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.