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Bryan. ‗Here are just two. First, I learned how to begin...
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―How do you reach the generation of rock music and movies, cyberspace
and television? Alex Bryan thinks he mig...
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lessons when they were kids, but they have not plans to qui...
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solid ...
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local church level. We have called upon the lo...
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―2. Adventists should continue gleaning from Willow Creek.
Selective borrowing is an important part of our history. ...
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―Alex Bryan‘s Background: [He] created a ‗Sunday service‘
church and left Seventh-day Adventist employment. Alex Bryan
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University in Tennessee, was repeatedly featured in the ...
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―Information came to us recently that former Seventh-day Adventist pastor
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finished. Bryan had resigned in 2002 foll...
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―This week I'm attending the Willow Creek Leadership Summit
via satellite in Atlanta. My parents, brother, and a ...
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‖Dear Max, … Regarding my Atlanta history: The experience there
had nothing to do with theology, but rather evang...
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―Max, I‘m uncomfortable both personally and as a pastor at pointing
towards events that affirm my nearly 20 years of...
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―ALEX BRYAN is senior pastor of the Walla Walla
University Church, where he also serves as adjunct
professor in the sch...
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―While the Global South and East are exploding, we in the
West, including America, are imploding. … I don‘t suspe...
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disappearance, and African-American Adventists are pro...
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―What Should We Do? First, we need a crate load of candor. …I long for a
division, union, or local conference leader...
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their local church leadership. Promotions in pr...
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―In July 2010, five simple Jesus followers (Alex Bryan, Japhet De
Oliveira, Sam Leonor, Tim Gillespie and Terry Swenson...
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―Bryan graduated from Southern College (now Southern
Adventist University) in 1993. He earned a Master of
Divinity degr...
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―Alex Bryan is the Senior Pastor of the Walla Walla University
Church. He was formerly the pastor of an interdenominati...
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―Anticipate change. Proactive leadership in Google
Culture with Len Sweet.‖

―The Leadership in Emerging Culture ...
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Advances
―Students participate in three face-to-face 'advance' experiences in
Portland, OR, Oxford, UK, and Orcas Is...
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―Tuesday, February 3, 2009, Timely Material. …
2. Leonard Sweet gave three powerful ‗meditations‘ on
mission and contem...
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―The omnipresence of coffee at our social appointments intrigues the cultural
critic Leonard Sweet. Coffee, he ar...
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―My sonnets are not generally finished till I see them again after
forgetting them.‖ So wrote Dante Gabriel Rossetti in...
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―Dear Max, … I am absolutely opposed to any form of Eastern
mysticism, mantras, centering prayer, or other non-bi...
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―George Fox Evangelical Seminary: October 25 [2012] via
HootSuite. Check out The One Project, being led by 3 of o...
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“Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson: … Eat This Book is like a key that
opens up the limitless potential of the Scr...
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―Book Description: Eat This Book challenges us to read the
Scriptures on their own terms, as God‘s revelation, and t...
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Customer Review: ―How you read a book is certainly important
and plays a major role in what you get out of it. …
...
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Customer Review: ―It is a rather strange and wandering book in which
Peterson meanders through a wide variety of top...
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―Biography: Rob Bell lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan,
where he's the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bi...
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Official Editorial Review: ―Bell … offers an innovative and intriguing, if
uneven, first book. This introduction to the...
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Customer Reviews: ―Rob Bell makes me mad because he preaches an
anti-gospel. … Rob Bell makes me mad because he writes ...
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Customer Reviews: ―If I did not know my Bible better and had not saving
faith or the Holy Spirit helping me to disce...
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―Brian D. McLaren (born 1956) is a prominent Christian pastor, author,
activist and speaker and leading figure in th...
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―Often McLaren's postmodern approach to hermeneutics and
Biblical understanding prompts him to take a less traditional
...
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Customer Reviews: ―It appears the strategy of the author is to deal
with post-modernism by becoming post-modern oneself...
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―Let me alarm the reader immediately by stating bluntly the
premise of this thesis. … I think this book is one of the b...
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―Take various 'truths' as you perceive them from your personalized
perspective. Add other ingredients from various r...
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―The Christian church is falling apart and in desperate
need of a revival. According to Professor Sweet and
bestselling au...
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―About the Author: N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of
Durham in the Church of England and one of the world‘s
leading ...
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―At any rate, over on the Reformation21 blog, Justin Taylor made the
observation that N.T. Wright's recent book on t...
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―John MacArthur Attacks the Emergent Church For
Questioning the Clarity of the Scriptures. I listened to John
MacArt...
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Customer Review: ―I consider myself a classic Protestant
Evangelical, and I found that Wright offers many profound, eve...
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―Alex Bryan displays his favorite Spiritual Formation books at the
Adventist Forum meeting held at Walla Walla Un...
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―Dear Max, …. My use of books written by non-Seventh-day
Adventist authors, also, in no way suggests that I agree with
...
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―Alex Bryan, Senior Pastor of the WWU University
Church has been added to the short list of candidates
invited to in...
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―‗I am very pleased with the process that has brought us to this decision,‘
says Joe Galusha, a search committee member...
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―COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. - In a special meeting held
Sunday, July 1, 2012, the Walla Walla University Board of
Trustees...
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―Update on WWU Presidential Search Process: The recent vote of the
Walla Walla University (WWU) Board of Trustees has e...
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―It is my intention that [my new presidency] be much more focused on
four priorities that I believe are crucial for the...
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―The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a
great reformation was to take place among Seventh-...
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The emerging church and the one project part 6

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The Emerging Church and The One Project? is a series of PowerPoint presentations asking the question if there is in fact a connection between the two. The purpose of the presentations are not to lambast those who want to lift Jesus up, but rather to allow leaders of the One Project to tell us in their own words (and the words of those promoting the project) what their goals and aspirations really are, and how these goals have been enacted in their past experiences.
Presentation 1 of 10 is a summary of the Emerging Church as defined on Wikipedia. This is a summary of the 17 page article found there which is taken from many leading proponents of the Emerging Church here in America.
Presentations 2 through 4 deal with Leonard Sweet, a leader in the Emerging Church movement and a professor at George Fox University, and many of the nearly 50 books he has authored which express his various viewpoints.
Presentations 5 through 9 deal with the five main leaders of The One Project, four of which graduated with or started DMin degrees from George Fox University under the mentorship of Leonard Sweet. In each presentation an objective look is taken at material in print telling of each leaders work and ministry up to 2012. The question will naturally follow; is this the direction we should be leading our young people in the Adventist Church?
Presentation 10 deals with the One Project gathering in Seattle, February of 2012, looking at the claims of the Project “Jesus. All” and comparing this to what really took place at the gathering. Yes, there was some good points made, and we need to lift Jesus up, but…. We also take a look at a little of the evidence suggesting The One Project is a response to GYC.
For a fully interactive edition of all 10 presentations with video clips, contact: theemergingoneproject@gmail.com

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  • My study into the emerging church started when a pastor back East asked if I knew anything about “The One Project”. When I began to study into the history of the Project and those who started the movement, I was lead to enquire about the Emerging Church and its teachings and history. I found that it deals with much more than just “spiritual formation” and “centering prayer.”
  • De Oliveira states that he and 4 others gathered in Denver and came up with the One Project. “In July 2010, five simple Jesus followers (Alex Bryan, Japhet De Oliveira, Sam Leonor, Tim Gillespie and Terry Swenson) got together in room 602 at the Holiday Inn in Denver. …” (Japhet De Oliveira, “The One Project: Our Purpose and Mission,” http://the1project.org/assets/documents/the-one-project.pdf). We will now take a look at Alex Bryan history and ministry in the Adventist Church.At the same time we must be clear that we not judging the motives or sincere intent of those who sense a need for change in our church, a remedy for the Laodicean condition, but only question if the agenda of the Projects leaders as seen in their history is what our church needs.
  • In the Nov. 5, 2007 article in the Communique, a magazine published by the Georgia Cumberland Conference, Alex Bryan's history is briefly covered. Beautiful young family. But with all do respect, what has been Bryan’s history?
  • In the Nov. 5, 2007 article in the Communique, a magazine published by the Georgia Cumberland Conference, Alex Bryan's history is briefly covered. The article indicates that Bryan put his vision to practical use in a church plant but after nearly 6 years left SDA employment. On his return it would appear, however, that he had left more than SDA employment if he had a “conviction to reconnect with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” The article fails to explain why this was the case. As with many other articles in Adventist magazines, this seems to be written “politically correct” so as to avoid controversy.
  • In the Nov. 5, 2007 article in the Communique, a magazine published by the Georgia Cumberland Conference, Alex Bryan's history is briefly covered. Here is his own words Bryan give a short well worded history. What “experience” is Bryan talking about? Bryan’s “significant conversations” seemed to lead his church plant away from the denomination? (Yet the same lingo is used for The One Project; see presentation 10).The article doesn’t indicate that Bryan made any mistakes or that he is expressing valuable lessons learned from such mistakes. If his experience was the result of his vision of church planting which he obtained from Willow Creek (see below), then this philosophy lead him “to resign from denominational employment” with his church plant. Has his vision changed any since then? Is the One Project just another of his visions based on the same philosophy, which he has embraced without any admittance that mistakes were made in his church plant in Atlanta? Is it just a witch hunt to ask such questions?Adventist Today, ran an article soon after Alex’s return to Southern: “Following the decision of the Conference Executive Committee to employ Bryan, the Church Board voted by a 16-14 margin to affirm the decision. ‘I understand the nervousness some felt,’ said Bryan. ‘I hope to rebuild these relationships in the days to come.’ During the deliberations, said Senior Pastor John Nixon, the biblical story of John Mark was considered. As told in Acts 15, John Mark had at one point separated from Paul and Barnabas. Later, however, John Mark rejoined the ministry.” (“Atlanta Pastor Reconciles With Georgia-Cumberland Conference,” Adventist Today, Jan. Feb., 2008, p. 8) [See slide below]
  • But what really was Alex Bryan’s experience with his church plant of which he speaks of in the above article in 2007? We must go back to the beginning to get the answers. Many 1990sReview articles continually pushed the “New” worship services popping up on SDA University Campuses and in new church plants. In this same Feb. 20, 1997 Review an article was written about Alex Bryan’s new church plant, “The New Community”.
  • 1990sReview articles continually pushed the “New” worship services popping up on SDA University Campuses. In this 1997 Review an article was written about Alex Bryan’s new church plant, “The New Community”. The sad thing is that Bryan and all the other leaders of The One Project, first learned their mission ideas while attending Adventist Seminary. It would seem that if their ideas are faulty then there is plenty of blame to go around. While at Andrews Bryan attended Willow Creek Community Church seminars where he got his ideas. Why is it that when the church starts on these questionable adventures and pours thousands of dollars into them, information is readily published in the church papers, but when they fail outright, very little if anything is said? Why does it seem that when anyone questions the current vision of the same leaders they are put off as just another critical Adventist?
  • In 1996 Alex Bryan joined Andy Nash, then assistant Editor of the Adventist Review, and Victor Czerkasij, an admissions adviser at Southern Adventist University, to write The Ride of Your Life: Being a Young Adventist is not for the Faith of Heart. The front cover depicts a picture of “young Adventists” riding a roller coaster made up of church pews, hands in the air enjoying the ride with Hymnals flying out left and right, surrounding a “middle aged Adventist” sitting with arms crossed and frown on his face. What was their point by this cover? The first chapter Bryan contributed depicts his then recent trip of taking a load of teenagers to an amusement park for the day.
  • The back cover of the book has this to say about the book’s content and its authors. In 1996 Alex felt that the way to deal with the church was not to abandon it, but “lean into the curves.” Several years later it would seem that he abandoned that idea with his church plant and all its members.In 1996 Alex Bryan joined Andy Nash, then assistant Editor of the Adventist Review, and Victor Czerkasij, an admissions adviser at Southern Adventist University, to write The Ride of Your Life: Being a Young Adventist is not for the Faint of Heart, published by Review and Herald. The front cover depicts a group of “young Adventists” riding a roller coaster made up of church pews, hands in the air, enjoying the ride with Hymnals flying out left and right, surrounding a “middle aged Adventist” sitting with arms crossed and frown on his face. What was their point? The first chapter Bryan contributed depicts his then recent trip of taking a load of teenagers to an amusement park for the day.
  • The front page article in the June 19, 1997 Adventist Review, was written by Alex Bryan soon after he started his Atlanta Project. He seems to take pot shots at those who might question the New Community Church plant and other churches like it across the North American Division. (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH19970619-V174-25__C/index.djvu)Many negative responses to Bryan’s article were in the letters section Aug. 21, 1997, pp. 2-3. (http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH19970821-V174-34__C/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=2)
  • The front page article in the June 19, 1997 Adventist Review, was written by Alex Bryan soon after he started his Atlanta Project. He seems to take pot shots at those who might question the New Community Church plant and other churches like it across the North American Division.
  • Within a couple years Bryan’s church plant left the Adventist organization after hundreds of thousands of dollars being put into it. Where are the Review articles that explain what went wrong and how in the future we can expect a change? Many negative responses to Bryan’s article were in the “letters” section of the Review, Aug. 21, 1997, pp. 2-3. http://www.adventistarchives.org/docs/RH/RH19970821-V174-34__C/index.djvu?djvuopts&page=2In anRevieweditorial (Sept. 19, 1997, p. 2), William Johnsson called on readers to listen to Alex: “Alex Bryan, who wrote the June 19 cover story, ‘The Theology of Chilling Out,’ is 27 (he is a pastor), … Writers like Alex, Sarah, and assistant editor Andy Nash are leavening the church, doing us all good. Listen to what they are saying.” The question is, what kind of “leavening” was being done?
