UM Sponsored Singles Retreat Becomes Forum For New Age Paganism
|Bishop Dan E. Solomon
527 North Boulevard
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802-5700
Dear Bishop Solomon:
.and my Pastors, my Brothers and my Sisters:
I am writing to you all of utmost earnest concern regarding a certain condition within our church. Recently, October 8 - 10, I attended the "Mount Sequoyah 1999 Singles Training Event" in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This event was sponsored by the United Methodist Single Adult Ministry Task Force of the South Central Jurisdiction. The task force was "formed to envision, plan, implement, and evaluate ministries with single adults within the South Central Jurisdiction so that those persons may grow in their understanding of themselves and their Christian faith and discipleship."
From the chair which I sat at this conference, with what I heard and saw, this so-called task force stepped way outside of their purpose, their initial calling, and their obligation as shepherds to their flock. As well as going to the extreme of affronting, offending, and disavowing the Name above all names, our Lord, King, and Saviour . Jesus Christ!
Before I get into what was conveyed this past weekend, let me assure you that what you are about to read is what was being taught and not my interpretation nor assumption of the message. The message was very clear! Should there be any doubt in what I convey here, I was under the impression that the sessions were video taped, plus there is always Kecks book. It became increasingly clear to me that a line was being drawn in the sand.
Robert Keck, our keynote speaker and former Methodist minister, based his presentation upon his book, Sacred Eyes. His bio and brief description did not let on to what he truly was to set before us at this training event. Please note the attachment for referenced bio as well as related furnished handouts.
Keck essentially took us through a re-orientation of our theological belief system. He began by the showing of slides illustrating the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly. He put forth the idea that this was similar to our spiritual changes. But he took it further by proposing and showing additional slides of mans evolution per Darwinism. He put forth the idea that we are not only evolving physically and mentally but spiritually as well. That all three are genetically driven.
As you will see from the handouts these evolutionary changes are sub-divided into 3 stages: Epochs 1, 2, and 3. (Epoch: an event marking the beginning of a new era) Per Keck, Christianity belongs in the second epoch and will not survive into the third. That the current basic Christian theology needs to "meld into the other value systems" present in our world. He further stated that Christianity, being one of the static theologies, would not stand against the new epoch 3 theology. This will assist in "Gods plan for the evolution of the epoch 3 souls". Yet, Keck was quick to note that he was not proposing a one-world religion. (Could have fooled me!)
This process of evolutionary change of the soul may come about, for one, by changing current religious philosophy from that of kings and kingdoms (pointing up as he spoke) to a philosophy "of the people". Essentially democratization of religious thought, in effect putting forth our right to follow our own will and coming out from under the rule of an out dated belief system or, more directly, the King. This tied into his proclamation of epoch 3s belief system of panentheism, bringing forth the idea that God is in everything and everything is God, including you and I. He cited John 10:38 - "but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." He also cited Ephesians 4:6 - one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. He did not read the scripture merely referenced it as his basis for noting that Jesus lived as an example of what we are or yet to become following the epoch 3 stance. Herewith confirming his stance in which we will become as GOD .each of us ..the epoch 3 theology is now before you.
Keck stated the creation story is not relevant except in a spiritual sense. And that the Bible is not a historical textbook. He "doubts that God says My way or the highway". He stated that "God is just not that narrowly minded." Which led him into stating "there is not just one way to salvation". He in effect supported this further by continually mentioning that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (of course he failed to mention the remainder of the verse "which is in Christ Jesus our Lord")
This brings us to Kecks teaching that the Bible writings belong in his epoch 2 and that epoch 3 will bring us past the writings of epoch 2. Thus further delineating the importance of the Bible known by many of us as the Word of God.
To further lay waste to these biblical writings, and admittedly this comes to you third person, another attendee in private conversation inquired of Keck regarding the virgin birth of Jesus. He told her that he did not accept the biblical account of this occurrence and that those pages should be stricken from the bible. His reasoning was that Pauls writings predated those and since Paul did not mention this event, it did not belong in the Bible. When she further sought opinions regarding the virgin birth and salvation through Jesus Christ, Keck got angry with her and brushed her off stating she was stuck in epoch 2.
Now be forewarned . those of us like this woman who are stuck in epoch 2 will simply not make the transition into epoch 3. Meaning we will be left behind in a different kind of way than is put forth in Christian belief. We will just disappear as others move forward into epoch 3 existence. As goes the teaching of deep value systems by Keck.
So, you may think as I did initially, possibly this mans teaching caught our task force unaware. If so, they had a year to find out as it came to my understanding that Kecks appearance was announced at the previous years conference. It was pretty apparent that many, if not all, of the task force not only were aware of this content but accepted it. From the beginning we were told by Keck and other conference leaders to keep an open mind of what it was we were about to hear and what we were hearing.
Let me just relay to you one personal encounter I had with one of the conference leaders, who will in fact be the conference chairperson next year. During one of Kecks sessions, his final to be exact, I got up to get a cup of coffee. When I returned I found Kent Kilbourne in my chair. I thought this odd since other chairs were available; it was quite obvious that someone was sitting there with my Bible, notepad, and conference material apparent; and while it was on the back row he had to pull the chair out to sit in it. Then I saw him peruse my notes turning pages. "Oh" I thought . the subversive (me) is being sought out. I allowed Kent his search without recourse, but I was compelled to ask him a question after he was through.
