Posts Tagged ‘Nazarene’

Update on Colorado Christian University – “Is it still a Contemplative School?”

July 2013 Update on Colorado Christian University: On July 10th, our office received a call from a concerned parent whose child attends Colorado Christian University. She saw that most of the links on our 2009 Letter to the Editor (see below) regarding CCCU were no longer working. We have been able to fix a few of those, and we are providing an update about the school. The parent’s question to us was, “Is Colorado Christian University still a contemplative college?”

Perhaps one of the most obvious signs that CCU is still a contemplative-promoting school is the fact that contemplative advocate Larry Crabb is a CCU professor. He was also the key note speaker at the  CCU 2013 Pastor’s Conference.  Lighthouse Trails has discussed Crabb in the past, in particularly about his book, The Papa Prayer, where he tells readers he has benefited much from contemplative and “centering” prayer (see our review). For those who may not realize just how committed Crabb is to the contemplative mission, consider this: Crabb is one of three Founding Executive Editors of a publication called Conversations Journal. The other two founding editors are David Benner and Gary Moon, both contemplative proponents as well. Lighthouse Trails has followed this magazine for a number of years and often quoted from or referred to it in (in a critical way). Others listed on the Copyright/Editorial page of Conversations Journal  are Richard Foster and the recently deceased Dallas Willard (Editorial Consultants), Basil Pennington (in Memorium), on the Editorial Board – John Ortberg and Ken Boa – both contemplatives. Section Editors include Emilie Griffin of Renovare and Jan Johnson (see A Time of Departing for examples of Jan’s contemplative propensities). Also on the Editorial Board is Jeannette Bakke. Bakke was recently discussed in a LT article about Ruth Haley Barton. She teaches at the Christos Center where people are trained in contemplative spirituality.  Conversations Journal is a who’s who and what’s what of contemplative spirituality. Just go to their website and use their search engine. Try terms like Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, labyrinth, lectio divina, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, and so forth. No one could deny that Conversations Journal is a strong advocate for contemplative spirituality. And in a proper line of reasoning, one would have to admit that CCU  is being impacted (contemplatively speaking) by having the Executive Editor of Conversations Journal teach at CCU.

In addition to Crabb’s role at CCU, the  2013-214 CCU catalog  includes a strong emphasis on Spiritual Formation.

One of the most troubling things we learned (from the parent who called us) was that in April 2013, CCU invited Catholic Archbishop  Aquila to speak at CCU.  In Aquila’s speech at CCU, he states, “We all share the imperative of evangelization.” But the Archbishop is NOT talking about the same kind of evangelization as a biblical Christian would. There is only one kind of evangelization in the Catholic Church, and that is the evangelization to bring back the “lost brethren” (Protestants/evangelicals) to the “Mother Church.”  The Archbishop’s speech was a “let’s all get together to save America,” kind of speech, but the real goal of the papacy has always been to convert people to Catholicism.  As a school that claims to adhere to biblical principles and beliefs,  CCU leadership should know better than to have any part in an ecumenical effort that surely gave students the impression that Catholicism is a legitimate form of Christianity. Please read Roger Oakland’s book Another Jesus if you do not understand this.

Last, in this update, Kevin Turner, the Associate Professor of Youth Ministry and Theology at CCU’s School of Theology wrote a book titled Learn Before You Leap: 101 Case Studies for Youth Pastors (2012). Under a section titled “Contemplative Prayer Practices,” Turner poses a question about contemplative practices: prayer labyrinth, praying the Scriptures, lectio divina, and the Jesus Prayer (p. 142). He doesn’t come out and say they are either good or bad, but in the acknowledgements section of the book, he thanks Youth Specialties and its founder the late Mike Yaconelli who taught Turner “how to feed [his] soul in a ministry context.” Turner states: “When I began teaching, YS published the textbooks I used in class, and the YS academic support network became my community. Through the majority of my almost-50 years, Youth Specialties has been there at every step to help, inform, and inspire me. Since 1995 it has been a thrill to be involved on the NYWC staff along with Tic, Michelle, Marko, Mark, and so many others.” For those who aren’t aware, Youth Specialties has been a leading voice in promoting the emerging church movement and contemplative spirituality to tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of youth in America. We can’t help but wonder if Turner absorbed Youth Specialties’ contemplative affinity. If he did, then, like Larry Crabb, he will be passing this on to CCU students.


Now, our 2011 Letter to the Editor

To Lighthouse Trails:

I am looking at colleges and it is really important to me that I find a college that will not have bad theology, is contemplative, new age, etc.

I went onto your website and found the list of colleges that are contemplative and Colorado Christian University was among them.

Everything I see on their website looks great. I was wondering how to determine whether a college fits into that category or not? I don’t want to go somewhere that could warp my faith but I also want to know what makes Colorado Christian a contemplative University?

