Posts Tagged ‘robert webber’

Corban University (formerly Western Baptist College), a Former Non-Contemplative College, Teams Up with Mark Driscoll

Corban University of Salem, Oregon used to be called Western Baptist College. It used to be a Christian college that did not promote contemplative spirituality or the emerging church, and it used to be on the Lighthouse Trails “good” Christian colleges list (colleges that don’t promote Spiritual Formation). But that was then, and today is a new day for Corban University.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailLighthouse Trails has watched the slow but steady change at Corban for the last several years, hoping it would not begin to fully engage in the Spiritual Formation movement. But a recent headline about Corban caught the attention of Lighthouse Trails editors who were compelled to respond. The headlines of that article read: “Corban University Signs Unique Partnership Agreement With Mars Hill Church.” In that article, it states:

Starting in the fall of 2014, Corban University of Salem, Ore. and Mars Hill Church will offer a 24-credit Bible certificate at the Mars Hill Bellevue, Wash. location. Classes are slated to begin in the fall of 2014.

The curriculum will include Bible and Theology Foundation, Ministry Skills Foundation, Introduction to Bible, Introduction to Theology, Christian Worldview and Apologetics, Biblical Spiritual Formation, Gospels, Bible Study Methods.

“We are anticipating a great, ongoing relationship with Mars Hill Church, pending approval of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities,” said Corban Provost Matt Lucas.

The article talks about the huge influence that Mars Hill (home to Mark Driscoll)  has with “15 locations in five different states, reaching millions around the world.” Mark Driscoll has been the topic of several LT articles because of his promotion of contemplative spirituality and other emerging beliefs (see our research links and video below documenting Driscoll’s mockery of biblical eschatology related to the last days and the Lord’s return).

Lighthouse Trails first became involved with Corban University (then Western Baptist) in 2002, when it was discovered that a summer youth theater day camp being held at Corban was introducing children attending the camp to visualization techniques. An editor at Lighthouse Trails arranged a meeting with three Corban professors to explain the concerns (it so happened that one of the LT editor’s children was attending that camp). At that time, the concerns by Lighthouse Trails were dismissed by the professors as erroneous. The LT editor took that opportunity to warn Corban professors that if they did not take a pro-active stand against the contemplative prayer movement and the emerging church and make sure all of their instructors understood the dangers, in time, the school would become an adherent to these heretical teachings.

Shortly after  A Time of Departing by Ray Yungen was released in the fall of 2002, Corban professor Dr. Robert Wright invited Ray to address his World Religions & Cults class. From that point on, Dr. Wright became a strong advocate for Yungen’s and Lighthouse Trails’ message and had Ray return on several subsequent years. At one point, Dr. Wright wrote an article about the emerging church, which LT carries to this day on the research site. In that article Dr. Wright called Ray Yungen a “competent researcher” of the New Age and mysticism and that “[t]he methods of contemplative prayer are the same as those used in Eastern religion.” Dr. Wright said that some “very popular authors in the evangelical church have latched on to contemplative prayer as a way to go deeper with God.” And then he names Richard Foster and Brennan Manning. Of contemplative prayer, Dr. Wright stated:

[T]he purpose of contemplative prayer is to enter an altered state of consciousness in order to find one’s true self, thus finding God. This true self relates to the belief that man is basically good. Christian proponents of contemplative prayer teach that all human beings have a divine center and that all, not just born again believers, should practice contemplative prayer.

Unfortunately, Lighthouse Trails began to notice that not all the faculty at Corban held to the same convictions that Dr. Wright did. For instance in 2007, in Corban Magazine in an article titled “Understanding the Emerging Church Movement,” a book co-authored by contemplative author J.P. Moreland, was recommended (see page 11).  The Corban article made several comments that indicated some at Corban did not have a good understanding of the emerging church movement. One comment, made by Corban professor Sam Baker, echoed contemplative J.P. Moreland. Baker stated: “The extreme of rationalism is that we worship the Bible instead of the God of the Bible.” J.P. Moreland, in a Christianity Today article, says that Christians are too committed to the Bible: “In the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational, and harmful to the cause of Christ.”

