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Posts Tagged ‘Bridgers’

In 1965, various “conservative evangelical” Yearly Meetings of Friends (Gurneyite Quakers) united to form the Evangelical Friends Alliance (EFA). Eventually the  EFA became the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI).

Northwest Yearly Meeting (NWYM) of the EFCI is home to George Fox University (GFU) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (GFES). My question is, when and how did NYWM, GFU and GFES become so liberal? In other words, when and how did they go from “conservative evangelical” to “progressive evangelical”? The change is shocking. [I am using the terms “liberal” and “progressive evangelical” interchangeably.]

Malone University (MU), another school in the EFCI, in 2009 had Brian McLaren as a guest speaker, and this was a “big deal”, a shocker to many in the community. Why is it that GFU and GFES are so much more “progressive evangelical” than MU?

We do know that the Spiritual Formation movement took off among evangelicals in 1978, with the publication of Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline (Foster has had many ties with the EFCI over the years).  It should come as no surprise that Foster pastored in the liberal NWYM, as well as taught at the liberal George Fox College/University.

The Emerging/Emergent Church movements started becoming popular around 1995. I would guess that GFU and GFES heartily endorsed and promulgated these movements as soon as they began.

Note – all Regions of the EFC-NA (which falls under the umbrella of the EFCI) are becoming progressive evangelical to some degree. Currently I would say NWYM is the most progressive. And I would say EFC-ER (which hosts Malone University) is the least progressive.

Back to the point. Following is a recent GFES web page listing various seminars. Notice the lengthy list of Emerging/Emergent speakers for past seminars:

Ministry in Contemporary Culture Series

A New Creation! - The Fusion of Ministry and Creative Arts

A one-day seminar with Dan Kimball and Maggi Dawn

Wednesday, February 9, 2011  |  9 a.m. to noon
George Fox Evangelical Seminary

Maggi Dawn and Dan Kimball

Join us as we explore the multifaceted ways in which art forms function as “theological media,” conveying spiritual realities in ways that words cannot. You will learn some of the principal ways that faithful Christ followers used these media throughout the ages … and discover fresh ways to use these media today!

Schedule

9 a.m.    Maggi’s session: The Intersection of Theology & the Arts in Historical Perspective
10:05 a.m.    Break
10:15 a.m.    Dan’s session: The Intersection of Theology& the Arts in Contemporary Ministry
11:20 a.m.    Break
11:30 a.m.    Pastor’s panel response

Bios

Dan Kimball is the author of several books on church leadership and culture. He is on staff at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., and on faculty at George Fox University. He enjoys comic art, Ford Mustangs and punk and rockabilly music. His passion is to see the church and Christians follow and represent Jesus with love, intelligence and creativity. His website and blog is at dankimball.com

Maggi Dawn is an author and theologian. She began her professional life as a singer-songwriter, but later after reading for a degree and a PhD in theology turned her creative talents to writing books. Maggi is currently based at the University of Cambridge (UK), where she is chaplain and Fellow in Theology at Robinson College, and is available for writing and consulting projects.

Her book, The Writing on the Wall (Hodder and Stoughton, 2010), explores some of the most influential stories and ideas from the Bible, and shows how they have been woven into Western culture. If you love art, music and literature, and want to understand the hidden layers of meaning that derive from the Bible, this book is essential reading.

Past Seminars

Margaret Feinberg, Understanding Megatrends: The Church’s Missional Witness in a Millenial Age
Dallas Willard,
Knowing Christ: The Hope of Moral Knowledge
Leonard Sweet, The Influence of Islam on the 21st Century Church
Dan Kimball, They like Jesus, but not the church; author of The Emerging Church, Emerging Worship and They Like Jesus, But Not the Church. He is pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, Calif., a newly planted missional church.
Joseph Myers, Organic community: the chemistry of belonging
Leighton Ford, From Crusade to Coffee House
Marva Dawn, Unfettered Hope, A call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society
Tom and Christine Sine, Searching for Sanity in America’s Culture Wars
Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, The Christian Community in Israel and Their Role in Reconciliation
Brian McLaren, Beyond Pluralism: Living Faithfully in a Polarized World of Fundamentalism and Relativism
Tony Campolo, Being Compassionate and Prophetic in Ministry
Stephen Delamarter, Technology in Ministry
Leonard Sweet, Leadership and Evangelism in the Emerging Culture
Paul Lessard, Authentic Worship
Len Sweet, Dan Kimball, MaryKate Morse, Alan Hirsch, & Frank Viola, Recalibrating Concepts of Church
Richard Twiss, Robert Francis, Terry LeBlanc, and Randy Woodley, An American Theology of the Land
Joseph Myers, Technomadic: Mapping Our Way in an Unbounded World
Scot McKnight, In the Beginning was the Gospel

See also this more recent link:

http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/news-events/ministry-contemporary-culture.html

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I’m glad to see that the Chris Rosenbaugh/Dan Kimball interview is leading to a number of insightful blogs. Here are the most helpful ones I’ve found so far.

