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Posts Tagged ‘Convergent Friends’

(revised 01/30/15)

I feel privileged to be Facebook Friends with John Henderson, a member of the “anti-Emergent” Facebook Group Concerned Nazarenes. This Facebook Group is attempting to confront and warn members primarily of The Church of the Nazarene denomination.

I, John, and many others are concerned about the doctrinal falling away of many evangelical churches and entire evangelical denominations. Most of these churches are falling away from biblically sound doctrine into the postmodern heresies of Brian McLaren, Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Leonard Sweet, etc. etc.

Interestingly, all of the above individuals have spoken and/or taught at the heretical George Fox University and/or George Fox Evangelical Seminary, schools in the Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) denomination. The EFCI was once (relatively) biblically sound.  But, in recent decades, all the Regions of the EFCI (including the once very biblically sound, Wesleyan Holiness EFC-ER) have begun trending quickly into postmodern “progressive evangelical” apostasy.

By the way, John – like myself – is Wesleyan Holiness in doctrine. We hold to the Wesleyan-Arminian position that a born again Christian can turn his or her back on God, walking away into apostasy and “losing” his or her salvation. Technically, we believe in “conditional eternal security”.

So why exactly is the EFCI (and many other evangelical denominations) falling away? There are many factors I’m sure – factors which I will not attempt to enumerate here. But I did find the following post by my friend John Henderson very pertinent. Click here for the original source of this post. Note: I am inserting comments [in brackets] and emphasizing certain points by bolding.

Point of No Return
By John Henderson
12/14/14

This is one of those things where I would welcome, would embrace, having someone tell me I was wrong and showing me how so. It has to do when a person or a group has gone so far in the wrong direction, making wrong choices, and ignoring and neglecting God that they will never return to their better days outside of a divine miracle of intervention.

It happened first in the Garden of Eden. God made it clear to Adam and Eve what the limits were and what would happen if they went beyond them. They went past them and, in the day they sinned, they died spiritually on the spot and physically a few years later. Not only were those the consequences to them but they brought sin and damnation upon all of their descendants that only the Cross of Christ could overcome.

One might argue that God’s creation was perfect and it was impossible for man to undo what God had done. That is a good argument but it was not what happened. Salvation is perfect but man can still trample the perfect redemption.

That is how it is. There is a point where a person can go beyond the possibility of repentance—not because God is powerless but because his or her conscience is so seared by unbelief and rebellion that they cannot come to repentance. Someone has likened it to no longer hearing God’s call because the heart is so filled with animosity to the things of God and the attractions of the world that His call is drowned out by the din of those things. The call has not diminished. The hearing has ignored it so long that it is as though there is no call.

We have a grandfather clock in our hallway. It chimes the Westminster chimes every 15 minutes. Frankly, I do not notice them very often because I am accustomed to ignoring them. A visitor sleeping in a nearby room will often remind me of them. I try to remember to silence the chimes when we have overnight guests.

For this reason, I think a backslider who once followed Christ faithfully is less likely to return than would be a reprobate who has never received Christ. I think of the man who wrote that great song, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” who apparently never made it back. There are statics [sic] that say younger people are more likely to receive Christ than are older people. I often wonder if I would have ever turned to Christ had I put it off at the age of 15 until a later time; had I decided to taste of the world a bit before considering Christ.

There are many sad stories of people who put off salvation so long until all opportunities are gone. I do not like to hear of them but they are out there. Many of them I knew personally.

That same thing is true of once-great churches. I have yet to learn of a backslidden church or denomination that ever returned to its original level of spiritual life, activity, and influence after having started down the road of compromise. The slide was always gradual and hardly noticeable in the beginning. After a while, people started to notice something was wrong and eventually there were those who began to warn about it. There were occasional turnabouts, but not many and not often. Once the fatal drift took hold, it was too late. The cancer of sin had eaten away too much for there to be a recovery. If there ever was to be a cure, it had to be divine, but usually God had been so excluded that He was no longer considered that relevant and His call was no longer being heard.

The good news is that it does not have to turn out like that. There is still that clarion call and most can still hear it. Some will turn to Christ who seemed beyond the call.

I was told that when news got out that I had been saved, there were some who found it unbelievable about me. One person reportedly expressed such disbelief as to say: “Not him! Not that Henderson boy! Anybody but him could be saved!” I am glad that the Holy Spirit thought differently. God may have had to reach a little farther for me but He did. The stain of sin may have penetrated deeply even at my young age, but the Blood of Jesus went deeper than the stain had gone.

I have often thought that my own point of no return was very near then. An accident that should have been fatal convinced me of that. I had come to Christ shortly before the accident—maybe a week, two at the most—and believe I would have perished in the accident if I had put off salvation. I broke my neck in three places in a diving accident and walked away with no permanent damage of any sort.

Genuine revival is still possible. Maybe it won’t look like we used to know or expect, but it can be every bit as real and far-reaching as ever. As long as the Holy Spirit is still with and in us, everything pertaining to the preaching of the gospel is still just as possible as it was in the beginning. That will not change or diminish until Jesus comes again.

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(revised 05/29/13)

The Evangelical Friends Church International (EFCI) was once staunchly born again, “separatist fundamentalist” Wesleyan Holiness. Yet today the EFCI treats heretical Emerging/Emergents like Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLarenLeonard Sweet, Randy Woodley, etc. as their “darlings.” All of these heretics have taught and/or are teaching at George Fox University and/or George Fox Evangelical Seminary.

I came across an excellent 3-part series of articles exposing the blasphemous “theology” held by a number of Emerging/Emerging individuals, including most of the individuals above.  I have reposted this article below.  I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

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Click here for the original site of Part One reposted below.

(Part One)
What are the Emergent Church’s ’95 Theses’?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott

The Emergent Church movement promotes itself as a “new Reformation” with its own “95 theses” in a book by Emergent guru Brian McLaren. Despite their claims of charting the way forward for the church, the architects of this theological Tower of Babel are bent on taking the church back into pre-Reformation darkness.

Part one of a series.

Since the turn of the new millennium, the Emergent Church movement has been grabbing headlines as the darling of the religious media. Its influence has spread like wildfire in mainline liberal, Evangelical, and Roman Catholic seminaries alike.

A New Luther?

In 2004, Emergent Church guru1 Brian McLaren published what was hailed as a landmark book called A Generous Orthodoxy.2 Phyllis Tickle, who according to her website is “a lay eucharistic minister and lector in the Episcopal church,”3 wrote the foreword, in which she said:

Religion is like a spyglass through which we look to determine our course, our place in the order of things, and to sight that toward where we are going. On a clear day, no sailor needs such help, save for passing views of a far shore. But on a stormy sea, with all landmarks hidden in obscuring clouds, the spyglass becomes the instrument of hope, the one thing on board that, held to the eye long enough, will find the break in the clouds and discover once more the currents and shores of safe passage. Ours are stormy seas just now; and I believe as surely as Martin Luther held the spyglass for sixteenth-century Europe, so Brian McLaren holds it here for us in the twenty-first..

…The emerging church has the potential of being to North American Christianity what Reformation Protestantism was to European Christianity. And I am sure that the generous orthodoxy defined in the following pages is our 95 theses. Both are strong statements, strongly stated and, believe me, not lightly taken in so public a forum as this. All I can add to them in defense is the far simpler statement: Here I stand.

So, on that basis, the one thing that remains is to invite you to join thousands and thousands of others who have already read these words and subsequently assumed them as the theses of a new kind of Christianity and the foundational principles for a new Beloved Community.4

A “Beloved Community”?

The “Beloved Community” of which Tickle speaks is a term coined by pseudo-Christian philosopher Josiah Royce (1855-1916). In his 1913 book, The Problem of Christianity, Royce said that the doctrine of the incarnation is not about the coming of God in the person of Jesus Christ, but the incarnation of God in the visible church. He added that “the visible church, rather than the person of the founder [Jesus Christ], ought to be viewed as the central idea of Christianity.” To Royce, the “problem of Christianity” was Jesus Christ.

Royce also said that the visible church forms a “Universal Community of Interpretation” that redefines “Christianity” to suit the conditions of the times. Tellingly, Royce’s book was recently republished by the Catholic University of America, an institution of the greatest chameleon-church on earth.5

Confused and Proud of It

McLaren is clearly comfortable in the company of people like Tickle and Royce. The full title of McLaren’s “95 theses of the Emergent Church” is quite a mouthful:

A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional – Evangelical – Post-Protestant – Liberal/Conservative – Mystical/Poetic – Biblical – Charismatic/Contemplative – Fundamentalist/Calvinist – Anabaptist/Anglican – Methodist – Catholic – Green – Incarnational – Depressed-Yet-Hopeful – Emergent – Unfinished Christian

Rather than being ashamed of his confused state of mind, McLaren wears this complex and contradictory title proudly, and uses each of the descriptions in the lengthy title of his book as the title of a chapter within it. McLaren presents himself as the guru of a “new Reformation” built not on orthodoxy, but on what another Emergent spokesman has called “orthoparadoxy”.

A followup 2007 book, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, authored by McLaren and twenty-six other Emergent thought leaders, is an equally confused and confusing theological Tower of Babel. Its architects and builders are bent on not simply tearing down the Reformation, but on taking the church back into pre-Reformation darkness. In the process (lest a Scripture-driven Christian have any doubts) McLaren and his fellow Emergents show us clearly that they are not Christians at all.

How Do Emergents Measure Up?

How does this “new Reformation” compare to that of the 16th century, which freed Biblical Christianity from the shroud of Romanism? What of the five solas that were the rallying cries of that Reformation –

  • Sola Scriptura: Our Authority is Scripture Alone
  • Sola Gratia: Salvation is by Grace Alone
  • Solus Christus: Salvation is Through Christ Alone
  • Sola Fide: Justification is by Faith Alone
  • Soli Deo Gloria: The Glory Belongs to God Alone

Emergents say that adherence to such fundamentals is “a constant reminder that religion can be a source of chaos and confusion.”6 But who is it that is really living in the realm of chaos and confusion – those whom the Emergents deride as “fundamentalists”, or Emergents who have exalted themselves against the knowledge of God? In our next article, we shall begin comparing the theological currents flowing through the Emergent Church with the Reformation’s great and fundamental statements of the Biblical faith “once for all delivered to the saints.”

