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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Kimball’

(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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Plain and simple, I like lists. Lists of cults, lists of false teachings, even lists of lists. So I was intrigued to come across a “list” article reposted here by our friends Amy and Mike on the Stand Up for the Truth website. In this article, a diehard postmodern lists and discusses “6 things [that he thinks] Christians should just stop saying”. Be forewarned – his list is extremely liberal/ Emergent and anti-Christian. This, my friend, is a look inside the minds of today’s postmoderns – sick.

Amazingly, this is the garbage many evangelical churches and colleges today are entertaining, in clinging eagerly to the teachings of Emergents Tony Campolo, Richard Foster, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, and a myriad of other heretics. (Some of these postmodern/Emergent leaders hold to just a few of the six anti-Christian views below; most hold to all six anti-Christian views.)

Now on to the article. I am emphasizing certain points by bolding, and inserting comments in [brackets].

Six ways Progressive theology is destroying Christianity

Jesus is So Cool

[Introductory comments by Stand Up for the Truth]:

First they asked you to think outside the box of Truth; now they’re asking you to stop speaking Truth altogether.  The Progressive wing of the Church has been able to grow and thrive, thanks in part to the re-surging Emergent movement that has long been taking the doctrines of Christianity apart. Here’s how contributor to the extreme leftist publication Huffington Post (a site from which I share frequently about the activities of the Christian Left), is trying to re-shape the Bride of Christ into the harlot of Babylon.  How influential is this guy? Steve is celebrated as the “Voice of the SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious),” as well as author, speaker, thought leader and spiritual teacher.  His latest article is getting thunderous applause. Gird your loins:

6 Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

It is time. No, it is past time. Christians must stop saying the following things.

1. The Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. It isn’t inerrant and not likely even in the “original manuscripts.” But then, I cannot say that with absolute certainty, anymore than anyone else can either. Why? Because no such “original” manuscripts even exists. That’s like saying, “We believe there are aliens on other planets!” Good for you. Now, prove it. As we have it, no matter what translation you favor, the Bible is replete with errors. To pretend otherwise is your right. To say otherwise is a lie. You are entitled to your opinions, your assumptions, even your beliefs. What you are not entitled to is a misrepresentation of the facts. A corollary to this that Christians should stop saying is this:

2. We just believe the Bible. That, too, is false. What you really believe is your interpretation of the Bible. And the last I checked, the history of the Christian church is the history of disagreement over “interpretation.” How else do you explain the scores of denominations within Christianity alone? It would be patently more honest of Christians to say, “The following represents our understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures, but we are also aware there are many equally sincere Christians who interpret the Scriptures differently from us.” A third thing Christians should stop saying:

3. Jesus is the only way to heaven. What you are really saying is, “The way we interpret John 14:6 is that Jesus was clearly drawing a line in the sand and telling his hearers and the world: ‘If you do not believe in Me, you won’t go to the Father when you die.’” For this, I refer back to No. 2 above: what you and your group of believers really mean to say is, “It is our interpretation of John 14:6 that Jesus is saying that He is the only way to heaven.” There are scores of Christians, however, and I am one of them, who do not interpret Jesus’ words in John 14 the same way. Just because I do not makes me no less Christian than you are. So stop drawing lines in the sand, please, between equally sincere followers of Jesus. When I read the 14th chapter of John, I see a context that yields an alternative reading of the text. Instead of Jesus starting some new religion here and saying, “OK, fellas, I’m going to go away soon” — referring to his death — “but, before I go, you should know that where I’m going you, and others who believe just like you, will one day be, too — that is, of course, if they believe like you believe that I am the only way to heaven. That is to say, if the people around you and who come after you don’t believe that I am the only way to heaven, then, of course, they’ll have to go to hell. Is all that clear?” I offer an alternative interpretation: When Jesus spoke to them about leaving them, they were understandably shaken. How could they not be? After all, they had left everything to follow him. Now, just a year, or two, or three years later, Jesus is saying he’s getting ready to leave them? But, of course, they’re upset. So Thomas, speaking on behalf of the others, asks, “But where are you going and why can’t we go with you? Furthermore, how will we know the way?” Jesus responds in tender, reassuring ways. Sensing the fragility of their faith, seeing the anxiety on their faces, he reassures them that, in God’s house are many rooms, “mansions” or places. Yes, He’s going away but where He’s going they, too, will go. Just as He has led them this far, He will lead them further still (and what follows in the latter part of John 14 is the beautiful reassurance of the on-going presence of God in the Holy Spirit). So, for me personally, and many other Christians, too, Jesus is no more pointing to himself as the “one-and-only-way” to God than Thomas is expressing in his question concern for Hindus, Muslims or Buddhists and whether they’ll go to heaven? I can assure you that Thomas, and the others, were only concerned about themselves. And yet, even at that point, Jesus is tender in His care of them and seeks to reassure them that, just as He and the Father were one, and just as they had trusted the things He had been saying to them during his time with them, so they could trust him and what he was saying at this time, too. Yes, he was leaving them. But no, they would not be left alone. Where he was, they would be. He had shown them the way to the Father. But, even after He’s gone from them, they will know the way then, too. The Comforter would guide them. And so, the Church is here today. But not because Christians declare, “There is no way to go to heaven if you don’t believe in Jesus.” The Church is here today because when people do trust the things Jesus said about Himself, about His relationship to the Father…when people believe and so live the teachings of Jesus they, too, are changed — they, too, become “new creations in Christ,” as Saint Paul put it (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now, I took longer with this one thing Christians need to stop saying because many Christians seem stuck here, thinking that there’s only one way to interpret Jesus’ words about being the way. It is my hope these Christians will know there are equally sincere Christians like myself and others who do not believe Jesus was drawing a line in the sand between him and some new religion he was creating and all the other religions of the world. Again, it’s your right to “believe” or, more accurately, interpret Scripture as you wish. You do not, however, have permission to arrogantly assume your way of interpreting the words of Jesus are the only way to understand His words. Last I checked, no one’s interpretation of anything is infallible. Not yours. Not mine. A fourth thing Christians need to stop saying:

