December 18, 2014

Liberal Theology at Assemblies of God University?

Students who, like me, grew up a part of an Assemblies of God church in the Deep South had two popular college options when it came to traditional, orthodox higher education: either attend Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God if you wanted to live in Florida or Southwestern Assemblies of God University if you favored Texas. I would prefer Florida. But according to one Southeastern graduate, some concerning theological shifts have ensued at the Assemblies of God’s largest university.

David Thrower graduated in 1996 from Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God (renamed Southeastern University in 2005) with a bachelor of arts in Church Ministries. Raised in the Holiness Pentecostal denomination, he was attracted to SEU’s charismatic style coupled with a historical commitment to traditional Christian teaching. “My undergraduate experience was wonderful. It was what you expected from a traditional Pentecostal school,” said Thrower. “But when I returned for graduate work a few years later, it was like I had returned to a different planet.”

Thrower reportedly encountered several startling changes on campus including the presence of the Emergent Church, a movement of so-called “progressive” adherents who question the supremacy of God, the authority of His Word, and stir confusion and doubt by painting inconsistencies in Scripture. “For example, they use to have campus revivals and things like that. No longer. Campus revivals have been replaced with what’s called leadership forums and some of the speakers invited were Erwin McManus and Brian McLaren, a co-founder of the Emergent Church.”

Most concerning, however, was the worldview taught in his Ethics and Hermeneutics classes. “One of my professors was touting who he was calling theological masters. He included Barth and Bonhoeffer, but then he included James H. Cone, a liberation theologian.” Thrower continued, “It gets even more interesting because there were people who believed that Marx was a prophet of God. We were taught that in class too.”

To clarify, Thrower added, “The Ethics class, taught by Dr. Murray Dempster (touted by his colleagues as the ‘Grandfather of Modern Pentecostal Pacifism,’ which says something there!), was the one [faculty member] that used Cone’s text along with Barth’s and Bonhoeffer’s in that course.”

Thrower continued, “The Marx quote —that actually that actually happened in a Hermeneutics class that was taught by Dr. Ken Archer (who teaches Bible and Theology at SEU now), and he was basing it on a text written by Merrold Westphal entitled Whose Community, Which Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2009). Westphal wrote on page 140 of this book that he essentially considered Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud ‘prophetic voices of Christendom,’ and this book was used as a textbook in a Hermeneutics class although it is technically a postmodern philosophical textbook.”

The Assemblies of God denomination has been a leading supporter of Israel, but at SEU Thrower said one on-campus lecture became downright anti-Semitic. “[One] week they invited Sami Awad, a pro-Palestine advocate to guest lecture. The lecture had very anti-Semitic comments and at one point it was mentioned that Israel did not have a right to exist. The discussion became very disturbing.”

Thrower noticed that his fellow students were not only tolerant of Awad’s lecture, but downright supportive of his anti-Israel message. “The majority of students were enthusiastic. Probably because many of them were very young and couldn’t discern unorthodox teachings. I was one of the few Gen Xers in the class.”

When asked if he ever challenged his fellow students or professors Thrower answered, “I did. Of course that didn’t go over well. When I started mentioning I believed in a more traditional, orthodox faith, I was told that I was close-minded and an archaic relic of the past. I was also told that I was upholding a religion of dead white males.”

For Thrower, the shift away from orthodox Christian teaching was all too much. He transferred to Franciscan University to continue his graduate work and has since converted to Anglo-Catholicism.

While Thrower’s comments reflect only one experience at Southeastern University, we need only look to our Mainline brothers and sisters in Christ to know that a denomination’s unorthodox proclivities originates in its college seminaries and, like a deadly cancer, spreads outward.

We pray that the liberal theological shifts present at the Assembly of God’s Southeastern University are not wholly reflective of the college’s leadership, which expresses its commitment “to equipping the next generation of leaders so that they can go into the world as influential servants in their careers and their communities,” but instead are isolated to some few faculty, staff and students in the Christian ministries and religion department.