  • Here is another Alex Bryan article in the March 19, 1998 Adventist Review: “The following three articles examine the state of the local church. In the first, an opinion piece, a young pastor argues that the local church must be given increased priority in the Adventist system. In the second, a union vice president shares practical (and inexpensive) ways to revitalize small local congregations. In the third, an interview, two new conference administrators discuss their role in strengthening local churches.—Editors.” The views that Alex expressed seemed to take fruition several years later when his church plant separated from the denomination partly over the issue of tithe. As a side note we should ask ourselves what the result has been of this newer approach of the Adventist Review in the 1990s, in publishing conflicting articles to help stimulate “conversation”?
  • Here is another Alex Bryan article in the March 19, 1998 Adventist Review: “The following three articles examine the state of the local church. In the first, an opinion piece, a young pastor argues that the local church must be given increased priority in the Adventist system. In the second, a union vice president shares practical (and inexpensive) ways to revitalize small local congregations. In the third, an interview, two new conference administrators discuss their role in strengthening local churches.—Editors.” The views that Alex expressed seemed to take fruition several years later when his church plant separated from the denomination partly over the issue of tithe. As a side note we should ask ourselves what the result has been of this newer approach of the Adventist Review in the 1990s, in publishing conflicting articles to help stimulate “conversation”?Responses to this article were mixed in letters to editor (Review, May 21, 1998, p. 2; June, 1998, pp. 2-3).Other articles by Alex Bryan in the Review, before his church plant and before leaving “denominational employment” where: Aug. 10, 1995, p. 11; Special Addition [May] 1996, pp. 32-33; July 18, 1996, p. 23; Sept. 19, 1996, pp. 21-22; Oct. 24, 1996, p. 21; Dec. 19, 1996, pp. 17-21; March 20, 1997, p. 22; July 24, 1997, p. 22; Sept. 18, 1997, p. 22; Jan. 15, 1998, p. 30; April 1998, p. 26; Jan. 21, 1999, p. 20; Nov. 25, 1999, p. 19; March 31, 2000, pp. 12-13; March 15, 2001, p. 20; June 12, 2001, pp. 12-16 [on sports]; Aug. 16, 2001, p. 20. Truly the Review was giving him a platform in which to speak his ideas.
  • An article in the Dec. 18, 1997, AdventistReviewby Andy Nash, commends Alex Bryan’s New Community Church for its association with Willow Creek and suggested that it was mature enough to keep its Adventist roots. Really? Did Andy Nash write a rejoinder after this? He later became editor of Adventist Today, 2008-2009. Did Adventist Today fit more his ideology?
  • An article in the Dec. 18, 1997, Reviewby Andy Nash commends Alex Bryan’s New Community Church for its association with Willow Creek and suggested that it was mature enough to keep its Adventist roots. Really? Within a few years the very thing that Andy Nash claimed would not happen did in fact became the case with the New Community Church.Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick made the following observation in 2004: “In the following month's Review, Andy Nash listed several break-aways: Oregon's Sunnyside. Maryland's Damascus. Colorado's Christ Advent Fellowship. It was most interesting that Nash closed his article urging us that while these churches had been influenced by Willow Creek, “Adventists Should Continue gleaning from Willow Creek” (Andy Nash, “On Willow Creek,” Adventist Review, December 18, 1997). His argument? The Mountain View Church eventually launched as a church plant the infamous Adventist Sunday Church experiment in Las Vegas, also known as the Mountain View Community church. In Atlanta, Georgia, The New Community was also presented as evidence of “other churches mature enough to incorporate Willow Creek principles without giving up their Adventist identity” (Ibid). However, the facts are that Alex Bryan's “New Community” church in Atlanta has since left the denomination and faded out of existence. The Adventist Sunday Church in Las Vegas, Nevada also failed, with no accessions to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to show and the pastor leaving the remnant church to lead worship in yet another obscure Sunday church. These are the examples of maturity?” (http://www.greatcontroversy.org/reportandreview/offshootpt1.php) (see slides below)
  • Yet it was only a few years and Bryan’s church left the denomination. More information is found on a Progressive SDA bloggers site (http://cafesda.blogspot.com/) It seems strange that not only the Georgia Cumberland Conference, but also other conferences since, appear to have no concern about Alex Bryan’s past. Wouldn’t there at least be some recognition that his church plant did in fact fail to achieve what he set out to achieve? Did his separation from Adventist employment result from a faulty philosophy of church planting and Evangelism? Does he still hold to the same or similar views as he seems to be pushing the Emerging Church ideas at WWU and through the One Project? The pages of the Review seem to have been silent. We would much more readily talk about all our good points, as we see them, than admit that we have made mistakes. Seems Revelation chapter 3 has something to say about this, if we would only listen.
  • “Adventism's Latest Offshoot, Pt. 1: Break-Away” This article co-authored by Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick, Pastor Kevin D. Paulson, and Associate David Qualls on August 12 and 13 was published on August 13, 2004. (http://www.greatcontroversy.org/reportandreview/offshootpt1.php)
  • “Adventism's Latest Offshoot, Pt. 1: Break-Away” This article co-authored by Pastor Larry Kirkpatrick, Pastor Kevin D. Paulson, and Associate David Qualls on August 12 and 13 was published on August 13, 2004. (http://www.greatcontroversy.org/reportandreview/offshootpt1.php)More of above article: “For many years, certain among us have bent their best energies to reproducing Babylon's apparent successes but within the remnant church. First it was attempted to change our churches through bringing in the concept of varied worship styles. This was meant to justify the acceptance of Celebration worship as one of the worship style ‘options.’ It didn't work. It led only to turmoil and chaos. Eventually most realized that changing existing congregations was fighting an uphill battle. The emphasis shifted again, this time, to church planting.At one point, William Johnsson waxed joyful in the Adventist Review how it was a miracle that although ‘Adventist worship varies from country to country, and within the countries,’ ‘With all the differences, we are one people. When we get together we worship the one God—in many voices, many colors, many ways’ (William Johnsson, “When We All Get Together,” Adventist Review, October 30, 1997, p. 12). But just one month later, even the Review would be compelled to present a different story.Some of the break-aways no longer exist. Pastor Alex Bryan, a fellow graduate of Southern Adventist University in Tennessee, was repeatedly featured in the Adventist Review. His congregation, “The New Community,” broke away over tithe and doctrinal issues. For awhile its website hung on the net claiming it was a Protestant Church, although some of us had difficulty seeing what it might be protesting. But it is gone off the web, not even a Google-cache left to show it existed. So-called “Grace Place” in Colorado no longer even acknowledges its Seventh-day Adventist origin. The Damascus Road Community Church, another earlier break-away at least mentions its Adventist history if only in passing (On their website, click on “More About DRCC,” then on “History.”).But a month later, Johnsson would make a series of interesting remarks. While indicating that he saw “no evidence for a trend” of break-away churches, he warned that we “need to remain alert if the Adventist body is to remain intact. Adventists may not face disintegration into disparate congregations right now, but the tenor of the times could bring us to that point ere long” (William Johnsson, “When the Family Splits,” Adventist Review, November 5, 1997, pp. 16-19). Even then Johnsson asked whether Adventist fascination with Willow Creek was not contributing to an influence in our midst toward congregationalism (Ibid., p. 17). Each time one of the “grace oriented” churches departs, we are told that the issue is not doctrinal. Yet we are often in the same articles told that there is some form of doctrinal problem, usually left unspecified.In the following month's Review, Andy Nash listed several break-aways:Oregon's Sunnyside. Maryland's Damascus. Colorado's Christ Advent Fellowship. It was most interesting that Nash closed his article urging us that while these churches had been influenced by Willow Creek, “Adventists Should Continue gleaning from Willow Creek” (Andy Nash, “On Willow Creek,” Adventist Review, December 18, 1997). His argument? The Mountain View Church eventually launched as a church plant the infamous Adventist Sunday Church experiment in Las Vegas, also known as the Mountain View Community church. In Atlanta, Georgia, The New Community was also presented as evidence of “other churches mature enough to incorporate Willow Creek principles without giving up their Adventist identity” (Ibid). However, the facts are that Alex Bryan's “New Community” church in Atlanta has since left the denomination and faded out of existence. The Adventist Sunday Church in Las Vegas, Nevada also failed, with no accessions to the Seventh-day Adventist Church to show and the pastor leaving the remnant church to lead worship in yet another obscure Sunday church. These are the examples of maturity?Who can understand the blindness and even mental incoherence of such insistence? The facts are, that no matter how many times it has been tried, there is today on planet earth not one example of a successful Seventh-day Adventist copycat of Willow Creek, or Saddleback, or the like that has ever become a mega-church. For decades misguided ministers and workers have tried it. Administrators have stood by awaiting the promised positive results. They've thrown a stack of dollars at it, but today, all attempts to photocopy have returned nothing but failure.”(http://www.greatcontroversy.org/reportandreview/offshootpt1.php)
  • Pastor LarryKirkpatrick published an update on September 28, 2004, on GreatControversy.org. Kirkpatrick quotes a statement from Alex Bryan’s church plant web site as it read in 2004, just two years after Bryan had separated from SDA employment. The church plant was obviously no longer associated with the Adventist church. So is it true that the ideas and philosophy of Willow Creek did not affect the church plant’s loyalties to the Adventist church? Has Bryant abandoned that philosophy or continued to follow it in other areas of his ministry but this time from within the church?
  • Note: Alex is not currently affiliated with the church he helped start, even though current websites, e.g. corporationwiki and Manta (as of Oct. 2012), list either Alex Bryan and David Bryan, or just Alex Bryan as the current pastor: http://www.corporationwiki.com/Georgia/Senoia/new-community-church/88807405.aspx [two pictures, 2nd one is close up]http://www.manta.com/g/mmdxjyp/alex-bryan [two pictures, 2nd one is close up]
  • The current web site of The New Community Church lists Sunday service only, and still lists it as part of the Willow Creek Association which is where Alex got his ideas to begin with to start the church, and list David Bryan as the only pastor. The listed statement of beliefs does not suggest in anyway that the church is or ever was associated with the Adventist church. What happened to the “Adventist” members when the church went from an Adventist Church plant to a Sunday only non-denominational Church?
  • The current web site of The New Community Church lists Sunday service only, and still lists it as part of the Willow Creek Association which is where Alex got his ideas to begin with to start the church, and list David Bryan as the only pastor. The listed statement of beliefs does not suggest in anyway that the church is or ever was associated with the Adventist church. What happened to the “Adventist” members when the church went from an Adventist Church plant to a Sunday only non-denominational Church?
  • “Atlanta Pastor Reconciles With Georgia-Cumberland Conference”When the Conference Executive Committee voted to bring Bryan back into employment and offered him the job at the Southern Adventist University Church (Campus Church), the Church board also voted whether to affirm this decision. It would appear that many of the church board were not comfortable with the idea. Who then was pushing this move, the Conference or the Church or Alex himself? Adventist Today, ran an article soon after Alex’s return to Southern Adventist University (“Atlanta Pastor Reconciles With Georgia-Cumberland Conference,” Adventist Today, Jan. Feb., 2008, p. 8), making it clear that there were some serious concerns even then.
  • “Atlanta Pastor Reconciles With Georgia-Cumberland Conference”When the Conference Executive Committee voted to bring Bryan back into employment and offered him the job at the Southern Adventist University Church (Campus Church), the Church board also voted whether to affirm this decision. It would appear that many of the church board were not comfortable with the idea. Who then was pushing this move, the Conference or the Church or Alex himself? Adventist Today, ran an article soon after Alex’s return to Southern Adventist University (“Atlanta Pastor Reconciles With Georgia-Cumberland Conference,” Adventist Today, Jan. Feb., 2008, p. 8), making it clear that there were some serious concerns even then.Is the biblical story of John-Mark a correct parallel to the experience of Alex Bryan?
  • Yet on Aug. 3, 2008, only nine months after returning to church employment as associate pastor of the Campus Church, Alex posted on his blog that he was attending a Willow Creek Leadership summit, which is where he got his ideas to begin with for his New Community Church. Did he really learn from the failed church plant experiment? Was he really hoping “to rebuild these relationships in the days to come,” as he stated in the Adventist Today article listed above? Or was he just pushing on with his ideas as before but now from the inside?(http://breakfastfires.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-09-25T15:24:00-04:00&max-results=7&start=7&by-date=false) [This blog post is no longer on the net]
  • Yet on Aug. 3, 2008, only nine months after returning to church employment as associate pastor of the Campus Church, Alex posted on his blog that he is attending a Willow Creek Leadership summit, which is where he got his ideas to begin with for his New Community Church. Did he really learned from the failed church plant experiment? Was he really hoping “to rebuild these relationships in the days to come,” as he stated in the Adventist Today article listed above? Or was he just pushing on with his ideas as before but with knowledge gained of what not to do?What kind of change is Alex talking about? (http://breakfastfires.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-09-25T15:24:00-04:00&max-results=7&start=7&by-date=false)[this blog post in no longer on the net]What does Alex mean by “Jesus believes in his Church” when discussing the conditions in the United States? Is there no difference between the Adventist Church and its calling and the other churches of the land?
  • We will take a break in our chronological look at Alex’s history. In 2012 Alex responded to allegations about his Atlanta Experience following an “Anonymous” email of concern sent out because of his possible presidency at WWU. In a letter to Max Torkelson, North Pacific Union President, sometime in July, 2012, Alex defends his past. The reader will have to decide if Alex is really being forthright in his answers and honest with his own history.Does the Atlanta project really have nothing to do with Theology? Was it the Conference that came up with the idea or Alex himself after attending Willow Creek? Was this experiment really in accordance with Ellen White’s counsel in 9T? Has Alex really abandoned the Willow Creek ideas and “discouraged this approach”? Was his church really committed to SDA theology? Defined by whom? Did the Church really remain SDA “doctrinally” and “culturally”? What about the 2004 statement describing what the church was about? Non-denominational? So they returned tithe up to the time they split away and then what? Was this not one of the reasons they spit, over funding issues as can be seen in Alex’s 1998 Review article?