4. The rapture of Jesus is imminent. Again, if you want to believe in some secret rapture of Christians from the earth just before the Tribulation, if you want to believe in and carry around in your hip pocket detailed charts and graphs of how its all going to happen, then so be it. But do the rest of us a favor and stop saying so in public. So far, your record of correctly predicting the future earns a flunking grade. And I and scores of other Christians are frankly tired of apologizing for your arrogant — and so far, absolutely wrong — predictions as to when it’ll happen. My recommendation? Burn up your charts and go live like Christ. Quit masking your real fears by calling them faith. It isn’t faith that leads you to sell all you have, give the proceeds to some wacko, and go camp out on Mount Horeb as you await the rapture. It’s stupidity instead. It’s embarrassing, too. It makes thoughtful Christians have to apologize to the world and explain that we’re not all off-our-rockers, at least, not yet, anyway. So, please, please. If you want to believe in the charts that Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye and other “get-rich-off-the-stupidity-of-Christians” have duped scores into believing, then have at it. Just stay out of the news please! Go quietly to your campsites and do your waiting.:

5. Homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle and it is a sin against God. This one issue, my friend, is on the outs. If you don’t know that, you are more blind than the Republicans were in the last election. They misinterpreted the political environment and so completely blew it when it came to getting their candidate elected. And you, my friend, are misinterpreting the moral, spiritual and religious environment — and the changes that are coming. My son said it well the other day. We were discussing homosexuality and same-sex marriage and he observed, “Dad, it’s your generation that’s hung up on these issues. Once you guys get out of the way and the younger generation moves into the decision-making arena, these issues will disappear. The day will come when, just as slavery is unthinkable in our consciousness today, it will be equally unthinkable to deny anyone the right to be who they are or the right to same-sex marriage.” You can still revere the Bible, my friend, but move beyond the prejudice of Paul or anyone else. You don’t need to make Saint Paul infallible to treat the Bible as important. Finally, please, please Christians stop insisting that…

6. The earth is less than 10,000 years old. If you want to believe that Genesis is a scientific description of the origins of the universe, then have at it. Just stop insisting that those myths be taught in our public schools. You do no service to the Bible nor to the morality of this country by demanding school administrators include textbooks that teach that nonsense or by demanding courts hang the Ten Commandments on chamber walls or classroom walls. If this democracy is going to survive, get over your silly, misinformed notions that our forefathers were all Bible-believing, Bible thumping, Genesis-affirming Christians who came to this country to establish your kind of Christian nation and then expect everyone else to conform to your misguided assumptions. Whew! I feel better. Thanks for letting me get a few things off my chest. Now, there is one thing I think all Christians, including me, should remember — no, should practice (and we should practice this between ourselves first, too) — and that is the one simple thing Jesus once said would be the one-and-only thing the world would know us by… Not our beliefs. Not our doctrines. Not our denomination’s distinctions. Not even our declarations. Jesus said, “They will know you are my disciples by your love” (John 13:35). When we love, what more needs to be said?

