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Apostasy, Emergent Church, Slavery/Racism, The Antioch School, The Early Church, The Inquisition

My Concern over Jeff Reed’s Antioch School and BILD International

**See also:

https://narrowwayapologetics.com/2016/08/11/how-bild-internationals-first-principles-series-distorts-the-scripture/

https://narrowwayapologetics.com/2013/09/22/bild-international-and-the-antioch-school-moving-the-church-away-from-pure-grace/

Jeff Reed is the founder of BILD International and the Antioch School, a church-based way to train Christian leaders locally and award accredited BA and MA degrees. The program is used in the United States, but it’s also popular overseas, especially in nations such as India. I was part of the Antioch School, taking the class, Understanding the Essentials of Sound Doctrine. While I was in the class, many red flags started to come up. I just felt uncomfortable with the methodology and content of the materials. I decided to write down my thoughts and concerns.

It’s very clear to me that the Antioch School is a product of emergent theology. If you aren’t aware of the emergent church, here are some of the main characteristics of their movement:

  1. Emphasis on restoring/renovating the planet through unified human effort. Consequently, they downplay the “Blessed Hope” found in the return of Jesus and stress a “theology of hope” (as their favorite theologian/philosopher Jurgen Moltman puts it) which encourages the Church to move towards ecumenism, interfaith spirituality, dialogue with other religions, etc. . . . in order to bring about the hopeful dream of “shalom” (peace on earth). For example,  here is an interview with Margot Starbuck in Relevant Magazine (the flagship magazine of the emergent church) that describes this emergent vision:

Interviewer: Can you paint a picture for us of the kind of world that activists today are working to achieve?

Margot Starbuck: I believe that we’re working for nothing less than the Kingdom of God in all its fullness, a world where shalom abounds: where there is no more injustice, where life can freely flourish, and where right relationships are once again renewed between God, humanity and the rest of creation.

                                                Reject Apathy, “Green Revolution,” March 2, 2011 http://www.relevantmagazine.com/creation-care/features/21689-green-revolution

The church, which has historically emphasized the proclamation of what Reed calls the “kerygma” (with the “didache” as a by-product of embracing the truth of the kerygma) must now shift its emphasis to the performance of good deeds (didache) in order to bring about “shalom.” This can be seen in statements such as this:

You know, 500 years ago, the first Reformation with Luther and then Calvin was about beliefs. I think a new reformation is going to be about behavior. The first Reformation was about creeds; I think this one will be about deeds. . . The first Reformation actually split Christianity into dozens and then hundreds of different segments. I think this one is actually going to bring them together. Now, you’re never going to get Christians, of all their stripes and varieties, to agree on all of the different doctrinal disputes and things like that, but what I am seeing them agree on are the purposes of the Church . . . last week I spoke to 4000 pastors at my church who came from over 100 denominations in over 50 countries. Now, that’s wide spread. We had Catholic priests, we had Pentecostal ministers, we had Lutheran bishops, we had Anglican bishops, we had Baptist preachers. They’re all there together and you know what? I’d never get them to agree on communion or baptism or a bunch of stuff like that, but I could get them to agree upon what the church should be doing in the world.

                       Rick Warren, designer of the P.E.A.C.E. Plan, Speaking at the PEW Forum, May 2005

 This emphasis on deeds can be seen in the new push towards “practical theology.” The words “on Earth as it is in heaven” (or as Eugene Peterson, author of The Message Bible translation puts it, “as above, so below’) are its rallying cry.

2.  An emphasis on ecumenism. In particular, the identification with Catholic mysticism under the guise of “spiritual formation.”  Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, Henri Nouwen, Brother Lawrence, and Thomas Merton are some of their favorite authors.

3. An emphasis on “dialogue” with other religions . . . for the purpose of “peace” and understanding (rather than the proclamation of the truth). This is the “dialectic” referred to in the chart on page 6 in Jeff Reed’s article.  The Hegelian dialectic of thesis/anti-thesis/synthesis is used everywhere in emergent theology.

4. An emphasis on being “relevant” to the post-modern generation by embracing the latest scientific schools of thought, i.e. quantum physics and evolution, and blending them with Christianity. Brian McLaren, one of the main emergent leaders, and founder of the web site Emergent Village, has actually joined a group called “Evolutionary Christianity” whose web site is www.evolutionarychristianity.com.  Leonard Sweet is the emergent author of Quantum Spirituality. 

5. The distrust of the Bible because it supposedly has been the source of slavery, the inquisition, colonialism, and genocide. (My book, The Narrow Way, takes on these false accusations.)

6. Emphasis on Jesus being a teacher of the way rather than THE WAY.

The Antioch School picks up on many of these themes.

  1. Creeds vs. deeds.
  2. Ecumenism.
  3. Dialogue.
  4. Relevance.

Creeds vs. Deeds

In emphasizing the didache, there is an attempt to place its importance on the same level (if not higher!) as the kerygma. Reed states his position in “Issue 2: Search for Core Orthodoxy and Sustaining Teaching,” when he says “It is our belief that the core teaching, emphasized by Perrotta, which includes the elements of the didache, is a sounder test  (emphasis mine) for orthodoxy than Koivisto’s level I core gospel approach (p. 40).”

First of all, why were we even searching for a core gospel? Perhaps this can be summed up by Chuck Colson, author of the foreword to the document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together,” where he states:

The pain and distrust between Catholics and Protestants goes back centuries. The Church has often been plagued by wars within her walls, crippling her against the encroaching armies of secularism. But at root, those who are called of God, whether Catholic or Protestant, are part of the same Body. What they share is a belief in the basics: the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, His bodily resurrection, his imminent return, and the authority of his infallible Word. They also share the same mission: presenting Christ as Savior and Lord to a needy world . . . It’s high time that all of us who are Christians come together regardless of the differences in our confessions and our traditions and make common cause to bring Christian values to bear in our society. When the Barbarians are scaling the walls, there is no time for petty quarreling in the camp.

                                  Chuck Colson – Foreword to “Catholics and Evangelicals Together

Again, what is the reason for the push towards a core orthodoxy? I believe that Chuck Colson’s motive may be for the purpose of political or moral power, but I believe that the “new evangelical’s” motive is to bring about unity for the sake of “shalom.” Brian McLaren is calling for a return to the “ancient pathways,” which incidentally promotes to evangelicals a type of medieval Catholic mysticism.  Rick Warren is a member of Tony Blair’s (the former prime minister of Great Britain) Faith Foundation in order to join with the other religions of the world to bring about his P.E.A.C.E. Plan. Jim Wallis is calling for a great awakening of social justice in the evangelical church. Lynn Hybels (wife of Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels) is a writer on Wallis’ Soujourners web site. There is an absolute push within evangelicalism to move the church away from her emphasis on creedal truth (and the proclamation of this truth) to the emphasis on doing good deeds (and compromising truth) for the sake of peace and prosperity.

If this is the way evangelicalism is moving, is it merely a coincidence that the entire “Sound Doctrine” course is about moving the church towards an emphasis on deeds through the development of a modern-day didache?   The first line of the “Introduction” to Understanding the Essentials of Sound Doctrine states:

“The overall objective of this course is to build a contemporary didache—an early church manual to establish believers in the essentials of the apostles’ teaching.” (p. 15)

Incidentally, the original Didache (the early church manual) wasn’t exactly a shining star of pure doctrine. It talked about the “Way of Life,” but never mentioned Jesus. Instead it refers us to the commandments. It concludes with an admonition to “take care that nobody tempts you away from these teachings.” (This fits in perfectly with the emergent shift of Jesus being the one who shows us the way in contrast to being the way.)

If Jesus is the only way, then there can be no possibility for unity with the other religions of the world. There can be no “shalom.” But if he is just one who shows the way through ethical teachings, then unity can be achieved through co-mingling the ethics of all the world’s religions. (This is the hope of Hans Kung, one of the first persons mentioned in Reed’s article, “Church-based Theology: Creating a New Paradigm.”)

It’s not surprising to me that the course’s main objective is “to build a contemporary didache,” since this is one of the main objectives of the emergent church. They want to awaken the (seemingly) latent power of the body of Christ and mobilize it into a force that can change the world. But in order to do this they must shift the Church away from the Reformation emphasis on creeds to an emphasis on deeds. This is the “New Reformation” they are hoping for. Reed speaks of this in his article on Hermeneutics:

If we can learn to think biblically in every area of our lives, there is no limit to the impact we can make in the world of the 21st century.

                                                       Jeff Reed, “Church-based Hermeneutics: Creating a New Paradigm”

As Rick Warren states, practical theology is a way to unify the church, to overcome the divisive first Reformation and create a powerful force to change the world. In Warren’s case, not only does he want to unify the Church, he wants to find a way to unify all religions. This is part of the emergent plan to create a missional (practical, deed-doing) and ecumenical church. The ultimate goal is to renovate, save, or renew the planet. Why wait for Jesus? All this talk of eschatology is detrimental. Let’s roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves.

Ecumenism

Why this push towards ecumenism? Why are the “Dominant Carriers of the Conversation” in the Post-Modern Church “ecumenical theologians?” (As found on the chart “The First Principles through the Centuries” on page 6 of Reed’s article “Church-based Theology?”)

I believe it is an attempt to develop a power base for social change. There are billions of Christians in the world. Can you imagine what they could accomplish if they all pulled together?  And if the world is in “agony,” (as Hans Kung says in his “Declaration of a Global Ethic”) should the world wait around for Jesus to renew all things or should it attempt to make it better by their own effort? Beyond that, the pursuit of “shalom” moves beyond traditionally “Christian” religions to the other religions of the world. Brian McLaren references this in the last words of his book, Finding Our Way Again.

What if there is a treasure hidden in the field of our three great monotheisms, long buried but waiting to be rediscovered? And what if the treasure is a way… a way that can train us to stop killing and hating and instead to work together, under God, joining God, to build a better world, a city of God?

