LTRP Note: This letter comes as a response to our recent article titled “Cincinnati Christian University (and Seminary) Added to Contemplative Colleges List.” Ozark Christian College is of the same denominational affiliation as Cincinnati Christian University.
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I appreciate your website and your willingness to enlighten people of the errors of darkness that are all around us, especially in “the church”. One of the areas that is so disappointing but necessary to realize is the infiltration of supposed “bible or Christian” by false teaching.
My husband and I came from the background of the restoration movement Christian Churches but began seeing dangers in them back in the 1990s. We even worked at Ozark Christian College before that time and have since seen them go headlong into apostasy, the Purpose Driven mania and the contemplative direction. Several of the sister schools are already on your warning list: Lincoln Christian University, Cincinnati, Milligan, to name a few. But Ozark has never made your list. So I am including some of their courses/books to show that they need to be added to the list.
Spiritual Formation Retreat is required for all degrees. This is listed under Doctrine. Also many books from their text listing include authors such as: Ortberg, Willard, Timothy Keller, Stroebel, Chan, Serendipity Bible, Manning, Peterson, Hybels, Blackaby, etc. Many of the textbooks used are written by the current and past faculty. Sad to say it is extremely difficult to find a church/college that actually just teaches pure scripture. They all seem to have an agenda contrary to the Scriptures. Anyway, thought you should know that there is another college that needs to be on your list.
Their website is : www.OCC.edu that you can check what I’ve included here.
Thank you again for standing for the Truth, no matter what.
DO 332 Spiritual Formation Retreat (this is required for all degrees)
(DO 333 Wilderness Challenge may be substituted)
An advanced Christian Life Retreat where students evaluate their spiritual health, while being exposed and participating in the fundamental forms of prayer, meditation, contemplation and other spiritual disciplines rooted in the Christian tradition. The course will have biblical, historical, theological, pastoral components and exercises. Prerequisite: must have completed 60 hours. (2 hours)
Books required: Devotional Classic – Foster; Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – Scazzero; Invitation to a Journey – Mulholland (spiritual formation)
DO 333 Wilderness Challenge
Students will be challenged to grow spiritually, mentally and physically in the areas of self-awareness, confidence and team unity through the rigors of a ten-day wilderness experience and a weekend seminar. (2 hours) Book required: Man’s Search for Meaning – Frankl
DO 420 Doctrine of Word and Table
A study of the Eucharist as an act of worship presented as the sacrifice of expiation, thanksgiving, and communion in celebration of Christ’s death, resurrection and coming glory. This course will also explore how the content, form, and styles of worship are enlivened through intentional worship design and the expression of the arts. Class will be conducted by lecture, assigned readings, research, and discussion. Prerequisites: DO 224 Foundations for Christian Worship, HI 331 History of Christian Worship, MU 360 Strategies for Worship Leadership, MU 390 Practical Issues in Worship Ministry. (2 hours)
Lighthouse Trails Response:
After confirming the information above and doing our own research, we have determined that Ozark Christian College is indeed promoting contemplative spirituality and Spiritual Formation. Thus we have added Ozark Christian College to our Contemplative Colleges list. Below is our own added documentation. This is just a small sampling of what is there at the school:
A recommended reading list (in a Ozark newsletter) from Ozark’s president Matt Proctor includes Dallas Willard, Philip Yancey, Desert Father St. Anthony, and Richard Foster. Of Celebration of Discipline, Proctor said it “opened [his] imagination to new ways of pursuing God” (p. 4). Also in that same college newsletter, Matt Proctor has an article titled “Christ in Her Heart, a Pen in Her Hand.” The article is about Jan Johnson (a contemplative Ray Yungen addresses in A Time of Departing) who attended Ozark years ago. Proctor gives Johnson’s “ministry” and her contemplative books a big thumbs up.
A 2012 Ozark “Tentative” textbook list includes contemplatives John Ortberg, Richard Foster, Philip Yancey, Henri Nouwen, and Catholic convert Peter Kreeft, as well as emergents Shane Claiborne and N.T. Wright, Robert Webber, and one name that stands out above the others is Marcus Borg. Borg rejects several of biblical Christianity’s main tenets including the virgin birth and Jesus being the Son of God. Please refer to this article by Roger Oakland for the evidence on Borg’s beliefs: “Marcus Borg on Atonement, the Resurrection, and the Son of God.” To see his name on the Ozark “tentative” textbook list is troubling, to say the least.
There are several other contemplative/emerging textbooks on that 2012 list as well. We’d have to say that it is probably one of the more extensive textbook lists of mystic advocates that we have ever seen in one school. If you want a glimpse of where Christian colleges that are engaged in contemplative spirituality and Spiritual Formation are going, read these two quotes by Borg. This is what we call the “fruit” of contemplative prayer. And this is why we cannot stop warning about it.
I let go of the notion that the Bible is a divine product. I learned that it is a human cultural product, the product of two ancient communities, biblical Israel and early Christianity. As such, it contained their understandings and affirmations, not statements coming directly or somewhat directly from God…. I realized that whatever “divine revelation” and the “inspiration of the Bible” meant (if they meant anything), they did not mean that the Bible was a divine product with divine authority. . . .
Jesus almost certainly was not born of a virgin, did not think of himself as the Son of God, and did not see his purpose as dying for the sins of the world. (The God We Never Knew New York, NY: HarperCollins, First HarperCollins Paperback Edition, 1998, p. 25)
Note: While the textbook list that included Borg was a “tentative” textbook list and we don’t know for sure whether Borg’s or the other emergent’s books were actually used in 2012, the 2013 textbook list shows the same propensities including Marcus Borg’s book The Meaning of Jesus.