Archive for March 30th, 2012
After receiving an e-mail from a concerned woman regarding Lancaster Bible College, we checked it out ourselves and have now added Lancaster Bible College to our continually growing list of Christian colleges and seminaries that promote Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality). The school, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has a statement of faith that would line up with a Bible-believing viewpoint. It’s mission statement sounds OK: “to educate Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview and to proclaim Christ by serving him in the Church and society.” But as with so many other Bible schools today, Lancaster has accepted the “New Spirituality” that embraces contemplative spirituality and facets of the emerging church (new missiology, globalism, ecumenism, servant leadership, etc).
Part of the reason this happened at Lancaster is no doubt its accreditation relationship with The Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation (ABHE). As you may remember, last year Lighthouse Trails wrote an article “An Epidemic of Apostasy – Christian Seminaries Must Incorporate “Spiritual Formation” to Become Accredited” showing that ABHE was requiring accrediting schools to incorporate a Spiritual Formation program into their schools. So, with Lancaster Bible College as one of the schools accredited with ABHE, it isn’t a surprise to see the school falling into step with contemplative spirituality. Be that as it may, however the incorporation of contemplative came into play at Lancaster, the point is it did, and those looking for a solid Bible-based, non-contemplative Bible college may need to look elsewhere.
Below we are listing three significant instances where you will find the contemplative/new spirituality influence at Lancaster. As you will see, there are many indications that this spirituality has deeply permeated Lancaster Bible College.
1. Lancaster offers a Spiritual Formation & Discipleship major: Once a school offers a major in Spiritual Formation, that school has usually past the point of no return.
2. LBC offers something called Project Renovation. This provides a contemplative retreat for youth workers “for the purpose of soul care.” On the Project Renovation website, which LCB links to and is directly connected to, many resources are listed to develop one’s focus on contemplative spirituality, including a link to Hearts & Minds Book Review that offers a large selection of mystical and emerging promoting authors and books. Project Renovation also provides a link to Ruth Haley Barton’s The Transforming Center and Kyle Strobel’s Metamorpha (both places are ardently contemplative). The director of Project Renovation is Lancaster Bible College’s Director of the Student Ministry Majors, Rick Rhoads.
3. The Lancaster Bible College online bookstore shows that a great number of the textbooks being used have a contemplative and/or emerging emphasis. Here are some of those:
a. course: WPA101; textbook: Heart of the Artist by Rory Noland
b. course: WOR402; textbook: Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
d. course: THE480; textbook: Celtic Spirituality by Oliver Davies
e. course: STM102; textbook: Engaging the Soul of Youth Culture by Walt Mueller
f. course: THE105; textbook: The New Global Mission by Samuel Escobar
g. course: STM311; textbook: Youth Minstry by Mark Ostreicher (Youth Specialties)
h. course: STM315; textbook: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
i. course: STM402; textbook: Understanding Prayer: a fresh approach by Kyle Lake
j. course: STM480; textbook: Speaking to Teenagers by Doug Fields and Duffy Robbins
k. course:SPF210; textbooks: Surrender to Love by David Benner, Devotional Classics by Richard Foster
l. course: SPF310; textbooks: Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard, Cultivating a Life for God by Neil Cole
m. course: ICS104; textbook: Prayer by Philip Yancey
n. course: CML102; textbook: Shaped By God’s Heart: The Passion and Practices of Missional Churches by Milfred Minatrea
o. course: CML201; textbook: Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley
p. course: CML210; textbook: Leadership Next by Eddie Gibbs
q. course: CFM332; textbook: Perspectives on Children’s Spiritual Formation by Awana leaders
By Joe Schimmel
Good Fight Ministries