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Jim's email: jamesbeverley@sympatico.ca Gloria's email: gloriabeverley@sympatico.ca

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Apologetics course Tyndale Winter 09

It is a new term at Tyndale and I am going to post some new material for this term's course in Apologetics. I am leaving old stuff on the site so you can browse through previous posts.

Professor Beverley

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Family International

I have made passing reference this term to the controversial religious movement The Family International and their infamous views/practices in regard to sex. The group was originally known as The Children of God and started in Huntington Beach, California in 1968. It was founded by David Berg who became known in the group as Dad, Moses David, and Father. Berg died in 1994.

The group celebrates its 40th anniversary this coming year.

For the movement's website go here. For a site that contains positive comments on the group, go here.

For sites that are critical of The Family International see XFamily, Moving On, Ex-Family, and CounterCog. For an evangelical Christian response to The Family see Making Things Straight.

HarperOne has just released Jesus Freaks by Don Lattin. It deals with the tragic case of Ricky Rodriquez, the son of Family leader Maria. In January 2005 Ricky killed long-time Family member Angela Smith and then killed himself. This murder-suicide led to renewed media attention on The Family International.

There is a memorial site by ex-members to Ricky here. The Family has a website in honor of him here and one for Angela here.

For an interesting case of alleged plagiarism, see this site on Family Art.

Not Without My Sister is an important autobiographical work by three sisters raised in the group. Also, Sam Ajemian, a former member, has written The Children of God Cult, aka The Family.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Prof Beverley interviewed on Scientology on the Drew Marshall Show

On Saturday September 29th I was interviewed on The Drew Marshall Show about Scientology.

Drew's show gets the best audience on spirituality in all of Canada. I was on this time in response to Drew's interview the week before with the President of the Church of Scientology in Canada.

For Scientology's view of reality go to their home site. For their site on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard go here. For extensive Scientology links go here.

For criticism of Scientology, go to Operation Clambake and the site of Tilman Hausherr. Other critic sites include the Facts about Scientology site and Exposing the Con. Kristi Wachter runs both The Truth About Scientology and Scientology Lies sites. F.A.C.Tnet is an important site. Check out The Secrets of Scientology and see the long list of links here. For the views of ex-members go here. Also, check out the site of ex-member Chuck Beatty.

I mentioned Scientology claims about Xenu and human origins in the interview. See this report for more info. You can also see data on Xenu here and here.

Jon Atak's book on Scientology called A Piece of Blue Sky is on the web here. That site also has Russell Miller's book Bare-Faced Messiah. For a scholarly overview of Scientology see J. Gordon Melton's book (published with Signature Press) and available at Amazon.ca.

Scientology's incompatibility with Christianity is explored here.

I also stated in the interview that Scientology has engaged in some heavy legal moves against critics. For an example of what I have in mind see the account by Paulette Cooper here.

Janet Reitman did an important piece on Scientology for Rolling Stone.

Important Note about my use of web sites

The listing of sites does not necessarily imply endorsement on my part of any particular claim or view. This needs special focus in relation to the battles involving Scientology. The critical sites noted above have very serious and important allegations on them. However, critics often--though not always--overstate things so the reader has to be very careful in sorting out claims.

I differ from many other critics of Scientology in my view that Scientology is a religion. Since it is a religion then the issue is to what extent it is a true or false religion. On this, Christians should be sad that Christ is not central in Scientology. Also, there are serious issues related to harmful practices having to do with litigation, health, and oppression of both members and ex-members. On these latter items, readers can look at the various sites and study to what extent critics are correct.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sites on charismatic Christianity

I am teaching on the Holy Spirit in my class in Systematic Theology. I posted about websites on my blog for that course, so am copying the link info here in case some of you want to do research work on the apologetical issues related to battles over charismatic Christianity. Also, these links will be useful for your ongoing reflection.

For sites that are positive on charismatic Christianity, see Revival Ministries International (Rodney Howard-Browne), The Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, The International House of Prayer (Mike Bickle), Iris Ministries (Rolland and Heidi Baker), Bob Jones (not connected with Bob Jones University, the fundamentalist school) Patricia King, Global Harvest (Peter Wagner), Jack Deere, The Vineyard USA and Vineyard International, Benny Hinn and Paul Cain.

For a longer list of links see here and here.

On the prophetic, see Steve Shultz's work at http://www.prophetic.tv/ and Elijah List
You can join his subscription list and get updates about the gift of prophecy.

For sites critical of charismatic Christianity, go to Deception in the Church and Discern.ca. Also, note the critique by ex-Toronto Blessing pastor Paul Gowdy.

You can also see Cheryl Thompson's views here. Cheryl had been involved in the Vineyard movement and she has very strong views about Satanic use of the Vineyard and The Toronto Blessing. She writes this near the end of her post.

"I believe the plan of Satan is to join all churches and denominations together into an association based on false doctrine and a false Gospel. Having shown to God that they have no love for His truth, that they are "unfaithful" to Him, many deluded individuals, who believe they are Christians and love Jesus, will be punished. God will allow them to be deceived and to believe a lie. The day will come when they will gladly worship none other than the Antichrist, who will present himself to them as a supernatural being with great, divine powers."

She continues:

"I believe "The Vineyard movement" is playing an important role today in preparing the way for this terrible End-Time Delusion. It will be used to help spread the lie of the Antichrist himself. The "prophets" who are being promoted by The Vineyard and The Kansas City Fellowship will step forward, at the proper time, in churches all across America and Canada. They will all deliver the same message. It will be a message of spiritual deception, but many will be fooled into believing it. But the voices of these prophets will proclaim the Antichrist as God, welcoming him into the Holy of Holies."

I do NOT share her interpretation of either the Vineyard or The Toronto Blessing since I think she is far too extreme. But she is an example of how strongly some Christians are against some of the major figures/movements in charismatic Christianity.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Word Faith

Larry asked me about the Word Faith movement. The Word Faith theology comes out of the ministry of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland, two very influential Pentecostal leaders. It is often referred to as the Health and Wealth gospel or the Name It and Claim It movement.

I realized when I wrote my email reply that I do not have an entry on that topic in my Religions A to Z book. I will have one in my bigger volume that comes out next year...Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions. Anyway, Apologetics Index has a listing of resources here.

Note the endorsement given to Robert Bowman on this topic. I agree with Apologetics Index in recommending Rob's work, in particular his book The Word-Faith Controversy: Understanding the Health and Wealth Gospel. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001 . You can see a profile on Rob at the Reclaiming the Mind website here.