  • In 2012 Alex responded to allegations about his Atlanta Experience following an “Anonymous” email of concern sent out because of his possible presidency at WWU. In a letter to Max Torkelson, North Pacific Union President, sometime in July, 2012, Alex defends his past. The reader will have to decide if Alex is really being forthright in his answers and honest with his own history.Does the Atlanta project really have nothing to do with Theology? Was it the Conference that came up with the idea or Alex himself after attending Willow Creek? Was this experiment really in accordance with Ellen White’s counsel in 9T? Has Alex really abandoned the Willow Creek ideas and “discouraged this approach”? Was his church really committed to SDA theology? Defined by whom? Did the Church really remain SDA “doctrinally” and “culturally”? What about the 2004 statement describing what the church was about—Non-denominational? So they returned tithe up to the time they split away and then what? Was this not one of the reasons they spit, over funding issues as can be seen in Alex’s 1998 Review article?
  • In 2012 Alex responded to allegations about his Atlanta Experience following an “Anonymous” email of concern sent out because of his possible presidency at WWU. In a letter to Max Torkelson, North Pacific Union President, sometime in July, 2012, Alex defends his past. The reader will have to decide if Alex is really being forthright in his answers and honest with his own history.From 1997 through 2002 Alex was at the New Community Church in Atlanta running as an SDA church plant, however in 2002 he separated from the denomination. In late 2007 he came back to Denomination employment at Southern Adventist University. How can he say he has had nearly 20 years of leadership in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Although the Cumberland Conference invited him back, the church board was not so optimistic about his work. Alex fails to mention any of that in his letter to Max Torkelson. Bob Folkenberg invited him to come to WWU, and also as chairman of the search committee recommended him for WWU president. However, the WWU board voted that down by a 2/3 vote. Obviously some are not as comfortable with Alex among conference leaders as he portrays the matter.
  • Even as late as 2013 however, the biographical sketch listed in The One Project’s Chicago booklet praises Alex’s church plant in Atlanta and makes no mention of its separation from the Adventist church nor it’s Willow Creek foundation. “The Third Way” is taken from Leonard Sweet’s Jesus Manifesto (see presentation 3). (http://the1project.org/assets/documents/top_gathering_book_chicago_2013.pdf; page 28)
  • Even as late as 2013 however, the biographical sketch listed in The One Project’s Chicago booklet praises Alex’s church plant in Atlanta and makes no mention of its separation from the Adventist church nor it’s Willow Creek foundation.
  • While back at Southern Adventist University in early 2009, Alex Bryan, who had not had any articles in the Review since his church plant left the denomination, wrote an article for Adventist Today, “Tomorrow: American Adventism is in trouble. Here’s what we can do.” (Andy Nash was then the editor). In this article he refers back to his 1998 Review article “The Local Church is the Church, Period.” Here he had expressed ideas that seem to have brought him trouble with his church plant in 2002. Alex also quotes from Leonard Sweet. (see below)
  • Alex starts his article by presenting an overly dismal picture of “Christianity” in North America. He quotes also from Leonard Sweet who along with many others in the Emerging Church movement have used this same approach to bring about “change”. Although the article has some valid points it would appear that Bryant is working off the same faulty logic that has been formed, not by great controversy Biblical understanding, but by Emerging Church movement rhetoric.
  • Alex starts his article by presenting an overly dismal picture of “Christianity” in North America. He quotes also from Leonard Sweet who along with many others in the Emerging Church movement have used this same approach to bring about “change”. Although the article has some valid points it would appear that Bryant is working off the same faulty logic that has been formed, not by great controversy Biblical understanding, but by Emerging Church movement rhetoric. Alex continues along the same line in describing Adventism in general in North America. Its an either or choice. A dry lifeless Adventism, or a vibrant active non-Adventist church. Thus the motivation is being created for a great reformation and reorganization of Adventism.
  • In this Adventist Today article Alex refers back to his 1998 Adventist Review article “The Local Church is the Church, Period.” Here he had expressed ideas that seem to have brought him trouble with his church plant in 2002.
  • Again, Alex has some legitimate concerns of the problems with Adventism in North America. However, it is interesting to note that when he received a call to an “Adventist mega-center” he too did not turn it down in support of some smaller local congregation which he speaks up for in this 2009 article. Also, notice his belief that the grand change and renewal of Adventism needs to come from the Universities. Although there is some truth in this, we might ask if our schools are of the order of “the schools of the prophets” or being turned in the direction of the schools of the world? Are young people being prepared to share the final message with the world, or fit into an Emerging Church culture that is seeking a one world religion of peace? Alex’s call that every young person coming from our schools be prepared for missional service is excellent: “This is what I mean: every collegiate (and possibly high school) Adventist diploma ought to mean that the young person in cap and gown served a full year in domestic or international mission.” The problem, however, is how one defines mission. The New Community Church plant was based on a mission philosophy drawn from Willow Creek. Is there any difference from that mission and what our Adventist mission should be? Should there be? Does Alex see any difference? Based on his post graduate education what kind of missional thinking is he bringing to the table now? Emerging Church missional ideas?
  • (Review Slide from presentation 5). It was only a few months after the above article was published that Alex and four other youth leaders met in Denver to ultimately plan The One Project. Yet, as we mentioned before, they were all obviously tired of “fighting battles.” The question is whether they were fighting the right battles, or rather fighting against the church (SDA) who’s foundation was built on something other than their false Emerging Church principles. The last two paragraphs are taken from Terry Swenson’s talk in Atlanta, on Feb. 8, 2011 during the first large Project Gathering, we can gather that there were other past issues, battles and dreams that drove these men together to refocus their lives and their ministry. Although obviously very sincere we might wonder what battles they were tired of fighting.
  • Now we will take a closer look at Alex Bryan’s educational background. When Alex was hired back into denominational work in 2007 he was then a doctor of Ministry student at George Fox University. The Georgia Cumberland Conference Communique did not state the specifics of his studies. When Alex Bryan was hired as WWU Church senior pastor in 2010, the WWU news listed that he had graduated in 2009 from George Fox University, but again the article did not mention specifics of his degree. (http://www.gccsda.com/_static_content/ Communication/Communique/2007-11_Communique-web.pdf)(http://www.wallawalla.edu/about-wwu/news/article/view/university -church-welcomes-new-pastor/)
  • When Alex was hired back into denominational work in 2007 he was then a doctor of Ministry student at George Fox University. The Georgia Cumberland Conference Communique did not state the specifics of his studies. When Alex Bryan was hired as WWU Church senior pastor in 2010, the WWU news listed that he had graduated in 2009 from George Fox University, but again the article did not mention specifics of his degree.
  • Taken from a power point presentation posted April 30, 2010, Slide 109 shows a statement possibly from Alex Bryan’s blog, most likely posted while at Southern University (not longer available online). Here it was made clear what his doctor of ministry program had been. Note: Alex had not had an article in Adventist Review since 2001. But ran the article in Adventist Today Winter 2009 (above). Not the slightest indication that some of his past activities had led his church plant out of the church. Why? (http://www.slideshare.net/EmergingOmega/spiritually-experiencing-god-part-2)
  • Taken from a power point presentation posted April 30, 2010, Slide 109 shows a statement possibly from Alex Bryan’s blog most likely posted while at Southern University in 2008 -2009 (not longer available online). Here it is made clear what his doctor of ministry program had been. Note: Alex had not had an article in Adventist Review since 2001. But ran an article in Adventist Today Winter 2009. Not the slightest indication that some of his past activities have led his church plant out of the denomination. Why?As noted above, Alex responded to allegations about his history following an “Anonymous” email of concern sent out because of his possible presidency at WWU. In a letter to Max Torkelson, North Pacific Union President, sometime in July, 2012, Alex defends his past. The reader will have to decide if Alex is really being forthright in his answers and honest with his own history. The anonymous email stated: “b. Professional degree in emergent church spiritual formation. Received his Doctor of Ministry degree from George Fox University, under the direction of the spiritualist and Emerging Church leader Leonard Sweet.” (http://cafesda.blogspot.com/) Does Alex’s response really deal honestly with the issues?
  • Review from presentation number 4:“The Semiotics & Future Studies” is the same as “The Leadership in Emerging Culture Doctor of Ministry.” This course is offered under the direct tutelage or mentorship of Leonard Sweet. See Power point presentation number 4. Leonard Sweet is “Currently the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, Madison, NJ and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon,…”George Fox University which was founded by Quakers in 1885 and is located in Newberg Oregon, and has centers in Portland, Salem and Bosie ID. In 1996, the college merged with Western Evangelical Seminary to form George Fox University. Notable graduates includeRichard Foster, and Dan Kimball, both big names in Emerging Church movement.Doctor of MinistryGeorge Fox offers 3 Doctor of Ministry programs:DMin in Leadership and Global PerspectivesDMin in Leadership and Spiritual FormationDMin in Semiotics and Future Studies ( or The Leadership in Emerging Culture Doctor of Ministry)
  • Review from presentation number 4:The Leadership in Emerging Culture Doctor of Ministry (DMin), another name for Semiotics and Future Studies, is led by Leonard Sweet. “Anticipate Change” is the heading on the web listing of this course. Definition of SEMIOTICS: “a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols.” Leonard Sweet has been the primary person to make this word popular in the Emerging Church movement. He states that he bases it on Mat 16:3 “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” The Greek word is “sēmeion” which means: “an indication, especially ceremonially or supernaturally: - miracle, sign, token, wonder.” Sweet seems to use it as a term that describes himself and his cohorts and followers, who can see the signs in different religions, cultures and histories.
  • This particular course is described as being directly guided by Leonard Sweet even though he is a “visiting” professor. It would seem only obvious that Leonard Sweet would share many of his Emerging Church ideas in this program, which he has expressed in the nearly 50 books he has written over the past 20 years (See presentations 2-4). Remember that the Emerging Church is much more than just “spiritual formation”. The George Fox website states that “students … receive personal mentoring from Dr. Sweet.” Thus, according to the George Fox web site, Sweet would have been Alex Bryan’s “mentor” (at least one of them) in his doctoral program which lasted three years including his time at Southern Adventist University when he invited Sweet to speak there. (see slide below) Of course Alex did not need to be on the Portland campus for this program, but along with the other 3 One Project leaders took their DMin degrees while still leading out in their home SDA churches.
  • George Fox University posted pictures from one of the Learning Sessions with “lead mentor” Leonard Sweet. This was during the 2008/2009 school year. Pictures are from May 29 to 30, 2008, Orcas Advance. This took place at Leonard Sweet’s Orcas Island, OR/WA home. Alex Bryan attended this session soon after he was hired back at the Southern University Church. These pictures and explanations from George Fox University offer contradictory evidence against Alex Bryan and those who seek to defend him by stating that Leonard Sweet was not his mentor, and/or that Alex was not on the campus of George Fox University.
  • Only a little more than a year after coming back to Southern Adventist University Church, and near his Doctoral Ministry completion, Alex brought Leonard Sweet in for a weekend speaking engagement where Sweet spoke three times. On Alex’s own blog for Feb. 3, 2009, he mentions this event and even posts links to Sweet’s three sermons (“A Theology of Football”; “The Perfect Storm”; and “The Music of Life”). Only one of the sermons is still available on line, “A Theology of Football,” delivered Sabbath, Jan. 31, 2009. (https://www.box.com/shared/2xqso2joaf). [All this material has since been removed from his blog]Some see no problem with Alex inviting Sweet Southern Adventist University because Sweet “has been aninvited speaker at General Conference, North American Division, union conference, and local conference gatherings.” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/99405825/Response-to-the-Anonymous-Letter-1) But as we will see, several of the One Project leaders have played a part in inviting Sweet to our University campuses to introduce him and his books to our young people.
  • Only a little more than a year after coming back to Southern Adventist University Church and near his Doctoral Ministry completion Alex brought Leonard Sweet in for a weekend speaking engagement where Sweet spoke three times. On Alex’s own blog for Feb. 3, 2009, he mentions this event and even posts links to Sweet’s three sermons (“A Theology of Football”; “The Perfect Storm”; and “The Music of Life”). Only one of the sermons is still available on line, “A Theology of Football,” delivered Sabbath, Jan. 31, 2009. (https://www.box.com/shared/2xqso2joaf). All this material has since been removed from his blog. Some see no problem with Alex inviting Sweet Southern Adventist University because Sweet “has been aninvited speaker at General Conference, North American Division, union conference, and local conference gatherings.” (http://www.scribd.com/doc/99405825/Response-to-the-Anonymous-Letter-1) But as we will see, several of the One Project leaders have played a part in inviting Sweet to our University campuses to introduce him and his books to our young people.
  • Alex Bryan’s doctoral ministry thesis was finished in March 2009, while he was at the campus church at Southern Adventist University. He quoted from Sweet several times in his dissertation along with many other well known Emerging Church gurus.
  • Alex Bryan’s doctoral dissertation was finished in March 2009, while pastoring at Southern Adventist University Church. He quoted from Sweet several times in his dissertation along with many other well known Emerging Church gurus. For more on Sweets books see presentations 2, 3, and 4. [54] Sweet, The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with a Grande Passion, 12, 162, 127. [55] Frederick Beuchner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological Abc(New York, New York: Harper & Row, 1973), 12., quoted in Daniel Sack, Whitebread Protestants: Food and Religion in American Culture (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), 97.
  • Leonard Sweet listed Alex Bryan as his doctoral student in 2007 in his book 11: Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without. Its possible that there was another Alexander Bryan that was taking their D Min degree the same year at George Fox University, but it certainly would appear that this is speaking of “Alex Bryan.”
  • Leonard Sweet listed Alex Bryan as his doctoral student in 2007 in his book 11: Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without. Its possible that there was another Alexander Bryan that was taking their D Min degree the same year at George Fox University, but it certainly would appear that this is speaking of “Alex Bryan.”