References:

1. We use the term “guru” advisedly; McLaren and other Emergent Church leaders position themselves as spiritual advisers imparting transcendental, higher knowledge – higher than the Word of God.

2. Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional-Evangelical-Post-Protestant-Liberal/Conservative-Mystical/Poetic-Biblical-Charismatic/Contemplative-Fundamentalist/Calvinist-Anabaptist/Anglican-Methodist-Catholic-Green-Incarnational-Depressed-Yet-Hopeful-Emergent-Unfinished Christian (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2004).

3. Her website, phyllistickle.org, notes that she was the “founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly, the international journal of the book industry, is frequently quoted in print sources like USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times as well as in electronic media like PBS, NPR, The Hallmark Channel, and innumerable blogs and web sites. Tickle is an authority on religion in America and a much sought after lecturer on the subject….Tickle is a founding member of The Canterbury Roundtable, and serves now, as she has in the past, on a number of advisory and corporate boards.”

4. A Generous Orthodoxy, pages 11-12.

5. Josiah Royce, The Problem of Christianity, 1913, republished in 2001 by Catholic University of America Press, pages 43 and 340.

6. Barry Taylor, “Converting Christianity” in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2007), page 165.

Click here for the original site of Part Two reposted below.

(Part Two)
What does the Emergent Church movement believe about Sola Scriptura?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott

Emergent Church leaders will tell you they are uncertain of most things. In fact, they wear ambiguity like a badge of honor. But of one thing they are certain: The Bible is not the inspired, infallible, inerrant, uniquely authoritative Word of God.

This is part two of a series. Read part one.

As we continue our series, “Was the Reformation a Mistake?” we take up this question: How does the Emergent Church movement’s so-called “new Reformation” compare to the one that freed Biblical Christianity from the shroud of Romanism in the 16th century? What of the five solas that were rallying cries of that Reformation? –

  • Sola Scriptura: Our Authority is Scripture Alone
  • Sola Gratia: Salvation is by Grace Alone
  • Solus Christus: Salvation is Through Christ Alone
  • Sola Fide: Justification is By Faith Alone
  • Soli Deo Gloria: The Glory Belongs to God Alone

We shall let Emergent spokesmen answer for themselves.

Inerrancy is “Foreign to the Bible’s Vocabulary”

What do Emergent Church leaders say is the nature of the Bible? Emergent guru Brian McLaren says that “the Bible is “an inspired gift from God – a unique collection of literary artifacts”.1 Emergent leader Doug Pagitt agrees with McLaren, hinting at what they mean by “inspired”. The “history of the Christian faith,” Pagitt says, is that “the Scriptures come from and inform the church.”2 In other words, they do not come from God in the sense of verbal, plenary, authoritative inspiration spoken of in passages such as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21.

McLaren is even more explicit. He says that “the purpose of Scripture is to equip God’s people for good works.”3 The italics are his. McLaren and other Emergents repeat this statement often in their writings, almost as a mantra. But there is never a word about Scripture’s telling mankind how to become one of God’s people, through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Throughout their writings, Emergents’ assumption seems to be that everybody is already one of “God’s people.” You just have to get busy doing “good works.”

But then, after stating that “the purpose of Scripture is to equip God’s people for good works” McLaren follows immediately with this:

Shouldn’t a simple statement like this be far more important than statements with words foreign to the Bible’s vocabulary about itself (inerrant, authoritative, literal, revelatory, objective, absolute, propositional, etc.)?4

Just how “foreign” does McLaren think these words are to Scripture? He does not hesitate to tell us, in a book with one of the most ironic titles ever: Adventures in Missing the Point, co-authored by McLaren and so-called “evangelical left” spokesman Tony Campolo. McLaren and Campolo’s title reflects their fatuous belief that the Bible-believing Christian church has “missed the point” on just about everything (and, of course, Emergents have “gotten the point”). “The Bible is an inspired gift from God – a unique collection of literary artifacts,”5 McLaren says. But it is not the inspired, infallible, inerrant, propositional, revelatory, absolute, objective, Word of God. What’s more, McLaren asserts, “not even one-hundredth of one percent of the Bible” presents “objective information about God.”6

Those are some pretty absolute statements from a man who claims that little, if anything, is certain. But McLaren is just getting warmed up. The Christian Church, says McLaren, has misrepresented the Bible as something containing “universal laws” – “We claimed that the Bible was easy to understand” – “We presented the Bible as a repository of sacred propositions.” All of that was wrong, he says. And, echoing the true position of the Roman Catholic church, McLaren laments that “we mass produced the Bible” and gave Christians the impression that they could interpret it for themselves.7

Not Orthodoxy, But Orthoparadoxy

According to Emergents, how are we to approach this “inspired” but humanly-originated, non-inerrant, non-infallible, non-authoritative Bible? Emergent spokesman Dwight J. Friesen, a professor of practical theology at Mars Hill Graduate School (Seattle) and a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches, says that Christ was not interested in orthodoxy but in “a full and flourishing human life.”8 What must develop, says Friesen, is not orthodoxy – correct teaching – but a piece of Emergent doubletalk called orthoparadoxy, “correct paradox.” Friesen writes:

Orthoparaxody represents a conversational theological method that seeks to graciously embrace difference while bringing the fullness of a differentiated social-self to the other. Through the methodology of orthoparadoxy, competing ideas, practices, and hermeneutics are seen as an invitation to conversational engagement rather than as something to refute, reform, or revise.”9

“Current theological methods that often stress agreement/disagreement, win/loss, good/bad, orthodox/heresy, and the like set people up for constant battles to convince and convert the other to their way of believing.”10

“Orthoparadox theology is less concerned with creating “once for all” doctrinal statements or dogmatic claims and is more interested in holding competing truth claims in right tension..Orthoparadox theology requires a dynamic understanding of the Holy Spirit.”11

“[S]ee conversation starters where you once saw theological disagreement.”12

This is how we must approach the Bible, according to Brian McLaren:

“Drop any affair you may have with Certainty, Proof, Argument.The ultimate Bible study or sermon in recent decades yielded clarity. That clarity, unfortunately, was often boring – and probably not that accurate, either, since reality is seldom clear, but usually fizzy and mysterious.”13

“Find things to do with the Bible other than read and study it” [and McLaren suggests several that are forms of medieval, mystical meditation commended by the Roman Catholic church].14

“In the recent past we generally began our apologetic by arguing for the Bible’s authority, then used the Bible to prove our other points. In the future we’ll present the Bible less like evidence in a court case and more like works of art in an art gallery.”15

“In the recent past we talked a lot about absolute truth, attempting to prove abstract propositions about God (for instance, proving the sovereignty of God).” [That, McLaren asserts, is passé in the postmodern world.]16

Protestants Have the Bible All Wrong

According to McLaren, Protestants have gotten it all wrong about the Bible, using propositional truth, right and wrong, to “lay low” their Catholic “brethren” –

“Protestants have paid more attention to the Bible than any other group, but sadly, much of their Bible study has been undertaken to fuel their efforts to prove themselves right and others wrong (and therefore worthy of protest). the Bible does not yield its best resources to people who approach it seeking ammunition with which to lay their [Catholic] brethren low. How many Protestants can’t pick up their Bibles without hearing arguments play in their heads on every page, echoes of the polemical preachers they have heard since childhood? How much Bible study is, therefore, an adventure in missing the point?”17

Warmed-Over Neo-Orthodoxy

Students of church history will recognize much of Emergent Church thinking on the Bible as the warmed-over 20th-century neo-orthodoxy that destroyed most mainline Protestant churches as well as many conservative ones. Emergents are following in the insolent footsteps of Karl Barth, Rudolph Bultmann, Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich and others, who in turn were influenced by early 19th-century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, whose great gift to theology was to assert that there is no such thing as objective truth.

One of the main reasons the Emergent Church movement is finding acceptance among Evangelicals is that few Evangelicals are students of church history. As such, they are condemned to repeat the deadly mistakes of the past by embracing a theology of nonsense that leads souls to Hell.

Acceptance in Reputedly Conservative Seminaries

The Emergent Church movement is spreading a new wave of spiritual poison through Christian academia. The fact that Emergents are welcomed on the faculties and in the classrooms of openly liberal seminaries is no surprise. But the response to the Emergent movement in the majority of reputedly more conservative Evangelical Bible colleges and seminaries is also friendly. It ranges from favorable classroom exposure to outright advocacy. Seminaries that are falling into the Emergent web include Dallas Theological Seminary, Houghton College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Biblical Theological Seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary, Erskine College and Seminary, Biola University, Taylor Seminary, and most Southern Baptist schools.

It only takes a a few years of exposure to false teaching for young minds to become the generation that will carry the poison out of the seminaries and colleges, into the pulpits, and into the pews.

Next: Emergents on Salvation

References:

1. Brian D. McLaren and Tony Campolo, Adventures in Missing the Point (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), page 75.

2. Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, editors, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope: Key Leaders Offer an Inside Look (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2007), page 171.

3. Brian D. McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional-Evangelical-Post-Protestant-Liberal/Conservative-Mystical/Poetic-Biblical-Charismatic/Contemplative-Fundamentalist/Calvinist-Anabaptist/Anglican-Methodist-Catholic-Green-Incarnational-Depressed-Yet-Hopeful-Emergent-Unfinished Christian (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2004), page 183.

4. A Generous Orthodoxy, page 183.

5. Adventures in Missing the Point, page 75.

6. Adventures in Missing the Point, page 262.

7. Adventures in Missing the Point, pages 76-77.

8. Dwight J. Friesen, “Orthoparadoxy: Emerging Hope for Embracing Difference” in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, page 204.

9. Friesen, page 207.

10. Friesen, page 208.

11. Friesen, page 209.

12. Friesen, page 212.

13. Adventures in Missing the Point, page 84.

14. Adventures in Missing the Point, page 85.

15. Adventures in Missing the Point, page 101.

16. Adventures in Missing the Point, page 102.

17. A Generous Orthodoxy, page 138

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Click here for the original site of Part Three reposted below.

(Part  Three)
What does the Emergent Church movement believe about the Reformation solas of salvation?

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott

As we continue our series, we examine the movement’s “new Reformation” teachings versus the salvation solas of the 16th century Protestant Reformation:

  • Sola Gratia: Salvation is by grace alone
  • Solus Christus: Salvation is through Christ alone
  • Sola Fide: Justification is by faith alone
Once again, we shall let Emergent spokesmen answer for themselves.
This is part three of the series. Read part two.