1) Apprising Ministry’s great blog explaining the Chris Rosenbaugh/ Dan Kimball interview and making a number of other points regarding Dan Kimball:

http://apprising.org/2010/11/20/dan-kimball-on-the-record/

2) A Crosstalk blog entitled “Beware the Bridgers Part 1: Orthodoxy is More Than a Doctrinal Statement.” This episode of the show can be listened to at:

http://www.crosstalkamerica.com/shows/2010/11/beware_the_bridgers_part_1_ort.php

3) BetterThanSacrifice.org has a biblically sound blog that defines and discusses what exactly “orthodoxy” is (as opposed to how the Emerging/Emergent Church defines orthodoxy).  The blog is here:

http://blog.betterthansacrifice.org/2010/11/24/thinking-about-orthodoxy/

4) Sola Sisters provides the transcript of a great Facebook conversation directly with Dan Kimball. This is EXCELLENT!! In this conversation, Kimball attempts to explain his endorsement of various contemplative practices:

http://solasisters.blogspot.com/2010/11/dan-kimball-gives-statement.html

5) Purpose Drivel refers to a “response to criticisms”, drawn up by a group of Emergent leaders (including Dan Kimball) to explain and defend their views. Check out Purpose Drivel’s link to the entire document. (I feel you should read the Emergents’ responses with a grain of salt – I do not believe they are being honest in their comments.) The blog is at:

http://www.purposedrivel.com/2010/11/emergentsemergings-t-jones-jones-pagitt.html

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I am once again posting my opinions regarding a highly controversial Emerging Church speaker – Dan Kimball. (I’ve revised this blog post, toning it down just a tad and making a few corrections;  this is in response to some constructive comments from readers. I’m working on wording criticisms more tactfully, and on doing more research to verify facts before posting criticisms.)

In a previous post, I reposted a Crosstalk blog slamming Dan Kimball for being evasive in what he believes, and for not disassociating himself from New Age-ish Emergent/ Emergence speakers.

Now let’s turn to a blog by a fellow blogger, Neil.  In his blog you will read a debate taking place between Kimball’s followers and critics.  (I have provided the link at the bottom of this post.)  The blog deals with the debate over whether Dan Kimball is an “orthodox” evangelical. In the blog referenced below, Neil says:

[Chris Rosebrough has] come to the conclusion that Kimball is a Bible-believing Christian who holds to the uniqueness of Christ, the existence of Hell, the authority of Scripture, a denial of universalism… etc.  And even though Chris and Dan disagree on methodology… they look at each other as brothers in Christ.

[I am not conceding that I agree with Chris Rosebrough’s conclusions – I am just reposting the quote here to show what this furious debate is all about.]

These conclusions by Chris Rosebrough have generated a firestorm of disapproving responses from various Christians on the Internet, particularly within discernment ministries.  One of the most outspoken at this point is Linda Schlueter of Crosstalk, whom I quoted in a previous blog.

Regarding the blog by Neil, referenced below, what I find just as interesting as the blog is the responding comments. The  earlier responses from readers speak favorably of Kimball. But then my wonderful discernment brethren start putting in their two cents’ worth. And, boy, do they jump on Kimball’s positions! (Rightly so, I say.)

To all born again Christians who are concerned about the Truth of the gospel and the attack upon it, I would recommend taking very seriously the criticisms of Kimball. And don’t just take my word for it – research the criticisms of Kimball for yourself.

A few more  thoughts.  The fact that we are debating Dan Kimball shows that many within evangelical churches still wonder where he is coming from. Many born again, biblically sound evangelicals still view Kimball as putting up smoke and mirrors. These impressions are reinforced by several of Kimball’s practices: 1) being evasive at times regarding his true theological beliefs, 2) discussing matters with opponents privately rather than out in the open, 3)  endorsing practices perceived as New Age-ish (such as candles, incense, and the labyrinth), and 4) spending  a great deal of time informally with Emergent/ Emergence speakers Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, etc.