Also in that Corban article, Sam Baker suggests we must be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” when it comes to the emerging church. In regard to “mystical ancient rites,” Baker said that “some people have found these practices to be beneficial to their faith.” He says that if the practices produce good results, then they have “merit.” However, as Lighthouse Trails has often pointed out, just because one’s intent is “good” does not legitimize practices that are clearly Hinduistic and New Age in nature. Baker says that the emerging church has “stirred believers’ interest in meditation.”

The following year after the Corban Magazine article came out, Lighthouse Trails learned that Corban had invited an emergent speaker, Dan Merchant (Lord Save Us From Your Followers) to speak. In a December 2008 LT article titled “Concerns Over ‘Lord Save Us From Your Followers’ Author Speaking at Corban College,”  it stated:

In Corban’s Winter 2008 magazine the following is stated: “Dr. Kent Kersey [Corban campus pastor] brought Dan Merchant and his documentary, Lord Save Us From Your Followers, to campus as a conversation-starter. The film takes a critical look at American Christianity.” A Corban news article titled “Lord, Save Us From Your Followers’ gets ‘followers’ thinking” explains that Merchant spoke at Corban’s chapel service and later answered questions students had. “Campus Pastor Kent Kersey hoped the film would ’cause discussions.’ He deemed the event successful, therefore, because many classrooms have been abuzz since Merchant’s presentation, not to mention the informal conversations taking place.” The article said that Kersey believed “the message of the movie paralleled the maxim of St. Francis of Assisi, Preach the Gospel.” On Kersey’s blog, he says Merchant’s message is “compelling” and perhaps through it God is trying to say something to Christians (Kersey’s blog post was removed from the Internet:  http://kentkersey.blogspot.com/2008/10/its-all-about-listening.html).

However, the gospel Dan Merchant is promoting may be a “different gospel” and “another Jesus” (II Cor. 11:4) than that of the Bible. In the last chapter of the book Lord Save Us From Your Followers titled “The sea refuses NO RIVER,” Merchant refers to the people he interviewed over the course of the last few years. They represent many different religious, sexual, and political persuasions, including atheists and practicing homosexuals. Calling them “wonderful children of God,” he adds: “I know we’re both children of God. If they don’t know it shouldn’t change anything for me and I know it doesn’t change anything for God.”

Back in 2008, if you typed the term “Spiritual Formation” into the Corban search engine, nothing would come up. Today, the term comes up around 30 times. One of the reasons is that when Corban became a university, they developed a Masters degree program with a concentration in Spiritual Formation. It’s in other places too, like the Major in Student and Family Ministry where TH463 Biblical Spiritual Formation is one of the courses. (Incidentally, there is no such thing as “Biblical” Spiritual Formation. Spiritual Formation is a term that is tied in with contemplative spirituality – just ask Richard Foster, a pioneer of the Spiritual Formation movement, if Spiritual Formation can exclude contemplative).

And today, a look at the Fall 2013 Corban textbook list is disheartening to say the least.  Professor Kersey is using Phyllis Tickle’s The Great Emergence, John Franke’s Barth for Arm Chair Theologians (Barth’s ideas are highly favored by the emerging church) and Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity in TH413. You can’t get more emergent than Tickle and Borg. Borg actually denies basic tenets of the Christian faith such as the virgin birth and the deity of Christ. Tickle thinks Brian McLaren could be the next Luther. Professor Kersey also uses textbooks by John Piper, a contemplative advocate. At least one other course, IS202, is using a Piper book as well.

