Archive for March, 2009

**Update:  June 13, 2009

**It seems NNU has removed the links bio for a couple of the presenters.  The bio’s revealed various Spiritual Formation experience and emphases in their backgrounds.   

**Update:   June 5, 2009

**Looks like the link for the retreat has been re-fashioned.  A paragraph has been added that reports that Dr. Jesse Middendorf endorses the retreat.  Perhaps this was added in an attempt to give the Spiritual Formation Retreat a stamp of approval because a GS endorses it?’  Towards the bottom of the link a Question segment has been added to further quell any concerns and to try to defend the place,  purpose, and practice of the Spiritual Formation Retreat.

You can try to re-package it all day long, but it’s still what it is.  

 **Update:  April 17, 2009

**Apparently Dr. Sproul is no longer listed on the Pre-Retreat site.  No explanation has been given.   Is this an attempt at sanitizing the appearance of the retreat?    


 Northwest Nazarene University and Nazarene Theological Seminary are collaborating to offer a Spiritual Formation Retreat prior to the 2009 General Assembly.    http://www.nts.edu/general-assembly-spiritual-formation-retreat


Here is a list of the people who will be leading the retreat:


The retreat is being held at the San Pedro Center, a Catholic Franciscan retreat center.     http://www.sanpedrocenter.org/index.php


Lighthouse Trails Research has posted a feature article about the retreat.    http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1403&more=1&c=1


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There is a movement that has taken hold in the Nazarene denomination calling on people (mostly the young) to embrace an Ancient-Future worship style.  The movement draws its adherents to look to the past, or early church fathers for a new direction for the future of worship. 

This movement embraces the pietism of early monastic life, and of practices of the early Roman Catholic Church; it points devotees to the Desert Fathers.  Because Ancient-Future worship practices are considered ancient, these practices are touted as being biblical and authentic.   Are they biblical?  Does God define the ways we come to Him, or does man?  Are these ancient mystical practices found in scripture?  Did the early believers in Acts practice these worship methods?  How did some of these ancient mystical methods of prayer and worship develop? 

This appeal for mysticism and experiential-feelings type worship is a result of:

  •  Dead churches not training,  equipping, and exhorting congregations to put their faith to action and witness to those who are lost with the life-changing gospel and to then help the hopeless.
  • Legalism – adding rules and standards that are extra-biblical and not contained in scripture. 
  • Lack of  Biblical exegetical preaching and teaching so that those weak in the faith are swayed by every new fad that saunters down the pike.      
  • Churches that embrace pragmatic church growth, seeker-sensitive, market-driven programs that water-down preaching  and teaching to appeal to the world.  

These ancient practices that are being embraced in some churches today through youth pastors, and some New Start nazarene emergent churches and universities include:  prayer labyrinths, prayer walks or stations, lectio divina, lenten practices, Ash Wednesday observances, practicing monastism, taking retreats to monastaries, praying the rosary or prayer beads, centering prayer.  Ecumenism and unity with other faiths is being embraced.  There is a strong appeal for Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.  All this under the guise and appeal of Ancient-Future worship.

Robert Webber (now deceased), Richard Foster, and Dallas Willard are the main authors of this movement.  They have written books that are used on the college campuses to promote the ancient-future practices as a “new way” for re-inventing Christianity. 

Here is a link to Robert Webber’s site.  He sent out a written document called The Call for  people to read and sign; if they agreed with The Call they signed it.  Here is the link.  You need to scroll down the page to read The Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future.



Here is a list of Nazarene signers to The Call (as of November 17, 2006):

