostasy! Dr. Boone and all those who are supporting this heresy need to repent. And yes, I know, he does not answer to me. However, I know that there is One that he will answer to someday.
Thomas Merton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=217sRJ3QFEE&feature=related