MB Priorities

The following is an excerpt from page 24 of the latest MB Herald ( October 2010) issue. This is priority number three on the MB board’s list from an article called Moderator’s minute: Three words, three rocks:

3. Seminary: With MB Biblical Seminary being reabsorbed into Fresno Pacific University, we’re asking how to develop long-term, effective, and sustainable MB leadership training in Canada. Currently, MBBS-ACTS (Langley, B.C.) and Canadian Mennonite University (Winnipeg) provide training. The board’s seminary commission appreciates your input about this need. What should church leadership training for MBs in Canada look like in the future?

My hope is that you will take a moment to pray for the larger family and participate with interest as you are able. The board invites your thoughtful responses to these questions in preparation for our meeting Oct. 15–17. Please email to MBboard@mbconf.ca.”

-Paul Loewen, moderator of the executive board of the Canadian Conference of the MB Churches

Paul Loewen is correct, this is a very important rock which needs prayerful consideration and research. Are MBBS-ACTS and Canadian Mennonite University theologically and biblically solid places for future church leaders and pastors to be trained? We’ve already begun to see the effects of the emergent/contemplative influence inside Christian universities and seminaries as a new breed of pastors and church leaders are filling pulpits and leadership positions. The Mennonite Brethren lay people should be very concerned. When they were asked for their responses, did Mennonites take this rare chance to review the facts and let their voices be heard?

It may be too late to respond to this particular MB Herald questionaire, but it’s never too late to speak up.

Please consider the following concerns about Canadian Mennonite University regarding their promotion of contemplative spirituality and the teachings of the emerging church:

CMU offers their students Spiritual Direction (see Spiritual Life) and various syllabuses and retreats based on contemplative spiritual formation. These are taught by Gerry Ediger [Richard Foster fan] and Irma Fast Dueck [participant in Muslim-Christian dialogue (sponsored by MCC), and Mennonite-Catholic dialogue groups].

CMU’s Refreshing Winds Committee is welcoming Brian McLaren on January 3-5, 2011 as their plenary conference speaker (page 17, The Blazer, Winter 2010 issue).
*See ad here: http://www.cmu.ca/conferences.html#refresh

They also just had a ‘desert fathers’ (and desert mothers) lecture which was promoted here:

October 19-20, 2010
Dr. Belden Lane, Saint Louis University
From Desert Christians to Mountain Refugees: Fierce Landscapes and Counter-Cultural Spirituality

October 19, 11:00 AM Places on the Edge: The Power of Desert/Mountain Terrain in Christian Thought
October 19, 7:30 PM The Counter-Cultural Spirituality of the Desert Fathers for Today
October 20, 11:00 AM Fire in the Desert: Learning from the Desert Mothers
http://www.cmu.ca/publiclectures.html

Should protecting students from Roman Catholic spiritual formation and mysticism and the heretical teachings of emerging church leaders like Brian McLaren be a priority of the MB Conference?

Here are some concerns about MBBS-ACTS at TWU regarding their promotion of the emerging church, Roman Catholic mysticism and contemplative spirituality:

First of all, ACTS Seminaries is a partnership of five seminaries in an integrated multi-denominational learning environment. “ACTS” stands for Associated Canadian Theological Schools. These five represent the Graduate School of Theological Studies of Trinity Western University:

Canadian Baptist Seminary
Canadian Pentecostal Seminary (became affiliated with TWU in 1996)
Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (joined ACTS in 1999)
Northwest Baptist Seminary
Trinity Western Seminary

All partners agree on fundamental biblical principles, and all courses are accessible to students enrolled in any of the partnering seminaries.