Notice the ecumenism (or interfaithism) of this statement. And also notice that Christianity is a way, rather than Jesus being the way. Beyond this, he admits that the reason for the ecumenical pursuit is “to work together, under God, joining God, to build a better world, a city of God.” Shalom, if you will.

This is a debate the church should have. What is the role of the church? Is it to usher in the kingdom of God on earth? Is it to save the planet or renovate the world? Or is it to proclaim the gospel, and make disciples by renovating (making new) the hearts of people?

I believe the Church should be caring for the poor and meeting the needs of people, but I believe they should do it IN JESUS’ NAME, not in the name of the United Nations, the Alliance of Civilizations, or the Faith Foundation. The cup of water given that receives the reward from Jesus (meaning that it’s pleasing to him) is the one offered “in his name.”

Jesus was given an opportunity to create bread in the wilderness while being tempted by Satan, but he refused. Yet he did create bread out of the gift of a little boy. Jesus wouldn’t bow to Satan to feed the world, but he would use the smallest of gifts to do it. This has been the testimony of the Church over the centuries. We have been the most charitable of all people. Yet the emergent church/new evangelicals would have us give up our testimony and merge with the other religions of the world in order to bring about “shalom.”

This is an unholy alliance!

This is what the Old Testament prophets cried out about. God had given Israel so many blessing, yet for the sake of peace and prosperity they turned to the fertility gods of the surrounding nations, hoping to insure that their crops would grow and they would have prosperity. This broke God’s heart. He was their source of blessings, yet they wouldn’t acknowledge that He was “the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold—which they used for Baal (Hosea 2:8).” The Israelites couldn’t figure out how they were hurting God—they still worshiped Him and cried, “O our God, we acknowledge you!” But they also worshiped Baal. They were committing spiritual adultery. They were married to God, yet they brought in another lover to the relationship and God was grieved and cried out, “How long will they be incapable of purity? (Hosea 8:5b)”

Isn’t this exactly what the emergent/new evangelical church is doing? They say they worship God, but they don’t do it in holiness and purity. They blend in philosophy, science, and other religions in order to be more accepted by the world and to bring about peace and prosperity. (But in reality, their actions are leading to less prosperity because their spiritual adultery leads to the loss of God’s blessings!)

For what it’s worth, I also believe the role of the church is to be a prophetic voice—to uphold the standard of God’s Word in the midst of evil. This is what Bonhoeffer did, and Luther did, and Frederick Douglass did, and so on and so on. These were the heroes of history. Those who tried to bring about their own utopian vision, as I believe emergents are doing, were the scourge of history. Starting with Nimrod and the Tower of Babel and progressing through to Pharaoh of the Egyptians, the southern slaveholders, Hitler and the Nazis, Karl Marx and the Communists, and so many more not mentioned. And if I may be so bold, I believe that emergent theology is evil and needs to be opposed because it’s of the same spirit.

Dialogue

The reason that Reed chose to use the Socratic Method as the teaching tool for the course is because he believes that that the way to find truth is through dialogue. In his article, “Church-based Hermeneutics: Creating a New Paradigm,” Reed quotes Hans-Georg Gadamer. (I wonder if Reed realizes that Gadamer was a theologian under Hitler and a follower of Hegel.)  Gadamer is the author of the book Truth and Method. Reed describes his contribution to the pursuit of truth.

Gadamer’s most important work is Truth and Method. His fundamental idea is that in the modern era, the Enlightenment, we thought we could come to truth through scientific method alone . . . he philosophically proves that in reality we can get much closer to the approximation or full discovery of truth through a reflective process involving dialogue amongst several people. (p. 3)

He then goes on to say:

Most consider Gadamer as the father of the postmodern paradigm of hermeneutics. His thinking symbolizes the emerging of an entirely new way of thinking from what has dominated us for the last several hundred years. The following chart, figure 1, “Paradigms of Thinking,” attempts to summarize the shift that is taking place. The two ovals represent the waning and emerging paradigms. The waning Enlightenment paradigm centers around ‘calculative thinking’—thinking which is method-based. The emerging paradigm in philosophical circles is called Gelassenheit (releasement) thinking. This probably best parallels our common idea of meditative thinking. (p. 3)

The term “Gelassenheit thinking” was coined by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, a supporter of Nazism under Adolph Hitler. Meditative, or “letting go” thinking was supposed to prepare a person to think anew and further the process of dialogue, with the end result being “practical wisdom” or “phronesis.” That is, it would prepare the person for accepting “change.”

Again, this fits in with the emergent paradigm. They promote Catholic mystical (meditative or contemplative) prayer as a way to relate to God, with the outcome being practical or didache living. This is another dialectic. In the middle ages, contemplatives led cloistered lives. Many were hermits who isolated themselves from the world. This was a natural response to the pursuit of mystical union with God.  But the new spirituality uses the dialectic method in their personal life with God. Contemplation, with its natural tendency toward isolation is set in conflict with the outgoing practical life of performing the didache. The result is a synthesis which creates a new man who is not only open to change, but is willing to perform it.

While Reed may see this as a necessary step in the creation of a new church, I see it as a way to corrupt the church and prepare her for the world’s newest attempt to build the Tower of Babel.

I ask you—why does the church have to learn anything from Kung, Drucker, Heidegger, Hegel, or Gadamer? This is like drinking from broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13). Do we need to learn anything about missions or theology from the world?

I disagree with Jeff Reed. The true church will not “decline.” The gates of hell will not prevail against it! (Matthew 16:18) But the church that compromises the truth and blends it in with the wisdom of the world will decline and be looked back on by the next generation as weak, foolish, and even evil. Eventually, we’ll look back on those who stood on the Word—like the signers of the Barmen Declaration who opposed Nazi ideology, as heroes.

You adulterous people,don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

                                                                                                                                       (James 4:4 NASB)

Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you.  And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me,” says the Lord almighty.

                                                                                                                                    (2 Cor. 6:16-18 NASB)

If we follow the ecumenism of emergent theology are we being separate? Are we being holy?  Is emergent theology holy (pure and undefiled) or is it stained with worldly “wisdom?”It’s even willing to join itself to the other religions of the world!

Is this the way prescribed in the Bible? Did Elijah reason with the prophets of Baal? Did Moses compromise with Pharaoh? Did John the Baptist have tea with Herod? Did Joshua throw a pot luck for the Canaanites? What about Paul? Everywhere he went, he tried to reason with people, but the crowds became agitated because he didn’t compromise. He was constantly being sneered at, called names, and chased out of cities. His truth wasn’t determined by dialogue. He proclaimed, pleaded, warned, and taught, but he didn’t co-opt anything from the followers of other gods. It seems almost simplistic to ask this, but do we determine truth through the use of dialogue or by measuring a proposition against the plumb line of the Bible?

Here is an example of what the emergent church means by dialogue. Notice where it has taken them. Is this where we want to go?   http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/34907963

Relevance

On page 13 of Reed’s article “Church-Based Theology,” number 5 of his “Guiding Principles” is “The process of doing theology must reflect an understanding of the emerging post-modern culture and carefully address life issues in a relevant manner.” In other words, since we are entering a new paradigm, moving beyond the Enlightenment, we need to be sensitive to these cultural changes so that we can remain relevant.

The word “relevant” is found throughout emergent theology. Again, their flagship magazine is entitled Relevant: God. Life. Progressive Culture, but as I peruse their material, one of the main meanings of relevance is that instead of separating themselves from pop culture (movies, music, Twitter, Facebook, TV, etc . . . they embrace it and use it to relate to the unsaved. (I don’t see a problem with this!)

But . . . I do have a problem with the claim that the church needs to respond to the new view of science (quantum spirituality) and design their future around this new so-called truth in order to be relevant. The church is relevant in all ages because it proclaims Jesus, who is the answer to the sinful and helpless human condition, not because it gets with the latest trend that academia is discussing. Most of society has no knowledge of the emerging shift occurring in science, philosophy, or theology, but they can understand Christ crucified for their sin.

It seems to me, the only reason Reed and other emergents are concerned with the new science is because it fits in with their worldview of changing the Earth, not because there needs to be a new view in order to make the gospel more relevant to the hearts of people.

The “Antioch” Controversy

On page 5 of “Church-based Theology,” Reed discusses Justo Gonzalez’ “insightful analysis” of the tradition “exemplified by Irenaeus,” and “with its roots in Antioch.” (p. 5) Steven Brevard says in his book, Constants in Context, that Gonzalez’ three theological models for missions are:

  • Type A is mission as saving souls and extending the church;
  • Type B is mission as discovery of the truth;
  • Type C is mission as commitment to liberation and transformation.

The three models are typified in the early church by Tertullian of Carthage, Origen of Alexandria and Irenaeus of Lyons respectively.

http://khanya.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/constants-in-context-a-theology-of-mission-for-today-book-review/

Is it merely a coincidence that Reed would be interested in the model “exemplified by Irenaeus . . . with its roots in Antioch,” as a mission with “a commitment to liberation and transformation?” This contributes to the emergent hope of shalom!

Incidentally, the  Antioch School may have also gotten its name from a book entitled, An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches, by Ray S. Anderson. Anderson is a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary (where much of these teachings are promoted). Brian McLaren writes the introduction to Anderson’s book. He says:

Many of us are familiar with Tertullian’s famous question: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” The question warns us against the real and perennial danger of syncretism—in this case, domesticating the authentic and wild Christian faith with roots in Jerusalem by means of a refined but confining alien culture and philosophy rooted in Athens.

But in this book, Ray adds a new question: “What has Jerusalem to do with Antioch?”

This question warns us against another danger no less real than syncretism: stagnation, domination, containment. (p. 4)

McLaren contrasts the “religious” attitudes of those in Jerusalem with the “emerging” expansion of the faith in Antioch.

Looking back through history we might conclude that the headquarters of the faith’s last expansion may always be tempted to limit and contain and control the next expansion. In this way, each Christian community must constantly choose between being a Jerusalem or an Antioch.

