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It’s no secret.  Their true intentions are out in the open.

After having written a post on Fuller Theological Seminary’s curriculum, I’m still wrestling with the dichotomy of founder Charles E Fuller’s theology and that of his students 60+ years on.  Yes, that’s over threescore in the life of a seminary, but there is danger in moving from the, presumably, biblically-sound theology of its founder to weird and far-from-wonderful relativism of God’s Word.

Nonetheless, Fuller is clear on its stance.  You can find out where it is heading in The Burner, its blog from the Lowell W Berry Center for Lifelong Learning.  You may recall that lifelong learning is part of diaprax — an ongoing Hegelian dialectic combined with transformational Marxist praxis — intended to get you to continuously revise the way you think about life, church, everything really.  You move further away from the truth throughout the course of your life.

The Burner features ‘Fuller Seminary resources for the local church’. The blog has three editor-contributors.  If you were stuck in a lift with them, they look like the type of chaps with whom you would feel comfortable.  They look like relatively conservative, God-fearing, all-American family men.  And they probably are to an extent.  It’s just that the content and the God-fearing bits blur somewhat.  Eddie Gibbs, for example, believes in the Western ‘post-Christendom’ and is committed to church’n’change.  The title of his three books are ChurchNext, LeadershipNext, and Emerging Churches (co-authored with Fuller professor Ryan Bolger).

Featured in The Burner‘s blogroll are links to Brian McLaren, Church Then and Now (by two of The Burner’s editors, Gibbs and Fredrickson), Frank Viola, the Sojourners, The Ooze and Tony Jones.

Here is a sampling of The Burner‘s posts (emphases mine throughout):

Motivation Monday: The Sabbath Was Made for People

God enjoys you enjoying your rest!

In America, rest is all too often thought as something only for the weak or lazy. Well, God is not American. Take a breather. Take a nap. Take a day to rest and rejoice in the day that the Lord has made.

So, nothing about taking time out for prayer, church or Bible study then enjoying yourself in a way pleasing to Him.

What to Do with Your Fourth of July Service

Put simply: Does allegiance to America trump allegiance to the kingdom of God and God’s reign? Our political and religious freedoms dictated by a government pale in comparison to our freedom from sin and death obtained by the mighty act of God in Jesus Christ. The gospel to which we all bear witness must and will reject any attempt to make it synonymous with America or any nation.

The point of a church service commemorating the Fourth of July is really to give thanks for America’s independence and for the many blessings God has bestowed on the Great Republic, the greatest in the world (still, but for how long?).  So, there is nothing wrong with piling in with national hymns and preaching a sermon on it.  Being thankful for the United States is different from believing that it features in the New Testament as a chosen nation.

Richard Rohr @ Fuller: A Review by Patrick Oden

The Revd Richard Rohr is a Franciscan mystic who would like to inject some emergentcy (my word) into the Roman Catholic Church.  He spoke at Fuller on November 17, 2010.

Along with other observers, I predict a convergence between elements of the Catholic Church and the emergents based on the common ground of rejection of sola Scriptura and of ecclesiastical  hierarchy.

“To survive as a Roman Catholic,” he said, “ is to already understand the emerging church.” This is because of the longstanding reality of a double belonging within the Roman Catholic community. There is a deep-seated tradition but there is also a curious freedom, especially in the monastic communities, which maintain participation with the hierarchy but have their own notions of authority and priorities. More than the double belonging, however, is the reality of non-dualistic thinking that is the foundation of monastic contemplation. Dualistic thinking—the need to make every topic about two opposing sides—led to the increasing prioritization of orthodoxy over orthopraxy, having the right set of doctrines as opposed to the right set of actions. The emphasis on orthodoxy in the past became an emphasis on words, rather than on the Word which became Flesh.  In an emerging Christianity, Orthodoxy is not set in contrast to Orthopraxy, but rather they are meant to be joined together in a holistic expression.

Indeed, this forms the root of what Rohr calls the first pillar of emerging Christianity. There is a pursuit of “honest Jesus scholarship” which seeks to better understand the words and actions of Jesus within his own contexts.

More like, ‘what we wish to fashion as words and actions of Jesus within our own contexts’.

The truth of the Bible — including Christ’s intentions for His Church — isn’t that complicated.  There is no need to obfuscate it with words like ‘double belonging’, ‘non-dualistic thinking’ and ‘orthopraxy’.  Just read it for what it is.  It’ll be crystal clear.

I’ll close with a post about Leonard Sweet from Fredrickson and Gibbs’s blog, Church Then and Now:

Book Review: Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There by Leonard Sweet

Note the current theme of ‘nudge’, employed on both sides of the Atlantic by politicians and churchmen alike to move us towards communitarianism.

This book is vintage Sweet, with wit and charmed, persuasive language.  Here, Len makes the case for re-envisioning how the church engages the practice of evangelism

For Leonard Sweet, evangelism is the normal work of a follower of Jesus engaged in the world, It is a matter of paying attention, looking for evidence of God’s work, through all of our senses, nudging people towards the Lord who is already present and working.

Nudging requires proximity.  The church is God’s called out people who are sent back into the world. We live in neighborhoods. We cross paths with people all day long.  Disciples of Jesus listen and dialogue. We share our stories, and we share the Story—and the Spirit of God works in the lives of others, and in our lives as well.

This is not a how-to-evangelize type of book. It is better than that. Nudge argues that God is not anti-culture, but rather God is very much at work in and through culture. And in the midst of culture, God continues to draw people to himself. Nudge invites, more so, urges, followers of Jesus to live out a new understanding of evangelism—responding to our sensing of God’s activity all around us.

If that isn’t proof that the Church is programmed to become part of a communitarian, third-way, ‘think global, act local’ scheme, then, what is?  Also note the emphasis on sensation and experiences.  Beware!

Check out The Burner as well as Church Then and Now to see what Fuller has to say about the church of the future.  It’s a long way from Charles E Fuller’s The Old Fashioned Revival Hour but very much fitting with his vision of ‘a Caltech of the Evangelical world’.  A Faustian pact, certainly.

Friday: A look at a Fuller Theological Seminary alum

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