“…I am deepening in the mystical forms of prayer.” (Dan Boone)
Thanks to the undiscerning “leadership” of President Dan Boone, Trevecca Nazarene students will have the opportunity to go on a mystical ride. Once again, it time for the “Spiritual Formation” retreat at the Gethsemani monastery in Kentucky, spiritual home to the famed Roman Catholic mystic, universalist, and Buddhist sympathizer Thomas Merton. (https://www.trevecca.edu/community-life/faith-service/spiritual-formation-retreat)
Merton, who is dead, is a rising star amongst many undiscerning, confused or deceived Nazarene pastors of today. Along with his spiritual brother, Henri Nouwen, and other modern day proponents such as Richard Foster, they have risen to a prominence equaling and perhaps surpassing that old out of style book called the Bible.
Contemplative prayer uses the same meditative exercises used in Eastern religions and New Age cults. Practicing the silence has absolutely no basis in scripture, yet Dan Boone has deceived many students at Trevecca by sending them on yearly retreats alongside Roman Catholic nuns and monks. Dr. Boone also promotes the use of prayer labyrinths, and has had one there for years at Trevecca. After I exposed this more fully, he made excuses about it, and later re-named the labyrinth and called it something else.
Practicing the silence is simply another form of contemplative mysticism (or contemplative spirituality), which is often excused for by Boone and others by abusing the meaning of Psalm 46:10. Dr. Boone once said on his profile page at Nazarene Theological Seminary, “…I am deepening in the mystical forms of prayer.” (It is no longer there). Well, this is exactly where the Church of the Nazarene is going, and even more boldly than nine years ago when I first saw this coming.
The affinity for mysticism has taken over the Nazarene universities and the seminary and Bible college so much, that the holiness denomination is transforming into a reflection of the Roman Catholic Church combined with Eastern mysticism and contemplative prayer rituals. In the promotion for the retreat, students are given the option of spending time with the nuns during their prayer hours, almost certainly with the chance to hear prayers to Mary the co-redemptrix with Christ, and even the prayers to dead “saints.” When you view the video promotion, there is nothing that connects “silence” with any biblical teaching or instruction.
Forms of contemplative prayer include: centering prayer, labyrinth meditation, stations of the cross, breath prayers, the silence, lectio divina. The goal of contemplative prayer is to clear one’s mind so that you can hear God better. It seeks to empty the mind and enter an altered state of consciousness by repetition of a mantra; focusing on one’s breathing; contemplating images or icons. I suppose that through this method, the person will receive new revelation from God.
But biblical prayer is based on the scriptures:
See: Micah 7:7; Ps. 4:3; 1 John 5:14, 15
True prayer is with both spirit and mind, not one or the other. 1 Cor 14:15
True prayer talks to God the Father (Phil. 4:6) through Jesus Christ (John 16:23), in the power of the Holy Spirit. And we understand that what God has revealed in His Word is sufficient; any new revelation is unnecessary. 2 Tim. 3:16–17
The Retreat At Gethsemani And Its Purpose
Here is what Trevecca’s website says as it promotes what is basically a “Christianizing” of pagan practices:
“How does one learn about silence? By being silent.
How does one hear the voice of God? By listening”
But 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:
“Are you looking for a true retreat, a chance to read, pray, rest, and enjoy nature? There will be no agendas, no meetings, and no requirement—just being quiet before God and listening for His voice.”
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? Emptying the mind is a dangerous practice that is inviting demons to come in, not God.
This is a constant 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 sending our students directly back to what those from the Reformation were rejecting, year after year now.
Dr. Boone’s Love of Thomas Merton and Other Roman Catholic Mystics
Dr. Boone has called Thomas Merton and Ignatius of Loyola spiritual giants.
Merton was not a spiritual giant- he was a monk who said that he was “deeply impregnated with Sufism” because he believed that Eastern mysticism was compatible with and could be incorporated into Christianity. He placed Mary high on a level equal to Jesus, and he prayed to many catholic saints. He was influenced by Aldous Huxley, who found enlightenment through hallucinogenic drugs.