By the end of the Book of Acts, Antioch is sending out teams of missionaries like Paul and Barnabus—bold innovators, creative explorers, or as my friend, Erwin McManus has said, barbarians. Meanwhile Jerusalem is sending out teams of critics, fault-finders, scolders, and police. The city names change, but the story seems to be repeated again and again.  (p. 4)

I think that this is a very slippery way of framing the argument. First of all, in Acts 11, Peter went to Jerusalem, Jerusalem didn’t send anyone to Antioch. Yes, the Jewish believers in Jerusalem were critical of Paul for eating with Gentiles, but as soon as Paul explained his vision of the clean and unclean to them, they “had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life’ (Acts 11:18).”

Then the church at Jerusalem sent Barnabus to see what was going on at Antioch and when he saw God’s grace in the lives of the Gentile believers he encouraged them to remain true to God with all their hearts. Barnabus wasn’t a fault-finder sent from Jerusalem; he was an encourager from Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabus stayed a year at Antioch to teach the new church there.

After this, some prophets came down from Jerusalem. One of them, named Agabus warned of a coming famine. This wasn’t criticism from Jerusalem.

After a while (in Acts 15) a FALSE TEACHER came down from Judea to Antioch, teaching that the believers couldn’t be saved without being circumcised. This was being taught by a man who blended Old Testament law with the gospel . . . a former Pharisee. Paul and Barnabus went back to Jerusalem to confront him and proclaim sound doctrine. This Pharisee had gone down to Antioch without the authorization of the church at Jerusalem. In a letter from the Jerusalem elders to the believers in Antioch, there was this explanation: “We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said (Acts 15:24).” As a result, “the people read it and were glad for its encouraging message . . . (Acts 15:31).” Again, I ask, when did Jerusalem send out a team of “critics, fault-finders, scolders, and police”? This is a sweeping misrepresentation of the situation.

And yet, the argument stands as one of the characterizations of the early church, as it is in comparison with the modern church. According to their thinking, we should all be asking ourselves whether our church is an “Antioch” (those who are supposedly on the cutting edge of the new thing God is doing) or a “Jerusalem” (those who criticize them). I believe Reed has chosen the “Antioch” characterization and that’s why he chose the term “Antioch” as the title for the school.

But this argument is the exact same argument the United Church of Christ (UCC) is using in its acceptance of homosexuality. Both groups (the UCC and emergents) use Peter’s vision of the clean and unclean as a justification for embracing new revelation. The UCC says “God is Still Speaking . . .” (their denominational motto) just as He did to Peter, in order to justify their acceptance of homosexuality, and the emergent church, as revealed in Anderson’s book, uses the vision to justify their expansion into a new theology.

But Peter’s vision was a fulfillment of prophecy: “that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name (Acts 15:17).” How is embracing homosexuality a fulfillment of prophecy? How is expanding beyond the Word into a new theology fulfilling any prophecy other than the prophecy concerning the final falling away? After all, we’ve been warned not to go “beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6).”

I don’t believe that the choice of “Antioch” as the name of the school was incidental. I believe it was chosen to represent the attitude of those who are trying to take the church to a new place, a new theology, and a new model for missions and ministry. And if Reed got the name from Justo Gonzalez’ mission model of Ireneaus, then “liberation and transformation” of society is his motive for the name. Either way, they are emergent models.

The Content of the Antioch Curriculum

The Antioch curriculum is careful to convey the image that they are faithful to the Bible. In the Preface, the first bullet point about BILD (by the way, I think it’s a fair question to ask what it is that Reed wants to build) is: “They must remain true to the scriptures.” (It is a course about sound doctrine, after all!)  BUT . . . just as a wolf in sheep’s clothing doesn’t come in looking dangerous—there are other indicators under the wool that raise flags. The book by Anderson, after all, was an attempt to give sound theological legs to a movement that heretofore had no sound theological foundation. His “Antioch v. Jerusalem” argument was one of the first real attempts (no matter how inadequate) to place emergent activities on a sound theological foundation. So, it’s no surprise to me that the course is named the Antioch School. It’s their main biblical foundation!

I also believe the choice of theological readings, while appearing harmless and innocent, must be inspected for what they are in light of the big picture. Nearly every author (except for translators and editors) that Reed included, in some way encourages emergent theology, beginning with Jeff Reed himself, the author of the Antioch curriculum.

The main point of Reed’s article, “Church-Based Theology: Creating a New Paradigm,” is that the church needs to respond to the new emerging postmodern paradigm. In other words, it needs to become current with the latest science, philosophy, and technology. He explains how the Western academy approach to theology was birthed in the Greek academy. This approach was further entrenched by the Enlightenment belief in Newtonian physics, a cause and effect, top-down approach to theology. This has to now be set aside for the new approach–quantum physics and chaos theory with its lateral, web-form approach to theology. The postmodern world isn’t about truth; it’s about pragmatism and practicality. This is why he believes there needs to be a new way to do theology. He wants to move the church away from the Newtonian model to the quantum model.

Church-Based Theological Education (CBTE) is designed with this in mind. It moves us away from training religious leaders in seminaries and trains them in the local church. Therefore Reed is making a conscious effort to move the Church away from the top-down, truth seeking model to the lateral and pragmatic model. He believes this is necessary in order for the church to remain relevant. If the world is moving towards globalization based on the latest science, then the church better get with the program (the new thinking) or else become a dinosaur (or in his words, it may “decline” [Church-based Hermeneutics, p. 19]).

I noticed that nearly all of the thinkers/authors Reed quotes in his article fit into this paradigm. He starts by acknowledging that we are entering into a technological age that is “post-modern, post-enlightenment, and post-critical (p. 1 of his article).” He then uses Peter Drucker and Hans Kung to describe the new mentality. Drucker claims that the world is entering into a “new reality.” Reed recommends Hans Kung’s Theology for the Third Millennium: An Ecumenical View as a guide for understanding the times we live in. (He admits Kung’s ecumenism –actually interfaithism—goes too far for evangelicals, although he tempers that thought with the words “at least not in the same sense” [whatever that means].) Then he refers to David Bosch and the new approach to missions, saying that Bosch identifies “the unique elements of the emerging post-modern paradigm, and how the church, after first revisiting its roots, can build a relevant mission in these paradigmatic times.” (p. 2)

Reed’s goal for the West is to dialogue with “renewal” churches and house church movements “as they seek to do theology afresh, revisiting the didache of the New Testament, and building new paradigms for this new time in history.” (p. 3) Again we see the elements of emergent theology: the emphasis on deeds, the plea for a new theology, the lateral structure of the house church movement in contrast with the authoritarian structure of denominations, etc . . .  He admits that this new approach has received criticism because the new church-based movement doesn’t want “to mix too closely with the theology of the old paradigm . . .” I don’t know if the old paradigm is based on Reformation theology with its creedal emphasis, but that’s what I suspect.

Reed’s article includes quotes from the following people (For the sake of expediency, I’m just going to mention a few.):

Peter Drucker: Father of modern management, author of Thriving on Chaos, Post-Capitalist Society, and The New Realities; influenced Robert Schuller and Rick Warren. Promoter of the “third way” of “communitarianism” (the blend of capitalism and communism which comes as a result of the dialectic process).

Hans Kung: Catholic theologian and founder of the web-site, Towards a Global Ethic, (http://www.global-ethic-now.de/index.php) which is an attempt to boil down all religions to the content of their ethical teachings and blend them together on that basis in order to abolish the world’s “agony.”

David Bosch: Gained his fame by opposing his denomination’s (the Dutch Reformed Church) stand on South African apartheid, until they finally conceded that apartheid was wrong. Beyond that, his famous work on missions, Transforming Mission: Paradigm Shifts in the Theology of Missions, tries to encourage the Church to not rely merely on verbal proclamation of the gospel in missions, but to be involved in issues of social justice. (Just for the record, I appreciate the work of David Bosch. He was heroic in my opinion. But I think there are those in the church who USE Bosch to defend compromising attempts to unify religions for the cause of social justice and they go too far.)

Edward DeBono:  Guru of “lateral thinking” (rather than logical thinking). This is the web-based approach to thinking based on Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. DeBono created CoRT: Lessons in Lateral Thinking. He has received worldwide accolades for his methods which are taught at Microsoft, the Pentagon, Siemens, Moscow’s school system, the European Union, and on and on. He claims to be able to help people solve problems, even if the cause of the conflict remains unchanged, by merely looking at the problem differently.

Elliot Johnson: Author of Expository Hermeneutics, developed the “spiral process” of hermeneutical interpretation, promotes “dialogue.”  (Hegel had a “spiral” view of history which was based on the “thesis” clashing with the “antithesis” and creating  a “synthesis.”)

Brevard Childs: Another author who promotes the use of “dialogue” and doing theology within “community.”

William Dyrness:  Fuller Theological Seminary Professor who teaches a course called “Global Theology.” Author of Emerging Voices in Global Christian Theology. He also promotes the use of icons in worship.  According to his online biography found at the Fuller website: “He is currently at work on a major research project funded by the Henry Luce Foundation on the use of visual images in worship in Christian, Buddhist and Muslim communities.”

Paulo Freire: Brazilian educator promoted by UCLA as a model for the new globalization. Emphasized teaching through the use of dialogue rather than through the Enlightenment top-down approach. Social justice, community, working together to solve issues are all part of his teachings.

Edward Farley: Promotes “practical theology” and the use of “reflection” in theological education.

Don Browning: Author of  Fundamental Practical Theology, editor of Practical Theology and the One Body of Christ: Toward a Missional, Ecumenical Model. The missional, ecumenical model is one where the church is involved in ushering in the kingdom of God. (“On earth as it is in heaven” or “as above, so below.”) The kingdom of God is defined as:

 A world characterized by peace, justice and celebration. Shalom, the overarching vision of the future, means ‘peace,’ but not merely peace as the cessation of hostilities. Instead, shalom envisions the full prosperity of a people of God living under the covenant of God’s demanding care and compassionate rule. In the prophetic vision, peace such as this comes hand and hand with justice. Without justice, there can be no real peace, and without peace, no real justice.