Excerpts from our answer:

Dear  ________,

It’s a real dilemma with the colleges. So many of the Christian colleges are so influenced by the contemplative/emerging church spirituality, and our viewpoint is that this is very dangerous and against Scripture. The school in Colorado is one of the more emerging colleges out there. . . .

Here are some links regarding Colorado Christian University to back up what we have said about it. ______, if you have not read Castles in the Sand and Faith Undone, we hope you will before you go to college, wherever you choose.

Colorado Christian University:

1. Studying teachings of contemplative/emerging figures –  (This page has a number of contemplative and emerging references . It comes right out and says it will be studying the teachings of contemplatives such as Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen.):

 “We will be reading and discussing a variety of writers who will take us on a journey of honest self-examination, and provide us with a vision of what true, authentic , Biblical community really is. We will be reading from people like: Brennan Manning, Larry Crabb, Henri Nouwen, Andy Stanley, and Phillip Yancey.”

2. Here you can see that the school has a very strong emphasis on spiritual formation (the vehicle through which contemplative/emerging enter):

One example: Pastors Conference with contemplative advocate Larry Crabb

Regarding the textbooks they are using, we could show you many examples but here are just a few. This one is where they are using emerging church leader Brian McLaren: (link removed).  This really shows how far this school has gone down the emerging path.

This one is where they are using Youth Specialties former president Mark O (link removed).   Youth Specialties is a leader in the emerging church.

On this page, you will see textbooks they are using for their Leadership Program. One of them is a blatant New Age mystic (Daniel Goleman): (link removed)

We could go on and on with examples as this school is one of the most blatantly emerging schools out there (along with most Nazarene colleges, sad to say). If we can answer any specific questions, now or anytime later, please let us know. God bless.

Olivet Nazarene University 105th School Added to Lighthouse Trails Contemplative School List

On Saturday morning, Lighthouse Trails received an e-mail from a concerned parent whose child is attending Olivet Nazarene University. The parent told us that Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline is part of a required Freshman course. We have also discovered that Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality) is integrated in various aspects of the school including their Christian Education program, Practical Ministries, Youth Ministry, and the School of Theology. Thus we have added Olivet Nazarene University to our list of Christian schools that promote Spiritual Formation. 

In addition to Richard Foster’s book, Henri Nouwen’s books are used in at least 4 courses. In two of those (CMIN 116, COMM 300), his contemplative promoting book In the Name of Jesusis used. This is the book that Kay Warren, Rick Warren’s wife, recommends saying it “hits at the heart of the minister . . .  I highlighted almost every word.”1 It is in that book of Nouwen’s that he says:

Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love . . . For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required.2 (emphasis added)

In almost every school that promotes Spiritual Formation, Henri Nouwen is used. This is because the spirituality that Nouwen advocated for is the same spirituality that Spiritual Formation (contemplative) inhabits. When you think of where Spiritual Formation took Nouwen before the end of his life (after years of practicing mysticism), it is sobering to see the majority of Christian colleges and seminaries embrace him. In the last book he wrote, he stated:

Today I personally believe that while Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her own way to God.”3

What Nouwen says here illustrates the “fruit” of contemplative spirituality. It is not surprising to us that Olivet Nazarene University promotes Spiritual Formation. Most of the Nazarene universities do. We have documented this for years. If you want to see one of the most shocking signs of where evangelical Christian schools will end up, read our article Buddhist/Universalist Sympathizer Woos Nazarene Students at NNU and watch the video we link to of Dr. Jay McDaniel’s visit to Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho.

Nouwen’s influence is obvious at Olivet. The VP of Spiritual Lifelists Nouwen as one of his favorite authors. This of course could have a profound influence on many students. Parents, please remember, when you are looking for a college or university for your son or daughter to attend this coming fall, please check that school out carefully beforehand, and make sure your child understands what the underlying roots of contemplative and emerging spirituality are before they leave your home. It is by no means just Nazarene Universities that are being affected. This is happening in virtually every denomination to one degree or another.


1. Rick Warren quoting Kay Warren on the Ministry Toolbox (Issue #54, 6/5/2002, (
2. Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 2000), pp. 6, 31-32.

3. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, Hardcover edition, 1998, p. 51.

Related Articles:

An Epidemic of Apostasy – Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited

‘Mysticism’ infecting Nazarene beliefs . . . and more of the story

Why Christian Leaders Should Not Promote Henri Nouwen

Nazarene Pastor Fired For Fighting Emergent Ideology

by Manny Silva
Concerned Nazarenes

Disturbing trends continue to develop in our denomination.  Recently, I sent out a prayer request for a pastor and his church that decided to leave the Nazarene denomination, rather than stay and bow to emergent ideology and priorities.  Soon, I will be posting some information regarding those who have been forced to leave their churches (“Divorced From The Church”).  More and more Bible believing Nazarenes are finding themselves ostracized and are even being labeled as cult members, hateful, dividers, “used by the devil”…etc.  On and on it goes, with no biblical justification!  Students are subject to ridicule or harassment for standing up against unbiblical teachings at their universities.