  • As listed above, Alex responded to allegations about his association with Leonard Sweet in a letter to Max Torkelson, North Pacific Union President, sometime in July, 2012, following an “Anonymous” email of concern for his possible presidency at WWU. The reader will have to decide if Alex is really being forthright in his answers and honest with his own history. The document that Alex responded to stated: “b. Professional degree in emergent church spiritual formation. Received his Doctor of Ministry degree from George Fox University, under the direction of the spiritualist and Emerging Church leader Leonard Sweet. c. Invited his mentor, a self-admitted spiritualist and leader of the emerging church movement, Leonard Sweet, to Southern Adventist University, to speak for Vespers Jan '09. …” (http://cafesda.blogspot.com/)The fact is that Sweet was his “mentor” during his 3 year doctoral ministry program at George Fox University, which included Alex’s time at the Campus church at Southern Adventist University, when he invited Sweet to come and speak to the students and faculty. It should be remembered that there is much more to Sweet and the Emerging Church movement than pantheistic ties, spiritual formations and centering prayer. The Emerging Church has many other identifying factors that make it incompatible with Protestant Christianity and especially Adventism with the message that we have been given to share with the world. The fact that Sweet has been invited to GC, NAD and other Union conferences, is very true, but very sad, and in no way justifies his being invited to Southern by Alex Bryan. How far do we take these lines of thinking? Baal worship is baal worship regardless of where it is practiced.
  • ON October 25, 2012, George Fox Evangelical Seminary posted a statement about three of their graduate’s accomplishments in leading out in The One Project. It seems clear that this is seen as a success for George Fox University. Terry Swenson, Alex Bryan and Tim Gillespie were all named. They obviously forgot to mention Sam Leonor. It would seem that if these alumnus of George Fox were promoting a truly Adventist program through the One Project that George Fox would not brag about it.?.?(https://www.facebook.com/georgefoxevangelicalseminary/timeline?filter=1)
  • ON October 25, 2012, George Fox Evangelical Seminary posted a statement about three of their graduate’s accomplishments, leading out in The One Project. It seems clear that this is seen as a success for George Fox University. Terry Swenson, Alex Bryan and Tim Gillespie were named. They obviously forgot about Sam Leonor. It would seem that if these alumnus of George Fox were promoting a truly Adventist program through the One Project that George Fox would not brag about it.?.?
  • Now we will take a look at Alex Bryan and his recommended reading material.On August 7, 2007, even before returning to Adventist employment from his breakaway church plant to Campus church at Southern Adventist University, Alex commented on recent books he had read and highly recommended them on his blog. (http://breakfastfires.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2007-11-10T10:40:00-05:00&max-results=7&start=21&by-date=false) [This post has since been removed from his blog]Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (2006)Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (2005). Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (2006)
  • On August 7, 2007, even before returning to Southern Adventist University, Alex comments on recent books he had read and recommends them. Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (2006)Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (2005). Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (2006)
  • Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (2006). The first book recommended on Alex’s blog in 2007.Official book description and editorial review as found on Amazon.com.
  • Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (2006) The first book recommended on Alex’s blog in 2007.This is taken from a three star book review. Readers Responses are mixed. Even those who would overall recommend Peterson’s book see problems with his starting premise.
  • Eugene H. Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading (2006) The first book recommended on Alex’s blog in 2007.This is taken from another three star review. Readers Responses are mixed. Notice Peterson’s reliance on LectioDivina.
  • Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (2005). The second book recommended on Alex’s blog in 2007. Notice the idea that this is “contributing to the discussion.”
  • Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (2005). The second book recommended on Alex’s blog in 2007. This official Editorial Review posted by the book publishers on Amazon.com give and insight into the underlying philosophy of this book.
  • Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (2005). The second book recommended on Alex’s blog in 2007. There are 56 One star reviews, 37 Two star reviews, 27 Three star reviews. Clearly many people where concerned about this book.
  • Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith (2005). The second book recommended on Alex’s blog in 2007. Notice again the idea of “discussion” which falls into line with the idea of having a “conversation.” “Conversations.” “Discussions.” “Dialog.” These are all words describing the way for tearing down the past/present and introducing the new. This is all part of the “Emerging Church” mode of operation not just “spiritual formations” or “centering prayer.”
  • Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (2006) The third book listed on Alex’s blog in 2007.Biography found in Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_McLaren)
  • Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (2006) The third book listed on Alex’s blog in 2007. Wikipedia biography of McLaren continued, and Amazon.com “Book Description.” Notice again the idea of dialog and discussion and conversation.
  • Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (2006) The third book listed on Alex’s blog in 2007. There are 50 One star ratings and only 58 Five star ratings on Amazon. Many Evangelical Christians responded negatively to this book. Yet Alex recommended it on his blog. (http://www.amazon.com/Generous-Orthodoxy-evangelical-conservative-contemplative/product-reviews/0310258030/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0)
  • Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (2006) The third book listed on Alex’s blog in 2007. There are 50 One star ratings and only 58 Five star ratings on Amazon. Many Evangelical Christians responded negatively to this book. Yet Alex recommended it on his blog. (http://www.amazon.com/Generous-Orthodoxy-evangelical-conservative-contemplative/product-reviews/0310258030/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0)
  • Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy (2006) The third book listed on Alex’s blog in 2007. There are 50 One star ratings and only 58 Five star ratings on Amazon. Many Evangelical Christians responded negatively to this book. Yet Alex recommended it on his blog. (http://www.amazon.com/Generous-Orthodoxy-evangelical-conservative-contemplative/product-reviews/0310258030/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=0)
  • The previous list of books was on Alex’s blog in 2007. Now we will look at Alex’s blog site currently (2012 [which has since been removed from his blog]). He list several Emerging Church books among his “Some Favorite Books About Jesus” blog list. Since 2011 when controversy erupted about his recommended reading, he has added many less objectionable books to the list. But still he is promoting many Emerging Church books without any suggestion that their content is erroneous. In 2012 this list of books was removed from his blog.Eugene Peterson Books see Above.ReJesus, see Presentation number 5. Jesus Manifesto, see Presentation number 3.Simply Jesus, see below.
  • There are direct links from Alex’s blog site to Amazon.com where someone can purchase the books. Amazon lists an official Editorial Review for this book which makes it clear the book has pantheistic leanings. [This has since been removed from his blog](For more on this book see Presentation number 3).
  • Alex’s blog recommends N. T. Wright’s book Simply Jesus. Here we look at biographical sketches of the author. One web site we looked at offered supportive ideas about Wright and his leaning toward Catholicism:“5 Elements of N.T. Wright’s Work that Emerging Churches often Embrace1) The Centrality of the Church in God Saving Work: … 2) The Future Nature of Church:  … 3) The Cosmic Nature of the Church: … 4)The Materiality of the Church: … 5) Improvisation in the Church: …3 Elements of N.T. Wright’s Work that Emerging Churches often Neglect 1) Ascension of Jesus… 2) Israel: …  3) Catholicity of the Church Qualitative – The Church transcends all social, cultural, and natural divisions. Jesus gives a new way of relating to each other.  Unlike consumerism which segments people, the Church includes all kinds of people are included.  The victory of Jesus over the powers of darkness is shown in an inclusive Church.Extension – The Church is comprised of all believers in all places in all time. The united Church must have some physical presence beyond clusters of homogeneous units. There must be some kind of institution.  Many in the emerging church view institutionalism as the enemy, but avoidance of institutions is often an attempt to avoid the pain of Church unity.While there are clearly exceptions to Begbie’s generalizations about new church movements, the picture of a Church that he painted (via N.T. Wright) was both inspiring and challenging.” (http://jimvining.com/tag/n-t-wright/)
  • Some question Wright’s views on Scriptures and his association with the Emerging Church movement.
  • Some question Wright’s views on Scriptures and his association with the Emerging Church movement.
  • Some question Wright’s views on Scriptures and his association with the Emerging Church movement, including John MacArthur.
  • Some question Wright’s views on Scriptures and his association with the Emerging Church movement, including John MacArthur.
  • There are mixed reviews of this book even among Evangelicals yet Alex Bryan recommends the book on his blog and other One Project leaders recommend the book at their gatherings.
  • “Alex Bryan displays his favorite Spiritual Formation books at the Adventist Forum meeting held at Walla Walla University, October 2011…” (see next slide for information) (Put clip here from 2011 Adventist Forum if able to get DVD)
  • (Put clip here from 2011 Adventist Forum if able to get DVD)
  • Alex responded to allegations about his degree at George Fox University and his promotion of reading material in a letter to Max Torkelson, North Pacific Union President, sometime in July, 2012, following an “Anonymous” email of concern for his possible presidency at WWU. The reader will have to decide if Alex is really being forthright in his answers and honest with his own history. And this is precisely part of the problem. It was while Alex was at the seminary that he attended Willow Creek and got his ideas for his church plant which ultimately failed. Yet he still promotes some of the same authors that got him into trouble before. This problem however is much bigger than Alex but involves the entire denomination, primarily in our educational institutions.
  • January 2012, John McVay put in his resignation as president of WWU, effective July 2012. McVay had served since 2006. A Presidential search committee had been formed that would help select the new president. “The search committee, comprised of thirteen individuals with a vested interest in the ultimate decision, included members of the WWU and NPUC administrations, the WWU Board of Trustees, WWU faculty and staff, and one WWU student.” In 2006 when McVay was chosen, the “Presidential Search Committee” was made up of 3 members of the North Pacific Union Conference, 2 from local conferences, 2 from WWU board of trustees, 2 from WWU administration, 2 faculty representatives, 1 staff representative, and 1 student representative. (http://www.wallawalla.edu/about-wwu/news/article/view/presidential-search-continues/?toggle_mobile=on)In 2012 the list was similar (the list is no longer available online). Robert Folkenberg was on the list and chairman of the search committee (?) along with several others conference leaders who were also on the WWU Board of Trustees. Thus their recommendation that Alex Bryan be the next President was almost a guarantee that he would get the position since many [5 to 7] of the search committee also sat on the board. “The search committee, comprised of thirteen individuals with a vested interest in the ultimate decision, included members of the WWU and NPUC administrations, the WWU Board of Trustees, WWU faculty and staff, and one WWU student [Jonathan Gienger].” (http://as.wallawalla.edu/collegian/main.php?article=757)
  • January 2012, John McVay put in his resignation as president of WWU, effective July 2012. McVay had served since 2006. A Presidential search committee had been formed that would help select the new president. “The search committee, comprised of thirteen individuals with a vested interest in the ultimate decision, included members of the WWU and NPUC administrations, the WWU Board of Trustees, WWU faculty and staff, and one WWU student.” A short history is given as to how Alex made it to the ‘short list’ at such a late date: “Torkelsen said the leadership vacancy was widely circulated and people were encouraged to offer names of potential candidates. This resulted in a list of 61 names that was pared down after each person on the list was contacted. The committee then asked those still willing to be considered to submit a curriculum vitae. When asked about the lack of finalist candidates from upper levels of university administration, faculty representative Terrie Aamodt suggested that though a number were contacted, many did not submit CVs because they were in the start of new positions or beginning long-term projects. After much prayer and discussion, the list was narrowed to three people who were invited to interview. Those invited to interview were David Thomas, Linda Wysong-Becker, and Dwight Nelson. Shortly after the list was selected, Nelson requested to be taken out of contention and was replaced by WWU University Church Pastor Alex Bryan.” (http://as.wallawalla.edu/collegian/main.php?article=757)
  • WWU news release, and Adventist Today, all wrote as if Alex Bryan would have the presidency. (WWU news release has since been removed but can be seen on noodls.com)(http://www.noodls.com/viewNoodl/14792681/walla-walla-university/presidential-search-committee-makes-recommendation)(http://www.atoday.org/article/1256/news/june-headlines/three-senior-pastors-leaving-major-adventist-campus-church-pulpits)
  • WWU news release and Adventist Today, each wrote as if Alex Bryan would have the presidency. (WWU news release has since been removed but can be seen on noodls.com)(http://www.noodls.com/viewNoodl/14792681/walla-walla-university/presidential-search-committee-makes-recommendation)(http://www.atoday.org/article/1256/news/june-headlines/three-senior-pastors-leaving-major-adventist-campus-church-pulpits)
  • On July 1 the vote was taken with 25 of the 29 WWU board members present. Of those making up the board were several members [5 to 7] from the Presidential Search committee at Walla Walla University that had voted and recommended Alex Bryan. The vote of the entire board however, was 2/3 against Bryan taking the position. (http://www.uccsda.org/News/news07032012b) The list of board members:Chair: Max C. Torkelsen II, Vancouver, Wash. (NPUC President)Vice Chair: Bruce D. Thorn, College Place, Wash. Secretary: John McVay, College Place, Wash. (WWU President)Members: Harold Altamirano, Hillsboro, Ore. DeLona Bell, Walla Walla, Wash. Dennis Barts, Veradala, Wash. Andrew O. Carrington, Renton, Wash. Kenneth Crawford, Anchorage, Alaska (Alaska Conference President)Robert Folkenberg Jr., Spokane, Wash. (Upper Columbia Conference President)John Freedman, Bothell, Wash. (Washington Conference President)Don Hall, Clackamas, Ore. Tanya Huether, Brookings, Ore. Alan S. Hurlbert, Vancouver, Wash. (NPUC VP for Education) Monty E. Knittel, Walla Walla, Wash. (WWGH President)Merlin Knowles, Bozeman, Mont. (Montana Conference President)RhonaKwiram, Bellevue, Wash. Gordan Lacey, Redmond, Wash. Cameron Libby, Anchorage, Alaska John Loor Jr., Ridgefield, Wash. (NPUC Executive Secretary)Peter J. McPherson, Caldwell, Idaho Gregory E. Paskell, Billings, Mont. David Prest, Jr., Boise, Idaho (Idaho Conference President)Barbara J. Prowant, Seattle, Wash. Al Reimche, Gladstone, Ore. (Oregon Conference President)Mark Remboldt, Ridgefield, Wash. Kevin Rogers, Puyallup, Wash. Sandy Schnell, Caldwell, Idaho Linda Sloop, Yakima, Wash. Rodney Wehtje, Meadow Vista, Cal
  • On July 1 the vote was taken with 25 of the 29 WWU board members present. Of those making up the board were several members [5 to 7] from the Presidential Search committee at Walla Walla University that had voted and recommended Alex Bryan. The vote of the board however, was 2/3 against Bryan taking the position.