There are a few discernment ministries out there  which are defending Kimball, or at least speaking of him in relatively favorable terms. This is my impression of these discernment ministries: they seem to be enthralled by Kimball’s charming personality, after spending time with him and carrying on phone conversations with him. Or, perhaps they just don’t understand the theologically murky Emerging Church movement. Come on, you discernment ministries that are endorsing Kimball. As discernment ministries, your job is to examine Kimball’s BELIEFS  and TEACHINGS and compare them to what the Bible says – it seems to me you have kowtowed to his charming personality and informal, “cool” church style.

Here is the blog I mentioned originally, showing the debate between Kimball’s defenders and critics:

http://prophets-priests-poets.info/2010/11/19/out-of-the-overflow-of-your-heart/

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To start off this blog, I must say I am FURIOUS with Dan Kimball and other Emerging speakers of his ilk. As I described in a previous blog, the denomination I grew up in (the EFCI) will soon be having Dan Kimball as keynote speaker at their Friends Youth Summit 2010. Following is my blog on this:

https://davemosher.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/efci-friends-youth-summit-2010-promoting-emergents-and-occult-contemplative-spirituality-including-the-labyrinth/

It is theologically schizophrenic Emerging rascals like Mr. Kimball that are leading the EFCI youth down the road to Hell. Emerging Church leaders may be thinking they are helping our youth grow closer to Christ, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Dan Kimball is hard to pin down regarding what Christian doctrines he truly believes. Also, he refuses to disassociate himself from false teachers – and it is difficult to pin him down on WHY he associates with them.

Consider the following blog by Ingrid Schlueter at the Crosstalk blogsite. I am copying and pasting the blog in its entirety. NOTE – I have emphasized certain sections by bolding them.

To Ingrid Schlueter: Ingrid, it appears to me that Dan Kimball is showing the traits of a true “Bridger” (I like your use of the term – it seems very appropriate). Kimball is trying to make his teachings palatable to both sides of the church aisle – born again Christians as well as New Age seekers and worse. Thank, thank you, THANK YOU, for admonishing Mr. Kimball on behalf of the rest of us. This is what we need to see more of – erroneous individuals being addressed directly rather than being criticized behind their back. May God bless you and strengthen you on the front lines, Ingrid!

Click on the following link to read Ingrid’s original Crosstalk blog. Additional comments have been posted at the blog since I copied and pasted it to here:

Phil Johnson on the Dearth of Conviction in the Emerging Church

Posted by Ingrid Schlueter in Emergent Church, Featured Articles, Religion on November 21st, 2010 | 17 responses

In 2007, Phil Johnson wrote a very helpful piece on the emerging church. In light of recent discussion of emerging pastor Dan Kimball, what Johnson writes is important.

I’ve suggested recently that postmodernists always run in a straight line back to the notion that we should avoid making truth-claims with finality, clarity, or settled assurance. Everything (and of course I’m speaking in practical terms here, because absolute statements are deemed impolite in these postmodern times)—practically everything is supposed to remain perpetually on the table for debate and reconsideration.

Here’s the kind of thing I’m talking about:

In a recent symposium on the Emerging Church movement (Mark Driscoll [et al.] Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007]) Dan Kimball says the only doctrines he is really sure about these days are a short list of credos generally agreed upon by Christians and spelled out in the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds.

See if you don’t think Kimball’s perspective contains a classic echo of the kind of thinking I am suggesting colors the typical postmodern mind. Read the post here at Pyromaniacs.




Commenting at the Crosstalk Blog is not a right, it is a privilege. Crosstalk Blog staff reserves the right to reject any comment that is found to be offensive or otherwise unaccaeptable for any reason. We will not tolerate the following: abusive or profane language, objectionable links, off-topic remarks, and bickering with other commenters. Thank you for respecting this policy.

17 Responses to “Phil Johnson on the Dearth of Conviction in the Emerging Church”

  1. Hi Ingrid,

    This was from over 4 years ago that you are pulling up here.

    And I would suggest reading the comments on this entry too. I had dialogue with Phil to show him specifically from books and even that back where I wrote much more detail of doctrine and beliefs. I ended up talking to Phil on the phone as well which cleared many things up after this post.

    I would encourage you to listen to Chris Rosebrough’s two podcasts where he addressed this as well from this past week. He did a follow up about discernment ministries needing to discern each other that you might find helpful.