The following story is also another scenario, that of a pastor being fired for daring to speak out against a movement which has not even been officially welcomed into the Nazarene denomination.  Please understand that it is the desire of this pastor not to target leadership, but to make you aware of the magnitude of this problem.  Hopefully, some of you will begin to look at this, and not be overcome by it:

The Story:

As many of you know, Pastor Joe Staniforth joined Concerned Nazarenes – a group of Nazarenes troubled by false teachings in our academic institutions and many of our churches in the Western world. These teachings can be summed up as “emergent ideology.”

For more information on the emergent church movement and the mission of Concerned Nazarenes, please visit or one of the websites listed below.

In September 2008, Pastor Joe and his wife Claudia answered God’s call to work as missionaries, evangelists and church planters on the Texas-Mexico border. Although they’ve witnessed the Lord at work – especially in ministries in Matamoros, Mexico – Pastor Joe became increasingly concerned about emergent teachings in the Nazarene denomination. In obedience to the Lord’s leading, he began preaching against the ideology and practices of the emergent movement . Please click here to read the rest of this story.

Related Information on the downslide of the Nazarene denomination into emerging/contemplative:

Buddhist/Universalist Sympathizer Woos Nazarene Students at NNU

G12 Master Plan Could Expose Thousands of Nazarenes to Contemplative/Emerging Spirituality


In November 2004, Lighthouse Trails issued its first alert to readers on Christian colleges that are promoting contemplative spirituality. The four colleges listed in that alert were San Fransisco Theological Seminary, Biola University, Bethel University, and Lincoln Christian College and Seminary. Since then, numerous other alerts have been issued. What has become all too painfully clear is that the majority of Christian colleges and seminaries in North America have, in varying degrees, begun to incorporate contemplative spirituality into their colleges. It is not just a few schools – it is most, and for those who understand the dangers of contemplative (and emerging), it is obvious that Christian colleges are in a crisis of faith.

The following is a list of the articles we have written on the college situation. Is your child’s school listed here? It’s worth checking out:

Biola University – January 2005

Dallas Theological Seminary – April 2005

Assemblies of God Theological Seminary – May/June 2005

Assemblies of God Theological Seminary – Article #2 – November 2005

Wheaton College Promoting Contemplative Spirituality – March 2006

Christian Colleges – A Dangerous Place For Young Christians – June 2006

Azusa Pacific University

Wheaton College

Back to School – Is Your College Student Safe? – August 2006

The Shape of Things to Come – Biola University – September 2006

Moody Bible – September 2006

Cedarville University – October 2006

Trinity Western University – December 2006

Liberty University – February 2007

A Glimpse of the Future of Christian Higher Education – March 2007

Prairie Bible Institute – August 2007

Liberty University – Article #2 – August 2007

Moody Bible Institute – Article #2 – September 2007

Briercrest College – September 2007

Southwest Baptist University – October 2007

Baylor University – November 2007

Belmont University – November 2007

Moody Bible Institute – Article #3 – November 2007

Prairie Bible Institute – Article #2 – November 2007

Southeastern University (AOG) – December 2007

Moody Bible Institute – Article #4 – January 2008

Palm Beach Atlantic University – January 2008

Cedarville University – January 2008

Nazarene Universities – February 2008

Liberty University – Article #3 – February 2008

University Student Stands Alone Against Emerging Spirituality – February 2008

Mount Vernon Nazarene – March 2008

Moody Bible Institute Looks for New President – August 1, 2008

Cedarville University – Article #3 – March 2008

Bethel University New President: “Catholic friends taught me about contemplative prayer.” – July 3, 2008

Jonathan Falwell Becomes Vice-Chancellor at Liberty University – September 11, 2008

Ambrose University (CMA & Nazarene) Full Speed into Contemplative/Emergent – October 12, 2008

Biola University Student Reports on Contemplative Chapel Services – Warns Parents to Avoid Biola – October 20, 2008

Biola University Contacts Lighthouse Trails – Accuses of Libel – October 21, 2008

Non-Contemplative Pillsbury Baptist Bible College to Close – November 24, 2008

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary May Be Heading into Troubled Contemplative Waters – January 12, 2009

Keri Wyatt Kent Continues Leading Women Toward Contemplative – Moody Bible Institute Helps – February 12, 2009

Trevecca Nazarene University Promoting Contemplative Spirituality in No Small Way – February 18, 2009

Emergent/Mystical Leaders at Baylor University – April 13, 2009

Point Loma Nazarene University Welcomes Brian McLaren and Embraces Contemplative Spirituality – April 19, 2009

Gordon College in MA Brings Emerging Contemplative Spirituality to Students June 19, 2009

For more information:

Our database of Christian colleges using contemplative materials

Some Christian colleges that DON’T promote contemplative spirituality

Lighthouse Trails RSS Feed

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