One fact remains certain. No church denomination—despite how historically orthodox or resolutely conservative—is immune from the inroads of false doctrine. As the apostle Paul instructed, “Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, show courage, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13)

[Editor’s note: Chelsen Vicari offers a response to questions regarding this interview HERE.]


47 Responses to Liberal Theology at Assemblies of God University?

  1. Chip Sanders says:

    Using one disgruntled person’s perspective to cast aspersions on a University is irresponsible. Did you try to get the University to comment? Or did you just accept Mr. Thrower’s accusations at face value because they line up with your presuppositions? This post is ridiculous. A University can introduce students to the way other people think with out actually condoning or promoting those teachings. The Assemblies of God is not going to become liberal because Mr. Thrower doesn’t like some of the choices certain professors at one University are making.

    • robert says:

      Perhaps you’re right, but I will say this: As one who has researched Methodist history at the graduate level, the changes in Methodism from mostly biblical to liberal theology started gradually in the halls of theological education, which influenced the next generation of ministers, and so on…

      • DirtyHarry1 says:

        That has also happened in the Presbyterian church, too, and almost every church that has a strong central governing authority.

  2. Matt Kellon Robinson says:

    I’m a Holiness/Pentecostal minster (and very conservative) who currently attends Div School at Duke, and I haven’t met with the recalcitrant liberalism Thrower is reporting. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of liberalism there. But, my conservatism isn’t rejected as archaic and ignorant either. I’m surprised that the Southeastern hasn’t been contacted for this article. Truly, we want to be on watch for apostatizing institutions and hold them accountable. But, irresponsible reporting can lead to unwarranted defamation. Let’s be careful to avoid that.

  3. Gary Butner says:

    Do you remember the 2 questions Jesus asked Peter at Caesarea Philippi? The early church fathers recognized the answer to those 2 questions is far more profound what appears on the surface.
    There is only one correct answer to both questions, and our answer will be wrong if it is based on opinion, and not God’s word. 1 John 5:10. I strongly suspect many of you are questioning what does this have to do with a university being liberal or conservative. Let me paint a picture for you.

    The Roman Emperor Theodosius was seated on his throne in all his splendour, and by him sat his little son Arcadius, only eight years old, whom he had recently invested with the diadem, and whom the courtiers were surrounding with flattering homage. Amphilochius saluted the Emperor, and did not take the smallest notice of Arcadius. ‘What!’ said the Emperor, angrily, ‘do you not see my son?’ ‘Oh!’ said the Bishop, carelessly, ‘I forgot. Good morning, my child!’ and he actually had the audacity to pat the august infant on the cheek and tickle him with his finger! ‘Turn that man out!’ roared Theodosius, in a flame of anger. Then Amphilochius, facing him, said, ‘You see, Emperor, you cannot tolerate an indignity to your son. Doubt not, then, that God shares the same feelings, and learn your duty.’ The Emperor was deeply impressed, and the world was saved from the heresy of Eunomius!

    The Word of God is the only lens through which the Holy Spirit will allow us to correctly view the person of Jesus Christ, and that determines our worldview and Christology as either orthodox or heterodox.

    What do you view Jesus Christ?

  4. Orter T. says:

    I think it is a mistake to view what the IRD does as accurate news reporting. I view what they are doing as pointing to possible trouble areas, which is exactly what this article does. Robert, below, is right, once seminaries start drifting, ultimately the whole church drifts. The United Methodist Church is in the mess it is now because there is no longer a consensus of what it means to be a Christian of the Methodist persuasion. And it started when some seminaries drifed from teaching basic orthodox Christianity and embraced a whole other host of other thoughts and understandings which then took root in the denomination. The atmosphere within the denomination is acrimonious because people are talking and peddling apples and oranges to each other; they are coming from totally different understandings of what it means to be a Christian and what the church’s role is in relation to society. A house divided against itself can not stand.