    Dan

    • Ingrid Schlueter says:

      If Phil Johnson has retracted his concerns expressed in his post, let him remove this post and state why. Until you stop your Nicodemus behavior (going by night) and having private conversations with key people to convince them of your biblical soundness, you’re going to have problems, Dan. Did you ever wonder why John MacArthur doesn’t have to run around blogs trying to explain why a book he wrote 4 years ago is no longer valid? Ever wonder why everyone knows exactly where MacArthur stands on basic issues of theology and practice? It’s because he says what he means and lets the chips fall, Dan, that’s why, and he does it in plain, unmistakable English. Either you are pathologically incapable of writing a clear sentence and meaning what you say and should get out of the communication realm, or you are deliberately blowing fog into the clear teachings of Scripture. You tell me which that is Dan, if you can give a straight answer.

    • Paula says:

      Dan you said repeatedly on Chris’s show that you haven’t changed what you have taught for what, 20 years? yet every time someone brings up a blog post or something from a few years ago that is your first defense. You can’t have it both ways, unless you’re deliberately trying to evade radar.

  2. The book was written over 4 years ago and it came out in January 2007 which is almost 4 years is what I was meaning. If you ever have direct questions about my beliefs, my writings, what we teach in our church – always feel free to ask me questions. I am on a retreat on and going on vacation tomorrow, but please feel free to contact me if you would like in 3 weeks. Thank you Ingrid!

    • Debra says:

      Hi Mr. Kimball:
      You had Brian McLaren forward your book the Emerging Church. Brian McLaren attacks the Bible in several areas and denies cardinal doctrine. Why do you still sell it on your website when the guy is a lie peddler and you are still making money off it making him look great.

      Just sayin’.

    • Paula says:

      > If you ever have direct questions about my beliefs, my writings, what we teach in our church – always feel free to ask me questions.

      That’s not how it works either Dan. Either you plainly confess Christ before all, or you don’t. I see more evidence that you are worried about ‘mean’ Christians than the gospel, because THAT is what you chose to make a public statement about. You expect us to take these people that are “interested in Jesus” seriously? They are interested in an idol of their own making. No wonder they despise Christians. Certainly some Christians may have treated them badly, and that’s inexcusable. But that just reinforces them in the extreme self righteousness that they already have. I am sure if they were made aware of their own shortcomings they would be quick to say “well no one is perfect, why are you so judgemental?” But they have no qualms about judging Christians for being imperfect.

  3. Dan,

    You seem to rely on private conversations a lot to settle concerns about your positions. Why not in public?

  4. David says:

    Dan,
    Is Leonard Sweet a spiritually trustworthy Christian teacher in light of the Bible and its authority? I didn’t ask if you had different perspectives, I’m asking if he’s spiritually trustworthy to follow.

    • Paula says:

      I’m kind of wondering why Chris R decided to downplay the Len Sweet connection by just saying that he taught at the same school as Dan attended… as if they had no connection. Is that what Dan told Chris? If he did and if that’s true, then Len should stop lying about his being Dan’s doctoral advisor.

  5. Martha says:

    Dan, are you disclaiming what you wrote in those books written 4 years ago? If so, are you still receiving residuals from the sale?

  6. amanda says:

    The Bible was written thousands of years ago, but God does’t change His mind, so it’s still a reflection of Him.

    That said, when an individual is in the public eye and making public claims of one sort or another, and then changes his views or adds to them, it is safe to assume he still holds the same views unless he has made public proclamations to refute or add to his previous views.

    Defensiveness doesn’t tell anyone what your current views are, Mr. Kimball. Please state them clearly and they will spread like wildfire across the Net.

  7. Chaz says:

    Hey Dan, a few days ago U just spoke at a conference with Mark Batterson who wrote this on his blog.
    “Can’t wait to listen to and hang out with some of my favorite speakers and friends: Matt Chandler, Christine Caine, Kerry Shook, Dan Kimball, Jud Wilhite, Dino Rizzo, and Tullian Tchividjian.”
    http://www.evotional.com/2010/10/cant-miss-conference.html

    Batterson’s recommended reading list is incredibly dangerous if you believe in the Bible. What is your spiritual defense for not telling anybody to watch out for what Batterson is promoting. U think new in Christ people should be reading James Redfield’s Celestine Prophecy? Have you seen that new age website? HE is saying these books are must reads. See his list here. Why would you keep appearing with someone without saying a word to protect God’s sheep? Your supposed to be a pastor and your ok with James Redfield’s Celestine PRophecy? Geez Louise.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20061209190909/www.evotional.com/reading.htm

  8. Paul Huston says:

    Dan,
    Assent to orthodox doctrine and belief is not the issue here. Although I do not know you personally, the F4F really didn’t show anything except that you may be OK here. The issue, as you know, is your association with heretical false teachers, men who hate the gospel and hate Christ. Your public association with these guys requires a public rejection to the same degree of thier teachings concerning the gospel. Is having a book on your church website that includes writings by Brian McClaren really excusable because “those who take the time to know you know the truth”? Instead of crying out for the cleaning up of discernment ministries do your church and the church at large a service and stand up for gospel truth, especially in regards to false teachers you are associated with either by choice or not.