We did thankfully notice in the Fall 2013 textbook list that Dr. Wright is still using A Time of Departing in his World Religions & Cults Class at Corban. However, all of the books being used that are pro-contemplative, pro-emerging in other classes at Corban by other professors send a message loud and clear to Corban students that contemplative/emerging is OK. Another example is the Senior Seminar course where Professor Gilbert is using Dan Allender’s book Leading With a Limp. Allender resonates with Brian McLaren (McLaren is listed in the acknowledgements in Leading With a Limp). Gilbert also uses a book by Allender in the Group Dynamics course (To Be Told: God Invites You to Coauthor Your Future).

Corban professors may defend themselves and say they are just using these books to take the good from them and leave out the bad (following Baker’s injunction not to “throw out the baby with the bathwater”). But why do students have to be immersed in heresy to spot it? Wouldn’t reading the Word and biblically solid books do a better job? Why is it that after a decade Ray Yungen’s book is still confined to just one professor’s class? We know for a fact that a high percentage of Corban students are attending an extremely contemplative/emerging church in Salem, Oregon. These students are getting it from every direction. Do their parents, who are paying high dollars to get their children a Christian college education, realize what their kids are being exposed to at church and at college? Most of them, probably not.

The Corban Music Department has been affected by contemplative/emerging spirituality too. In MU403, a book by Constance Cherry titled The Worship Architect: A Blueprint for Designing Culturally Relevant and Biblically Faithful Services is being used as the textbook. Cherry is one of the faculty at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies (that should be called the Institute for EMERGING Worship Studies). The late Robert Webber was a foundational figure in building momentum for the emerging church.

We could give many other examples to show that contemplative/emerging has taken root at Corban University. A few more are: Biblical Leadership in Education using Phil Yancey’s book, The Jesus I Never Knew; BA593 using Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive; Professor Baker in CM333 using contemplative Mark DeVries’ Sustainable Youth Ministry; CM641 using Bill Hybels Axiom; and CM501 using textbooks by contemplative Bruce Demarest (Seasons of the Soul and Four Views on Christian Spirituality).

Finally, we’ll look at a Corban class called Servant Leadership (a term largely used in the emerging church to liken Jesus to a good model or servant to follow rather than to a Savior from sin). In that particular class, a book titled The Servant: A Simple Story by James C. Hunter is the textbook. We could say many things about this book, but we’ll just point to the acknowledgements page where Hunter thanks emergent Tony Campolo and New Ager M. Scott Peck for their “skills in articulating some of the great truths of life” and “Simon, monk and archabbey librarian, St. Meinrad Monastery, St. Meinrad, Indiana for sharing “the ropes” of monastic life” with him. We find it astounding that Hunter’s book is the best Corban could do to teach students how to be good leaders. A book that thanks a Catholic Benedictine monastic monk, an emergent leader, and a New Ager for truths about life!

Lighthouse Trails editors find it nothing short of a tragedy that Corban has ended up in the contemplative minefield of Christian colleges. Now that they are partnering with Mark Driscoll, the descent into apostasy will no doubt be hastened more than ever.

Research Articles on Mark Driscoll (see video below):

Anti-Religion Jeff Bethke (from Driscoll’s church) Hits the News Again – New Book, Same Message: “Imagine No Religion”

A Pastor Speaks Up: Mark Driscoll and the New “Sexual Spirituality”

COMPARISON: “New Spirituality” Leaders Reject and Ridicule the Second Coming of the Lord VERSUS Bible Prophecies Standing in Stark Contrast

Mark Driscoll and Liberty University Are Good Match – Both Promote Contemplative Spirituality

The Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books – A “NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List” and 25 Christian “Bridgers” to Them

LTRP Note: Ray Yungen and the editors at Lighthouse Trails have put together our Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books  – A “Not Recommended Reading List.” If your pastor, your professor, your children, or your friends are reading any of these books, then they are being led down a path that will take them toward a mystical, panentheistic spirituality where only deception  lies in wait. And keep in mind, if they are reading other books that are pointing to the books and authors below, this may ultimately have the same results.

