28 July 2017 - Gospel Call Media - (Charlotte, NC) - Last month in Nashville, TN on the campus of Lipscomb University there was a pro-denominational gathering known as InterGenerate 2017 (TM). It was a purposeful, proactive, and plotted yoking of the universities "Institute for Christian Spirituality" with the radically pro-sectarian organization known as GenOn Ministries (TM). The director of this conference herself, Dr. Holly Allen of Lipscomb University, disclosed in my hearing that the entire conference was made possible by a $5,000.00 grant from the president of Lipscomb University, Dr. L. Randolph Lowry.(1)
This reporter was there. I was determined to hear with my own ears any evidence of movement away from the "faith once for all delivered to the saints" at Lipscomb University. What I heard was far worse than my greatest fears. Though there are many faithful faculty, staff, and students remaining at Lipscomb, the leadership of the Bible Department has gone "retro." What I heard has more in common with 2nd century Gnosticism than it does the the "pattern of sound words."
The conference essentially is attempting to replace, not only the essence of the gospel, (2) it seeks to aggressively change how that gospel is conveyed. Paul asserts in Romans 10.17 that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." The eunuch in Acts 8, when asked if he understood what he was reading, replied; "How can I, except some man should guide me?" The spoken and heard Word of God is the chosen conveyance of God. It has not changed. Sadly, this conference is interested in every form of communication EXCEPT biblical preaching for "ears that hear." Among a number of un-biblical portals, I heard conference presenters advocate uber interactivity, the use of children in worship services, and drawing out of prayers with crayons for adults. It was like being at a "magical mystery tour" of extreme spiritual experimentation.
Sadly, Origen, Augustine, and Aquinas would have been far more comfortable at this conference than would have Peter, Paul, and John. In the 2nd century the Gnostic's claimed both an exclusive and higher knowledge than that which was common to ordinary Christians. Now, as then, those who see themselves as the "best and the brightest of all time," have a "buzz word" language to confuse traditional and understood meanings so as to "sound" faithful as they attempt to force the "car over the cliff." Here is a list of novis-Gnostic words and terms I heard (along with definitions) (3) while at the conference. (I'm sure there were others, these are the ones I caught.)
- "Cross-denominational" - The transference of truth across conflicting denominational lines without objection.
- "Spiritual" - Feelings of religion in lieu of trust, obedience, and faithfulness.
- "Intra-denominational" - Conflicting doctrines within a singular denomination.
- "Multi-denominational" - All denominations are equally viable, one is good as another, truth is in multiples and not in singularity.
- "Traditions" - In lieu of the Bible, this is where conflicting denominations justify their existence. All "traditions" are all equally worthy.
- "Faith Formation / Spiritual Formation" - Takes the place of obedience to the gospel, an evolution and not an event. As you may have heard; "Faith is a journey, not a destination." (4)
- "Historical Roots" - The foundation of conflicting denominations is rooted in history and not upon the Bible. The novis-Gnostic's reject the existence of singular, revealed, inerrant, and inspired truth.
- "Explosive Free Range Worship" - The 21st century version of the "silence of the Scriptures" is a license for never ending progression away from revelation. ("We can do anything we want as long as the Bible doesn't expressly forbid it.")
- "Accommodation" - The act of dumbing down worship, preaching, and teaching to the lowest common denominator, i.e.don't put anything over a 4th grade level. This is also known as "Changing forms to suit the capacity."
- "Paradigm" - That which comes from the past and must be discarded at all costs. All things from the past are counter-evolutionary and therefore must be considered useless.
- "Story" - A term that is associated with fiction that is applied to all the historical accounts found in the Bible.
- "Testimony" - "My story" trumps revealed Scripture. What I feel is more important than what I can learn from the Scriptures.
- "Practical Theology" - The pragmatic tail that wags the theological dog. What works is more important that what is revealed.
- "Pragmatic Academic" - Outcome based educator who practices "practical theology."
- "Narrative of Scripture" - The Bible is a story from Genesis to Revelation devoid of interpretation of the Holy Spirit, devoid of dispensation, and testament. It overtly rejects the concept of II Timothy 3.16 - 17.
- "Re-clothing Communion" - The radical change of the Lord's Supper to include, integrate and accommodate the mindset of very young children.
- "Collaborative Theology" - In lieu of studying the Scriptures, this is the blending of many conflicting doctrines so as to render them all devoid of conviction. For years this has been also known as the "unity in diversity movement." It is based upon human wisdom and ignores the Scripture entirely.
- "Tribe" - A term used for referring to people of conviction as being somehow backward for the faithfulness to revelation. When one admits to belonging to a "tribe" one can then "admit" that there are "Christians" in all "churches."
These are "smooth words" and we must be wary of them!
Remember Isaiah 30.10b: "Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:"
[Lord willing, this will be an on-going series. The next report will deal with the theological assumptions of Dr. Leonard Allen who is the head of the Bible Department at Lipscomb University and is married to the conference chairman, Dr. Holly Allen.] - RM
(1) These facts were all verified in detail in our first report 13 July 2017 and available on this same blog.
(2) There were many denominations in attendance, all advocating "different gospels." There were Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Disciples of Christ, Anglicans, Episcopalians, et. al. The theme, stated numerous times and numerous ways was, "truth is relative, it is multiple, ever changing, evolving, emerging, and is individually defined." The only truth I did not hear was that "truth is revealed, unchanging, singular, and is not individually defined."
(3) The definitions are mine based upon how these words / terms / phrases were used at the conference in my hearing. As there is no such thing as a "New-Gnostic" dictionary, I WELCOME your better definitions that I can use to update any mis-definition on my part!
(4) The radically emergent ETHOS CHURCH in Nashville, where Dr.'s Leonard & Holly Allen attend brags about having an atheist leading a mission team to Kenya a couple of years ago! You see, he's on a "journey" to faith and his "journey" is just beginning. (Verifiable on the 3rd session of Leonard Allen at the 2016 Pepperdine Lectures, if you care to look it up. It's on YouTube.)