    • Ingrid Schlueter says:

      Thank you, Paul. Dan, your call to have discernment ministries “lovingly discern” themselves cannot be taken seriously when you cannot even discern and clean up the emerging church or your own ministry. The conferences you speak at and those you write books with and the things you link to on your blog are Exhibit A of why your claims of orthodoxy are believed to be meaningless. Unless your life lines up with your claims, you are presenting a lie. You can attempt to undermine and marginalize those of us who are saying this, as can Chris Rosebrough, but as Shakespeare once wrote, “The truth will out.”

    • Ingrid Schlueter says:

      Fun with heretics! Dan Kimball posts about fun he had at universalist Doug Pagitt’s house. They stayed up till 3am. Oh yeah, also, Brian no-penal-substitutionary-atonement McLaren and Tony original-sin-is-a-depraved-idea Jones was there too. A good time was had by all. ) But Kimball is orthodox – a podcaster said so. They’re just friends. What’s the big deal, right?

      http://www.dankimball.com/vintage_faith/2005/04/heading_home_sw.html

      Here’s Kimballs friend Jones’ attack on original sin.
      http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2009/01/original-sin-a-depraved-idea.html

  9. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Note to Dan Kimball – until you answer the specific questions I raised in my short post in the comment section and those of the other readers, I will not allow you to post your multi-paragraph comment that attempts to convince people of your orthodoxy. You haven’t answered any of the issues I raised, but true to form, are smoothly slipping out of it. We are not going to dialog here, because you refuse to answer the issues put to you clearly regarding your speaking and writing affiliations. You said you couldn’t answer questions on FB because you were writing a book, so I’ll let you get to that.

    • Paula says:

      I would say Dan can post that at his own blog, and I hope he will, so that his friends over there can read what he really believes. I sure don’t get even the very sparse orthodox statements that he gave on Chris’s show (that even a Roman Catholic or Mormon could agree with) when I read posts over there.

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[blog under construction]

Addendum 07/14/11: For whatever reason, the Crosstalk website links no longer are working. However, Googling on the search string [“Crosstalk” “Bridgers”] will still bring up other articles about this Crosstalk radio show by Ingrid Schlueter.
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Following is a definition and expose of Emerging and Emergent “Bridgers.” I have copied the article in its entirety. The original is at:

http://www.crosstalkblog.com/2010/11/beware-the-bridgers/

Beware the Bridgers

Posted by Ingrid Schlueter in Emergent Church, Religion on November 13th, 2010 | 19 Comments

Tuesday’s Crosstalk Show will be a look at the “bridge people” of spiritual deception. The work of subverting the Gospel can’t occur without those who attempt to bridge the gap between biblical Christians and emerging spirituality teachers. “Bridgers” are the authors and leaders with well-polished doctrinal statements who cannot be faulted on paper (or their websites) for believing heresy. Their role is different than that of the  obvious Wolf that openly stalks its prey.

The role of the Bridger is that of the Judas Goat, famed for attracting sheep to slaughter. The Judas Goat is not the actual  instrument of death. It attracts the sheep to the place where it will be slaughtered. So while a Bridger will not stand in a church and teach from his pulpit or at conferences that there is no literal hell or that the substitutionary penal atonement of Christ was Divine child abuse, he will favorably quote from the books of those who do teach that. Or he might ask a Wolf to endorse his latest book on the back.

The Bridger will speak at conferences with these same Wolves and have photos taken with them. He will quote, selectively, from the Wolves and throw in the qualifier that he “doesn’t agree with everything the guy teaches or writes”, but he has found so and so’s book on leadership really helpful.

When you go to the Bridger’s website, however, and click on his doctrinal statement, confusion begins. The Bridger is Trinitarian. He believes in salvation through the work of Christ on the cross. He believes we all have sin. He believes in God’s grace. He ascribes to the Apostle’s Creed. The Bridger doesn’t fit on the heterodoxy chart. He must be OK after all.