  5. Wesley Hughes says:

    If any, and I mean any of this is true,Then the NC district should with draw any support or encouragement to attend. Graduate ,77

    • Evangelical Watchdog says:

      Thank you, Wesley, for playing perfectly into the point of this article, divide. You aren’t seeking the truth, yet you make a claim that your district should disassociate with SEU if any of this is true based off of a slanderous and ridiculous article. Please do not be swayed by an article with baseless claims because the website looks legitimate. This might as well have been an article on theonion.com, laugh worthy at best.

    • George says:

      Ask your kids what they learned. You’ll solve this mystery in short order.

      “We do allow professors to present a variety of viewpoints on non-core doctrines, but we also require respect for (those who hold to traditional perspectives).”

      Please, give the nod to the antiquated traditional perspective.

    • Wesley Hughes says:

      I have a contact there at the college. I talk to her often. She tells me all is well. I trust her judgement in the matter.

  6. Kerby Rials says:

    While I don’t doubt that there are liberal tendencies in AG universities, I would not take the comments of one man as sufficient to judge the situation (who himself has accepted some pretty bad doctrine if he has converted to Anglicanism). It is a fact that academia puts in place people who have spent a long time and a lot of money to obtain degrees. Many of these people are not paragons of theological purity — they just have pieces of paper and the university is obligated to hire people with those pieces of paper to keep their accreditation. The system itself is to blame. That is why the AG needs to be very vigilant so that we do not go the UMC route. We may sooner or later have to do a house cleaning like the Southern Baptists had to do. It would be better to lose accreditation than to lose our godly heritage.

    • Dan says:

      Is Anglican doctrine “pretty bad” because it is primarily Reformed rather than Arminian, or are you conflating Anglican doctrine with the outright apostasy and heresies of The Episcopal Church here in the U.S.?

      • Kerby Rials says:

        Dear Dan,
        As I see it, these are the principal concerns: Anglicanism elevates the priest as a father. Both of these words — priest and father — contradict, it seems to me, the New Testament passages speaking of the priesthood of every believer, and the fact that there are no priests in the New Testament at all and Christ told us to call no man Father (e.g. a spiritual father). The collegiality and the equality of the believers in the New Testament does not concur with the hierarchical system practiced in Anglicanism. It creates a barrier between the believer and Christ, inserting an hierarchical priesthood. Secondly, and in a related fashion, Anglicanism’s reliance on apostolic succession is faulty, it seems to me, as Christ himself noted that those who were not apostles and had no apostolic succession had a valid ministry: (Luke 9:49) “John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” Paul had no apostolic succession, but it did not hinder him either: (Gal. 1:12ff) For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ…But when God… was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus.” Anglicanism’s reliance upon the liturgy is also not found in the New Testament, nor is its reliance upon tradition as superior to scripture or its belief in transsubstantiation nor its reliance upon infant baptism, which did not come into the church until 400 years after the apostles.

        • Dan says:

          Good points. Two corrections to what you state. Anglicanism does not rely upon tradition as superior to scripture. It is definitely in the Reformed tradition of Sola Scriptura. It does, however, hold tradition up as a reliable source of practice within the church, where it does not conflict with Holy Scripture. Why reinvent the wheel when the saints who have gone before have already wrestled with certain issues and decided them; e.g., the Nicene Creed. I believe the Roman Catholic church places tradition, particularly ex cathedra statements from the Pope, as equal in authority to Holy Scripture. Also, Anglicans do not believe in transubstantiation. They do, however, hold out Holy Communion as more than a mere remembrance, considering it a sacrament, as do most Christian denominations, Baptists and some others excepted. Only the Roman Catholic church (and maybe the Orthodox churches, I don’t know) holds to the doctrine of transubstantiation.