An Insult to Their Intelligence

The writings of Emergent Church spokesmen contain many recurring themes, but one is especially prominent: The Biblical doctrine of personal salvation from sin and wrath by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone, is an insult to their intelligence.

Emergent Church spokeswoman Nanette Sawyer is an ordained Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) minister with degrees from both Harvard and McCormick divinity schools. Her story is typical:

My explicit rejection of Christianity happened when our family minister implicitly rejected me. When I was a preteen, he visited our house, spoke with my parents, then pulled me aside, the eldest, for a chat of our own. He asked me if I was a Christian. This is a very interesting question to ask a child who has been raised in a Christian household. Being asked such a question I was, in essence, being told that I might not be a Christian. I responded that I didn’t know. The conversation went downhill from there and ended with my saying that I guessed I wasn’t a Christian. He told me that I had to believe [on Jesus Christ as Savior] to be a Christian and I didn’t believe it.

After that, I spent a good fifteen years defining myself as not Christian. Some of the things that I had been taught in Christian contexts, both explicitly and implicitly, were unacceptable to me. I was taught, for example, that there are good people and bad people, Christian people and non-Christian people, saved people and damned people, and we know who they are.

…I was taught that I was inherently bad, and that I would be judged for that. I was told that the only way out of the judgment was to admit how bad I was.

Thinking back on that pivotal interaction with my childhood minister, I believe the whole conversation missed the mark in a big way. He was defining Christian identity as assent to a list of certain beliefs, and he was defining Christian community as those people who concur with those beliefs.In asking me if I was a Christian, and accepting [my] answer, he essentially told me that I wasn’t part of the community. I wasn’t in; I was out.1

Insulted by this, Sawyer says that she later became a “Christian” through Hindu meditation and the medieval, mystical Roman Catholic practice of “centering prayer” – all while a student at Harvard, taking a master’s degree in comparative world religions. She then tells of her experience while attending the services of a liberal Presbyterian church in Boston:

The minister there invited me into the community by serving me communion without asking if I was a Christian. He didn’t ask, “Are you one of us?” He didn’t say, “Do you believe?” He simply said, “Nanette, the body of Christ, given for you.”2

On this basis, Sawyer says, she became a “Christian” and was subsequently ordained as a minister in the apostate PCUSA.

With all this background, you may understand the reason my statement of faith, my personal credo, written in seminary and required for ordination in the Presbyterian Church [USA], included the line: “I believe that all people are children of God, created and loved by God, and that God’s compassionate grace is available to us at all times.”

Imagine my surprise when a particular pastor challenged me on this point. He suggested that “children of God” is a biblical phrase, and that I was using it unbiblically. He believed that not all people are children of God, only Christians.3

Imagine a pastor having the nerve to say that to be a “child of God” is a doctrinal term with a specific Biblical meaning! How thoroughly un-postmodern can you get? Sawyer recounts her shocked reaction to this intellectual baboon: “I focused on not letting my jaw hit the floor.” She continues:

So what about the Bible on this question of the children of God? Is it unbiblical to call all people the children of God? It is true that there are many places in the New Testament that talk about the children of God as the followers of Jesus. But it is not true that this must lead us to the kind of arrogance that asserts that non-Christians are not children of God..

Even if we could answer the question of who is and isn’t a child of God, it wouldn’t help us be better followers of Jesus; it would only help divide people into more categories.4

Sawyer goes on to misread three New Testament passages to support her contention that even the Bible itself is “undermining such an exclusionary claim.”5

Rather than submitting to the Gospel teaching that only those who believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior have the authority to be called the children of God (John 1:12), Nanette Sawyer, like most of her fellow Emergents, takes refuge in the theology of paradox. Those who believe the Bible’s categorical, propositional truth claims are arrogant and superficial, she says. They have not ascended to the lofty realms of higher knowledge that can only be attained by embracing paradox:

There is a beauty in paradox when it comes to talking about things of ultimate concern. Paradox works against our tendency to stay superficial in our faith, or to rest on easy answers or categorical thinking. It breaks apart our categories by showing the inadequacy of them and by pointing to a reality larger than us, the reality of gloria, of light, of beyond-the-beyond. I like to call it paradoxology – the glory of paradox, paradox-doxology – which takes us somewhere we wouldn’t be capable of going if we thought we had everything all wrapped up, if we thought we had attained full comprehension. The commitment to embracing the paradox and resisting the impulse to categorize people (ourselves included) is one of the ways we follow Jesus into that larger mysterious reality of light and love.

The Gnostics, who sought to destroy the Biblical faith of the early church by leading it to a “higher” mystical knowledge beyond Scripture, would be proud of Nanette Sawyer. So would the church of Rome, whether 16th- or 21st-century.

Like Nanette Sawyer, Brian McLaren also takes umbrage at the Bible’s doctrine of salvation:

.I used to believe that Jesus’ primary focus was on saving me as an individual.For that reason I often spoke of Jesus as my “personal Savior” and urged others to believe in Jesus in the same way.6

Through the years.I became less and less comfortable with being restricted to the “personal Savior” gospel.7

McLaren says that his rejection of the Biblical Gospel is rooted in his rejection of the Bible’s teaching of eternal punishment in Hell for those who do not receive Christ as Savior. He says that “radical rethinking” of the doctrine of Hell is needed.8 Since McLaren can’t stand Jesus’ own words on the subject (He spoke of Hell far more than of Heaven), he dares to put these words in Christ’s mouth:

“I am here to save you.not by telling you to.focus on salvation from Hell after this life (as some people are going to do in My name) – but by giving you permission to start your participation in God’s mission right now, right where you are, even as oppressed people. The opportunity to start living in this new and better way is available to you right now: The kingdom of God is at hand!”9

The audacity of Emergents in suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) seemingly knows no bounds.

Given these and other statements by Emergent Church leaders, it seems almost ludicrous to compare their mindset with the salvation solas of the Reformation, but we shall do so, because it further reveals the depths of their darkness.

Grace Alone?

The term “grace” does not appear often in Emergent writings, and the reason is simple: Since everyone is a “child of God,” no one needs the kind of grace of which the Bible speaks. When Emergents do speak of “grace” at all, it is not as the basis of salvation from sin through Christ. In the Emergent lexicon, grace means inclusiveness. And that is the basis on which, they claim, God is saving society and the environment through the moral example of Christ.

Emergent spokesman Samir Selmanovic, who grew up as a Muslim, became a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, and now serves on the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches, writes a chapter in The Emergent Manifesto of Hope called “The Sweet Problem of Inclusiveness.” His theme is that everyone, “Christian” and non-Christian, is going to be “saved” by the grace of inclusiveness:

For the last two thousand years, Christianity has granted itself a special status among religions. An emerging generation of Christians is simply saying, “No more special treatment. In the Scripture God has established a criteria [sic] of truth, and it has to do with the fruits of a gracious life” (see Matt. 7:15-23; John 15:5-8; 17:6-26). This is unnerving for many of us who have based our identity on a notion of possessing the truth in an abstract form. But God’s table is welcoming to all who seek, and if any religion is to win, may it be the one that produces people who are the most loving, the most humble, the most Christlike. Whatever the meaning of “salvation” and “judgment,” we Christians are going to be saved by grace, like everyone else, and judged by our works, like everyone else.”10

By using such twisted definitions of “grace” Brian McLaren is able to assert that:

The average Roman Catholic today (at least, among those I meet) is increasingly clear about God’s grace being a free gift, not something that can be earned or merited. It’s hard to keep protesting against [such] people.11

On the basis of such an inclusive “grace”, McLaren says that we need to redefine – actually deconstruct – what it means to be a Protestant, and come together in an all-embracing Christendom:

“What if we were to redefine protest as ‘pro-testifying,’ pro meaning ‘for’ and testify meaning ‘telling our story’? . . . Both Catholics and Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox too, can come together as pro-testifiers or post-Protestants now, because together we are reaching a point where we acknowledge.we have a lot to learn from the very people we’ve been protesting.[and] can come together searching for what we are for.”12

Christ Alone?

McLaren devotes several chapters in his book, A Generous Orthodoxy, to the subject of Jesus Christ. They are in a section deceptively titled “Why I am a Christian” in which McLaren brazenly demonstrates that he is no Christian at all.

Chapter one is titled “Seven Jesuses I Have Known”13 and chapter two is titled “Jesus and God.”14 You may have already guessed from the title of the second chapter that McLaren teaches a distinction between Jesus and God. The undiscerning reader might miss this, at least in the beginning. McLaren uses a lot of Bible words and even Bible quotations to describe Christ. Jesus is the “Son of God” – “the image of God” – “the radiance of God’s glory” – “the image of the invisible God.” But McLaren’s definitions of these terms are not the Bible’s.

McLaren refuses ever to say that Jesus is God. He spends several pages explaining why he stops short of this: “God is not a male” (italics his).15 He goes on to say:

The masculine biblical imagery of “Father” and “Son” also contributes to the patriarchialism or chauvinism that has too often characterized Christianity.

There is so much more that could be said, but for now, let’s conclude: “Son of God” is not intended to reduce or masculinize God.16

When McLaren comes to his fourth chapter, “Jesus: Savior of What?”, he says that Christians have “demoted” Jesus by claiming that He died on the cross to save individuals’ souls from eternal damnation:

I believe we’ve also misconstrued, reduced, twisted, and torqued the whole meaning of what words like savior, save, and salvation are supposed to mean for generously orthodox Christians.17

.it’s best to suspend what, if anything, you “know” about what it means to call Jesus “Savior” and to give the matter of salvation some fresh attention.

Let’s start simply. In the Bible, save means “rescue” or “heal.” It emphatically does not automatically mean “save from hell” or “give eternal life after death” as many preachers seem to imply in sermon after sermon.18

Elsewhere in the same chapter, McLaren denies the doctrine of Christ’s substitutionary atonement for sinners, and places Jesus in the category of a moral example pointing the way in man’s quest to improve society and the environment.

To say that Jesus is Savior is to say that in Jesus, God is intervening as Savior in all of these ways, judging (naming as evil), forgiving (breaking the vicious cycle of cause and effect, making reconciliation possible), and teaching (showing how to set chain reactions of good in motion). Jesus comes then not to condemn (to bring the consequences we deserve) but to save by shining the light on our evil, by naming our evil as evil so we can repent and escape the chain of bad actions and bad consequences through forgiveness, and so we can learn from Jesus the master-teacher to live more wisely in the future.19

“This,” McLaren concludes, “is a window into the meaning of the cross.”

