Pt. IV: The EC and BNYC: Is the EC Building Momentum?
BNYC 2006 Alarms
Lighthouse Trails Research actually had to warn concerned parents away from BNYC 2006 because of the following dangers or potential spiritual hazards:
WARNING: West Coast Youth Conference Will Promote Contemplative Spirituality
Parents, who are considering sending their teens to the BNYC (Brethren National Youth Conference), should think twice about this. While the conference will include speakers like Ray Comfort and Josh McDowell, it will also offer a variety of contemplative resources and teachings to the teens. The links below show some of the concerns.
2. Offering emerging teacher, Don Miller’s book, Blue Like Jazz "A remarkable journey back to a culturally relevant, infinitely loving God."
3. Youth Workers Resources: (This list includes Youth Specialties, Group Publishing, and Relevant Mag, all of which promote, endorse, and teach contemplative, emerging and Eastern style practices and beliefs. (See our research on Youth Specialties.)
This event is being held at a university (Biola) that partners with Richard Foster and Larry Crabb in the Spiritual Formation Forum. In addition, Biola’s Institute of Spiritual Formation teaches contemplative spirituality. The conference is offering a resource to parents called www.cpyu.org, which has numerous connections to contemplative and emerging (http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php?p=772&more=1&c=1).
Lighthouse Trails received a phone call prior to the conference from a concerned parent who informed them that “during the Triple Trax session, youth will be taken to both a Buddhist temple and a Moslem mosque.” http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter071706.htm#article2
According to a CE National web page:
Dan O’Deens, who is heading up outreach for BNYC, had several teens give testimonies about their outreach activities during the day Monday. Jay Bell of GBIM reported on a group that visited a Moslem mosque, spending time with an Imam. Tomorrow the group will visit a Sikh temple, followed by a Buddhist and then Hindu temples.
If I may, there aren’t a lot of things more disturbing to me than going on the BNYC 06 website and seeing a smiling Grace Brethren girl (or three) in Muslim headdress! Lest you think I am overreacting, the youth were clearly told that their visit to a Buddhist temple and mosque were not to be opportunities for witnessing or sharing the gospel. Remember, however that according to the above statement from the website, these were classified as “outreach activities”. One wonders how that can actually be the case if they were specifically told not to witness
They were merely field trips in which they were to cultivate a respect for other religions. Here’s the rub, though. This type of interfaith encounter is probably not best for young people at a Christian conference, especially if they are going to remove shoes and don a headdress. This is a concession to a religion that needs Christ, first and foremost, and caution must be utilized in this endeavor. I’m not saying it wasn’t but entering false places where demons are worshipped is a very risky field trip and not necessarily appropriate in my opinion for a Brethren conference. I definitely don’t blame a concerned parent for being wary.
Addendum: Having said that, I was contacted and criticized for really missing their point of this field trip. Let me just remind everyone reading that I CONCEDE that this may have been viewed as a strategic visit and I am not attacking Jay Bell or anyone for this. I merely share my concern given what I know about Mosques, Hinduism, and Islam from being a missionary in India. If you agreed with this excursion that is your right and I applaud your right to feel however you desire concerning it. My disagreement does not make me an enemy of anyone who feels differently. I stand by my concerns here and welcome further discussion.
Josh McDowell and Ray Comfort were also speakers that year and I shared the same hope as Lighthouse Trails did when they said:
“It is our hope that Ray Comfort and Josh McDowell will warn teens attending the conference not to participate in any of the contemplative sessions.”
Alas! I am afraid they did not…
From BNYC to Momentum
In 2007, BNYC changes to Momentum: http://www.cenational.org/bnyc/
The speakers slated were Francis Chan and David Livermore. I must say that Francis Chan is a good speaker and he, as a graduate from John Macarthur’s Master’s Seminary, much of what he says and does is biblical and encouraging. Alas, however, he has been sharing at conferences all over with some emerging teachers that promote their beliefs and seem unconfronted by men who should know better. What I am trying to say is that Francis Chan and others who would not ascribe to the emergent views (hopefully) share the platform at these conferences with some of these men and it therefore becomes unclear as to the firmness of their position in some areas of emergent belief. This is merely an observation not an accusation..
Pastor Francis Chan, who has been a favorite speaker at the BNYC for the past seven years, has also been speaking with Erwin McManus at conferences. One such event is the annual Hawaiian Island Ministries conference in Hawaii: http://www.himonline.org/oldsite/conference_pages/conf_hon_schedule.html
At this conference in Honolulu, he spoke alongside McManus, contemplative promoter Dallas Willard and emergent Tony Campolo. It must be noted that the Hawaiian Island Ministries or HIM conferences have a history fraught with false teaching and they have introduced all manner of deception year after year to the islands. I just wish Chan wasn’t featured there alongside these men because of what THEY clearly teach. One assumes of course that Chan doesn’t really know whom he is speaking alongside, or does he?
