Dr. Jim Diehl is one of six General Superintendents of the Nazarene Church of America. Three years ago Dr. Diehl called Lighthouse Trails Publishing because he had just finished reading A Time of Departing. He told us he believed the book was excellent and that the message in it was vital. We told him at that time that some of the Nazarene colleges were inviting contemplative speakers to address the student bodies. Today, the Nazarene colleges and universities are sinking deeper than ever into contemplative. We are saddened that professors and college presidents within the Nazarene church do not share Dr. Diehl’s appreciation for our warning against contemplative spirituality (i.e., spiritual formation).
Below is some documentation on one of the Nazarene universities.
Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho is a perfect example of the direction Nazarene colleges are heading. Under the School of Theology and Christian Ministries, NNU lists several ministries they are affiliated with at various events. Last September, Brennan Manning was a guest at the College Church of the Nazarene in Nampa. In October, NNU participated in the Missional Leaders in an Emerging Culture Conversation at the Nazarene Theological Seminary (in which there was a workshop on the Eucharist). In June last year, NNU participated at the “Allelon Ministry in a Postmodern Context Conference with Brian McLaren,” and in February, they participated in the “Renovare Spiritual Formation Conference” (Richard Foster).
Northwest Nazarene’s Call to Ministry program tells those who sign up that they must read Henri Nouwen’s book, Can You Drink the Cup?, and in November, NNU professor Dr. Mark Maddix “facilitated a weekend Spiritual Formation workshop … The workshop explored both a wide variety of spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, lectio divina, and solitude.” 1
In addition to NNU participating in events with Brian McLaren and Brennan Manning, promoting Henri Nouwen and lectio divina, Leonard Sweet was a chapel speaker in 2005. CE 513 Topics in Postmodern Ministry, (Tim Milburn includes textbooks by Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren and Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz).
Over the past couple years, our research shows that Nazarene colleges, seminaries and universities are introducing students to the New Age and mysticism through their spiritual formation programs.