Elsewhere in A Generous Orthodoxy McLaren makes it clear that when he uses Biblical terms such as “reconciliation” – “evil” – “repent” – and “forgiveness” he has nothing like the Bible’s definitions in mind.

By “reconciliation” he means the reconciliation of oppressed social classes and their oppressors, and the reconciliation of those who differ theologically under the umbrella of inclusivism – not the reconciliation of men to God through the blood of Christ.

“Our evil” is “the oppression of the poor and disadvantaged” – not the sin nature and eternal death sentence passed on to the entire race through the Fall of Adam.

The “consequences we deserve” are societal and environmental consequences here on earth – not eternity in Hell.

“Repent” means making society and the physical world a better place – not turning from sin to faith in Christ, or ongoing repentance through the operation of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

“Forgiveness” means forgiving each other of our injustices – not being forgiven by God, the One offended in all offenses, based on propitiation of His wrath by the blood of Christ.

These things, not what the Bible actually teaches, are what McLaren and his fellow Emergents claim the Bible means by “words like savior, save, and salvation.”

So much for solus Christus, salvation from eternal damnation through God the Son alone.

Faith Alone?

At this point it may seem even more absurd to ask about Emergents’ attitude toward sola fide. But we press on, if only to demonstrate that Emergents’ notions of “Biblical faith” are at least as astonishingly un-Biblical as their notions of “grace” and “salvation”.

We shall cite just one example. Emergent leader Randy Woodley, one of the contributors to An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, is a Cherokee Indian who works for an organization called First Nations Ministries. As a discerning Christian reads Woodley’s chapter titled “Restoring Honor in the Land” it becomes obvious that his theology is rooted in the animism of the American Indian.

Woodley quotes liberal theologian Walter Brueggemann as saying that “land is central, if not the central theme of Biblical faith” (italics his). The Scripture-driven Christian may ask, “Really? And how is such a ‘Biblical faith’ to be worked out?” Woodley tells us: Through the “salvation” of Indian lands “stolen” by white Europeans – that is, the return of the entire North American continent to its “rightful owners” –

As a Native American, I view the land given to my people through covenant with the Creator as sacred. We have developed ceremonies, stories, and traditions [all steeped in pagan animism, we must note] that aid us in living a sacred life on the land. Living this life is one that is reminiscent of the original covenant with human beings in the garden. It can be characterized as a “shalom sense of place.” Because our land was stolen, the nonindigene must find it difficult to feel the same congruity with the land. Yet the apparent sense of loss and incongruity felt by nonindigenes cannot be avoided until the issue of stolen land and missing relationship with America’s host people is worked through.

The solutions will not come easily. There will be more pain and loss to be sure, and it will likely span several generations. Yet God’s shalom kingdom demands that the issue of land be addressed. The issue must be addressed if Native Americans are ever to come back from marginality and into wholeness. It must be addressed if nonindigenous peoples ever hope to recover the missing sense of place that God has always intended for all human beings to experience to gain integrity, congruence, and wholeness in their lives. Seeking out and establishing relationships between the emerging church and indigenous people is paramount to finding shalom and providing a secure future for the next seven generations.

So much for the Biblical faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ to save individuals from sin and eternal condemnation, apart from works. Authentic Christian faith focuses not on fixing up this dying world, but looks forward to “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). Authentic Christians seeks to win souls for that kingdom, not to rearrange the kingdoms of man on earth.

An Incredible Array of Heresies

The Emergent Church movement’s “new Reformation” embodies an incredible array of past heresies. They begin with the denial of the inspiration, infallibility, and sole authority of the Scriptures. From there it is a short journey to the embrace of mystery – not in the Biblical sense of truth once hidden and subsequently revealed, but of inscrutable ambiguities open only to higher intellects; and the embrace of paradox – the god of “yes-and-no” instead of the God of “Yes, and Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:19-20). From there it is but a small step to deny the Trinity and the deity of Jesus Christ. And from there the headlong plunge into the abyss accelerates with the teaching of the false doctrine of a moral-example “atonement” by Christ on the cross, the social gospel of the mainline liberals, salvation (whatever that may mean) by moral effort, ecumenical inclusivism and syncretism, the lie of universalism, and even pagan animism.

How Can Evangelicals Speak of “Positives”?

How is it, then, that so many Evangelicals are embracing the Emergent Church movement, or expressing their appreciation for its “positives” while perhaps also weakly expressing their “concerns”? There are no positives about a movement that stands against everything the Bible stands for. And “concern” is a woefully insufficient response from people who are supposed to be engaged in spiritual warfare against the forces of darkness that are behind evils like the Emergent Church movement (Ephesians 6:10-12).

There is a reason why so many Evangelicals today are accommodating and even embracing the Emergent Church movement, and we shall discuss it in our next article. That reason is intellectual pride – glorying in man rather than seeking the glory of God.

References:

1. Nanette Sawyer, “What Would Huckleberry Do?” in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope: Key Leaders Offer an Inside Look, Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, editors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2007), page 43-44.

2. Sawyer, 44.

3. Sawyer, 45.

4. Sawyer, 46-47.

5. Sawyer, 47.

6. Brian D. McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional-Evangelical-Post-Protestant-Liberal/Conservative-Mystical/Poetic-Biblical-Charismatic/Contemplative-Fundamentalist/Calvinist-Anabaptist/Anglican-Methodist-Catholic-Green-Incarnational-Depressed-Yet-Hopeful-Emergent-Unfinished Christian (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2004), page 107.

7. McLaren, 109.

8. McLaren, 108-109.

9. Brian D. McLaren and Tony Campolo, Adventures in Missing the Point (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), 25.

10. Samir Selmanivoc, “The Sweet Problem of Inclusiveness” in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope: Key Leaders Offer an Inside Look, Doug Pagitt and Tony Jones, editors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2007), 195.

11. A Generous Orthodoxy, 139.

12 A Generous Orthodoxy, 140.

13 A Generous Orthodoxy, 49-76.

14 A Generous Orthodoxy, 77-86.

15 A Generous Orthodoxy, 82.

16 A Generous Orthodoxy, 83-84.

17 A Generous Orthodoxy, 99.

18 A Generous Orthodoxy, 101.

19 A Generous Orthodoxy, 104-105.

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For anyone who doubts the love Spiritual Formation’s heretical Richard Foster has for Northwest Yearly Meeting of the Evangelical Friends (EFCI) and George Fox Universityand vice versa – consider the following excerpt from a web page reposted below:

Richard is a former pastor of  Newberg Friends Church, which is part of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM), and, as a graduate of George Fox, he has chosen to house his papers at the combined archives of the University and the NWYM.

Question: I wonder if discernment ministries will be allowed access to Foster’s archives, to write critiques of him. Consider the following procedural guideline, mentioned below:

Use of the Collection: Correspondence is restricted. Materials must be reviewed by the archivist before use.

Click here for the original source of the info reposted below.

Guide to the Richard J. Foster Papers

Sponsored by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

Richard J. Foster is the author of several books, which have appealed to a wide audience since the 1978 publication of Celebration of Discipline. Although he is ecumenical in focus, his works often reflect Quaker precepts that are described as an attempt to “promote a balanced understanding of the Christian faith.”

Foster is the founder of Renovare, an effort working for the renewal of the Church in all her multifaceted expressions. He has written numerous magazine articles, taught spiritual formation classes at several universities, and spoken in venues around the world. Richard is a former pastor of  Newberg Friends Church, which is part of the Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (NWYM), and, as a graduate of George Fox, he has chosen to house his papers at the combined archives of the University and the NWYM.

Collection Overview

The collection includes the following materials from Foster’s writing and speaking career:

  • manuscripts
  • writings
  • research materials
  • schedules of speaking engagements
  • interviews
  • invitations
  • calendars
  •  brochures
  • correspondence
  • photographs and media

Collection Quantity:

  • 64.25 cubic feet
  • 28 record boxes, 34 document boxes, 7 file drawers

Language: English

Future Additions: Further accruals are expected.

Use of the Collection: Correspondence is restricted. Materials must be reviewed by the archivist before use.

Subjects

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings:

  • Foster, Richard J.–Archives
  • Northwest Yearly Meeting of Friends Church
  • Renovare
  • Quaker
  • Spiritual formation


Contact:
Zoie Clark, GFU/NWDA Archives — zclark@georgefox.edu, 503-554-2415

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Before I present Ken Silva’s article, I want to present some background from my own experiences with Quakers. I grew up in what today is called the EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church Intl.), traditionally known as Gurneyite Friends. I thank the Lord that, between approximately 1854-1965, Gurneyite Friends held a born again, biblically sound Wesleyan Holiness theology – particularly in Ohio Yearly Meeting.

Unfortunately, the Evangelical Friends/Gurneyite Friends never completely broke away from the heretical heritage of the Quakers. I would estimate that from approximately 1930 on, Evangelical Friends leaders behind the scenes were increasingly pushing for more relations with non-evangelical (aka heretical) Quaker denominations.  These Evangelical Friends leaders were very hesitant to point out the history and heresy of George Fox’s “Inner Light” teaching (perhaps for fear of alienating nonevangelical Quaker denominations). Even today, Evangelical Friends professors and pastors paint George Fox  as a born again, biblically sound evangelist. This, despite the fact that Fox’s own writings show he was a heretical “Christian mystic.”

Only in recent years, after reading articles like the following by Ken Silva, did I realize just how heretical and nonchristian my own Quaker ancestors had been (prior  to 1854).

I would note that today the Quakers (both evangelical and nonevangelical denominations) vary widely in theology. Evangelical Friends speak very little of the Inner Light; many newer members have never even heard the term. Yet as we know, the Evangelical Friends have fallen head over heals in love with Spiritual Formation’s Richard Foster, who grew up, pastored and taught in the Evangelical Friends denomination.

I find it very odd that Foster chose to preach and teach among Evangelical Friends. His heretical teachings line up much more closely with two other major Quaker denominations, both considered nonevangelical: 1) the moderate Friends United Meeting (FUM) which nonetheless has many Christian universalists, and 2) the liberal Friends General Conference (FGC).