  • The online Gleaner now mentioned that the push for Alex Bryan as president had not abated following the board’s vote on July 1. However, the Gleaner’s full report has since been removed. This is not the only material that dealt with Alex’s possible presidency that has been removed from the web following the boards vote. Spectrum also posted information about the attempt to push for a reconsideration of Alex Bryan’s position as president. The comments following the article (page after page) seem to express many exaggerated view points by progressive Spectrum supporters as to why Alex was not chosen.
  • The online Gleaner now mentioned that the push for Alex Bryan as president had not abated following the board’s vote on July 1. However, the Gleaner’s full report has since been removed. This is not the only material that dealt with Alex’s possible presidency that has been removed from the web following the boards vote. Spectrum also posted information about the attempt to push for a reconsideration of Alex Bryan’s position as president. The comments following the article (page after page) seem to express many exaggerated view points by progressive Spectrum supporters as to why Alex was not chosen. Many claimed that the decision was based on an “anonymous” letter of concern submitted to the WWU board and circulated around. However, according to Max Torkelson, the anonymous letter, written by a WWU professor, was not even considered at the board meeting.
  • John McVay decided to take the presidency again in Jan. 2013.John McVay was Associate Dean and Professor of New Testament at Andrews University from 1998-2000. Then Dean and Professor at Andrews University Theological Seminary from 2000 through 2006 when he became Walla Walla University President until July 2012. He will again take up the presidency in Jan. 2013. In his first article in Westwind, upon deciding to return to WWU, McVay makes it clear that he will make Alex Bryan a key part of his next administration which will have an influence on WWU’s vision and mission, and will even spill over to other campuses.
  • John McVay decided to take the presidency again in Jan. 2013.John McVay was Associate Dean and Professor of New Testament at Andrews University from 1998-2000. Then Dean and Professor at Andrews University Theological Seminary from 2000 through 2006 when he became Walla Walla University President until July 2012. He will again take up the presidency in Jan. 2013. In his first article in Westwind, upon deciding to return to WWU, McVay makes it clear that he will make Alex Bryan a key part of his next administration which will have an influence on WWU’s vision and mission, and will even spill over to other campuses.
  • Alex Bryan is one of several who started the One Project. Their claim is that its all about Jesus. Jesus. All. But has Alex Bryan’s past experience demonstrated that this is the case? Is the One Project really about making Jesus supreme, or about making an avenue through which the leader’s agenda can be brought into the church, primarily marketed to our young people through our Universities?
  • Is the One Project really the reformation that we need in our church (we do need one)? Based on the backgrounds of the Project leaders what will be the result of the influence of this Project on our young people through our Universities? We will now take a look at Tim Gillespie in presentation 8.
  • The emerging church and the one project part 6

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    4. 4.     ―Bryan graduated from Southern College (now Southern Adventist University) in 1993. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in 1996. …‖ ―Bryan led an evangelistic initiative in Atlanta in 1996, the New Community Fellowship, aimed at reaching secular young adults with the Gospel. Bryan resigned from denominational employment in 2002 to pursue this evangelistic passion, and not without success.‖ ―Earlier this year [2007], however, Bryan and his wife, Nicole, came under increasing conviction to reconnect with the Seventhday Adventist Church. Months of candid dialog in various settings culminated in a clear vote of support from the Executive Committee of the Georgia-Cumberland conference October 24, offering Bryan renewed employment and this position.‖ ―Alex Bryan has been named the new associate pastor for the Collegedale, Tenn., Seventh-day Adventist Church. … Bryan will serve as Pastor for Mission and Ministry on the staff of the Collegedale Church, led by John Nixon, D. Min., Senior Pastor. He will begin responsibilities in early December, 2007.‖ 4
    5. 5.   ―‘I learned many things through this experience,‘ reflected Bryan. ‗Here are just two. First, I learned how to begin and enjoy authentic relationships with people outside the church, how to love them unconditionally, and how to have spiritually significant conversations with non-Christians. Second I learned to appreciate the unique gifts of Adventism (the seventh-day Sabbath, global community, the consistent grace of God) from unexpected vantage points.‘‖ ―‗I believe Seventh-day Adventists are uniquely positioned to address (the) three big issues of our times,‘ Bryan continued: ‗stress, uncertainty, and ugly gods. God‘s remedy for stress is Sabbatical life. God‘s remedy for uncertainty is the surety of heaven. God‘s remedy for ugly gods (visions of deities as terrorists, who torture people in hell forever, or blow up buildings, for example) is a picture of a graceful God, the desire of this and every age, Jesus Christ.‘‖ (http://www.gccsda.com/_static_content/ Communication/Communique/200711_Communique-web.pdf) 5
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    7. 7.     ―How do you reach the generation of rock music and movies, cyberspace and television? Alex Bryan thinks he might have an answer. In September 1995 Bryan, then a student at the Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, approached Gordon Bietz, president of the GeorgiaCumberland Conference, with his dream of starting a new kind of church— a church that grabbed people's attention. …‖ ―The town to be turned upside down is Atlanta—specifically, northeast Atlanta, where a high concentration of young, unchurched people live, work, and study. The new church, named the New Community, will target the secular people of Generation X. …‖ ―Bryan, the 26-year-old pastor, plans to incorporate multimedia, contemporary music, and dramatic arts to build a worship service that is very creative and authentic. ‗We will incorporate many different things with excellence,‘ he says. …‖ ―At the service Xers will be challenged spiritually without being smothered with religion. ‗The big thing is we've got to allow the language of our generation,‘ says Bryan, who credits many of his ideas to leadership seminars he attended at Willow Creek Community Church, a nondenominational church in northern Chicago.‖ (http://www.adventistarchives.org/ docs/RH/RH19970220-V174-08__C/index.djvu) 7
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    9. 9.   ―Granted, Alex, Victor, and Andy may all have quit piano lessons when they were kids, but they have not plans to quit this church. Oh, sure, they admit that being a young Adventist can be a rough ride, full of unexpected twists and turns. But the way they see it, the solution is hardly to abandon the roller coaster. Instead they‘re following the advice of Peter (the guy who knew all about religious struggles) and discovering that the best way to build momentum in the Adventist journey is to lean into the curves. …‖ ―Alex Bryan, 26, just received his M. Div. degree at Andrews University. He spends most of his time planning for the Atlanta project, a spiritual seeker-driven church soon to be planted in—you guessed it—Atlanta.‖ (Back cover, The Ride of Your Life: Being a Young Adventist is not for the Faint of Heart) 9
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    11. 11.     ―I believe excessive purity is often a dangerous tendency for Seventh-day Adventists. A desire for theological perfection, rigid adherence to Ellen White's writings, and a quest for ‗remnant‘ status frequently leave us vulnerable to religious intolerance in our own ranks. This is dangerous. In today's Adventist world there are at least four good reasons for us not to go down the road of the Puritans and those critics whom Jesus encountered.‖ ―First, an obsession with correctness creates an environment that scandalizes freethinkers in both classrooms and churches. …‖ ―Second, a purity-focused church fosters a climate for obsessed perfection-seekers like David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. If remnant status means that everything has to be just right, yet reality tells us that everything isn't just right, what are our options? …‖ ―Third, structurally we will shatter into numerous little cities on a hill if we don't allow latitude in many areas of church life. We must, for example, allow churches to enjoy latitude in the way they worship. For Adventism to hold together, styles will have to vary across ethnic and generational frontiers. …‖ (cont.) 11
    12. 12.    ―We live in an incredibly diverse world; our multigenerational, international church can survive only with solid Seventh-day Adventism taking many forms. In short, we don't all have to do it the same way.‖ ―Fourth, a Puritan mind-set risks allowing trivial issues to consume imperative issues. … While it's imperative that we remember our prophetic calling, that we remain both united and committed to the clear teachings of Scripture, the vast array of personal decisions and beliefs that stem from these teachings should be respected and encouraged. …‖ ―The reality of Planet Earth is that a lot of things are neutral. That's right. Neither sheep nor goat. Something may be less than perfect or not what we'd prefer, but hardly worthy of an all-out spiritual assault. Sometimes it's OK to relax, let live, chill out. We often lose opportunities to do ministry and build community when we each create our own 10,000 commandments in hopes of perfection. Such excessive purity is toxic for God's bride on the brink of a wedding.‖ (Alex Bryan, ―The Theology of Chilling Out,‖ Adventist Review, June 19, 1997, pp. 8-11) 12
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    14. 14.   ―Fourth, we must begin a redistribution of financial resources to the local church level. We have called upon the local church to support Adventist academies and colleges, administrative programs, publications, evangelistic initiatives, and a host of other worthy projects. We must now support the local church itself. Our ‗dangerous illusion,‘ which has misdirected emphasis on the parachurch over the church, is visualized most clearly in our system of financial allocation. …‖ ―If we wait 10 or 15 years to help the local church financially, it will be too late. As a Seventh-day Adventist family we must together discover ways to invest more money in local churches. We must , not allow a fear of Congregationalism to hinder this endeavor—for congregations are ultimately the church. A worldwide church that prioritizes its local church need not fear them. It will not see such congregations breaking away. Well-cared-for Adventist local churches will long to support Adventism. Ironically, the more we support local congregations, the less likely it is that Congregationalism will arise.‖ (Alex Bryan, ―The Local Church is the Church: Period,‖ Adventist Review, March 19, 1998, p. 10) 14
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    16. 16.   ―2. Adventists should continue gleaning from Willow Creek. Selective borrowing is an important part of our history. That a person or church has different beliefs doesn‘t mean they can‘t teach us something. As one religion professor put it, Willow Creek has its place in prophecy too. Granted, it‘s a different place. But we can learn from each other.‖ ―3. Gleaning from Willow Creek‘s message doesn‘t mean forfeiting our message. I join those disappointed to see some Willow Creek-influenced churches blushing at our distinctive beliefs, avoiding the word ―Adventist‖ in print and from the pulpit, begging separation from the world body, planning shortterm only. This behavior isn‘t necessary. I think of Mountain View church in Las Vegas; of the freshly planted New Community in Atlanta; of my home church, New Hope, in Laurel, Maryland; and of other churches mature enough to incorporate Willow Creek principles without giving up their Adventist identity.‖ (Andy Nash, ―On Willow Creek,‖ Adventist Review, Dec. 18, 1997, p. 6) 16
    17. 17.  ―Alex Bryan‘s Background: [He] created a ‗Sunday service‘ church and left Seventh-day Adventist employment. Alex Bryan began his ministry at the New Community Fellowship in Atlanta in 1996 under the blessing of conference administration. However, the methods used to reach secular young adults resulted in the creation of a ‗Sunday service‘ and, as the conference administration was considering his termination, Alex Bryan resigned his denominational employment in 2002 and remained independent for the next five years. The resulting Sunday observing church still meets . … The church meets Sunday from 10:30 AM to 12:05 PM. The current pastor is Alex‘s brother, David Bryan. … In 2004, meetings at this church occurred on both Saturdays and Sundays; today the web site shows only Sunday services. ‖ (http://cafesda.blogspot.com/) 17
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    19. 19.   ―Pastor Alex Bryan, a fellow graduate of Southern Adventist University in Tennessee, was repeatedly featured in the Adventist Review. His congregation, ‗The New Community,‘ broke away over tithe and doctrinal issues. For awhile its website hung on the net claiming it was a Protestant Church, although some of us had difficulty seeing what it might be protesting. But it is gone off the web, not even a Google-cache left to show it existed. …‖ ―In Atlanta, Georgia, The New Community was also presented as evidence of ‗other churches mature enough to incorporate Willow Creek principles without giving up their Adventist identity‘ (Ibid). However, the facts are that Alex Bryan's ‗New Community‘ church in Atlanta has since left the denomination and faded out of existence.‖ (http://www.greatcontroversy.org/reportandreview/offshootpt1.php) 19
    20. 20.  ―Information came to us recently that former Seventh-day Adventist pastor Alex Bryan‘s Church, which had apparently disappeared, still exists. Its internet home is here: http://www.thenewcommunitychurch.com/. What does this church stand for today?‖   ―We are an independent, interdenominational, evangelical church. ‗Independent‘ means we are our own organization, not legally connected to any other church. ‗Interdenominational‘ means we welcome people of all faith traditions. ‗Evangelical‘ means we emphasize the gospel of forgiveness and life transformation through personal faith in Jesus Christ, and we affirm orthodox Bible doctrines. See our ‗Statement of Faith‘ for further details‖ (http://www.thenewcommunitychurch.com/phpBB2/faq.php#23, accessed September 24, 2004. 3:42 PDT). ― ―Meetings at this church occur, according to its website, on both Saturdays and Sundays. Will the path of The New Community be repeated in the current or future offshoot movements? Only time will tell.‖ (http://www.greatcontroversy.org/reportandreview/offshootpt7.php) 20
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    23. 23.     ―Who are we? The New Community Church is an interdenominational congregation. This means our doors are wide open to people from all backgrounds and denominations. We celebrate the contributions of everyone who embraces this community as their spiritual family. We are part of the Willow Creek Association of churches.‖ ―What do we believe? The sole basis for our belief is the bible. We embrace the story of the Holy Scriptures as God‘s relational interaction with people over the course of history.‖ ―What is our Sunday morning experience like? We gather on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.‖ (http://thenewcommunitychurch.com/about-us/) ―On Saturday, October 27, about 100 of us gathered for a night of pumpkin carving, hot chili, a huge kids‘ jump house, GA-FL football, live bluegrass music, S‘mores over an open fire, dozens of pies and a pretty amazing Happy Birthday bluegrass clogging dance (you had to be there!). On Sunday morning, October 28, we concluded our teaching series that has dug deep into Paul‘s letter, written from a prison cell in Rome, to the people of Philippi (now preserved in the New Testament book of Philippians). And then late Sunday night we gathered at a nearby Taco Mac for a World Series/Sunday Night Football gathering and laughed and cheered and told stories and finally went home around midnight!‖ (http://thenewcommunitychurch.com/news/) 23