                                Missional Church, edited by Darrell L. Guder (p. 91)

Beyond Reed’s article, the other theological readings are authored by those who have an agenda in line with emergent theology:

Kevin Perrotta: Catholic theologian who promotes ecumenical mysticism and the social gospel. He co-authored a book with Benedict Groeschel entitled The Journey Toward God: In the Footsteps of the Great Spiritual Writers—Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox.

Rex Koivisto: Author of One Lord, One Faith: A Theology for Cross-Denominational Renewal. Promotes ecumenism.

Charles H. Kraft: Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary who supports the work of C. Peter Wagner—dominionist founder of the New Apostolic Reformation. (Wagner commissioned Todd Bentley in his Lakeland, FL church!) While the inclusion of Kraft in the theological writings seemed strange to me, since he’s a Pentecostal type, I realized that Kraft’s inclusion is helpful on many fronts. First of all, many of the conversions in the 2/3 world are through experiential, Pentecostal-type ministries. This is a large pool of people power. Secondly, Kraft is a type of dominionist, so he fits in with the pursuit of “shalom.” Thirdly, the house church and revivals are examples of the dynamic, radical ministries of the early church. And fourth, the growth of the church in these other nations are examples of quantum spirituality. . .  that is, the web-based approach to thinking and theologizing. His article is a perfect example of the new emergent theology with its rejection of the old science as a source of truth (p. 384) and the call to make the church more culturally relevant (p. 383). I am concerned that he uses Harvey Cox, author of Turning East, in his call for the “deprovincialization” of theology (p. 387).  I also have concerns that he calls evangelicals and fundamentalists “closed” (p. 387) and fearful of theological “experimentation” (p. 387).

Abraham Mahlerle: Promoter of syncretism—saying that Paul’s teachings had their roots in Greek culture. Author of Paul and the Popular Philosophers. (While this article may seem out of place when Reed disapproves of the Greek academy co-opting theology, it actually fits in with the idea that theology must be done in the context of culture . . .after all, as Mahlerbe’s thesis claims, even Paul was influenced by pagan culture.)

Donald G. Bloesch: Author of many books including Spirituality Old and New: Recovering Authentic Spiritual Life. The benefits listed in the promotion of the book are: “Clear guidance for a faithful grasp of the Christian life and spiritual formation for today. Biblically rooted, in conversation with various traditions of the church, evangelical and yet ecumenically engaged.”  While considering himself to be an evangelical, he still embraced a form of mysticism.

Kevin Giles: Author of What on Earth Is the Church? Emphasizes new “community” rather than the old “individualism.” Promotes good deeds and de-emphasizes eschatology.

While many of the theological readings are merely translations, such as the Didache or the catechisms, the previously listed authors are making arguments. They are trying to defend their theology. If Reed had chosen 1 or 2 authors to develop his argument about the need for a new paradigm in theology (Kung or Drucker, for example) that would be understandable, but one after another, he promotes people who make arguments to support emergent theology.

This is the crux of the matter. The question must be asked: Why did Jeff Reed choose these particular authors and this particular subject matter for this course?

Why is there a hodge-podge of ecumencists, mystics, and practical theologians being quoted throughout the material?

And why does Reed seem to think that the use of his material by the Purpose Driven movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, and the Emergent Church is just fine, even encouraging them to use the Socratic method to overcome their differences?

I was unable to find any information on Jeff Reed or the Antioch School on the internet that shared any concerns or doubts about the material, so I thought it might be helpful to others if I shared what my concerns were.

Blessings,

Diana

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About Diana Lesperance

I'm passionate about Jesus and I love to defend the gospel of grace and truth. I have a large and active family that keeps me busy and overwhelmed on a daily basis.

Discussion

26 thoughts on “My Concern over Jeff Reed’s Antioch School and BILD International

  1. Hi Diana, I read your article and found it challenging. If what Reed is doing is promoting an ecumenical and emergent church philosophy/theology, it is a serious issue. because, in Nepal also they have started the first round of classes based on BILD curriculum. Let me also research/read about the author and the authors he quotes.

    Posted by bidur adhikari | September 17, 2013, 6:29 am
    • Hi Bidur,

      I really wish that I didn’t see that this was what Reed is doing. I sent the content of this article to him, but I never received a response. I know that Jeff Reed is promoting his material in the apostolic (dominionist) churches. He was a speaker at Bishop Joseph Materra’s church. The Bishop is a graduate of Reed’s curriculum. He also promoted the material at the Exponential and Verge conferences. I’m so glad that you are willing to research this. Perhaps I’m wrong! I hope I am because the concept behind BILD is great.

      Blessings, Diana

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | September 20, 2013, 11:37 pm
  2. Diana,
    I find your blog troubling. Not because I have a problem with BILD.org but rather that you seem to have built your case against them using evidence that is not related to them at all. The concept of the BILD paradigm is that the training we offer is truly “Church based” and as such the teaching I give my people through the use of the material is what I believe to be Biblical. The authority of the classes is in the Bible not in what Jeff or anyone else writes or says. Your understanding of the way we use the the Socratic method is flawed, we do not promote what would be seen as the world’s view of the “purist” method but rather the discussion is based around what the Word says on the topic or subject. As a group of believers growing together we discuss the Word of God and as such together we gain clearer understanding of the Bible. Not only am I involved in this but I know many other leaders that are and all of them are no where near the “emergent” movement or its lack of Biblical authority and healthy theology. None of them are part of the modern ecumenical movement either. Sure they may not be all of the exact same denomination or fellowship of Churches but none of the leaders I know are pushing aside Biblical Truth in order to build some ecumenical force or relationships. For some reason you had a poor experience with the paradigm but your article here is not a proper expose of the paradigm.

    I do not care if you embrace BILD but I would challenge all Christians to embrace the Biblical teaching on not only Grace and the essential teachings of the Gospel and Trinitarian Theology etc… but to be reminded that if we have truly been bought with the great price of Jesus sacrifice then we are now His and not free to live how ever we choose. Rather the lifestyle teaching in the New Testament is to be a guide and a test to help us so that when we are living in our “flesh” that it is very apparent. Thus the didache and kerygma are intertwined and not be separate. One is to cause the other, our lifestyle is to represent our Faith. Of course we are not to embrace a works based salvation but we are to embrace a life of works as a result of our salvation.

    The reality today is that the majority of what is called “christianity” is not seeking to actively follow the Biblical model for Church operation and function. This is a part of the paradigm that is taught in the BILD training. If we are not being Biblical, if we are not following the examples, teaching and principles of the Word of God then we need to prayerfully study and discern how we are to make changes to move closer to what God has given us.

    Kepp in mind that whether the writer is Jeff Reed or anyone else they are not the Bible and in our classes we openly tell our students that the readings we use are to challenge our thinking and not for us to blindly agree with. Just so you know I was reminded of that when I was taking my certification training with BILD. IT is part of the program. Even if Jeff taught something that was “anti-biblical” like Rob Bell does, I am not bound to agree with him or teach what he does. This is the beauty of the Biblical Church paradigm. Local Church autonomy is upheld while we work together “interdependently”.

    Anyway you have raised a lot of issues in our modern Christian culture and there are a lot of leaders that have been sucked into things that are now distracting them from what is important. I hope that you might spend you time focused on what we are all to be focused on and that is the Gospel. My role and your role is not to be the universal corrector of all things Christian. Rather those whom you have personal relationships with you are to make sure you share the Gospel with them and then spend time training them in the Faith using the Bible as the standard for Truth. If some other group is not doing it the way you think they should then sure make sure you teach your people so they can avoid error but none of us have time for this garbage of calling other Christian groups and leaders down when we are supposed to be busy with our primary task.

    IF BILD is not your cup of tea, then fine but it is certainly not in the camps you have placed it in.

    regards

    Pastor Bruce Taylor

    Posted by Bruce Taylor | January 6, 2014, 1:41 pm
    • Thank you, Pastor Taylor, for your comment. I appreciate it when somebody makes the effort to sincerely respond to what I’ve written. I agree with many of your points. As you say, we must “embrace the Biblical teaching on not only Grace and the essential teachings of the Gospel and Trinitarian Theology etc… but to be reminded that if we have truly been bought with the great price of Jesus sacrifice then we are now His and not free to live how ever we choose.”

      My concern with Jeff Reed is that his goal in de-emphasizing the kerygma, by using the Socratic method to cause us to question doctrinal truth, and emphasizing the didache (good deeds, basically) instead, is leading the church away from sound doctrine, away from grace, and away from the gospel.

      You say, “None of them are part of the modern ecumenical movement either. Sure they may not be all of the exact same denomination or fellowship of Churches but none of the leaders I know are pushing aside Biblical Truth in order to build some ecumenical force or relationships” But as you can see in this ad for BILD, this is exactly what Reed is attempting to do:

      “BILD International has partnered with three-quarters of the major Indian church-planting organizations–each ready to train between 25,000 and 100,000 NEW LEADERS for Christ. They represent Christian “streams” including Protestant, Pentecostal, Catholic, Anglican and many others. This unprecedented cooperation–among groups so theologically diverse–makes a huge impact with incredible, documented success. Laying aside their “labels” and differences, they have joined forces to reduce duplication, harness synergies, and create an incredible force for Jesus Christ.”

      Even though you may not see what’s happening, Reed isn’t interested in sound doctrine. He’s interested in creating a power force. But how can evangelicals join with Catholics? The Catholic church hasn’t changed their doctrine concerning grace alone, scripture alone, faith alone, and Christ alone. Does anybody care that the Reformation even happened? Men died as they stood on the Word to oppose the Catholic church and its wrong doctrine, yet on our leg of the race should we be willing to just drop the baton?