Take this test to see how integrated the pro-contemplative authors below have become in the church: Pick a favorite author or teacher you follow, and ask yourself: “Does this person promote, embrace, or emulate any of the authors below?” (For example: Dallas Willard (a favorite in Christian colleges) promotes and emulates a number of the names below; Beth Moore (the top women’s Bible study teacher) strongly embraces Brennan Manning; Mark Driscoll finds much favor with Richard Foster; Dan Kimball resonates with Henri Nouwen, to name one. In fact, we have put together a list of the top 25 Christian leaders who embrace, emulate, and/or promote the authors named below. We call these 25 leaders “bridgers” because they are bridging the gap between contemplative mysticism (i.e., eastern mysticism) and the church. You can see that list of 25 below our top 50 books. Don’t get us wrong when we name just 25; there are many more than that (including lots of new upstarts), but these 25 are who we would consider the most influential and prolific today.

The Top 50 “Christian” Contemplative Books – A “NOT RECOMMENDED Reading List”

1. A World Waiting to Be Born by M. Scott Peck
2. Awakened Heart by Gerald May
3. Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
4. Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault
5. Centering Prayer by Basil Pennington
6. Chicken Soup for the Soul books by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
7. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
8. Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli
9. Emergence, the Rebirth of the Sacred by David Spangler
10. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazzero
11. Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer by Richard Rohr
12. Finding God by Ken Kaisch
13. God’s Joyful Surprise by Sue Monk Kidd
14. Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton
15. Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality by Philip St. Romain
16. Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard
17. Naked Spirituality by Brian McLaren
18. Open Heart, Open Mind by Thomas Keating
19. Original Blessing by Matthew Fox
20. Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
21. Reimagining Christianity by Alan Jones
22. Sabbatical Journey by Henri Nouwen
23. Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
24. Sacred Way, The by Tony Jones
25. Seeds of Peace by William Shannon
26. Setting the Gospel Free by Brian C. Taylor
27. Silence on Fire by William Shannon
28. Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson
29. Spiritual Classics by Richard Foster and Emilie Griffin
30. Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
31. Spiritual Friend by Tilden Edwards
32. The Big Book of Christian Mysticism by Carl McColman
33. The Cloud of Unknowing by Anonymous Monk
34. The Coming of the Cosmic Christe by Matthew Fox
35. The Healing Light by Agnes Sanford
36. The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg
37. The Jesus We Never Knew by Marcus Borg
38. The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg
39. The Mission of Mysticism by Richard Kirby
40. The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale
41. The Naked Now by Richard Rohr
42. The Other Side of Silence by Morton Kelsey
43. The Papa Prayer: The Prayer You’ve Never Prayed by Larry Crabb
44. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
45. The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning
46. The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen
47. The God of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices, Evangelism, and Justice by Tony Campolo
48. The Soul at Rest by Tricia Rhodes
49. When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd
50. When the Soul Listens by Jan Johnson

Top 25 Christian Leaders Who Embrace, Emulate, and/or Promote Contemplative Mystics

1. Ann Voskamp
2. Anne Lamott
3. Beth Moore
4. Bill Hull
5. Bill Hybels
6. Calvin Miller
7. Dallas Willard
8. Dan Kimball
9. David Benner
10. Donald Miller
11. Doug Pagitt
12. Eugene Peterson
13. J.P. Moreland
14. Jim Wallis
15. John Eldredge
16. Ken Boa
17. Keri Wyatt Kent
18. Leonard Sweet
19. Mark Driscoll
20. Mike Bickle
21. Philip Yancey
22. Rob Bell
23. Robert Webber
24. Shane Claiborne
25. Walter Brueggemann

50 Top Organizations With a Significant Role in Bringing Contemplative Spirituality to the Church

From 10 years of research at Lighthouse Trails Research Project, we have found the following fifty organizations to have had a significant role in bringing contemplative spirituality into the evangelical/Protestant church. If you do not know or understand the implications of this, we urge you to educate yourself as soon as possible.

