Cedarville University to Host Emerging Leader Jim Wallis in “Biblical” Response to Poverty

On March 11, 2010, at Cedarville University Jeremiah Chapel in the Dixon Ministry Center,  Cedarville University will be hosting liberal emerging leader Jim Wallis. The event is titled “A Critical Evaluation of Christian Responses to Poverty and Affluence.” The announcement on Cedarville’s website states in part:

Marvin Olasky, founder and Editor in Chief of World Magazinehas been called “compassionate conservatism’s leading thinker” by George W. Bush. Olasky’s book, The Tragedy of American Compassion made such a deep impression on Newt Gingrich that he sent a copy to every Republican in the House of Representatives during the “Republican Take-Over” of 1994. Olasky was instrumental in articulating the philosophy of charity and service that led to the creation of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Olasky’s conservative credentials are impeccable and he cares deeply about a Biblical approach to poverty.

Jim Wallis, founder and Editor in Chief of Sojourners Magazine has been called America’s leading progressive evangelical by The Washington Post. Wallis’ book, God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it spent 15 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Wallis was picked by Time Magazineas one of the “50 Voices for America’s Future.” He is known as perhaps the leading figure and spokesperson for the “religious left.” Wallis currently serves on Barak Obama’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Initiatives. Like Olasky, Wallis identifies himself as an evangelical and he has built a reputation as a Christian advocate for the poor. (Click here to read the rest of this announcement.)

This is not the first time that Cedarville University, once known for its conservative and biblical reputation by many Christians, has shown a propensity toward the emerging church leaders. Lighthouse Trails has written about Cedarville on a number of occasions. Please refer to our links below for some of these situations. As for the upcoming event with Jim Wallis, readers here should be aware that Wallis has a major affinity with atonement denier Brian McLaren, and his magazine, SoJourners, is a media outlet for mystics, emerging leaders and New Age proponents.

In a February 11th announcement on the Cedarville University website, “SERIES TO ADDRESS A BIBLICAL RESPONSE TO POVERTY,”  the announcement states that the issue of poverty is a “heated discussion” among “church-goers.” But this is a misleading statement. It isn’t the issue as to whether Christians should help the poor (Christians traditionally have always believed in helping the poor) or not. No. The issue that is “heated” is that emerging leaders are rejecting the essential elements of Christianity (the Bible as God’s Word, the atonement, relationship with Jesus Christ vs esoteric experiences induced by mysticism, Christ’s literal return, panentheism, universalism, etc). The insinuation of the Cedarville announcement is that Jim Wallis will help to make the case for a “biblical response” to poverty. The announcement says: “This event is part of the University’s Critical Concern Series, which brings in noted scholars to biblically analyzecontemporary issues.” But this statement could be nothing further from the truth.

Interestingly, in 2008, Cedarville attempted to bring in emerging leader Shane Claiborne, who had Jim Wallis write the foreword of his book, The Irresistible Revolution. The event was eventually cancelled after a number of complaints were received at the university. But now, a man who resonates with Claiborne is going to be bringing his ideas to the students at Cedarville. In our 2008 we stated:

While Cedarville’s Dean of Student Life (Dr. Purple) told Lighthouse Trails that Cedarville is “very conservative,” pointing students to a book that is partially written by Wallis seems to give a different message…. Sojourners[magazine] would not represent the views of a “conservative” Christian college by any means, and it is a dichotomy for Cedarvilleto call itself conservative Christian then introduce students to a book written by Wallis and Claiborne in a favorable light, which CU is doing when it says that Claiborne is “rooted in the values of the Christian faith.”

Worth noting, in 2009, Barack Obama named Jim Willis as part of his newly formed Faith Advisory Council. 1

Past Coverage on Cedarville:

Cedarville University Controversy Escalates – Draws Broader Attention

Cedarville University Bringing Emerging Church Activist to Campus

Cedarville University Cancels Shane Claiborne Event

Cedarville University Heading Down the Contemplative Road?

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