The Evangelical Friends Church International(EFCI) in recent years has been adopting the eschatology of many other evangelical denominations. Specifically, it is becoming heavily involved in postmillenial Emerging/ Emergent/Kingdom Now eschatology. Click here and here for several of my blogs on this.
Ironically, this heretical theme of postmillenial Emerging/Emergent/Kingdom Now eschatology fits Malone University‘s logo with the phrase “Christ’s Kingdom First,” which Malone adopted years before the Emerging/Emergent movements. Although Malone is still the most biblically sound of the Evangelical Friends schools, its increase in Emerging/Emergent courses is troubling.
Check out the titles and course summaries in Malone’s Master’s Degree program in Theology. I have several questions:
Who thought up these “kingdom” titles?
How long have the courses been taught under these titles?
Why the “kingdom” theme?
Click here for the original listing of Malone graduate Theology courses. I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets]. Also, I have underlined key phrases in the course titles:
THEO 510 – Christian Scripture: Interpreting the Kingdom Story (3) – Teaching others is one of the most common expressions of leadership in the Christian church. For many church workers, teaching will be the primary way in which they lead. The most important prerequisite for skilled teaching is the ability to correctly interpret and apply Christian scripture. This course will refresh and deepen students’ knowledge of the Old and New Testaments, and will aid them in developing the skills necessary for explaining even the most difficult Bible passages to others.
THEO 515 – History and Doctrine of the Church: Highlights from Kingdom Heritage (3) – A solid understanding of history and doctrine is fundamental to effective service in the church. The ancient church’s struggle with doctrine and heresies shaped what Christians confess today. Moreover, the contemporary church can learn from its past and can see in the church’s history and doctrine the way in which the bride of Christ is being prepared to meet him.
THEO 521 – Introduction to Hebrew and Greek: The Kingdom Languages as a Tool of Ministry (3)[So far I have not find the term “Kingdom Languages” used anywhere else on the Internet – only in this course] – This course introduces the vocabulary and grammar of biblical Hebrew and Greek and reference works pertinent to Bible study and lesson preparation. The emphasis is not on memorization, but on understanding the languages and opening up the riches of Hebrew and Greek-based reference works to enrich personal spiritual life and ministry and facilitate the use of the finer, language-based commentaries.
THEO 532 – Theology of Humanity: Created in the Image of the King (3) – What does it mean that people are created in God’s image? How does sin affect our relationships? Why do God’s people suffer in this world? What is the key to human redemption? How do these concerns intersect with the practice of people-helping professions? In an effort to answer these questions from a Christian worldview, the course integrates multi-disciplinary insights from the fields of Christian ministry, theology, psychology, and nursing.
THEO 543 – Communicating the Gospel: Presenting the Message of the Kingdom (3) – This course seeks to help students improve their communication skills in a variety of settings where the kingdom message is proclaimed. Such settings include public teaching, worship, public prayer, Bible study, small groups, and evangelism. The contexts of communication and methods of effective communication are analyzed. Practical exercises with peer review to hone personal communication skills will also be included.
THEO 547 – Spiritual Care: Sharing the Compassion of the King (3) – The course is designed to help students prepare for spiritual leadership in congregations and other Christian ministries. An emphasis is given to the biblical and theological interpretation of spiritual care as applied to families and to individuals (young children to senior adults). The art of spiritual care includes compassionate communication and the practice of prayer and spiritual guidance during periods of both joy and crisis.
THEO 621 – Ethics of the New Testament: Living to Honor the King (3) – Focusing on the life and moral teaching of Jesus as well as the ethics of Paul, this course will explore what it means to live the Christian life as a citizen of a kingdom that has been inaugurated, but awaits consummation.
THEO 622 – Theology of the Old Testament: The Mission of the King (3) – The Old Testament is not merely a witness to God’s activity in the past, nor is it just an outdated book now replaced by the New Testament. Rather it is an essential instrument of God’s own mission—a mission that stretches from eternity past and continues to unfold in the present day. In addition to providing a survey of the discipline of Old Testament theology, this course will help students better understand the Old Testament’s purpose within the context of God’s mission and will lead them to reflect on the implications of this mission for Christians today. Christ’s church in fact shares in the mission of the Old Testament [I’m not sure where the Old Testament speaks of its mission as being the Great Commission]—to make known to all the earth, in both word and deed, the Name that is above every other name.
[Note Malone’s phrase in both word and deed. Now compare this with an EFC-ER statement: ““In joyful obedience to Jesus’ Great Commission–and in the spirit of His Great Commandment–our movement purposes to serve the church and the world in love, multiplying disciples and churches in the power of the Holy Spirit so that our children’s grandchildren and generations of the un-reached will be compelled to join.” Click here for my blog discussing this Emerging/Emergent wording, as well as this postmillenial eschatology.]
THEO 623 – Evangelism and Discipleship in the New Testament: The Kingdom Reclaims the World (3) – This course examines how the early church analyzed and adapted the gospel message to the Greco-Roman world and its many subcultures, and how it nurtured its young converts to a mature faith. Examples include Jesus’ use of agrarian imagery, Paul’s adaptation of the gospel for urban settings, and Matthew’s reworking of Mark [this is a liberal view of the synoptic gospels] to create a discipleship manual. With these creative and effective models, the course will identify and evaluate current models of evangelism and discipleship, as well as analyze current American culture(s) to identify ways to be more effective in reclaiming the world for the kingdom [this is a postmillenial Emerging/Emergent/Kingdom Now phrase].
THEO 631 – Christianity and Culture: Worship and Witness before the King (3) – Within the context of an increasingly secular culture, how should Christians understand the Church’s mission? Is the Church primarily a provider of spiritual goods and services to individuals in a consumerist society? Should the Church focus primarily on meeting the needs of spiritual seekers? [“Spiritual seekers” is a term for nonchristians; the term is also applied to New Agers.] Or is the Church necessarily a counter-cultural witness to a King and a Kingdom that are always coming, and as yet, not fully here? [Again, this is terminology used by postmillenial Emerging/Emergent/Kingdom Now teachers.] How will our answers to these questions influence the way that we understand Christian worship, spiritual formation, evangelism, etc.? This course will draw deeply on biblical, historical, and theological sources in order to examine what it means to say that the Church is missional at its core. [Spiritual formation and missional: two Emerging/Emergent terms.]
THEO 633 – Current Theological Controversies: Seeking to Understand the Message of the King (3) – In this life, there will always be disagreement over theological issues. How can we dialogue constructively with each other about controversial subjects? By examining disputed areas of theology (e.g., eternal security, miraculous gifts, salvation through other religions, how to discern God’s will), students will clarify their own convictions by conversing about difficult matters that are potentially divisive within God’s kingdom.
THEO 641 – Leadership in Christian Communities: Serving the King (3) – Sound leadership in the church always grows from a correct theological understanding of the unique nature of the church as the Body of Christ. A communion of saints stretching across time and space, yet having specific local forms and realizations, the church is like no other organization on earth. This course grounds the practice of church leadership in ecclesiology (theology of the church). It explores important contemporary organizational and leadership theory (team building, motivation, change management) in the light of the church’s unique identity.