Note: We have not listed any colleges or seminaries in this list. To see our list of contemplative promoting schools, click here. This list below is in conjunction with our recent list of Christian leaders: 100 Top Contemplative Proponents Evangelical Christians Turn To Today.

1.  Acts 29 Network

2. American Association of Christian Counselors

3.  American Bible Society 

4.  Association for Biblical Higher Learning

5.  Association of Theological Schools (ATS)

6.  Baker Books (Emersion)

7.  Bible.org

8. Boundless Webzine (FOF)

9.  Breakforth (Canada)

10.  Center for Action and Contemplation

11.  Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)

12.  Christian Missionary Alliance

13.  Christianity Today

14. Emergent Village

15. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

16.  Focus on the Family

17.  Group Magazine

18. Henri Nouwen Society

19.  IHOP-KC

20.  Intervarsity Press

21.  Kairos School of Spiritual Formation

22.  Conversations Journal

23. Leadership Network

24.  Lifeway Resources

25.  Mennonite Brethren

26.  Mennonite Church, USA

27. Metamorpha

28.  National Worship Conference

29. NavPress

30.  New Church Specialties

31. Presbyterian Church USA

32.  Relevant Magazine

33.  Renovare

34. Robert E. Webber Institute for Spiritual Studies

35. Saddleback Church

36.  Sojourners

37.  Spiritual Directors International

38.  Teen Mania

39.  The Church of the Nazarene

40. The Ooze

41. The Purpose Driven Movement

42.  The Upper Room

43. Thomas Nelson Publishers

44.  Transforming Center

45.  Wesleyan Church

46.  Willow Creek Association

47.  Worship Leader Magazine

48.  Youth Ministry & Spirituality Project

49. Youth Specialties

50. Zondervan

Note: You can get information on any of these organizations using our search engines on both our blog and research site. 

Lincoln Christian College and Seminary (IL) Changes Name, But Still Promotes Contemplative Spirituality

Today we received the following email from a concerned Lighthouse Trails reader. We believe it is worth noting to help warn those who are looking for good Christian colleges to attend that Lincoln promotes spiritual formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality).

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

I notice on your website that you list “Lincoln Christian College and Seminary” in Lincoln, Illinois as a school which promotes the practice. I do not dispute this, being a graduate of the seminary, and know for a fact that during my time there as a student, Bill Hybels and Rick Warren were regarded more highly as models for pastors and evangelists than Peter and Paul.

But, to update you – the school has changed its name and is now known as “Lincoln Christian University.”

Moreover, this is not merely something which is being simply “promoted” there–students are being indoctrinated with [contemplative spirituality] since all undergraduate students are now required to take at least one class in “spiritual formation.”

Moreover, every year during the week before Easter, undergraduate students are “encouraged” to participate in what is called “week of E,” which originally meant “week of evangelism” where teams of students would disperse to various parts of the country to lead or assist with revival meetings or other types of evangelistic outreach.  Now the school reports some of the following to be offered during this year’s “Week of E”:

1:  Led by Isaac Gaff [professor of “Worship Ministry” in the undergraduate school], students will observe the Daily Divine Prayer Offices and share in meals with the monastic community at Holy Cross in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago.”

2:  Chris Simpson [professor of philosophy and theology in the undergraduate school] will take a group to the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, for a week of study and spiritual formation based around Kierkegaard’s writings.

3:  In daily worship services, Steve Cone [professor of theology in the undergraduate school] will lead students in reading from the writings of Catherine of Sienna as a meditation on Christ’s passion as a way to find true self through the love of God.

These were documented in the most recent issue of The Restorer (also here), the official magazine of the university published three times annually.

Obviously, nothing which even approximates a proclamation of the Gospel will be occurring during these proceedings.

Just thought you’d like to have some documentation of what supposedly Christian schools are promoting.

