July 2013 Update on Colorado Christian University: On July 10th, our office received a call from a concerned parent whose child attends Colorado Christian University. She saw that most of the links on our 2009 Letter to the Editor (see below) regarding CCCU were no longer working. We have been able to fix a few of those, and we are providing an update about the school. The parent’s question to us was, “Is Colorado Christian University still a contemplative college?”
Perhaps one of the most obvious signs that CCU is still a contemplative-promoting school is the fact that contemplative advocate Larry Crabb is a CCU professor. He was also the key note speaker at the CCU 2013 Pastor’s Conference. Lighthouse Trails has discussed Crabb in the past, in particularly about his book, The Papa Prayer, where he tells readers he has benefited much from contemplative and “centering” prayer (see our review). For those who may not realize just how committed Crabb is to the contemplative mission, consider this: Crabb is one of three Founding Executive Editors of a publication called Conversations Journal. The other two founding editors are David Benner and Gary Moon, both contemplative proponents as well. Lighthouse Trails has followed this magazine for a number of years and often quoted from or referred to it in (in a critical way). Others listed on the Copyright/Editorial page of Conversations Journal are Richard Foster and the recently deceased Dallas Willard (Editorial Consultants), Basil Pennington (in Memorium), on the Editorial Board – John Ortberg and Ken Boa – both contemplatives. Section Editors include Emilie Griffin of Renovare and Jan Johnson (see A Time of Departing for examples of Jan’s contemplative propensities). Also on the Editorial Board is Jeannette Bakke. Bakke was recently discussed in a LT article about Ruth Haley Barton. She teaches at the Christos Center where people are trained in contemplative spirituality. Conversations Journal is a who’s who and what’s what of contemplative spirituality. Just go to their website and use their search engine. Try terms like Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, labyrinth, lectio divina, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, and so forth. No one could deny that Conversations Journal is a strong advocate for contemplative spirituality. And in a proper line of reasoning, one would have to admit that CCU is being impacted (contemplatively speaking) by having the Executive Editor of Conversations Journal teach at CCU.
In addition to Crabb’s role at CCU, the 2013-214 CCU catalog includes a strong emphasis on Spiritual Formation.
One of the most troubling things we learned (from the parent who called us) was that in April 2013, CCU invited Catholic Archbishop Aquila to speak at CCU. In Aquila’s speech at CCU, he states, “We all share the imperative of evangelization.” But the Archbishop is NOT talking about the same kind of evangelization as a biblical Christian would. There is only one kind of evangelization in the Catholic Church, and that is the evangelization to bring back the “lost brethren” (Protestants/evangelicals) to the “Mother Church.” The Archbishop’s speech was a “let’s all get together to save America,” kind of speech, but the real goal of the papacy has always been to convert people to Catholicism. As a school that claims to adhere to biblical principles and beliefs, CCU leadership should know better than to have any part in an ecumenical effort that surely gave students the impression that Catholicism is a legitimate form of Christianity. Please read Roger Oakland’s book Another Jesus if you do not understand this.
Last, in this update, Kevin Turner, the Associate Professor of Youth Ministry and Theology at CCU’s School of Theology wrote a book titled Learn Before You Leap: 101 Case Studies for Youth Pastors (2012). Under a section titled “Contemplative Prayer Practices,” Turner poses a question about contemplative practices: prayer labyrinth, praying the Scriptures, lectio divina, and the Jesus Prayer (p. 142). He doesn’t come out and say they are either good or bad, but in the acknowledgements section of the book, he thanks Youth Specialties and its founder the late Mike Yaconelli who taught Turner “how to feed [his] soul in a ministry context.” Turner states: “When I began teaching, YS published the textbooks I used in class, and the YS academic support network became my community. Through the majority of my almost-50 years, Youth Specialties has been there at every step to help, inform, and inspire me. Since 1995 it has been a thrill to be involved on the NYWC staff along with Tic, Michelle, Marko, Mark, and so many others.” For those who aren’t aware, Youth Specialties has been a leading voice in promoting the emerging church movement and contemplative spirituality to tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of youth in America. We can’t help but wonder if Turner absorbed Youth Specialties’ contemplative affinity. If he did, then, like Larry Crabb, he will be passing this on to CCU students.
Now, our 2011 Letter to the Editor
To Lighthouse Trails:
I am looking at colleges and it is really important to me that I find a college that will not have bad theology, is contemplative, new age, etc.
I went onto your website and found the list of colleges that are contemplative and Colorado Christian University was among them.
Everything I see on their website looks great. I was wondering how to determine whether a college fits into that category or not? I don’t want to go somewhere that could warp my faith but I also want to know what makes Colorado Christian a contemplative University?
Excerpts from our answer:
It’s a real dilemma with the colleges. So many of the Christian colleges are so influenced by the contemplative/emerging church spirituality, and our viewpoint is that this is very dangerous and against Scripture. The school in Colorado is one of the more emerging colleges out there. . . .
Here are some links regarding Colorado Christian University to back up what we have said about it. ______, if you have not read Castles in the Sand and Faith Undone, we hope you will before you go to college, wherever you choose.
Colorado Christian University:
1. Studying teachings of contemplative/emerging figures – (This page has a number of contemplative and emerging references . It comes right out and says it will be studying the teachings of contemplatives such as Brennan Manning and Henri Nouwen.):
“We will be reading and discussing a variety of writers who will take us on a journey of honest self-examination, and provide us with a vision of what true, authentic , Biblical community really is. We will be reading from people like: Brennan Manning, Larry Crabb, Henri Nouwen, Andy Stanley, and Phillip Yancey.”
2. Here you can see that the school has a very strong emphasis on spiritual formation (the vehicle through which contemplative/emerging enter):
Regarding the textbooks they are using, we could show you many examples but here are just a few. This one is where they are using emerging church leader Brian McLaren: (link removed). This really shows how far this school has gone down the emerging path.
This one is where they are using Youth Specialties former president Mark O (link removed). Youth Specialties is a leader in the emerging church.
On this page, you will see textbooks they are using for their Leadership Program. One of them is a blatant New Age mystic (Daniel Goleman): (link removed)
We could go on and on with examples as this school is one of the most blatantly emerging schools out there (along with most Nazarene colleges, sad to say). If we can answer any specific questions, now or anytime later, please let us know. God bless.