[Note – the reposting of the above article here on the Stand Up for the Truth website is followed by a number of insightful reader comments.]

Related articles

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(revised 12/06/12)

Imagine if you could force all of the following Emerging/Emergent heretics to be your captive audience. Specifically, imagine coralling them into a church sanctuary, then locking them in (I realize some of these have passed away):  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, and Dallas Willard.

Next, announce to your captive Emerging/Emergent audience that you are going to have an evangelistic service. There will be a gospel music singspiration/marathon, interspersed with the reading of salvation-related passages from the King James Bible (1). Then, a salvation message calling sinners to repentance. And finally, an altar call, inviting sinners to repent of their sins and accept Christ as their Saviour. And this congregation-of-sinners will not be allowed to interrupt the service in any way – they will have to sit quietly and listen to the entire service.

Imagine how this captive Emerging/Emergent audience would be behaving by the end of the evangelistic service. Granted, there are some among these names who would perhaps accept the gist of the evangelistic service. But others would be going batty. Some would be inwardly cursing, some outwardly cursing. Some would be pulling their hair out, others would be grinding their teeth, or wringing their hands, or perhaps ripping their clothes. Some would be screaming out in misery, others would be crying “stop, stop”, yet others would be covering their ears.

Sounds like Hell, doesn’t it? Certainly it would feel like Hell, for these heretical Emerging/Emergents to be forced to sit through such an evangelistic service. How many of these Emerging/Emergents would submit to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repent of their sins, and accept Christ as their Saviour? Probably none – this just goes to show how hardened their hearts are.

Seriously, I would challenge Emerging/Emergents (especially those listed at the beginning of this blog) to attend an evangelistic service, sit through the entire thing and listen attentively, take notes, record it, whatever. Perhaps God’s Holy Spirit will get through to you and convict your hardened hearts. Perhaps He will reach you with the Truth,  the gospel message of “The Blood and The Cross”, of Christ’s Atonement on the Cross to save those who repent of sins, believe and receive Him from eternal punishment (John 3:16).  This is what Christianity is all about!

Getting back to the nuts and bolts of an evangelistic service that would drive Emerging/Emergents batty: what would such a service look like? Here are some possible items that would be included in such an evangelistic service:

HYMNS

Are You Washed in the Blood” by Elisha A. Hoffman (click here and here)

Power in the Blood” by Lewis E. Jones

There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” by William Cowper (click here and here)

What Can Wash Away My Sin” by Robert Lowry (click here and here)

SERMONS

Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

D.L. Moody, “Hell

D.L. Moody, “Repentance

ALTAR CALL/THE PLAN OF SALVATION

“Are you ready to meet God?”: The plan of salvation presented by Pastor Max Solbrekken

ENDNOTES

(1) I favor the King James Bible (specifically its source documents, the Textus Receptus New Testament and Masoretic Text Old Testament). However, I am not necessarily referring to the Bible version debate in this blog. My point is, reading from the King James Bible will drive Emerging/Emergents batty. I don’t know of any Emerging/Emergents who like the King James Bible.

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I came across this 2007 info on George Fox University and George Fox Evangelical Seminary. I am attempting to find out how far back these Evangelical Friends schools have had heretical faculty.

In a blog regarding Richard Foster, I mentioned that Richard Foster taught  in the 1970s at George Fox College (which later became George Fox University).

Back to the 2007 article. Click here for the source of this article, by Lighthouse Trails.

In this article, I have emphasized certain points by bolding, and inserted comments in [brackets].

CONFERENCE ALERT: Missional Matrix

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. The speakers are being asked “to share their view[s] from the road and help us make meaning out of the theological and very personal twists and turns we find ourselves navigating as leaders.”

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 [at GFES] that includes Dan Kimball and Leonard Sweet. In 2005, George Fox hired [broken link](1) 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.

ENDNOTES

(1) Although this link is broken, I did find the following info here:

Spring 2008
“Conniry named seminary dean: Former pastor helped develop seminary’s hybrid-learning programs

Chuck Conniry, director of the doctoral programs at George Fox Evangelical Seminary since 1998, has been named vice president and dean of the seminary.

Conniry, a former pastor who also has taught at Bethel Seminary in San Diego, helped pioneer the seminary’s hybrid classes that use both online and in-person interaction. The new format attracts students who live around the world.

“One thing that energizes me is the chance to be one of the architects of the present and future shape of theological education,” Conniry says. “I get the opportunity to work with top-quality faculty and be in dialogue with the influential leaders of the church. I look forward to seeing our students find all that God has called and gifted them to be.”