From a concerned alumni of Lincoln Christian College and Seminary

Our Comments:

 Here are a few more items to substantiate what is said above. This is only a PARTIAL list of contemplative and/or emerging textbooks being used at Lincoln Christian University.

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES:

Textbook used for Senior Seminar include: In the Name of Jesus (Henri Nouwen – perhaps Nouwen’s most blatantly contemplative book)

Textbooks for YM211 FOUNDATIONS FOR YOUTH MIN include: Purpose Driven Youth Ministry (Doug Fields), This Way to Youth Ministry (Duffy Robbins, author of Enjoy the Silence)

Textbooks for WM400 CAPSTONE IN WORSHIP MINISTRY include: Ancient-Future Worship (Robert Webber),

SEMINARY COURSES:

Textbooks for CE899 READING SPIRIT FORMATION include:  Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster), Blue Like Jazz (Donald Miller), Renovation of the Heart (Dallas Willard), Eat This Book (Eugene Peterson)

Textbooks for LS601-01 SHAPING HEART OF A LEADER include: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (Pete Scazzero; also used for their course PC600 BASIC TYPES OF COUNSELING) and Renovations of the Heart (Willard)

Texbook for DMIN1004 CULTURE/MINISTRY includes: Christ and Culture (Nieibur)

Textbook for NT899 ESCHATOLOGY includes: Surprised by Hope (N.T. Wright – emerging)

If you are not sure who some of these names are, do a search on our research site.

Related Research:

BACK TO (CONTEMPLATIVE) SCHOOL – CHRISTIAN COLLEGES IN CRISIS

Christian Colleges/Universities that promote contemplative

Eucharistic Adoration and the Emerging Church

by Roger Oakland

When Christians begin to chase after powerful mystical experiences that supposedly bring them closer to Christ, this becomes like a slippery slope that will have disastrous results. The emerging church is on this slope.

When I do a series of radio programs or write commentaries for our website warning people about the dangers of ecumenism, I know ahead of time what the response will be. It is not popular to stand up for biblical truth these days. The message we often hear is unity at any cost. My firsthand experience not too long ago, when I was a speaker at a regional pastors conference, illustrates the unpopularity of the truth today. I was to speak on Catholicism in the morning. Then in the afternoon, I would show how the emerging church movement was going in that direction. When I finished my morning talk and had left the podium, the organizer of the event came up to me, notably upset. “These pastors didn’t come here to hear this sort of thing,” he began. “You aren’t going to talk about the emerging church this afternoon.” He conveyed to me that the topic was unnecessary. Thus, I was forbidden to issue my warning to this group of Christian pastors.

An article titled “Returning to the rituals: Some evangelicals are exploring high liturgy” explains the paradigm shift that is occurring:

New Hope, a nondenominational church of about 60 members, is one of a small but growing number of evangelical congregations that are beginning to experiment with worship elements more commonly associated with such highly liturgical traditions as Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity and Anglicanism.1

Matthew Hay Brown, the author of the article, notes that this movement is headed in a particular direction. He writes:

[O]bservers inside and outside the movement have noted a greater evangelical interest in the Eucharist, the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent, and monastic life. Many of the practices can be traced to the early church.2

In Doug Pagitt’s 2003 book Church Re-imagined, he describes his initial attraction to rituals associated with the Eucharist:

The first day of Lent this year brought the first Ash Wednesday gathering in our church’s history and in mine.… Until this point, Ash Wednesday had not been part of my Christian faith experience. Not only had I never applied ashes to anyone’s forehead, but I had also never had them applied to mine. After this experience I wondered how I could have celebrated 19 Easters as a Christian without this tremendous experience.3

The Scot McKnight, another emerging church influencer, was professor of religious studies at North Park University and on the Coordinating Group for Emergent Village. Of the emerging church, he stated:

As a theologian, I have studied the movement and interacted with its key leaders for years—even more, I happily consider myself part of this movement or “conversation.” As an evangelical, I’ve had my concerns, but overall I think what emerging Christians bring to the table is vital for the overall health of the church.4