This is increasingly the way error is disseminated. Flagrant heretics like Brian McLaren are not difficult to spot. His open denial of cardinal doctrine raises red flares to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Scripture and belief in its authority. The enemy of souls is not so stupid as carry error forward only on the backs of the ravening Wolves. He needs the Bridgers. He helps them find useful dupes among Christian apologetics leaders whose egos are flattered by a sense of importance in being chosen to “dialog” with a them. Chummy photos are taken. Credit is given where none is deserved. Warm handshakes occur, private late night phone calls are exchanged, remarks are made over coffee…and another Bridger is given credibility publicly, successfully providing a gateway to error for those who are taken in.

I believe that just as believers are called to specific jobs in the church, the enemy of souls has assigned jobs to those in the hierarchy of spiritual darkness. There are high level roles and less visible roles. The end result for which they work is the same: the destruction of the biblical Gospel and the promotion of a spirituality that is anti-christ.

We cannot afford to be naive in this hour of growing spiritual delusion. We who are believers in Jesus Christ and who hold fast to the bedrock truths of Scripture cannot afford to give an inch to the Bridgers. Satan works in the area of pride and Christian leaders who have not checked that impulse in their hearts and who lust after credibility as  bloggers, apologists, speakers, authors or teachers can unwittingly become the dupes of the Bridgers.

In the book of Nehemiah, we see the response recorded when Sanballot and Tobiah came to “dialog” with God’s people. Several times they sought to stop the work of wall building that was underway. The response sent back by Nehemiah to the troublemakers down below was short and clear: “We are building a wall. We cannot come down.”

That must be the response of bloggers, podcasters, radio broadcasters and authors when they are invited to “dialog” about spiritual things with emerging church teachers. Truth is not to be debated with false teachers, it is to be proclaimed. That is our role, like the Apostles of old, in the the middle of this encircling spiritual darkness. May God keep all of us faithful.

Tune in Tuesday at 2pm C for the Crosstalk Show on this topic. Update: Listen to the show here.

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(revised 08/13/12)

Update: I have made an attempt to “tone down” most of my blogs about Evangelical Friends/Quakers, to not be so hurtful to my many friends in the EFCI (and EFC-ER). Yet when I see what is going on, I still feel compelled to speak out. Read on.
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In a previous blog I discussed how the EFCI (and EFC-ER) is becoming more and more liberal due largely to Richard Foster and company. I am very “protective” of the EFC-ER if you will. The EFC-ER historically has been more biblically sound, more “old fashioned” than the other Regions of the EFCI. It appears the EFC-ER is being drawn into the progressive/ liberal leanings of the other Regions, particularly Northwest Yearly Meeting.

On 11/05/10 I perused the EFC-ER home page (the EFC-ER falls under the denominational umbrella of the EFCI):

There I saw a link to the Friends Youth Summit 2010:

When I clicked on the above link, one of the first items that popped up was a photo of Dan Kimball with a brief bio. The Youth Summit website provided a link to more biographical info.

My question for the EFCI and EFC-ER: “Do you know Dan Kimball promotes not only the Emerging Church, but also New Age-ish prayer labyrinths?”

See the following article for Kimball’s praises of labyrinth walking:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2001/fall/4.38.html

Did the EFCI invite Kimball without knowing he espouses the labyrinth? Even if they were unaware of the Kimball-labyrinth connection, they have no problem endorsing the labyrinth. Check out the following schedule of EFCI Youth Summit activities:

http://www.friendssummit.com/about-summit/summit-schedule

I immediately noticed  Spiritual Formation activities on the schedule. Here are the details, copied verbatim:

Kingdom. Mission. Passion.
Conversations that could change your life!

Keep up with latest schedule updates and info here!

    The Summit 2010 Schedule is designed with the goal of multiple conversation venues and options around the theme: Kingdom. Mission. Passion. You will have conversations that could change your life…your community…the church!

Start “the Summit Conversation” with a Six Week Study of Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus But Not The Church.

Christ-Centered Prayer Walk Labyrinth, directed by Frank Penna

– Under the Prayer Walk Labyrinth link:

Summit Prayer Labyrinth
Sign-up for the Summit Prayer Labyrinth during the conference. Participants will “journey” through the labyrinth guided by a CD that soars with provocative, devotional narration set against a worshipful music backdrop. Eleven stations on their journey will lead them to “let go” of busyness, hurt and distractions that can spoil relationships, “center” their lives on God and spend time with him, and reach out to the world with Christ’s love.