      Jeff Reed doesn’t seem to care who uses his materials. He is willing to work with postmodern/emergents (as can be seen by the promotion of his materials at emergent conferences), the Purpose Driven movement, Catholics, the New Apostolic Reformation (Bishop Joseph Mattera went through the BILD/Antioch program), and any other group who is willing to emphasize “love” over doctrine.

      The problem with this position is that it was only when the church emphasized the true gospel that the fruit of good deeds followed. (Just as you say.) The Reformation, with its emphasis on the kerygma, changed the world. It produced an expansion of education, explosion in science, political freedom, prosperity, and on and on. The Second Great Awakening produced the missions movement, the antislavery movement, and other reform movements. Reed is doing the exact opposite. He’s putting the cart before the horse. Like Rick Warren, who wants a new Reformation based on deeds rather than creeds, Reed is putting the didache ahead of the kerygma. Doctrine isn’t important to him–his Socratic method is meant to break down doctrinal walls, not to build them up. And as you can see in the above quote, he’s even willing to break down the wall between Catholicism and Protestantism–for the sake of force.

      Concerning the claim that Reed is part of the emergent church, I don’t think he would openly claim to be emergent (or anything else for that matter), but his actions/teachings (especially in his Paradigm Papers) are emergent. He seems to agree with emergent leader, Brian McLaren, that there needs to be a “generous orthodoxy” or else he wouldn’t be happy about joining with the Catholic Church. He also seems to agree with McLaren that we need “a new kind of Christianity” that emphasizes deeds over creeds. He does this with the hope that the church will remain “relevant” in the future. (Read “New Paradigms for the Postmodern Church: Church-Based Theology–Creating a New Paradigm”–it’s about the trend towards postmodernism and the church’s need to respond.)

      I’m glad you emphasize that “the Bible is the standard for Truth,” but I question whether Reed is as concerned as you are. Remember that wolves don’t come into the church with big teeth and loud growls, they come in under the guise of gentle, little, sheep skins.

      “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:29-30)

      This is why we must be so careful.

      Sincerely,

      Diana

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | January 7, 2014, 12:56 pm
  3. Research and observations into Jerry Reed, the president of Learn Corp/ BILD International and Author of The First Principles series.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    “but test everything; hold fast what is good.”

    POINT 1:

    The First Principles series is structured according to a system of ideology based on the teachings of Business Management Guru Peter Drucker.

    Who is Peter Drucker? If you have worked in quality management or management consulting, you will have run across his name and probably employed his methods for consistent, demonstrable, successful, results-driven projects which bring in more money to your business.

    The author of 39 books and countless essays, he has been called a ‘social ecologist’ and ‘social philosopher’. He had no interest in religion but was concerned about man’s happiness as a ‘social being’, which he believed could only be realized through communitarianism.

    He devised the concept of ‘management by objectives’: the continuous improvement and evaluation of knowledge and processes which would affect them.

    Peter Drucker was NOT a born-again Christian by his own admission caught on camera in an interview.
    (Video available on youtube). and is the main central figure behind the following movements:

    1. The Rick Warren-Purpose driven movement,
    2. The Emergent Church movement
    3. The Church-growth-seeker-sensitive-Mega-church movement.

    Here is some background research information I found on Peter Drucker:

    Peter Drucker: (Business Management Guru)
    • Proponent of Eastern mysticism and believed that everyone was one with God, to unify everyone under one religion
    • Drucker was influenced by Jewish Mystic Martin Buber who is regarded as the prophet of the “NEW NEOS or AGE”. He claims that “there is a divine spark that lives in everything and being (pantheism) but each spark is enclosed by an isolating shell” Martin Buber, The Way of the Man, 1994: pg 5 (Citadel Press edition)
    • Drucker even quotes Buber in his book Landmark of Tomorrow by stating: “It needs the deep experience that the Thou and I are one, which all higher religions share.” Peter Drucker quoting Martin Buber on pg 264-265, 1959 (Harper)
    • Drucker continually uses the analogy of the stool with three legs: He states the world needs 1 religion, 1 government and 1 Business to work together.
    • Rick Warren uses this analogy when he spoke to business leaders at the World Economic Conference.
    • Peter Drucker in mid 1980s was addressing church leaders at an event sponsored by Bob Buford and they both stressed that “leadership communities are small groups of innovators and the thought leaders pursuing a common ministry outcome, sharing ideas, developing strategies and bench-marking measurements….. This leadership Network discovered Emerging ministry initiatives and carefully invites strategic leaders into these communities of peers who are seeking

    to improve their personal and organizational performance in the focused outcome areas.” Paul Smith, New Evangelicalism: The New World Order, 2011, p. 149 (Calvary Publishing)
    • Drucker and Buford failed to infiltrate the Calvary churches in the 1980s, but their philosophy was very successful in the 1990s with the new emerging churches (Rick Warren and Bill Hybel) and their seeker-sensitive movement in the mega-churches
    • Paul Smith noted that, “The rise and development of the Emerging (Emergent) Church Movement became both a significant collaborator and delivery system for the major paradigm shift that has affected and infiltrated the mindset of many evangelical pastors. The shift includes the new evangelical notion that the church must become postmodern in order to reach secular America. The shift includes a definitive move away from belief in absolute truth. The shift, sadly but most importantly, includes the accommodating and compromising retreat from the belief that bible is without error.” Paul Smith, New Evangelicalism: The New World Order, 2011, p. 149 (Calvary Publishing)
    • Paul Smith later quotes that, “Drucker was intrigued with megachurch from a specifically sociological and economical point of view. Any megachurch would do just fine; as long as it was pragmatically meeting the felt needs of people. The spiritual beliefs of a particular megachurch were not a concern for Drucker. So it made sense to him that the ambiance of the megachurch should be, above all, seeker friendly. After all, his personal pursuit of spirituality was fulfilled in Kierkegaard and Eastern Mysticism. Ibid, p.123
    • Drucker connection to the Emergent Church Movement is from the Leadership Network.
    • Bob Buford states “Drucker was instrumental in the forming of Leadership Network and its development over the years.” Bob Buford, Leadership Network feature, Nov 14, 2005)
    • Focus on Drucker’s Association with Willowcreek Association and Saddleback Association
    • Peter Drucker quotes: “At some unmarked point during the last twenty years we imperceptibly moved out of the Modern Age and into the new, as yet nameless era. Our view of the world has changed….. There is a new spiritual center to human existence.” Peter Drucker: Landmarks of Tomorrow, 1959, p. ix. (Harper)
    • Bill Hybels refers to Peter Drucker as “….. one of two men who have most shaped my thinking on this issue (under-performing staff)… Jesus and Peter Drucker-in that order of course.” Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership, 2002, p.171 (Zondervan)
    • Rick Warren states “He is my mentor. I’ve spent 20 years under his tutelage learning about leadership from him….” Rick Warren, The Pew Forum’s Faith Angle Conference, May 2005.
    • Paul Smith notes that “Emergent Church leaders are focused on unity and a worldwide oneness reflected in the growing union between Eastern and Western cultures and thinking.” Ibid. p.168
    • In the Emergent Church Movement, Seeker Sensitive Movement and the Purpose Driven Movement we see the beginnings of Drucker’s dream of Mysticism.
    • Paul Smith notes that Drucker`s teachings are being focused on by Rick Warren so that it is the beginning of “…..an emerging one-world church, and a new world order.” Ibid., p.13

    Proof that Jeery Reed is in fact implementing Peter Drucker ideology is evidenced by his own words found in his 1997 paper titled: NEW PARADIGMS FOR THE POST-MODERN CHURCH,
    which also lays down the foundations for The First Principles series.

    Taken from page 1 of NEW PARADIGMS FOR THE POST-MODERN CHURCH by Jerry Reed 1997:

    “We live in a time when the whole nature of life, culture, and even the very essence of work is changing. Our world is changing from nation states to regional economics. The global explosion of information is creating a whole new type of work, giving birth to what Peter Drucker calls the “knowledge worker.” The knowledge worker is going to need to learn anew set of skills. Knowledge is fast becoming the new
    capital. Yet information and knowledge are not enough, we must learn how to apply this new knowledge. Drucker continues to reason that these enormous shifts will eventually lead to a whole new understanding of an educated person: This must change the very meaning of “educated person.” It must change the very meaning of what it means to be educated. It will thus predictably make the definition of the “educated person” a crucial issue. With knowledge becoming the key resource, the educated person faces new demands, new challenges, new responsibilities. The educated person now matters.

    Drucker goes on to argue, very convincingly, that the educated person cannot be reduced to a traditional classical understanding, but must take into account the enormous demands of the new information age. He cannot be a generalist in the sense of knowing all disciplines, because there is too much to know. (Our current knowledge base has about a four-year half-life, which means that every four years, half of our knowledge will be obsolete.) In order to succeed in this new society we must have the ability to gain
    knowledge, and process it accurately.”

    As you can see here Jerry Reed, rather than starting with our Lord and Savior Christ, or making use of any scripture for instruction, is instead using the ideology and teachings of Business Management Guru Peter Drucker to set up his curriculum outline for the First Principles series.

    2 Timothy 4:3
    “ For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, “

    Here is some very helpful additional research in understanding the concepts of “new paradigm shifts” and it’s New Age/Occult connection.
    • The phrase, “paradigm shift” was coined by Thomas Kuhn, a subscriber to the General Systems Theory. The GSP, when carried to its logical conclusions, carries one on a journey into esoteric and even occult beliefs of the Mother Earth Goddess.
    • Marilyn Ferguson, author of the Aquarian Conspiracy (along with other “New Agers”) popularized the concept of a “paradigm shift” and the breakthrough of a new system that would signal the end of the Piscean Age, the dawn of the Age of Aquarius, and the coming of the new level of human evolution, homo noeticus.
    • Peter Drucker bases his philosophies on the GSP and utilizes the Hegelian Dialectical Process in formulating his theories of “community” (consensus or synthesis). His holistic approach to management principles gave rise to his system of “Management by Objective”—an outcome-based model utilizing the processes of Edwards Deming (another GSP disciple) that change the values and world view of those involved to the holistic model.