McKnight is the author of The Real Mary and The Jesus Creed. In referring to an Anglican service, McKnight speaks of the Eucharistic focus. He stated:

[T]he point of an Anglican gathering on a Sunday morning is not to hear a sermon but to worship the Lord through the celebration of the Eucharist.… First some scripture readings and then the sermon and then some announcements and then the Eucharist liturgy—with everyone coming forward to kneel and participate—publicly—in the body and blood.5

McKnight said that “the Eucharist profoundly enables the grace of God to be received with all its glories and blessings.”6 No doubt, McKnight has had an impact on those in the emerging church movement, and his views on the Eucharist will rub off. He was a popular speaker at many events including Willow Creek’s Small Group Conference and the National Pastors Convention. Both of these events reach the postmodern generation.

Webber was very influential in closing the gap between Eucharistic adoration and the evangelical church. A document he authored called “A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future” states: “We call for a renewed consideration of how God ministers to us in … Eucharist.”7 Two well-known evangelical publishers, Baker Books and InterVarsity Press (both of which now publish emerging church authors) sponsored the document as did Christianity Today. The AEF, which the document is called, is endorsed by various emerging church leaders such as Brian McLaren who calls it “a preaching resource” that “emphasize[s] the importance … of Advent or Lent.”8 Participants of the AEF include numerous Christian seminaries like Bethel Seminary in Minnesota, Dallas Theological Seminary, and pastors from many different denominations including Nazarene, Wesleyan, Mennonite, Reformed, and Baptist.

The new reformation is supposed to bring enlightenment through spiritual insights gleaned from the mystics. Unfortunately, participants are not being drawn into the light of God’s Word but rather toward the authority and practices of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Robert Webber said that postmoderns were looking for “an encounter with God, they were looking for mystery, they were looking for more Eucharist.”9

If the current road to Rome through mysticism continues, we can expect Webber’s prediction to come true. Webber’s insights may well have been based on his own personal experience. There is reason to believe this was the case. For example, in an interview, Webber was asked the question, “What do you think the North American evangelical church is going to look like 25 years from now?” He answered:

Biblical symbols such as baptismal identity and Eucharistic thanksgiving will take on new meaning. The church will be less concerned about having an eschatology and more committed to being an eschatological community.10

Over the past several years, Webber’s estimation of the future of the church has turned out to be quite accurate. Many who were once anticipating the soon and imminent return of Jesus are now asleep. Some are saying: “The Lord has delayed His coming.” Others are saying: “We have been misled by pastors and teachers who taught us the second coming is a literal return of Jesus to set up His kingdom.”  (from Faith Undone by Roger Oakland, from chapter 8)

Notes:

1. Matthew Hay Brown, “Returning to the rituals: Some evangelicals are exploring high liturgy,” (Baltimore Sun, March 2, 2006), p. 4.
2. Ibid.
3. Doug Pagitt, Church Re-Imagined, op. cit., p. 103.
4. Scot McKnight, “Five Streams of the Emerging Church” (Christianity Today, February 2007, http://www.christianitytoday.com/40534).
5. Scot McKnight, “An Anglican Service” (Jesus Creed blog, http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=2258).
6. Scot McKnight, Turning to Jesus, (Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox Press, 2002 edition), p. 7.
7. Robert Webber, “A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future” (Online at: http://www.aefcall.org/read.html.
8 . Brian McLaren, “The AEF Document as a Preaching Resource” (From the AEF Call website: http://www.aefcall.org/documents/TheAEFDocumentasaPreachingResource_000.doc).
9. Matthew Hay Brown citing Robert Webber, “Returning to the rituals,” op. cit.
10. Interview by Jordan Cooper with Robert Webber, “An Interview with Robert Webber, author of The Younger Evangelicals” (The Ooze, December 11, 2002, http://www.theooze.com/articles/article.cfm?id=385).


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