– Under the Frank Penna link:

Frank Penna – Summit Labyrinth Director
Frank Penna loves the Evangelical Friends Church! Frank grew up at First Denver Friends and had some of the greatest spiritual experiences of his life in youth group and at Quaker Ridge Camp, where God called him into ministry in December of 1972. Frank graduated from Barclay College (FBC) in 1978, married Janet Smith that summer, and has since served the Friends church as a minister of music and pastor. He currently lives in Wichita, Kansas and is in Ministry Development for World Renewal International, a church planting mission. He also serves as a Field Representative for EFC-ER, who is actively planting Evangelical Friends churches in northeast Brazil in partnership with WRI and World Renewal Brazil.

Prayer Room including Prayer Stations, directed by Jen Prickett

– Under the Prayer Room link:

Prayer Room
The Summit Prayer Room will be a station-based worship experience where we invite you to use time and space to listen to God’s Spirit. Through reading, reflection, action, worship and prayer you are welcomed to use solitude to engage God’s Kingdom, Mission and Passion while at Summit.

– Under the Jen Prickett link:

Jen Prickett – Summit Prayer Room Director
Jen Prickett grew up in the community of Rose Drive Friends Church, Yorba Linda, CA and served for seven years in their youth department. She says, “my season there helped me intersect my three big passions of theology, missions, and discipleship.” Jen recently finished an MDiv with an emphasis in Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. She is also a part of an intentional community of eight college/post-college students in Pomona, California, attempting to learn how to live openly and simply through spiritual practices and relationships with our community. Jen recently accepted a job serving EFC-SW through helping with the F.E.A.T.S. program (Friends Equipping And Training System). Her hope is to use this role to continue to make biblical and theological training more accessible to our Friends Churches.

Jen says, “If you’re ever in Southern California, I would love to tell you more of my story over a warm cup of fair-trade coffee or on a hike through the San Gabriel foothills. Grace and peace to you all as you savor the Summit experience and find insight and encouragement for a life lived in response to God’s great love.”

Private or group sessions with Summit Spiritual Director David Williams

– Under the Private or group sessions link:

Sign up for time with the Summit 2010 Spiritual Director just outside the Cheyenne Room at the resort.

According to Fil Anderson of Journey Resources, spiritual direction is “the gift to be sensitive, present and supportive to the spiritual journey of another … the director not only gives you direction in your spiritual life along each stage of the journey, but also becomes a soul-friend, a companion on the way.”

As a Summit leadership team, we want you to know that you are not alone on your journey with Jesus. We are here to offer our support as fellow travelers on the way. David Williams, Summit 2010 Spiritual Director, has agreed to make himself available each afternoon during the conference for individual or group spiritual direction.

– Under the David Williams link:

David Williams – Summit 2010 Spiritual Director
David Williams serves as Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministries, College Chaplain, and Director of the Center for Spiritual Renewal at Barclay College in Haviland, Kansas. A graduate of Malone University (BA) and Ashland Theological Seminary (MA), Dave completed his doctorate (DMin) in leadership and spiritual formation at George Fox Evangelical Seminary.

Having served as a youth pastor, family pastor, senior pastor and campus pastor, Dave has been blessed with a wealth of experience in preaching, teaching, discipleship and spiritual direction. A frequent speaker at Christian camps, conferences, retreats and seminars, Dave has a deep passion to raise up workers for the harvest field, encouraging and equipping God’s people for the work of ministry in order to build up the body of Christ and fulfill the Great Commission.

Dave and his wife, Carol, have been blessed with six beautiful children and have been partners together in full-time Christian service throughout their 27 years of marriage. In addition to his love for students, Dave enjoys sports, nature, travel and spending lots of time with his family. When away from home, Dave’s favorite destination is a hiking trail or ski run anywhere above timberline in the Rocky Mountains.

Private or group sessions with Summit Life Issues Coach Tony Wheeler

– Under the Tony Wheeler link:

Dr. Tony Wheeler is an expert on family strengths and family dynamics. He is the Co-Founder of the Dr. John Trent Institute for The Blessing based on the campus of Barclay College in Haviland, KS. Dr. Wheeler has been a counselor for 18 years, a speaker for 14 years and has seen many relationships repaired and individuals healed through his counseling and seminars. He has been married to Stacey for 23 years and they have three children, ages 21, 19, and 15.

