I just started in a BSF class this month at the urging of a friend, who told me the study would be an in-depth, spirit-filled place to learn more about God's word. During the introductory class, I got some red flags when the speaker used some emergent lingo like "social justice". The first week's lessons seemed very elementary to me, and on the forth day you could see the social gospel coming into the lesson. Then at the lecture over the lesson, there was more emergent-speak.
In our first small group meeting to discuss the lesson, one woman said that Allah is the same as the God of the Bible. When another woman and I spoke up to correct her, the leader shut us down and changed the subject. I understand that we're supposed to focus on the lesson, but to let this kind of heresy stand unchallenged in a Bible study was simply incredible to me!
I decided to research BSF, and found that many others are seeing what I'm seeing. Here's info. from one source we're all familiar with. You can read the original article he refers to at his site.
Bible Study Fellowship Women Respond to Lighthouse Trails Article
July 20th, 2010 | Author: Lighthouse Trails Editors
The following comments were received after our recent article, Is BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) Heading in the Contemplative Direction?. We have used substitute names for these women (all who have been personally involved with BSF), so as to protect their privacy, but the letters are real letters from real people. Many of these women are BSF teachers and leaders.
Comment #1: After attending the last few weeks of BSF this Spring, I also received the newsletter with list of recommended books. I wrote to the director of BSF a month or two ago regarding this, but have not received a response. One illustration I gave was of Willard’s book “The Great Omission,” which I had read. Mary Ann
Comment #2: Thank you for sounding the warning on BSF International after their May 2010 magazine quoted “The Message” and promoted several emergent/contemplative books on their reading list. I have been in BSF for 7+ years and I was shocked by the current magazine. No one else seems concerned. I am horrified. I am also a Discussion Leader and was told at the Retreat this year in Louisville, KY that we were in for “big changes” by the new Director Susie Rowan. Please stay on top of this story as I see BSF slipping down a deceptive slope and I seem unable to do anything about it, even after sounding the alarm to our Teaching Leader and Substitute Teaching Leader here in _________. God Bless everything you do! Cynthia
Comment #3: Being that we have corresponded in the past I just wanted to share a few comments with you. Thank God for LHT! It took me years to find you but each Newsletter is an encouragement to us in ways you can’t imagine. I was totally alone in my thinking (and wasn’t aware of Lighthouse Trails) when I quit BSF about ten years ago. I went to leaders to discuss my concerns, no one could see my point of view. It started out withthe original study questions which were challenging to everyone and our answers should only come from KJV. Then came the “new” studies, our reading could be from different versions of the Bible (one gal brought her old Catholic Bible). The questions, in my opinion, were full of “how do you feel” and “what do think” kind of wordings. Each question was worded in such a way “our” feelings seemed to be more important than WORD. The study seemed to make the Bible-up to our own interruption. It was just getting started!! I appreciate your article. On Jim Wallis, I am given to understand he was Plymouth Brethren. I believe he might have been the disgruntled Jim Wallis from the Detroit Michigan area. We grew up PB and his belief system is sooo contrary to the teachings we grew up with. My Grandfather was a lay minister in the PlymouthBrethren and he would have taken Wallis down in a mega second, if he were alive today. I cannot believe how many have fallen away from the truth we were exposed to in this non-denominational church. I know we all fall short and most of us are too worldly but starting a neo-religion based on pagan practices, just breaks our hearts. Keep up the (good) GOD work!! In Christ. Kathy
Comment #4: Thank you for your article re. BSF. I hope they will respond soon. I see the hundreds reading the recommended books, and then coming to Isaiah (next year’s study) saying that Isaiah’s vision was just as the contemplative prayer and visions. Rachel
Comment #5: I quit attending BSF back in 2000 because it was very ecumenical. Since attendees were from various churches we weren’t allowed to speak the truth as in the Word of God if it would offend any church (i.e. Catholic, Mormon, etc.) … Each person in the group was supposed to give their opinion on what they got out of the scripture being studied, not what the truth of God’s Word was. It reminded me of the dialectic method. Laura
Comment #6(shortened version): I have been involved in BSF for a very long time…and am currently entering my __th year of leadership. I could never imagine my life without BSF….until this past year. I have noticed the questions being “watered down”….with more of “what do you think…rather than what does the Bible say type of questions. Within the organization, there has been an increased awareness and concern about decreasing attendance ….especially of the younger generation. When I attended the retreat this past year, we were told that plans were in place to correct that problem. We were told to “LOVE” the members more because the younger people are needing more love….
We were told at the retreat that they were going to change the “stigma” that BSF has had about being so rigid….. that wherever there were “barriers” between the rules and members, that those barriers would “come down.” The rules and routine for the various groups would be different to be “relative” for each setting. The younger groups would have different, more “comfortable” routines than the older ones. The goal was to be more appealing and attractive to compete with other less-rigid studies that are out there. It was clear to me that BSF was taking initial steps down the Emergent path.
There were 2,000 leaders at the retreat I attended. I would say that more than 1/2 of them were brand-new leaders….and yes, many were very young. I was appalled to see body piercings, tattoos and THE MESSAGE being used by several of them. This was my second retreat and it was totally different than the one I attended 3 years ago. This one was more of a tribute/commercial for BSF and the new director, Susie Rowan. The cheering and ovations were astounding as the organization was in promotion of itself and it’s leadership. …
I alerted my Teaching Leader of my concerns…but was abruptly brushed aside. The majority of our local leadership circle are among the many who were taken in by the deception that I believe was taking place at the retreat and within the organization itself. I was told by my Teaching Leader that I need to “love” more and not be so critical. (As a side note…I was also told that I could no longer tell anyone that Beth Moore twists Scripture! I always reserve my personal opinions for time outside of BSF…but it was very clear that I shouldn’t even be pursuing that truth on my own time.) …
I have planned to remain in leadership through this next year because the study of Isaiah is a new one. I am very interested in seeing the changes that will unfold. I have no doubt that this will be my last year though…if I even last that long! I can no longer promote the study…I will not invite anyone anymore. I have no doubt that the introduction of the quote from The Message and the endorsed books are trial balloons..and that without resistance, they will be ushering in the end of a great, 50+yr old Bible Study.
More Letters Here: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?cat=43