    • Home Schooling parents beware: Jeff Reed, President of LearnCorp (Ames, Iowa), has a program to help churches develop education programs to assist those who home school. His work, Church-Based Christian Education: Creating a New Paradigm, is nothing more than Goals 2000 covered over with Christian words. User beware. Many of the Home School publishers are changing their educational material as more and more Christian Education Institutions hire personnel trained with Bloom’s Marxist based material. See the Diaprax article Benjamin Bloom and his Taxonomies compared to Karl Marx. Many religious institutions and colleges are using Bloom’s Taxonomies (secularized Satanism) as the basis for their curriculum outcomes. They are even offering home schooling classes using the Taxonomies. They evidently have not bothered to read 2 Corinthians. 6:14-15.

    Point 2:

    Consult the Scholars.

    While some of the Scholars seem solid, such as Francis Schaeffer and John Woodbridge others are not,
    such as John Newman who was actually a Catholic Cardinal, and is given credit for writing the book that originated the concept of the First Principles series(The Idea of the University -1907) see page 9 of book 1- Becoming a Disciple.
    This is a BIG RED FLAG considering this guy is a 7-sacrament, purgatory believing Papist.
    One only has to do some further research into his writings to see the position and beliefs he holds regarding the bible, here it is in Cardinal Newman’s own words:

    “Surely the sacred volume was never intended to teach us our creed.”
    “And from the first, it has been the error of heretics to attempt of themselves a work to which they are unequal. The eliciting of a systematic doctrine from the scattered notices of truth which scripture contains.”

    SOURCE: American Catholic Quarterly Review, 1887, Volume 12, page 422.

    So what he is saying here is that anyone attempting to understand scripture is doing so in error as a heretic & that scripture only contains scattered amounts of truth. This is contrary to what the bible says and the teachings of Christ:

    2 Timothy. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.”

    John 18:37 “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world- to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

    More scholars that raise red flags:

    Kevin Perrota a catholic apologist and author of “Six Weeks with the Bible for Catholic Teens”( the catholic version of principles of discipleship) see page 34 of “Becoming A Disciple”

    J.I. Packer who has co–authored several books with known Catholics, has endorsed at least 2 pro- evolution books and also advocates the catholic idea of “theistic evolution” which is proof positive that his mind has been taken captive by a disease known as Darwinian idiocracy.
    The bottom of Page 25 of “Becoming A Disciple” actually recommends one of his books to read “several times over by every Christian throughout his or her lifetime.” Are you kidding? Really?

    The theme of Catholic ecumenism which originated in the Vatican 2 document on Ecumenism (1962) is promoted throughout the entire booklet as evidenced on pages 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,15,17,21,23,24,25,26,31,33,34,35,45,48,49,53,55

    Chuck Colson, who along with top Vatican officials was behind the 1994 ECT document (Evangelicals and Catholics together), which re-classified Catholics as “fellow believers & co-laborers for Christ” is # 1 recommended reading in lesson 1 in our Principles of discipleship booklet.
    This 1994 ECT document was actually a Catholic “bait & switch” maneuver that removed the Catholic Church from being considered a mission field by most Christian churches & denominations. and has allowed many to perish in a false system. I am in agreement with those Christians such as John MacArthur,, R.C. Sproul and others that opposed this document and all that it stands for.

    Acts 20:29-30 ” I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
    2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “ For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds

    Point 3:

    Biblical Repentance omitted.

    Simply put, none of the verses in book 1 “Becoming A Disciple” talk about the need for repentance. whenever the Gospel message is presented in the booklet as evidenced on pages 15,16.23 & 47 there is never any mention of the need for repentance, Also on page 33 Repentance is not listed as one of the 7 major propositions in the didache which is contrary to the didache of early 1st century Christian writings. Even the teaching on baptism did not include anything on the biblical baptism of repentance.
    The bible however does say a lot about repentance as found in…

    Mat_3:8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

    Mark_1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

    Mark_6:12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.

    Luke_3:3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

    Luke_5:32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

    Luke_13:3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

    Luke_15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

    Luke_24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

    Act_2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Acts_3:19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,

    Acts_5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

    Acts_8:22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.

    Acts_11:18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

    Acts_13:24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

    Acts_19:4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”

    Acts_17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

    Acts_20:21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Acts_26:20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

    Romans_2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

    2 Corinthians_7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

    2 Timothy_2:25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,

    Hebrews_6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

    Hebrews_6:6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

    2Peter_3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

    2 Timothy 3:13 “while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
    Colossians 2:8 “ See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.

    Posted by Rob Highlander | April 28, 2014, 4:32 pm
    • Respectfully, we must not in our attempts to preserve the gospel and it’s proclamation in the church abandon the timeless Didache delivered by the apostles. Without unpacking the teachings and instruction manual for the church we can not be built into the pillar and support of the truth. If you want to hold on to the gospel, assuming your version fits the biblical one, you must follow the instructions for the church life, now that you are part of the church. When the church leaders forsake direct commands given to those who have received the gospel, as small as they might be, they will forfeit the right to proclaim the true proclamation of the gospel because they will seize from knowing it and their own members will not even be able to give them a platform even if they are able to recite it.

      You might quote scriptures all day long, but how will I know that you really know them. I’ll see it in your life. And I am one of the people sitting in your pew giving my hard earned money so that you can have a building and property to preach freely upon. Property where your rights to do so are protected by the blood of American soldiers and foreign and domestic martyrs from both the present and past. If you treasure the gospel you will treasure the commands of the One who gave it, as practical and insignificant or ordinary as they might seem.

      Is philosophy in and of itself bad? No .Does it build up if it is depended upon solely? No. It is empty. But if it is used as a tool for getting at the gospel, or if the gospel is at its core than it is useful for life which is what the gospel imparts. The teachings are the whole counsel. Be careful that in your zeal for the warnings about counterfeit, that you forget to level up to the higher calling in knowing Him more. Jesus Christ IS the eternal gospel. And he gave the apostles instructions as well that have practical wisdom for all ages. We as American Christians are free to grapple with other forms of thought we might not understand in order to achieve coming to the same mind which is in Christ. It is not ecumenism as you understand it, but to state it more accurately a reverent respect for the whole church, which is not visible to us, but is to God. Therefore if I can not learn from another not of my camp who claims the name, then, well, that is pretty lousy and you possibly don’t fear the Lord in the way you should, but you fear punishment which has its roots in the fear of man.oo

      Posted by Michael Ozbolt | August 29, 2017, 2:19 pm
  4. Un Curs Valutar de My Concern over Jeff Reeds Antioch School and BILD International conversie valutara nu este o greutate usoara de a
    a executa de zi cu zi cu modificarea ratelor
    Curs Valutar straine . Fiind o moneda instraina , curs la fiecine piesa
    locala se va a potrivi pentru Curs BNR puterea de cumparare in tara straina se primeni in
    orisicare minut uro .

    Posted by Curs BNR | May 9, 2014, 2:42 am
  5. If everything you say about the book is true, then I can’t wait to read it.
    Anytime a group gets together to learn about The Word of God, good things happen.
    But…anytime a book on discipleship does not include the feasts of the Lord that the Word of God say we are to continually honor…that book shortcuts the teachings of Jesus.
    Jesus taught His disciples for over three years. They still did not get it.
    They expected Jesus to set up His Kingdom…immediately after the Resurrection.
    His Kingdom will be established and established according to all of the principles outlined in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
    Jesus said that all of those principles would be satisfied by Love….He did not say they were done away with.
    If those principles are not deeply ingrained into your heart….by HABIT….the love exhibited is phoney.
    If Jeff does not teach those principles in the book as the guiding principles….then what He is teaching is just another “doctrine of men”…which nullifies the Word of God.
    Quoting famous authors is fine…as long as they have the principles of the Word of God as the guidelines for what they talk about. Other wise…what they say is just “Word Noise”…and is to be totally disregarded.

    An Evangelist that lived around 1840, Charles Finney, had some opinions about churches. In his book “Principles of Discipleship”….this is part of what he told the pastors…who received his letters.

    “Is not the Church amazingly inefficient, so much so, that in many places where there are hundreds of professors of religion, the whole of them will not, by their instrumentality, effect the conversion of ten sinners in a year?”

    “Lastly, is not the Church in its present state a standing, public, perpetual denial of the gospel?  Do its members not stand out before the world as a living, unanswerable contradiction of the gospel and do more to harden sinners hearts and lead them into a spirit of hyper-criticism and infidelity that all the efforts of professed infidels from the beginning of the world to the present day?”

    If even ONE church can get back to basics….the outpouring of Discipleship…from that church…will make the great tent sermons look like a backyard barbecue….and you can just bet that there won’t be one person in that church group that will take or accept any credit for any of it. Freely given—-Freely give

    Posted by The Tinker | May 20, 2014, 2:43 pm
  6. Thank you, Rob, for all your insights and information! What inspired you to do so much research?

    Posted by Diana Lesperance | May 20, 2014, 3:05 pm
    • Dear Diana,

      A little over a year ago my church had adopted the First Principles series put out by BILD INTERNATIONAL & has been promoting it as “Adult Growth groups” in our church, after completing & during booklet # 1, some serious red flags were going off for me, coming from a back ground in Catholicism and being influenced by a lot of Occult programming & New-age/Eastern-mysticism before my conversion, I was able to spot a lot of very alarming material contained within the booklet such flagrant occult symbolism & occult terminology all over the booklet, (unless you have a specific background in the occult, this would go un-noticed to the average main-stream Christian church attendee, but for people like me it is heart-breaking & sickening to see), hence the reason for my research;

      I believe that in 2010 after many years of sinning & searching for answers to life’s ultimate questions, God’s spirit awakened my soul and led me to know the truth, at that time I did receive and confess that the Lord Christ Jesus died on the cross and was the sacrifice for my sins and was resurrected for my justification as my personal savior.
      I also began attending Bible study Saturday mornings at a local Baptist church, and was then persuaded to attend Sunday services and become a member; I also very enthusiastically shared much of the research and findings that led to my conversion with just about everyone I came into contact with and through that made some great like-minded friends who I started spending time with outside of my local church, during the week studying the Bible and fellowshipping with.