          • Kerby Rials says:

            Good reply Dan — let me clarify that in stating that tradition is superior to scripture I am meaning in practice, if not in actual words. In practice the Anglican church baptizes infants, even though one cannot find that in scripture, and in practice it uses a liturgy although that is also not in the Bible. So it was in that sense I meant that they elevate tradition over scripture. As to transubstantiation, I should not have used that word, as it is officially rejected by the Anglican communion, but in practice they affirm it as it says in the 28th Article of the Anglican church: ” the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.” This seems to be an affirmation of transubstantiation without using that word. On an Anglican website, the following is written about the Eucharist: ” It is not merely a sign or a symbol, not merely a memorial, but a true sacrament in which the faithful do truly receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. In this regard, Anglicanism and Rome are on the same page.” And yet the same page says that Anglicans reject transubstantiation. It is, to me, therefore, not really clear what they officially teach, but it seems in practice they treat the elements as if they believed in transubstantiation without using the word.

          • Kerby Rials says:

            The Anglican web site that has this quote is found at: http://conciliaranglican.com/2011/07/22/ask-an-anglican-eucharistic-adoration/

          • Dan says:

            I think what this site points to is the “Holy Mystery” of the Eucharist, and these are the words used by the latest pronouncement on the Eucharist by the UMC, not exactly a bastion of orthodox theology since they openly advocate communion of the unbaptized. That said, Anglicans believe in the “real presence” which is decidedly different than the Baptist view of it as a memorial. For full disclosure, while once an Episcopalian, I now belong to the LCMS which believes in the body and blood of Christ as present in, with, and under the bread and wine. Neither of these views coincides with transubstantiation as both the LCMS and Anglicans specifically state they do not believe in transubstantiation, but neither do they hold that it’s just wine and bread after being consecrated.

      • Shane says:

        Did you read the article? Thrower converted to Anglo-Catholicism, which completely rejects Reformed Anglicanism.

        • Dan says:

          I agree that Anglo-Catholics are much closer to “crossing the Tiber,” but I don’t think they completely reject Reformed doctrine. I do believe they still subscribe to the 39 Articles, which are most assuredly Reformed in their outlook, to the point where Wesley dropped out a number of them from his Articles of Religion of the Methodist Church(the one on predestination comes immediately to mind) precisely because they were too Reformed to suit his Arminian theology.

    • David says:

      Kerby – seriously??? You attack a person’s religious affilliation?? The former student interviewed is not an Episcopalian either, so don’t be a fool. He is a member of the Anglican Catholic Church, and if you knew your history better, you might realize that the ACC is a totally independent jurisdiction. Study to show yourself approved before attacking a person’s church.

  7. Andrew Permenter says:

    Thanks for the hatchet job. This is not journalism, it’s a pathetic witch hunt. You’re right in line with the Devil’s strategy: divide and conquer.

  8. Yoon Shin says:

    I know David Thrower personally. We’ve had conversations about how I believe SEU is moderate and he thinks we’ve gone apostate. If Chelsen Vicari wants a different voice, then I’m willing to provide that voice, albeit not officially for SEU, but as a former undergrad and grad student both at SEU and RTS, and one who is a (Pentecostal) Van Tilian due to a theology prof of SEU. As my RTS professor, Reggie Kidd, once taught that theology is orthodoxy, orthopraxis, and orthopathos, we do that well here at SEU. And she is wrong. David Thrower was Pentecostal Anglo-Catholic before he started grad studies here.

  9. Evangelical Watchdog says:

    This post is just ridiculous and cannot be seen as real journalism. By stating the ideas of one man, this website and author have only eschewed the ideology that they want to present, regardless of whether or not it is actually true. This website puts a black mark on Evangelicals. If those who run this site believed this was actually an article worth posting, then they clearly have no academic / Christian / or even sensible clout to understand what makes a good article. They clearly just want to slander and smear the name of a university and professors that one specific close-minded man feels needs to be slandered. How sad that this author would be okay with writing against those who are trying to help build the Kingdom of Heaven.

    • Gary Butner says:

      I’m not familiar with the situation at SEU, and therefore I cannot comment specifically on it, however it is very apparent to me Emergent Heresies are running rampant through almost all churches and denominations.
      Furthermore, Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Luther were men who took on the establishment as individuals…and were right.