But there is another partner not mentioned on the above list:

Why Study Catholic Studies at TWU?
In Spring 2008, TWU approved a Catholic studies minor in the Christianity and Culture program comprised of courses entirely by Redeemer Pacific College, a Roman Catholic college affiliated with TWU, located next to the main campus.
http://twu.ca/undergraduate/academics/catholic-studies.html

Here is a sample of what happens at Redeemer Pacific College which is now affiliated with Trinity Western University (Eucharist adoration, veneration of Mary, and daily mass):

Eucharist Adoration
Come to RPC Spring Retreat this Sunday Jan 17
The Spring Retreat is this Sunday!! We will be going to Westminster Abbey. This retreat will focus on the Eucharist; what we believe as Catholics and how we can apply this belief to our everyday lives. There will be talks by Fr. Gabriel, Dr. Stackpole and time for quiet prayer and reflection, Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, a very funny skit, and yummy pizza!!

A Marian Conference:
The BC/Yukon KofC and RPC Present: Mary, Mother of All Christians and Her Son’s Message for the Americas
http://www.rpcollege.bc.ca/index.php?page=conferences

Spiritual Life at RPC

In his 1997 apostolic constitution on universities, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II emphasized that Catholic universities should fully integrate faith into all aspects of university life. He also encouraged the whole university community to regularly participate in the sacraments, especially the celebration of the Eucharist.
RPC students, staff and faculty form an intimate Catholic community rooted in the common bond of faith and sacraments. Students attend daily mass, participate in Eucharistic adoration, make frequent confessions and receive spiritual direction. Our spiritual activities include annual retreats, prayer meetings, Bible studies and faith formation based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

RPC Chapel
Christ can quite literally be found at the heart of Redeemer Pacific College. All students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to come to the Chapel and spend time in prayer with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament any time the College is open. Throughout the day many students come to spend some quiet moments with Christ in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, while students who live on campus are able to visit the Blessed Sacrament after regular office hours.
http://www.rpcollege.bc.ca/index.php?page=spiritual-life

How does this fit in with the ACTS “all partners agree on fundamental biblical principles” clause? Is ecumenism a concern to the MB leadership in regards to this campus? What about the doctrinal differences between Christianity and Roman Catholicism? Is it a compromise to refrain from telling Catholics the truth? What about contemplative spirituality or ancient Roman Catholic mysticism? Should it be a priority of the MB Conference to teach students and future leaders to stand for the truth and contend for the faith? Or should they lead them into spiritual compromise?

The TWU campus appears to be overflowing with it:


Chapel at Trinity Western University – Some Concerns

http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/chapel-at-trinity-western-university/

The Muddy Waters of a Bible Seminary Course
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2009/08/04/the-muddy-waters-of-a-bible-seminary-course/

Is Trinity Western University helping to Pave the Thomas Merton Pathway?
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/english-professor-at-trinity-western-university-is-thomas-merton-expert/

Is ‘The Still Point’ of Interspiritualist Thomas Merton being promoted at TWU?
http://muddystreams.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/is-the-still-point-of-interspiritualist-thomas-merton-being-promoted-at-twu/

These are NOT minor issues, especially if the October MB Herald has been any indication (if you have been reading this blog you will have seen how emerging/contemplative spirituality and Roman Catholic mysticism has already spread through the MB seminaries and churches). It is obviously not one of the top priorities of the Mennonite Brethren leadership to separate themselves from the doctrines of Roman Catholicism, which Menno Simons clearly spoke against and renounced. The only rock Christians need to be grounded on is Jesus Christ (not Saint Peter, Rome, or the papacy). To which “rock” are the new leaders and pastors (that are emerging from these Christian universities) going to be leading the Mennonite people if this continues?

Related:

Eucharistic Adoration
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE0ysu_35bc

ANOTHER JESUS? – ROGER OAKLAND
1:04:22 – 1 year ago
Pope John Paul II has called for a new evangelization focused on the Eucharistic Christ. According to Roman Catholic teaching, the Eucharist is the central component of the Mass and the source and summit of Christianity. It is believed that when a priest consecrates the Communion bread, the wafer is no longer bread, but the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Rome teaches that Jesus is literally and bodily present wherever a consecrated Host is found. Therefore, hundreds of thousands of Catholic churches claim that Jesus is present in their eucharistic tabernacle or monstrance.
Watch here:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1440171899401190627#