  • Rev. Ken Balch, Mission Director, Mid-Atlantic COTN, Crofton MD
  • Sam S. Barber, Senior Pastor, Troy COTN, Troy, OH
  • Dan Boone, President, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN
  • Daron B. Brown, Pastor, COTN, Waverly, TN
  • Rev. James B. Chapman, Sonlight COTN, Minneapolis, MN
  • Eric Frey, Toronto First COTN, Toronto, OH
  • Timothy Green
  • Dr. Sam Green, Associate Professor of Music, Chair of the Division of Music, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN
  • Chad A. Harvey, Pastor, Little Sandy COTN, Bruceton Mills, WV
  • Rich Mark, Pastor to Families with Children, Nashville First COTN, TN
  • Scott Marshall, Pastor of Fellowship & Discipleship, Southside COTN, Chesterfield, VA
  • Rev. Harlan Moore, Minister of Worship Arts, Bethany First COTN, Bethany, OK
  • Brian M. Niece, Pastor, Grace Community COTN, Brusnwick, GA
  • Dr. Charles Nienkirchen, Prof. of Christian History & Spirituality, Alliance University College/Nazarene University College, Calgary, AB, Canada
  • Rev. Brent Peterson, Pastor, Chicago Northside COTN, Chicago, IL
  • Rev. Brian K. Postlewait, Spiritual Director, Community of Hope, Inc., Washington D.C.
  • John D. Prichard II, Lead Pastor, Butler COTN, Butler, MO
  • Dr. Keith Schwanz, Assistant Dean, Nazarene Theological Seminary, Kansas City, MO
  • Rev. Todd A. Stepp, O.S.L., Pastor, COTN, Greencastle, IN
  • Rev. A. Blake Teston, Lead Pastor, Blackwell First COTN, Blackwell, OK
  • Rev. Brian R. Thomas, Sr. Pastor, Wasilla Lake COTN, Wasilla, AK
  • Rev. Greg Voiles, COTN, Elder, Ph.D. Preparation Historical Theology & Christian Spirituality (Fall 2007), Allardt, TN
  • Michael Wiebe, Minister of Worship & Music, First COTN, Nampa ID

Here is the link to check the signers: http://www.ancientfutureworship.com/afw_callsigners2.html


The Nazarene Publishing House is also promoting ancient-future materials to Nazarene youth through the following selections:



This is why we left the Nazarene Church.  We did not feel that it was safe to allow our two youngest children to go through our Nazarene church’s youth group.  This material was being introduced along with Rob Bell’s Nooma video’s….and we saw that Ancient-Future practices were also well entrenched at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, and Trevecca Nazarene University.

There is an agenda coming together of unity with other religions, with mysticism as the cement that binds the faiths together.   There is a drawing away of people taking place (especially the young) from solid propositional truth-teaching from the Bible to the false fire created by man to offer to God experiences and feelings over what is written in His Word.  There is a move towards the Catholic Church.


Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.      Acts 20: 28-31


For further research on Ancient-Future worship go to these links:

 Evangelical Mysticism?   http://www.thebereancall.org/node/6433

Ancient-Future Heresies      http://www.thebereancall.org/node/6535

Why Evangelicals Are Returning to Rome     http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue105.htm

Here’s a post from the Emergent Nazarenes blog discussing Ancient-Future   http://emergentnazarenes.blogspot.com/2006/09/dialogue-with-our-modern-nazarene.html

Lighthouse Trails Research article on Ancient-Future   http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=1391&c=1

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Here is a program presenting information by Bob Pearle, pastor of Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.  He is discussing his book:  The Vanishing Church: Searching For Significance in the 21st Century 

Also, if anyone is looking for a good conference to go to, look into the Code Blue Rally schedule that Worldview Weekend sponsors.   You won’t find any secular leadership break-out sessions, or leaders from the emergent church offered at the Code Blue Conferences. 


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Caution:  The above link will take you to  convicting teaching by someone named Paul Washer.  He was one of the presenters at a VCY America Conference that was held in Wisconsin February of 2008.   He presents a teaching that hasn’t been heard in years….and uses terms we used to hear from most Nazarene pulpits.  

I doubt that he will ever be in any of the line-ups for any Willow Creek, Saddleback, or Andy Stanley Catalyst Conferences.   I say that for two reasons:  1.  They would never ask him; his message doesn’t fit with their latest secular leadership church growth gurus.  2.  I doubt that Paul Washer would ever align himself with those conferences because of the fads they peddle and promote….even if they layer Bible verses in their messages to convince the attendees that they are biblical.

Oh, that today’s preachers would turn from mega-church conferences and return to such preaching and teaching.   What would happen if  they had confidence in God’s Word to convict hearts and bring people to spiritual maturity via that ordained method?   

I challenge you to get a cup of coffee, a Bible, and listen to the whole presentation.  It will convict you.  

Listen to the WHOLE session.  

* After listening to Paul Washer, I think it would be wonderful to have him as a guest speaker at the different Nazarene university chapels!

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