      When the Pastor of our local church & leadership found out that we were studying the Bible outside of a “church” controlled setting, we were asked (actually kind of pressured) to stop meeting & studying the bible on our own, & that we should focus only on The First Principles series/Adult growth groups that our church had just adopted, then they split us up into different groups, this was very upsetting to me & has left me with a feeling since that time, that my local Baptist church operates much the same way a cult does. Anyone who would use their authority to stop bible believers from studying the bible together, & try to make us feel like we were doing something wrong by studying the Bible directly from the text instead of their program booklet is textbook cult methodology. What is this If not a blatant attempt at mind-control & a clear denial of the sufficiency of scripture? Is the Bible no longer sufficient that I need to study from another book? This doesn’t make sense unless you look at it from a satanic perspective. I know this from 1st hand past experience with cults.

      As I continually read and grow in God’s word praying, repenting and remembering that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, and having read the entire Bible several times over now, as well as many numerous early 1st-7th century writings from professed believers in Christ Jesus , writings of the Reformers up to Puritan writers as well as many different bible commentaries, I have developed an enormous zeal for biblical truth, in fact I read & study like an Acts 17 Berean more than many people I know whom profess to be under the blood of Christ Jesus.

      Out of all of this due diligence, I have been enlightened by the Spirit of the Living God by seeking His face daily, with the knowledge that certain things being preached, taught and practiced at not only my church, but pretty much most main-stream churches is not at all in accordance with almost 2000 years of New Covenant faith or even what God’s word to man teaches, in fact it appears to be an entirely different religion all together. To be clear, I know that there is a war going on between God (good) and Satan (evil) for everyone’s souls. More disturbingly, it appears that the Fellowship Baptist denomination which is under the authority of the World Council of Churches which is controlled by the United Nations plays an integral part in this war as it is quite obvious to anyone with “eyes to see” & “ears to hear” that all these 501(c)(3) churches are basically United Nations indoctrination centers that mentally enslaves it’s “sheeple” with the poison of corrupt main stream Christian/Emergent-Catholic Ecumenism, as their agenda to brain-wash, indoctrinate, deceive and confuse Christ with Anti-Christ is being implemented strongly in all these churches very flagrantly & obviously. I know this may read as very abrupt and false, but so did I at first until the Spirit of God moved me for how what I found conflicted with Scripture in many places. I see people at my church just blindly accepting information from authority without question. There is no encouragement for critical thought, there is no reprove of, or Berean style careful examination of doctrines presented, people who are led to believe that they are critically thinking, are in actuality simply re-arranging propaganda in their minds that they have been inductively indoctrinated with by corrupt main-stream Christian leaders & Ministries who flagrantly milk money from the body of Christ for filthy lucre’s sake. Case in point BILD INTERNATIONAL!!

      I do not believe that everything preached & taught at main-stream 501(c)(3) churches is a falsehood or a lie. I believe that they preach & teach some truth. The part that they preach & teach that is true, I am glad to accept, but the things they preach & teach which is not the truth is what has made me leave my local Baptist church along with at least a dozen others so far, I am referring specifically to The First-Principles Program which has completely taken over at my church now, which I find offensive and insulting to my intelligence as it flagrantly seeks to yoke me back to Catholicism & new-age/ Pagan worldly Philosophies the very things I am seeking to un-yoke from.
      I have yet to receive any constructive feedback or intelligent refutation of any kind on any of the information I presented to my church or from the people at BILD, all I ever got back was:
      “ well there is always going to be things non-agreeable to everyone” &
      “ the leadership has examined the materials & came to a decision to move forward with this..”
      This just isn’t acceptable to me, as I am told in Psalms 118:8 that “it is better to put my trust in the Lord than in Man.”

      Before you condemn me for being too harsh or judgmental; please bear in mind what the written Word of God declares as echoing the very words of God of course with reference to judging, as you can clearly see from the following versus there is a lot of judging going on here:

      1 Corinthians 2:15a (KJV): “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things…”

      John 7:24 (KJV): “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.“

      Matthew 15:14 (KJV): “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. “

      Matthew 24:23-24 (KJV): “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

      Ephesians 5:11 (KJV): “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

      Romans 16:17-18 (KJV): “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.”

      Philippians 3:18-19 (KJV): (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

      Colossians 2:8 (KJV) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

      Titus 1:9-14 (KJV) : “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.“

      Galatians 1:6-10 (KJV): “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
      As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

      2 Corinthians 2:11 (KJV): “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

      2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (KJV): “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

      2 Peter 2:17-19 (KJV): “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.”

      1Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV): “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;”

      1Timothy 6:20-21 (KJV): “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.”

      2 Timothy 4:4 (KJV): “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

      Jude 1:3-4 (KJV): “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

      Deuteronomy 18:20-22 (KJV): “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

      Jeremiah 5:26-31 (KJV): “For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”

      Jeremiah 48:10 (KJV): “Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully,“

      Ezekiel 22:25 (KJV): “There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. “

      Ezekiel 33:6 (KJV): “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.”

      I write this and make all the following observations in the name of my Lord Savoir and King, Christ Jesus. I hope, by God’s grace, that I am truly a Christian, not deviating from the faith, and that I would rather suffer the penalty of a terrible death than wish to affirm anything outside of the faith or transgress the commandments of our Lord Christ Jesus.
      Robert

      “Modern education is the slaughterhouse of the mind” – Amos Comenius 1592-1670 (The last bishop of the unified Moravian/Bohemian Brethren in Christ persecuted & driven out of his homeland in 1628 by Catholics)

      Posted by Rob Highlander | May 26, 2014, 10:18 pm
  7. Dahlberg and Kaardal, in Neopopulism as Counterculture, The Problem with Wheaton, and The Rebirth Constitutuion (all available on Amazon.com) use postmodern thought to ATTACK the dialectical account of reason and all forms of rationalism, and attack the emergent church as another modern, rationalist expression.

    It seems that people have very different views of what postmodern thought is and how it relates to orthodoxy. Dahlberg and Kaardal are proponents of orthodoxy and the incommensurate nature of rival traditions. They think the Church is the chief competitor to the state. So for them, the implication of the postmodern view of meaning and knowledge (a complete rejection of the classically liberal notion that there are universal standards of rational justification including objective scientific, empiricist ways of establishing the absolute meaning of terms) is a return to tradition, to conflict, to the incommensurate nature of traditions and to a rejection of the dialectical account of reason as just more modern nonsense where it was impossible to come up with the universal standards of rational justification.

    There is a difference between postmodern historicism and a defense of dialectical reason. Christians are not rationalists. They see reason and knowledge as historically introduced and traditional. And they reject the notion that their tradition can or should be superseded by some dialectic. That is just a competing and probably naturalistic account of reason (in which human beings do not need a revelation but experience, instead, an evolving consciousness — which of course has no way of knowing if and when it has achieved finality.) The dialectical account of reason just illustrates that there is no account of reason which is independent of the goals and values of a rival tradition, implicit or explicit — some prephilosophical description of the good life for man (like achieving Nirvana, or the perfect state, or complete self-consciousness).

    So obviously people have very different understandings of what the most important content of postmodern thought is and its practical implications. Dahlberg and Kaardal view it as a very welcome and massive attack on modern rationalism and scientism in particular, including the dialectical account of reason which so very early in the modern age made its totally speculative appearance in Hegel and Marx. In the Problem with Wheaton, Dahlberg urges Wheaton to totally reject the notion that science is a literal description of Reality and trash the whole modern, liberal account of reason on a daily basis. He bases this advice on the well-developed critique of scientific realism in the 20th Century philosophy of science (including Kuhn and Feyerabend). But many evangelicals who believe that modern science (and they proudly aver this) is a product of Christianity, fail to notice that scientific realism (the notion that science literally describes Reality) is NOT a Christian doctrine, but a Parmedian doctrine. (See Paul Feyerabend.) Pragmatism and technology are one thing. Pride in scientific realism is another. The latter is simply naive. Why would any evangelical come to the rescue of scientific realism, now that we have it on its back, out of paranoia about this victory being “postmodern”?

    Evangelicals reject secular rationalism, but then often buy into scientific realism implicitly. It is a mistake to become a scientific realist simply because contemporary science is now sounding teleological. Tomorrow it will change. And teleology is completely compatible with naturalism. Aristotle was not an evangelical.

    What Reed, and anyone who claims to be orthodox should be doing, is teaching the total demise of modern rationalism to all nations, and assert the naivete of the emergent church to the extent that it is rooted in some silly, modern account of reason. Rival traditions do NOT share the same account of reason. And the orthodox Christian view of reason, as rooted in moral authenticity and the witness of the Holy Spirit, is NOT compatible with the false pride even many evangelicals take in their modern rationality.

    We must cut down and burn the whole tree of modernity, not sit on one or many of its competing branches.

    Posted by Tom Dahlberg | July 1, 2014, 12:41 pm
  8. If you write an article in 2013 and reference the “emergent movement” I can’t take you seriously, it was long splintered and dead by then, acting like it is still a “thing” only causes us to miss real issues. (leaving aside the wrong association of Relevant with it…The owners of Rel. are A.O.G, but have a variety of good and not so good theologians…)

    Posted by David Drake (@pdavidy8) | July 4, 2014, 11:02 pm
    • I wrote this article a number of years before I published it, as a letter to a pastor who was teaching one of Jeff Reed’s courses. I didn’t know if he even knew what the emergent movement was, so I tried to explain it. Even though the movement may be “dead,” as you say, there are still indications that its theology appears in Reed’s courses.