      • Yoon Shin says:

        I am not emergent or am a fan of McLaren, but painting SEU as an emergent hotbed is misguided and plain wrong. Here are counterpoints to this article:
        1) no revivals? I went to those revivals as an undergrad from 05-07. Now we have Conference held outside the campus for three days so that we actually reach the community with the gospel. No mention of that in this article.
        2) leadership forum? Started when we had revival on campus. It’s a separate event and has nothing to do with revival or conference. And the speakers we’ve had over the years? Pres. Bush (twice), Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Tim Tebow, John Maxwell, Robert Gates, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin (last year), Marcus Luttrell (the SEAL from Lone Survivor – this year). If Chelsen Vicari attended the Forums, she would’ve thought she had died and gone to heaven.
        3) no support for Israel? We have two professors who set up an annual trip to Israel and students can take it for class.
        4) one professor holds apologetics seminars all over the country. In fact, he was voted by the students as the faculty of the year
        5) one of the “liberal” professors’ main focus is evangelism
        6) The school sends out over 40 student led missions trip all over the globe each year
        I can go on and on and these are the reasons why this article, Chelsen Vicari, and David Thrower did a disservice (to put it mildly) to an outstanding Christ-centered school. I love this school; if it wasn’t for SEU, I would not be the Christian that I am.
        And lastly, if Chelsen and Vicari really wants to be conservative, they should realize that many conservative AG folks do not believe Catholics are Christian. But we are “liberal” enough to count him as a Christian brother. And since we are on the topic, we need to stop using this liberal/conservative dichotomy. The Faith is too multifaceted to be captured by such divisive framework.

        • Gary Butner says:

          Your post told me nothing regarding SEU’s view of Christ.

          • Yoon Shin says:

            As the dean said, we uphold the 16 fundamental truths of the AG, which covers our christology.

            By the way, what’s with the interrogation style of questioning? This is why this article is so damaging. It makes people question a great Christ loving, Spirit-filled school so that we are guilty until proven innocent.

            I’m going to stop posting because this article has gotten me too upset. With that, peace of the Lord be with you and we will hug it out in the resurrection with Chelsen and david

          • Gary Butner says:

            You want to defend your school, and I can appreciate that. However, you accuse me of interrogating you. If you offer a defense, expect to be questioned.

          • Yoon Shin says:

            Guilty until proven innocent, right? What kind of defense are you looking for? I offered so many examples of how we are a good Christian school, and you ask me about our christology which wasn’t even mentioned in the op? Do you want a systematic theology as a defense? Then why didn’t you ask me about our belief in theology proper? How about our stance on the trinity? Would our pneumatology and demonology satisfy your thirst for what we believe?

            Your posture is that of a witch hunt because of a really bad piece of “journalism.” Like I said, guilty before proven innocent before the Internet doctrinal inquisitors. By the way, are you even AG? If not, even our fundamental truths may be heretical so what’s the point? We were called heretics in the beginning so if you are not AG, we will still be a heretic in your eyes.

            and the saddest part? We probably believe in a lot of things and love YHWH as much as each other. Yet, here we are bickering amongst each other and dividing lines in the body of Christ.

            The Lord’s peace upon you. I’ll let you have the last word

          • Gary Butner says:

            I think Dean Ehler would tell you my views are orthodox. I have no interest in subjecting you to a witch hunt. Christ has done so much for me I always tried to give him my best not my least. God bless, and have a nice week.

  10. Alan Ehler says:

    I serve as the Dean of Southeastern University’s College of Christian Ministries and Religion. As it has been noted, the accusations leveled in this blog are the basis of one student’s experience, and Southeastern University was not contacted for input before its publication.

