The following pertains to our January 25 article, Buddhist/Universalist Sympathizer Woos Nazarene Students at NNU. NNU’s president, Dr. David Alexander, has issued the following response to an undisclosed number of concerned Nazarenes. We are posting this and also our comments and documentation about his response (see our commentary below Dr. Alexander’s response).
From Dr. Alexander:
Greetings from the campus of Northwest Nazarene University. I am writing to follow-up on an email you sent to General Superintendent Porter regarding the appearance of a guest on the NNU campus several years ago . Please allow me to speak to that, as well as make a couple general observations and finally update you on the present work of NNU for the Kingdom.
You wrote asking about the appearance of Jay McDaniel on our campus. He was a guest speaker at NNU in the Fall of 2006. Unfortunately, the video clip that you are referencing omits an NNU faculty member’s introduction of Dr. McDanie[l]. In effect, the introduction was a “disclaimer” regarding the fact that while we welcome him to speak, not all his views may align with our institutional views on matters of orthodoxy, theology and creedal statements.
Therefore, let me state explicitly so you know exactly where NNU stands as an institution. NNU believes and affirms the Articles of Faith and Covenants of Christian Character and Conduct that are the bedrock of the Church of the Nazarene. Furthermore, we espouse the centrality of Christ in all we are and all we do. To that end, I’m inserting a paragraph from the Hallmarks of an NNU Education, that underscore this fact:
Northwest Nazarene University is built upon belief in and relationship with the One Triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Him and His Son all things live and move and have their being. He is the way, the truth and the life. Therefore, we gather and organize ourselves around our relationship with God in Christ, made available to us through the Holy Spirit. We exist to seek God. He is the centerpiece around all we plan, do and are. We seek His rule, righteousness and relationship in our lives and in the life of the institution.
Here is a link to the entire Hallmarks of an NNU Education document:
Let there be no doubt. We organize and act from our belief that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. I understand that in viewing the remarks of our campus guest that some may mistakenly assume that what he said is what we believe. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Having said that, I want to explain the nature of his invitation. (Please recall that this occurred in Fall of 2006, I became President of NNU in Summer of 2008.) The university as a whole and our School of Theology & Christian Ministry in particular realize that the world is shrinking. Culture and belief systems that were once a world away, are now as near as an immigrant student, a next door neighbor or a link to a website. Consequently, it is the duty and responsibility of the university to make ourselves and our students aware of the world’s religions, sects and quests for God. This is necessary if we are to appropriately know how we as Christians, are to proclaim the gospel to Muslims, pantheists, or Buddhists (an area where Dr. McDaniel has done research).
It is our privilege and duty to assess and guide in this process, so that we and our students become adept at highlighting the good intentions and fallacies of various religions in order to then preach Christ and Him crucified. This is in keeping with the same posture that the Apostle Paul used on his missionary travels, when he spoke directly to the belief systems of a particular town or region (e.g. Athens, Corinth) and then connected the hunger for a god, with the path to God in Jesus Christ.
To this end, we, as a missional expression of the Church of the Nazarene, promote the exercise of faith and reason, so that we might better observe the hand of God and His grace, preveniently at work in the world, so that we might be a part of the Holy Spirit’s moving. In fact, my recent address to the campus community in our first Spring Semester Chapel, explores how to deal with the healthy tension that God has placed within us, His children, as we learn to exercise our minds in harmony with our faith. Here’s a link to the text of that chapel message:
I’m sorry if this video of one of our guests, which you have encountered, has caused you to think poorly of our work. I wanted to be quick respond and encourage you to stay in dialog. For NNU has, is and always will be committed to proclaiming the good news of the gospel, saturating all we teach and do with His perspective, as we continually seek to provide transformative experiences for our students as they grow up into the full measure and stature of Jesus Christ.
Thank you again for your interest and concern. I take it to mean that you have a heart for our beloved Church and the work the university does as the Church at work in higher education.
May God bless you, may God bless NNU,
David Alexander, President
Northwest Nazarene University
Lighthouse Trails’ Commentary and Documentation Refuting Dr. Alexander’s Response:
We believe this is a case of a university president who does not appear to understand the nature of the current spiritual deception sweeping through the church, and very much so the Nazarene denomination. By his own admission, Dr. McDaniel was there to instruct the students, as Dr. Alexander points out (end of paragraph 6) when he says “make ourselves and our students aware of the world’s religions … an area where Dr. McDaniel has done research.”I think many parents would disagree with NNU’s idea that New Age Christians who dangerously teach another gospel should be the ones to teach their students about world religions. That’s a ridiculous argument by Dr. Alexander. There are many excellent books and resources that teach on world religions, written by fine Christian men and women. So when Dr. Alexander says that “it is the duty and responsibility of the university to make ourselves and our students aware of the world’s religions,” how that is done is up for dispute.
Secondly, if the school is indeed “committed to proclaiming the good news of the gospel” and if something has changed since Dr. Alexander became President of NNU, which he points out in his letter that he began AFTER McDaniel’s visit, then why was Brian McLaren invited to speak in 2008, Philip Yancey this year and why do they presently have a Spiritual Formation program, in which heretical authors such as Richard Foster, Rob Bell, Henri Nouwen, Brian McLaren, Dallas Willard, Steve Chalke, David Benner, Brother Lawrence, Eugene Peterson, and Donald Miller are being used to teach the students? http://www.nnu.edu/academics/graduate-programs/graduate-theological-online-education/master-of-arts-tracks/wwwnnuedumasf/textbooks/ Some of these listed above have outrightly denied the Atonement of Jesus Christ and all listed above are part of the new emerging spirituality, which promotes a mystical viewpoint.
At the risk of sounding disrespectful, we will tell you why this is happening at NNU – it is because Dr. Alexander and the other teachers and leaders at the school think they understand, but they do not.
Incidentally, the use of heretical teachers (ones who promote mysticism and panentheism) does not stop at NNU’s Spiritual Formation program. In their Missional Leadership program, the same thing is happening. Part of that list includes Brian McLaren (clearly a favorite of NNU, though McLaren calls the doctrine of the Cross and Hell “false advertising” for God), Eddie Gibbs, Leonard Sweet (promotes quantum spiriutality – see AWD), Dan Kimball, and a number of others. Dr. Alexander needs to understand that he is president of a university that has become an institution that is promoting the new emerging spirituality, a spirituality that by its very nature denies the tenets of the Christian faith, of which he says the school believes.
For Dr. Alexander to single out McDaniel as if this was some rare exception is erroneous, because the names we have mentioned above are following the same spirituality as McDaniel. In his case, he was just more candid than some of the others. But for those who have studied McLaren, Sweet, and Foster, they have learned that the spirituality is the same.
Note: For detailed information on the beliefs of the names mentioned in this commentary, use the Lighthouse Trails Research Topical Index and Search Engine.