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    25. 25.    ―Five years ago Alex Bryan thought his days as an Adventist pastor were finished. Bryan had resigned in 2002 following disagreements with his employer, the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, over how to most effectively reach unbelievers in the Atlanta area. …‖ ―But on December 1 [2007], following months of dialogue, Bryan returned to employment in the same conference. Bryan said he felt an increasing conviction to minister again within the Adventist Church—and cited his renewed appreciation for Adventist doctrines, such as Sabbath rest and the rejection of eternal torment in hell. Bryan said he also missed the global community of Adventism. ‗I‘m excited to once again serve my spiritual family of origin,‘ said Bryan. …‖ ―Following the decision of the Conference Executive Committee to employ Bryan, the Church Board voted by a 16-14 margin to affirm the decision. ‗I understand the nervousness some felt,‘ said Bryan. ‗I hope to rebuild these relationships in the days to come.‘ During the deliberations, said Senior Pastor John Nixon, the biblical story of John Mark was considered. As told in Acts 15, John Mark had at one point separated from Paul and Barnabas. Later, however, John Mark rejoined the ministry.‖ (―Atlanta Pastor Reconciles With Georgia-Cumberland Conference,‖ Adventist Today, Jan. Feb., 2008, p. 8) 25
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    27. 27.    ―This week I'm attending the Willow Creek Leadership Summit via satellite in Atlanta. My parents, brother, and a few friends have made this an annual appointment each August for several years now. While it is true that countless church leadership and pastoral seminars are out there (you could probably attend one after the next all year long), the Summit is about my favorite. …‖ ―As I think about the heavy challenges facing the Christian church in the days ahead (we are looking at 17.5% church attendance in USA each weekend and heading lower every year) in is important to remember that Jesus believes in his church, he trusts his church, he empowers his church. My own denomination faces a daunting reality: 62 is the mean age of a church member while 36 is the mean age of an American citizen. …‖ ―Whatever the many challenges and opportunities of postmodernism, post-fundamentalism, post-colonialism, and posttraditionalism, the church can be THE agent of change, the agent of love, the agent of healing. The church can be, if it acts in the Way of Jesus, a roaring success against evil in this world.‖ (http://breakfastfires.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-09-25T15:24:00-04:00&maxresults=7&start=7&by-date=false) 27
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    29. 29.    ‖Dear Max, … Regarding my Atlanta history: The experience there had nothing to do with theology, but rather evangelistic strategy. The Georgia-Cumberland Conference established our church as a creative approach to evangelism towards Adventist young adults who had left the church and also non-churched young adults. Our strategy included implementation of a Sunday evangelistic meeting. The church found this idea from Testimonies to the Church, Volume 9, page 233, where Ellen G. White suggest Sunday for evangelistic purposes.‖ ―The evangelism did not work out as we had hoped, and I have since discouraged this approach. While I remain passionate about evangelism, I have learned that greater caution and wisdom in methodology is critical for success.‖ ―Throughout my tenure in Atlanta, our church remained committed to Seventh-day Adventist theology, while part of the sisterhood of churches we faithfully returned tithe through denominational channels, and we maintained our Sabbath services and all that implies. Both doctrinally and culturally we remained Seventh-day Adventists. I have never taught or practiced Sunday-keeping—any assertion to this is false.‖ (cont.) 29
    30. 30.   ―Max, I‘m uncomfortable both personally and as a pastor at pointing towards events that affirm my nearly 20 years of global ministry and leadership in the Seventh--‐day Adventist Church. This is not in my nature. However, perhaps this will be of use as you respond to those that question my credibility within mainstream Adventism.‖ “AFTER my Atlanta experience:  Georgia--‐Cumberland Conference called me back into full--time ministry on the campus of Southern Adventist University, in the largest church in their conference (fully aware of my Atlanta experience).  Bob Folkenberg and the Upper Columbia Conference called me to full--‐time ministry at WWUC, the largest church in the NPUC (fully aware of my Atlanta experience).‖ (http://spiritualformationsda.files. wordpress.com/ 2009/05/alex-bryans-response-to-concerns.pdf) 30
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    32. 32.  ―ALEX BRYAN is senior pastor of the Walla Walla University Church, where he also serves as adjunct professor in the schools of religion and business at Walla Walla University. Previously, he pastored churches in Tennessee and Georgia. He studied at Southern Adventist University (B.A. History, Religion), Andrews University (M.Div.), and George Fox University (D.Min.). The largest portion of his ministry (11 years) was spent planting and pastoring a church in Atlanta – a congregational mission to reach young adults disinclined to participate in traditional church settings.‖ (http://the1project.org/assets/documents/top_gathering_book_ chicago_2013.pdf; p. 28) 32
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    34. 34.    ―While the Global South and East are exploding, we in the West, including America, are imploding. … I don‘t suspect many Christians (and Adventists) understand just how quickly and decisively we are headed in this direction. …‖ ―In the meantime, however, the Christian Church is losing its market share. The societal thirst for spiritual meaning is intense. But somehow, even though we hold the Water of Life, we are not able to quench our generation‘s thirst. Culture‘s spiritual sex drive is high. Sadly, bookings for the heavenly wedding chapel—those pledging to join the bride of Christ and marry the God Groom— are low. The baptismal tank is running dry.‖ ―Adventism is geriatric. We are not the hospital maternity ward, but hospice. We are graying local churches headed for the grave. If advertising in denominational publications is any indication, planned Adventist retirement communities are now big business. Meanwhile, the young seem not to be our business. Has anybody noticed the age demographic of camp meeting? How about the predominant patrons of the Adventist Book Center? Who subscribes to denominational magazines? Who tunes in to 3ABN? With all due respect, old people.‖ (cont.) 34
    35. 35.   ―‘White Adventist Americans are one generation away from near disappearance, and African-American Adventists are probably two generations away.‘ The demographic demise of the Adventist Church in America is hard to overstate. Seventh-day Adventism, birthed on this continent some 160 years ago, by young people, has now lost its young. Unless our heading changes, we are traveling down an ever shorter road into a sunset of our own making.‖ ―Local Churches are Losing It: Friends of mine faced an unnerving dilemma a year ago. Having just moved to a major (million-plus) American city, they were trying to choose a church. The final choice came down to: (a) a congregation with a preferable (Adventist) statement of theological beliefs that met for worship on Sabbath (but other than that was pretty dead) or (b) a church with a vibrant worship environment, culturally connected atmosphere, enthusiastic missional energy, deep relational health, thoroughly grace-centered pulpit, and an overall and potent sense of Holy Spirit-bathed ministry. The only significant problems with this church were a less appealing theology (not Adventist) and no public gatherings on Sabbath. My friends chose the Seventh-day Adventist congregation. But it hasn‘t been easy. The fellowship is old. Philosophy of ministry is harsh. Relationships are shallow and cold. Sense of purpose is kaput. The church believes truth but ‗hath not the spirit.‘‖ (cont.) 35
    36. 36.   ―What Should We Do? First, we need a crate load of candor. …I long for a division, union, or local conference leader to speak with such candor. We claim 1.1 million Adventist members in America. But that de facto number may be more like 600,000- 700,000. I long for the Adventist Review to speak honestly about the dire situation we find ourselves in, as well as the present successes and future hopes. I long for the General Conference Session in 2010 to be more than cheers, pom-poms, one-liners. ...‖ ―What if a Georgia Dome acceptance sermon, 18 months from now [2010 GC] , by the newly elected North American Division president, started like this:   My fellow Adventists, I want to begin with a confession. We have chased the children from the lap of Jesus. And so, for the next five years, we must pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to the task of revolutionizing our schools, our churches, our organizational structure, and, most of all, our spirituality. …‖ ―Second, we must re-claim the local church as the church. Nearly 11 years ago (in the spring of 1998), I wrote an article for Adventist Review titled, ―The Local Church Is the Church. Period‖ about what I perceived to be the plight of local congregations in Adventist America. I wrote that in comparison to Adventist hospitals, colleges, and conference offices, local congregations are dangerously under-resourced. I suggested that the health of the entire Advent Movement in North America rested on the health of local churches. I still believe this to be true.‖ (cont.) 36
    37. 37.    ―A majority of pastors say they often feel lonely and isolated in their local church leadership. Promotions in professional Adventist ministry are almost always viewed as calls to one of the Adventist mega-centers. And so, local congregations are left starving for both material and visionary leadership. …‖ ―We need to decentralize with our best and brightest. I pray the Holy Spirit would storm the castle of our grandest academies and universities, hospitals and conference offices, plundering the personnel and taking prisoner those who could rock the world of American Babylon. We also need, in this local church revolution, a major transfer of funds from the many layers of governance back into local settings. …‖ “Third, we need to lower the spiritual driving age. I believe our Adventist colleges and universities (of which I am currently a pastoral part) must play a significant role in the redemption and renewal of Adventism. Simply put, we need young, 20-something graduates who are prepared, upon graduation, to flood local congregations with energy, spirituality, relational passion, and missional skill.‖ (Alex Bryant, ―The End of American Adventism?‖ Adventist Today, Winter 2009, pp. 7-10) 37
    38. 38.  ―In July 2010, five simple Jesus followers (Alex Bryan, Japhet De Oliveira, Sam Leonor, Tim Gillespie and Terry Swenson) got together … in Denver. … After two days of prayer, fasting, communion and reflection we looked across the room at each other and acknowledged again that Jesus was number one. …‖ (Japhet De Oliveira, ―The One Project: Our Purpose and Mission,‖ http://the1project.org/ assets/documents/the-one-project.pdf)   ―Look, it happened one day in Denver, that we got together, broke and hurting people—people that a lot of people looked at and said; Oh their great, their fine, life is good. But we are hurting and burnt out, and dreaming dreams that we don‘t want to think about anymore, because you just want to put them in a box and hide them cause it hurts to treasure them anymore. And we came together as friends and we really just wanted to escape for a while. …‖ ―And I was so broken and hungry, that I said guys, we‘ve got to open up. … And then it happened. And we said, It happened. And we walked away and said can it get bigger? Can the circle expand? Could it be that we could tear down the walls? I don‘t want to fight the battle anymore! I‘m through! I am tired of seeing members and beautiful people, leaders like you, who crash and burn and die. I‘m tired of seeing honey but it turns to ashes in my mouth. It‘s about Jesus. If people want to march over here, ‗well, we‘re the church,‘ okay fine, but I‘m going to follow Jesus.‖ (Terry Swenson, ―Jesus in our Experience,‖ talk given Feb. 8, 2011, Atlanta One Project; http://the1project.org/media/listen.html) 38
    39. 39. 39
    40. 40.  ―Bryan graduated from Southern College (now Southern Adventist University) in 1993. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Andrews University in 1996, and is currently a Doctor of Ministry student at George Fox University in Portland, OR.‖ (http://www.gccsda.com/_static_content/ Communication/Communique/2007-11_Communique-web.pdf)  ―Bryan graduated from Southern Adventist University in 1993 with degrees in history and religion. He then earned his Master‘s of Divinity from Andrews University in 1996, and his doctoral degree in ministry from George Fox University in 2009. Currently he is pastoring at the Southern Adventist University Church, where he has served for nearly 2 years.‖ (http://www.wallawalla.edu/about-wwu/news/article/view/university -church-welcomes-new-pastor/) 40
    41. 41. 41
    42. 42.  ―Alex Bryan is the Senior Pastor of the Walla Walla University Church. He was formerly the pastor of an interdenominational church in Atlanta, Georgia. His work has included frequent contributions to the Adventist Review, blogging for Adventist Today as well as speaking (Adventist colleges, camp meetings, progressive local church environments), church planting, and creative leadership for mission to emerging cultures. Alex received a masters of divinity degree from Andrews University, and is currently in the midst of a doctor of ministry program at George Fox University, where he is studying ‗Leadership in the Emerging Culture‘ with Dr. Leonard Sweet.‖ (http://www.slideshare.net/ EmergingOmega/spiritually-experiencing-god-part-2)  ―Dear Max, … The assertion that my doctoral degree is in ‗emergent church spiritual formation‘ is false. My degree is in church leadership, not spiritual practice.‖ (http://spiritualformationsda. files.wordpress.com/2009/05/alex-bryans-response-to-concerns.pdf) 42
    43. 43. 43
    44. 44.    ―Anticipate change. Proactive leadership in Google Culture with Len Sweet.‖ ―The Leadership in Emerging Culture Doctor of Ministry (DMin) tracks explore the character and shape of effective Christian leadership in the emerging culture. The … program with Dr. Leonard (Len) Sweet prepares an advance guard of Jesus semioticians, leaders adept at seeing signs of Jesus‘ work in the world. These followers of Jesus are not afraid of the future but are excited about its possibilities and promises, while aware of its perils and pitfalls.‖ ―The approach is an ancient-future one of MRI (Missional, Relational, Incarnational) discipleship, using an EPIC (Experiential, Participatory, Image-Rich, Connective) interface. Students explore how to transition the church from its current default of APC (Attractional, Propositional, Colonial) to MRI, and play with a variety of EPIC interfaces.‖ (cont.) 44
    45. 45.   Advances ―Students participate in three face-to-face 'advance' experiences in Portland, OR, Oxford, UK, and Orcas Island, WA. They meet for a research course, visit in-person with their advisor, and join Leonard Sweet for a number of learning sessions. Learn more....‖ Online and Hybrid ―The delivery system for the track utilizes a hybrid delivery model. Students participate in several conferences, receive personal mentoring from Dr. Sweet and select faculty advisors, engage in ongoing online interactivity with cohort members and professors, and engage in reading, reflection, research, and writing. Students meet weekly with Len Sweet for synchronous chats in SpotOn3D at an island online learning community called ‗Mag Mell‘.‖ (http://www.georgefox.edu/seminary/programs/dmin-sfs/index.html) 45
    46. 46. 46
    47. 47. 47