On Brian Orme’s blog, he writes concerning Chan:
“When he was talking about faith and movement—he mentioned a conversation he had with Erwin McManus, Erwin said that he wanted to experiment with his church—he wanted to see if he could send so many people out for ministry that he would kill it … he hasn’t succeeded yet—but it’s a noble goal, I think.” http://brianorme.com/blog/?p=324
Chan is also slated to speak at these conferences alongside McManus and others:
Spirit West Coast: The speaker’s list includes Brennan Manning, the author of two dynamic, life-changing Christian books, “Abba Father” and “The Ragamuffin Gospel;” Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosaic in Los Angeles, and one of the top cutting-edge "generation next" churches in America; Francis Chan, pastor of Cornerstone Church and the president of Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley. In addition to being a pastor, Chan hosts the radio program “Truth Be Known” http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles%20Mar06/Art_Mar06_21.html
Spirit West Coast - Del Mar not only features dozens and dozens of concerts and music artists, but also world-class Bible teaching and speaking seminars and messages. The ministry team for 2006 includes popular Southern California pastors Erwin McManus (Mosaic in L.A.) and Francis Chan (Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley), and evangelist/motivational speaker Darrell Scott. http://www.goodnewsetc.com/036SND2.htm
Francis Chan will also speak with McManus at the New Awakening conference, apparently cancelled for 07 but on for 08: http://www.jamanewawakening.com/speakers.html
Also this year Francis Chan spoke at the Willow Creek Arts Conference: http://2007artsconferenceblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/teaching-is-art.html
And the upcoming Catalyst conference will also be EC friendly:
“The Catalyst Conference is a premiere Leadership experience held in Atlanta, GA, on October 3-5, 2007. Catalyst has quickly become THE event for young leaders from all over the country.” http://www.jamanewawakening.com/speakers.html
Chan will share the platform with: Erwin McManus, Ken Blanchard- endorsed Patrick Lencioni, Rick Warren, Shane Claiborne, founder of a “new monasticism” community.
By far the most concerning speaking engagement Chan will be at is the EC/contemplative friendly Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention in 2007: http://www.youthspecialties.com/NYWC/2007/content/information/speakers_artists
This contemplative youth conference will feature Dan
Kimball, Dave Livermore, Francis Chan, and Mark Yaconelli and will promote this
mysticism. Lighthouse Trails provides this noteworthy warning:
“TheNational Youth Workers Convention
will take place in three different US cities this coming fall (October through
November). The event is presented by Youth Specialties, an organization
that has been a springboard for contemplative and emerging spiritualities for
many years. If your youth pastor or youth workers are planning on attending one
of the three conventions, we urge you to take a look at the following links
(from the NYWC website). We think you will agree that attendees will receive a
hearty dose of mystical spirituality and emergent messages that can ultimately
lead followers away from biblical faith:
Labyrinths,Taize worship, Catholic liturgy, meditation - it's all at the 2007 National Youth Workers Convention.” http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/index.php
Dear folks, here’s the problem. However good a speaker Chan is and a sound teacher, the men he’s sharing platforms with in these conferences should be being publicly confronted (and have been) about their false teachings.
I’m not saying that Chan agrees with these men BUT I find myself extremely disappointed that he could allow these things to go unaddressed and unconfronted and agree to be featured alongside some of these dangerous teachers. Maybe he is confronting them I cant judge that either but there doesn’t appear to be that much of a distance between speakers who agree to train and teach at these conferences while leaving such crucial issues unaddressed or dealt with to those present.
Chan’s college pastor at his Simi Valley church is Chuck Bomar who gave few nods to emergent teachers in his question-answer session at this year’s Momentum.
One last Chan concern is that I cant help wondering what John MacArthur would think about Chan’s sharing the stage with these men that MacArthur has rightly identified in some cases as the false teachers they are. It is my prayer that Francis Chan will make a stand and, if he fails to do so, that CE National will heed these warnings and make a stand against Chan’s continuing participation in conferences like these. Only time will tell. This is merely a suggestion based on my opinion. Any and all are free to disagree.
Another Momentum speaker is David Nasser and his message at momentum 2007 was also pretty good but on his website he promotes contemplative mystic Brennan Manning. He’s also worked with pro emerging Youth specialties.
On his website he recommends people to read the Purpose Driven Life and a book by contemplative Brennan Manning: who wrote some famous books Ragamuffin Gospel and Above All and promotes the spiritual contemplative stillness which again has more in common with new age or eastern religious meditation than anything Christian. Here are some quotes and details concerning Manning:
Ray Yungen tells us:
“Behind Manning's charisma lie some troubling connections. For example, Manning favorably quotes a Catholic monk, Bede Griffiths, in two of his books, Abba's Child and Ruthless Trust. Griffiths, like Merton, "explored ways in which Eastern religions could deepen his prayer." Griffiths also saw the "growing importance of Eastern religions ... bringing the church to a new vitality."
Manning: "['T]he vast majority of my ministry is in the evangelical world.'"
"In order to hear from God, Manning himself retreats to silence and solitude. It takes him about 20 minutes he says, to come to a state of inner stillness." (A Time of Departing, 2nd ed., p. 84).
Manning also claims that New Ager Beatrice Bruteau is a "trustworthy guide to contemplative consciousness" (from his book Abba’s Child).
I’m not saying Nasser agrees or believes in these things but Manning is a dangerous fellow to point young people to start reading from.
Nasser also shared at a Kentucky conference with; you guessed it, Erwin McManus: http://www2.kybaptist.org/kbc/welcome.nsf/printpages/mackey20030123