Conniry has been instrumental developing relationships between the seminary and those associated with the emerging church movement, including Leonard Sweet, Brian McLaren, and Jason Paul Clark.

Conniry earned a doctorate in systematic theology from Fuller Theological Seminary and a master of divinity degree from Bethel Seminary. His areas of expertise include systematic theology, pastoral ministry, modern and postmodern philosophy, American religious history, and New Testament Greek.

Conniry’s appointment comes as he releases his second book, Soaring in the Spirit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ministry in Contemporary Culture Series

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

A one-day seminar with Dan Kimball and Maggi Dawn

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

Maggi Dawn and Dan Kimball

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

Schedule

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

Bios

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

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

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

Past Seminars

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

See also this more recent link:

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

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(revised 04/05/13)

It is well known in the Spiritual Formation movement and Emerging/ Emergent/Emergence movements that Richard Foster has a Quaker background. I’m not sure what denomination he associates himself with now, but he has had close ties throughout his life with the Evangelical Friends denomination (today Evangelical Friends Church International aka EFCI).

In fact, Foster grew up in a Yearly Meeting which eventually joined the EFA (later renamed the EFCI). This makes me very angry – this heretic and I both grew up in Yearly Meetings which became part of today’s EFCI (1). I hope Foster is proud of himself. The Spiritual Formation movement Foster popularized has helped hijack “old fashioned fundamentalist” evangelicalism. Foster has played a huge part in the continuing demise of born again, biblically sound evangelicalism, in countless denominations including the EFCI.

Richard Foster’s classic, Celebration of Discipline, first came out in 1978, popularizing Spiritual Formation with its occultish spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer/contemplative spirituality. Ironically, he did not introduce Celebration of Discipline while in one of the more liberal Quaker denominations (such as Friends United Meeting or, worse, Friends General Conference), but while in the historically born again  EFCI.

These close ties with the EFCI may help explain why the Spiritual Formation writings of Foster, Dallas Willard and other such heretics have caused irreparable harm to many EFCI congregations. Specifically, these EFCI churches are increasingly being drawn into the heresies of Spiritual Formation and Emerging/Emergent teachings.

In light of Richard Foster’s numerous close ties with the EFCI, it seems very odd that more has not been written exposing these ties. Amazingly, many Evangelical Friends (particularly in the older generation):

1) Have never heard the terms Spiritual Formation, Emerging Church, or Emergent Church – nor do they recognize these teaching when they arise in their own churches.
2) Have never heard of Richard Foster.
3) If they have heard of Richard Foster, they do not realize Richard Foster was in the EFCI for many years.

Following are several bios of Foster, showing his connections with the EFCI. (I hope to add more details to this blog as I locate them).

Following is a listing of Foster’s “life events”. Note his various connections with Friends churches (I’m assuming all the Friends churches mentioned belong to what is now the EFCI.)

CAREER: Alamitos Friends Church, Garden Grove, CA, minister of youth, 1962-67; ordained clergyman of Society of Friends (Quakers), 1967; Family Counseling and Research Center, Garden Grove, counselor, 1967-68; Arcadia Friends Church, Arcadia, CA, associate pastor, 1968-70; Woodlake Avenue Friends Church, Canoga Park, CA, pastor, 1970-74; Newberg Friends Church, Newberg, OR, pastor, 1974-79; Friends University, Wichita, KS, professor of theology and writer-in-residence, beginning 1979; Renovare, Englewood, CA, founder and director. George Fox College, adjunct professor, 1974-79. Public lecturer. Member of publications board of California Yearly Meeting of Friends.
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Click here for a critique of Richard Foster, which includes the following bio:

Quaker and Fuller graduate (holds a doctorate in pastoral counseling), Richard Foster is co-founder of Renovaré, and Professor of Spiritual Formation at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Foster became an ordained clergyman for the Society of Friends in 1967. He’s held pastoral positions in ‘Friends’ churches since that time and became Professor of Theology and writer-in-residence, 1979 on, at Friends University in Wichita and adjunct professor at George Fox College, from 1974-1979. He is a member of the publications board of California Yearly Meeting of Friends. He obtained his B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from George Fox College (now University)  and D.Th.P, Biblical Studies and Social Ethics in 1970, from Fuller Theological Seminary.
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Here is Richard Foster in his own words, in a recent blog (I have emphasized certain points by bolding and [bracketing]. I have rearranged statements from Foster’s blog chronologically:

… In 1964 I received a Bachelor of Arts in Religion & Philosophy at George Fox College [now George Fox University] near Portland, Oregon [this is an EFCI college/university]

[At some point, Foster also taught at George Fox College.]