I’m sure Richard Foster fancies himself as walking in the footsteps of George Fox. It’s obvious in his various writings that Foster loves Fox’s “Inner Light” teaching. So what exactly did George Fox mean by the “Inner Light”, and why is this heresy so dangerous? Ken Silva explains, in his article reposted below. Click here for the original site of Silva’s article.

CONTEMPLATING THE INNER LIGHT OF THE QUAKERS (PT. 2)

By on Aug 25, 2008 in Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, Features, Richard Foster

We now continue this examination of the history of the Quakers and their core doctrine of the Inner Light that is allegedly within all of mankind and which supposedly was “revealed” by God to their founder George Fox. In Part One I opened with testimony concerning current Quaker beliefs from author and mystic Dr. Mary Conrow, a third generation member of The Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers). We also got further corroboration through an article by Friend Anne K. Riggs which as of today (5/5/06) is found at the official Friends website Quaker.org.

Shedding Light On Quaker Origins

Dr. Riggs by the way is also co-editor of QUEST: Quaker Ecumenical Seminars in Theology. I then showed that the contemplative spirituality currently taught by Quaker Richard Foster is so consistent with the mysticism of New Age teachers and the meditation of Zen Masters that he is listed (as of 5/5/06) at the Living Spiritual Teachers Project among an odd assortment of heretics and unbelievers.

The New Encyclopedia Britannica brings out that the term “Quaker,” according to founder George Fox came to be applied to this group “because we bid [people] tremble at the word of God.” In addition however, it is “likely that the name, originally derisive, was also used because many early Friends, like other religious enthusiasts, themselves trembled [i.e. quaked] in their religious meetings and showed other physical manifestations of religious emotion” (9/838). This is confirmed in New Religions: A Guide while Richard Hoskins is teaching about a sect of “healers and ‘spiritual’ leaders” from the Dominican Republic called “The Ngunzist movement.” Hoskins tells us the “Ngunzists are often called trembleurs because of their ecstatic shaking (rather like the origin of the term Quakers) (55,emphasis mine).

Next, from his fine work Christianity Through The Centuries (CTTC) noted Church historian Dr. Earle Cairns tells us that:

The Quakers appeared on the English religious scene during the chaotic period of the Civil War and the Commonwealth. They set aside the doctrines of an organized church and the Bible as the sole and final revelation of God’s will in favor of the doctrine of the Inner Light, by which they meant that the Holy Spirit can give immediate and direct knowledge of God apart from the Bible (381, emphasis mine)

The well-respected Handbook Of Denominations In The United States (HOD) from Mead and Hill adds that the Quakers date “from the late 1650’s in England” and “ the Society of Friends, or Quakers, is an unconventional but esteemed Protestant body.” The Quakers are unique because “they affirm the ‘Inner Light,’ the spiritual nerve center that God has placed in every person.” As we saw in Part One as well “classical Friends deny the validity of clergy, liturgy, and sacraments” (140, emphasis mine). HOD then gives us a further historical background:

The Society of Friends began with the vision of George Fox (1624-91), a British seeker after spiritual truth and peace during the turmoil of the English Civil War and its aftermath. After failing to find satisfactory truth and peace in the churches of his time, Fox discovered what he sought in a direct personal relationship with Christ: “When all my hopes in [churches] were gone… I heard a voice which said, ‘That is the Inner Voice, or Inner Light, based upon the description of John 1:9: “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (KJV)” ‘ “ This voice, Fox maintained, is available to all and has nothing to do with the ceremonies, rituals, or creeds over which Christians have fought. Every heart is God’s altar and shrine (140,141, emphasis mine).

In World Religions: From Ancient History to the Present we find out further it was in the wake of “the struggle” within various religious sects following the Reformation that:

Quakerism was born. These “seekers,” [sound familiar?] as they called themselves, abandoned all traditional Christian outward forms – ministry, creeds, sacraments, liturgy, systems of theology – and waited in silence, meditating on the Bible until they felt the “inner light” of God dawning within them and the Holy Spirit to speak. In their small communities they stressed the comradely life of love and works or charity inspired by the mystical experience of Christ through the Spirit (445, emphasis mine)

The Divine Spark Emerges In The Inner Light

Christian researcher Ray Yungen shares an interesting bit of information about the Quaker Guru of Contemplation Richard Foster with us in A Time of Departing when he asks:

Just how influential has Foster become in Christian circles? For certain, his effect on the evangelical church cannot be overestimated. In a 1993 poll by Christianity Today, the magazine revealed that Foster’s book, Prayer: Finding The Heart’s True Home, was the number one most popular books with its readers. Astoundingly, this is the same book that well-known New Ager Rosemary Ellen Guiley has on her suggested reading list in the back of her book, The Miracle of Prayer (80).

Guiley is also the author of Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience (HEMPE) published by HarperSanFrancisco, the company that also happens to publish Foster himself. It should strike us as odd that a “Christian” sect should be found in such a secular publication devoted to spiritualism. And yet Guiley tells us in HEMPE that Quaker theology “stresses a personal, almost mystical knowledge of God and the workings of the Lord’s ‘inner lightwithin all people.” And Fox himself taught:

faith is based solely on firsthand knowledge of Christ as a living, personal reality, not on logic, reasoning, historical reporting, or even Scripture. This empirical proof came to be called the Quaker Way: the idea that worshippers need not consult preachers or the Bible to receive knowledge of the Holy Spirit–the so-called “inner light of Christpresent in every human heart (556, emphasis mine).

This idea in Quaker theology that every man has this alleged “Inner Light” is further corroborated in GREAT RELIGIONS of the World which tells us that Fox “insisted that the ‘light of Christ’ glimmered in all men” (375, emphasis mine) We’ll be coming back to this “inner light” that is supposed to glimmer “in every human heart,” but first, in his classic two volume set A History Of Christianity (AHOC) the great historian Kenneth Scott Latourette adds a bit more background information about the person through whom the Quakers originated:

Their founder was George Fox (1624-1691). Of humble birth, from boyhood he had heard Puritan preaching and had acquired an intimate familiarity with the text of the English Bible… For four years he suffered severe spiritual depression induced by the spectacle of human suffering,…and by the doctrine of predestination which he heard expounded from Puritan pulpits. By temperament a mystic, he was eager for direct and unhindered access to God… Eventually (1647) the light broke. He came to feel Christ could speak to “his condition,”… He believed that God is love and truth and that it is possible for all men so to open their lives to Him… [Fox] would follow and have others follow the Inner Light” (Vol. II, p. 822, emphasis mine)

The True Light Of Holy Scripture

The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. (John 1:9-10)

As we get set to shed additional light on the unique Quaker doctrine of the “Inner Light” we need to remember that George Fox was a seeker and a mystic by nature, well versed in the Scriptures, and a man who chose to rebel against solid Biblical preaching. This is actually not too unlike what we see leaders within the Emergent Church doing today. Fox apparently didn’t like the fact that God instituted an authority structure within the local church so he decided to seek the Lord on his own terms. And sure enough Fox finally hears what he wanted to hear all along as he tells us “I heard a voice which said, ‘That is the Inner Voice, or Inner Light, based upon the description of John 1:9: “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (KJV)” (HOD, 141). Not only that but this seducing spirit allows for Fox’s defiance of authority as well as he is told that this Inner Light “is available to all and has nothing to do with the ceremonies” of the local church. Then in the mystic tradition of classic Gnosticism Fox hears that all mankind has a spark of divinity because every human being “is God’s altar and shrine” (141).

This above information is extremely important to understand regarding the spiritual excesses of the Religious Society of Friends (the Quakers). Now you should be able to see an aberrant view of mysticism is already rooted in the base theology of the Quakers. Their founder George Fox, who was himself prone to mysticism, wished for a “personal” approach “to God” that ended up being “apart from the Bible.” As such Fox began with his theology already turned backward by believing that it is man who seeks after God and as a result the Scriptures were forced to take a back seat to his own way of approaching the Lord. We need to carefully consider the above information. Fox is seeking a “direct” and “mystical experience” with God. Admirable yes, but it is the LORD God Almighty–the glorious and transcendent Creator of the universe–Who set the prescribed means of interacting with us through conscious prayer and His Words in Holy Scripture.

I will show you more about this “Inner Light” below, but notice that Fox was “eager” long enough while waiting “in silence” until “the light broke.” And he finally received his mystic delusion that “it is possible for all men” to “open their lives” to God. As I said, the “experience” of George Fox shoved the Truth of the Bible into a secondary place in favor of this mystical view that it is possible that “all men” are capable of opening themselves up to God. Clearly this would appear to be a reaction on his part to the strong Biblical “Puritan preaching” which assisted him in acquiring “an intimate familiarity with the text of the Bible.” For you see Fox has absolutely no excuse for missing this critical Truth from God’s Word:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.(Psalm 14:1-3)

And it’s not like this is some obscure passage the Puritans latched onto but is open to various interpretations, because it appears again in Psalm 53 below almost verbatim:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one (vv.1-3).

We aren’t able to escape this absolute Truth concerning the actual nature of mankind in the New Testament either. O the sappy sentimentality of new evangelicalism just loves to focus on the goodness of God and to tell us that He sent Jesus to meet our every need and to solve all of our problems. However, as I will continue to say, Christ Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator–the dreadful and awful–holy and majestic LORD God Almighty standing upon His planet. And concerning the fallen nature of humankind the Master unequivocally tells his Own disciples – “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

And then Jesus even clarified what He meant by “though you are evil” as He says – “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly” (Mark 7:21-23). Why you’d almost have to think our Creator is trying to get a point across to self-centered and arrogant mankind when later the inspired Apostle Paul is led by God the Holy Spirit to pick up those very same passages in the Psalms mentioned earlier:

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one (Romans 3:10-12)

You won’t hear all of this preached by e.g. by men like Joel Osteen in The Ecumenical Church of Deceit, but the bottom line in all this simply couldn’t be any clearer than Ecclesiastes 7:20 – There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. Ah, that is except – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One (1 John 2:1). So tragically, because George Fox denied this clear teaching from God’s Word, two major and spiritually fatal flaws emerged in his theology. Out went the Pastoral Epistles for God’s prescribed method of spiritual leadership within His local churches; and instead of objectively judging all experience by Holy Scripture, “the Quaker way” became proper understanding of the Bible would be determined by subjective mystical experience in “the Inner Light.”