    48. 48.  ―Tuesday, February 3, 2009, Timely Material. … 2. Leonard Sweet gave three powerful ‗meditations‘ on mission and contemporary challenges to the church. These sermons were given at my home church last weekend --on the campus of Southern Adventist University. They are entitled: A Theology of Football; The Perfect Storm; and The Music of Life. Access them with the links above.‖ (breakfastfires.blogspot.com/2009_02_03_archive.com) 48
    49. 49. 49
    50. 50.    ―The omnipresence of coffee at our social appointments intrigues the cultural critic Leonard Sweet. Coffee, he argues, is a ‗conversational drink‘ and the more we drink the more we talk with one another! In fact, coffee invites us to draw others to the table. We somehow know that the ‗experience [of coffee] is enhanced far beyond the ordinary simply by sharing it with someone else.‘54 Could it be that food and drink in general (and coffee, in particular) is God‘s mysterious elixir, luring us to hear and be heard by one another? Could it be that food‘s purpose is both fueling the body and The Body? Frederick Buechner thinks so, writing, ‗to eat is to acknowledge our dependence—both on food and on each other.‘‖55 ―Sweet is direct: ‗Starbucks knows that conversations need ―third places‖ in which to thrive.‘ And Starbucks is thriving with six thousand U.S. locations and four thousand internationally.69 …‖ ―The nutritional value of the food and the quality of conversational experience are not important factors in choosing a fast food meal. The pressing dilemma, according to Ritzer, is, ‗how much time it will take‖ to get the food on the table and into the stomach. 72 And so, even as Starbucks (and other quality companies) have made an effort to brew good coffee, in an attractive environment, and even in a place where the barista knows you by name, we must ask: What is the conversational quality of these places? Are people connecting food and fellowship? Are they, as Oldenburg envisions, places of laughter, healing, and joy?73‖ 50
    51. 51. 51
    52. 52.  ―My sonnets are not generally finished till I see them again after forgetting them.‖ So wrote Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1854. The following doctoral students helped me see this manuscript afresh after forgetting it: Sarah Baldwin, Michael Berry, William Alexander (Alex) Bryan, … I feel honored to be studying with each and every one of them and wish more criticism came my way with such admirable amenity. … Leonard Sweet, Thanksgiving Eve, 2007‖ (Leonard Sweet, 11: Indispensible Relationships You Can’t Be Without, p. 11: http://www.google.com/search?q=11%3A+Indispensable+Relationships+You+Can%27 t+Be+Without&btnG=Search+Books&tbm=bks&tbo=1) 52
    53. 53.    ―Dear Max, … I am absolutely opposed to any form of Eastern mysticism, mantras, centering prayer, or other non-biblical forms of spiritual exercises. At no time have I taught or practiced non-biblical spiritual practice. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.‖ ―My degree from George Fox University, where Leonard Sweet is a visiting professor, in no way means that I agree with everything taught at GFU, including everything taught by Leonard Sweet, or anyone else. It is important to note that our current and past General Conference Presidents both hold doctoral degrees from nonAdventist universities. This fact in no way indicates that they agree with everything taught at those institutions. …‖ ―Leonard Sweet is not my ‗mentor,‘ as the document indicates. I have no regular contact with him whatsoever. Multiple Adventist gatherings have headlined Sweet as a guest, including: General Conference, NAD, union conference, and local conference gatherings. His primary work is as a missiologist.‖ (Alex Bryan, http://spiritualformationsda.files. wordpress.com/2009/05/alex-bryans-response-to-concerns.pdf) 53
    54. 54. 54
    55. 55.    ―George Fox Evangelical Seminary: October 25 [2012] via HootSuite. Check out The One Project, being led by 3 of our D.Min alums: Terry Swenson, Alex Bryan, and Tim Gillespie: http://bit.ly/Mj0MR‖ ―Jim Carlson: The link doesn't seem to work right now and I wanna see it cause these are my boys. October 25 at 5:40pm via mobile‖ ―George Fox Evangelical Seminary: The One project Celebrating the supremacy of Jesus in the Seventh-day Adventist Church—Home: the1project.org‖ (https://www.facebook.com/georgefoxevangelicalseminary/timeline?filter=1) 55
    56. 56. 56
    57. 57.    “Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson: … Eat This Book is like a key that opens up the limitless potential of the Scriptural experience.‖ “Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell: If you believe theology is something people did in the past … but something we cannot do today … because it has already all been done …. you must read this little book! While Peterson‘s book left me pumped about reading the Bible, Bell‘s book left me angry that no one ever told me (or perhaps I wasn‘t listening) that our job is not simply to affirm the affirmations of dead people. Theology is living, breathing, and requires every generation‘s engagement. …‖ ”A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren: I‘ll admit I‘m a little late to the game as this was published a couple years back. But as I finish reading this masterpiece I find myself recommending it again and again. … But this is perhaps the single most important book I‘ve read in the past five years. McLaren artfully surveys the landscape of theology in America and argues for a humility and open-mindedness that seeks to learn from others‘ relationship with God, rather than pointing out the errors of everyone else. This book embraces courtship over courtroom in compelling fashion. Love the Bible (Peterson), do theology (Bell), and celebrate the theological discoveries of others instead of championing your conclusions as The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth (McLaren).‖ (Alex Bryan, http://breakfastfires.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2007-1110T10:40:00-05:00&max-results=7&start=21&by-date=false) 57
    58. 58.   ―Book Description: Eat This Book challenges us to read the Scriptures on their own terms, as God‘s revelation, and to live them as we read them. With warmth and wisdom Peterson offers greatly needed, down-to-earth counsel on spiritual reading. In these pages he draws readers into a fascinating conversation on the nature of language, the ancient practice of lectio divina, and the role of Scripture translations; included here is the ‗inside story‘ behind Peterson‘s own popular Bible translation, The Message.‖ ―Editorial Review: Christians are to absorb, imbibe, feed on and digest Scripture. Peterson recommends a type of Bible-based prayer called lectio divina, in which the person praying meditates on a short passage of Scripture and listens for God to speak through the text. Peterson's exposition of lectio divina is one of the fullest to appear in recent years. Throughout, he cautions that lectio is not a systematic way of reading, but a ‗developed habit of living the text in Jesus' name.‘‖ (http://www.amazon.com/Eat-This-Book-ConversationSpiritual/dp/0802864902/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350845103&sr=8-1&keywords=eat+this+book+ peterson#_) 58
    59. 59.    Customer Review: ―How you read a book is certainly important and plays a major role in what you get out of it. … Furthermore, many people do not approach the Bible without a certain set of presuppositions. Peterson is not exempt. He tells the story in the book about what led him to paraphrase the Bible and how it came about that he wrote ‗The Message.‘ … The problem is that Peterson would consider his paraphrase a translation, but if it is a translation, we obviously have two different opinions on accuracy.‖ ―The risk with any translation is adding, subtracting, or narrowing a particular meaning from the original author's intent. While Peterson's intentions may be pure, his process does not make proper provision for his own limitations. In the end, Peterson's premises bypass proper syntax in translating the text. …‖ ―Where you begin matters. If you think of the Bible allegorically, your paraphrase will reflect personal identity more than contextual accuracy. … I wouldn't recommend it to anyone without a clear understanding of orthodoxy and hermeneutics.‖ (Adam Miller, http://www.amazon.com/Eat-This-Book-Conversation-Spiritual/productreviews/0802864902/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_3?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addThreeStar&showViewpoints=0) 59
    60. 60.   Customer Review: ―It is a rather strange and wandering book in which Peterson meanders through a wide variety of topics having to do with the theme of Scripture. At heart, though, the book is an attempt to convince the reader of the importance of reading Scripture in order to promote life change. Peterson feels this is best done through the ancient practice of lectio divina. In many respects, then, this book is a beginner's guide to that practice. …‖ ―Having laid the foundation, Peterson provides an overview of lectio divina. He breaks the practice into its component parts: … Throughout the book Peterson suggests that lectio divina is a biblical practice and one that has been practiced since the dawn of the church. This is not strictly true, as it is the product of a particular form of Christianity: Catholic mysticism. The way Peterson presents it is quite innocuous, almost as if he is deliberately avoiding the deeper practices and even potential problems associated with it. … Peterson does little to help the reader understand that this is a practice more associated with Catholic mysticism than with Protestantism. Many of the most notable teachers of lectio divina would lead readers into practices that are unbiblical.‖(Tim Challies, http://www.amazon.com/Eat-This-Book-Conversation-Spiritual/product-reviews/0802864902/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_3?ie= UTF8&filterBy=addThreeStar&showViewpoints=0) 60
    61. 61.   ―Biography: Rob Bell lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he's the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church. He also teaches in a short film format called NOOMA, and his books include Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith, Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections Between Sexuality and Spirituality. …” ―Book Description: ‗This book is for those who need a fresh take on Jesus and what it means for us to live the kind of life he teaches us to live,‘ writes Rob Bell. ‗This pursuit of Jesus is leading us backward as much as forward ... I am learning that what seems brand new is often just the discovery of something that has been there all along—it just got lost somewhere and it needs to be picked up, dusted off, and reclaimed.‘ … ‗Don't swallow it uncritically. Think about it. Wrestle with it. Just because I'm a Christian and I'm trying to articulate a Christian worldview doesn't mean I've got it nailed. I'm contributing to the discussion. God has spoken, and the rest is commentary, right?‘‖ (cont.) 61
    62. 62.  Official Editorial Review: ―Bell … offers an innovative and intriguing, if uneven, first book. This introduction to the Christian faith is definitely outside the usual evangelical box. Bell wants to offer ‗a fresh take on Jesus‘—a riff that begins with the assertion that Jesus wanted to ‗call people to live in tune with reality‘ and that he ‗had no use for religion.‘ Bell invites seekers into a Christianity that has room for doubts. … He mocks literalists whose faith seems to depend on a six-day creation, …He cites his church as a place of forgiveness, mystery, community and transformation. Bell is well-versed in Jewish teachings and draws from rabbinic wisdom and stories freely. … Still, this is faithful, creative Christianity, and Gen-Xers especially will find Bell a welcome guide to the Christian faith.‖ (http://www.amazon.com/Velvet-Elvis-Repainting-ChristianFaith/dp/B0057D8RU0/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350850997&sr=1-2&keywords =velvet+elvis#_) 62
    63. 63.  Customer Reviews: ―Rob Bell makes me mad because he preaches an anti-gospel. … Rob Bell makes me mad because he writes off the virgin birth of Jesus as non-essential (pp. 26-27). You heard right, he writes off the virgin birth of Jesus as not essential! . … Rob Bell makes me mad because he downplays the vital role of conversion. … Rob Bell makes me mad because he does violence to the clear words of Jesus. … If J. Gresham Machen were alive today, I suspect he would do what he did with Bell's theological predecessors. Machen would remind him that while he has the freedom to start a new religion, he really should call it something other than Christian given that his religion does not resemble what Christ actually established as recorded in the Christian book, the Bible.‖ (Pastor Patrick Abendroth)  ―I truly wanted to like the book. … But it wasn't written for someone like me at all. It made me uncomfortable. … But I didn't feel close to God after reading Rob's book. Not at all. What I felt was that my faith was being undermined and I was being laughed at for believing certain things. In the end, I felt as if I knew more about Rob Bell than I did about God. And certainly more than I knew about the Bible.‖ (Sarah) (cont.) 63
    64. 64.   Customer Reviews: ―If I did not know my Bible better and had not saving faith or the Holy Spirit helping me to discern, I might have been swept away by this type of teaching - especially having been educated at a secular university, where my professors were all questioning the doctrines of the Bible and constantly shipwrecking the faith of many a Christian-raised child. … I say again, that the worst thing this author does, which ruins the book for me, is that he exchanges the teachings of the Bible for open-ended discussions, worldly science, and feel-good poppsychology.‖ (E.A. Fisher– Food for goats not for sheep) “Velvet Elvis: 1. Is anti-orthodoxy, 2. Is light on biblical content, 3. Seems to promote Rob Bell and his church more than Jesus, 4. Causes people to doubt their faith, 5. Divides Christians against one another, 6. Is so ‗hip‘ and ‗cool‘ that even non-Christians love it, 7. Ridicules people who hold a solid view of Scripture and who seek to defend it; such people are guilty of ‗brickianity‘ in Bell-speak, 8. Allows contemporary culture to interpret and set the standards for the Bible rather than letting the Bible interpret and set the standards for contemporary culture, 9. Promotes (and even rewards!) a lack of critical thinking; instead it praises emotion and feelings above all else.‖ (Renae, http://www.amazon.com/Velvet-Elvis-RepaintingChristian-Faith/product-reviews/B0057D8RU0/ref=cm_cr_pr_btm_ link_2?ie=UTF8&filterBy =addOneStar&pageNumber=2&showViewpoints=0) 64
    65. 65.   ―Brian D. McLaren (born 1956) is a prominent Christian pastor, author, activist and speaker and leading figure in the emerging church movement. McLaren is also associated with postmodern Christianity and progressive Christianity and is a major figure in post-evangelical thought. He has often been named one of the most influential Christian leaders in America and was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America in 2005. … Brian McLaren graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with degrees in English (BA, summa cum laude, 1978, and MA, 1981). His academic interests include medieval drama, romantic poets, modern philosophical literature, and the novels of Dr. Walker Percy. …‖ ―McLaren believes this theology enables him to approach faith from what he considers a more Jewish perspective which allows faith to exist without objective, propositional truth to believe. He has also challenged traditional evangelicals' emphasis on individual salvation, end-times theology, … McLaren suggests … that new Christian converts should remain within their specific contexts: ‗I don‘t believe making disciples must equal making adherents to the Christian religion. It may be advisable in many (not all!) circumstances to help people become followers of Jesus and remain within their Buddhist, Hindu or Jewish contexts. …‘‖ (cont.) 65