    Southeastern University is affiliated with the Assemblies of God (AG) and upholds the AG’s Statement of Fundamental Truths. (The statement can be found at http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Statement_of_Fundamental_Truths/sft_full.cfm) These include belief in the Trinity, including the deity of Jesus Christ, the final authority of scripture in all matters of faith and practice, and salvation as only coming through faith in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. All religion, Bible, theology, and ministry faculty are required to uphold these core doctrines in their courses. While we do not believe indoctrination is an appropriate method of advanced education, and we affirm critical thinking, we also understand the level of influence faculty have on the thinking, and, more importantly, faith, of their students. All accusations of teaching out of line with our historic core doctrines are investigated. We do allow professors to present a variety of viewpoints on non-core doctrines, but we also require respect for those who hold to traditional perspectives. It is our prayer and responsibility to see that Southeastern never loses its foundational faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the infallible authority of the Holy Scriptures, and the present, active working of the Holy Spirit.

    • Gary Butner says:

      Dean Ehler, I want to thank you for your post. It appears the goal of SEU is to prepare students for a solid Christian education. That said, I see nothing inappropriate with this article questioning the direction of the University. David Thrower did provide several examples as evidence for his accusation. The Apostle John wrote in I John 4:1-4 that we are to test the spirits to see if they are from God, and in bringing the issues into the light is exactly what Ms. Vicari accomplished.

      • Evangelical Watchdog says:

        No this is not what Ms. Vicari or David Thrower have done. They have attacked an institution who is working to build the Kingdom of Heaven and produce godly ministers with baseless claims. By the way, if you were at all interested in the truth in this article, you would go read page 140 of Whose Community, Which Interpretation. You will find it does NOT say what David states it has and Chelsen has completely misquoted a book in support of their viewpoints. Viewpoint! Not truth. This is what they want the truth to be. Talk about truly being postmodern.

        • Gary Butner says:

          I kindly answered Dean Ehler and even applauded SEU’s goals, and I was even ready to humbly walk away from this discussion to keep the peace. My only goal here is to see Christ glorified in Spirit and in truth. However, one accusation after another continues to be hurled at Chelsen and myself.

          That said, the Apostle John commanded believers to try the spirits to see if they are from God. (I John 4:1-4) When I attempted to do that I was accused of being on a witch hunt. Would any of you accuse John of witch hunting? If you love the Lord, then you should be willing to shout the answer from the rooftops, and not direct me to a book or page that does not contain the answer. Look carefully at the passage, and note a non-confession is in reality a confession that one is against Christ.

          • Evangelical Watchdog says:

            If you were ready to test the spirits, my friend, you would be actively seeking the truth, not relying on an article that doesn’t try to find truth but is ready, rather, to rely on the testimony of one man, not the tesitmony of those who currently attend, or other who have attended in the past. There is not testing of the spirits here, there is only pushing a single agenda which creates a “juicy” article for those who are ready to attack what others are doing to build the kingdom. What good is it to test the false truth presented by this blog? Sir, if you were interested in testing the spirits, you would be interested in hearing the testimonies of those who tell you this is not happening at Southeastern, but clearly, this is not something you are ready to do.

          • Gary Butner says:

            I am not relying on the article in seeking the truth, rather I am going by the Word of God.

          • Evangelical Watchdog says:

            Then let us do exactly that in this moment: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1.7) Let us walk in the light of truth and not cause untruthful divisions within the body of Christ. As John (whom you love to quote some of) wrote in his letter quoting the words of Jesus, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13.35) What in this article screams love? Doesn’t seem to show much love to me. Rather, it seems to dismissively, without seeking the truth or testing the spirits by being in communication with those whom the article condemns, it seems to lack love by all means. If we are His disciples, which we are, then this is NOT the way in which we go about seeking truth.

          • Gary Butner says:

            Love does not deny Christ, nor does it avoid the light.

          • Evangelical Watchdog says:

            You are very correct my friend. But this article, as I have expressed, avoids the light by only presenting one misguided person’s view opposed to the testimony of others that the writer decided to not look for. I spoke with a student who was in four of the classes David was in, two of them being the ones mentioned in this article. I was assured by the student that this article was a complete misrepresentation of what actually happened in class. In fact, I was told that what was presented here could not be farther from the truth. There were prayers in the class, no one was opprosed under the guise of close-mindedness, and there was no “shift” to liberal theology. I was even informed that the Spirit moved so sweetly in one of the classes that students were being moved to tears by how He was moving upon them. So I will leave you here. Love does not avoid the truth. Love searches it out as I have done. You may decide to defend the divisive nature of this article, but that is something you must deal with. Or, you may chose to realize what this article accomplishes, to speak against professors, a university, and a group of godly men and women who are prayerfully building the kingdom of heaven through the academy and the building up of ministers and theologians. As Yoon below noted, you may have the last word, but I pray that you begin to understand what an article such as this does for the whole church.