And it is this very same mortal theological wound of interpreting the text of the Bible by the spiritual experiences a given person may have that is also central to the postmodern approach of the Emergent Church, of which Richard Foster is unquestionably “a key mentor.” I’ve already pointed out that Foster considers mystic Teresa of Avila as one of “the great writers of the devotional life.” You will come to see that even this is also consistent with Quaker theology and interestingly enough, on the page prior to the coverage of the Quakers by Dr. Cairns in CTTC is a short piece about a mystic movement within “the Roman Catholic Church during the seventeenth century” that would come to be known as “Quietism.”

The Inner Light Reveals The Global Family

I now draw your attention to the fact that “the Inner Light” just happened to be a core teaching of this Quietism. Dr. Cairns informs us that this theological view within the Church of Rome:

emphasized an immediate intuitional approach to God by the passive soul opening itself to the influence of the inner light. It was a reaction to the emphasis on the rationalization of dogma. [Sound familiar?] Forerunners of the Quietists were Ignatius Loyola; the godly Charles Borromeo (1538-84), cardinal and archbishop of Milan; Teresa of Avila (1515-82); and Francis de Sales (1567-1622) of France… These mystics of the Counter-Reformation were succeeded by the Quietists of the seventeenth century. (ibid., 380, emphasis mine)

You can see that Teresa of Avila was prominent among those who influenced what would itself become a “quiet” reformation within the Roman Catholic Church and would end up bringing it further and further away from Biblical doctrine in favor of this mystic superstition. George Fox and the Quakers would somewhat parallel this quiet decent into the mystical silence of demonic deception. It’s a trap as old as the Garden of Eden where the Devil promises good will come to men who follow him in opposition to what God has said in the Bible. There have been mystical approaches to God virtually since the time of the Fall and the LORD God Almighty has already told us that rather than “emptying” our minds of all thought we are instead to – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

In AHOC Latourette also supplies another key piece of information in understanding the deadly flaw which has emerged from the theology of Fox when he brings out that “Fox and other Quakers insisted that every man who comes into the world is illuminated by an inner light which is Christ” (Ibid., p. 981, emphasis mine). Men and women, here we glean some critical insight into why we are seeing the reemergence of interest in Contemplative/Centering Prayer (meditation) within new evangelicalism. This above view by “Fox and other Quakers” is also indicative of the inevitable result of the practice of this “Christian” mysticism as well. Can you see it: If this alleged Inner Light is already within every man then we don’t have to risk persecution as we stand for the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because now we will have opened the door to a universalism which negates any real need for anyone to have to be “born again.”

And here we have uncovered the reason why so many professing Christians today can believe that all religions should be friends now and seek our common ground as we work together to usher in “the kingdom” of God’s Global Peace. Take an honest look at the warped and toxic theology of men like Richard Foster, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Alan Jones, Steve Chalke and even the Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren–all men involved to one degree or another in the practice of contemplative spirituality. You see no bold stance on their part that the only way any human being anywhere upon God’s planet can ever be saved from an eternity of conscious torment in a literal place our Creator called Hell is personal faith in Jesus Christ of Nazareth and His vicarious penal substitutionary atonement on the Cross. In fact, you will see in my article “Evangelicals” Attacking The Atonement it is actually quite the contrary.

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(blog under construction)

Dear readers:

I know I’ve come across as very caustic in many of my blogs about Evangelical Friends. But I truly do love the teachings of the Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite) and what they stood up for between approx. 1854-1965. I believe the Evangelical Friends have nearly lost many of the biblically sound fundamentalist stands J. Walter Malone, Edward Mott and others in the Ohio Yearly Meeting took vs. modernism, Quaker modernism, Christian universalism (the Inner Light teaching), Quaker ecumenism, etc.

Not to mention more recent heretical movements within evangelicalism that are gaining momentum among Evangelical Friends. Such as Spiritual Formation, postmodern (Emerging/Emergent/Emergence) teachings, postmillenial dominionist Emergent/Kingdom Now eschatology, Third Wave Pentecostal IHOP teachings, etc. etc. It breaks my heart.

I find it shocking that very few Evangelical Friends are speaking out openly against heresies invading their churches. Instead, most “concerned Evangelical Friends” seem to be quietly leaving the Evangelical Friends churches for “safer ground” – bibically sound churches such as the Independent Fundamentalist Baptists. Instead of “quietly” leaving, concerned Evangelical Friends need to first confront their pastors, youth leaders, etc. about false teachings. To those who say nothing: you are putting remaining attenders at risk of  falling into false teachings.

I’d also like to receive more feedback from Evangelical Friends who disagree with my blogs – I think these things need to be discussed/debated so people realize what’s going on. Other evangelical denominations (such as the Nazarenes) seem to be much more open about discussing the doctrinal changes that have taken place in their denominations over the years. Nazarenes on all sides of the issues have written a number of books and articles discussing major doctrinal shifts. Among the Wesleyan Holiness denominations, the Nazarenes seem to be the most prolific writers.

Ecumenical and Convergent Quakers use this phrase: “let the conversation continue.” I would modify this to: “let the open, honest discussions/ debates over doctrinal changes increase.”

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(revised 02/21/12)

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.

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NOTE – The blog below is not my latest blog. To find more recent blogs, browse through the “Archives” section to the lower right.  ——>  ——>  ——>
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NEWS FLASHClick here to read about Malone University’s Spring 2013 Chapel schedule, showing its increasing emphasis on occultish Spiritual Formation/Contemplative Spirituality.
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(revised 01/04/15)

I gave up on my former denomination (Evangelical Friends Church International aka EFCI) long ago, and in recent years I have encouraged individuals via my blogs to separate from the denomination.

Let me get one thing straight – I don’t  “hate” the Evangelical Friends denomination. On the contrary, I love what the Evangelical Friends once stood for. Specifically, I loved Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite) up until 1965, with its gospel hymns such as “Power in the Blood” and “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood”, its salvation messages,  and its altar calls. And yes, the OYM (like many denominations then) used the King James Version only. And we had only organs and pianos – no guitars or drums or Contemporary Christian Music. But all that was soon to change. (Some proponents of Bible versions and CCM may have good intentions. Unfortunately, over the years, heretical teachings have become increasingly widespread in many Bible versions and CCM songs.)

But I digress. Back to the Evangelical Friends: I believe that, in 1965, OYM (today the Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region or EFC-ER) lost its biblical mooring when it joined with more liberal Evangelical Friends Yearly Meetings to form the Evangelical Friends Alliance (now Evangelical Friends Church International or EFCI). Pre-1965 OYM and today’s EFC-ER are like day and night theologically.  Today I am extremely discontent with the theological positions of EFC-ER and EFCI; I would never consider becoming a member again.

I am not alone in my discontent. Many online discernment ministries (ODMs) have spoken out against EFCI professors and leaders – and Quakers in general – yet have met fierce resistance from supposedly born again EFCI individuals. One discernment leader, James Sundquist (click here and here), wrote this to George Fox University Vice President and Dean Chuck Conniry in 2010 [see entire letter here]:

I can’t see how the Scriptures you quote specifically refute any of my charges or any charges against [GFU adjunct professor] Leonard Sweet by myself, Richard Bennett (Berean Beacon), Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries, Warren Smith, Roger Oakland, Deborah Dombrowski of Lighthouse Trails, or Sandy Simpson of Apologetics Coordination Team.

Additional ODMs which have written about and/or confronted EFCI professors and Quakerism are  David Cloud  and Dr. K.B. Napier. And this is just the tip of the iceberg – many more ODMs have exposed the heresies of contemplative Evangelical Friend Richard Foster specifically.

In recent years many EFCI administrators, professors, pastors and youth leaders have become Emerging/Emergent. They like Emerging/Emergent heretics such as Rob Bell, Ken Blanchard, Bob Buford, Tony Campolo (click here and here), Shane Claiborne, David Crowder, Mark Driscoll, Peter Drucker, Richard Foster, Stanley Grenz, Bill Hybels, Dan Kimball, Tony Jones, Brennan Manning (click here and here), Brian McLaren, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Henri Nouwen, John Ortberg, Doug Pagitt, Eugene Peterson, John Piper, Andy Stanley, Ed Stetzer, Leonard Sweet, Frank Viola, Jim Wallis, Rick Warren, Dallas Willard, etc. etc. Because of the EFCI leadership’s continuing support for these Emerging/Emergent heretics, the denomination is probably beyond hope. (Unfortunately, the EFCI is just one of many denominations which are falling away into apostasy. Click here for a directory of many more Wesleyan Holiness denominations which are swallowing the same heresies, hook, line and sinker.)

Note – I would suggest you make a list of all the authors your church leaders quote in sermons, Sunday School classes, etc., then research the authors to see if they are contemplative/Emerging/Emergent.

Consider these excerpts regarding George Fox University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary, reposted here:

March 22nd, 2007 | Author: Lighthouse Trails Editors

The Missional Matrix conference [broken link] is being held this weekend at the Vineyard Community Church in Shoreline Washington. George Fox University (a strong proponent of contemplative spirituality) is sponsoring the event, and speakers include Scot McKnight (author of The Real Mary; see our related article below), and Todd Hunter, North American president of the Alpha Course and a proponent of the Emerging Church…

Unfortunately, contemplative and Emerging Church leaders identify the meaning of these “twists and turns” in a most unscriptural manner. McKnight is a major catalyst for the current sway by evangelicals towards Catholicism while Hunter is a partner with Renovare (Richard Foster’s organization). In addition, George Fox University [as well as George Fox Evangelical Seminary] is a hub of contemplative/emerging activity with a list of adjunct professors [and visiting professors at GFES] that includes Dan Kimball and Leonard Sweet. In 2005, George Fox hired [broken link] Todd Hunter, Leonard Sweet and Brian McLaren to teach certain classes, and chapel speakers at the university have included Richard Foster and Brennan Manning. Recommended and required reading for classes at George Fox include a wide assortment of staunch contemplatives/mystics like Thomas Keating, Henri Nouwen, and Thomas Merton.

I think you get the point…

Moving on, I have written a number of blogs pointing out various heresies invading the EFCI. The readership response has been very encouraging, and positive for the most part.  I praise the Lord for all the Evangelical Friends who are taking an interest in these blogs.