Ignatius of Loyola was no wiser, and as the founder of the Jesuits he brutally persecuted Christians and swore complete submission to the pope. As most Roman Catholics do, he venerated Mary. He practiced extreme asceticism, living in a cave for a year and never bathing. He also promoted and taught visualization prayers, breath prayers, and other unbiblical practices (Source: Way of Life). Yet, Dan Boone calls him a spiritual giant.
In a Letter to Pastors he wrote in 2009, Dr. Boone not only erroneously claimed that the Roman Catholic church was the only church for 1500 years after Christ, but he also exposed more error along with his ecumenical get along with everyone philosophy. How is it that we can “be one” with the Roman Catholic Church?
“While Nazarenes are different from Catholics in very significant ways, we believe that we will share eternity with them in the presence of the Christ who prayed that we might be one.” (Dan Boone)
“Be one” with the Roman Catholic Church and all its false doctrines? His philosophy seems to be that anyone who claims the name of Jesus, no matter their belief otherwise, will spend eternity with Christ. This is contrary to Jesus’s teaching, and indicates Dr. Boone’s dangerous and ignorant thinking as he misleads others.
Nazarene Pastors Love Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen and Other Mystics
Although Merton and Nouwen are proven false teachers who were universalists and Buddhist sympathizers, an alarming number of Nazarene leaders and pastors love their heretical work. Here are some recent comments by Nazarene pastors on a closed Nazarene FaceBook page, in a very “enthusiastic” discussion with Bible believers. Their names are not mentioned because it is a closed group, but I would love to challenge them to promote these false teachers openly at their churches and in public. Listen to some of them defend Henri Nouwen who promoted doctrines of demons:
“One of my favorite authors since my sophomore year of university (Compassion). Grounded me as a new pastor (Return of the Prodigal Son). Helped me through an evacuation due to civil war and three moves in my first six months as a Nazarene missionary (Way of the Heart). Helped me see the significance of my work with organic church movements in west Africa and north America (Reaching Out). Love this guy, a real spiritual mentor for me. I encourage people to read his books whenever I can.” (A Nazarene college professor)
“In the Name of Jesus” has given me such encouragement time after time since college. And “Compassion” is a powerful, powerful book.” (a Nazarene pastor)
It is sad to see so many pastors in the Church of the Nazarene being deceived by the writings of a man who was not even a Christian. He was a false Christian, and a universalist. No wonder the church is in such pitiful spiritual condition. Those who are in positions of leadership and pastoring a Christian church will be held much more responsible by the Lord for promoting this man’s writing that is inspired by satan, not the Spirit of God.
The Fifth Column: Corrupt Leaders
I have seen material sent out by the New England District Superintendent that promotes writers who are mystics. My former pastor was proud of his library, once showing me his books which included such authors as Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. Books by Merton, Nouwen and other mystics are being used in theology curriculums in the universities and seminary. Pastors are quoting Mother Theresa and other heretical mystics from Roman Catholicism- in their sermons! A pastor preached a Christmas sermon recently- all about Mary, and her co-partnership with the Savior. This stuff is straight out of Roman Catholicism!
I recently listened to a sermon titled “The Fifth Column.” It starts by describing this phrase that was used by a military leader, to describe how he will use a stealth group of loyalists hidden within the city, to weaken it and prepare for a final and decisive assault. The destruction of the church will be from within, as corrupt pastors slowly deceive undiscerning church members with the demonic influence of these mystics. We can no longer just call it “dubious”. We cannot just call it “not advisable”. We absolutely must not call it “a difference of viewpoints.”
We must call it what it is: demonic, unbiblical, destructive to the church, and we must call out the leaders and pastors who are promoting these false teachings.
Free ebook resource: https://www.wayoflife.org/free_ebooks/evangelicals_and_mysticism.php