The rest of the Summit activities listed on this web page:

EFM Track for Future Career Missionaries Directed by Craig Davis hosted by Gregg Prickett

Friends Ministry and Higher Education display booths

Fair Trade Friends Coffee donated and served at Summit 2010 Coffee House

Express Yourself Art and Creativity Space directed by Doreen Dodgen-Magee

Twitter Wall directed by Josiah Williams

Declaration one.one.eleven directed by Jason Morones

Regarding the youth of the “old fashioned” EFC-ER, many of whom have never been exposed to labyrinth prayer: I have not seen such transparent references to labyrinth prayer, spiritual directors, etc. in the local EFC-ER churches themselves. Why is the EFCI presenting these heresies to the youth of the EFC-ER? This comes across to EFC-ER parents as being underhanded. It appears that EFCI youth leaders and EFC-ER youth leaders know youth are more impressionable than their parents. It appears they are purposedly exposing the youth to labyrinth prayer, etc. when they are away from their local church setting.

Question – do the EFCI and EFC-ER youth leaders seriously believe they are HELPING the youth grow in their Christian faith? Whether the youth leaders believe or it not, nothing could be further from the Truth. I believe the EFCI and EFC-ER youth leaders will be held responsible on Judgment Day – these “pied pipers” are leading undiscerning youth down the broad path to Hell!!

To the leaders of the EFC-ER: do you remember the “good old days” of Quaker Canyon children’s camps and Camp Caesar youth camps? Those were the days of passionate evangelists and gospel preachers, with “The Blood and The Cross” salvation messages (not watered down “seeker sensitive” talks) and altar calls. How far you have fallen – I pray the EFCI and EFC-ER will wake up and see the apostasy before it’s too late.

For further research and leads to Spiritual Formation and Emerging Church connections at the Friends Youth Summit, see the following two webpages:

http://www.friendssummit.com/about-summit/resources
http://www.friendssummit.com/about-summit/seminars

For a critique of Dan Kimball, see:

http://apprising.org/2008/08/25/is-emergent-church-pastor-dan-kimball-really-a-conservative-evangelical/

For a detailed expose of the New Age-ish prayer labyrinth (which by the way quotes Dan Kimball), see:

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/the_labyrinth.html

See also this excellent expose, which includes a discussion of the labyrinth:

http://apprising.org/2010/06/04/mysticism%E2%80%94part-4/

And here is Lighthouse Trails’ commentary on Dan Kimball’s article “A-maze-ing Prayer.” Read it very closely – the discernment author points out many occult aspects of labyrinth prayer:

http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/whitingsarticle.pdf
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May 12, 2011: More thoughts on youth groups and youth leaders in the EFCI (and EFC-ER)

One of the issues which makes me most angry is this: when dangerous false teachings are presented to church youth groups. Specifically, Spiritual Formation (with its contemplative practices) and Emerging/ Emergent teachings. I am finding more and more articles on the Internet about such materials being presented to youth groups in various denominations –  often without parents’ prior knowledge or approval. When parents have given permission to be exposed to such teachings, they often haven’t learned of the dangers. They don’t understand the “dark side” of  Spiritual Formation and Emerging/ Emergent teachings their youth will be absorbing.

I’m sure I am making many people in the EFCI angry with my criticisms, but these things need to be said. It is that important – the eternal destiny of souls is at stake.

I grew up in the EFCI (specifically the EFC-ER). I attended Junior FY and Senior FY regularly. I graduated before Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline came out in 1978, so I was never exposed as a youth to Spiritual Formation.

My parents have spent a lifetime in the EFC-ER; my father was a pastor there for many years (off and on). What if I were in today’s younger generation? What if I were attending Junior FY and Senior FY currently?

I saw it right there on the Internet: the EFCI invited every EFC-ER church’s youth group to attend the EFCI Friends Youth Summit 2010. And the EFCI Friends Youth Summit 2010 then exposed them to labyrinth prayer and other contemplative prayer/ contemplative spirituality practices. There is no denying this.

If I had attended the EFCI Friends Youth Summit 2010 and been exposed to its contemplative practices, here’s what I believe would have gone down. I believe my parents would have “yanked me outta” that church, “up and left” the EFCI, and never came back. And, as they found out more about Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings, I believe  they would have spoken out and condemned the EFCI for having any involvement in such things.

This is what I am doing as a member of  “the older generation” – speaking out and condemning the EFCI for having any involvement in such things. Yet I am being criticized for speaking out against what to me and many other concerned Evangelical Friends is so obviously wrong.  Where have we come to in the EFCI (and the EFC-ER), when we as born again, godly evangelicals cannot even speak out against ungodly practices in the denomination?

I know for a fact, there are many parents (particularly in the more biblically “old fashioned” EFC-ER) who would be furious if they understood the dangers of the labyrinth, etc. that were presented to their youth at the Friends Youth Summit 2010.

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