          • Gary Butner says:

            Try listening to the Spirit of Christ.

  11. cken says:

    There can be no such thing as squishy theology. Theology is to philosophize about the unknown or unknowable. “Squishy” would then simply indicate a philosophy which is antithetical to your own. BTW the pure Marxist philosophy (not communism as we know it) would have agreed with some of the teachings of Jesus such as giving all you have to the poor. Many speculate Jesus was associated with the Essenes whose philosophy was from each according to their ability to each according to their need.
    Imagine there’s no countries, imagine no possessions, and imagine a world living in peace; would that not be Christ like.

  12. gjewett says:

    John A. Mackay, late President of Princeton Theological Seminary, long ago pointed out that Marxism is a Christian heresy.

  13. Corey says:

    As one who has attended an Assemblies of God university, one of the things that I appreciated most was the exposure to many different viewpoints. I was never forced to believe anything or even swayed to believe one way (except that which was in favor of the standard Assemblies of God doctrine), but I was encouraged to question and seek answers on my own. Because of this, I left my university more firm in my faith and doctrinal beliefs than I had ever been, and it wasn’t only because someone had told me to believe a certain way. It has been said that to believe anything without questioning it is the root of all idiocy. I understand that this was written as an opinionative piece, but the assumptions made without any real backing (other than the opinion of one upset man) are irrational and unfair at best.

  14. interested monkey says:

    Well, hello! As a hiring manager for the Enquirer, I was wondering if you would consider one of the open positions we have. It’s a great little gig with lots of single source journalism opportunities and not much back checking required. Interested???

    ——-

    I’m jesting of course; pardon the ad homenim argument. Please consider doing a bit more research before future articles though (or maybe don’t! Actually this type of highly charged article is probably great for pageviews and ppc ads – keep up the good work then!). Ah! I jest again!!

  15. John E says:

    I generally appreciate IRD’s article, but this particular one seems to fall woefully short of appropriate standards. Simply repeating the accusations of one person without trying to confirm them by asking others is Rolling Stone journalism.

  16. Richard Mouw says:

    I really think this discussion should be closed off with an apology for having sinned against the school–and others. Merold Westphal, for example, is a wonderful evangelical philosopher, but his book, published by Baker, a reputable evangelical publisher, is simply condemned as “postmodern.” He makes the point that Freud, Marx and Nietzsche are “masters of suspicion,” encouraging us to look critically at things we might otherwise take for granted. I have said that to my own philosophy students for years–as did many stalwarts in the faith at schools like Calvin, Wheaton, Gordon, Asbury… When the Latin American theologian Jose Miguez Bonino gave lectures on Christianity and Marxism, in London, sponsored by John Stott–whose evangelical credentials were stellar–he made the point about Marx nicely: Karl Marx, he said, is not our judge–only the Lord God is our true judge. But Bonino said, we should allow Marx, with God’s blessing, to take the witness stand to testify against us. The same, I believe, can be said for Nietzsche and Freud. They can help us to pray the Psalm 139 prayer: “Search me, O Lord, and test my thoughts, to see if there is any wicked way in me.”

    • Gary Butner says:

      Apology? The school and students needs to apologize to the Lord and repent. Simply because students and teachers claim, “We wear white hats,” does not make it true.
      Is the article true? I applied the Apostle John’s test (I John 4:1-4) to see if the accusations were true, and every response failed miserably. If men like Athanasius or Chrysostom were here they would almost certainly label their responses heresy, which is exactly in line with John.

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