Carolynn and I were married in 1967 at Alamitos Friends Church [now known as Garden Grove Friends Church (GGFC)](2) in Garden Grove, California, the church in which I grew up and then served as Minister of Youth [for five years (4)][GGFC is in what today is called Southwest Yearly Meeting of EFCI.]

… in 1970 [I] received a Doctor of Pastoral Theology in New Testament & Social Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

Following graduation from Fuller Theological Seminary I accepted a call to be the Pastor [with Dallas Willard at] Woodlake Avenue Friends Church (3) [from 1970-1974 (4,5)] in Canoga Park, California [I’m trying to find out more about this church – I assume it was renamed; I don’t know whether it was in the EFCI]. Those were years of hammering out the themes that would later emerge in Celebration of Discipline. Next, I served on the Pastoral Team at Newberg Friends Church in Newberg, Oregon where I shared the preaching assignments with Pastor Ron Woodward and the various tasks of ministry with a gifted team of pastors. It was also here that I wrote .

Here another Internet article picks up the story of Foster’s life:

Following the publication of Celebration, Foster wrote [several other books]. His career in writing and speaking was growing. Then, when Foster’s children entered their teenage years, suddenly he stopped writing…

Foster continued working as a professor of Theology at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas and directing The Milton Center, formerly the Center for Christian Writers

Now back to Foster’s self-bio:

I suppose I am best known for my book Celebration of Discipline. It was a effort to re-introduce the classical Disciplines of the spiritual life to a Christian community largely alienated from this rich tradition. In addition, I have written Freedom of Simplicity, Money, Sex, & Power (now titled The Challenge of the Disciplined Life),  PRAYER: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Prayers from the Heart and Streams of Living Water. There is a book length complication of my writings entitled Seeking the Kingdom. In addition, I have co-edited two volumes; Devotional Classics (with James Bryan Smith) and Spiritual Classics (with Emilie Griffin). Perhaps my most ambitious project to date is as Editor of the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible. This involved four General Editors and some fifty contributors.

In 1988 I established Renovaré, which includes many gifted leaders in its ministry team. Previously I had been instrumental in the founding of two other organizations – The Academy of Christian Editors [renamed The Milton Center] and The Chrysostom Society, a fellowship of writers of Christian conviction. Renovaré, however, is where I have expended my most strenuous effort and into which I have distilled my most creative thought. Today all three organizations continue to thrive under new and vigorous leadership.

Through the years I have served in a variety of ministry positions: e.g. Minister of Youth, Adolescent and Family Counselor, Coordinator of Inner City Ministries, and Associate Pastor. 

I am looking for ties between Foster and the Friends/Quakers later in his life.

Foster does make mention of the EFCI and other Quaker groups – and his ties with them – in his other writings. And here are a few other links alluding to Foster’s connections with Quakers:

1) My blog providing excerpts from a Christianity Today interview. Here Foster talks about his early connections with Evangelical Friends, and the development of his Spiritual Formation teachings.

2) Quakerinfo.com article (note especially the first two paragraphs):

http://www.quakerinfo.com/foster.shtml

3) Wikipedia article (see especially the first paragraph):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Foster_%28religion%29

ENDNOTES

(1) Foster grew up in California Yearly Meeting (CYM); I grew up in Ohio Yearly Meeting (Gurneyite)(OYM). In 1965, CYM, OYM, and several other Yearly Meetings joined to form the Evangelical Friends Alliance (EFA). The EFA was later renamed EFCI (Evangelical Friends Church International).

(2) I was immediately turned off by Garden Grove Friends Church’s website. They have a link as of 05/23/11 entitled “Upcoming Events – Jesus Labyrinth.” I am very much opposed to Spiritual Formation’s use of New Age-ish prayer labyrinths.

(3) http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=98

(4) http://hopekaibear.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/witness-whome1.pdf

(5) Check out this excerpt: An early laboratory for Willard’s theology was a little Quaker church in the San Fernando Valley that the Willards attended in the 1970s. The founder of the Renovaré movement, Richard Foster, was the pastor. Willard led singing, and Jane played the organ. “I was fresh out of seminary and ready to conquer the world,” Foster recalls. “Dallas was so patient with me. He really, in a way, pastored from the pew. … When I would teach, folks might come, but when Dallas taught, they brought their tape recorders. We all did.” Foster recalls sensing that they were “onto something big” when Willard taught through the Book of Matthew.
Source: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/article_print.html?id=38475

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