I leaned over to Kent and asked him, "Who is Jesus?"
Kent glanced up at me and then continued to stare straight ahead. A minute or so passed before I got his response. "You will need to rephrase you question. Im not sure what it is you are asking."
I replied, "Kent, it is a very simple question. Who is Jesus?"
Kent returned, "He is the Son of God."
"So," I continued, "you are saying He is the Way to our Father."
"Jesus is the pointer of many ways," replied Kent.
My brothers and sisters you may be wondering, as I did, how this teaching found itself at a Christian conference. How could this occur within the auspices of the Methodist church? To that I cannot even imagine an answer. But I can tell you this .it is not just within the Methodist church as Keck announced that he will also be bringing this teaching to the nuns of Notre Dame within weeks. And I am certain that other similar teachings are occurring within other denominations. So with that I refer you to Jesus words according to Matthew 24:24 - "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." (Keck spoke often of a great personal healing he has received due to this belief system. A healing which he did not give glory to God for but rather to his own understanding.)
Yet for my church to have allowed this sort of teaching to occur anywhere within its body was quite abhorrent in itself. That this was allowed to occur at a gathering of single adults, many of whom are already wounded, seeking, new believers, etc. is inexcusable. The susceptibility of spiritual harm from teachings such as this is a danger to the stout Christian, much less to the type of audience such a conference as this is likely to draw .and did draw.
As two other attendees and myself were preparing to leave we noticed a large cross on the mountainside. I suggested that we should go to the foot of the cross to pray for and about what we experienced that weekend. Upon reaching the cross we found a lady crying heartily. We asked her to join us in prayer and the four joined hands in prayer. As we prayed we proclaimed Jesus King of kings, Lord and Saviour we asked God to rebuke the teachings that had transpired for mercy on those in attendance. Hearing these words, the lady whom we came upon pulled me close and cried out "I thought I was the only one!" Christians alone at a Christian conference .go figure.
Not once was prayer offered before, during or after any of the sessions. Christian conference? Only after this was complained about did we do so during our small group sessions.
As a divorced man and therewith a part-time dad, I gave up a weekend with my three sons to attend this Christian conference. Do I need to tell you that I am angry about that? Do I need to tell you that there were other singles that made similar if not greater sacrifices to attend this Christian conference? Do I need to tell that there were churches, large and small, that sent leaders and potential leaders to this Christian conference to further enhance outreach to a hurting section of our society that greatly needs to hear the Good News? Can I tell you that this was NOT a Christian conference? That Christ was not only NOT worshipped properly, but also dethroned from His rightful place! I am very angry with all of this and thus should you be as well! This easily could have been a youth conference with your child, niece, nephew, or grandchild in attendance . and if this situation is not properly addressed could well be.
No one publicly confronted this man for these deceitful statements against our Lord Jesus Christ. No opportunity was given for questions or comments regarding his teaching. But this should not have stopped someone from confronting him. I am ashamed that I did not. I have apologized repeatedly to my Jesus for not being bolder on His behalf. This non-action on my part has hurt me greatly and I feel certain that I am not alone in that grief. While in small group personal discussions I did stand for Him, I did not stand where it most would count and where the stand surely needed to be made. As a small consolation to that fact you are now in receipt of this letter. But it is also a call for you to take a stand. A line was certainly drawn in the sand regarding this matter... one either is to stand for Christ or not.
I am asking you to do that now. I am asking the leaders of the Methodist church to demand corrective action in what occurred at this singles-training event. To take steps to assure that such deceitful teachings do not occur again under the auspices of the Methodist church. I believe every attendee of this conference should be contacted . apologized to .and offered the Truth!
In this instance, we should look to Pauls words to Timothy:
2 Timothy 3:16 - 4:4 NKJV
We must now truly confront the question of "Where do I stand?" Is Jesus a liar, lunatic, or Lord? Are the scriptures "God-breathed"? Or are we granted the whim to pick and choose not only which scripture to believe as truth, but also what part of a verse we deem relevant? What worth is the Bible?
There were people fooled by this man and the trusted ministers who supported him at this conference. The body of Christ suffered a loss. There were people who sought this conference as a time of affirmation, not condemnation. And let me assure you that although we were told that we had a choice in our beliefs, it was continually made clear that we would not make it holding onto the rigid beliefs of Christianity. These people who came to be strengthened in the body of Christ found a teaching that tore at the very heart of that foundation.
In that vein, I would like the opportunity to do what I did not that weekend. I am requesting that a complete mailing list of all that attended to be provided to me. I wish this in order to personally apologize for not taking that much needed stand and to essentially place before them what is now before you .that there will come a time when every knee shall bow and proclaim Jesus Christ King! I plead this opportunity be given me.
Amidst all that I have said I would like to give thanks for Celia Whitlers presence. She, her accompanist, and their songful praises to God were the rare shining light of the weekend.
I thank you for your taking time in the reading of this letter. I would also like to thank the leadership of the Methodist church whom still confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour for acting upon this situation. And finally I wish to thank my King Jesus Christ for holding my friends and I safe from these fiery darts.
A Christian still on the Rock
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