Today, we received the following e-mail from a Lighthouse Trails reader. We have removed any identifying information so as to maintain the privacy of all parties. Please see our comments below the e-mail.
To Lighthouse Trails:
As a result of a casual conversation with a friend, I was telling her about your listing of contemplative colleges. She asked me if Liberty University was one of them. When I e-mailed to tell her yes, she did not reply; but her husband did. He was VERY angry at me – vehemently denied that there was any truth to information posted on your site. Can you please help me with this? I have been using your site for a few years now and have never found anything that was untrue.
Thank you very much for any support you can offer me in this delicate matter.
We do have Liberty listed as a college/university that is promoting contemplative spirituality. The information we have posted and written about Liberty is documented, and we provide this documentation for all to see. For instance in the one article we wrote, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter021307.htm#article2, we state that David Wheeler, professor at Liberty was using contemplative leader, Mike Yaconelli’s book for his classes. Wheeler was indeed using this book, and we talked to him on the phone in 2008 to confirm this. We explain in the article the nature of Yaconelli’s book.
In this article, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=2035, we listed several areas where Liberty was using contemplative materials.. Mind you, a lot of those links have now been changed by Liberty, but everything we wrote when we wrote it was true and accurate.
Liberty is still promoting Youth Specialties (one of the biggest advocates of contemplative AND emerging spirituality). In the 2010 National Youth Workers Convention website (an event presented by Youth Specialties), Liberty is listed as one of the event’s exhibitors: http://nywc.com/exhibitors/. To participate in any form of this pro-emerging event, where mystic proponents Tony Campolo and Mark Yaconelli will speak, shows that Liberty is still sympathetic toward contemplative spirituality.
Further, on Liberty’s website, they still carry the Code of Ethics which in it explains their connection with contemplative pioneer Richard Foster. http://www.liberty.edu/media/1118/%5B5975%5DAACC_Christian_Code_of_Ethics.pdf (From page 3 of the Code: “Although rooted primarily in an orthodox evangelical biblical theology, this Code is also influenced (according to the paradigm offered by Richard Foster) by the social justice, charismatic-pentecostal, pietistic-holiness, liturgical, and contemplative traditions of Christian theology and church history.”) If Liberty University does not agree with this strong supporting statement, they should remove the Code of Ethics from their website.
On the Liberty University Center for Worship Resource Center, they list a number of emerging/New Spirituality authors as resources for students: http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=10757(Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Dan Kimball, David Crowder, and Michael Card, etc). Also in Liberty’s Center for Worship are two Spiritual Formation programs. (Spiritual Formation, a term developed by contemplatives Richard Foster and Dallas Willard and identified in the early 1990s by Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Church).
Other instances where Liberty is using contemplative material:
In Youth 201 course, they are using Ron Luce’s book for a textbook. Luce is another contemplative advocate. http://liberty.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/BATTLE_CRY_FOR_A_GENERATION/BNCB_TextbookDetailView?catalogId=10001&storeId=22559&langId=-1&productId=500000950748§ionId=42763398&partNumber=MBS_869060&item=Y&displayStoreId=22559.
In DSMN course, Alan Hirsch’s book, Forgotten Ways, is being used as a text book. Hirsch too is an emerging advocate. http://liberty.bncollege.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/FORGOTTEN_WAYS/BNCB_TextbookDetailView?catalogId=10001&storeId=22559&langId=-1&productId=500000881850§ionId=42671971&partNumber=MBS_828909&item=Y&displayStoreId=22559
Other courses at Liberty using contemplative and/or emerging authors:
COUN 506, 373 and PACO 506, 373: Henri Nouwen (2 books)
CHMN 497 and PLED 520: Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline
COUC 735 and 397: Dallas Willard