Regarding specific heresies in the EFCI (in addition to Emerging/Emergent teachings), check out this excerpt from one of my other major blogs:

Some in the EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church International) have suggested I be more “positive” in my denominational blogs.  Currently I don’t have very much positive to say about the EFCI, due to the involvement of most of its Regions in the following heresies. These are in roughly chronological order; dates are approximate:

1) Failure to confront and condemn Quaker Universalism (aka George Fox’s Inward Light/Inner Light teaching) in non-evangelical Quaker denominations (1948 on)
2) New Evangelicalism (1948 on)
3) Quaker ecumenism (1970 on)
4) Spiritual Formation (1978 on)
5) Emerging/Emergent/Emergence teachings (1995 on)
6) Postmillenial Emerging/Emergent/Kingdom Now eschatology (1995 on)
7) The Convergent Friends movement (1995 on)
8 ) Accommodation of an IHOP college group (2008 on)

In the EFC-ER’s favor, it seems the EFC-ER is still the most biblically sound of the EFCI Regions in North America. Click here for a history of Ohio Yearly Meeting (OYM, later renamed EFC-ER) during the “biblically sound” years of 1854-1965. I thank the Lord I was in OYM during part of this godly time period.

Yes, you heard me right: the EFC-ER is still the most biblically sound of the EFCI Regions in North America. Unfortunately, certain individuals in the EFC-ER are allowing the above mentioned heretical teachings to come in to the EFC-ER –  many via professors and pastors “transferring in” from other denominations (“non-evangelical Quakers” and non-Quaker Emerging/ Emergent evangelical denominations such as the Nazarenes), as well as the other more liberal Emerging/Emergent Regions of the EFCI.

To make matters worse, some of the leaders of the EFC-ER are also leaders of the EFCI. And they have let the “tail wag the dog,” so to speak. Since various Evangelical Friends yearly meetings merged in 1965 into the Evangelical Friends Alliance (now the EFCI), the “progressive evangelical” NWYM (Northwest Yearly Meeting), particularly, has increasingly held sway over the theological positions of the EFCI. To put it another way: the physical headquarters of the EFCI is in the EFC-ER; the theological/ideological headquarters of the EFCI is in NWYM. And the leadership of the EFCI has gone along with the NWYM leadership – in a big way. Unfortunately, many members of the EFC-ER are not aware of this ungodly accommodation of the NWYM (as well as the other increasingly “progressive evangelical”  Regions) by the EFCI leadership. (Click here for links to all the Regions of the EFCI.)

I’m trying to “be nice” here, not mentioning names of individuals (particularly individuals I have not yet spoken with or corresponded with). But I feel compelled to speak out against false doctrine. This is what God’s Word commands us to do.

An official high in the EFCI was kind enough to respond to my concerns somewhat (see the comments at the bottom of this blog). But after several messages back and forth, this official declined to correspond any further, stating that I am “being divisive.”

At first I took umbrage at being referred to divisive. Like many loved ones before me who were born again, biblically sound Evangelical Friends pastors and missionaries, I believe strongly in the born again, biblically sound salvation message preached by Evangelical Friends – including J. Walter Malone – between approx. 1854-1965. I would label myself a “separatist fundamentalist Gurneyite Quaker/Evangelical Friend.” Separatist fundamentalism is  the traditional view  of the Evangelical Friends. If I defend this traditional standard of the Evangelical Friends – and am called “divisive” for my stand – something is seriously wrong with the current theological state of the EFCI.

To summarize, yes, I am being “divisive” – in a sense. I am being divisive towards the heretics who have invaded the EFCI. These heretics  themselves are being divisive to the born again Body of Christ. They are hijacking the biblically sound doctrinal stance of the EFCI.

Speaking of “hijacking” the EFCI: I would say the most infamous heretic in the EFCI has been Spiritual Formation’s Richard Foster, who grew up in the EFA/EFCI. Throughout Foster’s life, the EFCI has always welcomed him with open arms. God help the EFCI. If the EFCI had cut off Foster at the outset and condemned his teachings, perhaps we would not see the theological devastation and apostasy of occultish contemplative spirituality across evangelicalism today.

Regarding the gospel message – traditionally the core of the term “evangelicalism” – we are losing the born again message of  salvation through Jesus Christ. We all need to wake up before it’s too late. When is the last time you heard the “negative” aspects of the  salvation message in an EFCI school or church? Namely:

1) “Hellfire and brimstone” preaching of God’s damnation to Hell of those who reject Christ: 18b) … he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:18b-19, KJV). Also, 12a) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life… 15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  (Rev. 20:12a,15, KJV).

2)  The bloody sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, our Atonement, providing eternal life to all those who turn from sin and accept Him as their Saviour. Think of Christ’s bloody, gory suffering – this is the brutality our Saviour bore for us:  4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isa. 53:4-7, KJV).

The last time I personally remember hearing a hymn about the Blood in the EFC-ER, was when Earl Smith led the song “Power in the Blood” at Yearly Meeting in the early 1970s. Folks, that’s forty years ago – sad!

Listen to the following song, entitled “Nothing But the Blood (Still Saves the Lost)”. describes how the message of the Blood and the Cross has virtually disappeared from many evangelical churches in recent decades. If you feel uncomfortable hearing this song, you need to get right with God! The message of the Blood and the Cross is what Christianity is all about. It is an abomination when churches omit this message – or water it down – to avoid turning off seekers (unsaved attenders). Here’s the song:

Regarding the EFC-ER today,  I do have some words of encouragement.  I believe there is still hope theologically for individuals throughout the EFC-ER – even if the EFC-ER leaders (administrators, professors, pastors and youth leaders) will not listen. I believe there is hope for individuals here and there in the other Regions of the EFCI as well – although change may be more difficult. Some of the most encouraging and influential supporters of this blogsite are from EFCI Regions outside the EFC-ER.

As I continue to see and hear of heresies invading  the EFC-ER, I will be blogging about individual “invaders”/”hijackers” in Malone University and in specific churches. I am still trying to avoid criticizing EFC-ER members by name at this point. My main objective is not to attack or hurt anyone, but to help attenders of Malone University and various EFC-ER churches to:

1) See the invading heresies,

2) Join with myself and other concerned Evangelical Friends in protesting loudly, and

3) If nothing changes, leave for biblically sound churches. Currently I recommend three groups/denominations:

#1) Certain kinds of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches – see this Ohio Baptist directory adapted from David Cloud. (Note especially the churches with three asterisks; these are the churches where Bro. Cloud has spoken, and which he recommends personally. And here are the traits Bro.  Cloud looks for, in placing Baptist churches in his directory. I realize that, doctrinally, IFB churches are somewhat different from the Wesleyan Holiness heritage of the Evangelical Friends. Yet, of all denominations and independent churches in America today, I believe these Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches are closest in faith and practice to the Evangelical Friends churches of approx. 1900-1950.

#2) Conservative Holiness churches – see this Wikipedia article as well as this blog.

#3) Free Will Baptist churches – see this blog.

Each of the above three groups has their own distinctive teachings, as well as pros and cons. No matter which group(s) you decide to check out, make sure the churches you are visiting still use the KJV (aka Authorized Version) only. Almost inevitably, churches that sympathize with other per-versions end up falling prey to false teachings/heresies.

Following are the websites of Malone University and the EFC-ER churches, so you can see for yourself what’s going on. I am considering writing critiques of Malone and various churches; these critiques will include discussions of  “problem areas” (aka heresies).  I’m sure there are some in the EFCI who will view these critiques as divisive – but in these End Times I believe we need to wake up, and wake up fast. Evangelical denominations including the EFCI are literally being torn apart by Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings (among other heresies).

I know a number of you at “problem churches” (churches accommodating heresies) in the EFC-ER have already spoken up and/or left for biblically sound churches. I believe the Lord is pleased with your actions. For those of you who currently need help battling the invasion of heresies in Malone University or EFC-ER churches, please contact us. (You can reach us via the Comment box at the bottom of this blog; comments will be kept private unless you wish them to be published). We’re here to help. And together – with God’s help – I believe we can make a difference for eternity.

Just a word about exposing and confronting false teachers. In the past, if I were upset with a pastor’s doctrinal errors, I would simply leave the church and attend elsewhere. After all, I figured, the pastor was still a “man of God” and should not be “attacked”, right? Since then I have changed my position on this. If a pastor is teaching serious error, his other followers need to be made aware of this. (The trick is how to do this in a “loving” way.) If a pastor or church leader does not expose the false teachings of another pastor or church leader, he himself becomes a false teacher. Click here for a blog explaining my position in more detail.

Now on to the EFC-ER directory (click here to access the original listing, under EFC-ER’s “Directory” menu item). To show a church’s size, I’ve added the average Sunday morning attendance between January 1, 2009-December 31, 2009 (source: 2010 Yearbook – EFC-ER).

Church size is important. It seems almost a rule of thumb that large evangelical churches (say 500+ attenders) become spiritual “conduits” for bringing in heretical teachings. For example, currently I am closely following a number of large EFC-ER churches in addition to Malone University. These large churches are doing most if not all of the following:

– Using the church growth principles found in Dan Kimball’s Emerging/ Emergent book The Emerging Church
– Pushing “new ways of doing church”
– Promoting “missional” outreach (the “social gospel” repackaged)
– Using Eugene Peterson’s heretical The Message paraphrase in sermons and bulletins
– Downplaying or eliminating senior programs and traditional services in favor of  blended services and contemporary services
– Replacing pianos and organs with full bands (complete with full drum sets behind glass panes)
– Providing coffee bars and sofas in their lobbies
– Building new “campuses” that resemble schools not churches, with movable chairs in their gymnasium-like “sanctuaries”
– And so on…

Notice a common theme? While making church more appealing to “seekers”/ newcomers, all these changes have reduced our reverence for the Lord, our “holiness unto the Lord.”

Also, all these postmodern practices are encouraged by heretical Emerging/ Emergents. And there are many more red flags to watch for. Click here to see many more traits of an Emerging church – how many of these traits are present in your EFC-ER church?

On a more personal note: in discussing the EFC-ER, I have mixed feelings. I feel very close to many individuals in many churches – I feel rather guilty for seemingly “attacking” the EFC-ER. On the other hand, I  believe the EFC-ER’s “theological situation” needs to be watched very closely. We need more “watchmen on the wall” to stand up against incoming heresies.  Satan knows his time is short before Christ’s return – Satan and his minions are doing everything they can to destroy the Body of Christ.