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | July 4, 2014, 11:52 pm
  9. Wow Diana, you write and article and “Freaks” come out. Just trying to read these responses and I’m even more concerned. yikes!!! However, good article, I have been considering the bild curriculum for my bible school. Second thoughts now going on.

    Posted by Rob Kennedy | September 22, 2014, 3:11 pm
    • “Those who benefit from any societal mechanism rarely wish to understand that mechanism especially if it appears to grant them power, control or authority over their fellow man, and understanding that mechanism would limit, diminish or remove that apparent power, control or authority.”
      THEY SIMPLY DO NOT WANT TO KNOW
      & DISMISS ANY ONE WHO CHALLENGES THEM AS BEING “FREAKS”
      Because:
      IT IS FAR EASIER TO IGNORANTLY CONTROL OTHERS THAN IT IS TO WISELY CONTROL YOURSELF.
      Our adversary therefore, has turned the modern day Christian Pastor/teacher into his ultimate weapon against the church.
      Is there a planned conspiracy attacking the Christian Church to change its agenda for spreading the gospel message of Jesus Christ? The Bible tells us yes, Satan wants to conquer every Christian turning their loyalty to his New Age schemes to transform their souls to the powers of the world and new concepts of faith.

      The enemy has successfully placed fifth column agents in every level of the church. A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group from within to aid an external enemy. These secret agents successfully won great victories when they stole the Word of God as the central thoughts of the foundation of the Christian Church. They simply replace The Word with counterfeit program booklets and removed the central themes concerning Jesus by changing words or leaving entire scriptures’ out.

      The last twenty-five years, floods of various perversions of the Bible were brought into churches. Satan’s agents have achieved changing Christian views by bringing these new “modern” versions into seats of power. You are what you think. Many have overthrown Jesus as the center thought and lifted up the human spirit to control the churches.

      Mind control is the chief weapon of Satan to snare the believer. The Scriptures admonish us to “bring every thought into captivity,” (II Cor. 10:5). The Scriptures say that the spirit of a sound mind means a disciplined mind. It is absolutely essential for a person to become aware of the thoughts that are coming from the devil or if the thoughts that are coming from the he Lord. If the foundation of God’s Word is removed, how will you know?

      Posted by Rob Highlander | September 24, 2014, 3:46 pm
  10. Greetings

    I see that Dr. Koivisto gets an “honorable” mention.
    I am surprised to hear that he/his book promotes ecumenism when every section of the book speaks explicitly about catholicity. Are ecumenism and catholicity exact synonyms for you? Have you read the book or just the cover? Even the table of contents will clear this up.

    Overall, I appreciated your work in the article. It just appears to be a pretty broad stroke you painted Dr K with.
    Thanks and…

    Rejoice!

    Posted by will | August 19, 2015, 10:53 am
  11. Diana please notify me as soon as you can I believe you’ve uncovered a definite demon. olson_nels@yahoo.com

    Posted by Nels Olson | March 16, 2016, 8:21 am
  12. I went only once to BILD, some years back, and it was my last. After that I had to warn others, why I did not continue.

    There were three theological quests for the historical Christ. The first Quest started with Reimarus and ended with Wrede and Bultmann. This was an anti-dogmatic quest, and its failure is analytically chronicled in Albert Schweitzer’s, “The Quest for the Historical Christ: From Reimarus to Wrede.” The second quest was by the students of Bultmann (Kasemann, Bornkamm etc). The third quest argued the authenticity of Jesus against his Jewish backdrop (Joachim Jeremias, etc) and his messianic consciousness (Peter Stulmacher, Markus Bockmuehl etc). However my point is this why would Evangelicals jump onto an Ecumenical bandwagon, when the Ecumenicals themselves have jumped off it?

    The rubric of BILD training model is based on a Pauline construct that is based on the first quest of Reimarus, Wrede and Bultmann. Their argument: Mark wrote the first gospel and the earliest possible dating for it is 85AD. In Mark, Jesus never called himself as the Messiah (Wrede). Therefore, the other gospels that followed added their imaginations to the text (Bultmann). Since Mark wrote in 85 AD and Paul was executed in 67 AD, therefore the Pauline gospels precede Mark in historic truth. Therefore the Pauline corpus, can only provide us info for an emergent church! And we can about Jesus only through Paul!

    I get back to my original question — why would Evangelicals jump onto an Ecumenical bandwagon, when the Ecumenicals themselves have jumped off it?

    So I chose not to go again to BILD, since I observed their arguments to be epistemologically wrong and incapable of Socratic dialog. There was no one who willing to reason in a dialog. Whats the point then?

    Posted by Noel Prabhuraj | June 30, 2016, 2:59 am
    • Hi Noel,

      Thank you for your comments on the BILD literature. NLAG chennai mandates that all congregants be part of life groups that study the First Principles together. I stopped attending the LGs due to time constraints and cold professionalism of the “leaders”. But I did see that they were constantly pushed to refer only to the First Principle books.

      Another point that I liked is about no one willing to dialog. It’s disturbing to find biblically illiterate, shallow, and fun seeking church folk who are apathetic towards matters of eternal consequences.

      Posted by Jake | July 24, 2017, 1:49 am
  13. Hi Diana, I am from Algeria, I am student at Antioch School, but once I read your article, I thinking of withdrawing. Bad theology is ravaging our new born churches. Sometimes, some poison can be coated by sugar to taste good. Please send more info about that plz.

    Posted by Ichtus Ichtus | October 2, 2016, 8:17 am
  14. Hi Diana
    I thank you for bringing the light out .
    I was a student of Antioch School,I know now that when we were using the Socratic method we all end up in with a different ways (as many ways).
    Thanks again
    God bless you

    Posted by Francois | October 25, 2016, 9:41 am
    • Thank you, Francois. Yes, the Socratic method/dialogue tends to break down walls of defense, rather than build them up. It causes confusion and compromise in places that we shouldn’t compromise. For example, the whole concept of “core orthodoxy” tries to boil down the gospel to a few uncompromising points which every denomination needs to believe in order to be saved. The problem with this is that the Catholic Church may say they now believe in all of these points…but they also believe in the priesthood, purgatory, and the Eucharist. Mormons can even believe in statement of “core orthodoxy,” but they also believe Jesus is the brother of Lucifer. False prophets, such as Rick Joyner, can agree to the statement of “core orthodoxy,” but he also adds many of the conversations he had with his “Jesus” to the completed scriptures.

      We have to be so careful to guard ALL of the truth. Just going astray on one point can lead to horrible consequences for society.

      Thank you for desiring to be faithful to Jesus and his Word!

      Diana

      Posted by Diana Lesperance | October 26, 2016, 5:20 pm
  15. These men like Mike Bickle are not going to get to be the HERO bringing the Church together forever. JESUS CHRIST is.

    If Chuck Colsen calls doctrinal differences “petty quarreling in the camp”, he’s a long way from the truth. That’s no different from saying that belief in Jesus is just a petty little incidental. Well, the way I see it is once parts of the true Church mingles the truth with error, it won’t be long before that particular compromising whole body is decayed/corrupt.

    God guides us concerning this matter. He simply says not to be joined together with unbelievers…2 Cor 6:14. ‘Nuff said? Who in the world could be behind all this but but subtle Satan himself, trying to make error look good? Compromise is just so not good in theology. After all, doesn’t the Lord separate the wheat from the chaff all by himself…for all eternity?

    “If Jesus is the only way, then there can be no possibility for unity with the other religions of the world.” And those who believe that Jesus is the only way will not get IN HIS WAY. The true Church will emerge with no apostates.

    Posted by wpmember7 | November 17, 2016, 3:43 pm
  16. It seems the issues with the teachings and philosophies of Jeff Reed are easily provoked because his approach to getting at the kernel of truth does not back away from wetting a stone of dialogue with elements from schools of thought that are taboo to mainstream American evangelical thinking such as the emergent movement and Catholic writings. Responding to the tenants of such movements as a result of conditioning that is learned in a mainstream Evangelical upbringing points to a tendency to bury one’s head in the sand out of fear rather than dealing with the reason why these movements or schools of thought are popping up. The picture of the church that is provided for us in the Bible is a timeless one that a student of the Word should not shy away from answering the questions of how we identify all of its key elements in our current day in the 21st century. What should the church look like and how should it be practicing today after 2,000 years has gone by? How far off the mark are we in our current American culture? How can we be sure we are on the mark if we are and how do we go about evaluating where we fall in our Christian culture and communities? Wouldn’t you think that staring these other fields of theology and doctrine or church movements that might be foreign to us gain you an I a particularly razor sharp edge in the advancement of the gospel and perpetuation of the manifold wisdom of God for the church? Aren’t you too quickly summing up the Reed philosophy as being emergent? I think it is quite evident that the BILD and Antioch schools are very much different and unique. Isn’t it wise to pull out or find value in some elements of teachings or movements that are not addressed in our mainstream thought? Wouldn’t you think that if we do not address issues that our Western Evangelical thinking does not address we are destined to being impaired by tunnel vision? And we lament about our modern culture going to hell in a hand basket all the while without being dedicated to fleshing out the full gospel and the whole counsel of God that is intended for the Church. Not to mention we live in a nation where Christians have more potential for impacting world by being true as the church and as Christ intended us to live fully according to his will. Instead we waste away our time with shallow faddish “Christian” lifestyles that reflect the marketing world more than what is written and inspired by the hand of God. We settle for cereal box theology and Christian radio programs and every latest book trending on the Christian reading lists. Do you believe in a rapture? O.k. So do I, but you know that our entire eschatology of a pre-millennial rapture hangs on a single verse? What about the infinite complexities of the rest of the text? Are we afraid to address it or ask the questions that really count when you compare what is written with our current christian culture?

    Posted by Michael Ozbolt | May 18, 2017, 1:00 am

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Books

Why am I WAITING for “Shalom?”

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)

The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.

Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.

The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.

I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.

Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.

I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.

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