    66. 66.  ―Often McLaren's postmodern approach to hermeneutics and Biblical understanding prompts him to take a less traditional approach towards issues considered controversial by fundamentalists, such as homosexuality. McLaren encourages what he calls a humble approach to controversial issues to enable dialog with others in a productive way.‖ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_McLaren)  ―Book Description: A confession and manifesto from a senior leader in the emerging church movement. A Generous Orthodoxy calls for a radical, Christ-centered orthodoxy of faith and practice in a missional, generous spirit. Brian McLaren argues for a postliberal, post-conservative, post-protestant convergence, which will stimulate lively interest and global conversation among thoughtful Christians from all traditions. In a sweeping exploration of belief, author Brian McLaren takes us across the landscape of faith, envisioning an orthodoxy that aims for Jesus, is driven by love, and is defined by missional intent.‖ (http://www.amazon.com/Generous-Orthodoxy-evangelical-conservative-contemplative/dp/0310 258030/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350856640&sr=1-1&keywords=a+generous+orthodoxy) 66
    67. 67.  Customer Reviews: ―It appears the strategy of the author is to deal with post-modernism by becoming post-modern oneself. What this means is that doctrine really doesn't matter, that a person can believe pretty much whatever he wishes, and all for the sake of what? Meaningless gobbley-gook, a faith that has no meaning whatsoever. It's difficult to pin McLaren down to much of anything, as his subtitle indicates. What bothers me is that doctrine really does matter. … and let me be a ‗prophet‘ for a minute--it's the beginning of the end for the Christian church if we head down this road, because the destination is more than just inclusivism. In fact, it leads to pure pluralism (universalism), where everyone who is sincere should be considered a child of God. The attitude of don't criticize, ‗just love‘ negates the message that the Bible consistently preaches, that there can be other gospels (Gal. 1:8), that false Jesuses can exist (2 Cor. 11:4), and that it could be possible to call yourself a Christian yet not have a true relationship with God.‖ (E. Johnson) (cont.) 67
    68. 68.  ―Let me alarm the reader immediately by stating bluntly the premise of this thesis. … I think this book is one of the bestwritten, well thought-out, and most cleverly presented deceptions I've ever come across. McLaren is good... really good! Unfortunately he has wrapped some really good points, some of which I can agree with, around some very dangerous theological errors. … I liken refuting some important issues in this book to the task of ferreting out and destroying cancer in an otherwise healthy body. Doctors are often frustrated in their attempts to kill cancerous tumors within living people without damaging the healthy tissue around the thing that is killing the patient.‖ (Bruce R. Porter, D. D.)  ―[M]y general impressions of this book. In short, it is awful. I consider it, in terms of content, one of the worst I have ever read and it stands as damning evidence of what passes for Christian reading in our day.‖ (Tim Challies) (cont. ) 68
    69. 69.   ―Take various 'truths' as you perceive them from your personalized perspective. Add other ingredients from various religious systems to taste. Place in spiritual blender. Turn setting to puree. Pour contents into the styrofoam cup that's just right for you. Make sure it tastes good. Don't worry about nutritional value, health benefit or potential toxicity. Call it: neochristian smoothie. Share recipe with other thirsty souls. But don't be rigid or exacting. Let them mix & match & alter the recipe to suit individual preference. Allow absolute latitude to decide for themselves what tastes best. …‖ ―Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Jesus said to his skeptical seeking audience: ‗They have Moses & the Prophets (Scripture). Let them hear them.‘ The response? ‗No, but if someone rises from the dead (experiential evidence, conclusive proof, subjective signs) they will repent.‘ Jesus' loving response? ‗If they will not listen to Moses & Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone resurrects before their very eyes.‘‖ (Chuck, smorgasbord spirituality, http://www.amazon.com/Generous-Orthodoxy-evangelical-conservative-contemplative/productreviews/0310258030/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addOneStar&showViewpoints=) 69
    70. 70. 70
    71. 71. ―The Christian church is falling apart and in desperate need of a revival. According to Professor Sweet and bestselling author Viola, what is lacking is a groundbreaking revelation of Christ that boggles the mind and enraptures the heart. … The authors urge churches to focus on the man who embodies the entire religion. To do so, readers must learn the subtle distinction between following Christ and realizing Christ already lives within them. Some may find this message controversial, even pantheistic.‖ (http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Manifesto-RestoringSupremacy-Sovereignty/dp/1596443855/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322412894&sr=1-1) 71
    72. 72.  ―About the Author: N. T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world‘s leading Bible scholars. He is now serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews.‖ (http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Jesus-Vision-What-Matters/dp/0062084399)  ―Nicholas Thomas Wright is considered by many to be the most influential New Testament scholar in the world. As a former graduate and professor at Oxford University, a former Bishop in the Church of England, and as a writer of many thick academic books about Jesus and Paul that have been widely circulated; N. T. Wright demands the attention of anyone who is seeking to understand current theological Pauline scholarship.‖ (Piper, The Future of Justification, p. 15). 72
    73. 73. 73
    74. 74.   ―At any rate, over on the Reformation21 blog, Justin Taylor made the observation that N.T. Wright's recent book on the authority of Scripture carries endorsements by two emerging church figures, Brian McLaren and John Franke, and solicited comments on what affinities there might be between Wright and the emergent folks. While I suspect endorsements on the backs of the books have much more to do with marketing than theology, several figures associated with the emerging church have admiringly cited Wright as influential, …‖ I find it difficult to ignore Richard D. Phillips's comments on the matter of Wright and the emergent church. Phillips writes:  Both Wright and the Emergents have set their sails to catch the wind of post-modernity, so despite any differences, they are being blown into the same port. The emergents are enraptured by new paradigms (e.g. Maclaren's New Kind of Christian), and Wright is the champion of the New Perspective. New wine and new wineskins go together. In this respect, I would suspect that the Emergents are attracted to NTW's rhetoric more than anything else. Imagine the emergent glow when Wright compares today's theological conservatives to soldiers who long after the war has ended are "still hiding in the jungle, unaware that the world has moved on to other matters" (Challenge of Jesus, 99). (http://sacradoctrina.blogspot.com/2006/01/wright-and-emerging-churchregarding.html) 74
    75. 75. 75
    76. 76.   ―John MacArthur Attacks the Emergent Church For Questioning the Clarity of the Scriptures. I listened to John MacArthur on the Emergent Church today. Masters Seminary (whose motto is ‗We Train Men as if Lives Depended on It!‘) is doing a 5 week series of critique on the Emergent Church. You can find the series of lectures to listen to here. The first talk was given by MacArthur who explained that the problem with the Emergent Church is that they question the perpescuity (or clarity or intelligibility) of Scripture. …‖ ―MacArthur's Concern Regarding Tom Wright and Why Emergent Folks Actually Like Tom Wright. MacArthur is concerned that many Emergent people are reading Tom Wright and praising him. He is concerned that N.T. Wright's view of the atonement is not orthodox.‖ (http://www.andyrowell.net /andy_rowell/2006/02/john_macarthur_.html) 76
    77. 77.  Customer Review: ―I consider myself a classic Protestant Evangelical, and I found that Wright offers many profound, even brilliant insights on the ministry and message of Jesus. …All that said, the book leaves me cold. The concluding chapter seemed to me not a call to personal relationship and discipleship, but mainly a rallying cry for social action, much of which reflected a left of center political perspective more than clearly thought out biblical values. In sum, I think the ‗kingdom more than personal piety‘ theme in the book just goes too far. Most troubling was the way that Wright seems to pass off and even denigrate the traditional view of what it means to say ‗Christ died for our sins.‘ It seems to me that Wright's view of the atonement (if we can even call it that) is that Christ died more for the failures of the nation of Israel to fulfill its role in establishing the Kingdom of God than for my sins and yours. I can't imagine that the hymn Rock of Ages would fit into Wright's views at all.‖ (http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Jesus-Vision-What-Matters/ product-reviews/0062084399/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_3?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addThreeStar&showViewpoints=0) 77
    78. 78. 78
    79. 79.    ―Alex Bryan displays his favorite Spiritual Formation books at the Adventist Forum meeting held at Walla Walla University, October 2011. He described these books as ‗the most helpful.‘ Bryan described how others, with differing views about Spiritual Formation from his have spoken negatively against these ‗helpful‘ books.‖ ―He says his favorite authors have been ‗lambasted in some very poorly written books that are very popular in Adventism right now by the way, there are three of four of them which I will not name that are doing great destruction and are very poorly put together‘ (he holds up the books shown above and reads the names of his favorite authors; Manning, Foster, Yaconelli, Foster, Willard, Eldredge, Foster, Man ning) ‗so yea, I think the comments made about those authors – I would disagree‘ and then shakes his head and speaks inaudibly (From Adventist Forum DVD, time stamp 1:11:43 to 1:12:12).‖ ―At the end of his statement, he is asked why the Seventh-day Adventist church‘s president would speak negatively about the content of those books, Alex is silent and does not answer the question and goes to the next question.‖ (Taken from ―Concerns Regarding Alex Bryan as WWU President‖ PDF file, p. 8) 79
    80. 80.  ―Dear Max, …. My use of books written by non-Seventh-day Adventist authors, also, in no way suggests that I agree with everything written therein. Indeed, all Seventh-day Adventist schools of theology utilize such books, including our seminary. I critically read and scrutinize all material to comport with the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.‖ (http://spiritualformationsda.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/alex-bryans-response-toconcerns.pdf) 80
    81. 81. 81
    82. 82.   ―Alex Bryan, Senior Pastor of the WWU University Church has been added to the short list of candidates invited to interview for WWU president. He joins David Thomas and Linda Becker who were announced as candidates last week.‖ ―Thomas and Becker met with the search committee on Tuesday May 1. Bryan will meet with the committee this Friday May 4. The committee still plans to have a recommendation for the WWU Board at their next meeting on May 14.‖ (http://as.wallawalla.edu/collegian/main.php?article=757) 82
    83. 83. 83
    84. 84.  ―‗I am very pleased with the process that has brought us to this decision,‘ says Joe Galusha, a search committee member and WWU's associate vice president for graduate studies. ‗Dr. Bryan is a very energetic and visionary member of our academic community. His leadership will take our university to a new level of ―excellence in thought, generosity in service, beauty in expression, and faith in God.‖‘‖(WWU News Release, http://www.noodls. com/viewNoodl/ 14792681/walla-walla-university/presidential-search-committee-makes-recommendation)  ―Three of the most influential pulpits in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America are in the process of losing the current senior pastor. Pastor Mic Thurber at the Keene (Texas) Church, Pastor Tim Mitchell at the Pacific Union College Church in Angwin (California) and Pastor Alex Bryan at the University Church in Walla Walla (Washington) are all leaving their leadership of three of the largest congregations in the denomination. Bryan has been recommended by the search committee to become the new president of Walla Walla University, the institution where his church is located. He is willing to serve, according to members of the church who have talked with him, and the chairman of the university‘s governing board, Pastor Max Torkelson wants him to take the position.‖ (http://www.atoday.org/article/1256/news/june-headlines/three-senior-pastorsleaving-major-adventist-campus-church-pulpits) 84
    85. 85. 85
    86. 86.   ―COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. - In a special meeting held Sunday, July 1, 2012, the Walla Walla University Board of Trustees, with 25 of 29 members present, decided with a two-thirds vote to not approve the recommendation of Dr. Alex Bryan as university president. The board also voted unanimously to express their appreciation for and affirmation of Dr. Bryan‘s continuing pastoral leadership and ministry at the WWU Church.‖ ―In forward-looking actions, the board approved a motion to ask the Presidential Search Committee to continue the process to recommend additional candidates for the permanent position of president while it seeks to bring a viable candidate for interim president to the board as soon as possible.‖ (http://www.uccsda.org/News/news07032012b) 86
    87. 87. 87
    88. 88.  ―Update on WWU Presidential Search Process: The recent vote of the Walla Walla University (WWU) Board of Trustees has engendered a great deal of discussion among the university community and beyond. Alex Bryan, who currently serves as the WWU Church senior pastor, was turned down for the president spot during the board‘s July 1 meeting. But some are championing the cause for him to be reconsidered. An expanded statement on the process from Max Torkelsen, North Pacific Union Conference president and WWU board chair, is available HERE. On-campus meetings will take up the search process again this coming Monday.‖ (http://www.gleaneronline.org/news. html?wsnID=11651 &newsCtr=10&newsTop=395&cat=12)  ―A Facebook group created by a group of Walla Walla University student leaders with the intent of sharing factual information about the WWU presidential search process has attracted more than 2,700 members this week. Since the group was set up Monday evening, organizers have been steadily building a library of documents explaining each of the most significant developments of the search process thus far.‖ (http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4593) 88
    89. 89. 89
    90. 90.  ―It is my intention that [my new presidency] be much more focused on four priorities that I believe are crucial for the next stage in our institutional journey:       1. Vision, mission and strategic planning. 2. Building philanthropy. 3. Working closely with the vice presidents. 4. Communing and communicating with faculty, staff and students on all our campuses. …‖ ―I am pleased as well that Dr. Alex Bryan, who has brought so many good things to WWU over the past few years, has agreed to serve as a part-time adviser for strategy, mission and vision. Dr. Bryan will help us vision a transforming and robust future for WWU that brings our Seventh-day Adventist commitments into creative engagement with the wider culture. …‖ ―Walla Walla University is at an amazing moment of opportunity, by far the most exciting moment that we have experienced in the last few years. There will be some significant changes in the way we do things and the emergence of new faces leading WWU.‖ (John McVay, ―A Renewed Call,‖ Westwind, Summer 2012, p. 4; http://www.wallawalla.edu/fileadmin/user_upload/college_relations/Westwind/summer_12/2012_ Westwind_Web.pdf) 90
    91. 91. 91
    92. 92.   ―The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work. The Sabbath, of course would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. ― (Battle Creek Letters, pp. 79-81) 92

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