EFC-ER DIRECTORY of individuals, Malone University and churches

I’m providing this info here – including website links Facebook links – not to attack individuals, but for readers to question them directly regarding their doctrinal positions, and the doctrinal positions of the EFC-ER and EFCI. Some individuals are biblically sound, while others are questionable. I will not single out heretical individuals at this point – readers can correspond, ask, discuss, and conclude for themselves which individuals are spreading the heresies I listed at the beginning of this blog.

Be discerning and be persistent in your questions. Some individuals (particularly the elderly) may sincerely be unaware of Emerging/Emergent heresies invading the EFCI (for example Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. teaching at George Fox University and Seminary). Other individuals may be aware of at least some of the  heresies invading the denomination; they may be very helpful and give you the straight scoop on the heresies they’re aware of. On the other hand, those who support these heresies may deny their approval/involvement, skirt the subject, or say things like “Dave Mosher and those old fundamentalist Gurneyite Friends are being divisive – they don’t really know what they’re talking about.”

Yes, we are being divisive! We are concerned about all the heresies I mentioned near the beginning of this blog, that are invading the EFC-ER and the EFCI. And we care more about the true Body of Christ and the eternal salvation of souls, than about an ecumenical quasi-unity with nonevangelical (nonchristian) Quaker denominations and groups (the Convergent Friends movement).

Now on to my EFC-ER directory:

EFC-ER ADMINISTRATION (as of 2012)

EFC-ER World Outreach Center (click here for the EFC-ER website)

Dr. John P. Williams Jr. (EFC-ER General Superintendent, head of EFCI)
EFC-ER bio

Ken Albright (EFC-ER Southern Area Superintendent) –EFC-ER bio

Quint Bryan (Youth Leadership Resources for EFC-ER, pastor of Sebring Evangelical FC) – Facebook status page

Dr. Wayne Evans (EFC-ER Florida & Western Area Superintendent, EFCI Treasurer) – EFC-ER bio
Facebook status page

Chris Jackson (EFC-ER Eastern Area Superintendent) EFC-ER bio
Facebook status page

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS (as of 2012)

Malone University 

Administration

Dr. David A. King,  University President –  Dr. King is also on the Board of Trustees; this blog contains several links to info about Dr. King

Donald L. Tucker, Provost (see this article describing the duties of a provost)

Board of Trustees
(I am trying to list only individuals closely associated with the Evangelical Friends as of November 2012; many trustees are people in the community who have no real input regarding the religious aspects of Malone)

Stan Anderson, M.D.

Mark B. Benedict, Attorney

H. David Brandt, Ph.D.
President Emeritus, George Fox University, Newberg, Ore.

Daniel D. Cale, Pastor, Hughesville Friends Church, Hughesville, Pa.

Thomas Crawford, D. Min.
Pastor, Morningside Friends Church, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Shu-Ling Sharon Kao-Huang
Evangelical Friends Church Minister, Elementary School Educator, Kent

Rhonda J. Mitchell, N.D.

David P. Murray, J.D., Attorney

David R. Van Valkenburg
Chairman, Balfour Associates, Inc.

Stephen T. Weingart
Manager, FedEx Custom Critical, Canton

Dr. John P. Williams Jr. (EFC-ER General Superintendent, head of EFCI)
EFC-ER bio

Office of Spiritual Formation

Randy Heckert, University Chaplain

Linda Leon, Director of Spiritual Formation

Theology Dept.

Larry D. Reinhart, Dept. Chair
Facebook status page

Bryan C. Hollon
Facebook status page

Greg Linville

Stephen K. Moroney

Suzanne Nicholson

D. Nathan Phinney

William P. Quigley (Instructor of Youth Ministries)

Joel Soza
Facebook status page

Duane F. Watson

History Dept.

Jacalynn Stuckey Welling (teaches Quaker history, etc.)

Former professors

John David Geib

John Oliver

Alumni

Paul Anderson

C. Wess Daniels

Joel Daniel Harris

David Johns

David Williams
Bio (PDF document)

EVANGELICAL FRIENDS PASTORS FORMERLY IN EFC-ER

Adrian Halverstadt

Joe Roher (Pastor Joe is now a Spiritual Director, and Pastor Emeritus of Friendswood, TX Friends Church)

EFC-ER CHURCHES AND PASTORS
I am mainly including links to pastors and youth leaders, as I find them. Note 01/4/15: Numbers in parentheses are number of attenders as of 2012. Also note: many pastors and youth leaders have relocated since 2012. For the most recent directory info go to http://www.efcer.org

Central Ohio District

Alum Creek FC (97)(church link on EFC-ER website does not work as of 02/09/12)
– Greg Rice (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Columbus-Friends Worship Center (79)
Gilead FC (441)[church link on EFC-ER website does not work as of 02/09/12]
Brian Mosher (Senior Pastor)
Mansfield First FC (33)[church link on EFC-ER website does not work as of 02/09/12]
Orange FC (101)
– David Mabry (lead pastor) – Facebook status page
Valleyview Evangelical FC (73)
Water of Life Evangelical FC (44)
Facebook Page

Eastern Ohio District

East Richland Evangelical FC (834)
website (this link is more recent than the non-working link on the EFC-ER website)
Jerry Wenger (Senior Pastor)
Wayne Ickes (Pastor Emeritus)
Jamie & Erin Roten (Youth Pastor & Female Youth Director)
Kara Wenger (Director of College Age Ministries)
———————————————————————————————–
Mount Pleasant FC (134)
Smithfield Evangelical FC (33)
Springdale FC (31)

Northeastern Ohio District

Akron Community FC (23)
———————————————————————————————–
Alliance First FC (416)
church Facebook Page
Frederick O. “Rick” Sams (pastor) – Facebook status page
Debbie Noble (youth pastor)
————————————————————————————————
Beloit FC (70)
Brewster Evangelical FC (46)
– Vance Z. Weeks (pastor) – Facebook status page
——————————————————————————————-
Canton First FC (1259)
Stan Hinshaw (Lead Pastor) – Facebook status page
Joel Daniel Harris (Middle School Youth Pastor)
Chris King (High School Ministry Pastor) – Facebook status page
Ben Walters (Director of Young Adult Ministries and Discipleship)
– Marva Lee Hoopes, Pastor of Children’s Ministry – Facebook status page
———————————————————————————————–
Damascus FC (736)
John P. Ryser (Pastor)
Steve Lowe (Associate Pastor)
Alex Feldman (Youth Pastor)
———————————————————————————————–
Deerfield Evangelical FC (135)
East Goshen FC (82)
———————————————————————————————-
Jackson FC (934)
David Tebbs (Pastor)
Zack Rambaud (Associate Pastor/Youth Pastor)
Scott “Moby” Dick (Director of Sports and Recreation/Director of Middle School Youth)
Jeff Gilliland (Senior High School Intern)(as of Jan. 2012)
Bob Robinson (Director of Young Adults)
———————————————————————————————–
Lisbon-Trinity FC (143)
Poland-Bethel Evangelical FC (174)
———————————————————————————————–
Salem First FC (432)
Facebook Page
John Pierce (Senior Pastor)
Pete Fowler (Associate Pastor) – Facebook status page
Mike Barnes (Youth Ministry Intern)(as of Feb. 2012)
————————————————————————————————
Salem-Southeast FC (73)
Sebring Evangelical FC (86)
– Quint Bryan (pastor, also holds Youth Leadership Resources administrative position in EFC-ER) – Facebook status page
Winona Evangelical FC (254)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Kent Chinese (35)

Northern Ohio District

Barberton Evangelical FC (82)
Boston Heights and Taiwanese FC (47)
Broadview Heights Evangelical FC (204)
Cleveland-Community FC (17)
Cleveland-West Park Evangelical FC (41)
Cornerstone Evangelical FC (433)
– Mark Winner (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Morningstar FC (313
North Olmsted Evangelical FC (562)
Pelham Evangelical FC (90)
Wadsworth-Bethany FC (61)
Willoughby Hills Evangelical FC (1064)
– Kevin Young (senior pastor) – Facebook status page

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Toronto Hispanic (45)

Western Ohio District

Bellefontaine First FC (51)
Byhalia FC (43)
Fulton Creek Evangelical FC (115)
Goshen FC (198)
Mount Carmel FC (106)
Shiloh Chapel – Evangelical FC (240)
– Andy Albertini (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Somersville FC (16)
Urbana Evangelical FC (59)
Van Wert – Trinity FC (419)
West Mansfield FC (7)

Colonial District

Evangelical Friends – Newport (252)
Hughesville Evangelical FC (292)
– Dan Cale (senior pastor) – Facebook status page
Portsmouth FC (44)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Baltimore Hispanic (125)
Kingston Hispanic (140)
Philadelphia Hispanic (120)
Philadelphia West Hispanic (90)

Florida District

Morningside FC (1654)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Brooklyn Haitian (100)
Miami Haitian (280)
Tabernacle Haitian (55)
Union Haitian (48)

Michigan District

Battle Creek Evangelical FC (393)
– John Grafton (Youth and Outreach Pastor, Worship Leader) – Facebook status page
Lupton FC (77)
Raisin Center FC (60)
Raisin Valley FC (83)
Riverbend FC (86)
Rollin FC (51)
Ypsilanti Evangelical FC (89)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Chicago Hispanic (55)

Piedmont District

Cornerstone Community Church (110)
Danville – Ferry Road Evangelical FC (49)
Danville – Longview Evangelical FC (52)
Eden – Immanuel FC (90)
Greensboro – Hunter Hills FC (50)
Martinsville – Trinity FC (55)
New Life Community
(147)
Pine Mountain FC (22)
Pleasant View Evangelical FC (39)
Putnam Evangelical FC (48)
Rock Hill Evangelical FC (60)

(listed in 2010 EFC-ER Yearbook only, not on EFC-ER website):
Iglesia de Jesuchristo Rocka Viva – Greensboro (75)
Iglesia de Jesuchristo Rocka Viva – Raleigh (40)

Virginia District

Achilles FC (27)
Colony FC  (53) (Newport Colony FC)
Hampton – First FC (149)
Hanover Evangelical FC (196) (Richmond Hanover Evangelical FC)
Living Hope Evangelical FC (33)
New Point FC
(22)
Peniel Evangelical FC (18)
Portsmouth – First FC (49)
Rescue Evangelical FC (23)
Facebook Page
Virginia Beach – Providence FC (89)

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